ASCC Students Invited to Island Sustainability Conference

Press Release – ASCC

Thursday, January 25, 2012 ASCC Students Invited to Island Sustainability Conference on Guam By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press OfficerThursday, January 25, 2012

ASCC Students Invited to Island Sustainability Conference on Guam

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The 2nd Regional Conference on Island Sustainability Conference will take place this year on April 18th and 19th at the Hyatt Regency in Tumon, Guam. Conference organizers the Center for Island Sustainability (CIS), have invited a student from the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) to travel to Guam to attend the event with all expenses paid. Between now and February 15th, all ASCC students have the opportunity to submit a 2,500 word essay that answers the question, “What is your idea of a sustainable island community?” A panel of judges from the conference will select one winning essay, and its author will receive paid round-trip airfare from American Samoa to Guam, four to five nights hotel accommodations (depending on fight schedules) and meal allowances.

Established in 2009 and based at the University of Guam, the CIS strives to develop island-based models for sustainability. Initiated by President Robert Underwood, the CIS has become the focal point for adapting and modeling renewable, sustainable and appropriate technologies focusing on indigenous energy alternatives and replicable research that meets the needs of island communities in the broader areas of the environment, society, the economy and education.

The conference theme is “Guam in 2050 – Developing our Sustainable Future: What is the Cost of Doing Nothing?” While the theme may focus on Guam in particular, the discussions on sustainable resources for island communities have relevance for the entire Pacific region. These discussions take place along five different tracks, which the conference website lists as Modeling Sustainable Energy Management; Replicable & Appropriate Technical Innovations; Policy Implementation; Sustainable Environments; and Conservation of our Natural Environment. Plenary Speaker will Alex Steffen, one of the world’s leading voices on sustainability, social innovation and planetary futurism, will join presenters from Guam and other parts of the Pacific for the event.

In addition to ASCC, the conference organizers have invited students at the College of Micronesia, the College of the Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas College, Palau Community College, and all University of Hawaii schools to enter the essay contest. Essays will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the conference committee, and the winning writers will be informed by the middle of March. When asked what advice he would give students writing for the first time about sustainability, conference co-organizer Larry Gamboa of the University of Guam suggested they search out blog sites such as “Sustainable Energy for Islands” and “Sustainable Island Livelihoods” to get an impression of the existing dialog on this subject.

“’Sustainable Island Livelihoods,’ for example, proposes, debates, develops, and suggests means of testing and implementing development strategies and sustainable livelihoods which might be particularly relevant to islands,” said Gamboa in an email response to one such student inquiry. “I would encourage you to write your essay in terms of your island, American Samoa,” he further advised. “For example, you can write about what the challenges are facing American Samoa as it strives to be a ‘sustainable island community.’ You can point out there are challenges with being realistic/relative to the changing modern world, while maintaining your island identity, cultural heritage, unique language, and perhaps, your very way of life.”

Gamboa stressed that all essays must be submitted by email to him at pacificpec@gmail.com by February 15th, and include “CIS Conference Essay” in the subject line. The College’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle should also be cc’d in all email submissions from ASCC students. Anyone with further questions about the essay contest or the conference may contact Gamboa by email.

For the past several years, ASCC has slowly but surely moved towards its own energy-conscious policies. Since fall 2010, a group at ASCC named the ARRA Student Workers has participated in Energy Smart Every Day, a project funded through a grant from the American Samoa Territorial Energy Office to promote increased energy awareness and conservation for our energy future. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the project has involved contests held among the ASCC student clubs as well as in the high schools for the best promotions of energy saving. This semester, the ARRA Student Workers will continue their promotion of energy awareness both on campus and in the local public schools.

The College has also included energy-efficient features in many of its recently renovated buildings, and still observes a campus-wide “dark” period every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from noon to 1 p.m., during which time all lights, air conditioning and electronic devices are shut down.

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ENDS

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