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Sustainability Conference at UCSB Inspires Big Ideas, Promotes Best Practices

Counties UCSB 300x199 Sustainability Conference at UCSB Inspires Big Ideas, Promotes Best Practices

A bicycle tour of the UCSB campus was one of the highlights of the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference. (Photo Credit: Jonas Krant)

It’s been said that you can’t go home again. Tell that to UC Santa Barbara-based founders of the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, who brought their biggest- and best-yet event back to the campus where it was created more than a decade ago.

The gathering was born in 2002, when 100 guests from across the UC system convened at UCSB to talk best practices. The conference boasted 900 attendees representing some 80 institutions and organizations, including UC, CSU, California Community College, and private and independent campuses, as well as private industry and community members.

“One of the reasons we created this conference originally was because we found that too many people were doing things on their campus that someone on a different campus, in another part of the state, had already done,” Katie Maynard, event manager for the conference, and sustainability coordinator in UCSB’s geography department, said. “We’re hoping our attendees take away tangible ideas about what they could implement by giving them an opportunity to learn from their colleagues, learn what’s already happening, what’s possible, and what’s been done and proven on another campus so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Hoping to bring greening into greater consciousness by sharing strategies for effective storytelling around such efforts, this 12th annual event beared the theme “Declare, Demonstrate, Propagate.” Featuring research presentations, as well as case studies in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships, it was intended to be an idea-sharing festival –– a massive, multi-day brainstorming session of sorts –– as much as a source of inspiration.

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