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.
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 email@example.com or (612) 626-9553.
Students interested in helping the University of Minnesota move forward in sustainability next year should apply to be on the Twin Cities and/or Systemwide Sustainability Committee. These committees allow students from a wide range of backgrounds and interests to work on projects involving stormwater and grounds management, transportation, food, energy, communications, and other areas.
The Twin Cities committee focuses on operational, teaching and research objectives and is a great place for students interested in operational programs and implementation. Meanwhile the Systemwide committee is a better fit for students interested in planning, governance, and policy. Members of the Systemwide committee find ways to make connections across all University of Minnesota campuses and consolidate annual campus reports into an annual sustainability report for the President and Regents.
The Twin Cities committee requires approximately two to three hours per month while the Systemwide Committee requires two to four hours each quarter. Becoming active on a task team will increase these expectations. Accepted students commit to one to two years of service.
To apply, email the following to Amy Short, Sustainability Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) before Tuesday, May 28:
1. Your name, major, minor, focus and planned graduation date (You must be a U of M student.)
2. A brief paragraph describing your interests
3. Indicate which committee(s) you are interested in
4. Attach a resume if available (not required)
Going home for the summer? This is your chance to share simple sustainable practices with family and friends. Here are some little changes anyone can make that will really add up.
Close your blinds when you’re not in the room. Letting the sun heat up an empty room while your air conditioner is running can be an enormous waste of electricity. So close the blinds when you leave– it’s even better than turning off the lights.
Wash your clothes in cold water. This can cut your washing machine’s energy consumption by 85 percent.
Use a drying rack or clothesline instead of a dryer. It will reduce your gas consumption and make your clothes last longer.
Use drought-tolerant plants in your garden. You’ll hardly need to water them at all.
Use a refillable water bottle. Whether you’re working out, gardening, or traveling, refillable water bottles save money, plastic, and energy.
Visit a farmers’ market. Get fresh produce at great prices while reducing your food miles and supporting local farmers.
You wouldn’t go grocery shopping with a blindfold on, would you? Many of us want to know where our food at the U comes from. The student group “U Students Like Good Food” has been working with University Dining Services over the past year to figure out how the U can source more local, sustainable, fair, and humane food.
Join U Students Like Good Food this Tuesday for a panel discussion on food at the U now and in the future, and what we’d like to see. Panelists include:
- Karen DeVet, Director of Dining
- Scott Pampuch, Chef and Sustainable Foods Activist
- Valentine Cadieux, Assistant Professor of Geography
- Naomi Scheman, Professor in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
- Eric Larsen, Stones Throw Urban Farmer
- Evelina Knodel, Officer of U Students Like Good Food