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 November 2007 • NIRSA news and information
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Updates from HEASC

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

HEASC Sustainable Meetings and Conferences Report now available

This report was created to help HEASC members understand the trends that are occurring in the green meeting industry and to identify the best resources for helping members implement sustainable practices in their own meetings and conferences. Included in the report are discussions on the major organizations involved in sustainable meetings; green meeting certifications; social sustainability; the use of offsets for conference travel and accommodations; and recommendations. Appendices include various resources on sustainable meetings and conferences. Download the report.

Note that this report is another tool to help HEASC members with sustainability in meetings and conferences. A Sustainable Meetings and Conferences Questionnaire for use in RFPs to vendors and suppliers was published in June of this year.

Registration open for Greening the Hospitality Industry Conference, February 18-21, 2008

The Green Meeting Industry Council's Greening the Hospitality Industry Conference, entitled "Integrity, Impact and Innovation — Beyond the 4 Walls," will take place February 18-21, 2008 in Vancouver, BC. Topics include: impacts of conferences on host communities, standardization and certification, measuring and benchmarking, and a pre-conference session, Green Meetings 101. If you are involved in planning and organizing meetings, this conference will provide a great way to network with others in the industry and learn more about sustainable practices.

Read "A Moment of Grace: Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum" by Peter Bardaglio

The October-December 2007 issue of SCUP's Planning for Higher Education Journal includes an article written by Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow at Second Nature and former provost and vice president for academic affairs at Ithaca College. In the article, Bardaglio examines how four institutions—Northern Arizona University, Emory University, Berea College, and Ithaca College—are incorporating sustainability into their curricula.

Read the article.

Take the latest Carbon Conscious Consumer Pledge with New American Dream: Ditch bottled water

The Center for the New American Dream, an advocacy group whose mission is to help Americans live more simply by reducing consumption and waste, has initiated a new campaign: the Carbon Conscious Consumer Pledge. This month's pledge is to "break the bottled water habit." If you know anything about the impacts of bottled water, you know that it is significant. As started on the New American Dream website:

Manufacturing all those bottles requires 900,000 tons of plastic, the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, and emit more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Trucking around all those heavy bottles emits even more greenhouse gases. Beyond the climate impact there's the massive waste — 86% of water bottles aren't recycled — and water bottling is also, ironically, a very water-intensive endeavor. The Pacific Institute tells us that it takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water! And the truth is that the quality of tap water in many US cities is very good. (See to find out about the quality of your tap water.) Consider taking the pledge at:

Climate Change and Higher Education webcast

Climate Change and Higher Education: Leadership to Achieve Climate Neutrality is the title of an upcoming webcast on December 12, 2007, featuring Billy Parish, co-founder and coordinator of the Energy Action Coalition; and Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University; hosted by SCUP and The New York Times. With the threat of a runaway climate change as a pressing environmental issue, this webcast will provide models which are transferable to other higher education institutions, corporations, and communities and provide best practices, national trends, and resources for you to utilize. Learn more and register at:

Support the Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA)

The Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) has been reintroduced into the House of Representatives as HR 3637. HESA amends the Higher Education Act to authorize a new $50 million grant program at the Department of Education that will annually support between 25 and 200 projects at higher education institutions and consortia/associations. Although HESA, when introduced in 2005, failed to pass in committee by 3 votes, it has a very good chance of passing this time—however, it needs your support.

To date, four HEASC member associations have co-signed a letter of support: ACUHO-I, AASHE, NACUBO and NIRSA. You can help by:

  • Having your institution also co-sign the letter (available at
  • Reaching out by email and/or phone to your Congressional delegation and ask them to support HESA (and if they are a Representative, to consider co-sponsoring HESA).

Consider signing on to the Climate Savers Computing Initiative

As stated on the Climate Savers Computing Initiative website, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half the power delivered to it. This wasted electricity unnecessarily increases the cost of powering a computer, and it also increases the emission of greenhouse gases. Started by Google and Intel in 2007, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative is a nonprofit group of consumers, businesses and conservation organizations whose mission is to promote development, deployment and adoption of smart technologies that can both improve the efficiency of a computer's power delivery and reduce the energy consumed when the computer is in an inactive state. By 2010, Climate Savers seek to reduce global CO2 emissions from the operation of computers by 54 million tons per year, equivalent to the annual output of 11 million cars or 10-20 coal-fired power plants. To find out more about the initiative and how you can participate, visit

United Nations Environment Programme's new Education Toolkit on Sustainability Communications

Just released in July of this year, UNEP has created a CD-ROM (runs online in a browser window) containing a series of courses on communicating sustainability. The main topics addressed in this CD-ROM are:

  • Sustainable development: ethics and social practices (module I)
  • The economic and social context for sustainability communications (module II)
  • The practice of sustainability communications: from innovation to risk (module III)
  • Practices and exercises in marketing and communication (module IV)
  • Analysis of various public and private campaigns around the world
  • Resources: documents, web links, bibliographies, etc.

The presentation is engaging and user-friendly, allowing the participant to navigate easily between slides/concepts and to get additional information by clicking on icons. The content is rich, presenting basic concepts as well as supplying more in depth material, example cases, and resources. Take a (sustainable) test drive at

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