The Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) is an annual, regional conference convening staff, students, and faculty from around the Pacific Northwest. In March 2020, the UO Sustainability office and Student Sustainability Center, hosted the conference on our Eugene campus. The 2020 conference included keynotes, plenaries, panel presentations, and student engagement opportunities around the theme of Root Causes and Positive Actions.
WOHESC 2020 continued the conference’s commitment to equity and inclusion with a focus on putting equity and environmental justice into practice. It included a plenary on the role of the Chief Sustainability Officer, as well as career development and professional headshot opportunities for students. Five conference tracks focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Engagement; Academics; Operations and Facilities; and Student Leadership.
New offerings at this WOHESC included our first ever virtual session, convening experts on the feasibility of nuclear power as a solution to the climate crisis and our energy needs. It also included a pre-conference design challenge for undergraduates; an update from one of the Juliana vs. US plaintiffs on the state of their historic climate change case, followed by a performance from the UO’s acapella group Mind the Gap; and a panel of writers from various genres discussing their creative and intellectual approach to writing about the climate crisis.
In total we had 453 attendees, including 140 students. Next year’s conference will be held at South Seattle College, with a theme of People, Planet, People: Envisioning Higher Education Sustainability and Resilience. View the Call for Proposals.