This week’s interview is with Terry Calhoun, the Director of Media Relations, Social Media and Publications for the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), which is a member institution of the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC). Terry, a graduate from University of Michigan with a Master’s in Biological Anthropology and JD, talks to AASHE about how SCUP is promoting sustainability.
What campus sustainability initiatives are you working on at the moment?
My highest priority right now is assisting HEASC staff and volunteers to broaden the scope of activities and program providers for Campus Sustainability Day 9, October 26. Until recently, SCUP managed this day alone, but HEASC has taken it on as a consortium-wide initiative.
What resources and training do you offer your members specifically on sustainability issues?
Our members and constituents offer our programming as volunteers. We cover sustainability regularly in our journal, Planning for Higher Education. The society has the full gamut of association professional development opportunities: webcasts, one-day events, conferences, blogs, publications. A healthy segment of that is sustainability in name.
How does being part of the HEASC network provide opportunities for learning and collaboration?
Even before HEASC, NWF’s Campus Ecology Program and other groups held a summit for higher education association professionals, and the opportunities coming out of that to collaborate or support were immediately powerful. HEASC has broadened that scope and put a name onto it.
What are some benefits from working to advance sustainability at your organization?
To SCUP there are enormous benefits from all sustainability work, because of its systems nature, and the requirement that in order to do it right, it has to be fully integrated across boundaries. And it is more obvious in sustainability than it is in other aspects of higher education planning. The “integrated planning” message and the sustainability message are the same.
How did you get started in campus sustainability, and what campus sustainability success are you most proud of?
I always had an interest in systems and ecology. My insight into its value for my employer came during the summit I mentioned before, to which I had been invited by Julian Keniry of the NWF’s Campus Ecology Program. I heard a student describe how a campus master plan had been a barrier in students’ request to implement a green project. Not intentionally, but because it had not reached out and integrated with other planning and change processes enough to accommodate the students’ request.
At the same time, Bill McDonough spoke to a plenary session of SCUPers at a regional event. In the audience were several then-current board members, who were very impressed. The conversations came together at our next board meeting and we just moved on from there.
I’m proud that SCUP not only recognized the importance of sustainability, but took a leap and a leadership role in promoting sustainability. SCUP members not only made sustainability a constant theme on hundreds of college and university campuses, but it also became an inherent theme within SCUP. SCUP supported and had leadership roles in the creation of AASHE, ACUPCC, HEASC, and STARS, as well as Campus Sustainability Day.
In what area(s) do you see the biggest room for growth in the campus sustainability field?
As the cadre of young leadership that moved things forward on campus during the past decade take on more and more leadership roles in academia, they will infuse principles of sustainability into everything they manage.
How are you incorporating the social dimensions of sustainability into your work?
Whenever I can. Much of what liberal arts stands for is in many senses related to sustainability. The more social the dimensions of sustainability, however, the more complicated the politics of senior leadership and governance decisions.
Are you involved in efforts to advance sustainability in curriculum? If so, how?
SCUP was of assistance to Deb Rowe in starting the DANS organization. Although there are no SCUP initiatives to advance sustainability in curriculum, there are SCUP members working in sustainability curriculum areas.
How do you spend your free time?
Disc golfing, reading science fiction, inhaling large torrents of incoming information streams and nurturing trees.