April 1, 2011—The University of Wisconsin-River Falls hosted a Big Idea Faculty Leadership and Sustainability Workshop March 23-24. This workshop was designed to explore the needs of higher education in the 21st century.
Modeled after the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an association of colleges and universities working to create a sustainable future, the workshop enabled faculty members to engage in issues related to their fields and allowed them to focus on the future of sustainability. UW-River Falls was one of a few campuses that pushed for sustainability when the movement began sweeping the country.
During an intensive two-day that included exercises, discussions, reflections and planning, the participants became familiar with the philosophy of change in higher education.
“This workshop provides us with a driving curriculum and sustainability outcomes in every way possible and helps build faculty and the community towards more sustainable ways,” says Kelly Cain, director of the St. Croix Institute for Sustainability Community Development and UWRF professor of Environmental Studies and Management.
The workshop was focused around many of the Universities of the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability (UMACS) region, including Northland College in Ashland, Western Wisconsin Technical College in Lacrosse, Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. and St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
Throughout the workshop keynote speakers addressed issues on sustainability at both the national and local levels; keynote speakers included Jacquie Johnson, chancellor of the University of Minnesota-Morris and Paul Rowland, executive director of AASHE.
AASHE, UMAC, the University of Wisconsin System and UW-River Falls sponsored the event.