Center for Sustainable Communities
December 8, 2014
Center for Sustainable Communities receives grant for recycling infrastructure 
The Center for Sustainable Communities has received a $20,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resource's Solid Waste Alternatives Program (SWAP) to help decrease Luther's solid waste stream. The grant will be used to purchase a total of seven 3-compartment roll-off recycling bins that will be strategically placed around campus. New infrastructure will allow student and staff custodians to prevent pile-ups in their buildings, and will allow the college to decrease the number and size of trash dumpsters. The roll-offs are being specially designed by Terry Buenzow of the Winneshiek County Recycling Center and are expected to be on campus by the end of January. These roll-offs will be placed at Towers, Ylvisaker , Baker, Olson, Brandt, and Farwell Residence Halls, and picked up by the Winneshiek County Recycling Center as needed. The ultimate goal is that the addition of recycling bins and reduction in the number of dumpsters will increase recycling rates and decrease the volume being sent to the landfill. To learn more about Luther's solid waste projects, visit the Recycling and Waste website.
Carbon footprint calculations for 2013-2014 complete
The results of Luther's 2013-2014 carbon footprint calculations have been completed and released. What follows is a synopsis of the most notable statistics coming out of the report.
  • As of May 31, 2014, Luther College has reduced its campus carbon footprint 40.3% from its peak in 2003-04 via investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. 
  • Electricity purchases are still the largest part of Luther's total emissions (51.7%), but electricity-related emissions  have declined 29.4% due to investments in energy efficiency. 
  • The direct combustion of fossil fuel on campus is still the second largest part of Luther's carbon footprint (32.7%) but they have declined 10.1% due to Luther's decision to burn natural gas primarily in the heating plant instead of carbon-intensive fuel oil. 
  • Due to a colder than usual winter in FY 2013-14, emissions from electricity purchases increased 4.3%, and emissions from heating fuel consumption increased 12.5% compared to the previous year.
To read more about Luther's carbon footprint history and future plans, visit the Energy and Climate website
The Past as Proxy for the Future: Dr. Peterson Explores Barcelona, Spain and the Pliocene Epoch

In mid-September Dr. Laura Peterson set off for sunny Barcelona, Spain to meet with other paleoclimatologists from colleges and universities around the world. There wasn't much time for paella and strolling the cobbled streets, however, as she and her colleagues had an important matter to discuss: climate conditions during the Pliocene period. Dr. Peterson, unique as she represented one of the few researchers from small colleges, contributed her findings on how the earth system responds to Milankovitch forcing. Peterson, with the help of student researchers in her lab at Luther, has been working to reconstruct past sea surface temperature change in the Southern Hemisphere. Peterson is looking to find how the internal processes in climate system evolved as the Earth transitioned from a single polar ice cap (Antarctica) to the world of today in which both the Northern and Southern hemispheres have polar ice.

A more thorough understanding of events in our geologic history could change our approach to climate change policy, disaster planning, and economic development. To read the full article on Dr. Peterson's research, visit the website
Sustainability work study and internships available for summer 2015
There are several opportunities for current Luther students to work in sustainability-related fields at Luther over the summer.  The Center for Sustainable Communities is offering engaging internships in areas related to land stewardship, sustainable foods, gardening, environmental education, recycling, and more! For more information and instructions on how to apply, visit the Summer Sustainability Internship website.
Food waste measurements shed light on current composting levels
Over the course of the past few weeks, Energy and Waste Fellow Jamie
Stallman and other student workers have been measuring the amount of food waste generated by the cafeteria to
get a better sense of the food waste output on campus. Data from two days of food waste collection and weighing showed that the amount of organic waste from the cafeteria was double what was expected. A portion of the unexpectedly high food waste numbers is due to the fact that dining services has significantly increased prep waste volumes because of scratch cooking the majority of what is served in the cafeteria.  The information collected by Jamie and the student workers will be used by the college in making decisions on how to approach food waste and composting infrastructure in the future, as well as to set operational goals related to food waste. To read more about Luther's food waste initiatives, visit the composting webpage
Sustainability Tips
Stressed about finals or upcoming holiday plans? Here are a couple ideas to beat the craziness and finish the semester and year on a high note!
  • Exercise. A clear mind can help keep you energized while studying for exams. Head out to Luther's walking trails to get some fresh air, or try meditation and yoga to help manage stress!
  • Eat smart. Fueling your brain with healthy food keeps you engaged and full! Check out what local and healthy food is being served in the caf  here!
  • Get some Z's.Sleep may be the most important thing to maintain during times of stress. The Counseling Services website has lots of suggestions on how to get a solid night's sleep.
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
Saturday, December 13th-  Woody Invasive Species Workshop
8am-noon Valders 367
Join Professor Molly NcNicoll, Brian Fankhauser (Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation), and Jessica Salesman (Effigy Mounds National Monument and Herbert Hoover NHS) for a workshop on how to assess, treat, and monitor invasive woody plant species on private land.Read more
Saturday, January 24th- 
Steps to go Solar Workshop 
10am-noon Valders Concourse
A panel of experts made up of local solar installers, tax professionals, and solar system owners will share key information and provide answers to the questions you have related to using solar energy in your home or business. Read more and register here
Staff Spotlight
Maren Stumme-Diers
Sustainable Foods Educator

 As a Sustainable Foods Educator Maren coordinates a variety of food-related initiatives on campus and in the community. Maren believes that food lies at the intersection of many social, environmental, cultural and economic issues and sees food issues as a great way to bring different groups of people together. At Luther Maren coordinates the CSA Reimbursement Program for Luther employees, food education events, edible landscaping, community gardens, student production gardens and the Cafeteria to Community Program in which food from campus is packed into reusable containers for the food pantry. She also works to promote sustainability programming within Residence Life and oversees marketing and communication projects for the Center for Sustainable Communities. Maren is in the process of completing a Masters in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College.
Food and Farm Fellow- Luther College 

The Center for Sustainable Communities is looking to hire a Food and Farm Fellow for the 2015 season. This Fellow will be responsible for day-to-day operations at the college farm, including student supervision, and management of the community garden. Read More 

Community Food Systems-Americorps VISTAS 

Dane County UW Extension is seeking candidates for a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA position to work within the community food system to assist with community gardens and to increase access to healthy foods for people living in poverty. Read More 

4-H Youth Development Program Assistant-  Dane County University of Wisconsin Extension  

Dane County is seeking a program assistant to aid the community of young people in the area who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills via 4-H. Read More 

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