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Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference

Session Descriptions

University and Community Collaboration for Environmental and Sustainability Education
This workshop will share the story about how one university has completed the work of adding an Environmental/Sustainability Education Endorsement (ESE) offering in recent years by collaborating with the interdisciplinary environmental studies minor on campus. In addition to relying on the standards that guided this endorsement approval and course creation, sustainability education (SE) and/or place-based education (PBE) literature informed the work. Sustainability and PBE share traits with environmental education, expeditionary learning, community-based learning, service learning, sustainability education, bioregional education and rural and indigenous education projects and can represent widely different experiences for K12 students. In order for this movement of experiential pedagogies that focus on sustainability issues to take hold in K12 schools, new teachers must go into the field with training and experience in teaching in such a way. In efforts to continue building momentum, partnerships must be sought out, nurtured, and sustained. Our session will share how the ESE endorsement came to be at our university. We will also offer a primer of sustainability standards and current SE/PBE research. We will invite dialogue around this important collaboration effort and encourage brainstorming around how participants may be able to replicate similar efforts in their settings.

Sustainability's Big Ideas: A Model Strategy for Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum
This is a workshop, in partnership with AASHE's Sustainability Across the Curriculum program. If sustainability perspectives and practices are to become part of college graduates' thought and action, they must start appearing "across the curriculum" in ways that are meaningful for students. Since 2005, the Curriculum for the Bioregion initiative has been engaging groups of faculty (across the disciplines) in sustainability curriculum development for use in introductory and general education classes. These "faculty learning communities" are designing, sharing, and web-publishing activities that integrate "big ideas" in their disciplines with sustainability content and concepts. "Big ideas" are core concepts that not only matter to individual faculty in their disciplines, they should be so important and compelling that our students will remember them years into the future. In this lively workshop, sustainability-education leaders on several campuses will engage participants in this "big ideas" curriculum design strategy to demonstrate a model workshop that can be adapted for use on any campus.

Peer to Peer Sustainability Education in your Community
The Residents' Resource Awareness Program (ResRAP) is dedicated to creating a culture of sustainability that extends beyond the boundaries of Western's residence halls. We work towards this goal by training, assisting, advising and inspiring Ecological Representatives (Eco Reps) who are leaders within their hall communities and work as liaisons between Western's Office of Sustainability and their fellow residents to foster and promote a more sustainable living. Through our program we are able to reduce utility use in the residence halls, connect residents to sustainability focused clubs and programs on campus, and establish a campus community full of sustainably minded individuals. During this workshop, attendees will be able to see an example of a successful and thriving Eco Rep program from Western Washington University, learn some community based marketing strategies, and start the process of creating, or improving, a sustainable peer to peer education program at their own university.

Sustainability Movements on Campus: Green Pledge, Sweater Days and Residence Hall Energy Conservation
This session brings together representatives from three campuses to present case studies of successful campus sustainability movements. You'll learn about Whitworth University's Green Pledge program, Western Washington University's Sweater Days Campaign and Pacific Lutheran University's Residence Hall and campus-wide Unplugged movement. Learn what has been done in the past, how things have grown and adapted into current successful campaigns and gather tools and takeaways to do something like this on your own campus.

Deep Sustainability - An Introduction to Key Concepts and Discussion of Strategic Ways and Means
Deep sustainability addresses the root causes of unsustainability. It addresses the ethical, philosophical, and spiritual roots of human well-being that must sustain the ecological, social, and economic integrity of human relationships with each other and with nature. This facilitated workshop will focus on what it would take to move beyond copy and paste sustainability to a fully integrated institutional ethic. Participants will be presented with key concepts and examples of existing models then given the opportunity to discuss and plan strategies for starting this work at their home institution.

Turning Planning into Action for Radical Success, from Campus-wide Plans to Small Projects
In this session, hear from four dynamic speakers about various strategies for sustainability planning. Capturing diverse voices in sustainability planning is a lot like herding cats. Combined with a sense of humor, cool-headed leadership style, and yes, even some proper cat-wrangling techniques, you can uncover synergies and develop your university's Sustainability Action Plan. Hear about the updating process for Oregon State University's Carbon Plan through the use of a facilitated toolkit approach to inspire and implement carbon reducing actions within academic colleges and administrative divisions. Learn about the Western Washington University Campus Sustainability Planning Studio, a hands-on problem based learning class that creates solutions for sustainability challenges on campus and beyond, including class structure, example projects and tips for success. And finally, hear from a student sharing his experiences, insights and challenges with pursuing sustainability efforts at The Evergreen State College as he worked to increase campus awareness and implementation of renewable energy through various projects and with varying levels of success. Through his conversations and outreach with facilities, administrators and students he has brought the topic and reality of renewable energy out of the folds and into the spotlight.

Implementing Sustainability Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
This session will help attendees to better understand how to effectively add practical skills that employers are requiring into their curriculum. Three groups will give a brief overview of their sustainability curriculum initiatives, but a majority of the session will be an interactive facilitated discussion with the presenters and attendees. Whatcom Community College will discuss their sustainability graduation requirement, including what was done to implement it and how it has worked eight years on. South Seattle College will discuss their Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Building Science Technology and how they have successfully integrated content and hands-on work experiences into the program. Examples of how the Seattle Colleges District has utilized this important resource in real-time projects will be shared, along with some "do's and don'ts" for this type of collaboration.

Changing Food Systems to Reduce Environmental Impact
This session will outline and discuss efforts to reform campus food purchasing in accordance with the Real Food Challenge, a national movement that aims to shift millions of dollars away from corporations and toward producers that nourish consumers, communities, and the earth. Learn about the current legislative bills that will impact the lives of all who eat in higher education. In addition, hear from one student's perspective about the importance of moving to a plant-based diet and why those interested in sustainability should move towards a more vegan diet. Get tips on how to go plant-based, and why and how your office/organization can become plant-based.

The Successes and Challenges of Student Led Sustainability Projects
Green fee funds are managed in different ways on college campuses. For this panel, we will be sharing the ways that University of Washington, Seattle and The Evergreen State College manage their green fees and sustainability projects. Clean energy funds allow for students to bring their sustainability ideas to life, which supports each campus as a living learning laboratory. Along with the clean energy fund, The Evergreen State College also houses the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure on campus, which works with students to publish "case studies" reports and other research projects. The Center provides opportunities for students to understand the financial needs of a grant-funded, independently operated public service center. We will discuss the challenges, successes, and benefits of student leadership and administration of green fee funds as well as the beneficial collaboration of having a green research institute with its own operating budget on campus.

Mini-Session | Green Cleaning: Overview, Benefits and LEED Project Contributions
This presentation will provide an overview of Green Cleaning and how it can contribute to a LEED project. Attendees will learn the benefits of green cleaning, how a green cleaning policy can potentially contribute to a LEED project in the design and construction phase, how green cleaning can contribute to a LEED EBOM project prerequisite and credits, and how to successfully implement an effective green cleaning program for their facilities.

Effecting Sustainability Beyond Universities: Resilient Communities
In an era defined by shared resources and collaborative efforts, such sustainability concepts are also framing the way universities and colleges engage with surrounding communities. In this interactive session we will discuss some models of community outreach and in-reach being used around the region to promote sustainability and livability in our communities, including common strategies and lessons learned. Then we will provide a guided discussion to explore these models and identify how they may work in other contexts./p>

Student Leadership in Achieving Sustainability Success
Engaging with students can be difficult - especially when the student population is ever-changing each quarter. This discussion will address methods to connect with students at the beginning of the academic year and maintain that connection throughout the year, build a community interested in environmental and social sustainability, and work with student government officials to achieve mutual goals. Universities are driven by and for students, and students today are potentially the last generation to make a difference regarding climate change. This talk will engage both students and staff, showcasing examples of successfully implemented collaborative projects and furthering the discussion about how to care for the Earth, and what we can do to make a difference.

Advancing Sustainable Transportation Practices on Campus to Support Climate Action
Can electric assist bicycles replace car trips by university employees and students? Yes! The Viking eBike project is introducing electric bikes to the campus at Western Washington University. Jillian will discuss the implementation of and the preliminary results of this pilot program. All-electric drive and plug-in hybrid vehicles are increasingly common and viable in the northwest. But, to support that change in vehicle types, we need charging stations in our communities and on our campuses. Scott will cover an overview of the needs, challenges, requirements, and processes involved in efficiently planning and installing EV chargers on campus. And finally, In response to Gonzaga's Climate Action Plan (CAP) goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, learn from two students about a project that focuses on reducing emissions from the university's commute and air travel transportation. By analyzing data collection methodology related to transportation, comparing current emissions to the CAP standards, and creating scenarios that achieve benchmark reduction targets, they seek to develop well-informed and effective policies that incentivize sustainable transportation choices.

A Curricular Approach: The Business of Sustainability
In this session you can expect to hear a discussion on how the business of sustainability can be incorporated into the curriculum. You'll learn why sustainability is relevant in Jesuit business education and examine concrete examples from Economics, Finance, and Management to inspire others to incorporate sustainability into their classes. You will gain an understanding about how business has contributed to environmental and social justice problems and also realize that business can be the source of solutions and consumers help to drive demands for those solutions. There are a variety of activities, discussion topics and relatively quick projects that can be used to build an awareness of the relationship between business and the environment and foster a sense of the hopeful innovations businesses are capable of generating as we seek sustainable solutions. Attendees can also expect to gain insight into the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which provides standards for disclosing corporate sustainability performance in mandatory SEC filings. SASB's vision is that companies will compete with one another to improve performance on important sustainability issues and that investors will allocate capital to companies with strong ESG performance. There will be time for Q&A and discussion at the end of this session.

Creating a Culture of Reuse and Waste Reduction
In this session you'll hear from campus sustainability leaders from Portland State, Southern Oregon University and Western Washington University about Creating a Culture of Reuse and Waste Reduction. You'll learn about a Take Back the Tap Campaign aimed at eliminating the sale of non-reusable plastic water bottles on campus. You'll hear a presentation on all of the different Reuse spaces on the Portland State University campus, attempting to draw conclusions as to why diversification of reuse is more equitable and creates equal access for everyone. Attendees can also expect to hear tips about how to live zero waste and the importance of leading by example. You'll be given an action item in your daily lives to help make progress. Join us for this motivating and empowering session!

How Do We Address the Political Ecology of Education for Sustainability?
What are our ultimate social goals of educating for sustainability? How much agreement do we have on what that looks like and how best to foster it? To what extent are we highlighting the ideological foundations and political ramifications of our sustainability teaching? How can our academic efforts to promote sustainability objectives speak to a wide range of political values and attitudes, and thus avoid being stuck in narrow ideologies? In this Solutions Roundtable session, the facilitators will quickly share resources that can help place sustainability objectives and proposals, as well the shifting perspectives of our students, in a political ecology/social psychology context. These resources will include a bibliography of key readings, survey instruments, and example course activities. More critically, we will collectively consider how well we are doing at representing the diversity of world views that animate sustainability controversies and in preparing our students to not just advocate for sustainability but also to think objectively, foster civil discourse, and take the lead in pluralistic decision making. Participation in this session will involve getting "meta" about just what we are doing in educating for sustainability (and how we got here) as well as identifying teaching solutions to help us better leverage our efforts for the good of our students and civilization.

Student Summit
All students come have the chance to meet and network with students from all over the region who are also passionate about sustainability. This event will be held during the same lunch hour as the rest of the conference, to ensure students will not be missing any of the other WAHESC sessions.

The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus
Sustainability initiatives ought to be comprehensive campus-wide initiatives. Yet campus life is complicated and most colleges and universities are dealing with multiple challenges. Often sustainability approaches are delegated to several individuals on campus who have portfolios and aspirations way bigger than they can possibly accomplish. This interactive workshop provides staff, faculty, and administrators with a venue for discussing the "state of sustainability" on their campuses, how they can amplify and maximize their efforts, and the organizational processes that they should pay most attention to. Thomashow will share his experience as a former college president (Unity College) and a frequent consultant and he will provide substantive direction as necessary. However, the main purpose of the workshop is to provide participants with a forum to discuss their challenges and construct collaborative solutions.

Maximizing Waste Reduction Results in Higher Education
In this session you'll hear from representatives from three higher education institutions about strategies to maximize waste reductions. Learn about Walla Walla Community College's money-making student operated aerated static pile composting system to manage organic waste from the college's culinary and enology & viticulture programs; hear how the system operates and about the multi-student club and community business collaborations that have helped this project succeed. The University of Washington's "MiniMax" program minimizes waste and maximizes recycling through holding individuals responsible for managing their desk-side waste bins. These unlined and self-serviced bins—as well as standardizing containers and labeling across campus—have improved waste diversion rates and given custodial teams more time to clean. And finally, following a waste management study at Eastern Washington University's football stadium that yielded a 1st place win in the EPA Game Day Recycling Challenge many lessons were learned about what is necessary to achieve operational Zero Waste goals. These goals presented a multifaceted problem with a wide variety of solutions. During this presentation the products, education, infrastructure, and systems required to maintain a Zero Waste operation will be identified and discussed.

Utilizing Collaboration to Create and Support Education for Sustainability
In this session, we will explore a variety of collaborative approaches to Education for Sustainability in order to begin to collect best practices. Presenters will share experiences with 1) a state-wide collaborative effort to improve STEM teacher preparation in Education for Sustainability; 2) undergraduate curricular materials that address teaching about Earth for a sustainable future; and 3) an outdoor environmental education program between Cheney Middle School, Eastern Washington University preservice K-8 teachers, The Lands Council, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Through guided discussion, participants will share their own experiences to collectively build our knowledge of models, resources, and effective practices for Education for Sustainability.

Sustainability Impact Assessments and Tools for Improving Performance
AASHE STARS is the defined sustainability assessment for higher education in North America, but getting to the point of using STARS is neither simple nor easy. We will present two case studies from The Evergreen State College and The University of Washington on doing the STARS campus assessment with an emphasis upon developing the value case for doing the assessment, getting it done, and using it as leverage for change and community building within your organization. Presenters will work with the audience to develop an understanding of implementation strategies and methods, along with best practices for using STARS as a tool for change and to improve sustainability performance.

Nurturing Future Global Citizens through Sustainable Facilities
Join our panelists for a two-part presentation as we discuss Gonzaga's multipronged approach to instituting sustainability. Part one will touch on the planning that went into building the LEED Gold certified John J Hemmingson University Center, a multi-purpose building intended to bring together sustainability and efficiency with the educational and community-building work of the offices and centers that occupy the building. Part two will provide an understanding of how automated retro commissioning systems can assist with the on-going maintenance and operations of a sustainable campus.

Looking at the Lake: Transforming Landscaping Features to Integrative Assets
On the south end of campus lies one of the most prominent and often ignored features of Gonzaga's campus, Lake Arthur. This lake provides an area of opportunity. Unfortunately, the current state of Lake Author is one of neglect. The lake suffers from a mill foil infestation from the collection of nitrates due to run off from the surrounding landscape. Our campus facilities has responded but purchasing aeration rocks to mitigate the effect of these nitrates but more preventative action is required to ensure the health and success of the lake into the indefinite future. Some solutions that we will be exploring in our Round Table presentation are riparian zones, bio swales, and floating islands. These features would not only provide a biological area of study for students, but also create key native habitat for species such as beavers, painted turtles, various birds, and local fish. Gonzaga has an amazing opportunity to create a healthy ecosystem central to our campus that can be incorporated into not only the classroom but community as well. Lake Arthur has an important connection to the community and local watershed through its physical connection to the Spokane River via underground conduits. This is indicative of a cause and effect relationship between Lake Arthur and the Spokane River thus increasing the health of one would intrinsically be beneficial to the other. The collaboration at our Round Table session will help ensure that Lake Arthur becomes an area of enrichment.

Sustaining the Sustainability Initiatives in Our Higher Education Institutions: Learning from Each Other
When Olympic College, a Washington state community college, first established its sustainability initiative and advisory council in 2005, the founders reviewed academic research looking for models of successful sustainability initiatives in higher education. They also interviewed sustainability leaders at colleges and universities across the country as they attempted to identify best practices. Using the models they found and the information they gathered as a framework, Olympic College developed a comprehensive sustainability plan for the entire college. In the past decade, Olympic College has managed to keep its sustainability initiative alive despite the fact that they had no funding due to the state budget crisis, no sustainability director, and experienced staff turnover in key positions on the council. In this session, they will discuss the research findings they used to develop the structure of and plans for their sustainability initiative, as well as some of their accomplishments and challenges. They will also explain how they worked with community members on and off the campus to gather the resources necessary to continue to achieve their goals. In an effort to foster deep, honest and reflective conversations we all can learn from, participants will be invited to discuss the characteristics, accomplishments and challenges of the sustainability initiatives at their own campuses and to share the lessons they have learned in the process of becoming sustainable.

Mutually Beneficial Innovative Investments to a Cleaner & Greener Campus
Students at Southern Oregon University are exploring the potential for their student government to invest in solar panels and sell the resulting electricity back to the university, cutting the university's utility bill and generating a profit for the student government. Share Farm, a mobile farmers market a Whitworth University, is an innovative approach to creating integrated connections within the community, by connecting university and pre-collegiate students to receive credit and club funds for working and selling their produce through local farms or community gardens. In addition, the student run university community garden at Whitworth University is an important space that has grown to inspire sustainability throughout campus and connect with the wider Spokane, Washington community. Learn about these exciting student innovations and more in this session.

Cultivating Campus Sustainability through Living Laboratories and Ethnobotanical Gardens
This interdisciplinary participative panel will include short presentations about the biological features of the speakers' home campuses, virtues of ethnobotanical gardens and living laboratories, their roles in promoting sustainability, their integration into the curriculum, and their replication in other contexts. The presentations will be followed by an open discussion to further develop ideas for teaching and research projects on campus properties.

Creating an Ethic of Caring: Actions and Attitudes
Hear from representatives at three different universities about the ethics of care and gratitude in this engaging session. Learn how gratitude related to the environment magnifies the willingness to volunteer and take action on sustainability issues at Gonzaga as speakers outline the results of a recent study and discuss next steps and real world applications of the convergence of gratitude and sustainability. As a commuter college with open access, Wenatchee Valley College poses certain challenges for faculty and staff to build a culture of community and an attachment to the campus as a common home. Faculty works across disciplines to instill an ethic of care with the goal of inspiring sustainable actions on campus as practice for responsible living.

Approaches to Sustainability Education: Beyond STEM Training for a Green Economy and Urban Agriculture
In this panel discussion we will discuss motivations, problems, and successes integrating sustainability through the development of certificates and degrees, and through training programs for integrating sustainability into existing programs. As time allows, we will provide assistance to individuals or groups interested in applying similar approaches at their own institutions.

Experiential Service Learning for Systemic Change on Campus and in the Community
Participants will learn about translating service learning experiences to the broader community in a meaningful way. Hear innovations on how to engage students with the communities around them, both regionally and nationally to impact students in deep and profound ways with sustainability as a central theme, reaching into the social, environmental, and economic aspects of the communities we work with. Explore how community stakeholders can better support academic institutions and become co-educators for the next generation of environmentally conscious change makers.

Intersections of Social and Environmental Justice
This session will combine two thought provoking presentations weaving together Social and Environmental Justice. One presentation will describe a framework for connecting students across levels with alumni to promote sustainable social justice community projects and engagement. University technology, such as OrgSync and R25 Live, will be included in the discussion, as these systems can be useful for sustainable projects, but are poorly utilized or incorporated at times. Another presentation considers the pedagogical balance of teaching for activism, alongside how modern slavery is too often an unrecognized part of our world, an unexamined aspect of truly diverse and just sustainability. If we are to care for the world, we must teach for the invisible, the marginalized: those who suffer out of sight so that many of us can live well without understanding the consequences of our daily choices.

How Your School Can Create Ongoing Environmental Sustainability Projects: LEADing the way and The Theodores
Hear from two experts on ongoing Environmental Sustainability Projects! We'll discuss Western Washington University's LEAD (Learning, Environment, Action and Discovery) program and The Theodores World-Wide Clean-Up Project; learn what it takes to start your own program during this lecture and hands-on planning session. In the last 15 years, LEAD has recruited over 10,000 volunteers who performed 24,000 hours of environmental protection and restoration through 650 service learning projects with Bellingham Parks and other local organizations. The Theodores was founded to fight apathy and encourage action, social, political, and environmental. Named after Theodore Roosevelt because of his supreme roll in fostering early conservation efforts in the United States and across the world, the Theodores has adopted Theodore Roosevelt's quote "do what you can, with what you have, where you are" as its motto. The Theodores World-Wide Clean-Up Project hopes to raise awareness and also provide an avenue to action.

Planning our Next Steps: Sustaining Sustainability for the Long Haul
In this interactive workshop, we will report on some major developments and trends observed in the campus sustainability movement in recent years and then turn our attention to strengthening sustainability on our individual campuses and across our regions. Come prepared to offer your ideas about where we might go next.

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