Aviation is responsible for a large proportion of the climate impact of professional life in university communities. One much-discussed option for reducing this climate impact is to shift some conferencing activities to online distance formats. However, university professionals recognize limits in — and in some cases actively dislike — current webinar formats, in part because they lack the personal warmth of conventional conferences.
This webinar brings together a “dream team” of recent global innovators in academic long-distance conference formats with an improved personal experience. First, the popular “Nearly Carbon Neutral” conference format developed by Ken Hiltner and colleagues in the humanities and social sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) replaces static webinar podium presentations with a combination of easy-to-prepare video presentation and written discussion feeds, while preserving the sense of a time-bounded event. Second, the semi-virtual, multiple-location format piloted at the 2018 International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC15/ESCOM10, with hubs in Argentina, Canada, Australia, and Austria), developed by Richard Parncutt with local and international colleagues, offered in-person attendance at web-linked hubs around the globe. Third, organizers of the Student Sustainability Leaders Symposium, held November 5th, 2017 with 1 main location and 2 satellite locations, will present on their experiences. The webinar moderator will be Tina Woolston, Director of the Office of Sustainability at Tufts University.
While distance conferencing is just one of many options for reducing the climate impact of university life (www.flyingless.org), it is frequently the first option people mention (both favorably and unfavorably). Therefore, the innovations presented in this lively webinar will make an important positive contribution to the fast-approaching cultural transformation of university lifestyles in a time of climate change.