Education outside the classroom can open new horizons. For Evelyn Parker, Florissant Valley Communication major, education about sustainability crossed the country to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference. Student Development funds from Dr. Pfeiffer, FV President, helped pay Evelyn’s way. Yesterday, Evelyn presented her experience via powerpoint to the Flo Valley Green Team. I was quite taken by what struck her as inspirational because I was attending different workshops on strategic planning, transportation, carbon footprinting and “trashformation.” Evelyn was inspired by the key note speakers, workshop presenters, but more, by the whole experience of this much sharing of ideas and passion in the realm of sustainability. Her powerpoint will be posted at www.stlcc.edu/green/presentations soon.
We ate local food in compostable containers in the spacious, daylit LEED Platinum convention center. Attendees morphed organically attracted to their own school colleagues sharing away from the demands of work, and flowed out to absorb the ideas and best practices from around the nation and other countries. AASHE conferences are by all means nourishing and over-stimulating. The conference even had a “quiet” meditation room to integrate ideas from a full 3 days.
In the evenings, pods from the regional Higher Education Sustainability Consortium (HESC) met for dinner and debriefed the day, sharing what they were taking back to their schools for action. Cruising around the town where I went to graduate school was a blast from the past. I visited my former campus to find Duquesne University had greened itself quite well. They had co-generation for heating building and great signage sharing other green building features.
One of the key insights I brought back came from Leith Sharp (former sustainability director from Harvard)–just DO something, even if only on a small-scale. She reminded me to never forget the core value that there is URGENT global action needed, and to act gutsier. Look out STLCC–gutsy is my plan for my last 6 months in this sustainability role!