University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Sustainability Education

Students for Sustainability is Up, Running, and Welcoming New Members

October 28, 2013MadelineGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off on Students for Sustainability is Up, Running, and Welcoming New Members


Abbey Seitz

In spring of 2013, Sustainability Education provided the opportunity for students across the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities to form a student group dedicated to promoting sustainability on campus and connecting students from a variety of fields to sustainability events. This summer the student officers of Students for Sustainability, or “SFORS” (pronounced “S-Force”), thought about how to engage UMN students before settling on their mission statement: “We are a student group aimed at providing leadership opportunities to University Students interested in becoming involved with sustainable events and programs on campus and in the surrounding Twin Cities communities.” They plan to live out this purpose by collaborating with students of a variety of interests through sustainable farm tours, zero waste events, Earth Day functions, and other activities.

Their first step was to communicate with students about both environmental concerns on campus and opportunities for them to be leaders in solving these problems.  The first event they were involved in was the “Sustainability Action!” Welcome Week event, at which the officers asked hundreds of incoming freshman about the issues and activities they would want to become involved in. Answers varied from tailgating at football games with compost bins to allying with other initiatives like the Children’s Water Festivals and Students Against Hunger. Later on September 20th, SFORS participated in Minneapolis’s (Park)ing Day to engage with students as well as the Twin Cities community. The officers are continuously seeking local events to take part in, and we have already taken part in Minnesota We Day, TCF Gameday recycling initiatives, and the Power Shift student energy conference in Pittsburgh. They have also teamed with Congressman Keith Ellison’s office to help host a citywide climate rally taking place on Wednesday, November 6th. They are enjoying a successful first year and hope you join them in making a more sustainable University of Minnesota!

SforS is open to students with a variety of interests and experiences. If you would like to become involved, below are a few ways to reach us:

Meetings are held every-other Wednesday with the next general meeting occurring on October 30th at 6:30 pm in STSS 330. Come and join!

Student Environmental Art Exhibit Seeking Submissions, Curator, and Board Members

October 17, 2013MadelineGeneral, Graduate News, Undergraduate NewsComments Off on Student Environmental Art Exhibit Seeking Submissions, Curator, and Board Members


A new Student Environmental Art Exhibit opening this January will provide a forum for students and alumni to showcase creative perspectives on the environment through photography, painting, drawing, and more. It will be run entirely by students including one exhibit curator and a submission review board. All students are invited to submit artwork and apply for one of these positions.

Artwork must be submitted framed and ready to hang by Monday, November 25 to be featured during Spring 2014.

Students interested in becoming a curator or serving on the review board should apply soon. The curator will manage logistics of the exhibit including soliciting submissions twice a year and communicating with artists. The student review board will meet twice a year to vote on submissions.

For more information on any of these opportunities, contact Carli Ewert at

Sustainability Internship Course

September 4, 2013bethmtGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off on Sustainability Internship Course

Sign up to intern in sustainability – a few openings remain for fall 2013.


For-credit sustainability internship opportunities still open for students interested in greening cities, urban agriculture, campus-based sustainability, or projects with non-profits in renewable energy, recycling, farming, education or environmental justice.  In addition to internship hours, class meets once a week Thursdays at 4:40 p.m. in Science, Technology and Student Services building on the Mississippi River.  Students from any major.

Sust 4096 Sustainability Internship, 2-4 credits

Prerequisite:  Familiarity with sustainability concepts through academic work or other experiences

Description:  Four to ten hour per week internship experience related to a sustainability theme or approach, such as sustainable foods, green building, renewable energy or environmental justice. Intern in a nonprofit, governmental, educational or business organization, from choices provided or approved by instructor.

Classroom component:  Class meetings weekly 4:40 P.M. – 05:30 P.M., Th (09/03/2013 – 12/11/2013), STSS  114 

Instructor:  Dave Wanberg, Architect, Landscape Architect and Instructor in Sustainability Studies Minor

Sustainability Action! 2013

September 3, 2013MadelineGeneralComments Off on Sustainability Action! 2013

SA 2013

Madeline Giefer

On Friday, August 31 the Institute on the Environment and University Services co-hosted the “Sustainability Action!” open house for the new freshman class. Throughout the day first-year students as well as other University and community members toured IonE chatting with representatives of academic programs, student groups, operations, and external organizations. The booths were set up throughout IonE in the “Bazaar,” “Plaza,” and “Midway” in honor of the concurrent Minnesota State Fair. University Services’ “It All Adds Up” campaign, Housing and Residential Life, and Sustainability Office launched the new “Live Green Games” at the event, and Sustainability Studies enjoyed a high amount of success connecting with hundreds of students interested in the minor.

Students entered the open house at the Bazaar, where they were greeted with fresh produce from the Cornercopia student farm before visiting the tables of several sustainability-related student groups on campus. Among these was Students for Sustainability, whose co-president Tatiana Hakanson was pleased with the connections it made with freshmen. “Sustainability Action was an important first step for Students for Sustainability to start making an impact on campus and the surrounding Twin Cities communities. The event went very well. The incoming first-year students seem excited to get involved with the sustainability movement on campus.” The Bazaar allowed student groups to find new, energetic members, and gave students the opportunity to find community among other sustainability enthusiasts on campus.

After the Bazaar students made their way to the Plaza, where Sustainability Studies and other academic programs were ready with information and advice on incorporating sustainability into a college education plan. This was also where students could play games, see the digital video globe, and pick up a free Gopher hat from CFANS. Sustainability Studies welcomed more than 1200 students to our table with trivia, information, and a generous amount of refreshments donated by Peace Coffee, Raising Cane’s, and University Dining Services. We also provided the interactive “face-in-the-hole” photo opportunity, the results of which are posted on our Facebook page and ready to be tagged.

Students completed their tour at the Midway, which featured University Services departments and organizations key to the sustainability movement in the Twin Cities. Students walked over a giant floor map of the Mississippi River, played games, and visited with representatives of Energy Management, the ReUse Center, Housing and Residential Life, the Office of Sustainability to learn how they could live more sustainably during college.

Throughout the open house were volunteers without whom Sustainability Action! would not have been such a success. They guided students through the event, provided information, assisted at individual tables, and took photos, all of which allowed the event to go more smoothly for students, coordinators, and program representatives. We would also like to thank Orientation and First Year Programs for integrating sustainability into Welcome Week. With the help of more supporters like these, we look forward to putting on Sustainability Action! again next year.

Sustainability Action! Open House: Call for Volunteers

July 3, 2013MadelineGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off on Sustainability Action! Open House: Call for Volunteers

Sustainability Action website copy

On Friday, August 30th, The Institute on the Environment will welcome 3000 incoming freshmen at the Sustainability Action! open house as a part of the University-wide program Welcome Week. The freshmen will play games, explore academic options, meet with members of environmental initiatives, and learn how they can take part in sustainability on campus.This event has been a favorite among freshmen in past years, but creating another meaningful experience for thousands of students will require the help of volunteers!

Volunteers are needed to assist with setup on Thursday, August 29th from 4:30-6:00 PM. These duties will include moving furniture, organizing materials and ensuring all aspects of the event have been taken care of for the next day. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in professional event planning as volunteers will experience the behind-the-scenes work that goes into coordinating large scale events.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Sustainability Action! open house, we have several positions available that will allow you to be a part of this high energy event and interact with the incoming freshman. These positions entail a variety of tasks including directing the flow of incoming attendees, taking photographs of the interactive “face-in-the-hole” activity, and creating a comfortable atmosphere in the volunteer lounge. Volunteer shifts are available on Friday, August 30th from 8AM-5 PM and typically last four hours. Volunteers will be compensated with free breakfast, lunch and snacks.

Creative individuals and artists are needed between the end of July and August to design and paint creative projects. These creative projects will be seen by over 3000 attendees and featured on the Sustainability Studies Facebook page. Lunch will provided for those looking to share their artistic talents.

We are also looking for student photographers to capture the spirit of the Sustainability Action! open house. Sessions are available in the morning and afternoon; however, photographers must provide their own cameras. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided in return.

Faculty members from any department at the University may promote their environment or sustainability-themed courses at this event  by providing handouts for the sustainability curriculum booth or by creating and staffing their own booths. We would be happy to work with you to find the best way for you to participate in the open house.

If you are interested in volunteering at Sustainability Action! or promoting a course, please contact Molly Buss at or (612) 626-9553.

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.