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State of Sustainability Education

Chris Larsen and Meghan Hurley
August 31, 2017

An educator summit links University of Minnesota campuses.

Join the University of Minnesota for the Sustainability Education Summit, a new UM-wide series that connects faculty, staff, and students working in sustainability areas across the system. A half-day gathering at UMD on September 15 will feature an in-depth, multi-campus discussion on sustainability education, focusing on new ways to reach students.

One of the presentations focuses on two UMD students, Chris Larsen and Meghan Hurley (above), who will share their experience reducing their own carbon footprint.

Sustainability is part of the UMD conversation, across all colleges. Meghan and Chris both took the Labovitz School of Business and Economics Sustainable Management class. Their semester-long assignment was to explore a variety of carbon reduction projects that were practical, affordable, and that save money. Every class member examined and compared three environmentally friendly actions, and then actually implemented one for the rest of the semester. They calculated the actual and expected cost and carbon footprint of each of the alternatives.

Many students switched from buying bottled water to using a refillable water bottle. Some students took the bus instead of driving, saving them gas, parking, and vehicle maintenance costs. Others swapped meat-based meals for vegetarian options for one or more meals per week. Some chose to refill their printer cartridges. One student swapped growlers of local beer for the “macro-brew” he formerly drank!

More examples of sustainable educational success across UMD will be highlighted at the September and January IonE Sustainability Education Summits.

Meghan, who is an organizational management and marketing major with a minor in international business says, "Sustainability is about being proactive, not reactive. It's not just about clean up; it's more about incorporating strong preventative measures and strategies to solve the problems before they begin."

Chris Larsen, an organizational management major, agrees with Megan. "The class made me feel more hopeful. Little things add up and it's great to know that I can make a difference."  The carbon reduction project Chris took on was to drive 55 instead of 65 miles per hour on his hour-long commute to UMD. "I still do it, and I've saved hundreds of dollars by now," he says.

In addition to the UMD student presentations, hear from keynote Jacquie Johnson (former Chancellor of UMN-Morris), Duluth, and Morris faculty on innovative teaching practices, as well as the inaugural cohort of the Institute on the Environment's IonE Educators.

Sustainability Education Summit
​University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students from all campuses
Friday, Sept. 15 2017, 10 am-1 pm
UMD Martin Library Fourth Floor Rotunda
This event is FREE
Lunch and refreshments will be provided to those who pre-register for the summit.

The Summit will be digitally co-hosted, live, and the talk will be streamed online. Online registrants will receive a link to the recording and materials. Register for the Sept 15 event:

Note: A second summit will be held on January 26 at the UM-Twin Cities campus and will be broadcast in Duluth.

B.B.A. in Management

Chemical Engineering Program

UMD Sustainability