Tufts University students attending the 2022 SSLS at Umass Dartmouth
We are thrilled to announce the 2023 Sustainability Student Leadership Symposium will take place on October 29th, 2023, at Bentley University!
This year's symposium promises to be a milestone event, bringing together student leaders to explore the theme of "Intersectional Environmentalism: Bridging Perspectives for a Sustainable Future." Students will experience these topics through panels, engaging workshops, and an inspiring keynote speech, where we will explore the powerful connections between social inequalities such as race, gender, class, and the environment. This year's event promises to foster dialogue, innovation, and collaboration that can drive tangible impact in our pursuit of a sustainable world.
We are even more excited to announce that this year, we are working with The Association for The Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and inviting student attendees from across the country to attend the SSLS Conference. The AASHE 2023 Conference and Expo will be held in Boston on October 29th – 31st and this collaboration will introduce even more students to the intersection between sustainability and higher education, further enhancing their perspectives and encourage networking amongst like-minded individuals.
The symposium is an opportunity for students to showcase the exemplary work they are doing across universities and colleges in the Northeast. Student-led sessions contribute significantly to the richness of the symposium. Students are encouraged to submit session proposals by Sunday, October 15th.
11:00 am - Registration
11:30 am - Opening remarks, lunch, and networking
12:30 pm - Keynote
1:30 pm - Workshops
3:30 pm - Panel
4:15 pm - Closing remarks
4:30 pm - Shuttle bus to AASHE Conference (Only for students who are participating. Requires separate registration fee.)
What is the Sustainability Student Leaders Symposium?
The annual SSLS (née Eco Rep Symposium) brings together Student Sustainability Leaders from many different colleges and universities in the Northeast to learn and be inspired by each other during a half-day conference. Peer-to-peer sustainability education and engagement programs (sometimes called Eco Reps) are commonly found at colleges and universities with sustainability programs. These students promote environmental stewardship by raising awareness about ecological issues and encouraging environmentally conscious behavior. A list of other names for similar programs can be found here.
The SSLS is a great opportunity for students to learn and be inspired by each other through presentations, workshops, and round-table discussions. The structure of the symposium allows students from different schools to lead sessions on a variety of topics, providing valuable presentation experience as well as facilitating the spread of ideas between schools. Sessions are typically grouped by broad topics, or tracks, such as “engagement,” “building a program,” or “communications.” The symposium typically includes opportunities for students to meet each other and share ideas informally.
The symposium provides an opportunity for attendees to be part of an active community of like-minded individuals striving for positive environmental change on their campus. It also gives students the mobilizing and facilitating tools to create grassroots peer-to-peer environmental education in their communities after they graduate. After attending the symposium, students should feel empowered in their work as sustainability leaders and feel like they have been given new tools to help them overcome barriers they may face in their work.
"It was great to learn about where other students were coming from in terms of background and experience with environmentalism and activism. I had a great time presenting about my experience taking part in Project Green challenge and answering questions."- 2019 Symposium Attendee
Since 2014, the Symposium is guided by a Board of Curators made up of sustainability staff from colleges and universities in the Northeast. Its mission is to make sure the annual Student Sustainability Leaders Symposium continues to exist and flourish. It meets a few times a year to choose host schools and discuss other matters related to the symposium.
2021 - 2022 - The 2021-22 SSLS was hosted by UMass Lowell in Lowell, Massachusetts. See more details about this event on their website.
2020 - The 2020 SSLS was hosted by Southern New Hampshire University on November 8th, 2020. More information can be found in the 2020 SSLS website.
2019 - The 2019 SSLS was hosted by Boston College in Dover, Massachusetts. Visit the 2019 SSLS website for more information.
2018 - The 2018 SSLS was moved to spring 2019 and hosted by Brandeis University & Wellesley College in Waltham, Massachusetts.
2017 - The 2017 SSLS was hosted by Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Satellite locations included Champlain College in Burlington, VT and Emerson College in Boston, MA.
2016 - The 2016 SSLS was hosted by UMass Amherst in Amherst, Massachusetts.Visit the website to learn more.
2015- The newly renamed Student Sustainability Leaders Symposium was hosted by Connecticut College.
2014- The #EcoSympo was hosted at Tufts University.
2013- The symposium was hosted by Boston University and GreenerU. Check it out here.
2012- Brown University and GreenerU hosted the symposium. The schedule can be found here.
2011- Symposium was hosted by Babson College and GreenerU.
2009- Tufts hosted the first Eco-Rep Symposium and with the class Environmental Action: Shifting from Saying to Doing hosted a half-day conference for college students region-wide to share best practices in peer-to-peer education.