University of Vermont

Snowy Day

Student Summit @ AASHE 2012 Conference

by David Manago '13, Davis Center Eco-Rep


The first day of AASHE has been nothing short of amazing. What with the wide range of interactive workshops through the Student Summit to keep the 500+ university students active and engaged. It's been impossible for any attendant to slip into the corner and not participate.

The Student Summit held a number of events that ranged in spectrum from Campus Recycling & Zero Waste to Preparing Students for the 21st Century Green Workforce. The presenters of each event provided a refreshing dynamic to the learning experience. In this specific instance, the presenters gave in-depth accounts of their strategies to reach zero waste. Interestingly, Ohio State University has made great strides in reducing waste from The Horseshoe (stadium holding 105,000 people). I was astonished to hear how successful people have been across the country and it was encouraging for all of us in the audience to see hard data and evidenceshowing how institutions are moving in the right direction.

L. Hunter LovinsThe day was surely filled with thought-provoking workshops that gave me and other attendants a preview of what the remainder of the conference would be like, but make no mistake - the most inspiring event of the day was the keynote speech given by 
L. Hunter Lovins. Her motivating speech was to an audience of over 1,800 students, staff, and business professionals alike. She spoke primarily of the sustainability in higher education and the economics behind the transition from status-quo to economically viable sustainability. The foundation of her speech hightlighted that sustainability should be thought of as an investment, rather than an expense. Regarded as something that can give organizations a tangible return on their investment and make them more resilient and competitive for having done so.

In short, the first day of AASHE was exhilarating and has left me waiting in anticipation of the many events in the coming days.