Nobel Laureate (and Pitt grad) Wangari Maathai was to keynote the conference.

There are just a few more days to register for the annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which from Oct. 9-12 will bring more than 2,500 people from around the world to Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

AASHE aims to engage university administrators, faculty, staff and students — as well as the businesses that serve them – in making sustainable practices the norm in higher education. It urges conservation of resources in campus building construction and maintenance, utility use, food purchasing practices, and more.

This year’s conference begins on a sad note following the Sept. 26 death of Wangari Maathai, who was expected to deliver a keynote address. Maathai was known around the world for her leadership on environmental and anti-poverty issues. She founded the Green Belt Movement to mobilize community consciousness using tree planting as starting point. She earned a master’s in biological sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in 1966, and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.

The conference also features a student summit. It aims to help students to collaborate on sustainability projects on their campuses and in their regions, and to learn best practices and innovations from experts and each other. Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots environmental campaign 350.org, will address the students.

To learn more, go to Conf2011.aashe.org.