Sustainability Education University of Minnesota Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:41:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Minnesotans: Record Breakers, Movers, and Shakers Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:00:30 +0000 Author (6 people from the left, back row), and friends at the People's Climate March in NYC

Author (6 people from the left, back row), and friends at the People’s Climate March in NYC

It has been a busy month for activists here at the University of Minnesota. From New York to the Bell Museum, they have been working hard to strengthen community between issues, identities, and groups.

On September 21st, six busses brimming with Minnesotans travelled to New York City to partake in the People’s Climate March, the largest climate-related march in all of history. They, and 400,000 others concerned for our planet’s future, marched in the record-breaking event.

As the author of this blog, as well as one of the Minnesotans who attended People’s Climate March, the biggest takeaway of the march for me, Nathan Michelson, was the immense solidarity between peoples and issues. The way the march was organized was that groups with similar goals and identities were purposefully placed near each other to provide a greater sense of community within the larger environmental justice movement.

Fathi Mahad, a junior in the Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management major at the University of Minnesota reflects, “I thought PCM was very inclusive. I marched with the frontline communities and there were many people from all walks of life who happened to be there because they wanted climate justice. [I felt like] my identity as a Muslim African American women was validated and appreciated. I felt a sense of belonging that I still do not get in MN.”

Tyler Redden, a Biology, Society, and Environment major in his junior year at UMN stated “As a midwesterner, I was enthralled to see activists from all around the world attending. It proved that this is an international problem in need of international attention. I was glad to have MN350, the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs, and other University of Minnesota students and staff there to represent Minnesota.”

The energy in New York came home with these motivated individuals, and our University of Minnesota students saw a need to create solidarity and closer connections between social-change oriented student groups. This drive was manifested on October 10th at the Bell Museum. Hosted by Fossil Free Minnesota and Open Stage and sponsored by The Institute on the Environment, SUA, the Coca-Cola Sustainability Initiative, the CFANS office for Diversity and Inclusion, and Radio K, ‘Family Frenzy’ was a fun event created with the mission of “setting the stage for a student group movement at the U that works together to accomplish more than is possible as individuals. This event will not be a time for planning actions, but rather to hear where we are all coming from, entertain one another, and most importantly, dance together.” As you can tell by the long list of collaborators for this event, they really put their money where their mouth is as far as “coming together” goes.

We’d tell you more about the event ourselves, but Beth Mercer-Taylor, University of Minnesota Sustainability Education Coordinator, put it too well to be topped:

Sustainability projects can feel a lot like pulling weeds in the hot sun.  You put hours of effort into the work, but not many will even notice what you’ve done.  Coming back to the yard next week, all you see is even more weeds. [For example,] You can cut energy use on campus by getting office staff to turn off all those lights and appliances, but at the same time, a new campus building goes up, further expanding energy use and the campus carbon footprint.  College lectures teach you that the earth is beyond its carrying capacity and that our politics hold no way to stop our collective overuse of resources.   Why would anyone want to hang out with a crowd giving off such a negative vibe?

Cue the music.  Turn down the lights. Maybe the agony of a hopeless situation can be a cause for creativity, a chance to hold hands, dance, sing, tell stories and celebrate the possibility of another way of being in this world.  The young women in hijab move with a queer couple in short-hair.  Skirts and high heels mix with bare feet, flannel and flowing scarves.

Amidst creatures frozen in time in glass cases, the Bell Museum of Natural History (on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus) played host to the Family Frenzy Art & Music Festival last Friday.  You would never even know the environmentalists planned it, with the Capoera, the painters, the rappers, the poets, the a Capella singers (Enchantment, you had me) and a certain spoken word artist called Guante, telling us:

Everything is for sale and everything will kill you.  So don’t buy it.  Remember who supplies it…

Remember, a poem is worth more than a prayer…. Every mic is a magic wand.

]]> 0
You’re Invited! 2nd Annual Sustainability Fair Celebrating Sustainable and Vibrant Communities Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:35:43 +0000 Picture1

For residents, business leaders, community groups, and anyone interested in learning more about living a sustainable lifestyle. Presented by the Three Rivers Park District and the cities of Lauderdale, St. Anthony Village, and Falcon Heights.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

5:30-8:30 pm

Silverwood Park

2500 County Road E W

St. Anthony, MN 55421

FREE and open to the public

Family friendly! Activities for all ages will be provided

Riding public transportation, biking, or carpooling to the event is encouraged.

This event is also co-hosted by St. Anthony Village Citizens for Sustainability and by UMN Sustainability Education through the UMN Institute on the Environment.



This is a great event for vendors because it provides the opportunity to engage residents who share a common vision of trying to become more sustainable. It’s also a great event for community leaders and local residents because it gives the opportunity to learn, network and gain resources to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

                                    -Mark Casey, St. Anthony Village City Administrator

History of the event

Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and St. Anthony Village have over twenty years of history collaborating through shared resources and ideas. In the winter of 2012, the three cities came together to build on their synergies and work toward the common goal of creating a more sustainable and vibrant community.

In fall of 2012, a sustainability plan was created for each city in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Sustainable Communities class. Students helped to collect data, determine city goals, and establish a starting point for a city sustainability vision and work plan.

Read the sustainability plan for Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and St. Anthony Village as well as Three Rivers Park District

In fall of 2013, the cities’ visions moved from policy to practical. The first annual sustainability fair was hosted at Silverwood Park, a logical partner because of the park’s leadership in energy efficiency, water management, community engagement, and land stewardship. The fair provided resources on how the residents of three communities can be more sustainable and access the resources they need.”

In its second year, the event promises to be widely attended and more impactful. Resources providers will discuss and share information with residents and local leaders to build a community-wide call for action to make progress toward sustainability goals. Together, we can build a more sustainable community.

]]> 0
Growing Cities Film Screening Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:39:08 +0000 growing cities

It’s a crisp October afternoon on campus, where fall semester is in full swing. Amidst the bustle of students walking to class, you sit at a table on Northrop mall, downtrodden. You’re thinking back to spring semester 2013, when you attended an installment of the Sustainability Education department’s annual film series. Those times were so good, learning about sustainable living and development with like-minded peers, eating popcorn donated by Wise Acre Eatery. But spring 2014 is so far away and you don’t know how you’re going to make it until then. You go in for full nostalgia and start perusing the posts on “What’s this?” you think, as you see a post titled “Growing Cities Film Screening.” Your eyes light up and you skip to class, giddy for October 24th.

That’s right, folks! The Sustainability Education department here at the University of Minnesota is proud to announce a film screening of Growing Cities, a film about urban farming in America. Preceding the film, there will be a panel discussion with representatives from Urban Ventures and Gardening Matters. These Minneapolis organizations focus on combating urban poverty and supporting urban community gardens, respectively. This topical panel discussion will take place at 7:00pm on National Food Day (Friday, October 24th) nestled in the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus at the Bell Museum, with the film screening following at 7:45.

This event is sponsored by the Sustainability Education department in partnership with the following UMN student groups: Students for Sustainability, U Students Like Good Food, and the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources (CFANs) Ambassadors. These students groups work year-round to promote an informed and active student body, and we’re excited to bring this event to fruition with them!

Tell your friends, tell your professors, tell the person sitting next to you on the campus connector all about it because this event is free and open to the public! The free Wise Acre Eatery popcorn will also make a return appearance while supplies last. Now stop pouting about our annual film series being so far away and get excited for Food Day 2014!

]]> 2
IonE Undergrad Sustainability Leaders Program Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:10:17 +0000 COLLAGE

What’s your passion?  What’s your sustainability vision?  How can your vision be fused with others to help create a more sustainable future?

The Undergraduate Sustainability Leaders’ Program is a leadership accelerator within the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. The Leaders Program develops emerging undergraduate leaders into real world change makers committed to solutions-focused leadership.  Our goal is to grow a cohort of students who are committed to becoming the next generation of community, regional, and world leaders.  We encourage holistic thinking and respect the diverse skills and perspectives each leader brings to the table.

The ideal Institute on the Environment Leader candidate has impactful environmental and/or social leadership experience, shows a passion for environmental and social change, and has a strong academic track record.  All undergraduate majors are open to apply.

2014-2015 Focus themes: equity and reciprocity

  • How can we use lenses of equity, reciprocity, justice, and diversity to define and think about sustainability?
  • How can we bring together science, creativity, art, healing practices, and diverse ways of knowing in communication to make sustainability more interdisciplinary and inclusive?
  • How do these versions of sustainability fit into the big picture governance and policy frameworks?

 Timeline and Flow:

Starting in November, 2014, the Leaders Program will open with a day-long introduction and workshop, and continue with experiential learning through the academic year.  As a final action project this year, we will have an opportunity to shape a student component of the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) National Conference 2015 that will be hosted in Minneapolis, MN.  Let your voice be heard in this planning and sustainability’s future at one of the largest sustainability conferences in the nation.

 Cohort Learning and Action

  • Kick Off Workshop (ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED): November 8, 2014
  • Create change agent alumni piece for Sustainability Education website
  • Sustainability Symposium (Leaders present creative work): Spring 2014
  • Participate in Earth Day (April 22)
  • Present 1 of 4 Sustainability Film Series Films
  • Work towards AASHE Minneapolis 2015 Student Action Plan

Amp up your sustainability know-how by participating in

  • Once-a-month Leaders meeting/field trip (First Thursday of every month)
  • Food Day (October 24th, 2014)
  • At least 1 Frontier in the Environment Lecture Series (Wednesday @ 12)
  • Sustainability Film Series Events
  • Student Engagement Leadership Forum (SELF) Sustain (Spring 2015)
  • May Celebration at Eric Sannerud Family Farm, Sandbox (Ham Lake)


The application period for the 2014-2015 Leaders Program is now closed.  Check back early next fall if you are interesting in applying next year!

]]> 1
Paid Internship with WaterLegacy Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:52:29 +0000 5971130475_a16462d522_b

Minnesota environmental action organization WaterLegacy is seeking a communications and outreach intern to assist with its campaign against sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior.

Status: 16-20 hours/week, November 2014 – April 2015
Job Category: Communications and Outreach Intern
Compensation: $1,500, plus support for college credit
Location: Twin Cities metro area, Minnesota

Duties and Responsibilities:

Internships with WaterLegacy allow for diverse, immersive experiences in the environmental non-profit field. Interns are responsible for the completion of self-guided projects as well as assisting staff and volunteers with specific programs, events, and day-to-day office functions.

Primary Projects/Duties:

  • Assist staff with social media and web communication on environmental issues.
  • Assist staff with preparing printed or email communications such as fact sheets, flyers, announcements, solicitations and action alerts.
  • Participate in the planning, exhibiting and petitioning at events.
  • Participate in other outreach and turnout activities to support education and activism.
  • Engage with members and the public at education events or by phone.


WaterLegacy is looking for an undergraduate student living in the Twin Cities area with an interest in environmental advocacy and non-profit administration. Strong candidates are creative, self-motivated, and interested in gaining professional experience working with a small non-profit team.

Knowledge of sulfide mining issues and northeastern Minnesota’s “Arrowhead” region is preferred but not required. Access to a reliable vehicle is preferred but not required.


  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Completed first year of college or post-secondary education (GPA 3.5 or higher preferred)
  • Familiarity with major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office applications
  • Recent laptop with Word and Excel (2010 or newer)
  • Experience with graphic design and/or digital layout (preferred but not required)
  • Ability to conduct self-guided research and synthesize data
  • Ability to produce and edit high-quality written content

How to Apply:

To apply, please send one PDF document to that includes:

  • Cover letter explaining why you are interested in this internship
  • Resume
  • 1-2 page writing sample
  • Contact information for 2-3 references

Deadline: Friday, October 24

Questions: Contact Jacob Crawford at


Photo credit: Eugene Kim

]]> 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

]]> 2
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.

]]> 0
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.
]]> 0
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.

]]> 0
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.

]]> 0