Meet the Staff

Jon Jensen

Director, Center for Sustainable Communities

Jon Jensen is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities and a faculty member in Environmental Studies. He provides oversight to all areas of sustainability at Luther as well as working to expand the Center's outreach to the community and region. Jensen is a member of the board of directors for AASHE and on the steering committee for UMACS (the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability). He works to promote sustainability in the curriculum at Luther, in the Midwest, and throughout the country and teaches courses on Environmental Philosophy, Food and the Environment, Environmental Leadership, and Sustainable Communities. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Maren Beard

Assistant Director, Center for Sustainable Communities, Campus Sustainability

As the Assistant Director for Campus Sustainability, Maren coordinates initiatives related to all aspects of sustainability on the Luther College campus. Maren's favorite part of her job is having the opportunity to work on energy, waste, food, transportation, equity and other issues with talented and dedicated staff from across campus. She also works to promote sustainability programming within Residence Life and oversees marketing and communication projects for the Center for Sustainable Communities. Maren serves as chair of the Food, Purchasing and Waste Task Group at Luther and as a board member for the Iowa Food Hub and Oneota Community Food Coop. She holds a M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College.

Emily Neal

Assistant Director, Center for Sustainable Communities, Leadership and Engagement

Emily is the Assistant Director for the Center for Sustainable Communities and a staff instructor in Environmental Studies. A passionate science educator, she has over 20 years of experience teaching people of all ages, on how to integrate concepts of wellness, sustainability and stewardship into their lives. Recognizing that human health is interconnected to the health of our planet, Emily oversees a wide array of healthy living and environmental programs at Luther, including the summer Discovery Camp programs, the Pre-College Environmental Studies Program and the Luther College Immersion Leadership Program. Additionally, Emily oversees outreach programs to regional schools. She works with teachers on integrating topics of sustainability into the curriculum and increasing STEM education. She supervises a team of FoodCorps/AmeriCorps members serving schools to help districts foster healthy environments for students, staff, and the communities they serve. She has a Masters in Science Education and an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, both from the University of Iowa.

James Martin-Schramm

Professor of Religion

Jim Martin-Schramm is Professor of Religion and coordinates the Energy and Climate Program for the Center for Sustainable Communities. He recently completed a term of service on the board of the Iowa Wind Energy Association and is currently chair of the board of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light and the Winneshiek Energy District. He also serves as Secretary of Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC. Jim joined the Religion faculty of Luther College in 1993. Most of his research has focused on ethics and public policy. He is the author or co-author of four books including Climate Justice: Ethics, Energy, and Climate Policy (Fortress Press, 2010). He holds a doctorate in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Visit him at his website.

Sam Pollan

Energy & Waste Fellow

Sam Pollan is the Energy and Waste Fellow at Luther College. A recent graduate of Dickinson College, Sam will be working with students, faculty, and administration to reduce Luther’s waste production and energy consumption. He has been recognized as a Baird Sustainability Fellow for his outstanding commitment to sustainability both on and beyond the Dickinson campus. Following his graduation, Sam participated in the EIT Climate-KIC: The Journey program to gain a better understanding of the intersection between climate change and entrepreneurship while studying in three European cities.

Alison Schulte

Outdoor Environmental/Educational Outreach Fellow

Alison Schulte is the Outdoor Environmental/Educational Outreach Fellow at Luther College. A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with an undergrad degree in Environmental Ecology Biology, Alison will be working closely with Luther students, staff, faculty, and the Decorah community to carry out environmentally focused teaching programs.  She will help plan and manage the pre-college program, reach out to area high schools for interested students in environmental studies, and plan and supervise Discovery Camps. Alison is especially excited to use her leadership skills and outdoor experience in her work with the First-Year Immersion trips to make them a great experience for new students and upper-classmen alike.

Allison Hren

Food and Farm Fellow

Allison Hren is the Food and Farm Fellow at Luther College. An Elon University graduate, she has worked on small farms all over the country, most recently in New Mexico. At Luther she will be managing the Luther Gardens, supervising student workers and helping to produce food for the college's cafeterias. She also works with the Cafeteria to Community program, providing food for a local food kitchen. Allison is excited to grow food in the Midwest, as well as teach and learn from passionate students.