Pre- and post-conference workshops are extended learning sessions which take place on Tuesday before the conference and Friday after the conference. These sessions are either full-day workshops (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) or half-day workshops (8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.). These workshops are not included in the full-conference registration price and are offered for a separate fee.
Tuesday Full Day Workshops
Tuesday, Oct. 2 | 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Developing and Utilizing a Social Justice Lens in Order to Achieve Global Goals for Sustainability
As evidenced by this national moment, a lack of critical understanding of social justice issues makes achieving global sustainability goals near impossible. Conversely, thoughtful attention to social justice issues affords any individual or organization the capacity to rise to the challenge of complex global work across lines of race, gender, class and disability (to name a few). More specifically, doing sustainability work through a social justice lens supports the urgent need for national and global collaboration with respect to climate, environmental and sustainability issues and greatly improves the likelihood of the development of deeply rooted and long-term climate, environmental and sustainability solutions. As such, this cross-disciplinary workshop is designed to take campus sustainability work to a deeper level, via the use of a critical ‘social justice lens’ (SJL), so as to improve its efficacy, deepen its reach and power, and ultimately align it more closely with 21st century climate realities. Based on workshops Dr. Hackman has presented across the country, this interactive session begins by setting forth the core components of a critical SJL, then makes explicit connections for its use and transformative import in this current climate change / sustainability moment, and concludes with the presentation of concrete steps regarding the application of a SJL to sustainability work on our campuses. The session is grounded in social justice education and climate change theory (for a shared framework), but spends the bulk of its time in dialogue, application and integration of the content into participants’ specific settings. A range of presentation modalities will be used.
Presenter: Heather Hackman, Hackman Consulting Group
6th AASHE Workshop on Research for Sustainability: Investigating Sustainable Urban Systems
In response to global urbanization trends, the National Science Foundation recently released ‘Sustainable Urban Systems: Articulating a Long-Term Convergence Research Agenda’, to formulate research strategies addressing urbanization issues and their solutions. This workshop will explore the research agenda articulated in this report. Invited speakers will describe significant research needs to better understand urban systems within a systems dynamics framework. Research tasks are categorized by scale, oriented toward metropolitan urban systems, aggregate urban systems within nations, and global urbanization to identify emergent properties of urban systems that may lead to long-term urban sustainability. Workshop participants will learn about current and future trends in global urbanization and opportunities to engage in collaborative research toward redesigning urban systems for improved sustainability. Topics to be discussed include: tension between the urban-rural dichotomy, urban poverty, urban transportation systems, urban food systems, urban natural resource allocations, and urban redevelopment toward more sustainable designs. Participants will also engage in break-out discussions with experts to develop deep understanding of the levers of change leading to new concepts of urban systems and specific research needs aimed at creating more sustainable urban systems. In addition, they will learn about the effects on human well-being of transboundary flows and telecommunications across cities and neighborhoods in time and space. Participants will leave the workshop with greater appreciation and understanding of the transformative factors in urban systems – what is right about them, what is wrong about them, and how they may evolve towards the establishment of ideal sustainable urban systems.
Presenters: Stephen Boss and Tahar Messadi, University of Arkansas
CURC Campus Recycling Workshop
Join recycling and sustainability colleagues from campuses across the US and Canada for the annual CURC Campus Recycling Workshop. This year’s workshop will take place alongside other AASHE pre-conference workshops at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh. The program will include a mix of keynote and case study presentations, panel discussions and round table conversations on a range of campus recycling, zero waste and sustainable materials management topics. The full program will be announced in the near future. Learn More
Facilitation for Organizational Change
One of the most important, yet often under-appreciated, skill sets of any profession is the ability to be a strong group meeting facilitator. Whether it is a small staff meeting or a campus-wide strategic planning effort, being a confident and effective facilitator is essential. It not only helps you accomplish your goals, but provides the necessary structure and process for broader organizational change. So, what does it mean to be a strong facilitator? What are concrete tools one can use to lead a group decision-making process? The workshop will be split into two parts. Part I will include facilitation refresher activities designed to guide participants through the important steps in group facilitation. The group will be able to test their knowledge of important tools that can help groups generate new ideas as well as help them converge those ideas into actionable next steps. Through fun and interactive activities, participants will be challenged to apply the tools they learn through engaging, hands-on experiences. In Part II, participants will practice facilitating a conversation using tried and proven techniques and will receive constructive feedback from the group in a safe environment. There will also be time for group discussion in which the group will share new ideas as well as help converge those ideas into actionable next steps. This workshop will cover topics such as behavior theory as it pertains to meetings, the role of a facilitator, types of meetings, basic facilitation tools and techniques, difficult conversations and personalities, adaptive facilitation, nonverbal communication, methods of building group consensus, and a holistic process approach to facilitation. It contributes directly to Sustainable Development Goal No. 17: ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ and will strengthen participants’ capacity to accomplish Goals 1-16.
Presenters: Dallase Scott and Lisa Bjerke, GreenerU
Advancing Carbon Pricing at your Institution
Carbon pricing is a fair, feasible, and powerful solution to accelerate a transition to a clean energy economy. With a growing number of carbon pricing policies around the world and building momentum in the US, higher education has an opportunity to advance an important national dialog. The workshop will explore how schools can engage with carbon pricing: internal carbon fees on departments; proxy carbon prices for capital decision making; direct endorsement of legislative solutions; and student and community engagement in carbon pricing work. The first half of the workshop will provide background on the theory and economics of carbon pricing, and will explore case studies. The second half will focus on workshopping ways participants can engage their institutions in carbon pricing work. Internal carbon pricing models provide a framework for integrating climate in cost benefit analysis, financing for sustainability work, and can create a platform for engaging the campus community on climate solutions. We will share models of both internal prices levied on departments and offices within a school, and proxy pricing tools that are used in cost/benefit analysis in institutional decision making. As thought leaders, higher education institutions have a responsibility to bring attention to strategic, effective solutions to challenging problems. The Put A Price On It campaign is circulating a letter endorsing state and national action on carbon pricing that college and university presidents are signing. As a group, we will discuss the importance of this effort, and will work through the challenges institutional leaders may face in signing it. Finally, higher education works to educate and prepare our students and communities to engage with and solve big problems. We’ll share strategies for educating and engaging the campus about climate policy, and empowering students to take action in their communities to advance climate solutions on the national stage.
Presenters: Nathaniel Graf and Aurora Winslade, Swarthmore College; Casey Pickett, Yale University; Alex Barron, Smith College
Tuesday AM Workshops
Tuesday, Oct. 2 | 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Resilience Bootcamp – Turning Threats into Opportunities
Resilience is a hot topic for those who work within the campus operational and built environment. But what does it really mean for a campus community and how does it apply to your campus specifically? This workshop, which is designed to complement Second Nature’s “Organizing a Campus-Community Resilience Building Workshop”, will provide guidance on sustainable best practices in the planning and design phase of the project as well as a means of evaluating completed projects. It will use Rochester Institute of Technology’s recently updated Climate Action Plan as a case study. RIT was one of the first schools to incorporate resilience and adaptation into its plan. Since best practices were not yet well established, RIT examined practices from cities, states, academic literature, and sought faculty expertise. Ryan Kmetz, an Educational Facilities and Envision Sustainability Professional, will introduce participants to the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Process and how it can aid in successfully planning and implementing resiliency projects.Through examples and interactive discussions, information needs and stakeholders will be identified; resources will be explored; and management systems and metrics will be discussed.
Participants will be able to:
- Describe the current state of campus resilience planning
- Apply the tenets of resilience to their existing sustainability plans
- Be equipped with tools, templates and possible metrics to guide their planning processes
- Frame the path forward for campus resilience performance
Presenters: Enid Cardinal and Jennifer Schneider, Rochester Institute of Technology; Ryan Kmetz, St. Lawrence University; Ruby Woodside, Second Nature
Applied Learning: Interventions for Sustainability Impacts
Applied learning (AL) for sustainability is an umbrella term and encompasses student engagement activities (e.g., internships, courses, research practicums) that deliver exceptional student experiences and a positive outcome for sustainability in the community. AL is exemplified in sustainability projects that are launched in collaboration with community partners (e.g., NGOs, cities, businesses). These efforts require the involvement of various entities within the university and in the community – and thus require a thoughtful strategy in order to launch and scale. The purpose of this workshop is to empower and activate staff or faculty who are involved in building or growing AL programs at their institution. Workshop participants will review interventions for building successful AL programs and then adapt or transfer those concepts in order to design a specific intervention that supports their institution’s AL program. The focus can be on initiating an AL program, launching it, growing it, or institutionalizing it. Participants will self-select into their peer-group (e.g., Kick-starter, intermediate, and advanced sustainability brokers). Each group will be supported by 1-2 workshop facilitators. Participants will work through a series of five steps to develop their intervention, using the activities and tools presented by the workshop organizers and other participants (peer-learning) to design their intervention. Participants will leave the workshop ready to implement the first milestone of their intervention.
Presenters: Katja Brundiers, Arizona State University; Fletcher Beaudoin, Portland State University; Caroline Savage, Princeton University; Rachelle Haddock, University of Calgary
Creating an Ecologically Restorative, Socially Just, and Culturally Rich Campus
The higher education campus – what better place to implement the most innovative and forward-thinking design frameworks? As higher education institutions support the transition of the next generation into the workforce, it’s time to design and construct exemplary places that support a future that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. The Living Building Challenge (LBC) imagines buildings that are resilient, healthy, sustainable and educate as a living laboratory. The Living Community Challenge (LCC) imagines a campus full of such buildings working together as an ecosystem to generate all the energy needed with renewable resources, capture and treat all water on site and operate free of toxins while maximizing beauty and equity. This workshop will offer a program overview of the philosophy, structure, intent, requirements and certification pathways. It will describe how the two programs create a comprehensive approach to facility and campus planning. The session will cover how these programs support AASHE STARS goals and UN Sustainable Development Goals. Using these systems together creates a roadmap for designing, constructing and operating a vibrant, healthy and sustainable campus that supports the mission of the institution, the values of the campus community, and the education of the next generation of leaders. The workshop will be a mix of presentations, discussions and hands-on activities. Lessons learned from registered campuses and certified and registered campus buildings will give shape to the concepts. Case studies will highlight how the entire campus community can be engaged, and how the curriculum is woven throughout the process and the on-going operations. This workshop will inspire anyone interested in the world’s most advanced proven performance standards for buildings and campuses – especially campus planners, sustainability directors, faculty, administrators, students and professionals that work with them.
Presenters: Kathleen Smith and Alicia Daniels Uhlig, International Living Future Institute
Rising to Meet the Challenge of 100% Renewable Energy
Campuses are increasingly looking to renewable energy as the most financially attractive strategy for making dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieving their GHG goals. The costs of renewables has dropped significantly and, as a result, campuses are rapidly adopting onsite solar. While onsite solar is highly visible, it is rarely sufficient to meet GHG goals. This workshop covers a portfolio of approaches that can be part of a comprehensive strategy. Specifically, this workshop will: – provide a process for campuses to identify strategies appropriate to their size, location, and energy context – outline key considerations for executing a comprehensive renewable energy strategy – review case studies from three campuses targeting 100% renewables with three different sets of challenges and opportunities. Topics will include: – on-campus solar sites – community solar – offsite projects, including regulated and deregulated markets, and out-of-state solutions – aggregating to achieve scale – stakeholder management – academic integration
Presenters: Christen Blum, Edison Energy; Ryan McPherson, University at Buffalo; Rob Andrejewski, University of Richmond; Dennis Carlberg, Boston University
Biophilic Design Principles: Green Infrastructure, Nature, Harmony and Resilience
Green Infrastructure practices are bring mandated and implemented in many urban communities for their many beneficial outcomes. Often referred to as grey infrastructure alternatives, these practices include the design, installation and maintenance of vegetated green roofs and walls, bioswales and infiltration gardens (rain gardens, etc. ), urban forests, green streets and pervious pavements. All of these practices serve to provide the same benefits as their corresponding naturally occurring geographical and hydrological elements: rainwater absorption and disbursement, cleaner, cooler air and water, carbon sequestration and lowered water management infrastructure costs. Now part of the EPA’s guidelines for watershed management, these practices are also tied closely to low impact development. However, a most desirable benefit is often missed when considering the design of these projects. That benefit is the Biophilic Effect. This psychological phenomenon was first made known to the world of biologists in the early 80’s when Edward O. Wilson first described it in his thesis, Biophilia. Simply stated, humans cannot develop as well-formed individuals in the absence of nature. We have an innate, positive recognition of the patterns and shapes that make up the natural world. We seek nature. By the late 80’s Steven Kellert, renowned architect, recognized Wilson’s work as a solution he had long been seeking. Working with Wilson, he developed The Principles of Biophilic Design. This presentation will show how these principles are important, must-have considerations for the successful design and implementation of green infrastructure projects.
Presenters: Joanne Rodriguez, GreenStructure, Ltd; Mary Ann Uhlmann, Urban Horticulture Consulting
Tuesday PM Workshops
Tuesday, Oct. 2 | 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Organizing a Campus-Community Resilience Building Workshop
This workshop will train participants in how to organize and facilitate a Community Resilience Building (CRB) Workshop. The CRB Workshop is a community-driven process, rich with information, experience, and dialogue to equitably improve resilience to natural and climate-related hazards. Colleges and universities can use this process to:
- Develop relationships with key stakeholders in their communities;
- Understand shared strengths and vulnerabilities across the campus and community in the context of climate-related hazards;
- Identify initial actions to increase resilience;
- Fulfill the requirement of completing an initial campus-community Resilience Assessment for the Presidents’ Climate or Resilience Commitment.
- The training will walk participants through all steps of the CRB Workshop process, including: core team establishment; goal setting; defining top hazards (past, current, future); participatory mapping of strengths and vulnerabilities; development of actions against multiple hazards; and prioritizing solutions. Participants will leave the training prepared to organize CRB workshops with their respective campuses and communities.
- This training is relevant for campuses in all stages of the resilience assessment and planning process; the CRB can be used to kickstart the conversation around resilience or it can be used to further refine planning goals.
Presenters: Ruby Woodside, Second Nature; Adam Whelchel, The Nature Conservancy
The Design Thinking Process: User-Centered Solutions to Complex and Confounding Problems
Coming out of Stanford’s Institute of Design, the Design Thinking framework has taken the architecture, and now the business world, by storm. This solution- and user-focused design process is also incredibly useful for sustainability professionals as we traverse complicated behavioral, institutional, and financial barriers in creating more just and sustainable campuses. For many, the process of creating solutions often starts with problems from our own point of view: our recycling rate is not high enough, our alternative transit numbers are not high enough, etc. While starting here can eventually lead to useful solutions, shifting your point of view can be incredibly useful in creating lasting, working solutions. The Design Thinking process, instead, begins with the needs of the user: how are they currently interacting with, say, your recycling program, and what are their needs around this topic? This forces us, the planners, to truly understand our problems, and therefore reach solutions that help our users, rather than ourselves. The Center for Sustainability at the University of Denver has used this process in a number of our planning processes, from assessing our student employment program, to re-writing our mission statement, to including sustainable elements in a new residence hall being built on campus. In this workshop, we will share this process with others, in order to add another tool for creating solutions to the sustainability education and planning toolkit. This session will take participants through a full Design Thinking process to come up with solutions to common issues we all share as sustainability professionals and AASHE members. Participants will be fully immersed in the process so that they may then take these tools back to their own campuses to use in their own planning. Far more than a lecture on ‘what is the Design Thinking Process,’ this session focuses on learning-by-doing experiences.
Presenters: Emily Schosid and Chad King, University of Denver
Catch: A Face-to-Face Simulation Game for Teaching About Sustainability and Resource Management
Catch© is free, fun and innovative, face-to-face systems dynamic simulation game that responds to the need for new, core-competency based pedagogical resources for teaching about the challenges of transformative change and the forms of learning that are necessary to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Catch© was created as a response to Fishbanks, a game originally created by Dennis Meadows in 1986 (online version created in 2010). Fishbanks, which has the goal of becoming ‘the team with the highest Net Worth at the end of the game,’ has been heralded as a superb tool for teaching about the ‘Tragedy of the Commons.’ Alternatively, Catch© uses a two-component goal that uses ostensibly conflicting elements to explore the possibility of eliciting a much broader, richer, and realistic range of common pool resource management and decision-making strategies. The goal is: ‘Catch and retain as many fish as you can while leaving as many fish in the sea as possible.’ Catch© has been beta tested around the world for the past two years with a diverse group of administrators, faculty, students, and sustainability professionals with great effect. It is currently available in a global soft release format (six languages and more are on the way). In this workshop, we will introduce Catch©, play a full game, debrief, and discuss game management so that attendees are fully prepared to use Catch© on their own campuses or in their own organizations.
Presenters: Harold Glasser and Isaac Green, Western Michigan University
Develop Your Toolkit for Sustainability Communications
Communications play an increasingly important role as we rise to the challenge to reach the global Sustainable Development Goals. However, many sustainability professionals may find their toolkit a bit empty when trying to navigate the communications arena. This entry-level workshop will map out the essential elements in a sustainability communications strategy, introduce best practices, and help participants to get started with a well-rounded sustainability communications campaign. This workshop will discuss: university and departmental branding; newsletter basics; social media do’s and don’ts; best practices for news and blog writing; audience and analytics; web content management; video and content creation; and relationship building with your university’s communications department. After reviewing the above topics, participants will work with the presenters and their colleagues to develop a component of a communications plan for sustainability at their institution.
Presenters: Pamela Gramlich, Colgate University; Nathan Jandl, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Lisa Nicolaison, Princeton University
Leverage Your Renewable Energy Impact Through Emerging Avoided Emissions PPA Strategies
Renewable energy procurement is a critical strategy for reducing an institution’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, not all renewable energy projects avoid the same amount of GHG emissions per kWh. The 20 plus electrical grids and subregions of the US vary widely in their carbon intensity, from over 1,700 lbs CO2e/MWh in the mid-west to ~650 lbs CO2e/MWh in New England and California. Choosing a project in a more carbon intensive grid rather than your potentially less intense local grid can therefore dramatically increase the actual greenhouse gas emissions avoided by your renewable energy choice. This workshop brings together the researchers developing these techniques with the practitioners employing them.
In this workshop, we will provide a case study of how Boston University successfully worked with both private and academic partners to choose the renewable energy project that was best for both the University and the planet. This workshop will:
- Provide a process for campuses to identify renewable energy project selection criteria
- Share analytical tools to align GHG reduction efforts with energy and financial needs
- Review carbon emission accounting practices including traditional and marginal emission approaches using data synthesized by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University,
- Examine renewable energy project electricity production profiles to understand how to predict a project’s future electricity production
- Explore how Boston University utilized the combination of project selection criteria, marginal emissions data from CMU, and Edison’s electricity production profiles to identify projects
- Cover WattTime’s independent third-party validation of Boston University’s procurement process and Carnegie Mellon’s emissions reductions estimates using an alternative marginal emissions analysis technique
- Outline existing Greenhouse Gas Protocol reporting guidance for renewable energy and its relationship to this emerging methodology
Topics will include:
- marginal emissions for electrical grids in the US
- historical data sets and trends
- data interpretation and decision-making
Presenters: Dennis Carlberg, Boston University; Inês Azevedo , Carnegie Mellon University; Christen Blum, Edison Energy; Gavin McCormick, WattTime; Marcus Welker, Boston University
Friday Post-Conference Workshops
Friday, Oct. 5 | 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
To Rise, We Need Critical Conversations About ‘Unsustainable’ Race, Class & Gender Privilege
While attention to the ways dynamics of racism, classism and gender oppression target people of color and native people, poor and working class people, and cisgender women and trans* people is critically important to our sustainability work, too often the ‘other side’ of these dynamics are left invisible and thus unchallenged and unchanged. More specifically, while some campuses are willing to consider the impacts of racism, sexism or classism on their sustainability work, less frequent is the willingness to look at the ways white, owning-class and male privilege has impacted that work. This post-conference workshop is designed to help participants dive more deeply into the complicated and often fraught conversation about race, class and gender privilege in the service of developing more collaborative campus sustainability efforts. To be sure, this is not a session mired in guilt, shame and blame, and instead: 1) level-sets a shared understanding of how systems of oppression work and their impacts on climate change, environmental issues and sustainability work, 2) explores, through a social justice lens, the dynamics of privilege inherent in all of these systems of oppression, 3) identifies the unconscious and unintentional ways race, class and gender privilege thwart collective sustainability work on our campuses, 4) suggests ways to interrupt and dismantle these privileged dynamics, and then 5) connects this social justice work to the creation of effective and forward-thinking campus sustainability efforts. The workshop is a balance of presentation and practical application, and audience participation is important for its success.
Presenter: Heather Hackman, Hackman Consulting Group
Key Competencies in Sustainability: Curriculum and Program Development
Every year, new sustainability degree programs are launched at colleges and universities across North America, joining a global trend of sustainability degree programs offered at higher education institutions worldwide. This raises important questions for the field of sustainability in higher education related to quality and standards, processes of program development and administration, and communicating the skills and abilities sustainability graduates have to potential employers. In early 2018, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) launched a process focusing on ‘key competencies’ in sustainability degree programs in collaboration with the Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) and NCSE member institutions, including the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU) and University of Northern Arizona (NAU). The goal of this initiative, through workshops, dialogues and other activities, is to create a ‘Consensus Statement’ on sustainability competencies. This workshop, led by members in this initiative from NCSE, SCC, ASU and NAU, is an opportunity to inform about the initiative’s progress to date; to further explore the above questions; and, to invite workshop participants to contribute their experiences and insights to a shared and growing body of knowledge around key competencies in sustainability degree programs. Workshop participants will share the learning outcomes of their courses/curricula and compare these with each other and with key competencies in sustainability. On this basis, the workshop will identify lessons learned for the future development of key competencies in sustainability and formulate next steps for the initiative, including what would be useful support structures for institutions to support development and administration of sustainability programs in the field.
Presenters: Ira Feldman, Sustainability Curriculum Consortium; Katja Brundiers, Christopher Boone and Rod Parnell, Northern Arizona University
Best Practices in Integrating Sustainability and Business Education
This proposal describes a workshop which focuses on how to integrate sustainability concepts into business education and increase engagement with the business community to improve their impacts. The primary focus will be on how the ‘B Corp Impact Assessment’ framework can be used to integrate sustainability into business curriculum while facilitating cross disciplinary engagement with non-business students and faculty. At the workshop, faculty members from various institutions will discuss how they have integrated sustainable development concepts into business curriculum, and business concepts into sustainability-related curricula, particularly among environmental disciplines. We will also discuss how the Global Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular their measurement, are shaping the design of business education to integrate sustainability principles. With the development of the UN Global Compact, which helps organizations identify business opportunities that help achieve the SDGs, as wells the UN Principles for Responsible Investing, which is focused on impact investing, the business community has been called to action to work through partnerships with the public sector to pursue courses of action to achieve global goals. Impact Assessment frameworks help businesses identify and measure the material impacts their operations have on environmental and social resources, which is the necessary first step in improving these impacts and sustainability performance. In addition, by measuring impacts, businesses can see how they are helping to achieve the SDGs. In higher education, faculty, students, and administrators are collaborating with the B Corp Community to develop ‘B Impact Teams’ where students are helping organizations measure and improve their social and environmental impact. At this workshop, examples of these efforts will be discussed, and participants can learn how to implement their own integration activities.
Presenters: Tammy Kowalczyk and Jessica Thomas, Appalachian State University