Conferences & Events

Exeter E-Proctors Value Commitment to Sustainability

April 27, 2010

by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Yesterday I was up at Phillips Exeter Academy talking to a group of ‘e-proctors’ – sustainability champions in each dorm who help green initiatives run smoothly from ensuring dorm-mates put materials in the proper recycling bin to getting the word out about visiting lectures and campus-wide events.

Most were juniors (“uppers” in Exeter-speak) and seniors with sights set on college – still, it was a bit surprising (and very exciting) to see so many high school kids engaged and enthusiastic about hearing the story of Second Nature and the status of education for sustainability in higher education.

Photo by Dr. James Garner Williams

They had great questions, and some of the seniors made it clear that they questioned their prospective colleges’ commitments to sustainability at every step of the admissions process – a powerful way to send the signal that this critical issue for incoming students (Princeton Review found this was the case for a good two-thirds of applicants and parents in 2009).

Second Nature at 2010 GreenTown Lake County Conference

April 21, 2010

by Michelle Dyer, Chief Operating Officer, Second Nature

On March 17th, I had the honor of addressing an audience of higher education professionals at the Greentown Lake County conference.

The panel, entitled “Greening of the Campus: How Educational Institutions Combat Climate Issues,” kicked off with a welcome from representatives of our host, College of Lake County (a signatory to theACUPCC): President Jerry Weber and Acting Assistant Vice President for Workforce Development Ali O’Brien. We then transitioned into a lively panel discussion featuring Richard Schultz, Sustainability Center Coordinator at Kankakee Community College; Kana Wibbenmeyer, Associate VP of Facilities at Loyola University Chicago; and David Agazzi, Vice President, Administrative Affairs at College of Lake County and Former Chief Financial Officer of Joliet Junior College.

Panelists addressed the questions:

HBCUs Building Green, Building Community

April 15, 2010

by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

On Thursday, April 7th, 2010, an historic event took place in Atlanta, GA – Spelman College, on their Founders Day, unveiled the first LEED certified building for new construction on an historically black college, achieving a LEED Silver rating.

Dr. Beverly Tatum (President), Art Fraiser (Director of Facilities Management), and David Freidman (US Green Building Council representative) spoke about the efficient features of the building, such as non-toxic and repurposed materials, efficient HVAC systems, a white roof (to reduce heat gain), and efficient lighting.

The Spelman ceremony (and student-guided tours of the building) also served as the kick-off for first of three Building Green Learning Institutes in 2010 developed by the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building and made possible by theKresge Foundation.

"Stable Climate: Thriving World?" Second Nature President Anthony Cortese at TEDx Greenville

April 12, 2010

by Rima Mulla, Communications Associate, Second Nature

Last month, Second Nature’s President Anthony Cortese delivered a rousing talk entitled, “Stable Climate: Thriving World?” at TEDx Greenville.

Some of the highlights from Dr. Cortese’s speech:

1:05 Staggering statistics about population growth, energy consumption, declining living systems, and political and economic instability worldwide.

3:57 “How did we get here?”

11:43 Dr. Cortese highlights the measurable impact of several ACUPCCsignatory schools’ Climate Action Plans, including those of Ball State University, Los Angeles Community College District, Clemson University, and Greenville’s own Furman University.

View the speech in its entirety here.

Michael Crow to Moderate Forum on New Energy

March 31, 2010

Tomorrow, April 1st, Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University and Co-Chair of the ACUPCC Steering Committee, will moderate a forum (with free webcast), addressing the question: Is Energy Independence Possible in Our Lifetime?

The panelists include:

  • Arum Majumdar, Director, Advanced Research Projects, US Department of Energy
  • James E. Rogers, Chairman, President, and CEO, Duke Energy
  • Sunil Paul, Founder, Gigaton Throwdown Project
  • John A. “Skip” Laitner, Director of Economic and Social Analysis, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  • Lisa Marginello, Director, Energy Policy Initiative, New America Foundation
  • Gary Dirks, Director, Arizona State LightWorks, Former President BP Asia-Pacific and BP China

“The promise of abundant, clean, renewable energy is now facing the reality of markets, technology limitations, and a disjointed policy environment. Can we scale existing or near term technologies to meet even a small fraction of our domestic electrical and liquid fuel needs? What are the revolutionary ideas on the horizon that have a chance of turning the hype into reality? Come hear a group of industry, research, and policy experts discuss the important topic.”

The live webcast can be viewed for free at:

The event is sponsored by Arizona State University and the New America Foundation.

"It's 21st century common sense."

March 26, 2010

by Rima Mulla, Communications Associate, Second Nature

In tandem with the dedication of its Shi Center for Sustainability earlier this month, Furman University hosted a panel discussion entitled “Greening Our World: Sustainable Colleges, Corporations, and Communities.” It was moderated by New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin and, in addition to former New Jersey Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, featured four Second Nature board members:

George Bandy, Jr., Vice President for Sustainability Strategy and Diversity at InterfaceFLOR
David Hales
, President of the College of the Atlantic
Nilda Mesa
, Assistant Vice President for Environmental Stewardship at Columbia University
David Shi
, President of Furman University



The absorbing discussion kicks off with Revkin asking each panelist to definesustainability. Here are some excerpts from their answers:

Second Nature at Thurgood Marshall's Member University Professional Institute

March 22, 2010

by Ashka Naik, Program Manager, Advancing Green Building in Higher Education, Second Nature

Earlier this month, I traveled to Nashville, TN, where I attended the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF)Member University Professional Institute, “2010 HBCUs* and Beyond.” Felicia Davis, Director of UNCF‘s Facilities and Infrastructure Enhancement program invited me to join her at this event.

We had a two-fold mission in attending this meeting, one part of which was to make new connections. Public HBCUs (around 50 member schools of TMCF) often remain severely under-represented in Second Nature’s programs; only 9 of these 50 institutions are ACUPCC signatories. Therefore, we wanted to seize the opportunity to engage this group of higher education institutions and share details about our activities. With the help of two enthusiastic attendees, I made the acquaintance of several interesting individuals. Renford Brevett, Director of Title III Programs at Lincoln University, introduced me to more than 20 leaders including presidents, provosts, deans, CFOs, and faculty members. Felicia Davis and I also presented at one of the panels, “Building Green at HBCUs,” during which we discussed the challenges HBCUs face while building green and how Second Nature’s capacity-building programs could help them overcome these barriers.

Second Nature Senior Fellow Georges Dyer at Unity College in Maine

February 16, 2010

by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Unity College – “America’s Environmental College” – in Unity, ME, where I met with about a hundred of the students in the Environmental Challenge class.

My talk – part of the Lapping Lecture Series – focused on some of the national and international trends we see in Education for Sustainability (EfS) from our perspective here at Second Nature.

I emphasized how there is a strong trend in society toward making a sustainability perspective a prerequisite for competent leadership. I described some of the steps that colleges and universities across the country are taking to ensure that our graduates are equipped with an understanding of sustainability principles so they’re not left at a competitive disadvantage when they enter the global workforce.

I focused quite a bit on the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and the importance of both top-level commitment from the president as well as the need for leadership to emerge from all levels of the organization if institutions are going to be successful in implementing the Commitment, achieving climate neutrality, and providing the education and research needed for the rest of society to do the same.

Second Nature Team and Colleagues Present at NCSE Annual Conference

February 11, 2010

by Michelle Dyer, Chief Operating Officer, Second Nature

On January 21, 2010, I joined a wonderful group of colleagues to present a workshop “A New Generation of Sustainability Leadership: The Role of Higher Education in Building a Green Economy” at  the National Council for Science and the Environment’s  (NCSE) 10th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment in Washington, DC.

Jim Buizer (Policy Advisor to the President; Director for Strategic Institutional Advancement, Arizona State University), Anthony Cortese (President, Second Nature), Paul Rowland (Executive Director, AASHE), Mitch Thomashow (President, Unity College), and I presented about the converging challenges of species extinction, the loss of biodiversity, the gap between rich and poor, a struggling economy, and climate destabilization.

A green economy is a response to this planetary emergency. This calls for a radical reshaping of the role of higher education in preparing a new generation of sustainability leadership. This is much more than providing technical training. It demands a new educational paradigm for integrating life cycle analysis, ecological concepts, ecological economics, and earth systems science into all aspects of higher education.

ACUPCC Highlighted at E2's "And A Child Shall Lead Us"

February 9, 2010

by Ilana Schoenfeld, Program Associate, Second Nature

Last week, Steve Muzzy and I attended an event hosted by E2/NRDC called “And A Child Shall Lead Us: How Students and Universities Are Leading on Climate Change.”

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national community of business leaders and professionals committed to protecting the environment in ways that build economic prosperity. NRDC’s policy and science experts work in partnership with E2 to identify critical environmental issues, key players, and strategic actions. Members of E2 are called upon to work with public officials to influence state and national policy—leveraging their business expertise to highlight the economic benefits of environmental policies.

We were thrilled to hear the work of the ACUPCC highlighted at this event. The speakers at the event included:

Maine Presidents Working Together for Sustainability

November 11, 2009

by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Last Friday Tony and I had the privilege of heading up to beautiful Freeport, Maine (in a Prius ZipCar, of course!) to meet with a group of college and university presidents who had gathered for a sustainability-themed meeting of the Maine Higher Education Council.

Unfortunately, we were not able to attend the full session, but we did catch a bit of Leith Sharp’s talk on Strategic Leadership for Campus Sustainability and Energy Efficiency, which was terrific. We had a great lunch meeting with Presidents from around the state, discussing how they might work together to tackle the tough problems of climate action planning, incorporating sustainability into the educational experience of students in all disciplines in a meaningful way, and catalyzing a new kind of 21st century sustainable economic development from the higher ed sector.

From left to right: Mitch Thomashow (President, Unity College); Tony Cortese (President, Second Nature); Len Tyler (President, Maine Maritime Academy); Catherine Longley (VP of Finance and Administration, Bowdoin College); Barbara Woodley (President, Kennebec Valley Community College); Joyce Hedlund (President, Eastern Maine Community College); Sharon Kuhrt (President, Central Maine Medical Center); Theo Kalikow (President, University of Maine at Farmington); Donald Zillman (President, University of Maine at Presque Isle); Not pictured: Thom Johnston (President, New England School of Communication); Allyson Hughes Handley (University of Maine at Augusta)


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