NSS National Conference

Innovation, Implementation, and Workforce Development for Sustainability

Seattle 2024

Creative Commons Image, University of Washington, https://german.washington.edu/news/2020/05/12/achtung-freshmen-grant-mellon-foundation-your-first-year-experience

September 9 - 12, 2024

University of Washington (Seattle, WA)

February 26: Call for contributions

April 20: Submission deadline

May 23: Conference registration opens



The NSS will host a national conference to bring together academics, students, and practitioners within the field of sustainability to build consensus on the key principles, competencies, capacities, frameworks, and substance of sustainability as both a scholarly realm and as a rapidly expanding field of practice across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. The NSS focuses on the dialog and community building to support professional and scholarly activities needed to support sustainability transformations across sectors.


This first national conference will showcase work that advances sustainability innovation, closes the implementation gap, and supports workforce development at all levels.  

Conference Themes

The NSS conference focuses on three themes and 12 topical areas:  

Keynote Speakers

Julian Agyeman

Professor in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University (Bio)

Jonathan Foley

Executive Director of Project Drawdown (Bio)

Amy Luers

Global Director, Sustainability Science & Innovation, Microsoft (Bio)

Call for Contributions

The National Sustainability Society (NSS) invites contributions that showcase scholarship on sustainability topics, and feature case studies, best practices, collaborative interdisciplinary or cross-sectoral projects, or other works that connect to the NSS conference themes. 

The NSS welcomes contributions of any type, from both academics and practitioners:


A: Individual Contributions


B: Session Contributions


C: Workshop Contribution


Guidelines: Please read carefully!


Key Dates:

A: INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS


Your abstract should open with a jargon-free sentence that provides a basic introduction to your work that is understandable to a broad, cross-sectoral audience. It should clearly state the sustainability-related issue and focus on a key conference theme. Next,  provide more detailed information about the situated/on-the-ground context and relevance of your work that a diverse audience can understand. Summarize the methodology and/or approach, and the main question and/or findings. Lastly,  explain the scholarly significance and/or practical application (the “so what”) of the work, especially as compared to what is already known and framed by a relevant conference theme.


Presentations will be organized into meaningful sessions, with ample time for discussion. 

Abstract length: 250 words. Presentation time: 10 minutes.



Sustainability Flash Talks are three-minute presentations. Slides are optional. Your talk should be intriguing and open up new ideas and conversation. Your abstract should open with a jargon-free sentence that provides a basic introduction to your work that is understandable to a broad, cross-sectoral audience. It should clearly state the sustainability-related issue and focus on a key conference theme. Next,  provide more detailed information about the situated/on-the-ground context, approach, and relevance of your work that a diverse audience can understand. Lastly,  explain the scholarly significance and/or practical application (the “so what”) of the work, especially as compared to what is already known and framed by a relevant conference theme. 


Above all, your contribution should be accessible to all audience members. Talks will be organized into meaningful (but fast-paced!) sessions, with ample time for discussion. 

Abstract length: 200 words. Presentation time: 3 minutes.




Your abstract should open with a jargon-free sentence that provides a basic introduction to your work that is understandable to a broad, cross-sectoral audience. It should clearly state the sustainability-related issue and focus on a key conference theme. Next,  provide more detailed information about the situated/on-the-ground context and relevance of your work that a diverse audience can understand. Next, summarize the methodology and/or approach, and the main question and/or findings. Lastly,  explain the scholarly significance and/or practical application (the “so what”) of the work, especially as compared to what is already known and framed by a relevant conference theme.


Posters will be displayed for the duration of the conference, and presenters will have the opportunity to share their work during a designated poster session. You are welcome to submit an additional contribution for a Sustainability Flash Talk, as a way to introduce your poster. 

Abstract length: 250 words. 

B: SESSION CONTRIBUTIONS


Pre-organized panels offer the opportunity for a panel of sustainability thought and action leaders to showcase a collection of ideas, projects, collaborations, solutions, and other elements that would benefit from a shared, organized discussion and an in-depth exchange with the audience. Panel organizers are responsible for organizing and publicizing the proposed session, soliciting panelists, and submitting a single abstract that describes the session, including some sample discussion questions for the panelists, and lists the panelists (3-5 panelists). 


Your proposal should open with a jargon-free sentence that provides a basic introduction that is understandable to a broad, cross-sectoral audience. It should clearly state the sustainability-related topic and focus on a key conference theme. Next,  provide more detailed information about panelists and what they will speak on, as framed by a conference theme. Lastly,  explain the scholarly significance and/or practical application (the “so what”) of the work, especially as compared to what is already known and framed by a relevant conference theme.  In your proposal be sure to include the name and affiliation of the person who will moderate the session.  

Proposal length: 400 words



Pre-organized symposia sessions are a set of connected oral presentations. They can focus on a single topic or be a collection of related topics. We especially encourage symposia that bring together people and ideas from academic and professional perspectives.


Symposia session organizers are responsible for organizing and publicizing the proposed session, soliciting abstracts, and selecting the abstracts for a single submission to the NSS. The symposia organizers must notify the submitters of their decision to accept or decline the abstract within 5 days of the NSS abstract deadline. This allows any declined submitters to submit as an individual oral presentation, if not chosen for your organized session.



This contribution provides a space to spark participant-led creative thinking, conversation, innovation, and learning. Do you have a sustainability-related idea, question, challenge, pain point, or bottleneck that others might identify with and would benefit from informal conversation, collaboration, and peer input? Pitch your idea here! If accepted, your topic will be offered as a session for you to lead. The session leader initiates the discussion or activities with 2-10 minutes of prepared remarks to set the stage. The organizer is responsible for identifying a moderator, either before the session or by asking for volunteers from the audience.  The moderator then facilitates discussion amongst attendees, ensuring all voices are heard and ideas considered. The contribution proposal should include 2-3 sample discussion prompts, as well as the names of the session leader and moderator. 

Proposal length: 200 words. 


C: WORKSHOP CONTRIBUTIONS


Workshops are 60-90 minute skill or tool-based sessions. They are organized and facilitated by the person(s) submitting the abstract, with some assistance from the NSS Resource Team.  Attendance will be capped at 30 participants (not including a maximum of 3 facilitators).  Workshops will be held on Monday, September 9th.  Workshop abstracts should follow the description structure below to convey the most salient features of your workshop.

Proposal length: 500 words. 

Registration

Registration includes the Welcome Reception on Sept 9, coffee breaks and lunch Sept 10-12, access to all conference sessions, and a one-year membership to the National Sustainability Society.

Visiting Seattle

TRANSPORTATION

Airport: Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA). Sea-Tac International Airport is approximately 19 miles south of the University of Washington. There are shuttle, taxi, towncar, and light rail services that you may utilize in order to travel to the University of Washington area. 


Hotels 

Within a 15-20 Minute Walk to UW Campus


Within a 20-30 minute Light Rail Ride from Downtown Seattle


This event launches the National Sustainability Society as a community for everyone in the field of sustainability: researchers, students, policy-makers, and practitioners alike.  

Join us! 

Planning Committee

Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan

Ben Packard, University of Washington

Christopher Boone, Arizona State University

Cristy Watkins, University of Michigan 

Dan Brown, University of Washington

Karen Seto, Yale University

Krista Hiser, Global Council on Science and the Environment 

Mark Hartman, City of Phoenix

Nicole Ardoin, Stanford University

Maya Tolstoy, University of Washington

Advisory Committee


Kate Brandt, Google                                                                                                                   

William Clark, Harvard University

Stephen Hammer, New York Climate Exchange

Lolita Jackson,  Perry World House, University of Pennsylvania, and  Sustainable Development Capital LLP

Mark Lee, ERM Sustainability Institute

Pamela Matson, Stanford University

Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Company