Emily Boyer received funding to attend the annual conference for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) on October 26. She wrote an Ecologue post about her experience:
There are many things that drive my desire to do good, on the Oregon State campus, in my larger community in Oregon, across the U.S., and around the world. An intrinsic motivation has come from living in this wonderful area of the world, but my fire is largely fueled (sustainably and renewably, of course) by the passionate people I find myself surrounded by. Many of these people are friends I have met through the Oregon State community, or through opportunities that I have been exposed to through my involvement with higher education. I have had the benefit of meeting fellow students, as well as scholars, speakers, and activists on a mission to change our world and make it a better place.
I had the opportunity to meet some of these fellow passionate and concerned individuals just recently at the annual conference I attended in late October, put on by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This year’s location was in nearby Portland, OR, and I was able to attend the Student Summit on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, as well as the introduction ceremony and keynote speeches that evening.
One of the first workshops I attended was titled “Finding Carrots: Engaging Others in Sustainability” by staff of the National Union of Students (NUS) in the UK, which gave lots of great information about engaging and incentivizing others, mainly university students, to make behavioral changes for a more sustainable future. I expect tangible examples and resources they provided, which will be available on AASHE’s website soon, to be of great assistance as jumping off points for work that we do here at OSU
The closing keynote of the Student Summit gave an impactful end to a energizing day: Anna Lappe, a renowned food systems and sustainable food advocate, spoke on the little-known facts about where our food in the U.S. comes from and the mulit-million dollar companies that are basically brainwashing us. She spoke about her international research and multiple books, along with her current projects like FoodMyths.org. In speaking with her, and hearing from other scholars like Annie Leonard, I felt invigorated and excited to utilize my newly named change-making skills.
The opportunity to attend and participate in these talks and workshop sessions put on by professionals in sustainability across the world presented itself to me through my involvement with the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) at OSU. As a frequent volunteer in their garden last year as a Junior, I recognized the opportunities to expand my skills into a field where I love the people I work with and feel like I’m making a positive difference. As a Senior, I’m now working as the Media Coordinator for the SSI, and LOVING the people and the mission of our organization.
Not only did the SSI bring the AASHE conference to my attention, but I also knew to take advantage of the grants offered toward professional development opportunities – and actually got my transportation and registration for the event paid for, meaning I got all of this for free! I’m unbelievably grateful that we have such an organization on campus, and I encourage anyone with interest in meeting other insightful people, doing something impactful, and having fun while doing so, to check out the amazing opportunities the offered by the Student Sustainability Initiative at Oregon State University.