Office of Sustainability Conducts Skill Building Workshop

In May 2011 a group of twenty Auburn University students, administrators, faculty and staff joined the Office of Sustainability in an intensive 3-day workshop entitled the “AtKisson ISIS Accelerator Course: Practical Tools for Mainstreaming Sustainability into Higher Education.” The workshop was offered by The AtKisson Group, an international sustainability consulting firm based in Stockholm, Sweden, and led by Robert Steele, an AtKisson Group Senior Associate based in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Office of Sustainability had identified AtKisson’s ISIS Method (ISIS stands for Indicators, Systems, Innovations, and Strategies) as a practical and effective set of tools and processes that are applicable to campus operations as well as classes, research projects, and university outreach activities. Participants used a real-life case study of drafting a sustainability plan for Auburn University to learn and practice the tools and processes of the ISIS Method that the Office of Sustainability will be using in its work on and off campus.

The workshop began by exploring the principles, issues, conditions and trends of sustainability from a global perspective, and then applied them specifically to Auburn University. After examining on-campus indicators of sustainability from the “compass point” perspectives of Society, the Economy, Nature, and individual Wellbeing, the group built a pyramid of priorities and possibilities that culminated in a focus on 1) reducing Auburn’s ecological footprint, 2) reducing purchased electricity and gas, 3) more effectively engaging students, faculty, and staff in sustainability-related initiatives, and 4) creating a sustainability alliance comprised of on-campus individuals and groups committed to enhancing the ethic and practice of sustainability at Auburn University, and housed at the Office of Sustainability.

The outcomes of the workshop will inform the next phase of work being undertaken by the Office of Sustainability as it enters an intensive period of strategic planning. For more information, contact Mike Kensler, Nanette Chadwick, or Matt Williams in the Office of Sustainability.