Sustainability Efforts Amidst Change

Posted on April 1st, 2020 by

March has been a busy as well as a trying month for the Sustainability Interns.

Interns have been hard at work at the beginning of the month, dialed into their projects they started in February, ready to continue collaborating across campus, finalize projects, and start new projects for the end of the school year. Senior Rachel Belvedere has been collaborating with Travis Jordan from Physical Plant, Tim Sisk from Building Services, and Peter Maiers from Grounds to discuss future campus-wide waste transitions, specifically institutional compost expansion on campus. These leaders have been exploring other colleges, such as St. Olaf’s, waste systems and have been developing innovative ideas on how Gustavus can grow and adapt its zero waste capabilities.

Sophomores Audrey Ochtrup-DeKeyrel, Kendra Held, and Collin Carlson have been working with Residential Life to find creative ways to engage with students and help them understand how their actions can be sustainable. Examples include energy reduction and waste sorting accuracy. Res life students and staff have been a supportive team to continue working towards these efforts through their energy and enthusiasm.

Recycling Nudge Sign

‘Nudge’ signs, which are signs used to remind students and staff to sort their waste properly, are currently being created. Additionally, a new mounting system is in the process to display these signs. Check out the back of Lund, where the new recycling nudge sign has been put up!

Sophmore Aviva Meyerhoff has been working with Admissions to develop curriculum to share with tour guides regarding sustainable efforts on campus. This information will allow prospective students to learn about Gustavus’s sustainability culture and be prepared to participate in it once they arrive on campus.

Sophomores Kendra Held and Brooke Bernhardt have been working with Jim Vaughan and Amy Mukamuri in Beck to advance composting efforts there. We have completed a lot of the groundwork to get this moving, however, due to COVID-19, plans changed, and the pilot execution of this effort has had to be put on hold.

Sophomore Lily Engebretson has been working on creating a Move Out Exchange for the end of the school year and was gearing up to help orchestrate another Pop Up Thrift Shop in the Gustie Den before Spring Break. However, these plans have gone on hold, also.

Though circumstances may have changed, know that we are together in solidarity to support one another, and to help each other continue to learn and grow. Due to COVID-19, a lot of our current efforts have had to be put on hold. However, we have continued to rally, digitally, to brainstorm sustainable efforts from home. Current plans include finishing Nudge signs to be able to hang them up come the fall. Additionally, we are continuing to work on developing a sustainability curriculum for ResLife and Admissions from afar. The communications team has been working on updating the Sustainability website to better its visibility on the main Gustavus website. Interns have continued to meet with Jim every week for their sustainability meeting and will continue to brainstorm ways they can work on their projects in new settings, situations allowing. These weekly meetings have been a highlight to us all, a chance to connect and continue doing something we love.

Communications Team Google Meets Meeting. Virtual Connections!

Please contact any of us at if you have ideas or questions.

Post by Lily Engebretson, Photos by Jim Dontjche and Aviva Meyerhoff


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