Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘AASHE’

By Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature
(This article appears in the October, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerThe celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Campus Sustainability Day (CSD) needed a topic appropriate to a moment in time when campuses have shown that the impossible is possible – changing the way they teach, operate, build, and plan in order to reduce emissions and prepare students to lead a just and sustainable future – while recognizing the challenges and opportunities still present in their journey to integrating deep sustainability education. This year, Second Nature and the CSD supporting organizations, including AASHE, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), The Society for College & University Planning (SCUP), USGBC, Focus the Nation, Tree Campus USA, the SEED Center, and IDEAS, are calling on campuses to participate in a national day of dialogue around a critical question which invites conversation on both success and continued roadblocks: How is higher education preparing students for a changing climate?

Campuses across the country are organizing discussions to gather input from students, faculty, and staff on the best practices and remaining challenges for providing students with the skills and experiences they need to prepare for a changing climate, society, and economy, using three guiding questions to form a common national dialogue.

Campus Sustainability Day 2012

Here’s how to participate:

#1: Screen the Keynote Broadcast on Your Campus
October 24th 2012, 2pm – 3:30pm EST
Join thought leaders in campus sustainability as they discuss best practices and challenges for preparing students for a changing climate, with an emphasis on curriculum, research, and experiential learning.

Featuring Geoffrey Chase, leader of the Ponderosa Project, Julie Elzanati, Director of the Illinois Green Economy Network, Julian Keniry, Senior Director of Campus and Community Leadership National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Program, Neil Weissman, Provost of Dickinson College, and Debera Johnson, founder of the Partnership for Leadership in Sustainability, this panel invites questions from the audience to discuss best practices for creating ecological curriculum, advancing experiential and living laboratory learning, and engaging faculty and the surrounding community in meaningful and critical education.

This is a live, interactive event!  Panelists will base their discussion on questions provided by you – the audience – during the panel, and will be screened using live video in Google+ Hangouts on Air.  The panel will be screened live to Youtube – no special login or software is necessary to watch, and you will be provided with the link after registration.  To ask questions, you will need a Google or YouTube login to leave comments on the video as a question for the panelists.  Institutions are encouraged to participate in the keynote broadcast as a way to jumpstart regional conversations.

#2: Host or Participate in a Regional Conversation 
October 22nd – October 26th 2012, Times and dates vary by region
Register or learn more here

How are you preparing students for a changing climate?  We want to hear from campuses across the country, and gather input from students, faculty, and staff on the best practices and remaining challenges for providing students with the skills and experiences they need.  Host a conversation on campus, gather for a virtual conversation with campuses in your region, or tune-in to one of the regional conversations organized in your area.  

Use these questions to guide the conversation:

  1. What is your college/region doing to prepare students for a changing climate?
  2. Where do challenges still exist for your campus/region in creating successful sustainability and climate programs, and what are the solutions to these challenges?
  3. How can your campus/region ensure that all students acquire the skills and education necessary to prepare for a changing climate, society, and economy, regardless of their course of study or career goals?

Be sure to appoint a student liaison to take notes – your conversations will be turned into a national guiding document on “Best Practices for Preparing Students for a Changing Climate.”

For questions about Campus Sustainability Day, please contact Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature at sbrylinsky@secondnature.org.

Read Full Post »

By Juliana Goodlaw-Morris, Campus Field Manager for Campus Ecology, National Wildlife Federation and Julian Keniry, Senior Director of Campus and Community Leadership, National Wildlife Federation
(This article appears in the March, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

Students are the epicenter of any college or university campus.  They are the heart and soul and the reason why colleges and universities exist, and it would be a disservice to any campus if students were not engaged throughout all aspects of campus sustainability.  A myriad of lessons have been learned from engaging an estimated 460,000 student leaders hailing from 2,000 campuses over Campus Ecology’s 23 years and counting of programming at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).  During this time, the program has also awarded approximately 180 Campus Ecology Fellowships to current undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 500 internships to recent graduates.   Throughout the evolution of campus sustainability, there have been changes in approach and goals for greening one’s campus; however the one constant has always been student leadership.

Students understand the challenge the United States and the rest of the world face to transition quickly from a fossil fuel-based society to one built on safe, clean renewable energy—as advocated by a majority of the world’s scientists— this is the crucible of our time.  Campus Ecology’s recent publication, “Generation E: Students Leading for a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future” explores how young people in college today are responding to this challenge, stepping up to make a difference in a wide range of creative and powerful ways. “E” stands for many things, including Ecology, Economy, Energy and Equity— which are among the interconnected concerns and values of sustainability that define and unite the current generation like no other issue of our time.

Students across the country have been lobbying their college or university president to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) since its inception five years ago.  Schools like University of Oklahoma and Birmingham Southern College attribute students to the signing of the ACUPCC.  In addition, once the school has become a signatory, in many cases students are conducting the greenhouse gas inventories and helping with the climate action plans.  In 2009, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) research conducted by John Hehir, showed that approximately 19 percent of all greenhouse gas inventories to-date were compiled by student researchers and classes.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Sally DeLeon, Sustainability Measurement Coordinator, UMD College Park
(This article appears in the November, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

To lead in the transformation to a sustainable society, institutions of higher education need to clearly articulate their own sustainability objectives and show progress toward meeting their goals. A set of regularly updated sustainability metrics is one important tool that can help keep stakeholders engaged and encouraged to focus on continual improvement. Internal performance metrics and external public reporting are growing areas of importance for sustainability in higher education. Some campuses are reorganizing or expanding their sustainability teams to include positions that focus specifically on measuring and reporting progress.

I am the Measurement Coordinator in the University of Maryland’s Office of Sustainability. I was hired to support, refine and expand the ways that the University tracks and reports progress on its strategic sustainability goals and targets. “This year was the right time to hire a measurement coordinator because we needed someone who could proactively manage assessment and reporting related to the Climate Action Plan, and effectively ensure that key campus stakeholders stay informed and engaged in the process of moving toward a more sustainable campus,” says Scott Lupin, the Director of UMD’s Office of Sustainability (the Office). UMD’s sustainability metrics program has reached a point where there is a solid base load of work to get done every year, and there is also plenty of room to refine the indicators, expand our assessment methods, and harness select metrics to facilitate planning and goal-setting through the University Sustainability Council. I look forward to continuing relationships with people all over campus as we cooperate to advance our progress toward carbon neutrality, innovate deeper sustainability goals and targets, identify and correct weaknesses, and celebrate our incremental progress as a community.

At UMD, transparent, thorough, public reporting is already a cornerstone of the Office of Sustainability’s programs. UMD is a charter signatory of the ACUPCC. Each year since signing the commitment, UMD has published a detailed Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Report. These annual reports include assessments of trends for all campus GHG source activities, both against the 2005 baseline year and against the previous reporting year. In 2008, the Office began working to develop a standard, easily understood, set of measurable indicators that would give a wide-ranging picture of UMD’s environmental and social performance from year to year. After a year of research and collaboration with campus stakeholders, UMD’s first annual Sustainability Metrics Report was completed in 2010 (the 2011 Report will be released this month). The value of this report is three-fold. First, campus departments become partners in assessing UMD’s progress toward sustainability through the reporting process. Second, the Metrics Report helps the University Sustainability Council determine short-term and long-term priorities. Finally, the Report serves as a concise, neatly packaged snapshot of our progress that can be used to inform and empower the campus community and the general public.

Most of the indicators included in the Metrics Report were the product of a two-phase process. In the first phase, a multi-disciplinary student team—from UMD’s QUEST program—completed a benchmarking study of sustainability metrics programs from AASHE, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and select leading campuses. From this process, a preliminary list of recommended indicators was developed, including several that were based on credits from the pilot phase of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). The Office also collaborated with stakeholders all over campus to refine the indicators, assess data availability and feasibility of regular measurement, and generate buy-in for annual reporting. The published set of metrics focuses more heavily on UMD’s environmental performance than on social performance because campus leadership viewed environmental goal-setting as the first strategic step in growing UMD’s sustainability programs (at the time when UMD’s sustainability program was created, the institution was already well-known for its outstanding equity and diversity efforts).

The metrics are organized into the four categories that comprise the Office of Sustainability’s framework for program development: Campus, Culture, Curriculum, and Community. Campus metrics relate to developing a carbon-neutral and resource-efficient campus infrastructure. Culture metrics relate to fostering an environment where people are empowered to practice sustainable behaviors. Curriculum metrics relate to integrating sustainability into the content of teaching and research across disciplines. Community metrics relate to engaging with the region and the world on sustainability challenges through education and outreach.

UMD’s set of sustainability performance metrics is a work in progress. This year we are looking more closely at STARS and may use relevant STARS credits to guide our development of stronger metrics on education and research, as well as on public engagement. I will also be working with our Department of Transportation Services to develop better indicators for commuter behaviors. In general, I see UMD’s Sustainability Metrics Report as user-friendly tool for public communication and annual performance assessment. It is not a substitute for the type of sector-wide benchmarking that STARS attempts to provide, but it is an important guidepost to assess our progress, weaknesses and priorities. After all, we are trying to ignite widespread participation in a transformation to a more sustainable society. We can’t expect people to participate year after year if they don’t have the tools to easily identify our collective goals and communicate about the progress they are making together.

Read Full Post »

By Meghan Fay Zahniser, STARS Program Manager, AASHE
(This article appears in the November, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

Five years ago AASHE was called upon to develop a consistent way to measure campus sustainability efforts, and the idea for STARS – the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System – was born. In January 2010, after a year-long pilot program and several public comment periods, AASHE launched the first version of STARS where institutions could register to participate and receive a rating. In addition, the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) celebrates the 5th year anniversary of the initiative and the upcoming first round of Progress Reports on Climate Action Planning. Public reporting is an important component of the transformation of higher education as it allows us to track, assess, and learn from our progress toward sustainability. How has the process of reporting developed throughout the history of the campus sustainability movement?

Let’s take a trip back in time to the early years of the campus sustainability movement to learn how the development of both the ACUPCC and STARS reporting systems have developed for the benefit of campuses nationwide.

The ACUPCC originated from a planning session at AASHE’s inaugural conference October of 2006 which included a group of college and university presidents and representatives from Second Nature, ecoAmerica and AASHE, and was officially launched to the public in 2007.  The mission of the ACUPCC was, and remains, to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions, and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society. This is accomplished by presidential and chancellor-level commitment to the elimination of net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and the promotion of research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. (more…)

Read Full Post »

A team of students and faculty from Alfred State College pose with electric car at AASHE 2011.*

The 2011 AASHE Conference, held in Pittsburgh Oct. 9-12, was a great success.  Second Nature was very involved, delivering plenary talks, panel sessions, and more, that highlighted our work supporting the ACUPCC.

The following members of the Second Nature staff, fellows and board were in attendance: Peter Bardaglio, Sarah Brylinsky, Tony Cortese, Georges Dyer, Bill Johnson, Nilda Mesa, Steve Muzzy, Toni Nelson, Andrea Putman, and Mitchell Thomashow.  As were our friends from the following ACUPCC Sponsor organizations: Organica, Siemens, Trane, Waste ManagementGreenerU and the American Meteorological Society.

Below are brief summaries of Second Nature’s main activities at the conference.  And here are links to presentations from some of Second Nature’s sessions:

Sunday, Oct. 9

Student Summit: The 2011 AASHE Student Summit hosted more than 600 attendees with a keynote from Bill McKibben founder of 350.org, and several motivating peer-to-peer presentation sessions.  Sarah Brylinsky represented the Second Nature team by facilitating breakout discussion groups for networking and action planning with the students, and provided an overview of the ACUPCC to students interested in climate action and sustainability education work on campus. Sarah also led a breakout networking session Tuesday evening with Steve Muzzy and members of the AASHE team for 30-40 students, focused explicitly on connecting students working on similar issues, including signing the ACUPCC and regional climate action.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature

AASHE 2010 Campus Sustainability Review

An excellent overview of college and university sustainability efforts, The 2010 Campus Sustainability Review offers a comprehensive look at the achievements of campus sustainability by taking the varied, complex, and broad-reaching developments on campuses over the past year, and translating individual successes into a meaningful snapshot of current trends and major milestones for higher education.

Published by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the review draws on news featured in the AASHE Bulletin, which publishes weekly updates from member colleges and universities who self-report on advancements in green building, curriculum reform, grounds, dining, and other areas of campus sustainability.

The Review combines analytic statistics with qualitative analysis in a way which gives the reader a concrete sense of what programs have developed, and their relative importance in the sustainability movement.  For instance, if you’re interested in what advancements have been made in Alternative Transportation, the Review reports “Another popular topic with 119 stories total, green campus transportation efforts were in full swing in 2010. Bike commuting to campus was the most frequent sustainable transportation endeavor reported in the Bulletin with 38 new initiatives.”

Furthermore, in-depth essays reflecting on ‘green collar jobs,’ student agricultural initiatives, and sustainability curriculum, break away from quantitative reporting and feature relevant statics within commentary by experts and field practitioners, who offer their thoughts and observations on the role of these initiatives in a greater social and educational context.

The Review is an excellent resource for those looking for a broad perspective on the direction sustainability on campuses is headed, and a guide for tangible examples within particular program areas.  Capturing progress in a field where accomplishments are highly localized, and deeply qualitative, is difficult, but the Review provides readers with benchmarking data to make progress and developments clear while maintaining an overview of individual programs and initiatives that accurately represent the richness and variety of sustainability reform in higher education.

Link to 2010 Campus Sustainability Review 

Read Full Post »

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature
(This post is part of a weekly series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)

“The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas,” John Maynard Keynes has observed, “but in escaping from the old ones.”  Nowhere is the truth of this observation clearer than in our continued adherence to an economy based on fossil fuels.  As more than one study has determined, we have the means at our disposal to move into a clean energy world in which the power of the wind, sun, water, tides, and other renewable sources is tapped and runaway climate change is averted.  The latest of these studies comes from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which earlier this month released a report surveying the already existing technologies that, in combination, could make this happen.  The critical missing components are the necessary policies that would drive change in this direction and the political will to implement them.

I get up every day and do the work that I do because I want to help create the public pressure and culture of collaboration that will make these changes occur.  I get up every day and do the work that I do because I believe each one of us has the responsibility to be a subject in history and not just an object of history.  I get up every day and do the work that I do because there is no silver bullet, no magic wand, that can make the immense problems confronting us go away.  The only thing that will work is to escape from the old myths of independence and self-reliance and embrace the truths of interdependence and mutuality.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: