Sustainability Interns Wrapping Up the Academic Year

Posted on June 1st, 2020 by


As we enter the beginning of June, we sustainability interns are left reflecting on the completion of the academic year. During this year we have seen so many wonderful things happen and many things that excite us for the future.

During this year we saw our first organized Eco Fair that celebrated successful sustainability initiatives on campus that encouraged our community to take the next steps toward a more sustainable Gustavus. We also saw the continuation of the collaboration with Thrifty Gold and the Environmental Action Coalition to run multiple pop-up thrift shop events throughout the year. Through hosting these events we have gained valuable experiences that led to us developing future projects that are durable, impactful, and supportive of others’ efforts. We are grateful for the assistance we received from the staff and faculty that helped us in the development of these events. 

Throughout this year, the Environmental Action Coalition has been actively communicating with a variety of campus departments to create a well-represented dialogue on the implementation of many sustainable actions. The departments we spoke to ranged from Physical Plant Staff, Residential Life, Admissions, and Marketing & Communication. We sustainability interns believe that this multifaceted involvement is necessary in order to involve sustainability in the college’s culture. All of these conversations that were started before the transition to online learning make us excited for the coming academic year. 

Sadly, the end of this academic year also marks the departure of Jim Dontje, the director of the Johnson Center for Environmental sustainability. Jim Dontje has been leading and supporting sustainability initiatives across campus since 2007. He has been a member on the President’s Environmental Sustainability Council and the Kitchen Cabinet, as well as interacting with the students as a professor and supervisor to the sustainability interns. Throughout the duration of his tenure at Gustavus, he aided in various efforts involving energy reduction and waste management. Jim has pushed forward these sustainability efforts for numerous years through his hard work and dedication to sustainability. Jim is best known for his efforts as seen through the composting program and the push to install more solar panels on campus. 

On Thursday, May 21st the sustainability interns along with other students and professors held an online end of the year celebration for Jim. During this celebration, the students presented a video compilation of thank you messages from various students and faculty to Jim. All of the sustainability interns wish Jim Dontje good luck on your future endeavors.  


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