2nd Annual UW Resilience Summit

Executive Summary:

ReThink was lucky enough to have benefitted from the CSF grant last year, and hosted a widely successful first UW Resilience Summit. Despite the positive feedback from both professionals and more importantly students, however, there are many changes we know we need to make to achieve a greater impact with the project. The Summit will be a paneled event that focuses on a specific topic relating to environmental and economic resilience. This event is modeled after the Resilience Challenge hosted by Sustainable Seattle in the fall of 2014 and 2015. Held in the UW Intellectual House, ReThink will team up with one or several clubs from across campus to draw an ideal crowd of around 80-100  students for the event (adjusted this year for the venue allowance). These students will spend 2-3 hours listening to an in depth panels of industry specialists, discussing relevant topics in breakout sessions, and create individualized plans of action that may simply consist of a changed mindset, or even turn into future CSF proposals.

Beyond the experience members of the planning committee will gain from organizing and marketing this event, all participants of the Resilience Challenge will get exposure to a diverse array of students from other disciplines, and informative and inspiring presentations and discussions from professionals in their fields of interest. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to broaden their perspectives from the narrow views represented in their respective majors.

To ensure the Resilience Challenge draws the numbers we have projected, ReThink will partner with all participating parties and RSOs to employ a collaborative outreach strategy. This will involve placing marketing materials such as posters in the various buildings of departments we are seeking to target, and coordinating our online advertising through list-serves and Facebook promotion.

Our event last year focused on climate change, and this year its focus will be different. The Resilience summit is targeted discussion, but does not address one specific environmental problem but a broad set of challenges that persist in today’s society. We hope to hold this event annually with different subjects, to allow students the chance to delve deeper into these issues rather than giving a broad overview. We will provide the information for participants to become educated on these important topics, and resources for them to take away post event.

Should this event be successful for the second year running, we will look to secure an ongoing naming sponsor for the, such as a corporation with the funds to do so or a UW department that deems it a worthy cause, like UW Sustainability. These options will be explored when we gauge the outcome of the second event, and refine it even further to be exactly what students - from each end of campus - want and need.

The following report will enumerate the specific event objectives, logistics, and funds requested.

Student Involvement:

The event will be catered to a group of around 100 students. Initially the ReThink members (and members from our partnering RSOs) will complete the planning and logistics. This will include reserving a space, finding donations for food, contacting speakers and industry specialists, working with UW ESS office to uncover UW’s underlying problems with sustainability, reserving tables and creating advertisements. ReThink and its partners will increase advertising closer to the event using social media, flyers and word of mouth. Students who plan on attending will be required to sign up using a catalyst survey to guarantee their attendance.

Our executive team of 6 will be working approximately 4-10 hours per week combined throughout the next three months in order to secure a venue, strategize marketing and outreach, and contact the necessary professionals who will highlight the topic of this year’s summit. In order to find those professionals who will best educate (and equally important, inspire) the student audience, our team will seek panelists from this list and more:

  •     Our Foster School of Business advisor, Ruth Huwe, who is well connected within the business and sustainability professional community
  •     UW Sustainability
  •     Sustainable Seattle
  •     The Buerk Center of Entrepreneurship
  •     Our own personal connections within the community

A large part of the challenge is bringing students together to find the root cause of UW’s environmental issues in order to create a feasible solution including a plan of action. We will need to source an industry specialist that can act as a facilitator through the process, and a team of five students will work on securing this facilitator as well as developing a curriculum for the challenge. These students will do research to find out which aspects of sustainability are most pressing.

They will select five areas to focus on, which we will use to find the most applicable industry specialist to have at the event. These students will be looking for topics that together cover the spectrum of sustainability. Examples include: green architecture, waste and waste water management, clean tech and recent cleantech innovation and our food system. These students will have some of the most intensive roles as they will be responsible for setting the tone of the event.

The 80-100 students attending the event are expected to be engaged and thoughtful members of the audience. Action post-event is not required, but will be highly encouraged and enabled by our team.

Education & Outreach:

The monetary support of the CSF grant will enable us to perform the best possible outreach for the UW Resilience Summit in various relevant areas on campus in order to gain excitement and attendance that outweighs last year’s event.  Keeping environment in mind, while still maximizing the potential for outreach to many attendees, we are not planning on utilizing the money for superfluous and wasteful items like flyers, but instead plan to create eight eye-catching and aesthetically appealing posters that will illustrate the importance and quality of this event. ReThink has identified the most influential halls on campus that identify with the goals of this event and the club, such as the UW Foster School of Business, the Art and Design School, the College of the Environment, and others. The posters will be displayed in high-traffic areas, such as cafes and main entrances in order to attract the most attention.

Other means of outreach will involve members giving a brief presentation to classes in these departments, particularly 100 and 200 level courses with primarily undergraduates as well as upper-division classes to reach upperclassmen. The goal for outreach is to fill the event space to capacity and to have a wide range of attendees from various departments on campus. This will ensure that the summit and discussions result in a diverse collaboration of interests and disciplines in order to foster the most productive and creative collaboration possible. The goal for the entire event is that students will leave with an invigorated passion for worldly environmental issues that is cemented with goals and true markers of success for sustainability and resilience.

By advertising to such a wide audience, we will trigger word-of-mouth marketing that reverberates across campus. The ReThink Facebook page will also be an important channel to market the event to UW students, as well as email marketing through our collected member list and individual promotion by board members and our sustainability ambassadors. Our multi-faceted marketing approach will maximize our outreach, and ensure that our environmental message will be heard loud and clear throughout the UW campus.

Environmental Impact:
  • Environmental Justice
Project Longevity:

Due to the multi-club involvement and the scope of this event, we will coordinate closely with all relevant parties throughout the planning process. As you can see in the timeline, we have set up some specific milestones to ensure that we remain on schedule. We will conduct this correspondence by phone, email, and in-person meetings with RSO partners and other sponsors. There is no long-term maintenance of the project; it is for inspirational and educational purposes and what students choose to do with their experiences will not be monitored by us. **Pertaining to the project approval form: Graham, the CSF coordinator last year, handled our budgeting internally last year due to the one-time nature of the event. We did not seek out a project approval signatory this year, as he advised us last year that this would likely be the case again.

Environmental Problem:

The environmental problem that we hope to combat with this event is the same as that which we addressed last year: the widespread lack of education on pressing global environmental issues that UW students have received. These issues apply to every student on campus in almost every academic discipline, yet not all students are required to--or have room in their schedules to--take courses that touch on these issues, and independently sought information can often be misleading. Furthermore, though the University of Washington has undertaken many steps to be a sustainable campus, there is so much more that can be done, and we believe this starts with student education, involvement - and most importantly interest.

Our Second Annual UW Resilience Summit will help combat this issue by providing a single day event going into depth into an issue of critical environmental and economic importance, such as agriculture, infrastructure, clean technology, and others. In this way, students will be able to get the facts on these pressing issues without needing to take an
academic course and without a large commitment of their time. Last year, we focused on Climate Change, and found that while students were responsive, many knew much of the information presented already. It is a challenge to create a curriculum that caters to students both new and practiced in the area we choose to focus on, but we believe going into greater depth on a specialized topic of resilience will gather more interest and promote more than a surface level engagement with the topic.

Additionally, we hope to attract a larger audience of students with the speakers we will have present at our event. Not all students on campus have a strong desire to learn about sustainability issues, and we believe that the promise of connecting with professionals and faculty members in a variety of fields will encourage a wider array of students to attend, thereby educating a larger percentage of UW’s campus.

The second aspect of the UW Resilience Challenge will be to identify key sustainability
issues still present on campus and in the university community, and how students can work with each other and the administration to create a plan for change. After students have heard from each speaker panel, they will organize themselves into breakout groups of 5-6 students with 1 speakers per group. In these groups, students and speakers will identify key sustainability issues and create different plans to facilitate change on campus and in society. The wide variety of students in attendance will inspire a cross-disciplinary discussion that the campus may have never seen, and will set the stage for many more discussions on campus sustainability to come.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

Last year, we aimed to establish a campus resiliency plan at the summit will include 6 month, 1 year, 5 year, and other time sensitive goals for the student and campus community to reach. At the Summit last year, the breakout session lead by Corey Weathers was both engaging and productive; students brainstormed tangible solutions to combat climate change on campus, and were also given the tools to reference the facts discussed during the panels via a collaborative website post-event. (For more information on this, please email us or ask us during our presentation!) Our goal last year was to have students create action plans and track the progress of those programs, however several hours was not enough for students to form concrete action plans as opposed to 8-9 hours given to the attendees of the original Pacific Northwest Resilience Summit. Through this event, we aim to inspire collaborative action, but we believe this starts on a personal level - therefore this is nearly impossible to track.

Though campus action is an important component to the Resilience Challenge, as we stated above one of our primary goals is simply student education on pressing sustainability issues. This cannot exactly be monitored at all, as there is no way for us to measure how much one student has learned, or how much their mindset on environmental issues has been altered. However, as we are striving for interdisciplinary involvement, we will set goals of departmental attendance and evaluate how well that was achieved. For example, if we set a goal of generally having 25% business students, 30% environmental students, 25% engineering, math, or science students, and 20% students representing misc. departments, we can track attendance after the event and see how close we were to reaching those goals. Last year, we were able to track the demographics for roughly ⅔ of our attendees (the rest of our attendees did not register for the event beforehand and did not fully complete our in-person registration sheets) and found that we received approx. 45% business students, 35% environmental studies/science students, and 20% other students. We know that this year, we need to focus heavier on marketing the event to science and engineering students, because they are essential to the conversation. In this way, we used the demographics of our audience to measure our impact across the UW campus.


Total amount requested from the CSF: $1,250
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Rigid Posters$508$400
informational handouts (for counselors, professors, etc.)$0.50100$50
Room Reservation$800$800

Non-CSF Sources:

Project Completion Total: $2,250


TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Choose Datecompletedcompleted
Recruit other RSOs to partner withnow-Feb 26thFeb 26th
Reach out to potential speakers and get commitmentsFeb 1st - March 4thMarch 4th
Reach out to all departments on campus notifying them of eventFeb 1st- April 29thongoing
Order & solidify cateringMarch 1st-30thMarch 30th
Begin physical marketing across campusMarch 28th-April 29thApril 29th
Purchase/gather all supplies needed for the eventApril 29thApril 29th
Open and close event registrationApril 18th - May 5thMay 5th
Have event-May 6th

Project Approval Forms: