This won't be the first time that UC Santa Barbara will host the annual UC, CSU, CCC Sustainability Conference –– UCSB has been the site for the event four other times in the past eight years. But this time, when 800 conferees from almost 70 California universities, colleges and community colleges gather at UCSB June 21-24 to highlight sustainability initiatives on their campuses, things will be different.
This year's sold-out conference, "Working Our Way to Zero," will practice what it preaches about sustainability. Among its many green initiatives, conference organizers will offer:
·Webcasts and podcasts of 13 conference sessions, as well as all three keynote presentations, for free. (To register for the free webcasts, go to http://sustainability.ucsb.edu/conference/webcasting.php.)
·Opportunities for speakers who could not attend the conference to speak from home and be broadcast at the conference.
·A social networking site through a service called "Ning," allowing those who could not attend to discuss sustainability matters freely.
In addition, conference organizers are planning a comprehensive recycling program for all paper provided and used in the conference, as well as encouraging exhibitors and speakers to make their products available online rather than in print form. They also are offering a vegan option for all meals; eliminating trays at all cafeteria-style meals; encouraging attendees to carpool, train, or ride bikes to the conference; and encouraging participants to stay on campus, rather than commuting from hotels in the area.
Those are just a few of the many ways that this conference will be greener than any previous sustainability gathering.
"The conference showcases best practices and we have continually set new standards with our greening efforts," said Mo Lovegreen, conference co-organizer and executive officer in UCSB's Department of Geography. "This year, with the budget challenges, reducing costs for the event was critical, but it also provided us with an opportunity to explore new opportunities. We are really excited about the webcasting and reaching out to new audiences across the nation."
Katie Maynard, campus sustainability coordinator and conference co-organizer, said that on-site registration will not be possible since the conference is sold out. "But we are encouraging community members to attend via the free webcasts," Maynard said.
The conference begins with an early-arrival breakfast on Sunday, June 21, followed by several workshops and tours. Exhibitors will begin setting up at noon in Storke Plaza, the conference's main staging area, next to the University Center. Registration is from 5-8 p.m.
The opening plenary session, at 8 a.m. Monday, June 22, in Campbell Hall, will feature remarks by Ron Cortez, associate vice chancellor, administrative services, and UCSB's top sustainability official; and UC Regent Bonnie Reiss. The keynote speaker will be Dave Newport, director of the Environmental Center at University of Colorado at Boulder.
There will be two other plenary sessions: Systemwide Perspectives on Sustainability, Tuesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Campbell Hall; and Closing and Action-Planning Plenary, Tuesday, 3:30-5:30 p.m., also in Campbell Hall.
The four-day conference will include dozens of seminars and presentations at various campus venues. Among the highlights are sessions on green building solutions, best practices for student sustainability programs, innovative technologies in labs and data centers, campus lighting design, and student presentations on sustainable transportation.
The conference closes at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 24.
For a full schedule of conference events, go to http://sustainability.ucsb.edu/conference/program.php