Loading Events

« All Events

Sustainability Professionals Retreat 2019

June 19 @ 2:00 pm - June 22 @ 2:00 pm MDT

Apply here

Professionals Retreat

At the beautiful University of Colorado Boulder campus, AASHE is hosting the 2019 Sustainability Professionals Retreat dedicated to these areas of support, peer to peer engagement and capacity building:

Harvesting from Experience: Engaging your campus community in the change journey towards sustainability and equity requires mastery in the art of transcending high levels of social and organizational friction. Much of this mastery is developed experientially. This is why coming together as peers, to learn deeply from our experiences is so crucial.

Refilling the Tank: We need to ensure our own personal sustainability more than ever. This retreat is designed for campus sustainability professionals and faculty sustainability leaders needing capacity building, insight, energy, connection and renewal.

Skills for Reducing Friction and Increasing Flow: The growing imperative to unleash the human potential of our organizations and to transform the systems and structures on our own campus and beyond, requires systems thinking, organizational design thinking, idea flow, social intelligence and relationship skills.

Peer Network Development: To sustain ourselves in this epic work, we must tap the social, intellectual and emotional contributions of our fellow travelers.

Who Attends?

This retreat 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 30-45 of your peers for three full days dedicated to advancing your vision, energy, capabilities and support system as a sustainability change agent.

How to Attend?

Retreat Dates: The retreat will last 3 full days from June 19-22, 2019. The program starts at 2 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.
Optional Hike: An optional hike will take place the afternoon of June 22. form 2-7 p.m.
LocationUniversity of Colorado Boulder Campus, C4C building
Registration Fee: $595 (AASHE members), $695 (AASHE non-members) – Includes programming and meals
Lodging: $225/person for 3 nights lodging (June 19-22); see below for information on how to book (additional night available for $80); $45 commuter fee/person
Application Deadline: May 1, 2019

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, 2019 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, 2019.

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 24, 2019.

Apply today to secure your spot!

Why attend?

This year’s focus is on revitalizing your sense of purpose, improving your abilities to reduce organizational friction and increase flow, and supporting your communities to envision hopeful futures in the face of the climate crisis. You’ll experience:

  • the spaciousness to reflect on your path, purpose, style and methods to harvest powerful personal insights that refresh and revitalize your sense of purpose
  • deep discussions and fun exchanges with your peers to learn about a wide range of experiential lessons and emerging ideas.
  • opportunities for enhancing personal wellbeing and renewal through mindfulness, exercise and reflection time
  • building targeted skills in idea flow & biomimicry, strategic systems design, optimizing social dynamics, relationship building & community engagement, business and finance for sustainability, senior leadership engagement and more.
  • tools for addressing the urgency of the climate crisis within the context of higher education’s mission

This year we will expand our understanding biomimicry (emulating nature’s genius to solve our problems) and biomimicry flow, exploring how we can better tap this as a source of insight, renewal and strategy and we will also 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.).

Value Proposition

AASHE’s 2018 Retreat attendees all completed a detailed evaluation. They gave the retreat experience an overall evaluation of 4.7/5, which is very high. They offered these reflections in their retreat evaluations to help you make your decision:

It was practical:

  • Among the many, many ways I’ll apply some of this, I will immediately begin to do some strategic aligning of institutional goals and sustainability.
  • I plan to apply what I learned about strategic alignment to strategize the implementation of our sustainability plan and align it with the university’s strategic plan.
  • I will use the POP model as well as the forensic mapping and forward flow mapping as well.
  • The mindfulness and stakeholder analysis are useful tools as well.”
  • I will organize university meetings differently based on the techniques I learned here.
  • I’m going to change the way I connect with stakeholders and change up our meeting structure and methods of working together.
  • I’m now going to map how decisions are made at my institution.

It offered perspective:

  • I gained a lot in terms of thinking about my job more holistically and how, what, and where I want to focus my effort and time going forward.
  • I need to take care of myself better; use mapping to convey strengths and places for improvement
  • I really was in need of these tools to center myself and re-focus my energy in a meaningful way.
  • Just the fact of signing up and coming to this workshop provided a time and space for me to slow down, take a step back and think about the bigger picture of my work. That’s definitely the biggest takeaway for me.

It created a tailored professional network:

  • I’m going to stay in touch with the amazing people I met at the retreat.
  • Meeting other professionals, discussing shared goals and struggles was most valuable to me
  • The opportunities to deeply connect with people as issues and shared experiences arose. The positive alignment conversations were surprisingly meaningful in connecting with a perfect stranger.
  • Meeting everyone, understanding the amazing collective intelligence of the group and expertise and experiences of the individuals, learning where to go for ongoing support and advice, being introduced to powerful concepts and tools was all most valuable to me
  • Networking- there was enough time during and on breaks to have fabulous conversations with others.

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.

Facilitators and Program Designers

Leith Sharp, Director of Executive Education for Sustainability, Harvard University
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. Leith 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.

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.

Guest Speakers

Sandy Wiggins, Principal, Consilience LLC

Sandy WigginsSandy is Principal of Consilience LLC, a national consultancy with a mission to foster environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities. His skillful facilitation has helped birth sustainable master plans for municipalities and institutions across the country, as well as sustainable regional public policy initiatives. He has led the development of scores of LEED certified projects, as well as net zero energy buildings, one of the nation’s first Living Building Challenge projects, and a neighborhood development aspiring to meet the Living Community Challenge. Read more about Sandy’s experience with other organizations.

Matthew Kamakani Lynch, System Sustainability Coordinator, University of Hawaiʻi

Matt LynchMatt is the System Sustainability Coordinator for the ten campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi. He is also founder of of the Honolulu based nonprofit Asia-Pacific Center for Regenerative Design, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Kahumana Organic Farm, Slow Food Oahu, and Hawaiʻi Green Growth.
He has worked in a broad range of community-based sustainable development projects in Hawaiʻi, Laos, Mongolia, and Vanuatu; from building rural community resilience through farmer trainings, to regional sustainable economic development, to catalyzing institutional change through policy work and collaborative leadership.

Matt St.Clair, Director of Sustainability, University of California office of the President

Matt St.Clair Head Shot

Matt is the first Director of Sustainability for the University of California’s Office of the President, leading sustainability efforts across the 10-campus UC system since 2004. HE was a founding member of the Board of Directors for AASHE. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Strategic Energy Innovations, a non-profit organization implementing energy conservation and sustainability education programs in California.

Matt has delivered lectures at numerous universities, been an invited keynote speaker at several regional and national conferences, and has advised the U.S. House of Representatives on the formation of an Office of Sustainability for the U.S. Capitol. He has a Masters degree in environmental policy from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley and a Bachelors degree in economics from Swarthmore College. He is a LEED Accredited Professional.

Heidi VanGenderen, Chief Sustainability Officer, University of Colorado Boulder

Heidi VanGenderen

Heidi is currently CU Boulder’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. She has worked on sustainability issues in the non-profit, public, academic and private sectors as an organizer, writer, researcher, and public speaker for the majority of her professional career.
She returned home to Colorado from Washington, DC where she served as the Director of Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior, Heidi was Director of National Outreach for the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Senior Energy Advisor for the Worldwatch Institute. Heidi served as Colorado’s first gubernatorial climate advisor for Governor Bill Ritter. She also served as senior associate of the Wirth Chair in Sustainability at CU Denver and as Deputy Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. She is an alumnae of Carleton College.

Apply here

FAQ for accepted participants

The University of Colorado Boulder was the first STARS Gold rated institution in 2011 which they maintain to the present. The campus is home to many sustainably designed buildings, landscapes, and practices. From LEED buildings and solar power to zero-waste infrastructure and alternative transportation, there is a lot going on around campus.

Where do I stay?

We have reserved a block of rooms on campus and all participants are asked to use this lodging option. You will be able to pay for lodging at the same time you register for the event.

  • The rate for three nights (June 19-22) is $225
  • The rate for an additional night (either June 18 or June 23) is $80
  • The surcharge for commuters (local attendees not staying overnight) is $45
  • If you would like to bring a partner, the charge is $150 for three nights (June 19-22) and $50 for an additional night (either June 18 or June 23). The rate for the three nights also includes 7 meals (June 19 dinner, June 20 breakfast and lunch, June 21 breakfast, lunch and dinner, June 22 breakfast)

All guest rooms are furnished with extra-long twin beds, a dresser, bookcase, desk and closet. A micro-fridge (microwave, refrigerator and freezer) is provided in each room. TV lounges are located in each building. All rooms are non-smoking. All rooms have access to community baths.

What meals are included for participants?

The following meals are included in the registration rate and all participants (including local attendees) are expected to eat with the group: June 19 dinner, June 20 breakfast, lunch and dinner, June 21 breakfast, lunch and dinner, June 22 breakfast and optional lunch. Please note, all these meals are also included for partners with the exception of the June 20 dinner.

Do I need to rent a car?

It is not necessary to rent a car. All activities will take place on-campus or close by. The campus is about an hour away from the Denver Airport (DEN). There are multiple public transit options for getting from the airport to campus. 

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


June 19 @ 2:00 pm
June 22 @ 2:00 pm
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, ,