|Alan Elzerman, Chair, Department of Environmental Engineering and Science,
Clemson University and Sustainable Universities Initiative Executive Committee
member opened the meeting, noting that "our objective is to introduce the
project to you, to stimulate you to think and to learn, and to get you
to be active--to interact with each other, because this is a multidisciplinary
project, as well as a multi-institutional project."
"We're not here to push some credo...but to get people to ask the right
questions and to do the appropriate things to ensure that we--and our students--are
prepared for the future."
Environmental Engr. & Science
|"We're glad you're here and we hope you're ready to work, because this is a workshop and not just a conference. It's time for your input, your ideas, your action."|
|Tony Cortese, CEO, Second Nature, described the need for dramatic new efforts focused on sustainability, and outlined the role higher education can play: "In 1992, the nations of the world came together in an unprecedented fashion to establish Agenda 21...an agenda for the 21st century to move us toward sustainability. Yet 5 years later, every one of our living systems is in worse condition than it was in 1992. As they say in Apollo 13 ‘Houston, we have a problem.' We need a paradigm shift if we are going to reach a sustainable future."||Tony Cortese, CEO Second Nature|
|"Now, where does higher education come in? Higher
ed can play a critical role. Why? Because institutions of higher
education train all the professionals, all the leaders.
They've been given a charter by society...to try to help improve the world. I believe that they have the moral responsibility to increase the awareness, knowledge, skills and values through education, research, policy development and community service, to lead us to a sustainable future. Unfortunately, higher education has been one of the overlooked leverage points on the way to sustainability....and we're not taking the lead."
"The big issue is, can the universities change fast enough and strongly enough to deal with the unprecedented scope and speed of the challenges that lie ahead? I believe we can. I think there's a tremendous opportunity for leadership on the part of higher education. I think there's a tremendous opportunity for leadership for you here in South Carolina because of the strong connection that the universities have always had with the communities and the economy in South Carolina. I pledge the help of Second Nature and the other organizations with which we are affiliated to aid in anyway we can."
In his keynote speech, Ray Anderson describes the evolution of his own thinking, his realization that the planet is in crisis, that the first industrial revolution "was a mistake." He noted that the cost of products does not adequately pay the true cost of production, and that tax laws favor those activities which harm the earth, while failing to discourage those which are beneficial..
||In order to "lead us away from the edge of the abyss",
we need to "begin to reinvent this whole civilization." Noting that
at Interface "we believe we know the direction of up" he described seven
areas in which his company is changing the way it does business. One of
these, "driving out waste," has already saved $50 million.
"We're trying to create the prototypic characteristics of a company for the next industrial revolution... It's a start."
|As the participants reconvened after lunch, a brief video describing
the Sustainable Universities project was shown, followed by
remarksfrom the presidents of each research university.
||"Clemson, USC, MUSC...the state's research universities...have collaborated
on several projects in the past, but I sincerely believe this is the most
important project that we will ever participate in and I look forward to
working with the other universities."
James B. Edwards, President
||"We have a lot of discussions in our university about what we should
teach...Not information, but what habits of the mind, what skills in thinking
do we need...in order solve problems and worry about the nature of the
world to come. That is the challenge before us."
John Palms, President
|Dr. Steffen Rogers, Provost of Clemson University, alluded to
the Worldwatch Institute's 1990 report giving the world 40 years to "reach
sustainabililty" and quoted Bruce Wallace from Virginia Polytechnic Institute
who reminds us that ‘the man or woman who will be president in the year
2030 is in our classes right now." Dr. Rogers urged participants
"to examine our role in preparing those individuals and in fact all of
society, for the future."
|A panel of private sector representatives presented their views on the role universities can and should play, the needs of the job market, sustainable agriculture, and environmental entrepreneurship. Panelists included John Knott, CEO of Dewees Island, (SC) one of the nation's premier "sustainable communities" and the only one located on a barrier island; Gary Weinreich, of BMW, Greer, SC; Karl Domas, Carolina Flax Inc.; and George Fletcher, CEO of The Fletcher Group of companies, headquartered in Greenville, SC.|
|"You need to be about changing the culture of the university at every
single level, in every single place. If you're not about that, you're
not about a sustainable university project."
"What I'd like to challenge you to do is to think about the university as a living laboratory.....examine the core of your systems...bring your professors, administrators, and maintenance personnel all together...you will reach a level of excellence unmatched anywhere in this country."
"You not only have a responsibility to the students, but to the whole state."
Gary Weinreich, BMW
|"We need people for tasks that grow. We need to look at where the organization is going to be and hire folks that can fulfill those needs. They have to be flexible..... "We don't need more associates in the environmental department...we're not growing there. We growing in the number of associates throughout the plant that are environmentally literate."|
|"Flax is an interesting case. It's been grown and used for 6000 years or so,without change...mainly for linen. When linen is produced from flax, fiber represents about 30% of the material, seeds make up a very small percentage, and woody material makes up the rest. The seed is used for linseed oil, in paints, and now for some health food applications. The shives, as the woody material is called, are mixed with wood and used to produce fiber board. The processing machinery is constructed so that dust is captured, pressed into briquets, and used as fuel. So what happens with flax is that all of the material is utilized. There is no waste at all."||
|"It's an incredibly exciting time. I know it's
tough for a lot of graduates to find jobs (in this area) because they narrow
their focus to those jobs that are environmental, but as Gary Weinreich
said, any job is environmentally related. You have to get the job
in order to see what kind of opportunities are out there that you can extract
and build into an environmental business. I sort of wish I could
do it all over again."
|During the question and answer period, a participant asked what the
panelists look for in an employee.
John Knott: "Energy level...think out of the box..pretty wholistic background, strong on liberal arts, skills of adaptability, problem solving, analytical thinking. If you have those skills, I can teach you my business.
Gary Weinrich answered the same question: "motivation, wise use of electives, case studies, combination of skills and motivation."
John Knott: "The problem is what I call a vertical system...engineers have their own language, biologists have their own language, economists have THEIR own language....it's like if you tried to run a company with someone from Spain, someone from Kuwait, someone from Nebraska, someone from Japan...they wouldn't know each others' language, each others' customs. I can't run a business that way, but I get too many students and professionals who think and work like that."
Kurt Teichert from Brown University and Carol Foley from Georgia Tech
shared their experiences.
|Teichert works primarily with student teams functioning as environmental or business consultants to "clients" within the university. Students solve operational problems for the university, learning practical skills in the process. "In the case of particular retrofit measures, it does take an investment. In our case, its typically the facilities maintenance department that pays it out of operating funds as an investment in reduction of future operating funds. In the case of integrated engineering design of buildings, if you have the right design team...save off the first cost of the building, then there's all the other savings."||
Those interested in trends in research funding heard from Dr. Judith Bostock, Assistant Manager for Science, Technology and Business Development at the Department of Energy Savannah River Operations Office. Dr. Gary Tabor, Executive Director of the Center for Conservation Medicine at Tufts University and a consultant to several foundations, spoke on the same topic from the perspective of private foundations. Both offered encouragement for multi-disciplinary work such as that contemplated by the Sustainable Universities Initiative.
Jeff Arpan, Director
Masters in International Business Program
USC School of Business
Jeff Arpan moderated and participated in a panel of faculty members who are already including principles of sustainability in their courses. In addition to Dr. Arpan, Director of USC's Masters in International Business Program, panelists included Brenda VanderMey, of Clemson's Department of Sociology, Gisela Bosch, of the University of Florida, and David Taylor, Converse College English Department. Rick Bunch, of the World Resources Institute's BELL program, provided information on recent studies related to incorporation of sustainability into national business curricula.
Steps to "green" the international business curriculum:
half day overview half day symposium with business leaders full day field trip to two industries group research project
"We decided to use the infusion method, to take an existing course...business ethics and leadership...and add environmental considerations to it. We were working toward three sequential goals: increased awareness that business has an effect on the environment; increased understanding of the nature of the impact; and competency, leading to action." "It's about competition. It's about opportunity...too often, we think about environmental considerations as market destroyers, but that's not entirely true." Rick Bunch, World Resources Inst.
Center for Construction and Environment
University of Florida
Gisella Bosch described efforts to "green" the University of Florida, which now has a "greening UF Council." Interested individuals can track new developments through the Council's website (see Links section on the Sustainable University Initiative Home Page.) The School of Building Construction in the College of Architecture has been especially active, but Gisella noted that "we are trying to stimulate action in every other college."
Things every professor in the School of Building Construction should know:
- ASTM is producing Green Building Standards
- The US Green Building Council is the major US force in greening the build environment
- New Urbanism and Sustainable Architecture are rapidly increasing in influence
- Healthy interior environments are critical
- LEED: US Green Building Rating System
- Waste = Inefficiency = Lost$
- Center website: www.bcn.ufl.edu/sustainable
Brenda VanderMey combines sociology with service learning and horticulture to teach many life lessons. She is also the coordinator of Landscapes for Learning, a multi-faceted entity that promotes environmental education and stewardship, strengthens communities and provides service learning opportunities through the creation and celebration of learning landscapes.
"I cannot teach environmental stewardship. Teaching in the classroom is nothing but preaching. The best way we can get at this is to find mechanisms for students to engage in stewardship and instill it in others."
Clemson University Dept. of Sociology
Converse College English Dept.
"Regardless of what course I'm teaching, I ask students to help me conserve resources and be conscious of our behaviors. I ask that they recycle and use email for handouts and syllabi as often as possible." Dr. Taylor described "writing across the curriculum" as a mechanism for integrating disciplines. "English profs stay in their towers, other disciplines stay in their towers, and we don't feel comfortable with each other's material." One way of dealing with the problem is to team teach; Dr. Taylor described his efforts to involve a microbiologist in his writing courses as a way to integrate disciplines and spark creative efforts.
"(Through writing across the curriculum) students realize that the environment isn't just something you walk by, but something to interact with and interact with in different ways-- through poetry, creative writing, science, art." Describing his course "Writing in Place: Widening Circles of Community" Dr. Taylor noted that "students, through writing stories and essays about where they are, learned to care about it
"Our students don't think of where we are as where they live."
David Taylor, Converse College
Bad weather prevented our scheduled closing speaker, Walter Bickford of Malden Mills, from leaving Massachusetts. John Warren graciously agreed to abbreviate his planned presentation to the operations breakout session and to deliver the closing luncheon address instead. The result was entertaining and inspirational. Mr. Warren's slides can be viewed at his web site: http://www.p2.pnl.gov:2080/DFE/warren.html
"I think teaching is a powerful profession. ....be exciting...otherwise, don't teach; do research."
Pacific Northwest Labs
"People in the environmental community tend to have wussie goals. ‘Let's see if we can reduce our emissions by 50%.' What if Dean Smith (NC basketball coach) said ‘Let's go out and win half our games.' Do you think we'd think of him the same way we do now? Of course not! Don't settle for wussie goals. Develop compelling goals that capture the imagination. Don't do your project like it's 1985...it's 1998...2000!"
"Some time you're going to meet someone, see, hear, read or experience something that changes your life. That's what your project is all about. Remember that a lot of people are going to be affected by what you do."
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2003, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.