University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Sustainability Education

Sustainability In Scandinavia


This summer, University of Minnesota students with a diverse range of majors, took a study abroad trip of a lifetime to experience world-class sustainability and Scandinavia, first-hand.

One of the greatest challenges facing our world in the 21st century is jointly sustaining the environment and human health and wellbeing. Seeking sustainability means seeking solutions that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A sustainable perspective recognizes the conflicts and trade-offs of balancing economic growth, social equity and environmental integrity. Students who learn to approach complex environmental problems from this perspective today will become the leaders, scientists and engaged citizens of tomorrow.

This course introduces students to sustainability and sustainable development in a Scandinavian and European context, using lectures by Danish faculty and study tours of sustainability sites in Copenhagen, Samso and other locations in Denmark and in Sweden.

For more insight as to what these students embarked on, you can view the course itinerary, the syllabus, as well as student insights on their visit to a trash incinerator.


Wind turbines and cows


Ocean and Marine Biology


Human Foos-ball


Off-shore Wind turbines


Sustainability Action 2014

August 6, 2014MadelineEvents, General, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

SA 2013-2

On Friday, August 29 from 9:00 to 5:00, the Institute on the Environment and University Services will co-host the Sustainability Action open house for the new freshman class. Throughout the day, first-year students and other University and community members will tour IonE, chatting with representatives of academic programs, student groups, operations, and external organizations. The booths will be set up throughout IonE in the “Bazaar,” “Plaza,” and “Midway” in honor of the concurrent Minnesota State Fair. Sustainability groups enjoyed a high level of success connecting with potential new contributors, and we’re ready to recreate the experience for the new freshman class.

Students will enter the open house at the Bazaar, where they will be greeted with fresh produce from the Cornercopia student farm before visiting the tables of several sustainability-related student groups.The Bazaar will allow student groups to find energetic new members, and give students an opportunity to find community among other sustainability enthusiasts on campus.

After the Bazaar students will make their way to the Plaza, where Sustainability Studies and other academic programs will be ready with information and advice on incorporating sustainability into any college plan. This is also where students can play games and pick up a free Gopher hat from CFANS.

Students will complete their tour at the Midway, which will feature University Services departments and organizations key to the sustainability movement in the Twin Cities. Students will walk over a giant floor map of the Mississippi River, play more games, and visit with representatives of the ReUse Center, Housing and Residential Life, and the Office of Sustainability to learn how they can live more sustainably during college.

Sustainability Action has been among students’ favorite Welcome Week activities in the past, and we look forward to recreating the experience for the Class of 2018!

Volunteers and Exhibitors Needed for “Sustainability Action!” Welcome Week Event

sustaction face in the hole

On Friday, August 29, the Institute on the Environment will host the Sustainability Action! open house as part of the university-wide Welcome Week for incoming first-year students. Throughout the day, 3,000 students will visit IonE to play games and chat with members of local and on-campus environmental initiatives.

With so many students attending the event, we need your help to make sure things run smoothly. We are looking for student groups and local organizations to table at Sustainability Action! and promote their group or organization to the incoming wave of Gophers. We urge that your table include either samples, gifts, or is interactive to some degree. IonE will provide tables and can accommodate special spatial request within reason. If you or your group is interested, please complete this form as soon as possible.

We are also looking for student volunteers to help throughout the day.  This is a great way to see what goes into large-scale event planning, as well as get involved with the Institute on the Environment. If interested, you would be committed to one four-hour shift.  Volunteer shifts are available on August 28th and August 29th. The evening of August 28th, volunteers would be helping with setup and logistical planning for the day of the event. Volunteers on August 29th would be assisting with event traffic and logistics. Please contact IonE’s event coordinator Molly Buss for more information (   612-626-9553).

CSE American Solar Challenge Finish Line Celebration

solar car

Join sustainability and science enthusiasts this Monday, July 28 at from 12 to 4 pm and celebrate the return of the U of M Solar Vehicle Project team, who will be finishing their seven-day, 1700-mile race that started in Austin, Texas. Get some free school spirit supplies and cheer for the team as they cross the finish line at the Victory Lot outside TCF Stadium.  The University of Minnesota is among 24 teams from around the world competing this year in the American Solar Challenge. Other teams include MIT, University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, and Georgia Tech. The University of Minnesota’s team has historically finished among the top and hopes to do the same with its new car, #35 Centarus III. Centaurus III includes a newly revamped electrical system, improved aerodynamics, and new safety features. The car is just over 3 feet tall, about 16 feet long and 6 feet wide, and weighs just under 400 pounds.

The Solar Vehicle Project team consists of eight undergraduate engineering students who design, build, and race a solar car every two years.This year they split up into four task forces, each one tackling a different major system of the vehicle. The American Solar Challenge is a “staged race,” so to stay in the game, each team must make it to a certain city by a certain date, and order is irrelevant. But during the final stage on Monday, it will be a race to the finish line, and the Gopher team stands a good chance of winning. But no matter how it goes, they’ll be welcomed back with applause for completing this monumental challenge and their contributions to the sustainable transportation movement.

To learn more about the team, the project, and the race, check out their website.

Environmental Policy Internship in Washington, DC with National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

capitol hill

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is currently seeking a Policy Intern for the fall term beginning in mid August to early September, and lasting until December.  This position is full time and is located at NSAC’s DC office on Capitol Hill.

NSAC is the leading advocacy organization for federal policy that supports sustainable agriculture and food systems.  We work towards the vision of creating a safe, nutritious, and affordable food supply produced by a legion of diverse family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade, while sustaining the environment and contributing to the strength of their communities.  NSAC’s collaborative work environment offers a unique career opportunity to advance federal sustainable agriculture policy as part of a dedicated and effective team.

Position Description

NSAC’s Policy Intern will work closely with NSAC’s policy and grassroots staff on the full range of daily activities in our fast-paced DC office, including:

  • Support policy staff with Hill outreach
  • Attend meetings and Congressional hearings and report back to staff
  • Assist with grassroots outreach campaigns, including social media and other advocacy tools
  • Conduct research and data analysis to support policy development
  • Write policy blog posts
  • Manage dissemination of Weekly Roundup newsletter
  • Manage incoming calls and other administrative duties
  • Assist with other projects and assignments as needed

The Policy Intern will report directly to NSAC’s Policy Director.


  • An understanding of and passion for sustainable agriculture
  • Basic knowledge of the federal policy-making process
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent research skills
  • Experience with print, radio, and online media a plus
  • Ability to both work independently and be a good team player
  • Willingness to work around a demanding congressional schedule and administrative deadlines


NSAC policy interns are paid on an hourly basis.  NSAC will work with the applicant’s school or program to make the internship fit criteria for academic credit or field placement experience.


Please send resume, cover letter (including an explanation of your interests in sustainable agriculture), and the names and contact information for three references to Alyssa Charney at with “Fall Policy Intern” in the email subject line.


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

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.