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Sustainability Professionals Retreat

June 24, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - June 27, 2018 @ 2:00 pm EDT

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Professionals Retreat

Campus sustainability professionals and our faculty sustainability leaders are feeling the strain like never before. We need access to new sources of insight, energy and capacity building that can increase our fitness in ways that really matter in the face of the obstacle course we face day to day.

We need opportunities to improve strategies for engaging our entire campus community in the change journey towards sustainability and equity. We need more systems thinking, organizational design thinking and relationship skills. We need to gain mastery in the art of transcending the social and institutional friction that is all around us. We need more flow in our efforts to tap the human potential of our organizations and to transform the systems and structures around us.

At the beautiful Swarthmore College campus, home of the Scott Arboretum with robust gardens, over 4,000 plant varieties, and over 200 acres of woods featuring more than 3.5 miles of hiking trails, AASHE is hosting a 2018 Sustainability Professionals Retreat dedicated to these areas of capacity building. It is designed for and by experienced sustainability leadership practitioners with a proven track record of designing experiences that leave participants inspired, renewed and equipped to grow in their 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 on flow, systems thinking, building your skills and strengthening your relationships and 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 flow, strategic systems design, relationship building and community engagement, 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.).

“[…]45 passionate, committed advocates for wise and respectful use of our planet’s resources came together, in what may be the most challenging times for our field, to share their concerns, expertise, and hopes for the future. […] As we started to talk across our team tables, while breaking bread at mealtimes, or in informal groups, it became clear that we all faced similar issues…” Read more from the blog entry of Lois J. de Vries, Executive Director of the Sustainable Gardening Institute.

If we are to sustain our ability to continue it, we occasionally need the reinvigoration that comes from being together and sharing our experiences, energy, and support with one another. This retreat provided all that, and a network of creative, smart, funny, and all around cool sustainability warriors I now call friends.” Read more from the blog entry of Debbie Kasper, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Hiram College

General Information

Retreat Dates: The retreat will last 3 full days from June 24-27, 2018. The program starts at 2 p.m. on the 24th and will end at 2 p.m. on the 27th. All participants are asked to be present for the entire duration of the event.
LocationThe Inn at Swarthmore, 10 South Chester Rd, Swarthmore PA 19081
Registration Fee: $595 (AASHE members), $695 (AASHE non-members) – Includes programming and meals
Lodging: $119/night/person at The Inn at Swarthmore (single rooms) if booked prior to June 1; see below for information on how to book
Application Deadline: May 1, 2018

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 1, 2018 to be considered.
  • You will be notified of your application status by no later than 1-2 weeks after we receive your application.The retreat is limited to approximately 50 participants. If the event fills-up, we may close the application process prior to May 1, 2018.

Registration Process

  • Once your application is approved you will provided with a request for payment.
  • Payment will be accepted in the form of of Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover cards.
  • Please plan to make payment within 2 weeks after being accepted to hold your spot.
  • Final registration deadline is Friday, May 25, 2018.

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.
  • Gain mastery in organizational design and idea flow for increasing engagement in moving new ideas through your organization, reducing friction in governance and decision-making processes and more.
  • Develop targeted skills in community engagement, strategic systems design, telling your story etc.
  • 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.
  • 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.).

The approach for engaging you in achieving the learning outcomes will include opportunities to:

  • Reflect on your path, your purpose, style and methods to harvest powerful personal insights to up your own game.
  • Tap the experience of everyone in the room and utilize the group intelligence of your peers to explore your pain points. Engaging in deep discussions and fun exchanges with your peers to learn about a wide range of emerging projects, practices, processes and approaches. Create meaningful connections with other sustainability leaders and build lasting support systems.
  • 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.
  • Learn from selected case stories in senior leadership engagement, curriculum change, campus projects, metrics, and advocacy beyond the campus, student engagement and more.

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 over fifteen years of experience in higher education sustainability. She is committed to supporting professional development for sustainability leaders, 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 has served as the Director of Sustainability for Swarthmore College since 2015 and is an adjunct faculty member at Bard College’s Sustainable MBA program, where she teaches Leading Change in Organizations. Previously she founded new sustainability programs at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Hawaii. She also worked 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. 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, Education Programs Manager, 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

Rob Andrejewski, Director of Sustainability, University of Richmond
For the last decade, Rob Andrejewski has worked in higher education sustainability with a focus on improving relationships between people and the interconnected systems upon which we rely. He is the Director of Sustainability at the University of Richmond, where no two days are the same except in that they never seem to last long enough. Rob is the Board President of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals and is an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow. He received his PhD from Penn State in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM) in 2011, where his research focused on the role of nature connection and outdoor play on environmentally responsible behavior. As a sustainability professional, Rob draws from his work as a writer, facilitator, and experiential educator to help individuals and organizations unlock meaningful solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges. Rob is a dad and a husband and a dog person. The audacity of his students to believe that they can change the world gives him hope that they actually can.

Krista Hiser, Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator, University of Hawaii Office of Sustainability

Dr. Krista Hiser is Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator for the University of Hawaii Office of Sustainability, where she facilitates change management, interdisciplinary dialogue, and professional development opportunities for faculty to design, update and transform courses to integrate sustainability across the curriculum. She serves on the advisory board for the Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) and on the Steering Committee for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). She is also Professor of Composition & Rhetoric at Kapiʻolani Community College. Her favorite course is “Decade Zero: Understanding the Science & Rhetoric of Climate Communication,” an interdisciplinary learning community.

She has published on community partnerships, service-learning, organizational change, professional development, post-apocalyptic literature and climate fiction.

FAQ for accepted participants

The Inn at Swarthmore is an approximate 20-minute drive away from the Philadelphia airport and fewer than ten minutes away from Swarthmore College. It is also accessible via train from downtown Philadelphia.

Where do I stay?

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Inn but you need to make your own reservation at a rate of $119/night/person (rate available if booked by June 1):

  • call the Inn directly at 610.543.7500 and mention AASHE.
  • OR visit at www.theinnatswat.com  and select the Reservations option.  After selecting your desired dates, click on Special Codes and enter the group code AASHE18 in the Group Code box.

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. Both taxis and ride share services are available for rides to/from the airport, it is approximately 15-20 min by car.

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 2018 Sustainability Professionals Retreat Sponsors for your support!
Altenex logoSightlines logo

The Stone House Group logo


June 24, 2018 @ 2:00 pm EDT
June 27, 2018 @ 2:00 pm EDT
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Inn at Swarthmore
10 South Chester Road
Swarthmore, PA United States
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