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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth City State University’

By Adrien Tofighi, Program Assistant, Second Nature
(Review the symposium agenda, or download a PDF Summary of this post).

ACUPCC Logo

The 2012 ACUPCC Southeast Regional Symposium took place at Agnes Scott College, November 7-8th, 2012. ACUPCC Regional Symposiums are working sessions to foster dialogue and collaboration among ACUPCC signatories who are facing similar challenges and opportunities in their geographic regions.

The conference garnered participation from 45 colleges and universities, representing states throughout the Southeast, achieving cross-institutional dialogue, knowledge exchange, and the creation of new solutions to Climate Action planning, curriculum reform, and other key issues. This conference marked the third regional symposium hosted by the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

David E. Shi, President Emeritus, Furman University

Opening Speakers

After a warm welcome by Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth Kiss, David E. Shi, President Emeritus of Furman University, opened the symposium on Wednesday evening. The keynote presentation, entitled “Sustainability in the South: An Oxymoron?” addressed some of the region’s most pressing questions regarding conservation, sustainability, and climate leadership.

Dr. Shi posed the questions: How can conservation thrive in a conservative culture, and how can higher education be the vanguard of cultural change? His talk shared statistics on the southeastern colleges and universities progress on climate and sustainability initiatives, and reviewed the need for campuses to move from singular sustainability projects to a centralized “hub” for large-scale transformational change.

Symposium Sessions

World Café: From Planning to Action

Participants kicked off the first full day of the conference with dynamic discussion and planning during the World Café, which allowed for reflections on leveraging campus resources in order to implement climate action planning solutions. Facilitated by Bonny Bentzin of GreenerU, the session focused around key themes related to communicating and engaging with the campus community.

Campus Sustainability Case Studies

Case studies from eight different institutions in three concurrent sessions were presented as a means to address the topically and geographically relevant problems that many campuses face, and share how these issues are being dealt with.

The first track, Financing, highlighted three institutions from North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky. A team from Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) including Cassidy Cannon, Sustainability Director, Robert Gaines, Special Assistant to the Chancellor, Charles Hall, Director of Design & Construction, Dennis Leary, Facilities Director, and Kent Anson, Vice President of Higher Education for Honeywell Building Solutions presented on the campus’s experience leveraging a comprehensive energy savings program to address deferred maintenance, energy costs, and sustainability goals. Howard Wertheimer, Director of Capital Planning & Space also discussed the lessons learned in building the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory (CNES), and Mitchell H. Payne, Associate Vice President for Business Affairs at the University of Louisville provided an overview of financing energy efficiency through energy savings performance contracting.

Hands-on learning at Furman University’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability

In the second track, Sustainable Food and Community Engagement, Furman University’s Katherine Kransteuber, Program Coordinator at the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability shared the interdisciplinary faculty-student research initiative designed to study and further sustainable agriculture on campus and in the Carolinas. Stephanie Sims, Implementation Coordinator at Office of Sustainability at the University of Florida provided an overview of UF’s broad approach to involving stakeholders and addressing challenges and opportunities in food systems through partnerships and innovative programming, which included strategies such as “Food for Thought” outreach campaigns and University extension efforts and the Office of Sustainability at the regional and state level.

The third track, Addressing the Challenge of Coal began with a presentation by Susan Kidd, Director of Sustainability at Agnes Scott College, discussing the institutional challenge of cheap coal, and the college’s focus on funding options for energy efficiency and renewable energy,. Matt Earnest, Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development at Bridgemont Community and Technical College showcased how the institution’s Sustainability Institute is bringing together multiple organizations with varying viewpoints to promote sustainability through workforce education, academic enhancement, and community development. Gordie Bennett, Sustainability Manager at the University of Tennessee Knoxville also provided examples of their institutional path to a cleaner campus by converting the nearly 50-year old UT Knoxville Steam Plant to 100% natural gas and fuel oil, with a focus on the decision making process that weighed the social and economic implications of going coal free in the Tennessee Valley.

Lunch with the President’s Panel

Second Nature President David Hales moderated the President’s Panel which included Elizabeth Kiss from Agnes Scott College (GA), Kenneth Peacock, Chancellor of Appalachian State University (NC), and Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spelman College (GA), in a dialogue on how higher education in the Southeast can lead the way to a clean, green, and sustainable economy. Participants followed the discussion with a question and answer session on the challenges facing presidential leadership in supporting sustainability initiatives on campus.

Sustainability as a Pedagogical Process

To conclude the event, Tom Kelly, Director of the Sustainability Academy at the University of New Hampshire, facilitated a session to remind attendees of the broader goal of “educating for sustainability.” With the campus as a learning platform, every building, the food eaten, classes attended, grounds and landscaping, etc. “count as an opportunity to cultivate a global sustainability outlook.” This session presented a pedagogical process that considers building case studies from campus to guide the learning community to ask good questions, investigate, and find sustainable solutions.

Summary: Collaborating for Success

The ACUPCC Southeast Regional Symposium attendees created new strategies for climate leadership, shared the steps necessary for putting a plan to action in a region where sustainability can be challenging, and learned from both campus and industry leaders that the work they do is more vital than ever.

By providing tangible resources, contacts, and ideas to support both Presidents and their staff’s efforts on campus, with a regional focus highlighting the unique issues associated with electricity rates, government policies, energy supply, and public opinion of the region, institutions were empowered to create beneficial partnerships that will support their mutual development in the coming years. Participating sustainability teams made significant headway in overcoming the obstacles to fulfilling the Commitment, and creating lasting regional connections.

84 college and university, industry, and non-profit representatives participated in the Symposium, with attendance from Presidents and Chancellors, sustainability coordinators, facilities directors, faculty, students, and ACUPCC Corporate Sponsors.  Click here to view the list of attendees.

Thank You!

Second Nature would like to thank the staff of Agnes Scott College for their partnership in hosting the event, and Aramark for providing food for the event.  And a special thanks to all attendees who found exciting new opportunities for creating and implementing their Climate Action Plans, as well as creative solutions to the challenges of creating a sustainable campus.  Well done!

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For more information on upcoming ACUPCC events, visit presidentsclimatecommitment.org/news-events

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By Ashka Naik, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Development, Second Nature
(This article appears in the February, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC This article is based on a chapter in the forthcoming publication, UNCF Sustainable Campuses: Building Green at Minority Serving Institutions. It will be available in April 2012 on the Kyoto Publishing website as well as at http://buildinggreennetwork.org/.

To level the playing field by bridging the resource gap between wealthy and under-resourced institutions, and to enable more institutions to commit to and implement the ACUPCC, Second Nature is proactively developing innovative programs that enhance the sustainability capacity of under-resourced institutions. Second Nature has also partnered with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) on the “UNCF Building Green at Minority-Serving Institutions” initiative, and provided guidance on UNCF’s sustainability efforts for the past two years to actively engage minority-serving institutions in this sustainability movement.

Second Nature and UNCF

“Environmental sustainability is a critical part of operating every college and a critical part of the education a 21st-century college provides for its students. Second Nature has been an invaluable thought partner in helping UNCF, its member historically black colleges and universities, and all minority-serving institutions make sustainability not just an ideal but a day-to-day reality. UNCF’s partnership with Second Nature has fostered a re-imagination of how minority-serving institutions relate to our environment and what we are capable of doing together to assure a safer, greener and cleaner planet.”

– Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF

With the assistance of such collaborative capacity-building opportunities and the framework offered through the ACUPCC model, 89 minority-serving institutions — including two college districts — have made deep commitments to climate neutrality by signing the ACUPCC in the recent years. By providing the needed momentum and network, the ACUPCC assists these institutions in pursuing climate neutrality, galvanizing the campus community, reducing costs, and opening up new opportunities for funding, education, research and community engagement.

In the past two years, presidents of 20 minority-serving institutions have signed the ACUPCC and committed their institutions to climate action!

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By Felicia Davis, Building Green Program Director, United Negro College Fund

(This article appears in the August, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building has embarked upon an ambitious endeavor to catapult minority-serving colleges and universities into leadership roles in the transition to a sustainable green global economy.  Elevating the critical need for emissions reductions and social, economic and environmental responsibility is central to the mission of higher education institutions.  Energy efficient upgrades, LEED certified building, and interdisciplinary sustainability studies are key elements in campus-wide sustainability efforts.  Minority-serving institutions are in a unique position to make a quantum-leap by embracing and aggressively pursuing carbon-neutral campus infrastructures.  These institutions can turn liabilities, such as older inefficient buildings, into assets by adopting LEED standards for new and existing buildings.  They can lead the way to a sustainable future.

Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in North Carolina, under the leadership of Chancellor Dr. Willie Gilchrist, is the first institution to sign

Felicia Davis presents ESCU Chancellor Willie Gilchrist award as first ACUPCC signatory since start of Building Green initiative

the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) with encouragement and support from the UNCF Building Green Initiative.  The ECSU Center for Green Research and Evaluation has embarked upon a ground-breaking plan to develop a modern, large-scale green economy in rural northeastern North Carolina by cultivating a “triple bottom line” approach to research and community development.  In keeping with the UNCF Building Green Initiative goals, ECSU is forging relationships with organizations – including universities, community colleges, public agencies, businesses, and nonprofit partners – that can help the university accomplish ambitious sustainability goals.  Focused on social, economic, and environmental sustainability in the rural 21 county service area, the ECSU Green Center places the creation of green jobs industries high on the agenda.  Plans to train local workers for jobs retrofitting campus buildings while developing new green industries are high priorities in keeping with the North Carolina Green Economy Initiative.

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By Jill Logeman, Energy Program Coordinator, Environmental Defense Fund

(This article appears in the August, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

If improving building energy efficiency were as simple as flipping a switch, universities could easily cash in on big cost savings and emission reductions. Instead, limited resources, information gaps, and organizational barriers prevent universities from taking advantage of smart energy investments.  Environmental Defense Fund’s new summer fellowship program can help colleges and universities overcome these obstacles.

Climate Corps Public Sector trains talented graduate students from top schools in energy efficiency and places them in public organizations, such as colleges and universities.  Working with facilities management or sustainability staff, each fellow or pair of fellows develops a customized energy plan designed to meet the host’s needs.

Fellows work across host departments to:

  • Inventory the host’s energy use through the review and analysis of professional energy audits, interviews with key employees, and direct observation;
  • Model the financial impact of upgrades to lighting, office equipment, and heating & cooling systems, factoring in available rebates and incentives;
  • Facilitate collaboration among multiple energy efficiency stakeholders; and
  • Map a strategy for energy efficiency investments and present the business case to key decision-makers.

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By Van Du, Advancing Green Building Intern, Second Nature

Van Du, Second Nature InternSecond Nature’s Advancing Green Building in Higher Education team participated this month in the third and final UNCF Building Green Learning Institute. Hosted in San Antonio, Texas, from June 10-12, 2010, the institute once again brought together faculty, staff, and students from colleges and universities across the country to continue the discussion on sustainability efforts in higher education.

As with the previous institutes, this was a great forum for colleges and universities to learn from one another about the different sustainability and building green initiatives that each school is implementing.  In addition to showcasing schools and their ‘greening’ efforts, conversations and remarks at the institute underscored the importance of dedicating time and effort to this journey.  Many schools began by making a commitment to change. For example, Elizabeth City State University just recently became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment—the first UNCF Building Green Learning Institute participant school to do so.   However, it was clear that the real challenge for many schools is the transformation from commitment to action.

After three days of presentations and panel discussions, I noticed that the conversations among panelists and attendees at the end of the events shifted from “Why we should think and build green” to “Let’s look at the different ways we can achieve sustainable development on our campuses.”  The tone throughout the event also evolved from realizing the need to move forward in creating a sustainability capacity at each institution, to acknowledging the influence that education can have on the next generation: Sustainability education can be pivotal for changing habits and behaviors.

Additionally, I was delighted to see the acknowledgement of many students and the great work they’ve achieved on college campuses as well as in their local communities.  During one session, a few students presented projects that they have been working on, ranging from carbon emission assessment to sustainability education and climate change advocacy. The conversations at the institute ultimately emphasized the idea that the journey to achieving a green campus requires commitment and ongoing efforts not only from the leaders of an institution but its community members as well.

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