Three HWS students recently presented on the Colleges’ nationally recognized sustainability initiatives at the annual Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference. The students were accompanied by a team of faculty and staff integral to the development and implementation of the Colleges’ sustainable living and learning efforts.
AASHE’s annual conference, held this year in Baltimore, Md., is the largest conference in North America dedicated to on-campus sustainability issues. The three-day event brought together more than 2,000 academics, administrative staff and students from 13 countries to discuss some of the most pressing sustainability issues facing college campus communities.
Jack Sherwood ’20 and Aaron Weitgenant ’20 presented on an innovative and effective campus sustainability intervention project concerning waste diversion rates in outdoor spaces on the HWS campus. The group, which included Sandro Carboni ’20, conducted the research last spring as part of a required semester-long project for the Sustainable Living and Learning Community (SLLC) program, a specialized First-Year Seminar focused on sustainability education and community building. They’ve continued work on the project this year, hoping to expand their research and install additional recycling options on campus.
“I thought AASHE would provide them a venue in which to share their findings and get feedback on their project as they continue their work this year,” explains Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Robin Lewis, who also presented at the conference on the SLLC program alongside Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Education Brandon Barile.
Emily Ott ’17, who is minoring in sustainable community development (SCD), presented on her experiences in the SCD capstone course, in which she worked with a team of her peers to develop recommendations regarding sustainable materials management for the Town of Geneva. The specific focus of her presentation was the value of service-learning and community-based research experiences for undergraduate students.
Christian Thiim ’17, who serves as the EcoRep coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, also attended the conference as a learning opportunity to increase his knowledge of planning and managing peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs.
Established in 2001, AASHE is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing sustainability in higher education through access to resources, professional development and sustainability initiatives. A group of HWS students, faculty and staff attended the conference last year for the first time.