Creating Change Together: the 5th Annual UMACS Conference
This past weekend, the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability, UMACS, held its 5th Annual regional conference, Creating Change Together. The event brought together 180 students, faculty and staff from two dozen campuses in three states: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa with the focus of forging new partnerships, expanding diversity, and using campuses as teaching tools and learning laboratories for campus sustainability. The two day conference included roughly 50 presentations by students, faculty and staff including topics around renewable energy, sustainability curriculum, climate neutrality, and how to use social and traditional media to further campus and community sustainability.
National Wildlife Federation has supported campus innovation and student leadership through Campus Ecology in the Midwest continuously for over two decades and in that tradition had a strong presence at this year’s conference. Julian Keniry, Campus Ecology’s Senior Director of Campus and Community Leadership, was one of the two keynote speakers, presenting on “Why Campuses will anchor community sustainability and resilience in the 21st Century: Reflections on Priorities Moving Forward” and also led and open meeting session on civic engagement strategies that tie campus sustainability to the regional policy process. Juliana Goodlaw-Morris, Campus Ecology’s Field Manager, served as a lead coordinator of this year and last year’s conference and is also an important fixture in UMACS and the Midwest Campus Sustainability scene.
Another key player in this year’s conference was Joseph Hartmann, a 2011 Campus Ecology Fellow from the University of Minnesota, Morris. The focus of Joseph’s Fellowship was to help facilitate the conference as well as to incorporate a green energy tour into the conference as an introduction to the Green Ambassadors program, a student led program that will provide students, community members, and visitors with an in depth perspective of the sustainability project development at Morris, especially their renewable energy work. About 10 potential ambassadors are in training to conduct the tours. Joseph will use the Fellowship specifically to develop, refine, and codify the green tour protocol.
To learn more about UMACS, and their annual conference, visit: www.UMACS.org
Learn more about Campus Ecology Midwest Climate Action Networks, here.