Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, visits with Boreas students.

Boreas Booyas offer a forum for building community through discussions, collaboration and fun. At least twice a semester, we invite special guests to share their leadership insights and lessons. These guests include innovators, change makers and leaders from across sectors. No need RSVP for these events unless noted.

Boreas Booya Location and Time:
Select Thursdays (see below for dates), 4:30 ­– 6 p.m.
IonE Commons, Room R350 of the Learning and Environmental Sciences Center
1954 Buford Ave, Saint Paul

January 26 – Spring Kick-off: Revisiting the Idea of Leadership
As Minnesota native, Bob Dylan once said: “The times they are a’changing.” In these rapidly changing times, we will revisit the question of what it means to be a leader today? Come and discuss what leadership looks like for you and the program in this new era. Meet with fellow students across disciplines to discuss what matters most to you and what actions you and we as a collective can take this new year.

February 16 – Special Guest, Jothsna Harris, Public Engagement Manager at Climate Generation
Climate change can feel large and overwhelming, and we need useful ways to enter into community conversations about the challenges it brings. At this booya, we will learn with Jothsna Harris, Public Engagement Manager at Climate Generation. She will share her experience helping host climate conversations across Minnesota, bringing together diverse stakeholders and drawing on the power of storytelling in making sense of climate change and climate solutions. Learn more about Jothsna’s leadership lessons and how she has used adversity post-elections as a transformational catalyst for resilience.

Visit Jothsna’s blog.

March 23 – Leadership, Values and Community: Building Systems of Support to Reach Our Individual and Collective Goals
Facilitated by Student Advisory Team
Underlying the concept of leadership is the idea that in unity, there is strength. To live lives of purpose, meaning and impact we need each other. How do we create and engage in communities to support our individual and collective goals? How can these communities help ensure our work lives up to our values? We will talk about strategies to address the challenges of stewarding community, with a particular focus on strategies for those who might consider themselves to be introverts.

April 6 – Fred Rose, Acara
Meet the driving force behind Acara who has been a trailblazer in the entrepreneurial, government, for-profit and non-profit sectors for over 30 years.

April 20– Bridging the Intersections of Environmental and Social Justice
Facilitated by Student Advisory Team
In this turbulent political time, questions of justice loom large. These questions challenge all of us. In light of them, how do we navigate the personal, professional and political in our work as academics? In this context, what is the role of academia and how is it changing? Join us for a rich discussion on these topics, one that might result in more questions than answers.


Booya (also spelled booyah, bouja, boulyaw, or bouyou) is a thick soup of unknown origin made throughout the Upper Midwest United States. Booya often requires up to two days and multiple cooks to prepare; it is cooked in specially designed “booya kettles” and usually meant to serve hundreds or even thousands of people. The name also refers to the event surrounding the meal.

Booya! is also an exclamation indicating satisfaction or accomplishment.

Boreas Booya goals are to enhance the Boreas community through informal gatherings centered on topics with connections to environmental leadership, graduate education, professional development or whatever participants choose. We hope to:

  1. provide a forum to tackle big questions, share insights, get feedback and solve problems
  2. empower Boreas participants by opening up Boreas programming to different perspectives, interests and ideas
  3. cultivate collegial relationships through collaboration and conversation among a diverse group of peers.

Show up! Boreas Booyas are held on select Thursdays from 4:30-6 p.m. during the semester at the IonE Commons, Learning and Environmental Sciences Building, Room R350. All University of Minnesota graduate and professional students and post-docs are invited to attend. No application or RSVP is necessary.

What happens at the weekly Booyas? Anything is fair game, but here are some possible topics and types of meetings:

Topic ideas:

  • building a career that spans traditional boundaries — be it science and policy, physics and economics, or art and conservation
  • preparing for nonacademic career paths
  • urban gardens as a tool for growing environmental awareness
  • input or feedback on an idea for a Boreas project

Types of meetings:

  • share a TED video or other talk and discuss
  • organize a panel and discussion on a specific topic or question
  • discuss a news article or short essay

Anyone is welcome to host a Booya! If you have an idea for a Boreas Booya!, write a short “pitch” explaining your idea and how you envision organizing the meeting (~200 words). Email your pitch along with at least three Thursday dates you are willing and able to host. A Boreas staff member will respond to offer feedback, coordinate scheduling and suggest additional resources or whatever else you need. And if you plan on having snacks or have special food requests, please include this information in your pitch.