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“No Impact Week” Supports College Sustainability Efforts

Posted on: February 26th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Thousands of plastic bottles comprise the "Bottle Buyology" exhibit.The MCTC Faculty Sustainability Committee and Three-Legged Frog student environmental club will host No Impact Week at MCTC March 3–7. No Impact Week, inspired by the film No Impact Man, is a one-week challenge that seeks to increase awareness, education and empowerment surrounding environmental issues, and to offer alternative lifestyle habits to reduce environmental impact. Click here for a complete schedule of events, including two screenings of the film No Impact Man.

“MCTC is a large institution, and it does create an impact on the environment,” said Erica Joelson, member of the Three-Legged Frog student club and chief organizer of No Impact Week. “We use energy to heat and cool the buildings, water in kitchens, bathrooms and labs, and paper in all sorts of ways. The amount of waste the College creates does have an impact on the environment.”

In 2009 MCTC President Phil Davis signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, joining a network of 450 colleges and universities across the country that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. The mission of this group is to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society.

MCTC has already taken steps to reduce its environmental impact, and currently has in place programs to recycle packaging materials and food waste, incorporate environmental impact studies on all new construction projects and use a variety of energy-saving technologies. “MCTC planted rain gardens during the recent plaza renovation, and the Science building was built with sustainability in mind,” said Three-Legged Frog student club president Michelle Larsen. “The campus offers a decent recycling program, the cafeteria sells organic milk, campus stores sell reusable water bottles and there are many environmentally- and sustainability-minded courses to take. However, we could still do more.”

“I have had students in classes throughout my years of teaching Environmental Science who started out thinking they couldn’t really make a difference in the environmental problems that our planet is experiencing—that their actions didn’t really matter,” said Cathy Geist, MCTC Biology instructor and advisor of the Three-Legged Frog student club. “However, after a time many of them begin to feel more empowered to make changes, and discover that these changes really do matter. There are myriad changes we all can make one step at a time. That’s what No Impact Week is all about.”

Photo: The Three-Legged Frog student group brought a segment of an exhibit titled “Bottle Buyology” to MCTC’s T Building Skyway in the fall of 2012 to illuminate a small percentage of the amount of recyclables that are thrown away in Minnesota each year. The display, created by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, was originally featured in the 2012 Minnesota State Fair Eco Experience building and measured 30 feet long by 15 feet high.

MCTC Honored as a “Top Innovator” for Transit Pass Program

Posted on: May 20th, 2011 by insidemctc No Comments
MCTC's Scott Erickson and Gary Westerland

MCTC's Scott Erickson, Gary Westerland

Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minnesota State University Moorhead and the Northeast Higher Education District were honored Wednesday by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities chair of the Board of Trustees as the top innovators of the year.

MCTC received the top innovator award for our Go-To-College Transit Pass program. Launched in December 2006, with about 400 student participants, the program seeks to reduce the number of cars driven to campus and parked in the college’s ramp. By spring 2011, more than 3,700 students – about 30 percent of the college’s student population – had purchased the $84-a-semester passes, which provide unlimited rides, 24 hours per day, seven days a week, on all Metro Transit buses and light rail. The college subsidizes the passes by providing $92 for each pass through bookstore revenues, student life fees and enrollment growth funds. The pass has created new opportunities to increase access to higher education, ease financial stress and encourage environmental awareness.

“We are honored to receive this award,” said MCTC President Phil Davis. “This innovative project, led by Director of Auxiliary Services Gary Westerland, reflects MCTC’s commitment to environmental sustainability and helps our students by offering a financially reasonable transportation option to our campus.”

This is the first time the Celebration of Innovation Awards have been conferred by Chair Scott Thiss. One state university and eight other state colleges also were recognized for innovative achievements.

“We can’t underestimate the importance of innovation in our system, particularly given current economic conditions,” said Board Chair Scott Thiss. “And though our faculty and staff have been coming up with innovative programs, services and processes for decades, we have not recognized these efforts adequately until recently.

“This award also is an opportunity to encourage innovation and risk taking in a wide variety of forms. Generating fresh solutions is part of the intellectual capital that will help our colleges and universities – and ultimately our students – maintain Minnesota’s competitive edge,” he said.

“This award is just one manifestation of the Board of Trustees’ strategic direction that supports innovation to meet current and future educational needs,” said Chancellor James H. McCormick. “We recognize innovation as an important part of the continuous improvement culture that we work to cultivate.”

The process of selecting the top innovators began with nominations by presidents of system colleges and universities. Innovation is intentionally not further defined because the award is designed to broadly recognize and appreciation innovations of all types. A screening committee narrowed the submissions to the top contenders, which were presented to the board chair, who made the final selections.

More information is available on the MnSCU news release.

Sustainability Fair

Posted on: April 4th, 2011 by insidemctc No Comments

Sustainability FairApril 27
10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
MCTC’s T Building Skyway

“One Planet, Many Voices”

Come to the annual Sustainability Fair and learn what you can do to ‪live more sustainably with all life on our beautiful planet. Environmental organizations and speakers will share important information about their sustainability efforts. Sign up for a chance to win raffle prizes (State park pass, co-op gift certificates), get your bike repaired for free, drink organic Peace coffee and tea. Most importantly, talk to people about what you care about!

This event is free and open to all. Presented by the Three-Legged Frog ‪Environmental Club‬. Our goal is to have a waste free event.

Speaker Schedule

11 a.m.: Three-Legged Frog Presents: Power Shift 2011 Panel Discussion
Last week, 10,000 young leaders converged on Washington, DC to stand up for our future. Eight Three-Legged Frog members were among them. This generation is the largest in American history, and it is up to us to shift the power from big polluters to the people! We will share our experience with you and discuss the crucial needs our community has for a sustainable, clean energy future.

12 p.m.: Corrine Bruning & Collie Graddick – Building Local Resilience: Energy and Food Systems
Corrine Bruning is a former Three-Legged Frog member and president. She will be presenting on the Transition Town movement and her personal experiences in facilitating Transition Town Phillips in south Minneapolis. The aim of Transition Town is to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil, looking at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of energy production, health, education, economy and agriculture as a “road map” to a sustainable future for the town. Collie Graddick is an educator, farmer, food justice advocate, consultant with the MN Department of Agriculture and facilitator of the Coop Project. He has recently led a series of workshops on how to build a Neighborhood Level Sustainable Food System.

1 p.m.: Alphonce Nicholaus & Donovan LaLonde: Sustainability from Minnesota to Tanzania
Alphonce graduated from the U of M in Environmental Science, Policy and Management and is currently in the Masters Program for Geographic Information Sciences. He will share how his commitment to both the environment and human well-being has developed. He plans to return to his homeland, Tanzania, to work on environmental conservation, such as working with both children and adults on tree planting projects. Donovan, currently a U of M student, is majoring in Communications, with a minor in Sustainability Studies. He has designed an innovative sustainability manual for the U of M campus and looks forward to applying his unique combination of environmental knowledge and human understanding to his future work. (Both Alphonce and Donovan are former MCTC students and were active members of Three-legged Frog.)

2 p.m.: VIDEO: Majora Carter – Momentum 2011 Series
Majora Carter simultaneously takes on public health, poverty and climate change adaptation as one of the nation’s pioneers of environment-centered urban renewal and green-collar job training and placement. She began her remarkable career trajectory by founding Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 to bring community-building jobs and a healthier environment to the neighborhood in which she grew up.

MCTC Alumna Melissa Rahn Receives Prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship

Posted on: December 21st, 2010 by insidemctc No Comments

Melissa Parker Rahn

Lobbyist Melissa Parker Rahn of Fredrikson & Byron was selected to receive the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) for 2011 by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). She is one of 44 emerging American leaders representing 16 states and the District of Columbia selected to receive the award. Fellows participate in a 24-day traveling program, where they have the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of political, economic, and social institutions and issues facing the United States and Europe. Rahn is a graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College and the University of Minnesota.

The MMF program educates emerging American and European leaders on the importance of the transatlantic relationship and encourages them to collaborate on a range of international and domestic policy challenges. Fellows are selected through competitive nationwide and regional processes and come from politics, government, media, business and the non-profit sector. American fellows visit five cities across Europe, learning about the institutions and people that drive Europe’s cities, regions, countries, and multilateral systems through meetings with local counterparts. (more…)