Radford student interns participate in inaugural sustainability summit

Ten Radford University students joined students from Virginia Tech for the first-ever Sustainability Leadership Workshop on Jan. 26.
Ten Radford University students joined students from Virginia Tech for the first-ever Sustainability Leadership Workshop on Jan. 26 at Selu Conservancy.

Radford University students joined Virginia Tech students at the Selu Conservancy on Saturday, Jan. 26, for the first-ever Sustainability Leadership Workshop.

The spirited sustainability advocates collaborated for a day that centered on “Leadership for Sustainability.” Participants talked about different types of leadership, including a “shared leadership” style for implementing lasting, sustainable change. Presentations, group discussion and brainstorming activities raised personal awareness of their strong sustainability values, as well as their desire to make impactful changes on their respective campuses.

The workshop participants from Radford are student interns in the university’s sustainability leadership internship program, formally called the Sustainability Leadership Team. The team formed at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester to develop and coordinate events and projects designed to improve awareness of sustainability issues, promote participation in campus and community events and create a more sustainable campus.

At the Saturday workshop, 10 Radford interns collaborated with 19 Virginia Tech students who are part of a similar program at their institution.  

“The event was designed to get students thinking about sustainability a little more broadly and how leadership for collaborative, sustainable solutions works; to learn from each other and meet like-minded students,” said Josh Nease, Sustainability & Selu Conservancy academic program manager.

Students came prepared to give presentations on their respective campus projects. In small teams, they delivered speed presentations summarizing their individual projects’ mission, challenges and strategies. Each presentation had 15 slides that automatically advanced every 20 seconds.

The fast-paced activity helped students practice time management skills and refine the delivery of their talking points.

“It was challenging, but really fun,” said Nease, who had to deliver his own speed presentation.

During the rest of the workshop, students participated in a role-playing activity that involved a conflict related to sustainable development. Students were assigned roles in the negotiation process, each with an assigned set of values and priorities. This gave students the opportunity to understand different perspectives - perhaps different than their own - and then use their leadership skills to build consensus among the group.

“It was awesome to see the students leave the workshop excited about their projects and come away with new ideas and make new friends from across the valley,” Nease said. “We talked about what our teams can do together to impact the New River Valley as a whole and the sustainability issues we can approach and tackle not just on our own campuses, but in all of our communities.”

Nease added that the workshop was a tremendous success and will be offered again, possibly with additional universities participating.

Sustainability is a core value of Radford University. The Radford University community is committed to integrating sustainable practices into all aspects of its operations and engage students across the curriculum to learn, discover and contribute to positive current and future environmental solutions.

Learn more about Radford University's sustainability efforts on the Sustainability at Radford University website.


Jan 29, 2019
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150