Sustainability Education University of Minnesota Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:59:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 G&K Environmental Internship Opportunity Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:23:03 +0000 pic

Image by Ron Reiring, via Flickr Creative Commons. Licensing info:

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 or Ben Puhl (G&K Environmental Systems Engineer) at

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Native American Medicine Gardens Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:46:03 +0000 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

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

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Sustainability Coordinator Position at Concordia College in Moorhead Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:44:34 +0000 2939914423_1ec6018d4d_b

Sustainability professionals possessing a master’s degree in a related field should consider the following job opportunity:

Sustainability Coordinator Position Description

The Sustainability Coordinator serves as a key facilitator of sustainability-related activity on campus. The successful candidate will provide broad institutional leadership in the college’s efforts to infuse sustainability principles into all curricular and operational aspects of the college. The central focus of the position is on engaging with students, faculty, and staff to promote sustainability across campus and to facilitate worthy initiatives. The Sustainability Coordinator will work collaboratively with a diverse array of units of the college as Concordia moves towards achieving its Vision for Sustainability.

Specific responsibilities include the following:

  • Work with the President’s Sustainability Council and the various units of the college to refine and pursue the goals and initiatives consistent with the Concordia College Vision for Sustainability and Strategic Plan. Conduct information-finding research and data collection as needed.
  • Track progress on meeting college sustainability goals, produce an annual sustainability report, and keep the college up-to-date in its STARS reporting.
  • Promote sustainable practices and sustainability principles on campus through efforts to increase understanding, foster collaborative educational experiences across all campus constituencies (students, staff, and faculty), and promote behaviors consistent with local and global sustainability.
  • Assist units in developing and implementing changes that reduce the ecological footprint (including carbon emissions) of college operations.
  • Work closely with students, assisting them in pursuing sustainability initiatives and creating a culture of sustainability.
  • Run the Eco-Reps program, oversee EcoHouse programming, and provide overall coordination for the campus organic garden.
  • Manage the sustainability section of the college’s website and promote awareness of the college’s sustainability efforts.
  • Represent the college’s sustainability efforts to community and other external audiences, including alumni of the college


  • A Master’s level degree, preferably related to environmental or sustainability studies.
  • Two years of experience working in the field of sustainability and/or in higher education.
  • Highly effective leadership, collaborative, and interpersonal relationship skills; able to work successfully with students, faculty, administrators, and support staff.
  • Strong organizational skills and able to handle at one time multiple projects of varying size and complexity.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; good computer skills.
  • The ability to understand technical and financial data (on carbon emissions, electricity costs, etc.) and to relate them to the general community.
  • An understanding of and interest in the global dimensions of sustainability.
  • Demonstrated ability to design, manage, and implement projects of various types.
  • Support for the mission and vision of Concordia College.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Four or more years of experience working in higher education in the area of sustainability.
  • For more information and to apply, please visit . EOE/AA. Criminal background check required.
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2014 LGBTQIA Student Leadership Retreat Thu, 04 Sep 2014 18:24:30 +0000 2633907150_d810c2e3ff_o

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 or 612-625-0537. For all other questions regarding the retreat, please contact Stef Wilenchek at or 612-585-8519.

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Food Day 2014 Tue, 02 Sep 2014 19:57:45 +0000 food day

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.


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.

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ARE YOU READY FOR SUSTAINABILITY ACTION!? Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:30:27 +0000 The great Minnesota State Fair AND Welcome Week2014 are finally here and Sustainability Action is right around the corner. Just as you go into the State Fair with a plan (Sweet Martha’s first or last???), and move in during Welcome Week with a plan (pro-tip: Make your guardian(s) and the Welcome Week Leaders carry everything) we want you to be ready going into Sust Action. Here is a list of all the attractions and ‘vendors’ to look for at “The Great Class of 2018 Sustainability Get Together.”


Food Day: “Healthy sustainable food for all! Every October we host an event (Food Day) that is open to the entire campus that encourages student to become active and engaged in our local food system.”

U of M Recycling Program: Featuring a bale of PET Plastic bottles at their booth, the U of M Recylcing Program provides information about the University’s Recycling Program on campus and in the Residence Halls and how students can participate each time they need to dispose of an item.

MPIRG: “We will have several different environmental/sustainability represented at this event. Our main focus is sustainable waste management. This includes advocating for city-wide composting pick up and anti garbage burning. The other focus is an increased renewable energy standard push statewide. We will also be registering students to vote as democracy work intersects with the environmental movement.”

U Students Like Good Food:  I heard a rumor that this booth is going to have some locally and organically produced snacks!  U Students Like Good Food is a group that advocates for food justice, rad food, and health.

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering: The BBE program is a specialized undergraduate degree programs related to the sustainable use of renewable resources and the enhancement of the environment.

Sustainable Farming Association/Sustainable Food Production Program: “We will highlight our Sustainable Food Production Program curriculum, a beginning farmer training program that builds successful sustainable farmers as well as community leaders. Our program offers the depth of holistic farm education and provides training in the context of a vibrant, diverse farmer network. It is attractive for individuals with a conventional farming background who want to transition toward sustainability and also individuals who want to farm but have no family background or direct experience in the field. More information is available at”

Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology: At this booth learn about summer research experiences in chemistry research related to creating sustainable nanomaterials.

Clean Energy Resource Teams: They’re all about clean energy–both energy efficiency and renewable energy, and will be highlighting ways that students can work with CERTs to learn more and get involved!

Active Energy Club: “We will highlight the energy projects our club has done, like our energy bike, which is a bike attached to a generator that gives output in the form of light. We will also highlight events we’ve done in the past, like elementary school outreach and Energy Awareness Day in hopes to inspire freshmen to join Active Energy Club.’

Engineers Without Borders: This group works on sustainable water projects in Africa and Central America. The projects are done with local materials and labor, made to last many years, and are environmentally friendly.

The Raptor Center: The Raptor Center (which is a really cool place that I encourage you all to visit frequently throughout your time at the U) is going to be showcasing their ink jet recycling program and are also looking for volunteers with that program.

Live Green Games/Energy Mgmt/Ofc of Sustainability: Get signed up for the Live Green Games and live a greener life!

Students Against Hunger: Students Against Hunger works to educate the university community about the issue of hunger both locally and internationally. They provide volunteering opportunities to get involved and address the issue of hunger, including meal packaging sessions, soup kitchens, and speakers from various anti-hunger organizations like Second Harvest Heartland and the Global Poverty Project. Students Against Hunger sees the issues of hunger and sustainability as intimately intertwined issues, as sustainable development can help alleviate hunger, and meeting people’s basic needs is fundamental to successful sustainable development. As the world’s population continues to grow and climate change becomes an increasing concern for the world’s most vulnerable, the ties between sustainability and hunger will only become more apparent and important.

ReUse: All that we could ever say about the ReUse center here at the University of Minnesota could more easily be explained by visiting their facebook photo albums. So good.

Department of Civil, Enviro, and Geo-Engineering: Tabletop demos on sustainable infrastructure design; environmental issues in energy development; issues of clean water, waste-water, and air.

Fossil Free MN: Get involved with FFMN to get UMN divested from the fossil fuel industry!

TAPPI: Check this booth for volunteer oppurtunities, sustainability within industries, and types of careers in making sustainable products. TAPPI stands for Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, but they cover bioenergy and bioplastics too.

HourCar: Go to this booth to get rad HourCar swag. HOURCAR is a local nonprofit car-sharing organization. As the official car sharing org at the UofM, they are dedicated with providing students a greener and more affordable alternative to car ownership. The bulk of th fleet is made up of high efficiency hybrids and compact cars.

Sustainability Studies Minor: Check out this booth for information about getting involved with sustainability studies minor on campus, get your picture taken in a cutout, and also get food and beverages from local sustainability-minded organizations! Also there may or may not be a way to win a free bike tune up from Varsity Bikes.

Housing and Residential Life: HRL will be highlighting the opportunity to take sustainable action in your residence halls by joining the Sustainability Advocates, also being highlighted,  the partnered initiative between HRL and FM for the Fall Sustainability Education program.

H20 for Life: Learn about supporting sustainable water use and clean water accessibility.

Solar Vehicle Project: This is a race car. Completely powered by solar energy. Do I need to write more?

Friends of the Boundary Water Wilderness: They will be highlighting their work on issues like non-native invasive species in the Quetico-Superior region, the potential for mining near the BWCA, and the support of wilderness based or “eco-businesses”

GIVE at UMN: Community self-sustainability abroad and at home, as well as an emphasis on how trash can be re-used. Focus will be placed on structures, water filtration programs, etc.

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society: The MRES booth will be displaying solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal products. Also learn w how these products are used to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Also learn about the May 16th, 2015 solar boat race and find out how to get involved.

Cornercopia Student Organic Farm: *Debatably* one of the coolest sustainable features at the University of Minnesota, Cornercopia is going to have samples, fun games, and great information on urban and sustainable agriculture.

Innovative Engineers: Learn about wind and solar energy!

Acara: Housed in the Institute on the Environment, the organization hosting Sust Action, Acara will talk about opportunities in IonE’s Acara program in order to engage in learning about and creating impact ventures to address social and environmental challenges through sustainable business-based solutions

Nice Ride MN: Bike sharing! If you didn’t bring a bike to campus, or if yours gets stolen throughout the year, your first stop is going to be Nice Ride. Check them out at Sust Action to get an account up and running!

SforS: Students for Sustainability. This group has a lot going for them and their booth is going to represent that. They are a blanket group, so cover a lot of issues around sustainability. They will be talking about an environmental justice music festival they have coming up, initiatives to get plastic water bottles off of campus, and how you can volunteer to help kids get outdoors!

University Dining Services: The food you will be eating for the next year of your life, if not the next four! They will be talking to you about conscious consuming, purchasing, and also composting on campus.

Learning Abroad Center: Studying abroad is something that all students should at least consider. And the Learning Abroad Center will be here to give you more information!

NetImpact: “The Net Impact Conference is the leading forum for students and professionals who want to tackle the world’s toughest social and environmental problems. This year, we’re ready to break boundaries—leaving limits behind, forging unexpected alliances, and exploring creative solutions—to transform the world.” Along with emphasizing the conference, they will provide information regarding opportunities through Net Impact to get involved  and give back to the local community, including field trips to local non-profits, networking events, service opportunities and much more that will take place in the fall.


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Resources Regarding #Ferguson Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:13:17 +0000 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:

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.

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:

-Journalists tweeting from Ferguson:

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.

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:

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:

The NLG needs help providing legal back up to the Ferguson protesters:

With this link you can donate to 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:

This link highlights five ways in which white folk can show support against police brutality in their own community:

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:


And if while reading this, you realize that we did not include a resource that you think is beneficial, email, 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



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Sustainability In Scandinavia Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:15:19 +0000 unnamed

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


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Sustainability Action 2014 Wed, 06 Aug 2014 16:46:43 +0000 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!

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Volunteer with Great River Greening Tue, 05 Aug 2014 15:31:34 +0000
great river greening
As the summer is winding down, Great River Greening, a non-profit organization whose mission is to secure the legacy of Minnesota lands and waters through community-based restoration,  is getting ready for an exciting fall volunteer event season. Starting in the end of September, they will have variety of restoration volunteer opportunities across the metro. 
They have four different volunteer events to fit everyone’s interest and abilities and would be perfect for your student organization:
  • Stacking and Seeding
    • Alimagnet Park in Apple Valley (September 27th 8:30am- 12:30pm)
  • Tree and Shrub Planting
    • ​Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary in St. Paul (October 11th 8:30am- 12:30pm)
  • Brush Stacking
    • Doyle-Kennefick Regional Park in Elko (October 25th 9:30am- 1:00pm)
  • Buckthorn Blast!
    • Katherine Abbott Park in Mahtomedi (November 1st 9:30am- 1:00pm)

 Also, if YOU are interested in volunteering with them this fall, register now before the events fill up!

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