Center for Sustainable Communities
January 21, 2014
J-term classes uniquely engage students in sustainability

At the beginning of January, Luther students set off for their three week trips around the world, many of which focused on the environment and conservation studies. Trips included: Ecology of the Southwest (Arizona), Environmental Ethics in Holden Village (Washington), Subtropical and Marine Biology in the Bahamas, and People and Parks: Pastoralism and Conservation in East Africa (Tanzania). First year students staying on campus also had the opportunity to explore some of the biggest issues we face through seminar classes such as "Global Climate Change: Science & Society", "Sustainable Cities?", and "Food for Thought: Healthy Diet". To read off-campus J-term blogs, click here.

Luther break shuttle ridership continues to rise

The Luther College Break Shuttle Program has been expanding since its start in 2007, and this year more students than ever are taking advantage of it. The shuttle service is designed to provide efficient, low-cost transportation for students as they travel to and from the Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin areas for breaks. Ridership has increased greatly in the past few years alone from 1,075 passengers in 2011-2012, to 1,445 in 2012-2013, to 1,326 for the first half of 2013-2014 alone. The Luther shuttle service is just one program designed to help Luther students reduce the need for individual travel. For more information about the break shuttles and other transportation initiatives, visit the sustainability transportation website.   

NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative (FFI)

FFI is a combination of six rural counties in Northeast Iowa working together to improve the health and well-being of children and their families in the region. To be most effective in serving vulnerable children and families, FFI focuses efforts on four strategic areas: K-12 schools, early childhood, local food systems, and active living. Some of the highlights from last year include: 

  • Sales of local food were $7.3 million, up from $3.6 million the previous year.
  • School purchases of local food were up by 40% to $20,236.
  • Rapid progress in developing a food hub, which supports the aggregation and distribution of foods produced in NE Iowa to schools, grocers, and workplaces in NE Iowa and surrounding regions.
  • Luther FFI School Outreach - worked with 16 active school wellness teams
  • FFI Resource Contacts (AmeriCorps and FoodCorps volunteers) and work group leaders spent 599 hours on nutrition and local food programming in schools and the community.
  • Ten new walking schools buses were added for a total of 17 buses in the region.
  • Interviews with 10 former FoodCorps or AmeriCorps service members who served with the Initiative reported their experience with FFI influenced their decision to continue working in areas related to food, health, or education and taught them valuable professional skills.

For more information about the NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative, go to the FFI website. 

Agricultural Innovation Prize - $215,000 for students to change the food system
The competition for the Agricultural Innovation Prize draws entries from across all disciplines within US universities and seeks students to develop innovative plans to address social and agricultural challenges within food systems, improving the standard of living and quality of life for the world's population. Finalists will compete for a $100,000 grand prize, 4 - $25,000 runner up prizes and a $15,000 audience choice prize to launch their idea. Students who would like to get involved in their campuses are invited to serve as on-campus ambassadors, who will receive $1,000 to assist in raising local awareness of the contest opportunity. Learn more.
Sustainability Tips
Fact or Fable? Fluorescent Lamps Use More Energy When They Are First Turned On
This is a fable. When a fluorescent lamp is first switched on, there is a higher current draw for a second or so. However, the length of time for this higher current draw is so short that it has almost no effect on energy use. Leaving a fluorescent lamp on for more than a few minutes will use more energy than turning it off and turning it back on when needed.
This newsletter is provided by the Center for Sustainable Communities, which coordinates all sustainability initiatives at Luther College.  The mission of the Center is to promote sustainability and be a catalyst for change on campus and in the region.  For more information on sustainability initiatives at Luther and the outreach work of the Center for Sustainable Communities, please visit:
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, Jan. 22: Vegetarianism 101
12-1 pm Valders 379
Learn about Vegetarian lifestyle and cooking, and gain recipes to take home with you. Interested faculty, staff, and students can sign up here.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: Game Day Snacks
12-1 pm Valders 379
Join Johanna Bergan from the Co-op and learn how to make delicious snacks and appetizers to serve on Game Day. Faculty, staff, and students can sign up here.
Thursday, Feb. 13: Make Your Own Greek Yogurt
9:45-10:45am Valders 379
Spend an hour with Professor Brooke Shields and learn how simple making your own yogurt can be. Faculty, staff, and students can sign up here.
Feb. 24-March 17: Annual Energy Competition
Staff Spotlight
Maren Stumme-Diers
Sustainable Foods Educator

Maren Stumme-Diers serves as the Sustainable Foods Educator through the Center for Sustainable Communities.  At Luther Maren helps coordinate edible landscaping, production gardens, community gardens and to increase food education opportunities for faculty, staff and students. She provides support to gardens at K-12 schools in the region and consults with institutional buyers on ideas for incorporating local food into the menu. Maren graduated from Luther College with degrees in Environmental Studies and Spanish.
Fairshare CSA Coalition Interns
FairShare CSA Coalition has up to three volunteer internship positions available for the Spring 2014 semester. Read more.  
Homegrown Farms-Farm Maintenance Assistant
Homegrown Farms, located on Genesee Lake School grounds, is looking to hire a general handy man to help with basic upkeep, along with general duties surrounding the greenhouse and during growing season. Read more.  
Lutheran Services in Iowa-Farm Marketing Specialist
LSI is seeking a dedicated and energetic individual to work full-time as a Farm Marketing Specialist within the Refugee program in Des Moines.Read more.  
TreeHuggers Organics - Natural Foods Store Manager
TreeHuggers Organics- Natural Foods is seeking an individual to work with the owner and other team members to assess, develop and execute strategic plans to realize the long term vision of the store in Three Lakes, WI. Read more.  
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