Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

2020 Sustainability Professionals Retreat: Accelerating your Impact


The 2020 Sustainability Professionals Retreat will help you accelerate your ability to effectively and courageously engage your campus community around the unfolding climate crisis and its implications for higher education and society. Apply today if you seek to:

Event Type:
Workshops/Training Courses
Jun. 28, 2020 - Jul. 1, 2020
338 Plush Mill Rd
Wallingford , PA , USA

Accelerate Your Impact – Experience and learn tools to maximize the effectiveness of your sustainability leadership work. Bring your most difficult challenges and get targeted support through small group coaching, mapping processes and expert faculty to accelerate your progress and success.

Unleash Collective Intelligence – Advance your capacities in systems thinking, organizational design, leading change, cultivating social intelligence, and relationship-building skills to unleash the collective intelligence of your organization. 

Engage in Renewal – Like most sustainability leaders, you are probably being stretched to your limits, and investing in your own growth and self-care may seem a low priority. However, to be most effective as leaders and change agents in our communities, we must invest in our own growth and renewal, building our internal capacity to live from the paradigms that support the future we want and creating the invitation for others to do the same. Participants in this workshop will engage in practices for growth, self-care and well-being and learn practices for resilience that we can share with our teams and communities. 

Deepen your Network – Build relationships for ongoing support and advice. Grow your professional network and expand your access to peer to peer learning.

Key Details

Retreat Dates: The retreat will last 3 full days from June 28-July 1, 2020. The program starts at 2 p.m. on the 28 and will end at 2 p.m. on July 1st. All participants are asked to be present for the entire duration of the event.
Location: The retreat will take place at the beautiful Pendle Hill Retreat Center near Philadelphia, PA.
Registration Fee: $595 (AASHE members), $695 (AASHE non-members) – Includes programming and meals
Lodging: Most attendees will stay at Pendle Hill, where the standard rate is $100 per night for a single room with shared bathroom. Double rooms available for those who bring partners for increased fee. Attendees can also choose to stay at the nearby Inn at Swarthmore (prices vary, and you will need to find your own breakfast and transportation to Pendle Hill).
Post-Retreat Hike: An optional hike through Crum Woods, Swarthmore College Arboretum tour, and dinner (not included in registration) will take place the afternoon of July 1 from 2-7 p.m.

Application & Registration Process

  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until May 1, 2020, or until space is filled; early application is recommended.
  • Once your application is approved you will be provided with a request for payment.
  • Payment will be accepted in the form of Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover cards or checks.
  • Payment is required within 10 business days after being accepted to secure your seat.

Who Attends?

This retreat is designed for systems change and sustainability practitioners from higher education, local government, business and not for profit organizations wanting to accelerate impact, lead with purpose, renew focus and advance critical change-leadership skills. Participants are immersed with 30-40 other change leaders plus a dedicated content delivery team. Past participants have included sustainability professionals, faculty who play/would like to play a leading role in the institution’s sustainability efforts, government and business representatives.

Why attend?

Sustainability leadership is one of the fastest moving leadership fields in the 21st century. Professional development specific to sustainability leadership is a must for any individual and organization that is serious about making an impact. Given the current state of the world, this year’s retreat will focus on tools and techniques to directly address the climate crisis and the role of our institutions in responding to the urgency of our times.

When it comes to your professional development, the 2020 AASHE Sustainability Professional Retreat fills a crucial role in providing tailored, deep-dive, small group professional development and impact acceleration. Obtaining support to attend is easier when you can explain the benefits of attending for both you as an individual and your wider organization/community.

To help justify your attendance and gain funding approval, we recommend the following:

  • Articulate the value proposition – Obtaining support to attend is easier when you can explain the benefits of attending for both you as an individual and your wider organization/community. Focus on the leadership development and impact areas that are most relevant for your organization and for you personally. 
  • Formalize your request in writing – To make things as easy as possible, we have created a template request for approval to attend that you are welcome to download and use.
  • Prepare a budget for the cost of attending – Carefully map out all of the likely expenses for attending and consider options for cutting costs such as booking flights early. You will find a starter budget in the draft letter.
  • Be accessible – Demonstrate to your colleagues that you are reachable during your time away from the office if anything urgent arises.
  • Schedule a debriefing – An effective re-entry debrief can demonstrate the value in attending and plant the seeds for attendance at future offerings so be sure to set up a meeting to share what you learned. Much of our retreat content has been open-sourced by our content providers to enable attendees to bring what they learn home.
Program Design

The program will be comprised of the following elements:

  • Presentations and facilitated discussions ~20%
    Our delivery team has deep experience in senior leadership engagement, change leadership, purpose-driven leadership, sustainability strategic planning, green buildings, integrating justice and equity, greenhouse gas reduction, waste reduction, stakeholder engagement and much more.

    • Self-care, renewal, and personal development ~20%
      Guided practices and immersive experiences designed for growth, healing, and to build your internal capacity for leadership and strength, and instruction for how to offer these tools to your community.
    • Group activities to engage with peers in shared learning ~20%
      Interactive, generative and dynamic activities, processes and techniques for increasing group intelligence, fostering higher levels of emotional & social intelligence.

    • Participant-driven exchanges (short talks, panels & group sessions) ~20%
      Deep discussions and valuable exchanges with your peers to learn about a wide range of emerging projects, practices, processes and approaches.
    • Networking: breaks, meals, end-of-day gatherings, reception event, etc. ~20%
      Build lasting support systems through meaningful connections with other sustainability leaders.

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