Chief Sustainability Officer
Last June, Alfred State played host to a national conference entitled “Innovations in Technical Education to Advance Sustainability.” Almost 75 sustainability professionals from as far as California attended, bringing with them best practices in sustainability. Sponsored by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Corning Inc., and BP, the conference featured keynote presentations from two national sustainability leaders, Dr. Debra Rowe and Dr. Mitchell Thomashow. Dr. Rowe, president of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and professor of energy management, renewable energy technology, and psychology at Oakland Community College in Bloomfield Hills, made the point that because businesses and organizations are all working more sustainable, ef-ficient ways to operate, “every job is a green job.” Dr. Thomashow, direc-tor of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program and former presi-dent of Unity College in Maine, shared his nine elements of a sustain-able culture and argued that “Anyone can be a teacher of sustainability. Everyone is a role model.” Other highlights included presentations from the Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Ini-tiative, Advanced Energy Training Institute, and the Community College Alliance for Sustainability.
I attended the conference in my third week on the job as Alfred State’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. It served as a powerful introduction to Alfred State’s pioneering sustainability initiatives, particularly the Net-Zero Energy Demonstration Home, the Center for Organic & Sustainable Agriculture, and our community gar-den. Conference participants were introduced to these initiatives through pre-conference tours and multiple presentations during the conference. The conference also provided plenty of ideas and inspiration from the other campuses in attend-ance. It featured 22 panel discus-sions or presentations, including discussions on implementation of sustainability curricula and pro-grams at other institutions, the role of college farms, sustainability in construction/deconstruction tech-niques, sustainability initiatives in coal country, working with high schools on renewable energy pro-grams, game design/creation/play for teaching sustainability princi-ples, monitoring of renewable en-ergy systems, and more. The things were not going well; everything from family to school. I experienced that and it was not a pleasant situa-tion to be in. Worrying about friends and family was on my mind all the time. It hurt time for my studies. Many things helped me get through problems I had: Going to my advisor Mrs. Davis for help was key to being more successful; also writing was a big part in helping me per-
presentations from many of these sessions are available for download at http://www.alfredstate.edu/ events/sustainability-conference/sustainability-conference-presentations.
The conference was such a suc-cess that we planning to make it an annual event. The next conference, which is scheduled for June 6, 7, and 8, 2013, will again focus on sustainability in technical education and this time will include a special student leadership theme. If you would like to get involved or have a question about sustainabil-ity at Alfred State, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.