Tag Archives: sustainability

UMM Civic Engagement Rooted in Sustainability

The University of Minnesota Morris is one of the most environmentally UMM turbineresponsible colleges in the United States with recognition from multiple national organizations.  Civic engagement and sustainable, environmentally friendly focused initiatives are foundational pieces of the institution’s mission.  Students seeking change in their local communities have led these efforts and have also received national leadership recognition for their efforts.

Seth ElsenStudents are involved in many outreach programs that promote community engagement as it relates to Morris’ core values of sustainability.  For example, the University of Minnesota Morris has programs such as the Center for Small Towns, Minnesota GreenCorps, and the West Central Regional Development Partnership.  Senior Seth Elsen is very involved in the Center for Small Towns and was able to pursue an internship at the Upper Sioux Indian Community through the Center for Small Towns.  Elsen did research and conducted a feasibility study for the Upper Sioux Community on wind and solar energy prospects for the reservation trust lands before presenting his findings to the organization.  He said, “During my presentation, I stood there knowing I was making a difference, and hopefully helping make something very big happen for the community, both economically and environmentally.”

Laura Anne Hunt is also a Senior at Morris but has been very involved in the https://i1.wp.com/www.morris.umn.edu/cst/images/students/2011/Laura%20Hunt.jpgMinnesota GreenCorps program at the University of Minnesota Morris.  Within the program Hunt has chosen to focus on green infrastructure, specifically urban forestry.  As a GreenCorps member, Laura Anne began the conversation about trees in her community to help people understand why they are so important and beneficial, threats to trees, and how community members can contribute.  She says, “This experience has opened my eyes to real-world work, professional relationship building and growth. It was a great experience to have as a college student, because I could start a project and still have all of the resources of the University to learn from and get help from.”

Through Morris’ sustainable civic engagement programs, students like Hunt and Elsen are given the opportunity to enrich their college experience and provide resources to local communities they are passionate about.  Elsen said, “It has given me a way to gain experience in possible careers, while also giving me a chance to apply what I learn in classrooms to the real-world setting.  I am very grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me here at University of Minnesota Morris.”

Click here to learn more about sustainability at University of Minnesota Morris.

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Edible Landscapes

By Lucy Marincel

Fall is almost here and college campuses around the state are gearing up for another busy year.  Besides the usual class schedule changes and new student orientations, a group of volunteers from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) have some other, tasty work cut out for them.

Last spring, a group of UMD students, faculty, staff and campus organizations came together to create the Edible Landscape Garden project.  Inspired by a similar project in San Francisco, the group intended the gardens to be a learning tool about sustainability and healthy eating and, in the case of one of the gardens, to be a pilot experiment to lower the temperature under the garden.  The hard work of planning and planting last spring and upkeep all summer means that students come back this fall to potatoes, carrots and onions, among other things, that need harvesting.  Candice Richards, Associate Director of UMD’s Facilities Management says that once students are back in school, the planning committee will set some dates for harvest activities, mostly likely in late September.

Besides the other advantages, the edible landscapes project has created community connections for the university.  The fact that the burlap sacks that form the outside perimeter were donated by a local business, Alakef Coffee Roasters, is just one example of how the community has connected with the university around the gardens.  A bus tour of gardens sponsored by the local public television station stopped on campus to check out the gardens.  Several summer youth groups have also stopped by to see the gardens and the nearby daycare center has brought over children several times, who helped plant a few seeds of their own.

The trend of gardens on college and university campuses seems to be growing.  Besides providing fresh produce and lessons in sustainability, these gardens can be a great place to build communities relationships and inspire students and community alike to become further engaged in community partnerships.

To learn more about UMD’s garden, see http://www.duluth.umn.edu/unirel/homepage/10/ediblelandscape.html. If your college, university or community has a garden with an eye toward civic engagement, please let us know!