USD Attends National AASHE Conference
While most of the campus was still recovering from the festivities during Homecoming Weekend, the Office of Sustainability and some students from the Be Blue Go Green Team made the trek up the 5 freeway to Los Angeles to take part in the annual AASHE conference. A gathering of sustainability professionals and students from across the world, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s conference offers a space for individuals and organizations to share their best practices, possible pitfalls and opportunities for growth with peer institutions.
At this year’s conference, USD gave four presentations. Working with Paula Morreale, USD’s Director of Sustainability, Michael Catanzaro gave a presentation entitled “Creating a Social Responsible Revenue Stream for Sustainability”, which offered a blueprint for other school’s in creating their own Electronic Waste Collection Centers. As the first E-Waste center on a college campus, Morreale and Catanzaro were proud to share their knowledge and offer advice to other institutions attempting to create their own.
In addition to his E-Waste presentation, Catanzaro also presented on another area where he’s been unique: his outside partnerships with the local utility company, San Diego Gas and Electric and AM Solar. Sharing his ability to be successful with others, Catanzaro noted that what sets USD apart from others is its ties to the community, which allows the school to have a reach beyond Alcalá Park.
While Catanzaro presented, students and staff members of the Sustainability Office participated in a variety of sessions concerning a wide range of topics related to sustainability. “Through its connection to the wider community and greater world around the idea of social sustainability, I was able to see just how special USD is”, notes Shannon Schumacher, a student intern who works in the Office of Sustainability.
While the conference offered the team an opportunity to learn about what USD has done in comparison to others, it also provided an arena to gather more ideas about ways to move forward. Numerous ideas concerning greater integration within the USD community through networking opportunities, in addition to the further development of a sustainability brand are just a few among many of the prospects for the future.
Overall, the conference was a great opportunity for attendees to see how far USD has come since the creation of the Office of Sustainability in 2009 and to discover more opportunities for growth in the coming years.