Spotlight on Equity and Diversity at WOHESC 2018

12 students and six staff members from Seattle Colleges went to Portland State University from Feb. 6th-8th, 2018 for the 2018 Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC). WOHESC is a “platform for inspiring change, facilitating action, and promoting collaboration related to sustainability within the region’s higher education institutions. Conversations, workshops, and networking opportunities empower participants to advance environmental performance at Washington and Oregon State institutions of higher education.” (WOHESC,

Students, faculty, and staff from institutions across the Pacific Northwest came together for three days of presentations, time with exhibitors, networking, team building, a few moments of relaxation and reflection, and time around Portland. The theme, “Spotlight on Equity and Diversity: Planning for Climate Resilience through Equitable Action” broadened the conversation around sustainability to include equitable ways to bring about change on our campuses and communities. “We will draw connections between environmental impacts, economic impacts, and social impacts as we gain insight and understanding about the vital role equity and diversity plays in our sustainable future.” (WOHESC,

The experience was especially transformative for Seattle Colleges’ students. Here are some of their experiences in their own words.

  • “Yes, I would *definitely* recommend this conference for future staff and students. It was great to hear first-hand stories and experiences from regional sustainability professionals. This spurred different ideas for potential projects and programs that might be of interest at NSC and the District at large.”
  • “This was a generous and magnificent opportunity—thank you to Seattle Central and the Student Leadership Board for approving this expense, because it couldn’t have happened without you. Really, Seattle Central College is a champion of providing experiences that challenge and change people in positive ways through growth and engagement, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend such a place.”
  • “I hope that Seattle Central College, and all Seattle institutions of higher education, will make it a priority to continue sending a delegation of students to WOHESC each year, so that we may cultivate new leaders and strong communities in the face of a rapidly changing world.”
  • “The sessions had a big impact in the way I see the world. Knowing that I come from a country, Venezuela, where there is lack of education about the way we live and the negative effects it has on the planet, I now feel like education is the base of any society, it manages and changes the way people think and act. So, now I think that the first step to help the world is on us—we have to educate ourselves.”
  • “I learned about creating events that are more inclusive for every student. Also, a lot of other resources for me to do a better job as a student leader, and what I can do to help our college community.”
  • “First of all, great to see other students from the surrounding areas that have the same interests. Secondly, it is nice to see a broader spectrum of action taking place. Lastly, it is a great opportunity for students to network to find what they need in their academic career.”

Here is a list of all Seattle Colleges’ attendees:

North Seattle College

  1. Tim Albertson, Sustainability Coordinator
  2. Joe Amann, Support Staff for Nanotechnology Program
  3. Phuong Dinh, student, Student Leadership
  4. Tomoko Okada, student, Student Leadership
  5. Diep Ton, student, Student Leadership

Seattle Central College

  1. Helen Ganahl, student, member of Sustainability Council
  2. Becca Barbanell, student and Sustainability Office intern
  3. Dior Aldariz, student and PTK
  4. Xiayire Maimaitiaizezi, student and PTK
  5. Ruth Mansoor, student and Sustainability Council

South Seattle College

  1. Christa Colouzis, Environmental Health & Safety
  2. Monica Lundberg, Student Programs Manager
  3. Sol Mendez, Center for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity
  4. Lucy To, student, Student Government
  5. Kaylin Clark, student
  6. Johnae Beckem, student

Seattle Colleges

  • Adam Maurer, Sustainability Coordinator