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Sustainability Education: Empowering tomorrow’s leaders today

The University of Minnesota campuses are a flutter of activity, preparing for the arrival of students for fall 2016, and IonE’s Sustainability Education program is no exception. We’re gearing up for a semester of activities that will empower University undergrads by creating opportunities for leadership, study and community collaboration. Here are a few things we’re looking forward to:

A new partner with a global reach: We’re forming a new partnership with the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs Master of Development Practice program, which provides skills development in social justice, poverty and sustainable development. SustEd coordinator Beth Mercer-Taylor says the new partnership will “open our eyes to sustainability through a global lens. The knowledge sharing between cultures and countries will allow students to see where sustainability is working and not working throughout the world.”

Mentoring students: The Sustainability Studies minor continues to offer its two popular classes this fall, Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet (SUST 3003) and Sustainable Communities (SUST 4004), guiding students through the diverse insights and perspectives on sustainability issues facing us today. SUST 4004 will be taking a field trip to the University of Minnesota Morris campus and the Prairie Horizons Farm. “Students will see the many concepts and differences in sustainability implementation at different scales, such as small organic farm to very large conventional dairy,” said Mercer-Taylor.

WaterbarWelcoming incoming freshmen: Sustainability Action! invites the class of 2020 to enjoy an interactive day of sustainability networking September 2, 9–5 p.m., at the Institute on the Environment. We’ll show visitors where sustainability fits into the University’s academic programs and operations and introduce them to sustainability-focused student groups on campus. Continuing from last year, the water-themed event will feature the popular Water Bar, an art installation serving local tap waters around the metro.

Enjoying a street fair: Open Streets is a community event that takes place on streets around Minneapolis throughOpenStreetsout the summer and fall, encouraging folks to walk, bike or blade on designated streets that have been closed to motorized traffic. The event highlights local sustainable groups and businesses that promote healthy living. SustEd and partners, including the sustainability office of the University that manages the It All Adds Up campaign, will take to the streets October 1, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. in Cedar-Riverside, West Bank and Dinkytown to showcase the University’s mission of making sustainability accessible to all students, staff and community members through sustainable practices and projects.

Hobnobbing on a national level: SustEd students and faculty will participate in the 2016 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference and expo October 9–12 in Baltimore. Following the theme, “Beyond the Campus,” the event aims to provide inspiration and motivation to push sustainability initiatives that emphasize community connections and engagement.

To stay up to date on these and other SustEd happenings, keep an eye on the IonE events page or SustEd website for activities throughout the year.

Photo by Chris Cooper (UMN Photo Library)

Communications Assistant


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