Connecticut Campuses Connect at Statewide Sustainability Conference

Written by Ed Osborn

More than 130 students, staff, faculty, and administrators from colleges and universities throughout Connecticut are sharing best practices today on how to make Connecticut campuses more sustainable.  The statewide conference is a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University and hosted by Middlesex Community College, with more than 20 presentations from campus representatives sharing the details of their sustainability initiatives, successes, and challenges.  The presenters and participants in the conference include a broad range of public and private universities, colleges, and community colleges.  The conference and many of the energy initiatives of the campuses are supported by EnergizeCT and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund.

“The idea for this conference arose from the desire to have an event where students, faculty, staff and administrators from public and private colleges and universities across the state could come together to discuss campus sustainability from a variety of different perspectives,” said Laura Worthington, conference organizer and energy technical specialist for the Institute for Sustainable Energy.  “This type of collaboration is vital to the sharing of best practices and trading of ideas that will continue to move us forward and keep Connecticut on the map as one of the greenest states in the nation.”

During the conference Eastern Connecticut State University and Yale University announced that they will co-chair a new “Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability” that will serve as an ongoing statewide network to facilitate greater coordination and cooperation on sustainability among public and private institutions of higher education. The primary purpose of this collaboration is to share information as peers, foster partnerships and develop system-wide strategies to address climate change and adaptation, local and regional resiliency, stormwater and water management, land use, and other sustainability-related issues.

Elsa Nunez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Yale University in leading the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability.  Together we look forward to engaging our public and private peer institutions to model environmental stewardship in our buildings, our classrooms, and our communities.”

The new alliance will tap into the many resources available to help campuses engage in actions that will reduce their environmental footprint, increase resiliency and save costs.  These include EnergizeCT programs administered by Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating, programs of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and national programs such as the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

For additional information on the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability and the conference, contact the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University.