SustainableUMD
Sustainability at the University of Maryland
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Call for Proposals

SSCC sets itself apart from other conferences by creating a program that features in-depth presentations and workshops. Sessions are 50 and 80-minutes in length allowing for dialogue and shared learning. Proposals are also accepted for poster presentations.

The 80-minute interactive sessions will allow facilitators and attendees to dig deeper into a particular topic area using active and participatory learning strategies. 50-minute presentation sessions allow more time for questions and contributions by attendees.

New for 2016: Your workshop or presentation will be highlighted in the conference program and website if it is made up of an alternative format or meeting style including, but not limited to: Liberating Structures, World Café, Appreciative Inquiry, skits, and fishbowl. This is a session that moves beyond table group discussions and focuses on a participant-driven session. Your strategies must be outlined in detail in your submission.

Conference Tracks

We welcome presentation proposals linked to the 2016 conference tracks:

1. Measuring Our Impact
As sustainability change agents in post-secondary institutions, we are often faced with questions related to measuring change, the effectiveness of our initiatives, and ROI. As leaders, it is important for us to both know the questions we are seeking to answer, and to have a solid grasp of methods used to measure, track and report progress. By moving beyond strictly subjective, anecdotal evidence and client satisfaction, we strengthen our credibility and value by focusing on measuring impact, and using results to focus our efforts and improve our programs. Proposals will explore how institutions define key metrics, how they collect, process, analyze, and interpret data, and how they use the results in decision-making. Topics may include, but are not limited to: defining measures, performance metrics, behavior change evidence, cost reduction/avoidance, business cases, life-cycle analysis, social change, policy change, efficiencies, and assessing returns on investment (e.g., utilities, resources, staff hours, etc.).

2. Education for Sustainability: Innovating Curriculum and Research
As the workplace and industry continue to change to meet the demands and challenges of the 21st century, we need to prepare our students to one day manage our world’s complex problems. The campus environment offers unique opportunities for researching and learning about full-spectrum sustainability beyond operations, which will equip students with the knowledge, skills, and expertise needed for this new paradigm. How is your institution handling curriculum and research integration for sustainability? What innovative pedagogy lies at the nexus of academics and operations? How will learning about sustainability prepare students for success beyond campus? What pedagogical models do you have to share which can be utilized by others in the community? Submissions should include the process for implementation, parties involved, challenges, and lessons learned along with successes.

3. The Built Environment
How do you improve campus and community well-being through the built environment? It’s not just about the buildings; it includes roads and trails, parks and landscaping, transportation, and how we interact with these campus systems. Planning for the built environment impacts the natural environment, and can influence water quality, stormwater runoff, soil compaction, noise, air quality, and our greater communities. How is your project inclusive of environmental restoration, learning landscapes and gardens, walkability/bikeability, food systems, and/or utilities? Presentations and workshops within this track will examine innovative projects from the planning stage through operations and maintenance. Proposals should include innovative projects or processes that can be replicated on other campuses.

4. Change Management: Towards Transformation
So, you’ve established a sustainability program on your campus. But how can you integrate sustainability into your organizational culture, identity, governance, and decision making, thereby transforming the institution? We are looking for submissions that tackle consensus-building with stakeholders and finding collaborative ways of mitigating and managing sustainability and risk. Submissions in this track should include an examination of your process rather than your content. How did you engage senior leadership? What path did you take in strategic, sustainability, or climate action planning or goal setting? How did you overcome change resistors and/or obstacles? How did you create a culture of change? Is change management sustainable at your institution? What challenges did you face? Bumps in the road are often our greatest teachers. Submissions to this track can also include the development or operation of behavior change, social norming or community-based social marketing programs.

5. Expanding the Sustainability Community
Higher education sustainability practitioners have the opportunity to partner with communities of all kinds, including local governments, faith-based organizations, and on-campus groups. Far too often we work in parallel rather than combining our abilities and resources to reach shared goals. How can we apply lessons in civic engagement, diversity, and applied learning to sustainability practices? Likewise, how can we apply the understanding of climate action on campus to accelerate resiliency planning on campuses and beyond? Workshops and presentations in this track should pertain to broadening the impact of campus learning, building relationships across traditional constituencies, and establishing connections to diverse community resources.

To Submit:

Step 1:
Download and review the Proposal Submission and Review Process
Step 2:
Submit Your Proposal by October 23, 2015, 11:59 PM PDT