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Summer Sustainability Update!

Though school has been rather quiet since shut down in march, the Environmental Stewardship Coordinators has been busy this summer taking action that will direct sustainability related goals in the fall… and beyond.

laptop screen with man in white sweatshirt giving peace sign on the screen and three other virtual meeting attendees

For readers who are not familiar, the Environmental Stewardship Coordinators is a small group of interns whose goal is to promote a campus culture of sustainability, in partnership with the Environmental Action Committee and Environmental Stewardship Committee. The sustainability model at Augsburg encompasses personal wellness, social systems, natural environment, and economics so there is a wide possibility of action steps and angles to approach work from. This summer the group has been focusing on institutional commitments, community outreach, and student organizing. Here is a short summary of current projects and future planning.

Institutional Commitments

Augsburg became a charter signatory to the Second Nature Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007. This means that we are committed to taking climate action as a university. For us, this action looks like a climate action plan (CAP). The goal of a CAP is to lay out specific goals to help mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is a daunting task that requires time and input from our community. The previous CAP was called “Green By 2019” which has groundbreaking initiatives but fell short in completion which is why it is so important to rewrite and shift our energy towards new goals.

Community Outreach

Connecting to our community is extremely valuable to our students… and our university. The Sabo Center, Campus Kitchen, and the Environmental Stewardship Coordinators are working on crafting a campaign that will help students see the importance of supporting local businesses and shifting personal purchasing habits as well as looking at how the university supports the community. This summer there has also been food/supply drives which provided a list of donation items that had sustainability sourced options to help shift personal purchasing towards more ethical options.

Student Organizing

Having a platform for our students to be engaged within sustainability is important to us! We are working on completing more social media posts for how you can be involved around campus, modeling specific handouts for first year students, co-creating a food justice class for 2 credits, and planning ahead for how we can stay connected even if we can’t be in person. We even reached out to alumni of the university to ask them to share their insights on sustainability to make an interview series. This plethora of knowledge would help us create a roadmap for sustainability at Augsburg.

Now what?

As one of the ESC members, I would say this summer work has been uplifting. In such troubling times it is good to be reminded of what Augsburg is about and why I want to continue to go to education here. Sometimes some of these projects seem bigger than me or very out of reach… but that is the exciting part! In our current times we are called to make systemic changes, we need to go farther than we have ever gone before to ensure sustainability- because that means social justice, environmental care, community wellness and economic prosperity. The time is NOW to make change and being a part of this group I feel like we are making meaningful change and paving a way to get there.

connected circle model of sustainability, with three circles that say wellness, economic, and social, embedded in environmental circle. Text says "Basically, everything we do and care about is connected with sustainability somehow!"