Breakout Session II, Saturday, 10-10:50 am

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Communicating and the Finance Office – Transforming Sustainability with Many Levels of Green, Sally Grans Korsh, NACUBO & Fred Rogers, Carleton College

Location:  Weitz 133

Transforming operations and cultures at a campus often involve the business and finance office. That office can be leaders or followers. How is it best to communicate and transform a campus with this specific group? These finance offices need the tactical support of UMACS members to develop and implement campus sustainability goals; not just the low hanging fruit but substantial change in advancing energy grid, net zero construction and transformational change. All campuses have major leaders in their finance officers that may, or may not, be partners to develop the campus sustainability goals. Join a major higher education association that serves these leaders to discuss how to be better collaborators and go to that next level on sustainability and stewardship issues. Discussion will include means, techniques and anecdotes on how they have moved the dial for campuses to become more sustainable; breaking down silos, advancing the sustainability office to a place of leadership and enlightening stewardship to financial, facilities and environmental issues. 

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Good Health & Wellbeing, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic growth, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Partnership for the Goals

Climate Action Planning in the Land of “Cows, Colleges, and Contentment”, Becky Alexander, Jenna Greene, Alyssa Herzog Melby, Alex Miller, Andrew Farias, LBH, Great Plains Institute, St. Olaf College, and Carleton College

Location:  Weitz 236

Higher education campuses have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of their communities, and many are leading the way toward carbon neutrality through participation in the Presidents' Climate Commitment. However, these efforts are often isolated from their broader communities, representing a missed opportunity to magnify the impacts of campus climate action. With small- and mid-sized cities across the nation just starting to engage in climate action planning of their own, there is a timely opportunity to develop synergistic "town/gown" partnerships for sustainable transformation.

An example of this can be found in the City of Northfield, home of Cows, Colleges, and (Dis)contentment with the status quo. During this session, a dynamic panel will present how Northfield's two colleges have engaged with the City's recent climate action planning efforts. With the voices of a Carleton student, St. Olaf's civic engagement wizard, a co-chair of Northfield's Climate Action Planning Advisory Board, and a non-profit climate action planning consultant, the panel will describe their roles in the City's climate planning process and share lessons learned for successful town/gown collaboration. From their unique perspectives, the panelists will discuss how to successfully connect interested students with meaningful community projects, addressing topics ranging from the importance of setting realistic expectations to the value of sustaining ongoing relationships through sequential projects that build upon previous work. Speaking frankly, the panelists will share not only their best practices, but also the missed opportunities they hope to improve upon. Participants will be encouraged to ask their own questions of the panel and will leave with tips, tricks, and inspiration to pursue town/gown sustainability relationships back home.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action, Partnership for the Goals

Master Plan Development and Implementation: Panel of Experts Share Their Utility Planning Strategies and Tips, Lee Tapper, MEP Associates

Location:  Weitz 230

Effectively developing and efficiently implementing a utility master plan requires engaging a diverse set of institutional stakeholders. MEP Associates, LLC, will moderate a panel of campus leaders with recent experience developing these long-term plans and who are in various stages of implementing them. Each of the plans considered, or are in the process of considering, an array of technologies including geo-exchange systems, wind turbines, solar arrays and utility conversions. The panel, which includes experts from Carleton College, Grinnell College, Luther College, and Smith College, will explore the utility master plan process, how to creatively share the plan with colleagues and students, financing options, and methods to communicate energy and sustainability goals.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Affordable and Clean Energy, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life on Land

Teaching Climate Justice Through World Climate Simulation, Beth Mercer-Taylor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Location:  Weitz 132

This session will prepare you to lead (or offer you a chance to participate in - if this is an activity session) a World Climate Simulation, a mock United Nations (UN) climate negotiation meeting, on your campus or community. As a future facilitator for the World Climate Simulation, you will give your future participants a transformative experience of the challenge of reaching global agreement to keep climate change below a 2 degrees celsius increase. As they step into the shoes of world leaders in this role-playing experience, your participants will want to learn more and get more involved in climate change science and global politics. This simulation is an increasingly popular way to demonstrate the complexity of global climate action, and has involved over 50,000 people in more than 80 countries, through events in many languages and settings. Events involve groups from 10 to 100, with time commitments as short as two hours or as long as a semester. A World Climate Simulation event gives participants, with any level of knowledge, the chance to play the role of negotiators in a close-to-realistic “Conference of the Parties” (COP) session of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Climate justice as well as social justice more broadly is central to the World Climate Simulation. Your participants will grapple with global differences in responsibility for past emissions and different levels of vulnerability to climate change impacts, as well as geopolitical, power and resource differences. The simulation briefing papers prepare participants to represent their nation or interest group accurately, in accordance with real geopolitical, economic and cultural differences. The negotiation and reflection afterwards will spark discussion of inequity, poverty, economic needs and trade-offs, all critical to truly sustainable development. Fundamental questions of who holds power, within and between countries and blocs, will arise.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health & Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic growth, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, Partnership for the Goals

Ripon College Catalyst: Sustainable Futures through General Curriculum, Alice Reznickova, Ripon College

Location:  Weitz 132

Higher education will play an important role in equipping students with knowledge and competencies to address environmental and social problems as well as preparing them for civic engagement and the rapidly changing labor market in the 21st century. Ripon College, a small Liberal Arts institution in the Midwest, recently reformed its general education curriculum to promote skills such as critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, communication, intercultural competence, and collaboration. The signature Catalyst Curriculum consists of a five-course series culminating in an Applied Innovation Seminar. In this seminar, interdisciplinary teams of students work with faculty mentors to creatively address selected challenges inspired by United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In our first iteration of this seminar in Spring 2019, these challenges include climate change, mental health, water pollution, food security, and inequality. At the end of each semester, the students share their work in an all-college celebration titled “Catalyst Day”, thus further raising awareness of sustainability challenges and potential solutions in our community. The Applied Innovation Seminar represents a high impact educational practice that nurtures specific competencies for promoting sustainable futures. This presentation therefore offers an overview of a unique program that combines goals of sustainability and general curriculum. The presentation will review the process of creating this curriculum through collaboration between faculty and administration and the learning objectives and content of this curriculum. Further, this presentation will discuss how this seminar supports student knowledge and competencies to address sustainability challenges. At the end, I will offer a discussion of lessons learned as well as paths forward.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health & Wellbeing, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land

WasteLess: Linking Waste Recovery, Diversion, and Reduction with Creative Social Learning, Valentine Cadieux, Hamline Sustainability Thrive Team, Hamline University

Location:  Weitz 231

As part of Hamline’s Sustainability Initiative, interested students, staff, faculty, and neighborhood and industry representatives have been building our longstanding recycling program into a campus-wide action learning opportunity and pollution prevention training program. We are working together to build a more harmonized approach to waste reduction and waste diversion signage and practices, particularly around the food producing and residential parts of campus. We are currently focusing on building and integrating three strands of this WasteLess waste-education work: diverting reusable residential materials (in collaboration with the U of M's ReUse Center, via the "Pack & Give Back" program), expanding a regularized composting program on campus, and integrating both in the curricular and co-curricular life of campus.

This session provides an interactive exploration of the processes we use at Hamline to assess WasteLess literacy, and creatively explore collaborative learning processes for building more efficacious ways to understand and address creation and reduction of waste in all its forms. We begin with the lunchroom learning modules we use to intercept waste heading to the bins after our colleagues eat (SDG2, 6), then move on to sharing some of the learning we’ve facilitated around the building of gardens and a food shelf on campus (SDG1, 2, 15), and the recovery and redistribution of reusable dorm waste (SDG1, 2, 12). At each stage of our process, we workshop literacy building processes with skits, poster making, and other ways to share and build understanding of the broader relationships involved in wasting less (SDG4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16). Sharing this process in our presentation workshop, we look forward to sharing with other campuses how diversity, community, and creativity can transform the cliches of sustainability into transformative learning opportunities.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic growth, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life on Land, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Zero Waste at Macalester College, Suzanne Savick Hansen, Macalester College

Location:  Weitz 231

At Macalester College, we live out global citizenship values through our actions. One way we do this is through diverting waste from a landfill or incinerator. In 2009, the college set the goal of Zero Waste by 2020 in the Sustainability Plan of 2009. In practical terms, this means a 90% diversion rate, according International Zero Waste Alliance guidance. Now that it is 2019, we only have one more year to reach the goal. To date, the college has consistently been between 70 and 80% diversion rate. In this presentation, we will describe the college’s journey to zero waste and the special outreach planned in 2019-2020 to hopefully meet the zero waste by 2020 goal.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Good Health & Wellbeing, Quality Education, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Partnership for the Goals

Is Psychology Needed in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability?  Andy Sechrist, University of South Dakota

Location:  Weitz 233

Conservation of nature, a pillar of sustainability, requires an emotional investment by people. A desire for deep connection with the natural world can drive this motivation and allow us to know ourselves better. It is no longer enough to shame society into “caring for the other” or rely on the latest innovation to remove us from ecological peril. The Deep Ecology and Ecopsychology movements each ask individuals to become aware that conserving the natural world is a component of self-realization. Although striving for self-understanding requires an investment of mental and emotional energy, it is necessary for overcoming our craving for consumption of goods. Individually crawling out from under this desire will allow us the mental and emotional space necessary to open ourselves to deeper phenomenological experiences. This presentation investigates why it is necessary to explore our consciousness if we desire to protect the planet. It also presents how this process will benefit individuals who choose to involve themselves in it. Further, this presentation explores the challenges inherent in this process and what they mean. It argues for the inclusion of psychology into conservation practices on an individual and community level. Essentially, it explains the rationale for adding a fourth dimension, the individual, to the pillars of sustainability.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Good Health & Wellbeing, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, Responsible Consumption and Production

Al Gore's Climate Reality Project: The need for climate action, Jackie Culotta, Carleton College & Emily O'Fallon, St. Olaf College

Location:  Weitz 233

The Climate Reality Project is a non-profit founded by former vice president Al Gore and focuses on education and advocacy related to the current climate crisis. This group helps everyday people become climate activists by hosting training events across the country. We attended the recent training in Minneapolis along with approximately 20,000 other activists and are excited to bring back what he learned. The climate crisis is one of the most pressing challenges of the modern world. Successful mitigation will only be possible if everyone respects the magnitude of the current crisis' reality and is able to tell their own climate story. Join us in exploring the current impacts of climate change, and what the average person can hope to do about it. 

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Quality Education, Climate Action, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

A Case for Trash Talking: Sustainability Outreach and Education at Athletic Events, Grace Pearson, Carleton College

Location:  Weitz 235

In the fall of 2018, Carleton’s Sustainability Office began a “Trash Talking” program. Its goal was simple: create a presence at athletic events by which to engage visitors to campus and community members in a discussion about sustainable practices. By incentivizing on campus clubs to attend athletic events on behalf of the Sustainability Office with stipends, Carleton was able to reduce waste and contamination of waste streams during Football, Basketball, and Trach & Field seasons. Light education and outreach on the part of students slowly shifted the culture of these events, with fans educating their friends on what they’d learned and modifying their behavior to help Carleton reach their Zero Waste goals!

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Good Health & Wellbeing, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land

Street Cleanup in Merida, Mexico, Elizabeth Sheldon, Central College

Location:  Weitz 235

Leading a street clean up in Merida, Mexico brings many lessons learned from the experience. The community aspect of sustainable transformation is extremely important within the project. Gathering other study abroad students to pick up trash and recyclables along the streets is an experience that brings people together. Having to figure out what Merida can recycle was difficult and the information changed quite often. Through the process of splitting up into pairs, one collecting trash and the other recycling, the group was able to bring a lot of attention to themselves. People on the streets thanked the individuals, took photos of the process, and the newspaper came to take photos and write on the story. This allowed the community around our pick ups in Colonia Itzimna learn about finding proper ways to dispose of waste, instead of the side of the road. This brings education on Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption, by learning what can be recycled in Merida and stopping recyclables from staying on the streets or ending up in the ocean. The audience of the presentation will get to guess what components were a part of the process by each table getting a flash card of something that went along with these pickups. Guessing how these components were incorporated will allow the audience to stay intrigued and learn about a street cleanup in a foreign country.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Responsible Consumption and Production

Sustainable Packaging: How To Do Your Part To Reduce Package Waste, Michelle Holbeck, Bemidji State University

Location:  Weitz 235

This presentation will cover the cost of wasteful packaging, the reason we need changes in our packaging, and effective solutions in order to reduce the amount of waste coming from packages. This presentation will also discuss ways to reuse wasteful packaging in your own home and how to make conscious decisions regarding consumption of packaged products. Attendees will also learn about compostable packaging materials and how Designers and Engineers are working to create minimal and second-life packaging. Inspired by the Technology, Art, and Design Program at Bemidji State University, this presentation is an important source of information for everybody, including people uninvolved with design and engineering.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Clean Water and Sanitation, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Partnership for the Goals

Run the Arb 2019: Organizing Environmental Community Engagement Within the Context of a 5k Run, Alle Brown-Law, Carleton College

Location:  Weitz 235

Carleton’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) consistently works to connect the Carleton community with the greater community of Northfield, Faribault, and southeastern Minnesota. Through a combination of programs, events, weekly newsletters, and partnerships with other offices, the CCCE’s Environmental Systems cohort offers Carleton students opportunities to engage with sustainability on a wider, community-based level. One example of a CCCE opportunity was Run the Arb 2019, a 5k walk/run held this May. Run the Arb 2019 was organized with the intention of creating more events to get students into the Carleton Cowling Arboretum, 880 acres of preserved land on campus. As the event evolved, it became more than just a run through the “Arb” – it was an opportunity for sustainability education, a platform through which to invite Northfield children and families to interact with Carleton sustainability, and a celebration of the work that CCCE environmental programs have accomplished this year. By involving multiple Carleton offices and a variety of students, children, and adults, Run the Arb presents an example of how campus sustainability efforts can expand to reach a bigger audience, encourage collaboration and creativity, and ultimately create fun, which can lead to more positive involvement with sustainability in the future.

UN Sustainable Development Goals:  Good Health & Wellbeing, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action, Life on Land

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