Next Steps for Campus Sustainability: Connection, Integration & Transformation

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Sponsored By


BIOFerm™ Energy Systems is the leading provider of anaerobic digestion biogas technology in the United States. BIOFerm™ delivers turnkey energy solutions with organic waste and manure as the primary input.


Workshop Dates: August 26-28, 2013

Location: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, WI 54901
(920) 424-1134

Fees: $450 Members $500 Non-members


Workshop participants can book hotel rooms at discounted rates at the Oshkosh Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center (1 N. Main St., Oshkosh). Rates are:
University of Wisconsin System Faculty and Staff: $70 per night (plus tax)
Faculty and Staff from non-UW institutions: $82 per night (Plus tax)
To take advantage of these rates, call the hotel at 1-800-780-7234 Make sure to mention the "Campus Sustainability" program when making your reservation.


Stephanie Spehar is an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She has been active in campus sustainability efforts since 2008 and became the University Leadership Fellow for Sustainability in 2010. She works closely with faculty and administration to bring sustainability broadly into the curriculum at UW Oshkosh through faculty training, community building, and strategic planning. She also serves as the Faculty Coordinator for Sustainability in the university’s new general education program and as a member of the Campus Sustainability Council. She is a primatologist, and her research focuses on how nonhuman primates respond to human disturbance and the implications of this for conservation policy and coexistence with human communities.

Jim Feldman is an associate professor of Environmental Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He has been involved in the UW Oshkosh Campus Sustainability Initiative since 2005. He was a co-writer of the university’s campus sustainability plan, a founding member of its sustainability council, and the co-chair of that council. He has given lectures and led workshops on sustainability in the curriculum at conferences and campuses around the country. His research interests include wilderness and the national parks and the history and sustainability of American radioactive waste disposal policies.

Workshop description:

Colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to act as leaders and catalysts for sustainability by training the emerging generation of sustainability leaders and by acting as models and resources within our own communities. However, this kind of capability will require moving beyond the first steps that many campuses have already taken. When sustainability has been included in a few courses and all of the light bulbs have been changed, what comes next? How can universities and colleges move beyond the easy fixes to reach their full potential as models for sustainability?

Such transformation will require not only deep change within units on campus—curriculum, research, operations, and administration—but that we rethink the relationships among these units. It will require the development of deep and meaningful connections between and across campus, creating an institution where all these elements work together to promote sustainability—where sustainability is truly a part of the fabric of the university. It is only when campuses have been organized in this way that universities will position themselves as true leaders creating more sustainable societies.

This workshop will …

help campus sustainability leaders push their institutions towards a deeper commitment to sustainability. The central theme of this workshop is building connections—among disciplines, between operations and the curriculum, between vision and administration, and between campus and community—that can transform the way your campus works towards sustainability.

As a workshop participant….

you will engage in a series of discussions, presentations, and reflections designed to jumpstart the transformation for sustainability at their own institutions. Although every campus will need to organize and respond differently to the challenges of institutional change, this workshop will provide participants with a chance to identify obstacles and barriers and to develop a strategy for change at their own institutions.

You will leave this workshop with…
• The ability to identify both opportunities for and barriers to transformative change in academics, operations, administrative, outreach at your campus
• An understanding of the importance of creating meaningful connections and collaboration across disciplinary and administrative boundaries and between campus and community
• Skills to identify opportunities and develop strategies for creating and deepening connections and initiating meaningful change for sustainability at your campus
• A strategy to consider the steps needed to initiate transformative, second-order change for sustainability at universities
• A strong network of peers (other participants) and support resources (AASHE and workshop leaders)


Day 1@ 6:30 pm

Arrival and reception
Those participants who have arrived gather for an informal reception and introductions

Day 2: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Workshop introduction
What do we mean by next steps? What kind of transformative change is needed? Introduction to the vision and goals of the workshop

Identifying opportunities and barriers
What are the opportunities for and barriers to, transformational change on campuses in general? At UW Oshkosh? At participant’s campuses? Participants will outline initial thoughts on barriers and opportunities that they face and begin to consider strategies for addressing these barriers and opportunities.

Connections Across Campus
Collaborative relationships between campus operations, facilities and curriculum are essential for the full integration of sustainability on campus. How do these collaborative relationships begin? What is necessary to keep them strong and vital? How do we create projects that apply sustainability curriculum to the operations of a campus in relevant and lasting ways that offer tangible benefits to the campus?

Campus Tour: Angels and Devils of Campus Sustainability
Using the UW Oshkosh landscape and physical plant as an example, this tour will focus on the relationship between the campus and the surrounding human and natural community. It will highlight not only achievements but also challenges and opportunities for change.

Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries
Education for sustainability requires crossing disciplinary boundaries. There are a variety of mechanisms to achieve this goal—general education reform, program development, and degrees or certificates. All approaches require building capacity for sustainability education, a process that depends on building connections across disciplines, encouraging collaboration, and building community.

Revisiting Opportunities and Barriers
Participants reflect on the day and return to their evolving ideas about the opportunities and barriers for change on their own campuses.

Dinner (optional)
Optional reception and dinner at the Chancellor's house, featuring local foods and a discussion of the challenges of sustainable dining on university campuses.

Day 3: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Administration and Vision
What conversations, connections, and relationships with campus leadership are necessary to embed sustainability into the strategic decision making processes? How do you get people to come to the table to discuss new possibilities? How do you get leadership to commit to a vision for sustainability?

Campus and Community Partnerships
Partnerships that reach outside of the boundaries of the campus present unique opportunities for broadening the impact of sustainability initiatives. What have we learned from private-public and community-campus partnerships that help build even stronger partnerships in the future?

Campus/Community Partnerships Bus Tour & Rolling Seminar
Participants will embark on an extended bus tour with stops at a local non-profit organization, the university’s path breaking anaerobic biodigester and affiliated testing lab, and the Allen farm biodigester, with speakers and conversations at each stop. These examples provide an extended opportunity to talk about collaboration, resolving competing ideas, and seeing through conflict to a positive working relationship. How do you act as a responsible member of your community, especially when different components of sustainability initiatives come into conflict?

Strategy Session
Time to reflect on what has been learned, devise a strategy, revisit opportunities/barriers on your own campus, identify stakeholders and allies, and draft an “action plan” of next steps.

About the Workshop Site:

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been providing the residents of northeastern Wisconsin with high-quality affordable education since 1871. Among the largest public universities in the state, UW Oshkosh is committed to providing students with a broad knowledge base and transferable skills as well as a strong sense of values and ethics that prepares them for civic leadership in society.

Located on the Fox River and near downtown Oshkosh, the University serves the community and beyond through a multitude of programs, services and partnerships, including collaborations with other colleges, nationally and internationally. The University has a significant economic impact on the state and regional community — more than $500 million annually.
With a deep sense of responsibility and the increasingly common vision of resilient, prosperous communities, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is committed to progressively reducing its ecological footprint and fashioning a durable and better world through its academic mission.
Our innovations in sustainability are being integrated into all university functions and operations. Our actions involve reducing consumption and wastes, generating and purchasing renewable energy, curbing pollution, green building and purchasing, sustainable landscapes, and infusing sustainability into the curriculum, outreach, and research.
UW Oshkosh, the nation's first Fair Trade University, has been recognized for its role in embracing sustainable practices, such as building "green," examining its carbon footprints and promoting social justice. An integrated Campus Sustainability Plan, established in 2006, guides the University's effort to be a leader in responsible environmental stewardship, education, outreach and research.