News

Food Reclamation Among Student Changemaking Projects Accepted Into Clinton Global Initiative
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The Office of Sustainability Initiatives is hiring a Sustainability Manager!
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Jordan Osterman '11, St. Thomas Newsroom

It’s a classic question students pose: How am I going to use this in the real world? Thirty-seven courses that have worked with the St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) are providing students with an answer

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KARE 11

St. Thomas engineering students designed a solar powered picnic table for the City of Elk River's Lake Orono Park, a project opportunity developed collaboratively with the Sustainable Communities Partnership and Elk River. KARE 11 interviewed St. Thomas engineering students to learn more about their design!

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St. Thomas Newsroom

Drs. Matthew Kim and Monica Hartmann, Department of Economics, have earned the 2017 Curricular Innovation in Sustainability Award for their collaboration developing and implementing a sustainability theme in Economics of the Public Sector (ECON337) and Managerial Decision Making (ECON401) courses, respectively. Every year the Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) recognizes a St. Thomas faculty member for innovation and excellence in integrating sustainability into one of their courses.

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Tove Lilith Conway, SCP Guest Blogger
The final unit of Mark Neuzil’s Environmental Communication 2017 spring course connected with the Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) in the form of a focus group towards the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO).
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On Tuesday, May 9th, the Grants and Research Office hosted their semesterly Inquiry at UST poster session for undergraduate students to share their research with the St. Thomas community. The Office of Sustainability Initiatives would like to celebrate five students whose projects addressed specific environmental issues facing us today.
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St. Thomas Newsroom

 One of the University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership’s (SCP) partners, the city of Elk River, Minnesota, received the 2017 Outstanding City Partner Award from the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Network. This national award recognizes “one exemplary community partner” from among the local government partners that have worked with EPIC Network programs across the United States during the last five years.

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Tove Lilith Conway '19
On April 12, 2017, from 7:00-9:00 in Wolfe Alumni Hall, Fresh Energy’s Executive Director Michael Noble “calls each of us to accountable action while examining the important roles that markets, public-policies, and community engagement play in transitioning from carbon-intensive fuels to a renewable energy economy.”
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Drs. Elise Amel and Britain Scott of St. Thomas Psychology Department coauthored article "Beyond the roots of human inaction: Fostering collective effort toward ecosystem conservation” was published in Science Magazine’s Ecosystem Earth Special Issue on April 21, 2017.
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Now accepting nominations for the Curricular Innovation in Sustainability Award, applications for Environmental Stewardship Curriculum Grants, and registrations for the Sustainability Curriculum Workshop.
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AASHE is pleased to offer upcoming workshops at AASHE Centers for Sustainability Across the Curriculum. These events are designed to accelerate the infusion of sustainability content into the curriculum by increasing the availability and accessibility of sustainably focused faculty development opportunities.
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Propose a poster to present at the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability Conference or register to attend today!
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Newsroom

The Sustainability Living Learning Community is hosting a bag drive throughout the month of April to collect paper bags to donate to food shelves and plastic bags to recycle.

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Mackenzie Burke, OSI Intern
Dr. Maria Dahmus, Assistant Director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, and Dr. Todd Lawrence, professor of spring semester’s Ethnography Writing class, share their insights on the ethnographic toolkit project now underway.
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Winners of the First Annual Sustainability Scholars Summer Research grants are announced!
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Newsroom

The University of St. Thomas has received the distinctive honor of being named a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U, a global consortium working to inspire a culture of social innovation in higher education. St. Thomas becomes the first in Minnesota and the 40th Changemaker Campus in the consortium.

OSI's Sustainable Communities Partnership is one of the highlighted initiatives in St. Thomas's changemaking culture.

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Newsroom

To be eligible for this award, students must have a declared major in environmental studies and have an outstanding record of academic achievement and involvement in environmental activities.

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Read the latest edition of The Steward, the newsletter of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives.

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Scholarships being awarded total $5000.
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Mackenzie Burke, OSI Intern
For last semester’s Aquatic Biology class, collaboration with Elk River offered an invaluable and somewhat unexpected learning experience working in the field.
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Computer Science students create an app for Master Water Stewards to track their work and projects to improve water quality in their city or watershed district.
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Travel to Germany and Denmark during J-term 2018 to study Psychology of Sustainability (PSYC 298)
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The Sustainability Scholars Grant program supports undergraduate students from any discipline who wish to complete a major research project focused on sustainability. Due 4:30pm on Friday, Februrary 17, 2017.

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It’s official! St. Thomas now offers a Sustainability minor! 

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St. Thomas President Dr. Julie Sullivan highlighted the inauguration of the Sustainable Communities Partnership in her 2016 Annual Report.
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Newsroom

Through field research and high-level data analysis, 10 freshmen and two CAS professors will attempt to get to the bottom of the plover’s shrinking habitat as part of the Sustainability Learning-Living Community program, now in its second year.

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Emily Sweeney, Tommie Media

The St. Thomas biology department has partnered with Tiny Footprint Coffee, a local roastery in Minneapolis, to examine ways coffee chaff can be used for sustainability.

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Mackenzie Burke, OSI Intern
St. Thomas’s Grants and Research Office hosted their annual Inquiry at UST Poster Session on October 4th
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Check out this PBS video about Ke Kula Ni'ihau O' Kekaha (KKNOK), a school with which St. Thomas COJO class Hawaii: Multi-Cultural Communcation in Diverse Organizations partners. The St. Thomas course has a SUST designation, and their work with the students is highlighted at 14:40.

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Newsroom

Each summer, student leaders from the university's VISION program descend upon a farm to get a taste of what it will be like to embark on a service and cultural immersion trip.

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Elise Amel and Maria Dahmus
What’s better than linking sustainability projects to 170 St. Thomas students in 12 courses across 10 disciplines/programs? Reaching 445 St. Thomas students in 23 courses across 16 disciplines! Check out the exciting cumulative work of the Sustainable Communities Partnership through informative highlights from Spring ’16 and a summary of what’s on deck for Fall ’16.
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Amanda Wagner ’12 M.B.C., Newsroom

When their local, organic creamery, Cedar Summit Farms, closed in early 2015, Kendra Rasmusson ’12 M.B.C. and her husband, Paul, took action. They saw a need for organic food not only in their community of New Prague, Minnesota, but particularly in their own lives – their daughter had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy and, although her medication was providing good seizure control, they wanted to explore other avenues of treatment, including diet. In 2015, they opened Farmhouse Market, an organic market that works directly with local farmers, food producers and natural foods distributors.

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Elk River Star News

The city of Elk River and the University of St. Thomas have developed a partnership.
The two have partnered to advance Elk River’s sustainability goals while developing student problem-solving abilities and innovation through the University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership.

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Elk River Star News

Elk River’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is undergoing an upgrade and expansion and was found to be an optimal site for a green roof installation demonstration project. The city submitted a project request to the University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership to analyze the cost and benefits of green roof designs. Students, under the direction of professor Chip Small, conducted research on green roof models, roof functions, appropriate plants, costs, and the social, economic and ecological benefits of the individual designs.

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Noura Elmanssy, Assignment editor, Tommie Media

Students from specific economics classes visited the city of Delano on May 31 to present their semester long projects that outlined the city’s plan to improve on energy efficiency.

The classes — economics of the public sector and managerial decision-making– are courses integrated with the Sustainable Communities Partnership program through the Office of Sustainability Initiatives.

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Meghan Meints, Reporter, Tommie Media

For the past year, Maria Dahmus has been gathering projects and partners for the university’s Sustainable Communities Partnership pilot program, which links what students are learning in the classroom to questions that local organizations are trying to answer.

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St. Thomas Newsroom

John Abraham, Ph.D., a professor of thermal sciences in the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering and the university’s 2016 Professor of the Year, has received a Friend of the Planet Award from the California-based National Center for Science Education.

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St. Thomas Newsroom

The University of St. Thomas School of Engineering will begin work this summer on a facility that will be used for teaching as well as researching and testing components used for alternative-energy microgrids.

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Learn more about OSI's exciting first year and the launch of the Sustainable Communities Partnership!

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Karen Lally, SCP Intern
Some might be surprised that an ethnographic writing course decided to become involved with the Sustainable Communities Partnership, mainly because the class itself is not actually structured around sustainability. The class explores questions about objectivity, the limits of representation, and the ethical responsibilities of writing about others, to name just a few.
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Karen Lally, SCP Intern
Environmental Problem Solving (ESCI 310) students are partnering with Elk River to research the benefits of green roofs and how they affect stormwater runoff.
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Karen Lally, SCP Intern
Environmental Problem Solving (ESCI 310) students are partnering with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) to determine the best locations in the MWMO district to protect pollinator populations.
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Karen Lally, SCP Intern
Environmental Problem Solving (ESCI 310) students are partnering with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) to examine the possible effects on stormwater runoff rates of converting vacant lots in North Minneapolis to urban agriculture plots and other alternative uses.
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Join us to celebrate SCP's pilot semester and projects on Thursday, May 10, 5-7pm at the MWMO.

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Celebrate 2016 achievements in community engagement, sustainability, and study abroad.

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Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship lecture by Erin Lothes

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UST Faculty will read an article on energy ethics and enter into dialogue with Erin Lothes and John Abraham on the topic.

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Dean's Office

This spring semester, nine CAS faculty from seven departments are integrating city-identified sustainability projects into their existing courses through the Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP).  SCP is a pilot initiative in the Center for Global and Local Engagement's Office of Sustainability Initiatives.  SCP partners with cities to link St. Thomas courses with local projects that engage students in the real-world application of course material and to advance the cities' sustainability goals.

Check out the full News & Events article here.

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Karen Lally, SCP Intern
Elk River is home to 1,256 wetlands, which play a key role in the community's flood management, water quality, wildlife habitat, and aesthetics. Through the Sustainable Communities Partnership, St. Thomas graduate student Andrew Erickson is collaborating with Elk River to research public policy options and recommend creative education and communication strategies to increase public awareness and participation in wetland protection.
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7th Annual College of Arts and Sciences

 Environmental Stewardship Curriculum Grants

 

The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will sponsor six $1,000 summer grants for CAS faculty to integrate environmental sustainability into their courses.  

 

The purpose of the grants is to facilitate the inclusion of environmental sustainability as a significant feature of courses in a wide variety of disciplines.  Adding sustainability in the curriculum has long been a goal in the College of Arts and Sciences, inspired by a priority under Catholic Identity from our previous strategic plan: 

The University of St. Thomas will cultivate an ethic of environmental stewardship, and will integrate principles of environmental sustainability across the curriculum and in co-curricular activities in order to educate students to appreciate their roles and obtain tools for leadership and innovation in care for God's Creation.

Indicators of achievement of this priority:  Appropriate faculty bodies design ways that students are exposed to environmental stewardship across various academic disciplines, including practical projects that directly benefit the St. Thomas community.

 

Application Guidelines

The CAS Environmental Stewardship Curriculum Grants support courses to be offered during the 2016-2017 academic year.  Awardees will integrate environmental sustainability into a course by designing new assignments or units for a current course or by developing a new course.  For example, awardees may select new readings and design new discussions, activities, or course projects that integrate environmental sustainability into course content.  Plans that include Community-Based Learning objectives are particularly encouraged. 

All part- and full-time CAS faculty are eligible to apply.  Priority will be given to faculty who have not previously received a CAS Environmental Stewardship Curriculum Grant.

Applications must include the following (in no more than 1,000 words):  

  1. Describe what you see as the role of environmental stewardship and sustainability within your academic discipline.
  2. Propose how you intend to integrate environmental stewardship and sustainability into your course.
  3. Please include your department’s name in your proposal and indicate whether you have received a CAS Environmental Stewardship Curriculum Grant in the past.

Links to resources for integrating sustainability into your course and to examples of what others have done are available here.

Applications are due 5pm Friday, April 29, 2016.  Submit your proposal electronically to the Dean of CAS at t9langan@stthomas.edu  If you have questions about ways to incorporate sustainability in your courses or about examples of ways that others have done this in the past, Dr. Elise Amel and Dr. Maria Dahmus in the Office of Sustainability Initiatives are willing to provide advice and assistance. 

Proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee appointed by the Dean of CAS.  If awarded a grant, your completed product (e.g., course syllabus, description of course innovation, hand-outs, references, or other supporting materials) must be submitted electronically to the Dean of CAS upon completion of the course.

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Karen Lally, SCP Intern
This semester, Dr. Lisa Lamb's Environmental Science Senior Research Seminar is partnering with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) and the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership (MRP) to assess habitat along the Mississippi River. Students will conduct several field surveys over the course of the semester to record tracks, scat, wildlife, and other features to assess which species are present in the area and how the land is being used by wildlife.
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Erin Lothes has written about the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace's recently-published Energy, Justice and Peace: A Reflection on Energy in the Current Context of Development and Environmental Protection, and she coordinated the "Discipleship and Sustainability" Interest Group of the Catholic Theological Society of America, resulting in "Catholic Moral Traditions and Energy Ethics for the Twenty-First Century" in Journal of Moral Theology.  Her forthcoming book, Inspired Sustainability: Planting Seeds for Action (Orbis April 2016), analyzes the motivations driving environmental advocacy in diverse American congregations."

May 4th | 7pm | Woulfe Alumni Hall

Click here to see more information. 

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Karen Lally, SCP Intern
This J-Term, Dr. Angela Senander’s Christian Faith and the Management Professions (THEO 422) partnered with the Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) and the City of Elk River to research the effects that plastic bags have on the environment and possible approaches to reducing plastic bag use in the community.
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Jeffrey Langan
This Spring, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives in the Center for Global and Local Engagement has launched sustainability designations for undergraduate and graduate courses across disciplines at the University of St. Thomas. Any undergraduate or graduate course at St. Thomas that examines interconnections between human and environmental well-being is eligible for the SUST designation.
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Newsroom

Unique classes like Final Frontier: Mars & Beyond and Dogs!: Environment, Society, and Representation look at old topics in new ways or cover fresh and unusual topics, and can provide benefits to both faculty and students as they cover a wide variety of interests and disciplines. Faculty can share their research and passions, and students can tap into valuable resources in the St. Thomas community and beyond, all while continuing to build strong communication and critical-thinking skills.

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Newsroom

Biology professor Dr. Adam Kay weighs in on the sustainability of agriculture, the Stewardship Science project, and how UST is engaging with the community to fulfill the St. Thomas mission.

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Newsroom

Sixty-four students in Dr. Thomas Bushlack’s Christian Theological Tradition classes this semester studied the 184-page document. Laudato Si, Latin for “Praise Be to You,” calls for sweeping change and places most of the blame for climate change on fossil fuels and human activity.

As part of the civic-engagement segment of their class, the students – in groups of four to 10 – visited 11 parish or faith-based groups in the Twin Cities to discuss how the parishes and communities are responding to the pope’s call to care for the environment.

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Newsroom

Undergraduate student Patrick Fisher was rewarded a St. Thomas Collaborative Inquiry grant during the spring 2015 semester to research Thomas Aquinas's views on environmental sustainability and the importance of Earth.

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Stop by the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Leather Room (LIB 108) between 3-5pm on Friday, November 6 to learn about our Spring 2016 pilot partners, projects, and how your course can participate.
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The Sustainable Communities Partnership is pleased to announce our 2016 pilot partners!
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UST will host a campus tour for the AASHE conference Wednesday 10/28. The tour highlights UST's grassroots, collaborative efforts for sustainable infrastructure, curricular innovations, and community collaboration.
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Newroom

Dr. David Kelley, Geography Department, College of Arts and Sciences, attended the 2015 GIS/LIS Consortium annual conference with six geography students. Senior Caitlin Woodard received an Outstanding Student Representative award in the undergraduate student research competition. Kelley also presented a talk: “An Exploration of the Impact of Governor Dayton’s Proposed Shoreland Buffer Initiative on Agricultural Lands in Minnesota.”

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Newsroom

Author and activist Geoffrey Saign '77 brings the outdoors into children’s imaginations. Siagn recently published WhipEye, the first in a fantasy series for middlegraders called The WhipEye Chronicles. Saign drew on his own experiences in the wilderness in hopes to inspire his young readers to spend more time outdoors and reap the benefits that nature brings.

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Join fellow students, staff, and faculty in lively interdisciplinary discussion on Naomi Klein's recent book.
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Newsroom

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s annual conference is expected to draw more than 2,000 attendees.

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The Office of Sustainability Initiatives is pleased to announce sustainability course designations for undergraduate and graduate courses at UST that address the interconnections of human and environmental well-being. Learn more here.
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Newsroom

St. Thomas alumnus Will Steger ’66, ’69 M.A. flipped the switch last week on a renewable energy system that will provide power to his Steger Wilderness Center. Dr. Greg Mowry, a St. Thomas School of Engineering professor, designed the system.

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The Sustainable Communities Partnership provides creative approaches to move city-identified, high-priority sustainability goals forward. The Sustainable Communities Partnership is inviting proposals for pilot partners for Spring 2016.
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Join the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship to Discuss Pope Francis’ Encyclical
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Video of “The Church of Pope Francis: Theological and Practical Responses to Laudato Si’”

Missed ICC's Annual Lecture by Erin Lothes of “The Church of Pope Francis: Theological and Practical Responses to Laudato Si’”? 

Watch it online here.