Technical Speaker -
Dr. Brian Campbell

Dr. Brian Campbell is Director of Sustainability Education at Central College, and part of the Center for Global Experiential Learning. In this role, he works closely with faculty, staff, and community partners to integrate real world sustainability projects into student learning. These local, regional, and global projects support renewable energy, recycling and composting, sustainable food systems, and alternative transportation, along with social equity and cultural diversity. Brian teaches courses in a range of disciplines, including religion, ethics, history, and business management. Together with other faculty and students, Brian is also engaged in an ongoing oral history research project, “Stories of a Changing Midwest,” which aims to understand how environmental and social changes in the region through the life stories of diverse people. Brian also helps coordinate Central’s sustainability three summer camps for kids – Fun with Food, Wild Iowa, and Renewable Energy.

Before coming to Central in January 2015, Brian was at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spent four years working at Emory’s Center for Community Partnerships, teaching courses in environmental studies and sustainability, and fostering collaborations between students, faculty, campus facilities staff, and community partners. Brian has a PhD in American Religious Cultures from Emory, with a focus on the intersections of religion, spirituality, and sustainability. His dissertation, “Alone in America: Solitude, Nature, and the Sacred from Walden to the World Wide Web,” examined the stories of American hermit’s past and present, who choose to live in solitude, cultivating contemplative spiritualities and simple, sustainable lifestyles. Brian has a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California and a Bachelors from Davidson College, a small liberal arts school near Charlotte, North Carolina.


Brian is originally from the Alabama Gulf Coast and has deep family roots in the North Carolina mountains. He lives in Des Moines with his wife and two sons. An active volunteer, Brian is a member of the City of Des Moines Sustainability Task Force, serves as board president for Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, and coaches youth soccer.