Sustainability Education University of Minnesota Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:23:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Place at the Table: Film Series 2015 Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:10:39 +0000 10987315_10152958228911195_5545041245608288026_n

Join us for a thinking and doing evening on Thursday, March 5th, 6:30 PM at the Bell Museum, to engage the social and environmental injustices in the United States food system.  We will be showing the acclaimed documentary, A Place at the Table and hosting special guest speaker Michael Chaney, Executive Director of Project Sweetie Pie in North Minneapolis for the second film of the Sustainability Film Series. We will also be creating an interactive activist-art project on hunger to send to decision makers who are passing (or not) legislation on food-related policies while receiving a cooking, and eating, demo with Jenny Breen and University Dining Services.  Find more information here or invite friends with our Facebook event.

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Sustainability Symposium 2015 Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:05:06 +0000 Sustainability Symposium 2015 Banner

Calling all graduate, professional, and undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota! Do you have a project with a sustainability angle? Share your work at the 2015 Sustainability Symposium on April 10 for a chance to win an iPad Mini! Abstracts are being accepted until March 6ALL students are encouraged to submit abstracts!

This year we encourage you to “Tell Your Sustainability Story”. At the Sustainability Symposium, you will have the chance to develop your communication skills by showing and articulating the importance of your research to a broad audience.


Friday, April 10th, 2015, Institute on the Environment

Why Present?

As a presenter at the Sustainability Symposium, you will hone presentation skills by sharing your research, enhance your resume, and connect with individuals sharing an interest in sustainability. Submission categories include conference posters, lightning talks (5-minute presentations of your work), and multi-media pieces (artwork, design project, video, etc.). Click here to view posters from past symposiums.

Get Involved!

Click here to submit your abstract today! Submit your abstract by March 13 for the chance to present at the Institute on the Environment’s Sustainability Symposium on April 10th!
All presenters will be entered to win an iPad Mini! 

Need help? Attend Magrath Library’s workshop!

A workshop for creating posters using PowerPoint is taking place on February 25, 1-2pm at the Magrath Library, presented by Amy Neeser and Megan Kocher. Learn more about the workshop and sign up!

Learn more


Center for International Business Education and Research UMN Institute for Advanced Study UMN Humphrey School of Public Affairs UMN College of Education and Human Development UMN College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences College of Design UMN

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Johnson Brothers Scholarship in Entrepreneurship Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:53:21 +0000 sophieblog

Juniors and seniors with an entrepreneurial vision are welcome to apply for the Lynn Johnson – Johnson Brothers Scholarship in Entrepreneurship. This scholarship will apply to the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters.


  • Be a full-time, undergraduate student enrolled in 12 credits or more each semester;
  • Attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities;
  • Have financial need, meeting low to middle income status as defined by current University standards;
  • Be juniors (60 or more credits at the time the scholarship starts) or rising seniors enrolled in a degree
  • Granting program, and can be in any Twin Cities undergraduate college;
  • Have a strong academic record, and making timely progress toward their four-year degree;
  • Show evidence of a strong commitment to entrepreneurial initiatives. Evidence could include: classes,internships, club or social initiatives, start-ups in business or non-profits, a major or minor in Entrepreneurial Management, etc. Applicants need not have a start-up project underway.
  • Have a completed (or estimated) FAFSA application on file at the University for the academic year

For more information, see the scholarship announcement.

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The Nile Project: Using music as a tool to rethink watersheds and cultivate sustainability Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:46:20 +0000 the_nile_project_photo_matjaz_kacicnik_7

The stage was dark at Northrop Hall.  Then it started.  Sophie Nzayisenga from Rwanda is as a queen, a spirit—animate—enticing us in.  She and the inanga instrument sang together.  The music took over the hall, filling us up.  She would look up towards us every so often as if saying, “Come on. Feel the joy.” And then back the task at hand—bring the spirit into the concert hall and a smile would overtake her face and she would be back into the music.

More musicians had entered at this time.  Each had a distinct way of moving, being, and playing.  They wore things from T-shirt and jeans to kanga.  What they had in common? They were amazing musicians and all part of the Nile Project.

“You are in for a big journey tonight.  We will go all over the Nile.” said Ugandan musician Micheal Bazibu.

nile river basin

The Nile Project was founded in 2011 by Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis and Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero to address the Nile Basin’s cultural and environmental challenges at the core of deep conflict between people and people, people and the environment, and sustainability in the past, present, and future.

Since then, the Nile Project has gathered musicians from up and down the Nile River to come together and cultivate the sustainability of their ecosystem.  “We need to rethink how we see our water and our ecosystems,” said President Mina Girgis at intermission. “Before being here, we were just traveling in California, where many of the issues are similar to what is happening right now in the Nile Basin.  We are not alone.  It is something we all need to think about.”

So how do music and sustainability mix?

  • Redefine borders based on ecological boundaries.  The project gives new meaning to water by transcending national boundaries which represent a political memory that often creates divisions between people.  By redefining boundaries, people can gather together to focus on a river spanning multiple nations, languages, and cultures.  For example, Dina El Wedidi (Egypt) and Alsarah (Sudan) got into an accent “war” on stage arguing about how to say the song titled Gharib Ley in Arabic from their different places.  Their performance highlighted the deep tensions present in the area.  But the laughing actions and song lyrics tell a different story “Break down the barriers, rise to me.”
  • Engage people to participate with meaning.  We had to dance.  We had to sing.  In “Biwelewele,” Steven Songo (Burundi) taught us the chorus and we happily sang along in Swahili. He was a trickster though. The chorus we sang was the word “stupid,” which he revealed at the end of the song. “I bet you didn’t think you were singing stupid,” he said, going on to explain that the lyrics encourage us to be supportive, respectful, to leave the hatred, and when we don’t, it’s, well, stupid. Biwelewele, we would sing. And he would sing back in Swahili, “Those people are jealous, hateful, nasty. They are biwelewele (stupid).”
  • Drawing on diversity and using music to find common ground, but accept difference.  In the song Ya Ganouby, Dina El Wedidi told us, “Being part of this project, on tour, has made me realize the distinct difference between even North and South Egypt.  So I wrote this song about this difference.”  The song took us on a journey, playing a rhythm to represent the north and then one of the represent the south, and then it fused both feels into one, accentuating difference and commonality at the same time.  In a pluralistic world seeking sustainability, this is a model from which we could all learn.
  • Empowerment pedagogy.  The music was empowering.  The Nile Project is empowering an international network of musicians to cultivate the sustainability of their ecosystem, educating and empowering themselves as well as the world.  As the group travels, they also share their cultures, confronting assumptions in a powerful way.  In the United States, people often seem to lump Africa into one box full of brown poor people that need “help.”  However, the Nile Project forces participants to get outside these assumptions, animating the audience to active learning and listening from these innovative musicians and project.

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Living Lab Call for Proposals Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:11:26 +0000 unnamed

Contact: Stacey White
Apply to create a Living Laboratory on the Twin Cities campus with It All Adds Up

The University aspires to create a “living laboratory” in which the campus grounds are not only a backdrop of campus life, but an integral component of teaching, research, and outreach. The concept of a living laboratory is described in the Twin Cities Campus Master Plan and the Systemwide Sustainability Goals and Outcomes Report. As a living laboratory the campus grounds will be a medium for innovation, testing, demonstration, and learning.

The Living Laboratory Review Panel invites proposals from the University community to utilize campus grounds as a living laboratory.  Selected proposals will be provided space on the campus grounds and assistance facilitating project implementation. Funding to implement the proposal is not provided through this process and must be arranged separately.  The proposal process is summarized below and detailed online at

A map of campus areas eligible for living lab projects is available here.  In addition, a list of University maintenance and improvement projects planned for grounds is available here.  Proposers are encouraged to align their submissions with existing project plans if possible.

All proposals must be submitted using the Living Lab Application Form.  The application includes the following sections:

  • Proposer Information
  • Proposal Summary
  • Support of University Mission – How does this proposal support the University core mission of teaching, research, and outreach?
  • Alignment with existing campus plans and/or sustainability priorities – How does this proposal align with sustainability goals and priorities of the University?  Does it coordinate with or compliment the Campus Master Plan or existing landscape maintenance and improvement plans.
  • Location – Where would you propose to locate the project?  If the proposer has no location in mind the evaluators can identify potential areas.  A map of campus areas eligible for living lab projects is available here.
  • Outreach to the University – What have you already done to reach out to University departments and people that would be affected or involved with your living lab project?
  • Academic Affiliation – For student led projects, identify an academic unit that will support your proposal and provide for ongoing maintenance (if applicable).
  • Project installation start and completion dates, and duration.
  • Maintenance Plan
  • Proposal Activities
  • Budget – How much will your proposed project cost to implement and maintain?  Identify any sources of funding secured.  Funding is not required to be secured prior to submitting a proposal.

Proposals selected by the Panel will be recommended for implementation, provided space on campus to implement their project, and given assistance facilitating project implementation.  Proposed projects may require additional review after the Panel’s evaluation to ensure safety, compliance with codes and/or University policy, availability of funding, etc.

Living Lab Proposals will be accepted February 23, 2015 – March 27, 2015

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Meet Tracy Sides: Public Health alumna and St. Paul community builder Fri, 20 Feb 2015 19:47:58 +0000 change angent

Moriah Maternoski

Tracy Sides followed a long and winding path before starting Urban Oasis, her nonprofit focused on improving the St. Paul community through the wonders of food. She started out as a U of M student in Public Health, followed by a period of “testing the waters” before she found her calling. Now, after starting Urban Oasis on the East Side of St. Paul, she couldn’t be happier with the connection and change she is experiencing in her community.

Tracy SidesAfter earning her master’s degree, she started in the field of chronic disease epidemiology with a law firm that worked against the tobacco industry, but she felt too distant from the impact of her work.

After leaving the law firm Tracy studied STDs and HIV with the Minnesota Department of Health. She later returned to the U for her PhD and found employment in the Center of Infectious Disease and Policy.

Feeling restricted by the traditional prevention-based public health setting, Tracy wanted to take action to feel closer to the impact of her work and bridge her personal and professional lives. She began to realize “the real foundation of health comes from a relationship with oneself and the environment, or place, they were in.”

Food interested Tracy because it connects everyone to the environment and has the power to bring communities together.

First after leaving her public health job, she founded the organization Bravely Be, which aimed to build community through movie showings and other programs. She was inspired by connecting food, people and the land through the National Public Lands Day, where she organized a planting day by the bluff and brought food out for the community to share.

Shortly afterward, Tracy and a few other active community members entered the Forever St. Paul Challenge, a contest that awarded one million dollars to the winning idea for improving St. Paul. Out of nearly one thousand entrants, Tracy’s team won and set up their nonprofit Urban Oasis.

Urban Oasis aims to provide the city with:

  1. Create a food business, including wholesale food products and a catering service.
  2. Education and training on healthy cooking and food preservation
  3. Community building fests through food-based events, film screenings, and other activities

Urban Oasis currently works to expand markets for underserved farmers, inspire and nourish consumers, and share the narratives of people from diverse cultural backgrounds. In the future, they plan to add gardening demonstrations, cooking classes, an event space, a farmer cooperative, and a café.

So what advice does Tracy have for students who want to work in food systems?

  • Listen to your gut
  • Take any opportunity you can get; the end of one journey may lead you to the next place.
  • Figure out what makes you feel alive and just do that.

Tracy Sides views the world holistically. Her passion for building community is clear, and she has found the best way to do that is through food. Her success story is encouraging for anyone wanting to improve their community and its health.

Moriah Maternoski is a guest author from the IonE Undergraduate Leaders Program.

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Job Opening: Sustainability Fellow at College of St. Benedict Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:15:50 +0000 POSITION SUMMARY:

The Department of Sustainability and the College of Saint Benedict invite applications for a full-time, 2 year position of Sustainability Fellow. This position is responsible for assisting the College of St. Benedict Office of Sustainability in its charge to advance campus sustainability goals. Goals include implementing the Sustainability Master Plan to instill sustainability into the seven identified priority areas and to bring CSB to carbon-neutrality by 2035. This includes implementing the requirements to support CSB’s commitment to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The Fellow will report to the Director of Sustainability.

This position also exists to provide a job-based learning opportunity for a recent college graduate interested in a career in campus or corporate sustainability. The position provides for advanced development of sustainability knowledge, development and application of analytical and organizational skills related to sustainability, and hands-on experience working with multiple stakeholders in a complex operating environment. Opportunities for collaboration with faculty, staff, and students will be provided, as will support for professional development both on and off campus. Development of at least one sustainability-related project of choice is encouraged and expected.


  • Support the work to implement ACUPCC including conducting research, preparing reports, and developing programs for education of the community.

    Support the work to advance the Sustainability Master Plan goals and objectives.

  • Update and maintain the greenhouse gas inventory and STARS audit.
  • Oversee Stash It, Don’t Trash It, The Big Sale, the fall Week of Sustainability and the spring energy challenge.
  • Maintain budgets, equipment, and records necessary to ensure ongoing support for sustainability.
  • Seek out grant funding for sustainability-related projects and work to apply for those grants.
  • Serve as a resource for campus offices and individuals.
  • Develop and sustain relationships with staff, faculty, students, monastics, visitors and beyond the campus to provide opportunities for education, volunteering and research on campus sustainability.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. Seniors graduating Spring 2015 will be considered.

    Enthusiasm for and experience with sustainability and a willingness to share knowledge with diverse groups.

  • Basic understanding of the 3 pillars of sustainability (economy, environment, equality).
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Desire to increase skills and knowledge of campus sustainability through on the job training, individual study, classes, workshops and other means.
  • Ability to work independently and to manage multiple projects simultaneously without daily supervision.
  • Computer knowledge and ability/willingness to remain current with software including web page updates.
  • Familiarity with program implementation, greenhouse gas inventory audits and grant writing is desirable.


A complete application includes completion of the application form and submission of a resume and cover letter.

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Deadline Extended: Present at the UMACS Conference in Bemidji Wed, 11 Feb 2015 20:24:22 +0000 aashe-24

Submit a presentation idea to the UMACS conference! Scheduled for June 17-19 in Bemidji, UMACS is a biannual conference drawing campus sustainability leaders, including many students, from around the Upper Midwest. It’s a great place for students, faculty, and staff to network and exchange ideas.

Presentations may include a poster, a 30-minute talk, a workshop, or something else. Presenters may work individually or in a group.

Abstract submission (New deadline: February 20)

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Apply now to present at national sustainability conference in Minneapolis in October 2015 Wed, 11 Feb 2015 16:28:43 +0000 Minneapolis Convention Center

If sustainability inspires your work, you’re invited to submit your proposal to present at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 10th anniversary conference in Minneapolis by Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.

This year presents an incredible opportunity for University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students and community partners who are involved in sustainability research, initiatives or activity that is transforming sustainability in higher education and beyond. AASHE is accepting proposals for the following categories of presentations for “Transforming Sustainability Education,” its 2015 Conference & Expo Oct. 25–28:

● Case Study ● Panel Discussion ● Think Tank ● Round Table Session ● Poster ● Student-Summit Workshop ● Pre- or Post-Conference Workshop ● Art Installation ● Interactive Art Installation ● Live Performance ● Film or Documentary ● Networking Meeting

The University of Minnesota is a sponsor of the event, and the Institute on the Environment’s Sustainability Education program is convening the planning committee in collaboration with Macalester College.

For more information and to submit a proposal, go to

Proposals are being accepted until 11:59 pm ET Monday, March 2.


Photo Credit: Minneapolis Convention Center

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Cuddle Up at the Sustainability Spotlight Tue, 10 Feb 2015 20:39:09 +0000 HECUA sust spotlight-2


Intimate conversations, honest laughter, and a setting sun will set the scene this Friday afternoon in Folwell 120. Gaze deep into the eyes of the sustainability education team during the greatest themed hour of your week. First we’ll hear from HECUA, the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. They’ll brief us on some of their great programs, including Environmental Sustainability, Agriculture and Justice, and the New Zealand study abroad trip that focuses on the intersection of the environment and culture. The rest of the hour is dedicated to open ended discussion with HECUA and the sustainability education team. If you’re more of the “admire from afar” type, you can work on the Valentine’s craft we’ll be providing and just hope that you work up the nerve to approach our tall, dark, and handsome sustainability education employees.

We’d love to have you with us in Folwell 120 from 3:30-4:30 this Friday, February 13th.

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