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Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Overcoming Barriers to Sustainability on College and University Campuses. Tom Kimmerer Executive Director AASHE. A Short Story About Sustainability. Growing Coffee Technified Coffee (monoculture). Growing Coffee

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Presentation Transcript

Growing Coffee

    • Technified Coffee (monoculture)

Growing Coffee

    • Shade Grown Coffee

Buying Coffee

    • Shade Grown, Organic, Fair Trade vs. Commodity Coffee

A Sustainable Society is:

Environmentally viable

Economically Robust

Socially Just & Equitable


The decision process for individuals and institutions affects:

    • The global economy
    • The global environment
    • The social structure of communities

The decision process for individuals and institutions affects:

    • The global economy
    • The global environment
    • The social structure of communities
  • Coffee is the world’s second largest commodity
why colleges are important
Why Colleges are Important

The campus must be the laboratory in which we invent a sustainable future.

barriers to sustainability
Barriers to Sustainability

The organization of colleges & universities is a significant barrier to sustainability

barriers to sustainability1
Barriers to Sustainability

The Landlord-Tenant Relationship

barriers to sustainability2
Barriers to Sustainability

The Landlord-Tenant relationship needs to be replaced with a collaborative learning relationship.

campus collaboration
Campus Collaboration

When implementing sustainability programs, operators and academics need to be allies.

teaching the campus
Teaching the Campus

Prof. Stephen Mead

teaching the campus the sustainability interpreter
Teaching the Campus – The Sustainability Interpreter

Interpreters create

Banners, Signs, Posters



overcoming barriers people to people
Overcoming Barriers – People to People

Gary Deason, Center for Sustainable Environments

Mark Flynn, Executive Director, Capital Assets & Services

engaging students1
Engaging Students
  • Teach Sustainability across the curriculum
  • Provide specialized courses and curricula
  • Model sustainable behavior in the classroom and on campus
engaging students2
Engaging Students
  • Focus the Nation
    • Teaching Event on climate
    • Jan. 31 2008
    • Focusthenation.org
  • Campus Climate Challenge
    • Supports student activities in clean energy
    • Climatechallenge.org
engaging students3
Engaging Students
  • Make students, staff, faculty aware participants, not passive recipients.
  • Give them information
  • Let them make choices
barriers to sustainability3
Barriers to Sustainability

Universities and their suppliers need new relationships

procurement by collaboration
Procurement by Collaboration
  • Buying stuff in new ways
    • Shift from command purchasing to collaboration
    • Shift from bid packages to RFPs
    • Viewing providers as collaborators
    • ASU and Aramark
overcoming barriers
Overcoming barriers
  • The major barriers to sustainability are in human behavior and relationships, not in science and technology.
  • Segments of the campus need to learn new relationships

Over 400 College and University Presidents have committed their campuses to reversing climate change.

  • The ACUPCC will be the great accelerator of campus sustainability

“More than ever, universities must take leadership roles to address the grand challenges of the twenty-first century, and climate change is paramount among these” - Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University

last thoughts
Last Thoughts
  • In any economic revolution, there is bifurcation
    • Those who change and thrive
    • Those who resist and fail
  • Sustainability requires both small, incremental steps and large leaps
  • Don’t assume that change is linear
opportunities abound
Opportunities Abound

Colleges and Universities are the laboratories in which we invent a sustainable future.




Thanks to Jim Buizer, Tony Cortese, Lee DeBaillie, Gary Deason, Mark Flynn, Hunter Lovins, Dave Newport and others for inspiration and help with content. Special thanks to the great AASHE staff: Julian Dautremont-Smith, Judy Walton, Sam Hummel, John Johnson.