Two University of Minnesota student projects have been chosen as finalists for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2013 Student Sustainability Awards. Winners will be announced at the AASHE national conference in Nashville Oct. 6.
A project called “The Next Generation Environmental Leaders” is a finalist for AASHE’s Student Sustainability Leadership Award. For this project, a coalition of students from the University of Minnesota’s Morris and Twin Cities campuses played a key role in Governor Mark Dayton’s 2013 Environmental Congress. A groundbreaking event, this gathering of business, non-profit and government leaders developed recommendations to help guide the state’s Environmental Quality Board and the Dayton Administration in creating short-term action steps and setting long-term goals for the future. The interdisciplinary, multi-campus group was led by Natalie Hoidal, a student at the University of Minnesota, Morris; and Christy Newell, a Twin Cities campus student. Funding for the work was provided in part by a Mini Grant from the University’s Institute on the Environment.
The second University of Minnesota project, chosen as a finalist in the AASHE Student Research on Campus Sustainability Award competition, is by Twin Cities graduate student Elizabeth Turner. The project, “Envisioning the Carbon-Neutral Campus: Planning for Reduced Energy Consumption at St. Olaf College,” explores the potential for St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., to work toward carbon neutrality through an integrated learning laboratory process. Turner is pursuing a master’s degree in architecture and sustainable design from the U’s College of Design.
“University of Minnesota students move so quickly from understanding the urgency of the world’s sustainability challenges to rolling up their sleeves and getting to work on projects to make our Minnesota communities more sustainable,” says Beth Mercer-Taylor, coordinator of the Sustainability Education program at the Institute on the Environment. “I am so proud to support and assist student leaders in sustainability across our University of Minnesota campuses.”