Eight members of the Middlebury College community attended the annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in Denver, CO. The three-day conference brought together over 2000 students, faculty, and staff from institutions across North America to share ideas, inspiration, and information. Several of the Middlebury representatives in attendance shared success stories on panels throughout the conference.
Athletic Director Erin Quinn spoke on a panel with representatives from Wake Forest University and from the Seattle Mariners about greening athletics. Athletics may not be the first department that comes to mind when one thinks of sustainability, but Quinn, Athletics sustainability liaison Andrew Gardner, and many student athletes have worked hard to make the department more sustainable. Read more about there efforts here.
Director of Sustainability Integration Jack Byrne took part in a panel with his colleagues from Furman University explaining their collaborative efforts to integrate sustainability into the curriculum at their respecting institutions. The panel highlighted similarities and differences between the processes of the two schools due largely to the fact that Middlebury had a strong Program in Environmental Studies to start from and Furman has an Earth and Environmental Sciences major, but not broader environmental studies program.
Amanda Warren ’11.5 and Garden Manager Jay Leshinsky spoke with a representative from St. Michael’s College on organic gardening at colleges and universities. Middlebury's organic garden is relatively old and well-developed in the world of collegiate gardens, so Warren and Leshinsky were able to offer valuable insight to many of their counterparts who are just starting gardens at their own institutions.
Hopefully Middlebury’s successes and continued efforts in these areas as well as those of many other institutions represented at the conference will inspire others to take on similar initiatives as we all work toward the goal of a more sustainable future.