NECSC Conference 2015

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  • Publication
    UPenn Green Living Certification
    (2015-01-01) Rowland, Bailey; Goresko, Julian; Garofalo, Daniel
    In 2013, the University of Pennsylvania launched a new sustainability certification for on-campus residents called “Green Living.” The program offers students the opportunity to receive a certification and earn rewards for making choices that reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to Penn’s Climate Action Plan goals. In order to become certified, students are asked to fill out an online survey about their habits, which gives them a gold, silver, or bronze score based on their responses. The point values assigned to each of the habits in the survey vary, similar to USGBC’s LEED certification for buildings. The certification includes actions related to waste, energy, water, transportation, purchasing, and community involvement. In addition to giving certified students a sticker acknowledging their accomplishment, the program also includes prize incentives. Prizes for becoming certified depend on the level of certification and include coupons from local businesses and a reusable ceramic mug. Several local restaurants engaged in purchasing and operational sustainability initiatives have partnered with the university to provide coupons to certified students. 150 students were certified in the program’s first year, and in the second year, the number of certified students rose to 260, an increase of 73%. The growth of the program can be attributed to improvements to the program’s branding and marketing efforts and prize distribution methods. Analysis of the program over the past year and a half has revealed many successes and possible improvements. This presentation will focus on the Green Living program’s development, implementation, logistics, results, and lessons learned. This presentation will be informative for other schools interested in resident engagement or creating a similar program on their campus. Program website:
  • Publication
    Changing the Rules: How to Get Your Green Job
    (2015-01-01) Goodstein, Eban
    The planet needs saving, and you need a job. What is your first step? Eban Goodstein, Director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, will discuss getting started in a green career, and discuss the “C2C Strategy” to finding the sustainability work you want, in the town where you want to live. Working in small groups, teams work through the strategy process. Each student will head home with a plan to land a job or summer internship, and lay the foundation for a career saving the planet. Participants will be introduced to career tracks in sustainability and fundamental skills for career success, including people asking for stuff, visioning, and persuasive communication. In the workshop, working in teams, students will develop a concrete strategy for finding a green job or sustainability internship in both the field and the geographic area where they want to work.
  • Publication
    The Student-Led Zero Waste Movement
    (2015-01-01) Freid, Alex
    In this workshop, we have participants envision what a zero waste campus would look like. We break the room into groups and give them a limited amount of time to draw or map out how they would prevent specific forms of waste from entering campus, how they would control the collection, logistics, and flow of waste through campus, and how they would manage the process of removing waste (if any) from campus. If time allows, we also tack on an additional step of designing innovative ideas for how students can cut down on the amount of waste produced within a campus. For example, a tool share could allow students to rent tools rather than having to buy them, similar to a bike share. Students may also envision a campus thrift store, a community garden, or an upcycling workshop space, as examples. Throughout the presentation we sprinkle in many key leadership lessons; how to communicate effectively with campus professionals, when and how to follow up, working with a team, facilitating and delegating tasks, negotiation strategy, and more. Once their visions have been mapped out, we run an exercise on power-mapping and discuss how students can go about implementing change on their campuses. Who do they need to talk to, how should they go about conducting those types of meetings and conversations, and where do they turn when they face hurdles and challenges along the way?
  • Publication
    Beyond Offsets: Innovative Approaches to Achieving and Exceeding Our Climate Commitments
    (2015-01-01) Drauker, Laura; Norris, Greg; Greenberg, Daniel
    Climate change is a defining issue of our time, and colleges and university are leading the way by setting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. Many of us are even striving for carbon neutrality under the President’s Climate Commitment. To meet these targets we take measures to reduce our footprints, or do “less bad”. In this situation, we often reach a point where no more reductions are possible, and to meet our targets we need to consider purchasing offsets or renewable energy credits. But instead of spending money in these abstract ways that leave very little room for student interaction, could we focus on doing “more good” – identifying ways we can improve the environment and the community around us? Could we use the money spent on traditional offset programs to support these projects? And, can we somehow quantify these impacts and include them as part of a holistic “less bad and more good” sustainability strategy? These are the questions this workshop will explore. Two thought leaders in this space will give a short presentation on the ways they are thinking beyond offsets, from calculating and flourishing your handprint in addition to reducing your footprint to onsetting instead of offsetting travel emissions to have real impacts in local communities. Then we will spend the remainder of the workshop brainstorming and discussing how we might apply these concepts to rethink our own approaches to offsetting campus emissions. The goal will be to use this as a seed conversation to begin a larger dialogue.
  • Publication
    Sustainability Service Learning at St. Johnsbury Academy
    (2015-01-01) Bentley, James
    St. Johnsbury Academy is an independent boarding and day school of 950 students located in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. We have created an innovative and effective service learning system involving environmental stewardship in our region. Stewardship Days at St. Johnsbury Academy happen twice a year, in December and May. On the December Stewardship Day, the school hosts a conference in which groups of sophomores rotate through stations hosted by reps from local environmental organizations, non-profits, and state agencies, who pitch local environmental projects to the student groups. Students then design projects and execute them on the second Stewardship Day, which occurs in May.