Jon Jensen, professor of philosophy and environmental studies, will be returning to the role of director for the Center for Sustainable Communities at Luther College.
"I am honored and very excited to be returning to a leadership role in the Center for Sustainable Communities, especially at this pivotal time for Luther," said Jensen. "As the college charts its path to the future, sustainability should continue to play a distinctive role in helping the college to live out its mission, reduce operating costs, provide experiential learning opportunities to our students and meet the needs of our community."
The mission of the center is to promote sustainability and be a catalyst for change on campus and in the region. Appointed by President Jenifer K. Ward, Jensen will begin a renewable, three-year term in June 2021.
"Luther's mission, history, values and programmatic strengths all have a common denominator of stewardship or 'caring for:' the environment, our resources, our communities (both existing and desired), our heritage, the relationship to Decorah, and the power of active learning and a liberal arts education. The work we do in sustainability supports all of these areas and I am excited to see the good work Jon Jensen will do as director of the Center for Sustainable Communities," said President Ward.
Jensen has several priorities in mind, first and foremost, expanding opportunities for students.
"The last year has been hard for everyone and has dramatically curtailed the person-person work that is the heart of sustainability and the hallmark of Luther's community. We really want to step up our student engagement, connecting students to each other, to the community, and to the amazing outdoor opportunities here in the Driftless Region," said Jensen.
Jensen also plans to expand the CSC’s work with high school teachers and their students and partner with those at Luther on social sustainability, especially diversity, equity and inclusion. According to Jensen "sustainability is often associated with environmentalism, but social equity and economic sustainability are equal pillars of our approach."
Jensen previously served in this role for six years before being succeeded by Jim Martin-Schramm in 2019.
"I am deeply grateful to Jim Martin-Schramm for the amazing work he has done the past few years, and I will work hard to continue the momentum. Jim helped to cement Luther's reputation as a national leader in sustainability, updated our Climate Action Plan and set the college up for next steps to meet our goals, especially with the new energy master plan," said Jensen.
In 2020 Luther was named eighth most sustainable Baccalaureate Institution in the United States by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This recognition comes from the strong efforts of the CSC, and Luther's commitment to sustainability as an institution.
Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.