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Reflections of 2023 SelfSustain

By Artie Hillman

Hello, I’m Artie Hillman, a junior at UMN Twin Cities, and I had the pleasure of attending SELFSustain 2023.

Early this October, I had the incredible opportunity to journey to Duluth, Minnesota, to engage in discussions and share ideas addressing environmental challenges. One of the most rewarding aspects of my trip was the chance to connect with fellow college students who share my enthusiasm for sustainability. We came from different campuses, diverse backgrounds, and a range of expertise, yet our shared goal was to learn and make a positive impact.

SELFSustain offered numerous group discussions covering a wide array of topics. I personally attended sessions on Sustainability in Art and Education, leaving me thoroughly inspired and motivated to contribute to a more sustainable world. What made these talks particularly impactful was their collaborative nature, promoting a shared learning experience.

While the conference was the primary focus of my trip, I also explored Duluth with my peers. We ventured across the campus, taking a break to try on the stylish Bulldog hats at the gift shop and pay a visit to the beloved statue of Champ. We enjoyed multiple walks through the changing foliage of Duluth’s trees amidst the early autumn weather. On the second day, we went on a delightful adventure to Lake Superior. During a late-night visit to Park Point, we got to see the lights of the city reflecting on the water. Some of us even ventured out late at night for a taste of Love Creamery, walking back and forth across the iconic lift bridge. The following morning, we had the chance to witness the lift bridge in action as it rose to allow a departing ship through.

My trip to Duluth broadened my understanding of sustainability and reinforced my belief in the power of collaboration and shared passion. It demonstrated that when people come together to address environmental issues, positive change is not just possible but inevitable.

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