I had the privilege of representing Goddard at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference this October. I was invited to the conference in Los Angeles by the Chronicle of Higher Education to speak as one of a four- person panel about sustainability in higher education. Approximately 150 people–faculty, students, college presidents, sustainability administrators and trustees attended the session. Goddard was invited as a leader and innovator.
At this event, Goddard was on the national stage as a model for other institutions of learner and learning-centered education; of a campus successfully integrating sustainability and the relationship between this kind of learning and practicing sustainability.
I was honored to represent and communicate the vision, hard work and commitments of our community. Moments like these, when we see ourselves through other’s eyes, are important ones that invite us to own more fully the power of what we offer and to see ourselves in new ways. We have much to say about what is wrong with education today, but more importantly what is needed to change it. Today we had a national platform from which to speak.
Many attendees expressed frustration about attempts to “get their boards or administration, or faculty to engage and move forward a sustainability agenda”. It was exhilarating to describe the work of our sustainability team, a team of faculty, facilities and senior administration moving forward our goal to be carbon neutral, to source food locally and to reduce electricity and fuel usage. It was equally wonderful to speak about our college-wide commitment to our mission “…to take imaginative and responsible action in the world.”
Other news from Goddard’s institutional sustainability effort: Goddard faculty member Catherine Lowther (BAS, IBA) has been invited to participate in the UVM Sustainability Faculty Fellows Program for 2012 – 2013. Started in 2009, the program brings together a multidisciplinary faculty cohort to participate in a year long exploration of sustainability education. The goals of the program are to:
- Create a community of faculty who are committed to integrating interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability into the UVM curriculum
- Enhance the understanding of sustainability concepts among faculty and students, particularly those not trained in environmental fields
- Explore teaching and course design strategies that will engage students in sustainability from a multidisciplinary approach.