Luther College has long been committed to community outreach and education on issues related to sustainability and climate change. The College hosts lectures and conferences open to the community as well as working with the city, county, and local organizations on projects. More specifically the college will expand its community outreach in the following ways:
Center for Sustainable Communities: As the centerpiece of its community outreach work, Luther College is working to establish a Center for Sustainable Communities to catalyze change and be an educational resource for institutions and individuals in our region. A systems approach to sustainable community development will guide the creation of specific programs within the Center to focus on important elements of a just and sustainable community. Each program – renewable energy, sustainable food systems, environmental education, and sustainable business and entrepreneurship – will integrate into a larger whole. Strategic partnerships with local businesses, schools, churches, and community groups will be crucial to the work of the Center, and all programs will make extensive use of Luther student interns in order to prepare young people to be leaders in creating sustainable communities.
Environmental Outreach: Luther has an active Environmental Outreach program that conducts year-round programming for pre-K through middle school students. Roughly 500 young people are reached each year through these programs that also provide transformative experiences for the Luther students who do the teaching. The college is looking for ways to expand its Environmental Outreach programs through strategic partnerships and new programs.
Greening of the Churches: Coordinated through Luther’s Sense of Vocation Program, Luther conducted a Greening of the Churches conference and is planning another. Luther has also developed a student internship program that places students in regional congregations to help with the integration of sustainability into each parish.
Community Collaborations: Luther will continue to be an active partner in sustainability events for the community. Recent examples include a regional K-12 Farm to School conference, the weekend sustainable lifestyles Dig IN event, and an upcoming sustainability film festival.
II. Greenhouse Gas Inventories
In order to make a Climate Action Plan, Luther had to take stock of its carbon footprint. That process, and the results are outlined here.
III. Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies
Outlined in this document are Luther's plans for reducing its carbon footprint by 50% by the year 2015 and plans for the campus' carbon neutrality goal.
Education is a key element in promoting sustainability on campus and throughout the world. By integrating these themes into the curriculum, co-curriculum, and research Luther will further its impact in the world of sustainability.
Sustainability education can be furthered through the promotion of student and faculty research in areas related to sustainability.
Sustainable learning is not happening only on campus. Luther's efforts to promote sustainable thoughts and actions throughout the community is an important aspect of the Climate Action Plan.