Conferences x 2

Not only did we get to go to one conference on the west coast….we went to two!

flying over the Shenandoah Mountains

Not even a week after our Oakland conference, we sent off another of our current student coordinators to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in LA. Mouthful, right? That’s why we call it AASHE (a-she). While most people who attend this conference are interested in learning about how to start or enhance their sustainability presence on campus, we went for a slightly different reason.

The Staples Center – where the conference was held. Also the home of the Lakers.

We here at CGC are excited about the structure and mission of this group and are just as eager about sharing what we do with as many people as possible. So why not at one of the largest conferences on sustainability?

What did we learn? Well, CGC is pretty unique. During this informal, 2-hour poster session, attendees have the chance to walk around the various professional posters and ask questions about the content shared.  The most common question that we got was this: “How can we best start a campus garden at our institution?” Well, um…  Not many people have thought about turning around and creating gardens for other people. It seems as if CGC is pretty cutting edge on discovering what it truly means to be “sustainable.”

Student coordinator, Caity Stuart, proudly representing information about CGC at the AASHE conference poster session.

Luckily for us, the poster session wasn’t the only thing we got to take part in. There were numerous sessions and breakouts that we, as students, got to attend and learn from. Here were some of our favorites:

– Suburban Composting: Learning how to manage LARGE amounts of compost in just a small space. Talk about smelly! But a great resource if managed properly.

– Sustainable, Student Run, and Delicious Cooperative at your Campus: A neat concept of beginning a food co-op on a campus. Raises the discussion of just how to get healthy, sustainable to students on a campus.

Session with Billy Perish as he talks about receding glaciers

– Keynote Speaker: Billy Perish, Energy Action Coalition(founder), Solar Mosaic (co-founder): An excellent presentation on how he has gotten to where he is. A mover and shaker in the sustainability world, Billy encouraged all of us to Follow our Purpose, Build with the Best, and Go to the Root (of the cause).

– Keynote Speaker: Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions (president and founder): As an energy consultant for businesses and governments worldwide, Hunter came to AASHE with a zeal to share about radical changes universities can make to become more energy sustainable and more accessible to others.

– Social Justice and Sustainbility, Jordana DeZeeuw Spencer: In this session, we were all challenged to double check how exactly we are going about sustainability in our communities. Are we being fully conscious of those we’re serving? Are we being fully inclusive?

– Permaculture at UMass AmherstWhat an excellent look into developing permaculture gardens! (perm=permanent; gardens=act as landscape, fruit trees, berry shrubs, etc.)

– Keynote Speaker: The Crossroads Project: A unique presentation of physics, storytelling, art, and live orchestral music. Robert Davies, the leader of the group, artfully designs this sensory presentation to evoke all emotions regarding sustainability and where we should go in the future. Riveting.

All in all, we had a fantastic time in the warm city of LA. However, while we learned lots, we were anxious to get out of the smog and back into the pine-laden hills of New Hampshire.

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About cgcstaff

Keene Community Garden Connections (CGC) is a collaborative initiative involving Antioch University New England's (AUNE) students, faculty and staff. Partnering with non-profits and service agencies in Keene, NH, we support organizations in the development of community gardens throughout Keene. We aim to use community gardens as a vehicle to increase food access, community wellness and landscape restoration. By doing so, we hope to complement other community efforts to develop a more resilient community that is working to mitigate our climate footprint and adapting for the future.
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