College of Charleston alumnus Sean Hughes is one of four Americans who will join sustainability experts from around the world in Australia as part of the 2011 Climate Change Professional Fellows Program.
Participants from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan and the United States will explore the science, impact, adaptation and mitigation actions related to climate change with a goal of sharing expertise and developing best practices.
Hughes already has made a name for himself in the sustainability world through his Charleston-area involvement over the past three years.
He played a key role during the startup of the city of Charleston's Sustainability Division, helping the city's first director of sustainability design, fund and implement projects.
Through his grant writing efforts, the city has been awarded more than $1.5 million in grant funds for sustainability programs. In addition, he helped edit the city's first sustainability plan, which was incorporated into the city's Century V Master Plan.
He also helped design and vet consultants for the city's upcoming energy-efficiency programs. Hughes is professionally accredited by the Congress of New Urbanism for his abilities in urban design and has earned his Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
Hughes also was a member of the group that planned and implemented the pedestrians-only King Street event that is now held the second Sunday of every month.
"This is a very unique opportunity because the challenges of climate change transcend national boundaries and require cooperation between nations," Hughes said. "I would love to come back to Charleston following this experience and use my skills and knowledge in sustainability, resilient systems and energy efficiency to improve either the city or the College of Charleston, making them cleaner, more efficient and sustainable."