University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Sustainability Education

Sustainability Action! Open House: Call for Volunteers

July 3, 2013MadelineGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

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.

Applications for Campus Sustainability Committees due May 28

May 14, 2013MadelineGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

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 ( 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)

Bringing Sustainability Home for the Summer

May 8, 2013MadelineGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

Sunflower 2

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.


For more easy ways to make your lifestyle more sustainable, visit the Worldwatch Institute. If you have your own ideas, share them on Facebook or Twitter!

Food Panel

April 25, 2013MadelineGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

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
The panel will take place on Tuesday April 30 at 5:45 pm in Rapson Hall 100. Bring a friend, your questions about UDS, and your appetite. Food is provided, of course!
Connect with U Students Like Good Food and RSVP on Facebook

Students for Sustainability-A New Student Committee for Sustainability!

February 14, 2013KileyGeneral, Undergraduate NewsComments Off

The Sustainability Education team is looking to put together a group of students who are already involved in, or are looking to become involved in sustainability on campus. The Students for Sustainability group will meet throughout the semester to discuss various items surrounding sustainability at the University, including: events, courses, curriculum, initiatives, the Sustainability Education team, and any other items that you would like to discuss! We will also be planning fun events and field trips within the realm of sustainability! To be a part of this exciting new group on campus, please fill out the following form with your information and we will be in contact with you!

For additional information and other inquiries, contact


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.