PSE mini-grants available

Puget Sound Energy has graciously awarded PLU grant money for student-led sustainability research projects on campus.  The research should result in an actionable item that would lower PLU’s carbon footprint.  PLEASE, if you are interested contact Chrissy Cooley at


PLU is working to be a local and national leader in environmental sustainability, not only for its urban campus, but also for the planet.  Recognizing that students with an interest in the environment often need a small amount of funding to carry out their ideas for sustainability initiatives, the University applied for and received funding from the Puget Sound Energy Foundation for a Sustainability Mini-Grant Program.  The aim of the grant is to encourage student creativity, initiative and ownership of campus environmental efforts.

A subcommittee of the PLU Sustainability Committee will award two or more grants for student projects.  Grants are likely range from about $500 to $1000 and are intended to cover expenses associated with conducting and creating the project(s). Students may request a stipend of up to $400 (which, unlike expenses, would be subject to income tax).  Faculty advisors will be eligible to receive a stipend of $200 (in addition to the budget of the selected projects).  The funds will be awarded based on

–        creativity

–        potential environmental benefit

–        educational opportunities

–        impact of the project (to the campus or beyond)

The grant is designed to focus on environmental education and conservation.  Possible projects might be an educational green office, novel energy conservation campaigns, computerized energy management, or research projects.

Time Frame

Applications accepted through Friday, December 4, 2009

Decision: within two weeks

Reports due January 1 – July 31, 2010 Each awarded project will submit a final report to PLU’s Office of Development, commenting on the successes and/or challenges of the project. These reports will be forwarded to the Puget Sound Energy Foundation

Payments: As billed, last payment on receipt of final report.


Job Opening at

I am a big fan of Young People For.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank them for all they have taught me and the opportunities they entrusted in me.  I hope that other young leaders will take advantage of this resource.

Fellowship Associate
Washington, DC

People For the American Way Foundation conducts research, legal, and education work on behalf of First Amendment freedoms and democratic values; monitors, exposes, and challenges the Religious Right movement and its political allies; identifies, trains, and supports the next generation of progressive leaders through its Young People For youth leadership programs and its Young Elected Officials Network; and carries out nonpartisan voter education, registration, civic participation, and election protection activities.

Young People For (YP4) is a progressive leadership development program focused on identifying, engaging, and empowering the next generation of progressive leaders. YP4 is dedicated to identifying young campus and community leaders, engaging them, and supporting them with the skills and resources they need to create change. Together, People For and YP4 are building a long-term network of emerging leaders committed to protecting our nation’s fundamental rights and freedoms.

YP4 has three overarching priorities: 1) to diversity leadership in the progressive movement; 2) to support young leaders to effect change in their communities now; and 3) to ensure that young leaders are sustained in their leadership over the long term. The core of YP4 is our one-year fellowship for progressive college students, which supports and empowers them to create change now on their campuses and in their communities. The 2009 fellowship class is comprised of 150 fellows from 86 campuses in 29 states and is the next generation of YP4’s growing network of over 650 alumni across the nation.

The position is located in Washington, DC and reports to the Fellowship Program Manager.


  • In collaboration with the Fellowship Manager, develop quarterly, annual, and individual goals to ensure that deliverables are met.
  • Manage Fellowship interns.
  • Work closely with Fellowship staff to coordinate day-to-day communication with fellows.
  • Support and maintain substantive relationships with fellows through regular communication including in-person meetings, phone calls, and e-mail exchanges and  provide support and coaching for fellows as they engage in individualized leadership development activities, short- and long-term planning, and goal-setting.
  • Support fellows’ social justice work on their campuses or in their communities and work with them to plan and execute sustainable, community-driven projects.
  • Develop and manage strong relationships with professors, administrators and campus activists at state universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI’s), Tribal Colleges, liberal arts universities and community colleges.
  • Support the Young People For team at local, state, regional, and national conferences and events.
  • Support the development of relationships with local, state, regional, and national progressive organizations.
  • Participate in annual Fellowship recruitment and selection process by creating and implementing innovative outreach strategies including phone, e-mail, and social media, reviewing fellowship applications, and interviewing candidates.
  • In collaboration with the Young People For team, plan and execute regional trainings and the annual National Summit.


  • 1-3 years related experience including grassroots, political, student or youth organizing and/or leadership development work.
  • Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced environment; must be well organized, detail-oriented and able to effectively manage competing priorities and frequent deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including ability to work effectively with a variety of people.
  • Strong commitment to professional development.
  • Excellent written communications skills.
  • Previous experience in staff recruitment and/or job placement desirable.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize complex information and present in a usable format.
  • Ability to work independently, with supervision, and as part as a team.
  • Ability and willingness to travel occasionally and to work additional hours when needed.
  • Familiarity with MS Office applications; experience with online communities and interest in web-based tools to advance progressive causes.
  • Familiarity with the progressive community and a commitment to the issues of Young People For (campus diversity, civic engagement, civil rights, economic justice, education, environmental conservation and justice, healthcare, immigration, international human rights, worker’s right, Native American issues, traditions, and empowerment, and progressive coalition and alliance building).

To apply: Send resume and statement of interest to Human Resources, People For the American Way Foundation, 2000 M Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Email

People For the American Way Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Schools meet demand by offering an increasing number of majors and degrees focused on the environment.

By JENNA ROSS, Star Tribune

Last update: September 25, 2009 – 11:43 PM

Students at the University of Minnesota-Morris could ride buses fueled by corn, sleep in dorms heated by a biomass furnace and eat food grown on nearby farms. But for years, they couldn’t major in the environment.

“It was getting to be embarrassing,” said Peter Wyckoff, a biology professor. “We had amazing green facilities out here but didn’t have a fully developed green curriculum.”

That has changed. At Morris and at campuses around the nation, green degrees are sprouting, growing and firmly rooting in response to student demand.

In the past year, Morris has added two new majors — environmental studies and environmental science. This fall, Carleton College in Northfield began a degree in environmental studies, just its second new major in a decade. The number of students majoring in environmental studies at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University rose to 90 in six years, placing it among the most popular majors. The number of St. Olaf College students graduating with a major or concentration in environmental studies increased by 40 percent in the past four years.

Nationwide, most of the more than 1,100 institutions with environmental programs have seen their enrollment expand since 2003.

“This has been a growth year in all respects,” said Lamont Hempel, president of the newly formed Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences. “Students are expecting that campuses will walk the talk.”

The change is seen at two- and four-year colleges, public and private schools. Community colleges are quickly revamping their curriculum to prep students for green-collar jobs. The degrees have made their way into the more entrenched programs of private colleges and universities for different reasons.

A recent survey by the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors found that “faculty initiatives” and “student demand” — rather than employer demand or job opportunities — prompted the creation of undergraduate and graduate programs. About two-thirds of students recently surveyed by the Princeton Review said that they’d consider a college’s environmental “commitment” before applying — up 3 percent from last year.

“There’s a lot of interest in this generation,” Wyckoff said.

‘Connections to real world’

Kelsea Dombrovski’s record at Carleton shows her switching majors just once, but she’s changed her mind more times than that. Then she saw that the college would offer environmental studies as a major starting this year.

Unlike some of the other majors she considered, “with environmental studies, I could make connections to the real world,” the junior said. “It’s about real issues that people are actually dealing with.”

The labels change by the college. Most programs are called either environmental science, for future scientists, or environmental studies, for future policymakers. More than a dozen colleges now offer bachelor’s degrees in sustainability, according to the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus recently added a minor in sustainability studies.

Some programs have existed for decades, since the first wave of concern over the environment in the 1960s and early 1970s or the second, in the 1990s. In many cases, “concentrations” or minors in these subjects are now turning into full-fledged majors and even departments unto themselves.

The number of students choosing these programs is unprecedented, several professors and experts said.

The College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University have offered a minor in environmental studies for years but in 2003 turned it into a major and a department. Now, about 15 to 20 entering freshmen identify it as their major, “something we never would have seen even five years ago,” said Derek Larson, associate professor and chairman of the environmental studies program.

Prospective students call the schools in St. Joseph and Collegeville, Minn., asking about the sustainability of the campus and the prevalence of degrees in the environment. At a recent academic fair at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., freshmen filled sign-up sheets for more information about the new environmental studies degree.

“They just come in interested, then find their way to us,” said Mark Kanazawa, the program’s director. “Global warming and climate change have gotten a lot of attention in recent years. These issues are big, they’re scary, and they make a young, conscientious person want to do something about them.”

Dombrovski, a Minnesota native, hopes to work with people in urban settings to get them interested in healthier foods and improve their access. But she feels the interdisciplinary nature of the degree she’s getting at Carleton will prepare her for several possible jobs.

Carleton had offered a concentration in environmental studies for years, and, recently, it had become the most popular concentration on campus. The University of Minnesota-Morris had a concentration, too, but it wasn’t as popular. It began the environmental studies major last fall, and so far 50 students have signed on.

To Katie Laughlin, the first student to declare, the switch was significant: “To me, having an environmental major sounds a lot better than having a concentration in environment.”

It’s a multidisciplinary degree, so she’s taken everything from microeconomics to a course this semester titled Evolution of the Minnesota Prairie.

The major makes use of the green facilities that came before it. On Wednesday, students in a course on environmental biology visited the campus’ biomass heating and cooling plant to discuss biomass gasification. Then they worked with small-scale gasifiers that, when they got going, shot flames out their tops.

“Colleges have been good about putting up green buildings, but these buildings should be teaching,” Hempel said. “There’s a building like that at my university; we think of it as an adjunct faculty member. Just being in it, seeing how it works, is an education.”

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

Sustainability Committee Minutes

Sustainability Committee Minutes



Attendees: Barb McConathy, Dave Kohler, Brian Naasz, Jeff Olsen-Krengel, Andrew Ratzke, Joe Bell, Becca Krzmarzick, Kenny Stancil


BBTB Charter

  • Andrew summarized charter
  • All signees verbally accepted charter
  • All committee members verbally accepted charter
  • Joe suggested encouraging on-campus students to use indoor bike rooms for long-term storage instead of the new racks
  • Dave said Parking Committee (Laura Majovski or Tom Huelsbeck) needs to be involved
    • Needs Sheri’s approval on bike rack picture
    • Wants to move all racks and roll out document at the same time (end of January)
  • Charter will be signed by next meeting
  • Can start spending money on the Bike Co-Op now


Next Meeting

  • In 2 weeks, will be for planning spring semester
    • Do we want to change anything about our meetings?
      • Frequency, time, specific groups
  • Share ideas about using remainder of Green Fee money
  • TBTT addendum will be signed



  • TBTT
    • Sold 50 more last week, people can buy them in ASPLU office
    • Jeff: is campus was over-saturated with them?  RAs can have new students sign document to use bottles.
    • Brian: can we sell them at the bookstore?
    • Wendy: sell in the OMM?
    • Barb: only 2 bottles were found in trash/recycling at end of year
  • RHA
    • Just had regional conference
    • America Recycles Week: Lids Off campaign, and posted length of time that products degrade
    • RecycleMania starts in January
      • Barb wants # of totes to be part of stats this year
      • Jeff, Barb need to talk with RD’s about program
  • Dining
    • TruRecycle starts tomorrow and will be picked up on Friday
      • Can take a lot more things like fridges and TVs
      • Jeff will notify students
      • Another event for move-out: May 25-28th
    • Empty Bowls event Thursday 3-4:30pm
  • EHS
    • Decrease in amount of hazard waste moved out (about 700 lbs)
    • Comes from education departments
  • Facilities
    • Barb found company that will take bottle lids for recycling
      • Dining will save lids for this campaign
    • PLU working on 1st draft of President’s Climate Commitment
      • McKinstry helping
      • Need thoughts/ideas for how to formulate plan to reduce carbon
      • January 8th is due date
      • Will update process every year
      • Want a half hour during next meeting to discuss
      • Part of PLU 2020 plan
  • PLU 2020
    • Brian and Anna drafted questions to guide new committee
      • What does sustainability mean?
      • What actions do we need to take?
      • How do we integrate this into education curriculum?
  • Sustainability Expo
    • Flyer printed and passed around
    • 200-500 people attending
    • Need student support

LuteFit Article

Sustainability is More than the Environment

by Chrissy Cooley, Sustainability-Resource Coordinator

Sustainability is the newest buzzword of the day. But unlike many fads, this one is here to stay. Some are even calling this point in time the “green generation.” Think industrial revolution, but green.  When most people are quizzed on the definition of sustainability, they usually think strictly environmental.  But sustainability is so much more! Sustainability occurs as a perfect balance between the interest of people, the natural world and business. It’s often depicted in the famous Venn diagram, frequently referred to as the 3 P’s- People, Planet, Profit.
Each of these categories can be broken down into a million sub-topics, but for individuals sustainable life habits can do amazing things for them personally. When someone is practicing a sustainable lifestyle, they are living better in a way that helps themselves and the earth.
Some easy and healthy ways to be sustainable:

1. Increase natural light and decrease artificial light. Better yet, go outside every once in awhile.
2. Exercise in little ways throughout the day. Take the stairs, walk to see someone rather than call. Get up and stretch.
3. Get a Take Back the Tap Bottle, or other reusable water bottle. Drinking water regularly is great for you, but horrible if the plastic from disposable bottles is going
into you, then the earth.
4. Improve indoor air quality with plants and frequent green cleaning strategies.
5. Spice up your schedule! Try biking to work if you live close by, or take the bus to get some much-needed alone time.
6. Pack a green lunch. Local, organic foods that allow you to stay out of lunchtime traffic are much better for you than a rush through fast food joint.
7. You know your office better than any other person on campus. If you have an idea to green it up, especially if it would make you and your co-workers feel better, then blog about it!

SSC Summer Program Director Job Description

Job Title: Sprog (Summer Program) Director

Department: Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) Trainings Committee

Reports To: SSC National Trainings Director and Trainings Committee

Application deadline: Send resume and applications to

Rolling admission until December 1st 2009 , early applications are more likely to be accepted. All Applicants will be notified by Dec. 12th.

Context:  Directors advance SSC training and grassroots organizing efforts by setting up and implementing one, week-long activist training. Directors support and supervise a staff of approximately 6-9 student trainers, and up to 40 participants.  In so doing, the Director coordinates and implements a comprehensive week of grassroots organizing and leadership skills trainings, issue briefings, and outdoor activities, as directed by the Trainings Committee.  Each program has Co-Directors.

Scope: Director is responsible for coordinating the recruitment, retention and logistics for one SSC summer program. The Director is also responsible for integrating SSC priority campaign efforts with SSC summer programs and following up with SSC summer program graduates to promote and advance campaign work among our volunteer base. Regularly works with the Trainings Director, and without direct supervision.

Job Activities:

1. Works with Trainings Director and volunteer trainers to coordinate summer environmental leadership training program for high school and college students.

a. Helps identify an appropriate site (ideally sites will be confirmed before Directors are selected, however this is not always the case, and Directors may be asked to help in searching for an appropriate site) and maintains regular contact with site; is familiar with park rules, check-in and check-out procedures, and materials needed (cooking supplies, fans, cleaning supplies) which the site may not provide;

b. Recruits participants through wholesale and retail outreach methods, both within and outside of Sierra Club and SSC channels. Creates and implements a recruitment plan that will help the SSC reach our diversity goals (2010 goals include a minimum of 35% high school participants and 38% people of color across all programs);

c. Retains participants by working with volunteer trainers to manage regular contact with participants, answer questions, conduct needs assessment, etc.  Coordinate with the SSC National Office to ensure that participant forms and payment are received in a timely manner; the National Office reviews scholarship applications;

d. Coordinate participant travel to site from airport and train/bus stations and ensures participants (and trainers) book travel within appropriate time parameters, both for Training for Trainers and Sprog;

e. Plan and develop program agendas, in coordination with trainers, the Trainings Director and Trainings Committee;

f. Coordinate meals for the program, including checking participant forms for food allergies and diet restrictions to ensure that all participants’ needs are met.  It is strongly encouraged that you recruit 1-3 cooks to help manage these responsibilities before and during the program.

2. Prepares training team by holding regular conference calls and one-on-one check-ins with each member of your team during the spring semester, planning and team-building sessions at Training for Trainers weekend, and assisting trainers in the development of their training workshops and personal training skills. Responsible for aiding in leadership development of trainers and helping to identify potential directors for the following summer.

3. During training week:

a. Sets respectful, fun and friendly tone; creates a safe space for all participants and works with SSC staff to make sure that SSC policy and site rules are both communicated and enforced;

b. Ensures adherence to the agenda– including training sessions, breaks, and meals;

c. Manages and leads team of trainers: regularly takes temperature of group, gives feedback on trainings and ensures a culture of peer to peer feedback & debriefing among trainers, leads nightly staff team meetings;

d. Remains available as a resource to participants and trainers during and after the program.

4. Compiles data on the effectiveness of programs including doing a site evaluation (how well the site met the needs of the program and making a recommendation of whether to repeat programs at the site) ensuring participant evaluations are administered and reviewed by trainers and consolidated into an end-of-program director’s report, and doing follow-up surveys with participants, etc.

5. Manages site budget in coordination with Training Director.

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Prior student training, student organizing, and/or event coordinating experience.
  • Familiarity with experiential learning process and needs assessment concepts
  • Strong written and oral communication.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and interest in current environmental issues.
  • Ability to clearly explain complex issues and effectively communicate to students
  • Ability to work independently and cooperatively with public and volunteers in an action oriented environment.
  • Familiarity with the goals and mission of the SSC.
  • Previous experience planning an event of similar magnitude and/or participation in a previous Sprog as a trainer or participant is a plus.

Other Requirements:

  • Ability to devote a min of 10 hours per week during spring semester, and commit one full week over the summer.
  • Have been a Sprog Trainer before (recommended but not required).
  • Lead regular (weekly or bi-weekly) planning calls with you training team
  • Participate in regular (monthly) Director’s calls/Trainings with other Directors
  • Commitment to creating a safe space for all participants and enforcing the rules and policies of the SSC and Sierra Club.
  • Ability to attend Sprog Director’s Retreat in January (15th-18th).
  • Ability to participate in Training for Trainers weekend (Dates & locations(s) TBD); depending on budget and other constraints, help may be required in the logistics and planning for regional T4T events.