Appalachian students, staff to attend AASHE conference

Chelsey Fisher

Nine students and staff from the university will attend the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2012 Conference Oct. 14-17.

AASHE is the largest higher education sustainability conference in the nation with 500 institutions from 49 states and 10 countries attending this year, said Crystal Simmons, director of sustainability and an attendee of this year’s conference.

Appalachian will present “the Big PV Project,” REI Committee Chair Doug Willson said.


PV, or Photovoltaic, is a technology for converting sunlight directly into electricity.

“It helps the REI fulfill its mission toward clean, renewable energy on campus,” Willson said. “It helps the university by gaining over 5 million [kilowatt/hour] of electricity after the system is donated to them and helps investors who would like to help ASU but would like their contributions go further than just a straight donation.”

“The REI is looking for something in the 100s of [kilowatts] range, ten times the amount of PV capacity the REI has installed to date,” Willson said.

The PV Project would help the campus by putting electricity on the grid in the middle of the day in summer when there is a peak demand on the energy produced by Duke Energy.

The conference advances sustainability because it “allows people to come together and share ideas and practices,” Willson said.

“The energy there is so exciting,” Simmons said. “We understand the importance of institutions of higher education setting an example for the rest of the world.”

Another person attending is university sustainability director, Ged Moody.

Appalachian’s strong recognition in sustainability will be “upheld by the number of people we’re sending,” Moody said.

“We are seen as a leader in sustainability,” Moody said. “We’re all going to be hearing from our peers from keynotes and sessions and will be able to pick from those presentations for what our university needs. For our students, it’s an opportunity to mingle with other professionals.”

Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, News Reporter