'Sustainable U' conference looks at role of higher education

College campuses are in many ways like small towns, with all the challenges and opportunities to be environmentally aware and conserve resources. But they also have the important additional ability to educate for sustainability. BGSU will play host to representatives from Ohio colleges at its Wednesday (March 25) conference “Sustainable U: Environmental Sustainability in the University System of Ohio.”

The day’s presentations will take place in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater. The conference will begin with a 9 a.m. welcome by BGSU President Carol Cartwright, followed by the keynote address by Dr. Peter Bardaglio, senior Fellow at Second Nature, a nonprofit organization. Second Nature’s mission is to accelerate movement toward a sustainable future by serving and supporting senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.

Since 1993, Second Nature has worked with over 4,000 faculty and administrators at more than 500 colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability fundamental to every aspect of higher education.

A former history professor and university administrator, Bardaglio is co-writing a book titled Boldly Sustainable: Hope and Opportunity for Higher Education in the Age of Climate Change, to be published by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. He is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Historical Association. He serves on the Senior Council of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainability Advice and Review Panel of the Society for College and University Planning, and the editorial board of Sustainability: Research and Practices.

At noon, Corey Hawkey and Patrick McLean of the Ohio Board of Regents’ Division of Affordability and Efficiency will speak on sustainability and the governor’s 10-year plan for higher education.

BGSU presenters include Steven Krakoff, associate vice president for capital planning and design, on “Green Design and LEED Certification,” at 1:30 p.m.; Dr. Nicholas Hennessy, BGSU sustainability coordinator, on “Opportunities and Accomplishments in Sustainability at BGSU,” at 2 p.m., and Dr. Enrique Gomezdelcampo, environmental studies, and Duane Hamilton, director of campus services, on “Campus as a Classroom Laboratory: Building Bridges between Academia and Operations,” at 3 p.m. Making the final presentation of the day, at 3:30 p.m., will be Dr. Gary Silverman, director of BGSU’s Center for Environmental Programs, and Bryan Benner, associate vice president for administration, on “Sustainability at Universities to Prepare Graduates for the Future.”

Guest presenters from other institutions include:
• Tom Horrall, from Owens Community College, on “A Strategic Energy Plan: The Owens Experience,” at 10 a.m.
• Defne Apul, from the University of Toledo, on “Sustainability Education at UT: Ongoing Activities and Challenges,” at 11 a.m.
• Cheryl Wolfe-Cragin, from Oberlin College, on “Comprehensive Sustainability Efforts at Oberlin,” at 11:30 a.m.

The conference is presented by the BGSU Forum for Campus Sustainability and the Center for Environmental Programs, with support from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Human Development, Health and Human Services, and Technology, along with the School of Family and Consumer Sciences’ Interior Design Program Master Lecture Series and the BGSU grounds crew. Also providing funding and support are Green by Design, Starbucks, Home Depot and Sherwin-Williams.

The conference is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required but is encouraged. For more information or to register, email

March 23, 2009