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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.

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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.

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By Kenny Ausubel, CO-CEO and Founder, Bioneers
(This article appears in the January, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

In the words of filmmaker Tom Shadyac, “The shift is about to hit the fan.” We’re experiencing the dawn of a revolutionary transformation. This awkward ‘tween’ state marks the end of pre-history – the sunset of an ecologically illiterate civilization. The revolution has begun – but in fits and starts. The challenge is that it’s one minute to midnight – too late to avoid large-scale destruction. We have to fan the shift to ecoliterate societies at sufficient speed and scale to dodge irretrievable cataclysm.

Anthony Cortese Second Nature Bioneers 2010As H.G. Wells presciently said over a century ago, “We’re in a race between education and catastrophe.” The urgent question today is what education means in the context of catalyzing the widespread mobilization and action needed to accelerate this transition effectively in the shortest period of time.

Since my partner Nina Simons and I founded the Bioneers conference in 1990, we’ve brought together leading social and scientific innovators focused on practical and visionary solutions for restoring Earth’s imperiled ecosystems and our human communities.  For the last 21 years, the Bioneers conference has served as a platform for cross-pollinating ideas and highlighting the solutions already available to us, helping bring them mainstream and inevitably creating leverage for change on larger scales. Every October, thousands gather in northern California to immerse themselves in this environment of hope and transformative possibility; thousands more gather across the country as participants in our Beaming Bioneers satellite conferences, as well.

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