Representing Coastal Carolina University at Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

By Catherine Sweeney

Back in October there was a conference in San Antonio, Texas under the theme of “Stronger in Solidarity.” It’s a big conference, and very specific. The conference is held by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education - or AASHE. It’s an annual three day conference for folks from around the world who work in sustainability, specifically in a higher education setting, to talk about everything they’ve been doing.

The talks/workshops range from thirty minutes to one hour and could be on a wide variety of things - campus efficiency, food safety, and recycling programs are just some of the examples. They could be experiments conducted or programs started. There are also poster sessions as well as vendors set up all conference long.

My two colleagues and I represented Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as well as RE-volv with Andreas. Our session was called “Being a RE-volv Solar Ambassador on Your Campus and in Your Community: Practical and Curricular Training and Experiences,” in which we took turns explaining our experiences, motivations, and reflections on the program. Presenting in another state in front of strangers for the first time was nerve wracking, but it was a great experience for someone may who want to work in public/community engagement in the future. Even just being at the conference was surreal, there was so much knowledge the event was spread between three buildings!

There is so much potential in the conference it is intimidating. That’s why I think it is a great experience, whether you be an ambassador with RE-volv, a sustainability coordinator at a school, or even a sociology professor who helped on an efficiency experiment (seriously, I went to a talk just like that!), there are so many ideas to absorb and bring home with you.

The next conference is going to be held in Pittsburgh, PA under the theme “Global Goals: Rising to the Challenge,” and I know I will try to be there - hopefully representing my school and RE- volv again. Check if your school is a member of AASHE, look into options to get you there. It is an experience worth having!

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