In this workshop we will hear from Sustainability Staff at 3 Universities who recently published Strategic Visions for Achieving Zero Waste on their campuses.
Developing a Strategic Vision is a campus-wide process of Stakeholder Engagement via intentionally facilitated sessions. First, 20-35 stakeholders are identified (heads of departments, staff who manage programs, frontline workers, student and faculty representatives, etc) and are invited to participate in a series of Visioning Sessions. These visioning sessions are structured to encourage stakeholders to think about long-term solutions and identify areas where strategic investment is needed outside of departmental silos. For example: Do we need a new physical space to manage surplus property? A digital asset management system? A new dishwasher? A facility to manage compost? More staff? Better bins and signage? Etc.
We specifically refer to this process as “strategic visioning” as opposed to “strategic planning” because most campuses aren’t ready for the planning stage yet. To truly address systematic problems in sustainable materials management, we need to bring all stakeholders together around a shared vision that may require a reshuffle of departmentally siloed program responsibilities, or a goal of developing new infrastructure, policies, and systems that don’t currently exist.
During this session we will hear from Campus Sustainability Staff who managed this process in partnership with the Post-Landfill Action Network’s (PLAN’s) Atlas Zero Waste Program. PLAN works with campuses to hire student fellows, who are trained to coordinate stakeholder engagement, schedule visioning sessions, co-facilitate the visioning process, and produce the campus-wide strategic vision for achieving zero waste.
Panelists will reflect on the experience and the outcomes of this process, the benefits of working with and training students to take a leadership role in this effort, as well as the challenges of coordinating and engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders who hold different opinions and ideas for long-term solutions.