David Paquette graduated from Luther in 2004 with a degree in Business Management. After graduation, he did some volunteer outreach for the Colorado 14ers Initiative and Leave No Trace. In 2008 he moved back to Decorah and began working with the Winneshiek Energy District to enhance energy efficiency within the community, focusing mainly on education and outreach. He feels his time at Luther, especially his time with Jon Jenson and John Moeller and the classes he took pertaining to Environmental Studies, sparked both his interest in and passion for this field of work. He had felt connected to the natural environment since childhood, but Luther helped him define that connection and truly discover “the importance of a sense of place.”
Nathan Hecht graduated from Luther in 2011 with a major in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. He was involved with Luther’s Sustainability Initiative as it was just beginning in 2008 and worked with Sustainability as a student worker throughout his time at Luther. He was also active in ECO, serving as a co-leader for three semesters. After graduation, Nathan worked on several farms and applied to the Peace Corps; currently, he is serving as a Community Environmental Management volunteer for the Corps in Llupa, Ancash, Peru. He works with the people of his community towards sustainable development in order to improve the quality of their environment and, by extension, their lives. He says his time with Luther Sustainability, his leadership in ECO, his classes at Luther, and studying abroad through Luther greatly influenced his decision to join the Peace Corps, and adds: “Luther taught me how to think, how to question, and how to focus my passions into a vocation.”
Christina Yates, class of 2013, received a degree from Luther in Environmental Studies:Social Change. While at Luther, she served as a Project Manager in the Sustainability Office, a Sustainable Foods Intern, and a Sustainable Decorah Intern. After graduating, Tina began working for a Kansas City non-profit organization called the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition, where she currently serves as Communications Coordinator. The Coalition is committed to helping churches develop more sustainable practices and enhance their environmental ethic. She feels her work now if a continuation of her studies and work at Luther, and she notes that she frequently uses many of the skills she attained working in Sustainability. She adds that her time at Luther convinced her that “as long as I have the will and the patience, I will find good work to do in the world.”
Philip Marty graduated from Luther in 2013 as an Environmental Studies: Science major. He was very involved with advocating for local foods on campus while at Luther and served on the Food Purchasing and Waste Committee. He says his work with sustainable foods was very influential, noting, “my curricular major is Environmental Studies, but my extra-curricular degree is in Sustainable Food Systems”. After graduation, Phil began an internship at Organic Valley for the Farmer Support Program. He feels that his time at Luther both prepared him for this internship and influenced his habits of sustainability through the classes he took and the hands-on experience he received.