Jul. 12-13, 2023
Washington, DC

It’s Easy Being Green: Sustainability Solutions Symposium

Presidents/chancellors and senior leaders will explore sustainability solutions from across campus.

Inform your sustainability strategy with promising practices.

Presidents/chancellors and senior leaders are invited to a symposium at AASCU to explore sustainability solutions from across campus. Through case studies and discussions, participants will gain practical examples of sustainable investing, integrating sustainability into curricula, facilities management for energy efficiency, and more. This event is hosted by AASCU’s Committee on Sustainable Development and supported by TIAA and Ameresco.

This symposium provides space for presidents and chancellors to discuss top-of-mind topics with colleagues and industry experts. It is one of many community-building opportunities replacing AASCU’s Summer Council of Presidents, which was discontinued after 2022.

Who should participate?

  • Presidents/Chancellors
  • Provosts
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Executive Directors of University Foundations
  • Chairs of Investment Committees
  • Sustainability Directors
  • Other leaders committed to sustainability

How will you benefit?

  • Connect with other AASCU leaders focused on comprehensive campus sustainability strategies
  • Hear from national experts in sustainable capital development and energy efficiency
Program Topics

University staff often fall in the “missing middle,” ineligible for strictly defined affordable housing but still lacking the means to live near campus, which can make employee recruitment and retention a major challenge. This session will explore creative ways universities can partner with local communities to increase on- and near-campus affordable housing that meets modern environmental standards and doesn’t displace long-term residents. Making housing greener and more accessible is a form of impact investing, which seeks opportunities to deploy capital in ways that have intentional, direct and measurable positive effects on environmental or social outcomes, while generating competitive risk-adjusted returns.

After several years of pandemic stresses and economic volatility, colleges and universities have begun focusing on long-overdue deferred maintenance projects. They are also taking renewed interest in sustainability initiatives, with many institutions accelerating efforts to meet net-zero carbon goals or adding such goals to their strategic plans. In this session, we will explore ways institutions can use creative financing structures and partnerships to address deferred maintenance, expand operations and enhance sustainability initiatives.

The University of Washington is recognized as a national leader for its deep commitment to sustainability on its campuses and in the community. Sustainability has been a core principle of UW Bothell since the inception of its campus in the 1990s. UW Bothell leaders will share their interdisciplinary approach to achieving environmental sustainability in research, teaching, campus operations, student life, and community partnerships.

As the U.S. implements its environmental justice, clean energy transition, and green jobs legislation, it must address critical gaps in the education and training of the present and future green workforce. Historically marginalized communities face significant gaps in green learning opportunities, hindering their access to well-paying green careers and their ability to lead sustainable and equitable change. Without strengthening the role of postsecondary institutions, including regional public universities, to address these gaps, the country risks falling short of its goal to transition to a low-carbon economy while leaving no one behind. This session will examine the extent of these education and training gaps and aim to identify the transformative actions postsecondary institutions can take through a New Green Learning Agenda to achieve a more just, socially-inclusive low-carbon economy.

Whether due to the effects of climate change or rising utility costs, most are in agreement that reducing consumption of utilities is a worthwhile pursuit.  In addition to energy conservation, the development of renewable energy solutions provide positive environmental impact and resiliency and are of growing importance to today’s students.  Can higher education institutions get the energy infrastructure upgrades they need now and stabilize ongoing utility costs?  In response to these questions, Ameresco will provide multiple examples of such projects, and West Texas A&M University will showcase the largest utility consumption reduction and modernization project in its history.

Universities often struggle with creating regular funding for energy and sustainability efforts among all the competing demands for University funds. This session will explore how to build a reliable financial model for making significant changes in campus operations. Utility costs are large portion of University expense and managing risk associated with these costs is an important aspect of maintaining energy savings for future sustainable development. Weber State will show they have achieved 50% utility cost reduction without using funding mechanisms outside of traditional/typical appropriations. With an original plan of being carbon neutral by 2050, Weber State is on track to be carbon neutral by 2040 with minimal carbon offsets for scope 1 and scope 2.

Schedule at a glance

Sessions will be held at the AASCU office unless otherwise indicated.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023
12 p.m. Lunch at AASCU Office
1 p.m. Programming begins
4:30-6:30 p.m. Reception and dinner (offsite, location to be announced) with support from TIAA
Thursday, July 13, 2023
8:30-9 a.m. Breakfast at AASCU Office
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Programming and Lunch

Viceroy Washington DC

Viceroy Washington DC
1430 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, DC


AASCU is committed to the health, safety and well-being of all attendees at our gatherings. We follow all local rules and CDC guidance and closely monitor conditions related to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies. Attendees at all AASCU events agree to adhere to the following health and safety protocols.

Before leaving home   

  • AASCU strongly encourages all participants to be fully vaccinated. The CDC Vaccines website provides definitions of “Fully Vaccinated” and “Up To Date”. 
  • Stay home if you feel unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.  We recommend attendees wear masks while traveling to and from the event and follow COVID-19 safety practices in the days leading up to the event. 
  • We strongly encourage attendees to take a rapid antigen COVID-19 test before traveling and before arriving to AASCU convenings.

Onsite during the event  

  • Masks are recommended and will be available at the registration desk. 
  • If you are experiencing cold or COVID-19 symptoms please be respectful and wear a mask.  
  • Self-administered COVID-19 rapid antigen tests will be available at the registration desk. We encourage participants test themselves upon arrival before joining the conference. 
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol  
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands  
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Throw used tissues in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes. 
  • If you feel unwell, develop symptoms of COVID-19, or test positive for COVID-19 at any time during the convening, seek medical care and do not attend the meals or gatherings.  
  • If you test positive during the conference, please notify AASCU staff by emailing meetings@aascu.org.  

AASCU reserves the right to modify these policies and procedures at any time given the rapidly changing nature of any current and ongoing public health emergencies. 

All meetings and conferences sponsored by AASCU are inclusive and accessible to all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. Please request accessibility services when you register and contact us if you need auxiliary aids or services.

Request services.

By participating in an AASCU conference, you are automatically authorizing AASCU to use your name, photograph, voice, or another likeness for purposes related to the mission of AASCU, including but not limited to publicity, marketing, websites, social media vehicles, and any other AASCU-related electronic forms or media for the promotion of AASCU and its various programs.

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