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 August 2007 • NIRSA news and information
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Updates from HEASC

NIRSA is a proud member of the Higher Education Associations’ Sustainability Consortium

Duke Signs on to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment

Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University signed the ACUPCC this week. Other recent signatories include Sewanee (The University of the South), George Mason University in Virginia and Central Connecticut State University. To date, we have 330 signatories to the commitment.

The University of British Columbia to Explore Canadian Climate Commitment

Stephen Toope, president of The University of British Columbia (UBC) announced that they are going to explore an approach to work alongside other British Columbian universities to form an initiative that will parallel the ACUPCC called the “Canadian University Alliance on Climate Action”. Forming a separate alliance will allow them to work within Canadian programs and policies. The alliance will work with ACUPCC to learn from its experience thus far and to share information. (UBC is a member of AASHE.)

HEASC Influencing Education for Sustainable Development Globally

The formation, resources and work of HEASC were shared at two international events this summer: the UN conference on Education for Sustainable Development, and the convening of “global leaders in sustainability in higher education” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Debra Rowe was the U.S. keynote speaker at the UN conference and Tom Kimmerer and Debra were participants at the sessions at MIT. Leaders in the European Union, Asia and Central and South America from both events were particularly impressed with the structure of both HEASC and the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability (DANS) and indicated that similar networks would be good next steps in their areas of the world. Leaders in the European Union (e.g., UNESCO Chair of Education for Sustainable Development in Germany Dr. Gerd Michelson) expressed their intention to utilize the HEASC and DANS conceptual frameworks in their ongoing efforts. Congratulations to all. Little did we know that what we were doing in the U.S. would make such a contribution to other areas of the world.

Article in Science Magazine Highlights HEASC Mission

Education for a Sustainable Future, a Policy Forum written by Debra Rowe and published in the esteemed Science magazine on July 20, highlights the formation of HEASC and its mission as well as the national trends toward education for sustainability. The article will be posted on the HEASC website (under Resources) in the near future.

Report from ACPA’s Presidential Task Force on Sustainability

Below are some of the activities and plans that ACPA’s Presidential Taskforce on Sustainability has been involved with recently:

  • The Taskforce met July 11 and 12 at Washington University in St. Louis as part of the ACPA Summer Leadership Gathering.
  • The Taskforce is in the process of creating a document that outlines the professional competencies needed by student affairs professionals as related to sustainability.
  • The Taskforce met with representatives of ACPA’s Commission for Assessment in Student Development to begin gathering assessment resources related to ACPA’s sustainability learning outcomes.
  • ACPA is planning a sustainability conference in June 2008 at Harvard University in Boston.

Paper Calculator from Environmental Defense and Rainforest Alliance Certified Wood and Paper

The Paper Calculator from Environmental Defense is a great tool for comparing different types of paper and their environmental impact in terms of wood use, total energy, GHG emissions, wastewater and solid waste—through their entire lifecycle. The calculator allows you to select criteria, such as paper types, and then run a comparison showing the impacts of each. The calculator can be found at:

In addition, you can download “SmartGuides” that contain sources and information for sustainable wood and paper, certified by the Rainforest Alliance and the Forest Stewardship Council, at:

James Hansen Paper States the IPCC Report is Too Optimistic

Dr. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute, along with several other scientists, recently published a paper stating that the earth’s climate is approaching a tipping point. Lead author Hansen concludes: "If global emissions of carbon dioxide continue to rise at the rate of the past decade, this research shows that there will be disastrous effects, including increasingly rapid sea level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods, and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones."
For a news release on the findings, visit:

Download the full study:

Greening of the Campus VII Conference at Ball State University: September 6-8

Ball State University will be hosting its seventh Greening of the Campus conference, of which HEASC, AASHE and the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development are partners. This year’s theme is “Partnering for Sustainability: Enabling a Diverse Future.” Keynote speakers include Eban Goodstein of “Focus the Nation” and Debra Rowe of the US Partnership. For more information go to:

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