What’s Your Purpose? Billy Parish asks Students at the Annual AASHE Student Summit

On October 14, almost 500 students gathered at the Los Angeles Convention center for the student summit at the AASHE annual campus sustainability conference.  This was the sixth year NWF Campus Ecology helped to organize the student summit. In my opinion keynote speaker Billy Parish connected with the students at this summit in a very personal and real way and was one of the best speakers we have had yet.

Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World is Parish’s new book, released earlier this year. Parish, co-founder of the Energy Action Coalition, and currently working to create solar energy through Solar Mosaic, pushed students in the audience to think critically about why they are doing the work they are doing to create a more sustainable world. Using his key findings from his book, he gave the audience three valuable tools to help us unleash our purpose.

  1. Feed Your Purpose! Or more specifically, what is the vision you are trying to create? In all my time attending different summits and conferences, no one has really ever asked me what my purpose was. I thought this was a great way to push the audience (and myself) to question what our vision is.
  2. How can you “Build with the Best?”  When trying to make your vision a reality, who are the top 5 people that can help you get there? He urged students to think outside the box and to think “BIG.”
  3. What is the Root Problem you are trying to Solve? He wanted to make sure that the audience realized the importance of digging deep to get to the root of the problem.  He gave the example that if Carbon, C02 is the root of our problems- than we need to look at the cause of C02.  He used Bill Gates example of Innovating to Zero  and how it helped him figure out his root problem and ultimately figure out his purpose

Networking Session hosted by NWF Campus Ecology
The summit was filled with workshops, panel sessions and most importantly networking opportunities for the participants.

Across the country, students are working hard to make their campuses and communities sustainable. This summit was a great way for students to learn, share and develop new relationships to push them toward success in their projects and campaigns.To find out more about how the NWF Campus Ecology program has been working for 24 years to assist students, staff and faculty in reaching their campus sustainability goals, visit us at  the CampusEcology.org.