By Gail Wootan, Assistant Director.
Four MES students joined a large Evergreen contingent of undergraduate students, faculty, and staff at the first annual Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington on February 6-7, 2014.
On an unusually cold (and unusually sunny!) couple days, students Charissa Waters, Jaal Mann, Jana Fischback, and Tiffany Webb learned about sustainable campus solutions along with 500 other representatives from Washington area colleges and universities.
Conference topics focused on a wide-ranging group of sustainability concepts from how to ban water bottles on campus to integrating sustainability into the curriculum. The closing session focused on college and university presidents’ goals for a more sustainable future at their respective institutions. Evergreen’s president Les Purce joined four other presidents in inspiring conference attendees to continue their work in making campuses more energy efficient, waste free, and local food-friendly.
MES students were also active participants in the conference. Tiffany Webb, first year MES student and the Sustainability in Prisons Project’s Education and Evaluations Coordinator, moderated a session focused on service learning and collaborating with external partners on sustainability. Her SPP coworker Jaal Mann, second year MES student, blogged for SPP at the event. Although not at the conference, second year MES student Sasha Porter was chosen to feature her poster “Methods for Assessing Ecologically Disturbed Areas of Campus – and Recommendations for the Future.”
The conference was a valuable networking and career-exploring opportunity for the MES students. They hope to see the conference continue into a second year and many more years to come. Maybe Evergreen, with its organic farm, innovative energy projects, and LEED-certified buildings will be a future host!