Posts Tagged ‘Cindy Thomashow’

By Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature
(Download the symposium agenda, or a PDF version of this summary here.)


The first American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Regional Collaborative Symposium – the 2012 Northeast Regional Symposium – took place at Bunker Hill Community College November 3-4, 2011. The Regional Symposiums focus on fostering collaboration among ACUPCC signatories facing similar challenges and opportunities in their geographic regions. This inaugural conference garnered participation from 36 universities in 19 states throughout the Northeast, achieving cross-institutional dialogue, knowledge exchange, and solutions to climate action planning, curriculum reform, and other key issues.

Jennifer Andrews Clean Air Cool PlanetPre-Conference Change Agent Forum

This pre-conference event offered new signatories and schools striving to be compliant with ACUPCC requirements and their pledge to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions a series of “Climate Clinics” presented by representatives of colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and private consulting companies.

Symposium Sessions

Opening Speakers
Dr. Anthony Cortese, President of Second Nature, opened the Symposium evening of November 3 with David Hales, President Emeritus, College of the Atlantic and Chairman of the Second Nature Board of Directors, and Dianne Dumanoski, Environmental Journalist, with a discussion of the ever- increasing need for leadership in higher education to teach innovative, bold, and necessary climate and sustainability theory. The November 4 sessions were opened by Philip Giudice, the former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy.

World Café: Moving Beyond the Climate Action Plan
Participants delved into dynamic discussion and planning during the World Café, which allowed for reflections on the planning process, how to move the campus forward by assigning priorities, key stakeholders, and core values, and engaging with regional partnerships and initiatives. Facilitated by Bonny Bentzin of GreenerU, discussion reflected the need for institutionalizing engagement, the importance of connecting long-term climate planning to the needs of the local community and regional partners, and the potential for creating campus engagement with the Climate Action Plan as a living and strategic institutional document.


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By Paul Rowland, Executive Director, AASHE
(This article appears in the May, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Despite the progress being made to ensure that campuses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, we still have far too many students leaving our campuses not understanding that they need to envision climate neutral professional and personal lifestyles. Even at ACUPCC signatory campuses where the leadership has committed to “Actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students,” there has been greater difficulty in ensuring that these comprehensive curricular changes occur than it has been to implement renewable energy technologies.

Recognizing the difficulty of curricular change, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has had a goal of “at least 10% of the courses offered at American colleges and universities will enable students to synthesize an understanding of environmental, economic, and social forces of change and apply that understanding to real world problems.” The early efforts of AASHE were embodied in a combination of professional development through the Sustainability Across the Curriculum Leadership Workshops led by Geoff Chase and Peggy Barlett and elements of the AASHE Resource Center that pointed to a variety of syllabi, course inventories, programs, case studies, and other materials related to the curricular aspects of sustainability education. The workshops have been successful in spawning a number of workshops on campuses, some of them featured in the resource center.

These efforts have been successful in reaching thousands of faculty and have resulted in changes in thousands of courses. However, the commitment of reaching all students will require a far greater effort involving many more faculty – probably more than 150,000. Recognizing the need to reach much greater numbers of faculty, AASHE, with support from the ACUPCC and Second Nature, convened a group of leaders in sustainability education and higher education reform at a Summit on Sustainability in the Curriculum in February 2010. The conversations and recommendation of the summit were summarized by Geoff Chase and myself in Sustainability Curriculum in Higher Education: A Call to Action.


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