Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference

Tiffany Webb, SPP’s Education and Evaluation Coordinator, and I had the chance to attend the first annual Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference this week. We are now one day into the two-day conference and wanted to share some of the amazing and inspiring things we have seen and heard so far.

Evergreen's Master of Environmental Studies table, with SPP's materials on display

Evergreen’s Master of Environmental Studies table, with SPP’s materials on display

Hearing about the commitments that colleges all over the region are making to sustainability is impressive; from solar thermal swimming pools and gardening to making sustainability a part of all job applications. We heard about University of Washington’s socially responsible procurement, smart grid demonstration projects at University of Washington and Washington State University, and even Western Washington University’s commitment to avoiding the use of harsh cleaning chemicals in their custodial work (they had been using just iodized water, and now vinegar and water). These were just a few of the amazing things that campuses across Washington (plus some in Canada and Oregon) are doing to promote sustainability; there are far too many to list!

SPP's Education and Evaluation Coordinator, Tiffany Webb, presenting on SPP at WAHESC.

SPP’s Education and Evaluation Coordinator, Tiffany Webb, presenting on SPP at WAHESC

During a session on service learning, Tiffany presented on the SPP and her experience as a graduate student involved in the project. She was particularly excited to be presenting “in a room full of people who are aware of issues and want to find solutions.” She said that the attitude towards climate change science and sustainability in general was completely different than in her home state of Alabama. She was also able to attend a session about interviewing children on climate change, which she found humbling; what used to be taught only in classrooms is now being learned about at a young age through many avenues outside of the classroom. Teaching about environmental issues in the future will be very different, because of the deeper understanding of these issues that children today are raised with.

Yesterday’s talks were fascinating and we were able to take home many ideas that may be useful in the future for SPP. At the same time, it was satisfying to share our unique perspective on working with SPP as graduate students. We are both looking forward to another day of learning about incredible projects across the state today!

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