4th Annual Sustunes 2018: Resilience, Rise, Revive!
Around this time a week ago, a multitude of students, student groups, and IonE staff got together in the wonderfully designed Learning and Environmental Sciences atrium. Hot cocoa was served, sustainable food was provided, and fellowship was seen all across the atrium underneath an array of twinkling lights.
The evening started with emcees Isabel Voigt and Dania Marin-Gavilan giving a brief history of Sustunes and setting the tone for the night by encouraging attendees to meet student groups, drink hot cocoa, and have fun listening to the many talented artists that were lined-up for the evening.
On the stage first was the insightful artist Tufawon. Tufawon (2 for 1) is a Dakota/Boricua hip hop rapper from the city of Minneapolis. But his songs were more than just something for students to jam to, his lyrics were laced with intention and passion- a passion for freedom and justice; especially when it relates to the Earth, his people, or fighting for the oppressed. He started the night off with an energy that carried on through the rest of the night.
Following the hype of Tufawon, a calmness spread about the atrium when local artist Henry James Patterson came on the stage. His presence was not an unfamiliar one as SustEd had the pleasure of hearing from the talented musician at Sustunes last year. With a variety of songs performed, including hits of Bob Dylan, Henry captivated the audience with his smooth voice and prepared them for what was to come next.
The so far musical night came to a temporary halt when Cante Suta was introduced to the stage (a stage he quickly stepped down from). Cante Suta or Francis Bettleyoun, came to represent the University’s Native American Medicine Gardens and to speak his mind about sustainability. Perhaps given the tone of the night, it was generally expected that Francis would speak about environmental justice or sustainability, and he did, but not in the way that the audience expected. His message was clear: we have to truly care for each other before we can truly take care of the Earth. Although the buzz of fellow student groups persisted in the background, the words spoken by Cante Suta rang loud and clear to all the students he engaged with.
After hearing some heavy but important truths, Basses Wild took the stage just in time to end the evening on an exciting note (pun-intended). They truly did revive the audiences spirits using the power of holiday tunes and recognizable melodies that literally got people on their feet dancing.
The night ended with a word from Nick Knighton, co-president of Voices for Environmental Justice, and a reminder to stay engaged and active in the sustainability community.
Here at sustainability education, we realize that sustainability branches out to so many areas of life including art and music, which is precisely why we wanted to give those elements an outlet: Sustunes. We hope that this event encouraged long-lasting (and yes, sustainable) relationships between students and student groups. Moreover, hopefully this event revived a passion in students for sustainability and the future that it holds at the University of Minnesota.
This evening would not have been possible with out the help of our cosponsors: Voices for Environmental Justice and The Butterfly Club. Nor could we have done it without Ghandi Mahal providing delicious food and the generous apple donation given by the Co-op Partners Warehouse. The speech given by Cante Suta made the night so impactful and we are so thankful he was willing to speak. Our emcees did a fantastic job of creating excitement and helping the evening work smoothly. This year’s Sustunes would not have been possible without the help and cooperation from the Institute on the Environment, and the evening’s talented event planner: Mikaela Isaacson. And finally a huge shout out to the immensely talented musicians who were willing to stand and sing in solidarity with the sustainability and environmental justice issues. The evening simply wouldn’t have sounded the same without them- be sure to check them out on social media, or their websites which are linked above!
Thanks again to all that came!
Be on the lookout for details regarding Sustunes 2019!