Campus Sustainability Conference Unifies Colleges across Connecticut

Written by Michael Rouleau

Commissioner Robert Klee, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and Eastern student Stephanie Rogers, an intern at the Institute for Sustainable Energy, posing for a “selfie” in the spirit of the theme of using social media to broaden engagement in sustainability.

Willimantic, Conn. – #SustainU2015, the second annual Connecticut Campus Sustainability Conference, brought together more than 125 participants from Connecticut higher education institutions to Eastern Connecticut State University. On April 28, the forum allowed students, faculty and staff to share sustainability-related ideas and improve collaborative efforts on a number of Connecticut’s college campuses.

The conference highlighted 16 oral and poster presentations focusing on an array of sustainability issues, from transportation to solar power purchase agreements, to the importance of sustainability and pedagogy. #SustainU was organized by Eastern’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE), the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability and Yale University’s Office of Sustainability, and was sponsored by the Connecticut Green Bank and EnergizeCT.


Susan Mitchell of Cloverleigh Farm discussing her small-scale mixed vegetable farm where she uses organic growing practices.

“This year we focused on three themes for the conference: behavior change and engagement, social media and sustainability, and adaptation and resiliency,” said Laura Miller, conference organizer and energy technical specialist for Eastern’s ISE. “Working with campus stakeholders, it is fascinating to see how social media is playing a key role in engagement and sustainability actions on campuses nationwide.”

Timothy Carter, president of Second Nature, giving a presentation about the “maturing sustainability leadership,” focusing on the importance of collaboration in creating a sustainable future.

Guest speakers Timothy Carter, president of Second Nature, and Robert Klee, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, emphasized the role of higher education in the sustainability movement. Carter and Klee remarked on the importance of college campuses in providing leadership and example for sustainable actions, as well as the importance of collaboration in the state and across the nation as we work toward reducing emissions, improving waste management and increasing water efficiency.

Eastern President Elsa Núñez opened the conference by sharing her delight in the success of the partnership between Eastern and Yale University. “It is fantastic to see institutions both public and private working together on such key issues as energy, climate change and curriculum,” said Nunez.


Christine Hanna of Automated Logic demonstrating WebCTRL Time-Lapse, an instant replay software for use with building facilities.

On June 25, the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability will hold its second roundtable workshop at Wesleyan University, where it will focus on power purchase agreements for large-scale solar installations on campuses. “Promoting this type of collaboration is essential to ensure continued momentum towards our carbon neutral goals,” said Miller.

Also coming up is Connecticut’s first statewide Campus Sustainability Week from October 5–9.  All campuses are welcome to participate in both events.  For additional information, contact Miller at millerlau@easternct.edu.