To launch this program, Second Nature’s regional program staff partnered with Agnes Scott College’s sustainability team. Second Nature provided funding to host a campus visit and tour at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia with Bennett College’s CFO, Elizabeth Waugh, and Anne Hayes, Executive Director of Global & Interdisciplinary Programs at Bennett, who is a long-time supporter of Bennett’s climate action pursuits, and champion of their student green team. Agnes Scott generously hosted Elizabeth and Anne on campus February 9th and 10th, and introduced them to their colleagues in their sustainability center, as well as their facilities and development staff. This was the result of many months of planning discussions between Blythe Coleman-Mumford, Climate Programs Regional Manager at Second Nature, Kimberly Reeves, Executive Director of the Center for Sustainability at Agnes Scott College, Elizabeth Rowe, Environmental Management Consultant, former interim director of the Center for Sustainability at Agnes Scott College.
Anne Hayes has been a true advocate for Bennett and their sustainability efforts. Anne notes; “Bennett College is a very special place and for a small college, we do so much for and with our students. I think Bennett’s history is remarkable–from Belles involvement with the Civil Rights Movement, the spark of the Woolworth’s Sit-Ins in 1960, and all of Bennett’s work in civil and women’s rights. It blows me away… I also love the idea of current students drawing from that legacy to do their own social justice and environmental justice work.”
This rich history of Bennett College, especially being one of the only HBCUs for women still in existence, has much to offer to our Climate Leadership Network. As Second Nature expands our membership opportunities in our “diversity to unify” strategic approach, we are working with Bennett to explore their membership within our new Affiliate model to ensure Bennett is able to track their unique and impressive climate action progress with others in our Network, and feel supported in their own work.
Second Nature’s Buddy Program was originally developed to champion interpersonal relationship building among peer institutions in the southeast in order to share best sustainability practices that can be scaled to fit the culture and capacity of each institution. Second Nature and Agnes Scott are invested in building an active long-standing relationship with Bennett College, in order to discover new and innovative ways to partner and support each other’s legacy and continued institutional growth in a variety of ways that move the needle on climate action.
Going into the program, Bennett’s CFO Elizabeth Waugh said her ideal visit and anticipated actionable outcomes were, “Thoughtful, creative ideas to implement at Bennett College in a financially sustainable way. We have limited funding so partnering with other institutions and agencies to improve our program is a top priority”. Anne Hayes noted, “I’d love to bring back ideas for specific projects that we could integrate, some lower cost, high impact sustainability practices… and “to learn about [Agnes Scott’s] Green Revolving Fund and discuss with our CFO if that is something that could be replicated on campus.”
CFO, Elizabeth Waugh of Bennett said, “Thank you all for the connections and amazing hospitality! We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Agnes Scott…we look forward to setting up a meeting and further discussing the partnership with Second Nature.”
From Anne Hayes, Bennett College, “My biggest take away from our two days with the Agnes Scott team was that all departments on campus are involved and integral to their sustainability work. From Facilities to faculty, the CFO to the advancement team, the students to the President—everyone understands sustainability to be key to the mission of the college, and they’re excited to contribute!”
Anne also noted, “I also took away the importance of having a top-notch sustainability consultant who can weave together complex information—how to calculate energy savings and data, how to maximize rebates and savings from energy providers, how to prioritize and balance campus and deferred maintenance needs, and how to project a clear cost-benefit analysis of green projects—all to make a compelling argument for sustainable renovation. The model has to work. If done right, colleges will not only choose green renovation because it’s the right thing to do; they’ll choose sustainable options because they will ultimately save us operational dollars, help us creatively address deferred maintenance, and be the platform for creating a healthy, beautiful and safe learning environment for our students. That’s the potential.”
Anne Hayes, Elizabeth Waugh, Kimberly Reeves, and Elizabeth Rowe all felt like they had an amazing visit, and appreciated the unique chance to connect personally and professionally.
Second Nature looks forward to expanding this program to other institutions in the Climate Leadership Network. To learn more, contact Blythe Coleman-Mumford, Regional Climate Programs Manager,