Sustainable Communities Conference

The Role of Higher Education in Nurturing Sustainable Communities

June 6 – 8, 2022

Colleges and universities play important roles in developing both the leaders of tomorrow and the communities in which they are embedded. During this conference, we will discuss the many ways in which the connection between college and community can grow sustainably and be mutually beneficial, including collaborations for students, staff, faculty, and community members. We seek to build a space for professional development, resource sharing, networking opportunities, and inspiration.

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Who is this conference for?

This conference is for everyone! Faculty, administrators, students, and community leaders who are committed to building local-to-global partnerships that support community health, engagement, and long-term sustainability.

Participants will leave the conference with an increased awareness of successful community sustainability strategies and opportunities to establish future project partnerships. These partnerships may relate to student, faculty, or staff mobility and concern teaching, research, community development, or other aspects of building sustainable communities through higher education.

Why Albion?

Albion College is committed to community engagement and empowers its students to contribute their talent and passions to the health and well-being of the broader community. Through our new School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement, students, faculty and staff, and community partners work in tandem to discern community needs, articulate projects, and take action to become stewards of the community and our world.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Diego Quiroga, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research and International Programs
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

Dr. Quiroga has led the research departments and international programs at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) for more than 10 years. He firmly believes that universities must take an active role in the innovation ecosystem and remain deeply connected to the needs of the communities, with the aim of forming public policy and supporting community growth. Dr. Quiroga’s work philosophy is based on a liberal arts model that promotes the work of multidisciplinary groups, in which each entity contributes its own specific knowledge to advance research. His vision has led USFQ to stand out in the rankings as the No. 1 University in Internationalization in Latin America (Times Higher Education).

Holding a Ph.D. in Anthropology, Dr. Quiroga’s research interests include Urban Ecology, Political Ecology, and Medical Anthropology, with a focus on biodiversity and vulnerability in regions such as the Galapagos, the Amazon, and the Andes. In addition to leading USFQ’s Research and International Programs, he is Co-Director of the Galapagos Institute of Arts and Sciences (GAIAS).

Dr. Nicole Webster, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Youth and International Development and African Studies
Director of the Youth Civic Lab
Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A

Dr. Webster is a community-engaged scholar and educator whose research focuses on understanding the engagement of Black youth in communities, schools, and other nonformal spaces in society. Her scholarship seeks to disrupt the hegemonic Eurocentric narrative of youth civic engagement that has dominated youth development and civic engagement discourse. She creates a more inclusive narrative that values the contributions of Black and brown populations, using qualitative methodologies to truly understand and value their contributions and voices in the field. Dr. Webster’s scholarship focuses explicitly on the role and meaning of societal civic engagement, which covers a wide range of experiences for Black and Latino young people in the Caribbean, Central America, West Africa, and the Americas. She also studies the role of black youth participation in and inclusion in youth development programs in the US.

Dr. Webster has served as an evaluator, consultant, and developer of tools and strategies for positive youth development for national youth organizations, school districts, and international and community organizations. Her scholarship in global contexts resulted in her being the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Award for research to understand the role and impact of youth civic engagement in Nicaragua and Kosovo. Her commitment to youth and their engagement in society is the core of her work, and she remains resolute in continuing this critical line of research.

Keeping Everyone Safe

The conference committee is excited to announce that we will hold an in-person conference. There will not be a hybrid or fully-remote option.

We are committed to the health and safety of our attendees and the Albion community, and we are working to put plans in place for a safe in-person conference. This conference will include attendees traveling from all over the U.S. and the world. By registering for the conference, all attendees agree to abide by the federal, state, local, and campus guidelines relative to COVID-19, as well as any additional precautions deemed necessary by conference planners at the time of the event. This may include but is not limited to, social distancing, the wearing of face masks, hand sanitation, or other health and safety precautions.

The conference will provide masks and hand sanitation during the conference. Updated health and safety measures will be announced closer to the start of the conference.

Information for International Travelers

To request an Albion College letter to support a US B1/B2 tourist visa to attend the conference, contact Cristen Casey at [email protected] after registering for the conference. If you are not able to attend the conference due to visa denial, registration fees will be refunded.

Starting on December 6, 2021, air travelers aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show documentation of a negative viral test result taken within one day of the flight’s departure to the United States before boarding. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. Additional Information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Starting on November 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers to the United States must be to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States. Exceptions to the CDC Order requiring all air passengers to be fully vaccinated are extremely limited. Additional information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ as per the CDC.

For attendees that require covid testing prior to a return flight, the conference organizers will help arrange appropriate testing. Information will be collected and communicated closer to the conference.


This conference is generously supported in part by the Great Lakes College Association Global Crossroads Grant.