South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

Three Decades of Higher Education Excellence Through Collaboration

January 2015 update on Regional Sustainability Efforts


SMHEC held its fifth annual Sustainability Conference on September 26, 2014, at Joliet Junior College, "Strengthening Sustainable Bridges Between Colleges and Communities" & featured a "Share Fair" & "Share Groups" to provide participants from various sectors the opportunity to discover potential collaborations, including representatives from higher education, manufacturing, health care and a diverse group of non-profit organizations working on some facet of sustainability in the South Chicagoland area. The objective was to create an opportunity for participants to link & leverage resources to help one another meet or expand goals. Each organization’s participation contributed to thoughtful conversations about how to promote growth & develop resilient communities through sustainable practices.

On February 6, 2015 SMHEC will hold a follow-up forum titled, “Linking and Leveraging Resources to build Resilient Communities”. In this forum we will continue our conversations about building resilient communities through sustainable practices. We are inviting those who attended the September 26th conference and welcome those who did not attend the conference to join in the conversation. During this forum attendees will discuss their needs and the expertise and experience they bring to the table to address the identified needs. We will discuss how we can collectively leverage our resources to help build resiliency within our communities.

Feedback from the September 26th conference indicated that collaboration was identified by participants as the top ranked strategy that could help attendees advance sustainability in their work. Collaboration included partnerships, expertise and information sharing, networking and continued discussions. That collaboration is the goal of the February 6th forum. Participants also indicated that meeting with a diverse group of participants, as those invited to the forum, was more helpful than meeting with representatives from their own industries. They noted opportunities to meet within their own industries are readily available. Other strategies listed by participants included: targeted marketing, updating building codes and policies to new design technologies, sharing grant resources, recycling information, creation of a project bank, access to best practices, and working with higher education.


January, 2015