UNCW Support Staff Conference Goes Green with Gold Talon Event

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The 2016 UNCW Support Staff Conference & Expo focused on personal and professional development, but it was also the first "Gold Talon" event, a rating meant to highlight the university’s sustainability efforts. Organizers of the July 19 conference, “Charting a Course for Excellence,” planned the event with the environment and waste reduction in mind.

The University of North Carolina system has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and UNCW is a leader in that initiative. The university encourages faculty, staff and students to become active participants in that effort by holding events that earn a sustainability rating of Blue, Teal or Gold, with Gold being the highest rating.

“Sustainability is the balance of economic vitality, social justice and environmental stewardship, values that are becoming the bottom line for decisions at UNCW, in the state and in the world,” said Kat Pohlman, campus sustainability coordinator. “UNCW is North Carolina’s coastal university, and we naturally have a connection to the environment. The values taught in sustainability are essential to UNCW’s emphasis on global engagement, financial responsibility and innovation.”

From the initial planning stage to the choice of giveaways, careful consideration was given to making “green” choices: use of electronic communication when possible to save paper; finding a local keynote speaker to reduce travel, composting, eco-friendly catering and encouraging participants to bring their own water bottles rather than drinking from plastic bottles.

Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli and Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Rick Whitfield offered opening remarks at the conference. The event also featured a conversation on leadership, values and service led by Judy Girard, president emeritus of Food Network and HGTV and co-founder of the Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, and Molly Nece, UNCW talent development manager.

The annual support staff conference is an opportunity for recently hired administrative and Business Affairs employees to focus on their professional development as well as personal goals while networking with their peers. A Business Affairs Expo showcased services available to the UNCW community also was part of the event.

-- Tricia Vance