By UW Sustainability | Aug 17, 2018
Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference 2018

Update: The submission deadline for WOHESC 2019 has been extended to October 15, 2018

The University of Washington is hosting the Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) February 25 - 27, 2019. WOHESC is currently looking for session and speaker proposals. The submission deadline is Oct. 5, 2018 - see below for more details.

WOHESC call for proposals

Download a PDF with the full details or see below:

Event Summary

The Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) is an opportunity for collective direction and solidarity in higher education for our region. As political, social and environmental issues become more complex, WOHESC convenes and empowers stakeholders who are driving leadership and generating solutions for a more sustainable, just and equitable future. Our aim is to both enliven the role of higher education in the future of Washington and Oregon and the role students play in a future world.

WOHESC 2019 will continue its work advancing equity, diversity and inclusion through thematic elements, speakers and attendees. We aim to examine systemic change and generate dialogue that guides and inspires action.

Session, Speaker, Poster Proposal Selection Criteria

  • Actionable and Transferable. We want attendees to leave breakout sessions with a skill they can put to use, a project they can implement, or new knowledge of a subject to take back to their own work. Proposals should generate meaningful and actionable learning objectives and ideas that transfer between institutions and will launch discussion about overcoming the limitations of replication.
  • Creativity of Subject Matter. We are interested in creative problem solving that goes beyond what has been tried before and will inspire action and thinking outside of the box. We are particularly looking for innovative proposals that will inspire solution-building in the sessions with attendees.
  • Connectivity. We seek proposals that assemble linkages among faculty and curriculum development activities, campus operations, research, student affairs, and student initiatives. This event aspires to bring stakeholders together from separate divisions of the campus to create collaboration and to break-down traditional silos.
  • Quality. We are looking for high quality session abstracts that describe how the proposal will convey a clearly articulated subject and objective. We are dedicated to ensuring that the presentations at our conference meet the high standards of the academic institutions that host the conference.
  • Interaction and Inclusivity. Above all, we seek to include diversity in our presentations and speakers. Our selection team is committed to proposals that will bring an engaging delivery of presentations and inclusive interaction for everyone. Preference will be given to proposals that outline participative and experiential formats.

Topic Areas

WOHESC is seeking, but is not limited to, submissions from the list of topics outlined below:

Social Justice, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

WOHESC will continue its work advancing equity, diversity and inclusion through thematic elements and speakers in the program:

  • Social and environmental justice initiatives
  • Diversity and the environment
  • Inclusivity on campus
  • Civic community engagement
  • Equity based projects


We seek proposals that are interested in the ways that students, faculty, and staff are choosing to participate and become involved in sustainability issues:

  • “Green” jobs and career services
  • Social justice movements
  • Improving human health and wellbeing
  • Local community engagement
  • Outreach and collaboration
  • Professional development for students


We seek proposals from students, faculty, and staff to discuss how sustainability impacts their area of study. Some ideas may include:

  • Assessments of student sustainability literacy
  • Coursework focused on service learning or community based research
  • Cross-departmental learning
  • New curricular pathways and concentrations/minors in sustainability

Innovation and Leadership

We seek proposals that examine the movements happening on campuses across Oregon and Washington and the unique ways that students, faculty, and staff are influencing sustainable change on their campuses:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Innovative technologies
  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Student-led initiatives
  • Systemic change as an operating principle
  • Zero waste strategies
  • Behavior changes


We seek proposals that demonstrate bridging the gap between campus life and the greater community at large:

  • Systemic change
  • Community collaborations
  • Economic inequity
  • Business case studies and career opportunities


We seek proposals that are focused on how a university or college can be run more sustainably and/or that increases the efficiency of the campus:

  • Climate action planning; resilience and readiness
  • Communicating sustainable practices to the campus community
  • Clean energy, energy & water efficiency and other cost saving operational measures
  • Food procurement
  • Preserving the natural habitat
  • Sustainability in campus master plans and campus policies
  • Tracking progress
  • Working with campus administrators
  • Waste reduction and consumption; reuse and repurposing

Planning and Administration

We seek proposals that look at the big picture of how universities can take steps towards modeling and leading sustainability in our communities:

  • Divestment
  • Community partnerships and regional collaboration
  • Funding university sustainability
  • Strategic planning and changes to institutional policies
  • Responses to state legislation

Session Types/Styles

WOHESC is seeking, but is not limited to, submissions for different session styles described in detail below. All concurrent breakout sessions will be 60 – 75 minutes in length.

Case Study/Speakers (for inclusion as a part of a session or panel)
Submit a new and original case study that demonstrates leadership, busting the status quo and developing inventive breakthroughs in thinking. This could be combined with other case studies/speakers into one inclusive session.

Participative Panel Discussion (3-4 speakers and a moderator)
An interactive version of conventional panel presentations with 3-4 speakers and a moderator leading the group discussion; emphasis will be on drawing connections between the panelists’ perspectives. The aim will be to both share fresh ideas and generate new knowledge amongst the participants in the room.

Solutions Roundtable/ Interactive Workshop (facilitated conversations for problem solving)
Alternative formats for hands-on, experiential learning; sessions can be outlined in any structure depending on the topic areas and selected proposals. Designed to provide space and facilitation for those champions who are ready to dive in using group discussion, these sessions will bring mixed perspectives together to tackle the bigger picture sustainability challenges facing higher education institutions. These sessions will require experienced facilitators to introduce the topic and provide background information to the room. Proposals will require additional information including a session timing outline and a session pedagogy including learning design, activities and engagement tasks and actionable takeaways.

Pecha Kucha/Lightening Round/Case Study Jam Session
Be prepared! This lively session will cover a lot of information in a limited amount of time. Pecha Kucha is a presentation style in which a number of slides are shown for a certain amount of time each. The format keeps presentations concise and fast-paced to power multiple-speaker events. A lightning round is a round of a game or contest in which the duration of the round is a pre-determined length of time, and the goal is typically to accomplish as much as possible within that period.

PLEASE NOTE: WOHESC reserves the right to make changes to submissions and require alternative combinations of speakers and case studies to most effectively shape each session’s content and the conference sustainable learning experience as a whole.


The Planning Committee invites proposals for posters to be displayed for the duration of the conference in our venue foyer and highlighted during a dedicated part of the program. The goal of the posters is to showcase a range of ongoing sustainability projects and research via visual presentation of a topic allowing viewers to learn on their own while the presenter discusses particular points in one-on-one or small group conversations. The Planning Committee will select up to 20 project posters to feature at the conference.

To submit a proposal for a poster, please use the online proposal submission form below. Be sure to provide a description of the project to be highlighted, how it contributes to the overall sustainability of your campus, and how it addresses the conference theme. Posters must be printed and mounted by presenter; WOHESC will not be responsible for printing posters.

Speaker Guidelines

Presentations are not meant to be a platform for business promotion. WOHESC requests that all proposals tie directly to offering educational outcomes and actionable next steps/takeaways for attendees. Speakers are responsible for confirming that they have the right to use and will acquire the licenses needed for any copyrighted material used in the presentation. We will ask all speakers to sign a waiver if they wish to share their presentation materials through WOHESC communication channels. Speakers with accepted proposals will be expected to register for and attend the conference for a special discounted speaker rate, at their own expense.

How to Submit

All proposals must be submitted through our online submission form. All information outlined below is required submitted proposals:

  • Submitter’s full name and contact information: The "submitter" is the individual completing the online form and who will be available to answer any logistical questions about its contents, regardless of whether he/she is the proposed speaker/presenter.
  • Proposal Title (20 words maximum)
  • Abstract (500 words maximum)
  • Proposal type/session style
  • Relevant Audience- please specify if you are submitting your session for a student focused audience
  • Learning objectives (please list 3-4 lessons/insights the audience will take away from this session and be able to utilize in their work)
  • Additional Proposed Speakers (name, affiliation, title, email address)

Solutions Roundtable/ Interactive Workshop proposals will require the below additional information:

  • Session timing outline
  • Session pedagogy including learning design, activities and engagement tasks and actionable takeaways achieved from attending the workshop. Please also make note of any special materials, room structure or capabilities your session requires.

Call for Proposals Timeline

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - Call for proposals issued
Friday, October 5, 2018 - Deadline for proposal submissions
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Selection decisions announced
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - WOHESC 2019 program announced
February 25-27, 2019 - Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference

For additional information, contact: Sierra Winegarner at To view previous year program agendas and session descriptions, please visit:

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