Two weeks ago, the Enviance User Conference continued its annual tradition of bringing together some of the world’s leading experts on environmental compliance and sustainability. Professionals from the oil, gas, coal, retail, manufacturing and utility industries met to discuss the latest trends in environmental compliance, voluntary greenhouse emissions reporting and AB 32 enforcement.
And while Subpart W and Title V compliance were among the hot agenda items, one of the most interesting features of this year’s conference was the participation of March Madness Environmental Tournament winner, Colby College. Through February and March, Enviance partnered with Environmental Leader to host a “March Madness” tournament that identified the 16 most prolific environmental undergraduate programs in the country, with the naming of an eventual National Champion.
That champion was Colby College and, as a result, Enviance invited Dr. Philip Nyhus, Colby’s assistant professor of environmental studies, to represent the college and present at the conference.
Dr. Nyhus presented to a crowded room of environmental professionals about what today’s higher education institutions are doing to prepare the environmental leaders of tomorrow. The discussion lasted over an hour as Dr. Nyhus engaged with representatives from some of the world’s largest companies on how higher education institutions can better collaborate with private industry to ensure that tomorrow’s environmental professionals succeed as they enter the workforce.
Questions and comments ranged from teaching students better basic lab skills to the importance of real-world internships, but the common theme seemed to be that private industry, NGOs and regulatory bodies all could do a better job at working together to achieve their common goals, and perhaps that mission could be instilled in today’s students.
The discussion also got us thinking that colleges would make a great venue to bring together alumni that represent private industry, the public sector and nonprofits together to have a calm, productive dialogue about the future environmental regulation in the confines of their alma mater. Nothing fosters cooperative spirit like having something in common.
The world of environmental governance, risk and compliance continues to get more complex, and our hope is that simple, informal dialogue can help cut through the clutter and develop solutions that answer the needs of all stakeholders.