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Sustainability Professionals Exchange 2024

January 16, 2024 - January 24, 2024

The event will take place on Tuesday, January 16, Thursday, January 18, Monday, January 22 and Wednesday, January 24 from 1-4:30 p.m. ET.

What’s the best thing that happened at the last in-person conference you attended? It’s very likely you remember one or more “hallway conversations”, an impromptu discussion, or meeting new people haphazardly. Did you miss this type of interaction at virtual events you attended in the past few years?  

The Sustainability Professionals Exchange is a whole event based on creating that experience, by ensuring that you are always having the most interesting conversation possible. Using an Open Space Technology format* for a participant-led gathering, the event brings together like-minded people around conversations that matter to you. It provides a forum for exchanging ideas and relationship-building. 

Participants will:

  • Develop relationships with new people who share the same interests and challenges; 
  • Engage in conversations that matter to them; 
  • Come away with new ideas and inspiration to apply in their work in sustainability.

Let’s come together, share our expertise and co-create our emerging future. After years of global disruption, what are the challenges and opportunities for sustainability in higher education as we progress in a post-pandemic world? Are higher education institutions simply reverting to how things were done pre-pandemic or can we use this opportunity to truly redesign systems? What should be the priorities and how do we implement them on our campuses given the urgency of the times? How do we catalyze the higher education community to overcome barriers and accelerate the scaling of climate change solutions? How do we increase impact and help build capacity for campuses and their local communities to implement these solutions? What do YOU need to support you in this work? 

The Sustainability Professionals Exchange will provide space to explore these possibilities and more. Let’s engage as a community, exchange ideas and make new professional connections, while gaining inspiration and an opportunity to recharge your own efforts.

Why You Should Attend

This is the event to attend if you are:

  • An experienced higher education sustainability professional looking to recharge and engage with others in shaping the field.
  • A newer higher education sustainability professional seeking to deepen your skills and make connections with higher education sustainability leaders.
  • A sustainability professional from another sector seeking to partner or collaborate with higher education sustainability staff.
  • A leader within your institution’s sustainability council or committee.

At this event, you will connect with others who approach their work with the same sense of urgency that you do. It is these types of connections that serve us throughout the years; they make the hard times manageable and the good times fun. Join us and let’s make some good times — together!

Although the Exchange is 100% online, there’s nothing virtual about it. Participate in this event as if it were in-person:

  • Save the time you would have spent walking through the security line at TSA, and spend it with friends and colleagues by being present and engaged.
  • Save the money you would have spent on transportation to the venue, and put it towards a great meal.

Register Today 

Key Details

Event Dates: The Exchange will take place on Tuesday, January 16, Thursday, January 18, Monday, January 22 and Wednesday, January 24. See Tentative Schedule.

Registration Fees*

Registration Type Registration Fee
Individual associated with an AASHE member organization* $150
Individual not associated with an AASHE member organization $195
Groups Full price for first registrant and 20% off for each subsequent registrant
* To check if your organization is a current AASHE member, please search the AASHE Membership Directory.

Discounts are available for group registration. A limited number of scholarships and pay-what-you-wish options are available to individuals who need financial assistance to participate. Please apply by January 5 to be considered for a scholarship/pay-what-you-wish for this event.

Registration Policies:

  • Payment is accepted in the form of Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards.
    If you need to pay by check or ACH, please contact us at least 5 weeks prior to the event start date. Registration using these forms of payment must be received 4 weeks prior to the event start date and full payment must be received by AASHE within 2 weeks of event start date.
  • Cancellation Policy: A 20% processing fee applies to any cancellation prior to January 8, 2024. No refunds will be given after January 8, 2024.
  • No substitutions are allowed.
  • Registered participants will receive access to the recorded portions after the live event.
  • Review all Terms & Conditions.

Tentative Schedule (listed in EST)

Day 1

12:45 p.m – 4:30 p.m. ET
Introduction to event
Open Space Discussions

Day 2 & 3

1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET
Open Space Discussions

Day 4

1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET
Open Space Discussions
Reflection & Closing

Additionally, two optional pre-event networking meetings are scheduled for Thursday and Friday January 11& 12 at 1 p.m. ET.


These thought-provoking sessions are intended to encourage discussion, challenge conventional wisdom, and stimulate new ideas, thoughts and actions. 

Invitation #1: Practicing Hope: Combatting Pessimism in the Climate Movement
The opening session of the event invites us to reflect on our despair and to recenter hope in our lives, work, and interaction with others. In the current state of the world, we are all experiencing heightened feelings of anxiety, fatigue, and despair. Often, this can erode our hope and positivity, and can cause us to fall victim to pessimism and defeatism. This is extremely dangerous to climate and racial justice movements as it weakens our faith that we can change inequitable systems. In order to combat pessimism as a tool of capitalism, it is imperative that we create spaces to acknowledge that our community is hurting, and the only way to move forward is to heal together as a collective.

Jed Lee, Wellness and Environmental Justice Community Engagement Manager, University of California, Berkeley

Invitation #2: Rolling Up Your Sleeves to Advance Climate Action Through Electrification
This session aim to demystify “electrification” and discuss how to build long-term strategies toward campus-wide energy generation and decarbonization. This is hard, gritty and resource intensive work, which also yields deep decarbonization payoffs and is exactly the type of bold climate action that higher education is poised to lead with.

Ryan McPherson, Chief Sustainability Officer, University at Buffalo

Tonga Pham, Associate Vice President for University Facilities, University at Buffalo

Jason Denue, Vice President, Energy Wendel Companies

Jeet Viswanathan, Director of Energy Management & Sustainability, Columbia University

Invitation #3: Climate Planning in Higher Education: From Action to Justice
Deepen your understanding of how to center community justice and equity in a climate action plan, how to move through moments of tension, adapt the process to meet community members where they are at, and engage decision-makers with their neighbors.

Leah Bamberger, Executive Director of the Climate Justice and Sustainability Hub, Northeastern University

Vatic Kuumba, Director of Arts Facilitation, One Square World

Beyazmin Jimenez, Director of DEI & Culture, Northeastern University

Andrea Atkinson, Executive Director, One Square World

Invitation #4: Breaking the Green Ceiling and the Future of Sustainability in Higher Ed
In this dynamic conversation, advanced practitioners in the field will explore the diverse career journeys for sustainability professionals; challenges and opportunities for ascending the green ladder and shattering the proverbial green ceiling; the variety of forms that sustainability leadership and impact are present on campuses; and the future of sustainability in higher ed.

Meghan Chapple, Vice President of Sustainability, Georgetown

Ciannat Howett, Associate Vice President, Sustainability, Resilience and Economic Inclusion, Emory University 

Nurit Katz, Chief Sustainability Officer, Executive Officer of Facilities Management, UCLA

Shana Weber, Associate Vice President for Campus Sustainability, University of Michigan

*How It Will Work

The Exchange is designed to be participatory, inclusive and collaborative and is based on an Open Space Technology (OST) format. You are invited to speak and share, pose questions and/or ask for input with the ultimate aim of refining and progressing your sustainability work on campus. Guidelines will be provided to make best use of our time together and to maximize capacities for partnerships and exchange. 

In addition to the four pre-scheduled sessions that we call Invitations, you – the participant – get to propose the topics that will be discussed and then set the agenda for discussion. The agenda will be created live each day by attendees who are present. Anyone who wants to host a session will announce the topic and choose a space and time and be assigned a session room. You and the other participants choose which discussions to attend.

Share This Event

When we bring all voices and perspectives into the room, we create the conditions for powerful change. Invite your colleagues to join you at this event by using these sample messages!

Any questions about the event?
Please contact Daita Serghi, education@aashe.org.

Register Today     Browse More Professional Learning Programs

Thank you to our Promotional Partners for your support!

UMACS logo


Would your organization like to help promote this event? Become a Promotional Partner! One free registration included!

If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, please contact education@aashe.org.


January 16, 2024
January 24, 2024
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