Facilities Director Gains Sustainability Knowledge at AASHE Conference

Director of Facilities Management Charles Scandone represented Montgomery County Community College at the 2010 Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in Denver Colo. in October. His participation resulted from the College being one of 25 institutions in the country to receive a Kresge Foundation Fellowship Award.

Presented by Second Nature and funded by the Kresge Foundation, the fellowship program provides college and university executives with the information and networks necessary to become successful green building leaders for their institutions. Click here to learn more about the award.

Below, Scandone reports on his experiences at the 2010 AASHE conference:

I attended the conference for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) held in Denver, Colorado in October. The conference provided a wealth of information and an opportunity to network with professional from all over the world.  The speakers, expo and breakout sessions were all a great source of information that covered every aspect of sustainability in higher education.

The College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC) workshop on Sunday morning was excellent. The presentation by Nathan Levinson of Rutgers University outlined the intensive program that Rutgers initiated to work towards zero waste and the policies that were implemented to prevent Greenwashing.

The next speaker at this workshop was Jennifer Battle from the University of Michigan. Jennifer’s presentation was on the new $13 million Surplus Store and Recycling Center at the university. I was very impressed to see the level of commitment that was made towards the university’s goal to producing zero waste. I found that this type of commitment became a reoccurring theme as I networked with other participants and attended more breakout sessions.

I enjoyed the speakers at the conference, especially the keynote speakers on Sunday night. They both addressed the need to take action and at the same time use a common sense approach to becoming sustainable. With some institutions’ carbon footprints in the millions of metric tons, it is easy to become overwhelmed and bogged down in planning instead of doing. The speakers were informative and gave both the good news and bad as to where we are today with current conditions.

I attended the following sessions on Monday: Sustainable Solutions in Collegiate Foodservice Operations, Writing Implementing and Supporting Climate Action Plans and Financing Renewable Energy Installations. All were presented well and gave me new insights as to how our college can move towards carbon neutrality. Monday was also my first chance to visit the expo and poster exhibition. Plenty of vendors were willing to spend time to educate the participants on their products. I was particularly interested in the two services to promote car pooling. As a commuter college, it is essential for us to get more students and staff to car pool and share rides.

I spent the last day of the event in a couple of sessions and revisiting the expo. The last session I attended was a program entitled, Building the New Green or Greening the Already Built. I found this particularly helpful, since we are in the middle of large renovation projects for some of our existing buildings. This session also provided an opportunity to meet the other Kresge Fellows and to network with them.

I found the conference to be very useful and a means of recharging the efforts already started by so many institutions. Thank you to the College and the Kresge Foundation for the opportunity to attend. The Kresge Program will be very beneficial to the Montgomery County Community College.

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