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Campus to host Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability Conference

Posted by Allyce Amidon '12, Falcon Heights, Center for Small Towns on Friday, Sep. 23, 2011

The University of Minnesota, Morris will host the 2011 annual Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability (UMACS) conference on Friday, September 23 through Saturday, September 24. Registration is now closed.

The theme for the conference, Creating Change Together, highlights community engagement. The keynote speakers are Julian Keniry, senior director of campus and community leadership at the National Wildlife Federation, and Patrick Moore, executive director of Clean Up the River Environment (CURE). Renewable energy tours will be offered, as well as healthy and local foods tours, courtesy of the Morris Healthy Eating Initiative. The conference will also include presentations and posters from Stevens FORWARD! and Morris faculty, staff, and students.

Says Troy Goodnough, Morris campus sustainability coordinator, “This is an event that engages both our local community and our regional community. It is always great to share our story and learn from the stories of our friends.”

The conference will be bookended by two special events. A University of Minnesota Systemwide Sustainability Leadership event will precede the conference, and the University of Minnesota, Morris Wind Turbine Dedication will close the conference. The dedication is open to the public, and no registration is required.

The 2011 UMACS conference is made possible through a collaborative effort between the UMACS steering committee with representatives from Luther College the University of Wisconsin, River Falls Northland College Macalester College the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University and the National Wildlife Federation.

UMACS works to encourage the sharing of information and resources on campus sustainability, to encourage campuses to establish ongoing environmental audits and greenhouse gas inventories, and to break down barriers to collaboration between campuses and academic/professional staff/students at individual schools. Institutions of higher education are major players in regional, state, and local economies, and are responsible for educating the next generation of leaders in government, business, and our communities. While many individual institutions have made significant advances toward sustainability in education and practice, we need more collective effort and coordination on this front in the Midwest. UMACS was established in 2005 to address this problem by encouraging networking, information sharing, cooperative research, and by hosting regular meetings to bring together academic and operations people from a variety of campuses as well as students active in sustainability on their campuses. UMACS is currently a volunteer operation, with no paid staff or annual budget, governed by a volunteer steering committee.