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USM hosts Northeast conference on campus sustainability

The University of Southern Maine hosted a two-day conference on environmental sustainability on college campuses, gathering about 75 experts from colleges and universities from throughout the Northeast.

The event, 15th Annual Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium Conference, was held on June 17th and 18th on USM’s Portland Campus.

USM President Glenn Cummings gave the keynote address and moderated a presidents’ panel included Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose and University of New England President James Herbert.

"The NECSC conference is a special gathering because it brings sustainability professionals together from colleges and universities across the region to share ideas and build a sense of community,” said Aaron Witham, who serves USM’s Facilities Management office as the assistant director for Sustainable Programs.

The conference also featured a variety of informational sessions looking at issues ranging from carbon neutrality and waste production to building and communicating the need for environmentally sustainable campuses.

“Sometimes it can feel lonely working on sustainability at each of our institutions because we are often on the fringes, pushing boulders up mountains,” Witham said. “The conference gives us a rare opportunity to share our challenges, fears and hopes with like-minded people."

"It is an honor and privilege to now be hosting it at USM,” Witham said.

This is the first time that USM has hosted the conference. The event was co-hosted by Bowdoin College, Bates College, the University of Maine, the University of New England, Thomas College, Wesleyan College and Unity College.