94th ESA Annual Meeting (August 2 -- 7, 2009)

SYMP 23 - Ecological Knowledge and Campus Sustainability Initiatives

Friday, August 7, 2009: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
San Miguel, Albuquerque Convention Center
Kenneth M. Klemow
Carmen Cid and Bruce W. Grant
Kenneth M. Klemow
Over the past 10 years, institutions of higher education have come to embrace sustainability as a campus-wide goal. Many campuses now have Sustainability Offices or Centers that serve as the focal point for their initiatives. Others have embarked on ambitious initiatives to create a sustainable infrastructure with green buildings, energy purchase programs that avoid fossil fuels, and policies that impact transportation, dining, and waste-stream handling. Still others have developed sustainability curricula, composed of concentrations, minors, majors, and even entire doctoral programs. Supporting these campus initiatives are government programs, organizations like the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Most sustainability initiatives have proven to be highly interdisciplinary, involving collaborations of engineers, architects, sociologists, economists, and political scientists. The role of ecologists in leading or at least contributing to campus sustainability initiatives is unclear. Since ecologists have embraced sustainability as a research goal for at least the past 20 years – as evidenced by the ESA’s Sustainable Biosphere Initiative – the link is natural. This symposium will examine the current status of the role that ecologists play in using their knowledge to impact sustainability initiatives – both on their own campuses, as well as on a regional and national level. The opening presentation will provide an historical perspective, looking at progress since a symposium on campus sustainability was held in the late 1990s. The next presentation will provide a global view of how well ecologists influence sustainability efforts on college campuses. The following three presentations will explore how ecologists help to contribute to academic programs in sustainability and influence the training of graduate students and future sustainability professionals. The next presentation will examine how ecologists can use sustainability as the topic of their scholarship and research programs. Two presentations will provide insights into the contrasting experiences of incorporating ecological knowledge into sustainability initiatives in liberal arts vs. research university settings, respectively. A final talk will address issues that arise when communicating campus sustainability to the public. A synthesis and panel discussion will be provided at the end.
ESA Education Section
9:00 AM
Infusing innovative sustainability curricula in the training of students in ecology
Brook Wilke, Michigan State University; Sieglinde Snapp, Michigan State University
9:20 AM
Training educators on sustainability issues in ecology
Michael McKinney, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Sara Malley, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Gordie Bennett, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
9:40 AM
10:50 AM
Communicating ecological knowledge and sustainability to the public
William Leahy, Eastern Connecticut State University
See more of: Symposium