To Sum It All Up…

On February 1, educators and students alike from across the great state of Minnesota came together to learn about sustainable efforts being performed in our own backyards. What was most exciting about this year’s summit is the fact that the summit itself will live on beyond February 1.

Our IT team here on the St. Paul campus was able to team together to make it possible for the Summit to be viewed live on YouTube as well as utilize tools like FlipGrid to allow for interaction between speakers, staff, and students around the state and even from a few people around the world!

This was not only a very helpful aspect of the Summit, but also serves to remind us that any and all efforts regarding sustainability must be done on a community level and done in partnership with those around us. All of our wonderful speakers recognized the importance of making improvements for our world now- however, they also all graciously recognize we must all do it together. How wonderful that this Summit was able to be a system-wide event that unites Minnesota and opens doors for continuing to invite other participants!

Here at our St. Paul facilities, we were lucky enough to host speakers from all of our neighboring campuses. Not only that, but we were also able to watch video presentations regarding what other campuses were doing to promote sustainability. In addition to great community building (with the help of some yummy food provided by the Wedge Coop), there was also an interactive tree made by a local Minnesota artist. The tree called for attendees to think about “what areas of sustainability they’d like to spread, cultivate, and propagate this year?”. The tree has a new found home in our Atrium at the Institute on the Environment. We hope that like the ideas that come from the Summit, this tree will remind people to never

The 2019 Summit could not have been possible without the leadership of Peter Levin, IonE’s Educators Graduate Research Assistant. Since he played such a key role in the gathering, I thought it would be important to hear what he had to say about the outcome:

“The Sustainability Education Summit aimed to show that sustainability can be taught in any discipline, demonstrate how the University of Minnesota system is taking action, and foster connections amid the community. Our team at the Institute on the Environment (IonE) were blown away with the thoughtful engagement at the in-person events and online, and humbled to see that it reached beyond the University to 20 other states and even internationally. I hope that people will move forward with the ideas and momentum generated at this event and online. As our IonE director Jessica Hellmann stated, “Sustainability is asking us to move fast“. The in-person Summit is concluded. but more importantly the ideas and action will accelerate us forward.”

We want the information that came from this meeting to not remain within the confines of the St. Paul Summit, but we want the words and findings to be able to be accessed by everyone!

So, indeed to Sum-It-All Up (pun intended), this year’s Summit served as just the reminder we all need at the front of 2019: it is truly up to us all to promote sustainability on our campuses and around the world. We were reminded of how efforts across the state, big and small alike, are making impacts and to continue to press on in 2019 with an attitude of readiness to take on the challenges asked of us.

Found below are the links to all videos and materials presented should you need them. 


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