BC students, faculty and staff attend Wash. higher ed sustainability conference
By Beautiful Existence, BC Office of Sustainability
Last week a group of BC Students, sponsored through the Student Environmental Sustainability Fund, Faculty and Staff attended the first ever Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WAHESC) at Western Washington University.
The conference highlighted ways to advance campus sustainability through sharing best practices and development of regional collaborative networks from a variety of PNW institutions and included lively discussions, workshops, break out sessions as well as hosting key speakers such as Jennifer Allen from Portland State University and Gifford Pinchot from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.
The conference not only brought sustainability in higher education into view for participants but became a catalyst for helping acknowledge the work already taking place and more importantly, future collaborative opportunities. Bellevue College helped bring 27 participants to WAHESC, only second in attendance behind the University of Washington.
Additionally, several BC Office of Sustainability representatives took active roles in the conference. BC Sustainability Director, Deric Gruen co-organized a community college solutions summit. Sustainability Program Manager, Patrick Green participated in Sustainability Coalitions: Coming Together to Advance NW Campuses. Beautiful Existence, BC sustainability communications coordinator, led a workshop in Social Media in Sustainability and Alex Clark, ASG environmental and social responsibility representative, spoke on The Ins and Outs of Green Fund Programs.
Conference participants discussed everything from zero waste to teaching sustainability or climate change; the topics on everyone’s mind were transportation, energy and GHG (Green House Gas) emissions – the same topics in which Bellevue College Sustainability has demonstrated successful best practices and community partnerships.
Sustainability at Bellevue College is well established in collaborations. Examples include advocating for Metro Funding, and energy and renewables with the Presidents letter initiative for a Coal Free PSE, and with GHG emissions through President Dave Rule’s letter on the Climate Legislative Working Group; as well as best practices such as creating a Community and Technical College (CTC) email listserve for sustainability.
Bellevue College faculty, staff and students added a significant presence to the WAHESC conference, and will be meeting to reflect on ideas and possibilities for the campus in the future.