The New Sustainability Movement

Love is a desire to see the good things last for as long as possible. We want our children to thrive. We want our family photos to be in good condition when we pass them down. We hope to leave behind a legacy of a life well lived and pass on cherished traditions. This is what sustainability looks like. We want to enjoy the good things we have and share them with others in order for future generations to enjoy, too.

At Augustana, we believe in the power of traditions and sustainability.

Last year, AU received the first installment of a $375,000 grant intended to foster a culture of sustainability on campus. The grant will be paid out over three years, and is being used for a number of projects. These include teaching our students, faculty, and staff to make better use of our natural resources, informing and empowering our community to make positive changes that will benefit both the current generation and many generations after.

Everyone on campus has been surveyed about how to make better use of our resources. Monitors have been installed in all buildings on campus to keep track of how we use water, electricity, and heat. The results will soon be available on our website so everyone can see how their dorms and classrooms compare with others. The goal for the initiative is to generate a little friendly competition to see who makes the wisest use of what we have!

 A partnership with Sodexo has been designed to establish gardens beside the Morrison Commons and Lookout House for students to help tend to the gardens that grow the food they consume. In a way, the gardens are one of our newest classrooms. What better lesson in appreciating the resources we enjoy than a firsthand account of where our food comes from?

Recently, the AU faculty began designing new courses in Environmental Studies with contributions from all departments across campus. We want to see all of our students flourish and become influential in helping their communities live sustainably.

In the coming year, we plan to design and build another outdoor classroom. Students and faculty will collaborate to design a low-cost, low-maintenance space for lectures, performances, and even chapel services. Dr. David O’Hara, the new director of sustainability, intends to use local stone to build both a useful classroom and showcase it as a picture of South Dakota’s geologic history.

We have many more activities planned, including new recycling ideas, providing input on campus renovation and construction, making use of social media to teach and empower students to make sustainable choices, and more.

If you have ideas about how we can both enjoy this wonderful place and make sure we pass it on to future generations in even better shape, drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you.