By UW Sustainability | Oct 1, 2023
WOHESC 2023 header

The Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) is now accepting proposals for the next conference, to be held March 4-6, 2024, at Western Washington University. The conference theme is "Learning From Place: Solutions Beyond Boundaries."

Submissions for program content, speakers and sessions will be accepted until October 13, 2023. See the full details below or as a PDF.


WOHESC Call for proposals

Event Summary

The Washington Oregon Cascadia Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) is an opportunity for collective direction and solidarity in higher education for our region. As political, social and environmental issues become more complex, WOHESC convenes and empowers stakeholders who are driving leadership and generating solutions for a more sustainable, just and equitable future. Our aim is to both enliven the role of higher education in the future of the Cascadia region and the role students play in a future world.

Conference Theme

Learning From Place: Solutions Beyond Boundaries

The noted geographer, Dr. Yi-Fu Tuan coined the term topophilia as the affective bond with one's environment. The 2024 WOHESC theme of builds on that thought by using the environment to ground our inquiries that span politically drawn boundaries to be inclusive of place within a bioregion. The critical linkage is sustainability and drawing upon its elements to bring together scholars, practitioners, students, and interested citizens to better understand spanning boundaries.

Social Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

One of the highest priorities for WOHESC is to present a program that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI). We strive to center DEI throughout conference thematic elements, speakers and attendees. It is important to include perspectives across diverse identities including race, color, religion, national origin, political affiliation or belief, disability, age, gender identity, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, institution, or industry background.

Submissions to the Call for Proposals that address DEI, either directly or indirectly, will be given preference in the selection and program development process. In addition, it is our policy not to select proposals without diverse representation in the proposed speaker line-up (i.e., submissions with all white male speakers, all from the same company or industry, or speakers without diversity of perspectives will not be accepted). We encourage a thoughtful process when selecting the speakers for your proposal; consider things like whether the panel represents a diverse set of views and are new voices and perspectives being prioritized.

Proposal Selection Criteria

  • Actionable and Transferable We want attendees to leave our sessions with a skill they can put to use, a project they can implement, or new knowledge of a subject to take back to their own work. Meaningful and actionable learning objectives and ideas that transfer between institutions and organizations will increase likelihood of selection for inclusion in the conference program.
  • Creativity of Subject Matter. We are interested in creative problem solving that goes beyond what has been tried before and will inspire action and thinking outside the box. We are particularly looking for innovative proposals that will inspire solution-building in conference sessions.
  • Connectivity. We seek proposals that link faculty and curriculum development activities, campus operations, research, student affairs, and student initiatives. This event aspires to bring stakeholders together from separate divisions of institutions to create collaboration and to break-down traditional silos.
  • Quality. We are looking for high quality session abstracts that describe how the proposal will convey a clearly articulated subject and objective. We are dedicated to ensuring the presentations at our conference meet the high standards of the academic institutions that host the conference.
  • Interaction. Above all, our selection team is committed to proposals that will bring an engaging delivery of presentations and inclusive interaction for everyone. Preference will be given to proposals that outline participative and experiential formats that promote reflection and discussion.
  • Social Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. WOHESC strives to weave DEI throughout conference thematic elements, speakers and attendees. Submissions that account for this topic, either directly or indirectly, will be given preference in the selection and program development process.

Breakout Session Styles (75 minutes in length)

WOHESC is seeking, but is not limited to, submissions for different session styles described below.

  • Case Study/Speakers (for inclusion as a part of a session or panel): Submit a new and original case study that demonstrates leadership, busting the status quo and developing inventive breakthroughs in thinking. This could be combined with other case studies/speakers into one inclusive session.
  • Participative Panel Discussion (3-4 speakers and a moderator): An interactive version of conventional panel presentations with 3-4 speakers and a moderator leading the group discussion; emphasis will be on drawing connections between the panelists’ perspectives. The aim will be to both share fresh ideas and generate new knowledge amongst the participants in the room.
  • Interactive Workshop (facilitated conversations for problem solving): Alternative formats for hands-on, experiential learning; sessions can be outlined in any structure depending on the topic areas and selected proposals. Designed to provide space and facilitation for group discussion, these sessions will bring mixed perspectives together to tackle the bigger picture sustainability challenges facing higher education. These sessions will require experienced facilitators to introduce the topic and provide background information to the room. Proposals will require additional information including a session timing outline and a session pedagogy including learning design, activities and engagement tasks and actionable takeaways.

PLEASE NOTE: WOHESC reserves the right to make changes to submissions and require alternative combinations of speakers and case studies to most effectively shape each session’s content and the conference learning experience as a whole.


Posters are displayed for the duration of the conference in our venue foyer and highlighted during a dedicated part of the program to showcase a range of ongoing sustainability projects and research. They are a visual presentation of a topic allowing viewers to learn on their own while the presenter shares in one-on-one or small group conversations.

To submit a proposal for a poster, please use the online proposal submission form below including a description of the project, how it contributes to the overall sustainability of your campus, and how it addresses the conference theme. Posters must be printed and mounted by presenter; WOHESC will not be responsible for printing posters.

Speaker Guidelines

Presentations are not meant to be a platform for business promotion. WOHESC requests that all proposals offer educational outcomes and actionable takeaways for attendees. Speakers are responsible for confirming that they have the right to use and will acquire the licenses needed for any copyrighted material used in the presentation. We will ask speakers to sign a release waiver to share presentation materials. Speakers with accepted proposals are expected to register for and attend WOHESC at the discounted speaker rate, at their own expense.

How to Submit

All proposals must be submitted through our online submission form. All information outlined below is required submitted proposals:

  • Submitter’s name and contact: "Submitter" is the individual completing the online form and who will be available to answer any questions about its contents, regardless of whether they are the proposed speaker.
  • Proposal Title (20 words maximum)
  • Abstract (500 words maximum)
  • Session Description (3-4 sentences that will be published as a part of the conference program)
  • Proposal type/session style
  • Relevant Audience- please specify if you are submitting your session for a student focused audience
  • Learning objectives (please list 3-4 lessons/insights the audience will take away from this session)
  • Additional Speakers (you should secure permission from speakers before including them in the submission)

Interactive Workshop proposals will require the below additional information:

  • Session timing outline
  • Session pedagogy including learning design, activities and engagement tasks and actionable takeaways achieved from attending the workshop. Please also make note of any special materials, room structure or capabilities your session requires.

The following information will be requested, but optional to complete in the submission form for the submitter and speakers:

  • What preferred pronoun(s) do you use?
  • How old are you?
  • I identify my ethnicity as ______.

Call for Proposals Timeline

October 13th 2023: Deadline for proposal submissions
November 10th 2023: Selection decisions announced
December 6th 2023: WOHESC 2023 program announced
March 4-6th 2024: Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference

Questions? Please email