FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrea Huggins
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
December 7, 2016 (Philadelphia, PA) – Earlier this month the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) held its annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland, themed “Beyond the Campus.”
“The annual conference is a great place to gather like-minded higher education sustainability professionals to share inspirational ideas and learn from one another,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “It was exciting to hear the engaging conversations and to feel the energy and enthusiasm throughout the conference,” she continued.
More than 2,000 attendees from 161 institutions across 13 countries convened in the East Coast to celebrate, inspire and find new ways to expand the sustainability movement beyond the campus in more than 400 education and networking sessions. The conference also featured an expo hall with more than 90 exhibitors who shared innovative products and services to advance campus sustainability.
The conference kicked off with our annual, all day Student Summit where several hundred students gathered to hear Dominic Frongillo, American politics lecturer and urban sustainability consultant in Freiburg, Germany, speak about the impact millennials have on sustainability advancements while facing climate change.
Senior leaders, faculty, staff and students later gathered to hear Flint, Michigan water advocate Marc Edwards where he shared the importance of challenging the status quo to make lasting change with a strong impact. During that opening address, we celebrated seven award winners for the AASHE Sustainability Awards where more than 70 campuses been recognized through this prestigious award program since its inception in 2006.
Additionally, the Democracy Collaborative’s Sarah McKinley and Johns Hopkins University’s Affan Sheikh who spoke about expanding sustainability initiatives to surrounding communities and #fergusonsyllabus creator Marcia Chatelain who addressed the importance of diversity and the challenges we are facing as a nation.
In addition to the engaging sessions, a bustling Expo Hall and thought provoking keynote addresses, we also saw Butler University and IUPUI beat 225 colleges and universities to win the $50,000 Sustainable Campus Competition LIVE! by presenting a proposal to expand food waste composting at both universities.
As a group, attendees diverted a total of 2,618 single use cups and 961 single use bottles from landfill. That equated to a total reduction of 3,578 single use items resulting in a 47.5% increase from the 2015 AASHE Conference & Expo. Attendees also raised nearly $300 toward the Baltimore Center for Green Careers, and were able to take advantage of TerraPass’ generous sponsorship that included retirement of 1,350 metric tons of carbon dioxide to offset emissions associated with travel to and from the conference as well as on site energy use, as well as the retirement of 262 Water Restoration Certificates that is equivalent to the roughly 262,000 gallons of water to cover water usage at the conference.
This year’s conference sponsors were Kimberly Clark Professional*, TerraPass, Aramark, SunPower, Lucid, Max-R, AGREENOZZI, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Prescott College, AssetWorks, MAMAC, Cupanion, BayWa r.e., GreenerU and Johnson Controls.
AASHE will hold its 2017 Conference & Expo in San Antonio, Texas from Oct. 15 – 18. Details will be available at http://conference.aashe.org/.
AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit www.aashe.org. Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter.