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Sustainability Professionals Retreat

June 19, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - June 22, 2017 @ 2:00 pm EDT

Apply here

The results of the 2016 election are creating new challenges for campus sustainability professionals and we need to up our game. To assist in this process, AASHE is hosting a Sustainability Professionals Retreat designed for and by staff charged with leading institutional transformation for sustainability. Attend this event to leave inspired, renewed and equipped to grow in your work.

Participants will be immersed with 40-50 of your peers for three full days dedicated to advancing your vision, energy, capabilities and support system as a sustainability change agent. This year’s focus is about tapping into your source, building your skills and strengthening your community. You’ll experience:

  • the spaciousness to reflect on your path, purpose, style and methods to harvest powerful personal insights and unlock new reserves of energy.
  • deep discussions and fun exchanges with your peers to learn about a wide range of emerging ideas.
  • building targeted skills in facilitation, organizational design, idea flow, and senior leadership engagement.

In addition, this year we will explore important trends in the higher education and how to position sustainability as a solution driver for key stress points across the sector (enrollment, funding, affordability, relevance to employers etc.).

“The retreat I attended a couple years ago was my hook with AASHE. I only saw its true value when I attended the retreat, and now I am all in. It was also a big turning point for my 7 year career here at UW-Milwaukee. These are very valuable sessions for those of us in our positions.” Kate M. Nelson, Chief Sustainability Officer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“I am so thankful that I randomly came across this wonderfully wacky and awesome network of passionate driven people. I have made some fabulous connections and looking forward building my own mini network in my area to support one another in a different capacity, visit other universities, etc.” Krystle tenBrink Manager, Community and Sustainability Programs, Quest University, Canada

General Information

Pendle Hill AASHE staff holding handsRetreat Dates: The retreat will last 3 full days from June 19-22, 2017. The program starts at 12 p.m. on the 19th and will end at 2 p.m. on the 22nd. All participants are asked to be present for the entire duration of the event.
LocationPendle Hill, a retreat center near Philadelphia, PA
Registration Fee: $575 (AASHE members), $675 (AASHE non-members) – Includes programming and meals (starting with lunch on June 19; breakfast, lunch and dinner on June 20 & 21, breakfast and lunch on June 22)
Lodging: $85/night/person at Pendle Hill (single rooms)
Application Deadline: May 4, 2017

Application Process

  • Applications may be completed by clicking the button above or at this link.
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and must be submitted by May 4, 2017 to be considered.
  • The retreat is limited to approximately 50 participants. If the event fills-up, we may close the application process prior to May 4, 2017.
  • You will be notified of your status by no later than 1-2 weeks after the application process closes. At that time all approved participants will be provided with a request for payment and accommodations information.

Apply today to secure your spot!

Program Design Elements

  • Presentations and facilitated discussions = 25%
  • Group activities to engage with peers in shared learning = 30%
  • Participant-driven exchanges (short presentations, panels & small group sessions) = 20%
  • Networking activities: breaks, meals, end-of-day gatherings, reception event etc. = 20%
  • Short presentations from sponsors = 5%

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Build skills, knowledge, and relationships to advance your vision, energy and capabilities as a sustainability change agent.
  • Experience and practice a variety of interactive, generative and dynamic activities, processes and techniques for increasing group intelligence, fostering higher levels of emotional & social intelligence.
  • Develop targeted skills in facilitation, organizational design, telling your story, governance, idea flow and decision-making.
  • Engage in deep discussions and fun exchanges with your peers to learn about a wide range of emerging projects, practices, processes and approaches.
  • Reflect on your path, your purpose, style and methods to harvest powerful personal insights to up your own game.
  • Create meaningful connections with other sustainability leaders and build lasting support systems.
  • Build your confidence, relevance and value proposition for engaging with and building support from senior leaders to drive sustainability into core mission and business.
  • Learn about social dynamics and develop personal communication and relationship building skills.
  • Experience a variety of “social technologies” for meaningful community engagement, and understand how they can advance campus sustainability goals.
  • Learn from selected case stories in senior leadership engagement, curriculum change, campus projects, metrics, advocacy beyond the campus, student engagement and more.
  • Explore trends in higher education, and articulate how sustainability can be a solution to addressing the key stress points within the changing landscape of the sector (enrollment, funding, relevance to employers, affordability, community and government relations, etc.).
  • Repower your strength and rejuvenate in a beautiful natural setting

“The retreat was my first AASHE activity and professionally helped to frame what we do, why we do it, with whom we share this journey. ” Jamie Jacquart, Assistant Director for Campus Sustainability and Residential Initiatives, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Organizers, Facilitators, and Program Designers

Leith Sharp, Director of Executive Education for Sustainability, Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment
Leith SharpA dynamic change leader who is currently advancing a transformational leadership model through collaborative partners, including Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, AASHE, the U.S. Green Building Council and others. She teaches change leadership at Harvard University and is best known for her role as the founding Director of Harvard’s Office for Sustainability where over a period of 9 years she worked to create the world’s largest green campus organization using a self-funding business model. She has over 20 years of experience in fostering organizational change to drive sustainability into the core mission of organizations and has been the founder of 4 successful sustainability programs in Australia, the USA and Europe. She is an international expert in change leadership for sustainability and has received numerous awards internationally including Young Australian of the Year, NSW Environment Category and a Churchill Fellowship. Ms. Sharp has an environmental engineering degree (UNSW) and a master of education in human development and psychology (Harvard).

Aurora Winslade, Director of Sustainability, Swarthmore College
Aurora WinsladeAurora has fifteen years of experience in sustainability in higher education. She has a special interest in supporting professional development for sustainability staff, bringing a focus on using group process design and facilitation tools to engage communities in institutional transformation efforts. She co-created AASHE’s first sustainability officers retreat in 2011 and has led statewide and national workshops in California, Hawaii, and Taiwan. Aurora currently serves as the Director of Sustainability for Swarthmore College. Previously she founded new sustainability programs at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Hawaii. She also has experience as the Market Transformation Manager for Hawaii Energy, the statewide energy efficiency program, for which she was awarded the National Rising Star of Energy Efficiency Award in 2015 from the Alliance to Save Energy. Aurora sits on the AASHE Advisory Council and the Smart and Sustainable Campus Program Committee. She is a Senior Fellow with Humanity in Action and the Environmental Leadership Program. She has a B.A. from the University of California Santa Cruz and an M.B.A. from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business.

Daita Serghi, Programs Coordinator, AASHE
Daita SerghiDaita’s focus at AASHE is on planning, organizing and delivering professional development opportunities including: webinars, workshops and the program of the annual conference. Prior to joining AASHE, Daita was the first Interim Sustainability Coordinator for the University of Hawai‘i System, and the main coordinator of the Annual Hawaii Sustainability in Higher Education Summit. Additionally she lectured introductory and advanced biology classes and was involved in developing new curricula to integrate sustainability in the classroom. Daita is a LEED Green Associate, a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) certified reporter and an ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional, and holds a BS degree in Molecular Biology and Biosciences from the University of Bucharest, Romania and MA, MPhil and PhD degrees in Biological Sciences from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Guest Speakers

Emilie Rex, Sustainability Consultant
Emilie RexxBuilding on 8 years of experience as a sustainability officer, teacher and consultant, Emilie Rex collaborates with nonprofits and colleges and universities to explore the synergies between sustainability, resilience and executive leadership priorities and identify new language for expressing their work’s value to the institution. Among the uses for these strategic sensing and alignment processes, sustainability officers have utilized findings to shape more robust and relevant sustainability and resilience planning, strengthen stakeholder networks, and integrate sustainability and resilience concepts into institutional planning processes more effectively.

Lizza Robb, Partner, Redshift Leadership
Lizza RobbLizza Robb is an executive coach, organizational consultant and facilitator at Redshift Leadership, a global consultancy that specializes in leadership and culture. As a speaker and facilitator, Lizza’s sessions reflect her deep immersion in the research behind emotional intelligence, positive psychology, and the brain science of happiness and resilience. Lizza synthesizes these findings into energizing, interactive sessions that highlight the intersection of feeling our best with doing our best work.

Peterson Toscano, Theatrical Performance Activist and Climate Change Communicator, Susquehanna University
Peter ToscanoExperience the artful, playful, outrageously funny, and deeply moving storytelling craft of Peterson Toscano. Connecting contemporary issues to his own bizarre personal experiences, literature, science, and even the odd Bible story, Peterson takes his audience on an off-beat mental mind trip.  A shapeshifter, he transforms right before your eyes into a whole cast of comic characters who explore the serious worlds of gender, sexuality, privilege, religion, climate change, and environmental justice.


FAQ for accepted participants

How will I get there?
Pendle Hill is “a Quaker center welcoming all for Spirit-led learning, retreat, and community.” The 23-acre, wooded campus is an approximate 20-minute drive away from the Philadelphia airport and fewer than ten minutes away from Swarthmore College. See here for directions to the campus.

Where do I stay?
We have reserved the Brinton House for all of our meetings and single rooms on-campus at a rate of $85/night/person. Guest rooms are simply furnished with bed, desk, chair, and lamp. Most of the guest rooms share a bath with one or two other rooms. Bathrooms are family style, not dormitory style, and are a few steps from your bedroom door. Some rooms include a wash basin. Pendle Hill supplies sheets, pillow, pillowcase, bedspread, blankets, towel, and washcloth. Liquid hand and body soap are available in bathrooms. See more here.

Do I need to rent a car?
It is not necessary to rent a car. The Swarthmore Train Station is adjacent to Swarthmore College and the Inn at Swarthmore. It is a short cab or carshare ride away from Pendle Hill. Both taxis and ride share services are available for rides to/from the airport, it is approximately 20 min by car to Pendle Hill. If you choose to stay at the Inn at Swarthmore, rather than the Retreat Center, you may want to consider renting a car, but taxis and ride share services are readily available in the Swarthmore area, so it would still not be necessary.

If I’ve attended a sustainability professionals retreat or a pre-conference workshop at AASHE on this content in the past will I get something new out of this one?
Yes, definitely. This retreat meets you where you are and supports you to go deeper into your own professional and personal development. There will be new content, as well as more opportunities to learn from your fellow participants.

Any questions about the workshop?
Please contact Daita Serghi, daita.serghi@aashe.org

Thank you to our 2017 Sustainability Professionals Retreat Sponsors for your support!
Altenex logoSightlines logo
Office Depot logo


June 19, 2017 @ 12:00 pm EDT
June 22, 2017 @ 2:00 pm EDT
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Pendle Hill
338 Plush Mill Road
Wallingford, PA 19086 United States
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