HomeNewsSustainability Action! welcomes U of M class of 2020

Sustainability Action! welcomes U of M class of 2020

Where can you learn about sustainability groups on campus, taste tap water from various locations around the Twin Cities and talk to a pirate about reducing, reusing and recycling? At Sustainability Action! On Friday, September 2, IonE hosted an orientation experience designed to connect incoming freshmen with University and community organizations that have a sustainability focus. With over 35 groups and organizations providing information, this year’s showcase offered a wide variety of sustainability programs and initiatives that students could get involved with.

Incoming freshmen lined up for Sustainability Action!, IonE's annual Welcome Week event.

Students swarmed into the Learning and Environmental Sciences building on the St. Paul campus to meet representatives of the many sustainability groups on hand to greet them. “It was very satisfying seeing students come through who found clubs very relevant to their studies or interests,” said Mark Houle, a student with the Environmental Student Association. “They were so excited to talk with us. It reminded me of how I felt finding ESA when I was a freshman.”


More than 3,000 students participated in the event. One Welcome Week leader said, “It was a great experience for the students because they all seemed to find something to spark their curiosity or excitement.” 

The Sustainability Education table (pictured at the top of the page) highlighted the variety of disciplines that could integrate sustainability education into their studies. “The wall behind our table was covered in technicolor hexagon-shaped pieces of paper,” said Andreas Fenner, a communications team member with Sustainability Education. “Written on each piece of paper was a different major that students have paired with the sustainability studies minor: architecture, biology, economics, Spanish and even dance.”


Dana Donatucci (pictured above at right), the U of M Waste Recovery Service Program’s recycling supervisor, really got into the swing of things. This marked his third year dressing up as a pirate for Sustainability Action! As students approached a wooden plank on the ground, Dana asked whether they knew about the three “aRRRs”` of sustainability (reduce, reuse, recycle). Once the students “got it,” he invited them to walk the plank into the ocean of sustainability. “I see this as a fun and interactive way to engage students to remind them of the importance of recycling, and it seemed to grab attention,” said Donatucci.


Water Bar, an interactive art project that aims to raise awareness of the benefits of tap water versus bottled water, provided different tap water samplings from around the Twin Cities and highlighted the effect water has on our lives and communities.


Having a variety of clubs and programs in one central location allowed students to get acquainted with all of the opportunities to connect with and participate in sustainability activities on campus. Judging from the excitement the event generated, we should have a sustainable year ahead!

Browse the directory for a full list of UMN student organizations.

Photos by Kimberly Long, Institute on the Environment

Communications Assistant


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