University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Sustainability Education

Sustainability Film Series: Green Gold

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The Sustainability Film Series returns with a screening of Green Gold, an uplifting depiction of environmental and agricultural restoration around the world. The film will begin with in an interactive place-based art experience at 6:30 pm on Thursday, February 5 at the Bell Museum followed by tasty snacks from UDS!

The story begins on China’s Loess Plateau, once a thriving cradle of Chinese civilization, now an impoverished desert. But permaculturists still see its potential, and are working to restore the fertility and well-being of the people who live there. The filmmakers also venture to degraded regions of Jordan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Bolivia uncovering the varied techniques for these diverse countries.

Green Gold proves real environmental solutions exist and restoration is possible. The event will close with a brief guided discussion of permaculture’s potential for the developing world and our own community.


Photo credit

Present at a Sustainability Conference: Abstracts Due Soon

Minnesota is hosting two major sustainability conferences this fall, and students are encouraged to submit presentation proposals. This may include a poster, a 30-minute talk, a workshop, or something else. Presenters may work individually or in a group.

Presenting at a conference can make your resume stand out, so take advantage of these two opportunities!

Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability (UMACS)
Bemidji, June 17-19

UMACS is a biannual conference drawing campus sustainability leaders, including many students, from around the Upper Midwest. It’s a great place for students to network and exchange ideas.

Abstract submission (Deadline: February 13)


Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
Minneapolis Convention Center, October 25-28

AASHE is a conference drawing professors, administrators, and students from around the world. This year it’s right here in Minneapolis, so take this opportunity to share your work with the world!

Abstract submission (Deadline: February 23)


Not Your Average Office Hours!


Welcome back UMN! Interested in a sustainability studies minor? Interested in getting more involved in sustainability minded student groups? Or how about just hanging out with great people in relaxed environment? Come hang out with us at Sustainability Spotlight!

Sustainability Spotlight is not your average office hours. Although there will be people there to help you pick out classes and to talk about the program, Sustainability Spotlight also wants to just be a chill space where you can hang out for an hour and talk to other students and student groups about anything and everything sustainability!

Every other Friday (starting January 30th) we will be hanging out with a spotlight student group that is making sustainable waves on campus. All you have to do is show up with your questions and interests, and the rest should be a good time!

If your student group would like to be spotlighted, please send an email to with a little blurb about your student group and what you are doing.

Tentative Sustainability Spotlight Schedule:

January 30th - Students for Sustainability

February 13th – 

February  27th – 

March 13th -

March 27th – 

April 10th -

April 24th -

May 8th – 

We will be updating this blog post as we secure student groups, and will also include what the overall theme of that Sustainability Spotlight is. We hope to touch on themes of food, conservation, activism, and anything else that you all suggest!

So come hang out with us every other Friday in Folwell 120 from 3:30-4:30


Admin Job with Will Steger Foundation

Will Steger

The Will Steger Foundation, a globally recognized organization working on climate change and arctic health, is seeking a new administrative assistant for its Minneapolis office. Applications are rolling until February 9.

JOB TITLE: Administrative Assistant
LOCATION: Minneapolis, Will Steger Foundation office
REPORTS TO: Executive Director
TYPE: 15 hours/week – $12/hr, Monday through Friday, 9 am – 12 noon office hours

To assist with program facilitation, support functions to enhance program operations, and assignments
as needed.

  • Provide financial accounting support with accuracy and attention to detail, including managing bank and
    credit card statements, and vendor invoices and contracts
  • Process donations efficiently, make deposit at bank, and acknowledge donations with thank you letter in
    48-hour time frame
  • Perform database entry and maintenance for donors and Will Steger Foundation contacts
  • Assist with mailings to supporters – both in-house (using mail merge, labels, and postage) or
    coordinating with printer and mail house
  • Assist with preparing communications (e-news, mailed newsletters, annual report, grants and event
  • Perform general office duties (checking the mail, answering the phone, photocopying, assembling
    handouts, data entry, organizing files and office materials)
  • Responsible for arranging coffee/food for meetings and ensuring conference room is ready for meetings
  • Responsible for all office equipment such as copiers, phone system, projector and internet
  • Responsible for office errands, including trips to bank (bi-weekly), post office (as needed), Office Max
  • Work well with others to promote office morale, be a positive first contact for the organization, and
    support efficient office productivity


  • At least one year demonstrated administrative experience
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred
  • Strong organization skills with ability to prioritize, multi-task and meet deadlines
  • Ability to balance multiple tasks independently with an eye for detail in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent computer skills including Word, Excel, Power Point, and Google Drive. Comfortable with
    Apple products, including Apple computers
  • Excellent communication skills including the ability to express concepts in writing and through
    individual conversations
  • Experience trouble-shooting assorted office equipment (copier, internet, polycom)
  • Be available for occasional meetings and special functions beyond business hours
  • Valid drivers license and dependable car
  • Be able to lift up to 40 lbs.
  • Knowledge and interest in the issue of climate change

Please submit resume and cover letter to Put “Administrative Assistant: last
name, first name” in the subject heading. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis through Feb. 9,
2015. No phone calls please.

Sustainability Alumni Change Agent Profile: Q & A with Kari Schwab

December 30, 2014Kate FlickFeatured, General, Resources, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

By Maggie Kristian, Institute on the Environment Leaders’ Program



Kari Schwab graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with a B.S. in Agricultural and Food Business Management. Schwab grew up on a farm in Minnesota, and was very involved in FFA before coming to the University of Minnesota. She has worked for U.S. senators as well as in policy and education, especially that relating to agriculture. However, she has also continued to bring her impressive skill sets and achievements back to the University, and is now actively involved with the Policy Engagement Program which works to connect CFANS students with Minnesota policy leaders through the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC), working to not only play a great role in the future of Minnesota’s Agriculture policy, but empower and enable students to truly understand and impact the state and environment in which they live.


Q: You had a very business/marketing oriented major; how did you end up working in such a policy-oriented field?

A: Well, I always had some interest in politics. I remember my mother would always talk about the elections at home, and when I was at the U, the Franken/Coleman recounts were going on, so there was a lot of discussion around that on campus. I had always though I wanted to go into agriculture, into ag-business, that was kind of my big picture plan for things. When I graduated in 2010 though, the economy wasn’t that great for jobs, so I worked retail for a few years, just as a job. But then there was a major change in the U.S. Senate, and lots of new people who needed staff. So I applied there. Eventually, they had some legislative positions open up, for full-time, year-round positions. I ended up working for Senator Nelson, vice chair of the Minnesota Senate Education Committee- so again, the education theme- and worked for her for about a year. After that, I found an opening in the Agriculture Committee.

Q: How did you get involved in the CFANS Policy Engagement Program?

A: I actually read about it in The Daily, while I was working at the Senate, and I thought it was really cool, and I wanted to be involved. I went to a few meetings in 2013 and was asked to continue helping out in 2014. This version of the program is kind of new, because there are three of us that are new. We try to play to each other’s strengths. Last session, for example, I facilitated the discussion because I have some knowledge of the elections, especially local politics.

Q: What’s your vision for the CFANS Policy Engagement Program going forward? Is there anything you want to change?

A: I want to see students with a clear understanding of how these [political] processes work, so it’s not just showing up and doing some activities. People are devoting a lot of time to this, 3 hours each month, for no class credit. We have talked about having clear outcomes for a relevant and valuable experience. Last year we didn’t really get to focus on international, which is something we want to do.

Q: Why do you like your job? What makes you get up and come in to work every morning?

A: I think it’s the people and the variety of work. One day I could be working with high school students, Future Farmers of America kids and people who are interesting in maybe pursuing Ag-Ed…College students when I’m here in the office. Students are just really fun to work with. We also have a 16 person board with a lot of different backgrounds, we have 6 legislators, 2 farmers, someone from the FFA foundation, the president of the agriculture department. I get to interact with a wide variety of people there; our goal is to be the go-to source about legislation regarding Ag policy. We want to be that information source, so we end up in a lot of policy-oriented environments, we end up in the capitol about once a year. It’s nice because I get to have the policy side of things without the headache of the capitol schedule- sometimes we’d be up until 3 in the morning!

Q: So you’ve obviously been involved in policy that affects a lot of people. What advice would you give to a freshman College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences student today on how they could also become a world shaper?

A: If you’re interested in policy, make connections with people. And I know that sounds really difficult for a student. The senate offers a really great Minnesota Senate College Internship Program, and you don’t need to know a ton about policy to do it. I picked up a lot of it when I was there. It was all hands-on learning. There’s also usually a day dedicated for students to go to the capitol and gather, to have a rally. It could be union day, it could be University of Minnesota day, and basically any organization that has members has a day when they can meet with their legislators. It’s open to any student, and it’s a great opportunity.

Other than that, just watch the news! You have to go and seek it out, but it keeps you up to date and educated for when you have to talk to people about it. And the Minnesota State Capitol Building is always open –well, right now it’s under construction- but it’s the people’s building, and you can honestly call up any legislator, and depending on schedules you might not always get an appointment, but you can totally go and talk to one of your representative for 10 minutes and say ‘I want to talk about tuition freezing’ or whatever it is. That’s definitely something that’s unique about this country, and about Minnesota, it’s a really transparent system compared to a lot of other states.



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.