• Aspen Trees and Blazing Star Prairie Flowers
    "What you do to the earth you also do to your children." - Red Lake Nation
  • Allen and Freda Pedersen Garden dedication
  • members of the Green Team in their t-shirts
  • Children Center Grow Box dedication

Center for Sustainability

Sustainability at the University of Minnesota Crookston

The University of Minnesota Crookston Center for Sustainability is charged with providing overall leadership for sustainability work, while at the same time encouraging broad participation from across the campus, community, and region. It is our responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability by what we do, and how we do it. The success of our sustainability efforts depends on building broad based support.

Our Perspective

  • Sustainability is focused on the future
  • Sustainability is a global and local issue
  • Encompasses the major challenges of our time (national security, arable land, clean water, energy crisis, climate change, population growth, etc.)

Tri-circle diagram for sustainability, displaying the social-political, economic and environmental issues crossing

What is sustainability?

What is sustainability?

"meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." - United Nations Brundtland Commission, 1989

As such, it is an approach that requires each of us to be conscious of the implications of our actions and choices,

... to use resources like water, energy, soil and wealth, wisely; 
... to be aware of inequities in our society that lead to poverty, malnutrition, chronic disease, and environmental degradation; 
... to consider how our actions affect the natural environment and other people, both now and in the future.

  • It is an approach that is eager to consider alternatives to extractive processes, conspicuous consumption, and prejudice.
  • It is an approach that invites us to imitate nature, thinking in terms of cycles, adaptation, redundancy and relationships.
  • It is an approach that appreciates the indigenous resources in the region, the natural and human capital, as well as financial capital.
  • It is an approach that optimizes and balances social, economic and environmental priorities.

Sustainability Goals and Initiatives

Sustainability Goals and Initiatives

Sustainability Committee & Working Group Goals

Sustainability Committee's Charge

The University of Minnesota Crookston Sustainability Committee's charged with providing overall leadership for [sustainability] work, while at the same time encouraging broad participation from across the campus, community, and region. It is our responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability by what we do, and how we do it. The success of our sustainability efforts depends on building broad based support.

The Committee is encouraged to:

  • Create an inventory of current campus initiatives
  • Identify energy conservation practices on campus
  • Identify strategies to reduce/reuse/recycle (RRR strategies)
  • Identify strategies to decrease the carbon footprint caused by transportation
  • Explore opportunities to increase the use of local foods and reduce food waste
  • Explore new program majors as well as integrate sustainability into the curriculum across the academic disciplines
  • Develop a communications plan to increase awareness of the work of the committee
  • Identify internal and external funding sources for those initiatives requiring funding

UMC's Responsibilities per the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)*

  1. Establish an institutional structure to oversee the development and implementation of the schools program to comply with the ACUPCC.
  2. Complete a green house gas emissions inventory by May 15, 2009.
  3. Establish a climate neutrality action plan and set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral by January 15, 2010.
  4. Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of tangible action options.
  5. Integrate sustainability into the curriculum, making it part of the educational experience.
  6. Make our climate action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

* The University of Minnesota President, Robert Bruinicks, signed the ACUPCC for all U of M campuses on January 15, 2008.

Current Initiatives

  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory
  • Climate Neutrality Plan
  • Divide and Conquer Strategy (created 5 working groups - recycling, curriculum, communication and outreach, physical operations and food)

Working Groups

Recycling Working Group Goals

  • Formalize campus-wide recycling program for cans, bottles, paper and cardboard by the start of Fall 2009.
  • Decrease the volume of recyclable materials that are thrown away with campus trash. The specific goals is to reduce tipping by 25%.
  • Develop a marketing and educational plan by August 21st.
  • Showcase best practices and increase awareness.
  • Incorporate tote bags made from recycled materials into Freshman Orientation.
  • Change behaviors and make individuals more conscious about recycling.

Curricular Working Group Goals

  • Identify methods to integrate sustainability into the curriculum
    • Sustainability degree programs
    • Common reading programs
    • Formalize sustainability components in existing courses across both degree programs and the liberal education curriculum
    • Identify and promote sustainability internships and service learning opportunities.
    • Identify and promote study abroad experiences with sustainability focus.

Foods Working Group Goals

  • Inventory current sustainability initiatives/practices on campus related to food.
  • Make recommendations for increasing the amount of locally grown foods on campus.
  • Develop and promote procurement process with incentives for local food procurement.
  • Support local growers in providing produce, meat, grain, dairy products for the campus.
  • Identify strategies to reduce food waste, compost organic fraction.
  • Identify opportunities for teaching and learning to interface with dining services in food production, processing, presentation, nutrition, food service, business, etc.

Communication and Outreach Working Group Goals

  • Continue to focus on internal communication (UMC News, e-update, Eagle's Eye, Insight Radio, Facebook, Twitter).
  • Work with UMC University Relations Office to maintain a web site to highlight sustainability activities and events (www.umcrookston.edu/sustainability).
  • Incorporate sustainability initiatives in recruitment materials and offer outreach opportunities to teachers/administrators in K-12 schools.
  • Assist students by promoting opportunities connected to sustainability.
  • Promote the adoption of GreenStep Cities status by Crookston and other communities in Northwest Minnesota (minimum of 6 cities as a goal).
  • Encourage better publication of UROP grants and or other research that focus on sustainability.

Physical Operations Working Group Goals

  • Participate in establishing baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory (carbon footprint)
  • Identify energy conservation practices/ideas to reduce carbon footprint
  • Identify practices for management and reduction of peak electricity load

Sustainability News

Sustainability News

Rain Garden by Heritage Hall

Rain Garden Construction Presentation at U of M Crookston

June 17, 2014 - Professor Dan Svedarsky shared information about the construction and ongoing development of the rain garden located just outside Heritage Hall over lunch on Tuesday. A slideshow on the work was followed by a visit to the site.

Campus Garden Dedication to Allen and Freda Pedersen

Campus Garden Dedication in Honor of Allen and Freda Pedersen at U of M Crookston

May 21, 2014 - Dedication at noon at garden location on the north side of campus near the Valley Technology Park. Celebrating the legacy of the Pedersens of growing flowers, fruit, and vegetables to share with others.

The public is invited to attend a dedication of a campus garden at the University of Minnesota Crookston on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. The garden, located on the north side of campus near the Valley Technology Park, will be dedicated at noon in honor of Allen and Freda Pedersen. Visitors are encouraged to park in Lot A on the campus and walk across to the garden site for the ceremony.

The vegetable and flower garden is a first for the Crookston campus and the result of the generosity of Allen Pedersen. The collaboration by Sodexo Dining Services, Valley Technology Park, and the U of M Crookston Center for Sustainability helped make the garden a reality. Produce from the garden will be used in the campus dining hall and a student intern will be hired to assist with the garden's maintenance.

Allen and the late Freda Pedersen were long time residents of Crookston and avid gardeners. They were quick to share garden bounty, whether vegetables or flowers, with others. Freda passed away in 2012 just shy of the couple's 75th wedding anniversary. Allen, who celebrates his 98th birthday on May 22, is one of the speakers at the dedication ceremony that includes a welcome by Chancellor Fred Wood with Professor Dan Svedarsky, director of the Center for Sustainability serving as emcee.

The story of Evergreen Hall, the U of MN's first LEED certified residence hall

Learn about it here www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/energized#7 or read and watch below.

Students Pave Green Path with LEED Dorm at U of M Crookston

Sustainability is a priority for the University of Minnesota at Crookston. Students helped lead the effort for Evergreen Hall to become the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified residence facility in the U of M system. The building’s construction focused on minimizing environmental impact and saving energy throughout its development and construction. Students worked with faculty and staff to help research and lead the projects. The projects included an inventory of building-to-building energy usage and creating an energy conservation competition in the dorms. U of M Crookston is part of the Northwest CERT region.

Reports and Resources

Sustainability Event Calendar

Sustainability Event Calendar

Department Faculty & Staff

Department Faculty & Staff

Associate Professor, Sustainability Coordinator
(218) 281-8262

Center for Sustainability

University of Minnesota Crookston

109 Hill Hall

2900 University Ave

Crookston, MN 56716

PHONE: 218-281-8129




Mon 1:00 pm - 5:00pm, Tue 1:00 pm - 5:00pm, Fri 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm