Exploring Sustainability: ACUI Annual Conference to Host Dynamic Panel Discussion

The 2024 ACUI Annual Conference will illuminate one of the most critical global issues of our students’ lifetimes: sustainability. The All-Conference Session: Sustainability Panel session will feature themes outlined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs offers a primer on the Sustainable Development Goals, which comprise the organization’s overarching 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda was established in 2015 by all United Nations members as a collective vision for global sustainability and the development goals are designed to address 17 global themes by 2030:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships

These goals aim to address poverty and inequality while enhancing health, education, and economic growth, all while confronting climate change and safeguarding natural resources. They represent a culmination of efforts United Nation and others.

The #ACUI24 Sustainability Panel will be moderated by University of Colorado–Boulder’s Spencer Wigodsky, whose expertise lies in urban resilience and sustainability, focusing on climate action planning and providing consultancy services in sustainability.

Wigodsky was a 2022–23 student fellow of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), a key initiative of Second Nature, which aims to enhance higher education’s capacity in addressing urgent sustainability issues. The UC3 project brings together 23 research universities and systems dedicated to advancing climate action locally and globally. He was also one of two students to partner with the Colorado sustainable Homeowners Association company CAP Management to create a Certified Green homeowners association program.

Wigodsky will welcome to the stage four panelists who will discuss how different facets of sustainability are connected and empower attendees to create a better future:

  • Brian Dunbar, executive director of the Institute for the Built Environment and professor emeritus at Colorado State University, teaches construction management, interior architecture, and sustainability. He’s pioneered graduate programs, green building certification courses, and sustainable design courses globally. Dunbar’s leadership in regenerative development includes the creation of the regenerative design framework LENSES. He’s facilitated over 70 green building projects, earning recognition as a LEED fellow and recipient of the USGBC Leadership Award.
  • Jorge Figueroa, environmental justice manager at Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency, is a former co-chair of Colorado Governor’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board. He manages Denver’s Environmental Justice Standing Committee and co-founded the climate and social justice innovation lab, El Laboratorio. With an extensive background in water policy, he was a Fulbright Scholar and holds degrees from Elisabeth Haub School of Law and Yale School of Forestry.
  • Jocelyn Hittle, associate vice chancellor for Colorado State University–Spur campus and special projects, focuses on establishing the campus at the National Western Center and advancing sustainability goals. She contributes to Denver’s Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Council and advises the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS) program. Experienced in urban planning and environmental management, Hittle has a background in ecology and evolutionary biology.
  • Dr. Damien Thompson, sustainable food systems specialization lead at the University of Colorado–Boulder, is a permaculture designer and cofounder of FrontLine Farming. An advocate for food justice, equity, and biodiversity, he serves on Denver’s Sustainable Food Policy Council, is a Rocky Mountain Farmers Union fellow, and leads initiatives supporting food system workers. Recognized for his contributions, he holds a Ph.D. from American University and a bachelor’s degree from Elon University.

Through this panel, attendees can explore the path for campus communities toward a more sustainable and resilient future.


  • Christine Preusler

    Christine Preusler, Managing Editor at The Wyman Company in Gainesville, Florida, writes The Lead for ACUI's biweekly newsletter, The Bulletin. Christine uses more than 15 years of experience in publication management and a master’s in mass communications from the University of Florida to highlight the latest industry news and create thought-provoking content. Contact her via email (cpreusler@thewymancompany.com) with story ideas and announcements you'd like to see in the newsletter.

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