A natural fit: IonE announces new hub at the University of Minnesota Duluth
As statewide University of Minnesota campuses buzz to life with the beginning of the new school year, so too does the Institute on the Environment — in the Twin Cities, and, for the first time, in Duluth. This fall marks the beginning of an expanded, more formalized IonE presence on the U of M system’s second-largest campus.
With more than a dozen IonE Affiliates already hailing from the land- and sea-grant campus, Duluth has proven an integral ally to IonE since its founding in 2007. Calling it out as a formal hub — dubbed IonE@UMD — provides an opportunity to expand IonE programming already available to students, staff, and faculty, and creates a platform to further connect and cultivate Duluth’s sustainability community, through new research, outreach, and education initiatives.
Leading the new hub is IonE Fellow and UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering Professor Julie Etterson, who will facilitate the expansion of IonE activities on the UMD campus and among regional partners. Etterson sees the partnership as a unique opportunity for IonE to grow.
“Over the last decade, IonE has established a record of excellence in supporting interdisciplinary research, leadership training, and cross-sector partnerships. IonE@UMD can benefit from that experience and expertise – and, because UMD is a smaller campus in a smaller city, we also have a unique capacity to cultivate interdisciplinary interactions and collaborations that address community-driven problems and have local impact.”
IonE Director Jessica Hellmann agrees. “As the number of Affiliates and IonE sponsored work and programming in Duluth has grown, it became clear that UMD should become a formal IonE hub,” she says.
Located on Minnesota’s North Shore, UMD possesses a unique natural landscape for researching, testing, and deploying sustainability solutions, and counts among its assets established powerhouses including Swenson College, the Large Lakes Observatory, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the Natural Resources Research Institute. And in recent years – with engagement and sustainability at the center of UMD’s campus-wide strategic plan – numerous new sustainability initiatives have launched. “IonE can be part of sharing the power of the UMD sustainability community across the U of M system,” says Hellmann.
Looking ahead, Etterson sees no shortage of opportunities for mutual benefit. “The Duluth community, both on and off campus, is a place that attracts people who care deeply about environmental sustainability,” she says. “IonE@UMD is energized and excited to develop programs that bridge our campuses and enhance the sustainability mission of UMD.”
Grace Becker is the IonE Communications Assistant and an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, where she is studying Strategic Communications, Spanish, and Sustainability Studies. Photo credit: University of Minnesota Duluth (Flickr) via Creative Commons.