Registration is now open for the annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference that is expected to draw hundreds of participants from across the state to UCSB next month to discuss long-term environmental issues.
From June 23 to 27, students, staff and faculty from universities all around California will gather at UCSB to discuss various methods of ensuring a more sustainable future for the higher education system. The five-day conference, which is held at a different California university each year, is designed to incorporate as many different academic disciplines as possible in order to comprehensively address environmental problems from a variety of angles.
Katie Maynard, UCSB Campus Sustainability Coordinator and Event Manager for the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, said this year’s event will address 16 major topics, ranging from climate to social equity. According to Maynard, the conference is organized into four divisions: the University of California, California State University, California Community College and independent and private colleges.
Maynard said last year’s conference, which was held at UC Davis, consisted of multiple lectures, workshops and presentations and attracted about 1,000 participants.
She said the event is particularly effective for discussing comprehensive long-term solutions since it attracts students and educators at every level, encompassing different generations as well as different disciplines.
“We are really excited that this conference brings together students, staff and administrators to work collaboratively,” Maynard said. “A third of our audience is students, and the students who attend the conference have the opportunity to both present to and learn from the staff, faculty and administrators from other campuses.”
Amy Burgard, Academic Programs Coordinator at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, said the department will take this opportunity to simultaneously reach out to the community and share their own innovations in the field of sustainability. Six Bren students participated in the group project known as the “Water Action Plan” that has set a precedent for reducing water use across all university campuses.
“The exciting thing is that they found some easy and relatively new ways of saving water and that will allow us to become the leader among the UCs in implementing this plan. Other schools will be modeling their plan after UCSB’s,” Burgard said.
According to Maynard, this year’s theme, “Declare, Demonstrate and Propagate,” will highlight several achievements in the field of environmentally-friendly design and development from a variety of sources.
“We want to declare, share our story, demonstrate, really show what we’ve accomplished … and propagate,” Maynard said. “We want to see this happen not only on other UC campuses but CSU, community colleges and private campuses.”
Cost of admission is $100 for students, $549 for campus and nonprofit representatives and $649 for industry representatives and exhibitors. The UCSB Green Initiative Fund has, however, provided a grant to send students to the conference for free. Interested students can contact Katie Maynard at firstname.lastname@example.org.