From October 2-4, three Colgate students and three staff members attended the AASHE Conference and Expo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. AASHE, or the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, hosts an annual conference attended by nearly two thousand people. The theme of this year’s conference was “Global Goals: Rising to the Challenge.” The conference gave attendees the opportunity to present their efforts to promote sustainability at Colgate as well as learn about successful projects at other universities.
“People come to AASHE to make change-inspiring strategies accessible to all. I witnessed people actively solving how to scale new systems within different geographical and cultural contexts. It was truly a privilege to learn from and alongside such innovative sustainable thinkers,” said UCan founder Christina Weiler ‘21.
Thanks to funding support from CLTR, students were able to attend AASHE and view presentations, network with sustainability professionals, and present the work they have done at Colgate. Isabel Dove ‘19, an intern with the Office of Sustainability and founder of the Beekeeping Club, was a panelist on a presentation entitled “Pollinator Friendly Campuses: Strategies to Help You Get Your Buzz on.” Isabel discussed student involvement with campus apiaries and gave advice for establishing apiaries at other institutions. Intern Madison Smith ‘19 and Christina Weiler ‘21 both served as panelists on “Sustainability-themed Living and Learning Communities,” in which they discussed Colgate’s innovative S-Rep program. Christina also presented a poster on her social recycling system UCan.
Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program Coordinator Pamela Gramlich co-lead the workshop “Develop Your Toolkit for Sustainability Communications.” Pamela and Kat Pritts, a designer for the Communications Office, both contributed to the presentation “Communication Strategies to Reach Beyond the Choir.” Finally, Director of Sustainability John Pumilio served as a panelist on the presentation “Approaches to Carbon Offset Procurement.” These workshops and presentations were an effective way of communicating Colgate’s leading-edge approaches to promoting sustainability on campus.
The AASHE conference served as a professional development opportunity for students and energized interns to continue thinking of ways to engage the Colgate community in sustainable lifestyles. Madison reflects, “While it was great to present at AASHE, gain experience in public speaking, and collaborate with people from other schools, the most valuable part of the conference was listening to the ideas of my peers and learning through the work that they are doing.”