University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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Sustainability Education

G&K Environmental Internship Opportunity

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Image by Ron Reiring, via Flickr Creative Commons. Licensing info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.

G&K Services, Inc. is a market leader in branded work apparel programs and facility services in the US. It was founded in Minnesota and employs nearly 7,500 employees. Soon, they could be employing 7,5001!

G&K is hiring an environmental intern to start immediately and work 10-15 hours per week. The job would mostly consist of working on environmental projects and recommending company improvements to the Environmental Compliance Engineer. Interested parties should apply if they have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and have successfully completed their sophomore year at the U (or another accredited college). G&K will show preference to applicants who are working towards a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, environmental management/policy or engineering, industrial engineering, or a related field.

If you would like an application or have any questions regarding the internship, please contact Jacqueline Martin (G&K HR dept.) at jmartin@gkservices.com or Ben Puhl (G&K Environmental Systems Engineer) at bpuhl@gkservices.com.

Native American Medicine Gardens

September 10, 2014MadelineFeatured, General, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

UMN Native American Medicine Gardens

Tucked between Cleveland and Larpenteur avenues on the University’s St. Paul Campus lie the little-known Native American Medicine Gardens. Run by Native caretakers in the Native American tradition, these gardens represent hope for a sustainable food system and the healing of Native peoples whose health and traditions have been devastated by the loss of their ancestral environments. Visitors to the Gardens are free to take edible and medicinal plants for personal use, with the intention that they reflect upon the true sources of their own food and the importance of food sovereignty.

Food sovereignty, a central principle behind the Gardens, is the ability of an individual or community to sustain itself on its own land as Native American nations did before settlers converted much of it for agriculture. Even after some of the land was returned to the tribe, the unfamiliar new ecosystem and lack of agricultural tradition forced them into dependence upon outside food, which today consists primarily of inexpensive processed meals supplemented by D-grade commodities guaranteed by a nineteenth-century treaty with the U.S. government. Grief over this loss of lifestyle and the resulting health crisis runs high, and gardens like these are part of a movement toward the return of a healthier community and a healthier environment. As Gardens director Francis Bettleyoun expresses, “The Gardens are part of healing ourselves and Mother Earth.”

The Gardens’ message of food sovereignty not only applies to disadvantaged Native peoples; it also points to the lack of subsistence across Western society. “We all have our handout. We are all part of a welfare system,” says Bettleyoun, referring to a universal dependence upon store bought food, “If that food wasn’t there, what would you do? It’s time to start thinking in that way… We are not a free people; we are dependent upon somebody else feeding us, and we don’t have the ability not to work for food that we could be growing on our own.”

The Gardens aim to show how people can reclaim responsibility for their own well-being by growing some of their own food in a way that restores the quality of the land. Caretakers plant many of the same perennials that helped Native communities flourish for centuries. They fertilize the soil with rock dust, a powder of finely ground rocks that recharges soil minerals, plus manure and other organic soil amendments, that make the plants more fruitful and nutritious. This style of gardening is highly sustainable as a single application of rock dust can restore nutrients for many seasons to come, while the native perennials will thrive naturally and maintain soil fertility better than other plants.

The Gardens welcome all community members to partake by assisting with caretaking, attending learning sessions, taking portions of plants for personal use, or simply coming to meditate and enjoy the tranquility of the site.

If you would like to contribute to the Gardens this season, contact fbettely@umn.edu.

To stay in touch with the Gardens, follow them on Facebook.

2014 LGBTQIA Student Leadership Retreat

September 4, 2014Elizabeth HokeEvents, General, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

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Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 LGBTQIA Student Leadership Retreat! The University of Minnesota LGBTQIA Leadership Retreat is an annual retreat hosted in the fall for undergraduate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual/ally students at the University of MN Twin Cities. The retreat is sponsored by the GLBTA Programs Office and the Queer Student Cultural Center.

The purpose of the retreat is to focus on leadership development and community building while exploring intersecting identities and oppressions through a social justice lens. It is also a great way for students to make new friends and meet new people!

The retreat will take place in Coffman Union on Saturday Oct. 4th, 9am-8pm and Sunday Oct. 5th, 9am-4pm.  Meals will be provided and the retreat is free for U of M undergraduate participants. Space is limited.

Please fill out the application by Thursdsay, September 18th.

To request disability accommodations, please contact Frankie Jader at bfjader@umn.edu or 612-625-0537. For all other questions regarding the retreat, please contact Stef Wilenchek at swilench@umn.edu or 612-585-8519.

Food Day 2014

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The iconic turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. The classic birthday cake. A warm bowl of chicken noodle soup when you’re under the weather. These are just some of the ways great food has come to symbolize the many events of our lives. But for many peoples across Minnesota, America, and the world, food does not have these luxurious attachments. Every day, over half a million people in Minnesota are unsure when or where they will have their next meal. That’s where Food Day comes in.

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Food Day is a national initiative that was created in 2010 in response animal cruelty and the growing number of people affected by obesity, diabetes, heart disease, environmental degradation, and unfair working conditions. Food Day prompts Americans to look at these problems and their relation to food in order to inspire solution-driven action. Specifically considering the recent deepening of socioeconomic gaps, Food Day 2014 will have a special focus on food access and justice for food and farm workers.

You are invited to this year’s Food Day UMN-TC event on October 24th at the University Recreation and Wellness Center. An artfully blended vinaigrette of education, advocacy, and free samples, UMN’s Food Day is a great opportunity to learn about delicious local food options and the privilege that is often required to have access to many of them.

Keep up with the event’s development and discuss food systems, policies surround them, and personal diet improvements on Facebook or Twitter, using the #FoodDay2014 hashtag.

Resources Regarding #Ferguson

Ferguson

Nathan Michielson

Here at the Sustainability Studies office, although our main issue is sustainability, many of us in the office have been closely following the events of Ferguson and are deeply saddened and frustrated with the acts of violence. There is a heavy intersection of the issues of race relations and sustainability, and we have been pushing ourselves to think about that intersection more critically and how we can use our standing at a world-class institution to further exploit that intersection and create a deeper dialogue on the issue. Although we desire for that conversation to be held, we also understand that the issue of Ferguson is an issue of racial profiling and police brutality. We do not wish to turn this struggle into something for our own personal gain, nor wish to coerce the brilliant efforts being led by activists on the grounds in Ferguson, activists doing remote work (or police brutality work in their own communities), or activists on social media. We as the Sustainability Education Communications team would like to stand in solidarity with all of the aforementioned activists and all those affected by racial profiling and police brutality by bringing this issue into our sustainability and environmental based spaces, where topics of race are far too often ignored. We have compiled a list of resources, to educate ourselves and our peers on the issue in our communities and in Ferguson, and to also help our communities and the people of Ferguson.

To start off, we realize that a lot of this conversation has been happening on social media and not as largely in mainstream media and not everyone has access to that conversation. So here is a quick synopsis of what is happening, and what has led up to this point: http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-ferguson-MO-protests

To add to that, here are some ways in which a white person(s), who hasn’t experienced police brutality and isn’t a part of the black community, can start to meaningfully engage in that conversation.

http://qz.com/250701/12-things-white-people-can-do-now-because-ferguson/

These two links are to ‘Lists’ made in twitter of activists, residents, and reporters who are on the grounds in Ferguson. There is a lot going on in the Twitter world right now, but these are the people who will be giving you moment-by-moment, first-hand accounts of what is happening in Ferguson. Lists are via twitter user @SoulRevision.

-Residents/activists tweeting from Ferguson: http://bit.ly/VzSbTp

-Journalists tweeting from Ferguson: http://bit.ly/1pAy6ba

This next link is to a nightly livestream of Ferguson. There are many different news outlets and individuals who are livestreaming, so a quick google search could easily pull up more.

http://www.ustream.tv/z

http://new.livestream.com/timcast/events/3295551

There are also a lot of links going around to send donations and help to Ferguson. Just as with anything that is requesting money, make sure to check the credentials before donating. Here are a few links that have been proven valid.

If you want to contribute to local organizing efforts, donate to The Organization for Black Struggle: http://obs-onthemove.org/featured/end-the-racist-police-state-in-ferguson-misery-2/

If you want to help with the donation of supplies, these folks will be taking testimonies from protesters while also providing basic needs, including food, water, gas masks, and school supplies: http://www.gofundme.com/supplies4ferguson

The NLG needs help providing legal back up to the Ferguson protesters: https://www.nlg.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=12

With this link you can donate to feed the students of Ferguson: https://fundly.com/feed-the-students-of-ferguson

Additionally, not all of us have money to donate, so this is a link to a White House petition that would require police officers to wear cameras on their uniforms: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/mike-brown-law-requires-all-state-county-and-local-police-wear-camera/8tlS5czf

This link highlights five ways in which white folk can show support against police brutality in their own community: http://changefromwithin.org/2014/08/19/solidarity-with-ferguson-act-locally-5-things-whites-can-do/

And for Minneapolis folk, check our Communities United Against Police Brutality, and organization that has been working on the frontline of police brutality issues in Minneapolis: http://www.cuapb.org

 

And if while reading this, you realize that we did not include a resource that you think is beneficial, email michi013@umn.edu, and I will include it in this blog posting. I, as the writer, am not from a community that experiences police brutality as largely as the black community, and additionally have never experienced police brutality myself, so I may have left out some resources that those communities might find useful.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

 

Written: Nathan Michielson

Featured image: (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Blog Image: Facebook via friend of Michael Brown

 

 

ADMINISTRATION
The Sustainability Education website is administered by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

SUSTAINABILITY CLASSES
The University of Minnesota offers sustainability courses in most of its colleges and campuses around the state. These courses encompass biophysical sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, design, engineering, business, and health. The Sustainability Studies minor is one of several interdisciplinary programs through which such diverse courses come together.