Center for Sustainable Communities
April 17, 2017
Land Use Committee, President Carlson Reach Decision about Elementary School Proposal
Over the past several months, Luther College's Land Use Committee has been considering a proposal from the college administration to transform approximately seven acres of Anderson Prairie into an elementary school. After much deliberation, the Land Use Committee compiled a report of student, faculty and staff comments with their suggestion to maintain the space as prairie

The committee voted that the proposal is not consistent with the Land Stewardship Plan; and as such the proposal should not be carried forward.   Based on the committee's assessment, the proposal would restrict or in some cases eliminate our ability to meet the three major goals of the Land Stewardship Plan (educational mission of the college; nurturing connections to and care for our natural surroundings; and act as stewards of the natural areas placed in our care).  The committee also found that the proposal is inconsistent with the Land Stewardship Plan's specific goals for Anderson Prairie, particularly its use for education, research, and recreation. Students, faculty, and staff have a deep connection to Anderson Prairie and it serves as one of the unique characteristics of the college.  Given this 'sense of place' and entryway to the college and Decorah, many raised significant concerns about the potential impacts of this proposal on student recruitment and retention.

President Carlson reviewed the committees proposal and, in consultation with the Board of Regents, decided to not move forward with the school proposal.

Members of the Land Use Committee, along with many of the students, faculty, and staff who submitted comments, respect the partnership between the college and the Decorah community, and wish to strengthen that partnership in the future. 

The Land Use Committee would like to thank
all who shared their input over the previous months! To read the full committee report, visit the Elementary School Proposal webpage.

Earth Day Celebration Events 
The Center for Sustainable Communities encourages you to participate in one of many Earth Day weekend activities occurring in the Decorah community.
  • Pancakes for Parks: In celebration of their 100th anniversary, the Decorah Lions Club will host a pancake breakfast benefit 8am-11am at John Cline Elementary School on Saturday, April 22.  A free will offering will be taken at this event to support reforesting the parks through a newly established tree bank. Visit the Decorah Now webpage for more information.
  • Local organizers are planning a "Northeast Iowa March for Science" from 10am-12pm on Saturday, April 22nd. The march will start at Mary Christopher Park, and end at the Decorah Courthouse. We encourage you to raid the recycling bins and use recycled cardboard to make creative signs! RSVP on the Facebook event page.
  • The Oneota Co-op is hosting an Earth Day celebration on April 22nd from 5-7pm! Join the fun in Water Street Park and savor the flavor of a fresh-grilled, local, Thousand Hills 100% grass-fed burger or hot dog - plus tasty brats and veggie burgers, all the while, listening to the live music of Absolute Hoot! Learn more on the Earth Day Celebration Facebook event
Local Event Feature: Empty Bowls
Empty B owls, an organization that was started by a small group of potters, evolved into a national organization that Luther and the Decorah community have joined. On April 9, 2017, the annual event brought community members together at Hotel Winneshiek for a soup lunch. Attendees bought bowls that have been crafted by local potters and ceramics students and filled them with soup donated by Decorah restaurants. All proceeds go to local and regional groups working to fight food insecurity in Northeast Iowa. Professor of Art, Joe Madrigal opened up the pottery studio for a few weekend workshops, inviting former ceramics students and community members to make bowls that are then donated. 

The Oneota Community Co-op and Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center took the lead on coordination efforts this year. Over 800 bowls were created for the 2017 event, 150 coming from Luther potters. Looking for a way to get involved in Empty Bowls next year? Sign up to take a ceramics class in the fall or become a volunteer for planning the 2018 event!
Food System Strategic Plan creates roadmap for sustainable food system in NE Iowa
  In November 2016 and January 2017, more than 60 diverse stakeholders gathered on the Luther College campus to dream and strategize about the future of the food system in northeast Iowa. The outcome of those conversations is a strategic plan that will guide the work of the regional food system for the next ten years. The plan's four strategies include:
  • Strategy 1: Increase sustainable production of local food throughout the region and engage more farmers in producing for regional markets.
  • Strategy 2: Advance processing, aggregation, and distribution systems for local food to scale up and reach new markets.
  • Strategy 3: Expand access to affordable and healthy local food for all people in the region.
  • Strategy 4: Develop sustained funding for people and programs that support the regional food system.
Stakeholders included commodity producers, community supported agriculture growers, lenders, market gardeners, extension agents, retailers, independent meat processors, community members, value added producers and staff from hospitals, schools, Iowa Food Hub, institutional food service, Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness, Iowa State Extension and Outreach, food pantries, and food banks. We are excited to see what the next ten years brings for the Northeast Iowa Food System! To learn more about the plan and to read the full report, visit the Regional Food System webpage.  
Bike Registration required for all bicycles on campus
The Center for Sustainable Communities would like to remind all students , staff and faculty to register their bicycles before Friday, April 21st. Registering your bike puts it into a database accessible by the Decorah Police department, so in the case of it being stolen, it can easily be identified and returned to the owner. The registration form takes less than five minutes to complete; you will receive a numbered sticker in your SPO to place on your bicycle. To register your bike, visit the Sustainable Transportation webpage
Sustainability Tip
Did you wear out your jeans during the cold winter months? Rather than throwing them away, try to "upcycle" your pants and turn them in to something new! Cut off the legs and make shorts or sew a bag or pencil case together with the old fabric. Better yet, donate them to Goodwill or the Depot so they can be worn by another person! Check out these  great ideas to give your denim a second life this spring! 
Questions or comments?
The Center for Sustainable Communities is always looking for ways to improve our publications and incorporate more information for our stakeholders. If you have any questions, concerns, general comments, or story ideas for future newsletters, please email at any time. Thank you!
This newsletter is provided by the Center for Sustainable Communities, which coordinates all sustainability initiatives at Luther College.  The mission of the Center is to promote sustainability and be a catalyst for change on campus and in the region.  For more information on sustainability initiatives at Luther and the outreach work of the Center for Sustainable Communities, please visit:
Upcoming Events
Tuesday, April 18th 
Monthly Energy Forum Breakfast
Saturday, April 22nd 
Decorah Tree Board Tree Planting 
Keystone (700 Ridgewood Drive)
The Tree board invites community members to help plant 54 trees on Earth Day!
Saturday April 22nd
Shopping Shuttle
11am  Student Organizational Suite
Monday, April 24- Friday, April 28thth 
Campus Waste Audits
The Center for Sustainable Communities will be conducting waste audits in various locations across campus and are in need of volunteers! Waste Audits are a great educational way to understand what is in Luther's waste stream.  Learn more 
Sunday, April 30th 
Guest Lecture: Culture Change Among the Maasai of Tanzania
7pm Valders 206
Leboy Oltimbau and Musa Kamaika will give a lecture on how the Maasai maintain their traditional livelihood, dress, ceremonies, and culture in the face of globalization, climate change, and industrialization.  Learn more
Student Spotlight
Sean McKenzie '20  Sustai nable Transportation Educator

Sean McKenzie is a first-year Political Science and Environmental Studies student from Des Moines, Iowa.Sean applied to work for the Center for Sustainable Communities before he came to campus in the fall. As an incoming first-year, he was really excited about learning about sustainability at Luther right away! He currently works as a Sustainable Transportation Educator and helps organize initiatives to encourage walking and biking on campus and carpooling for breaks. He is also a member of the Recycling and Compost Crew. Sean's favorite part about working for the Center for Sustainable Communities is making a positive difference on Luther's campus. When he's not educating the Luther community about sustainable transportation, you can find Sean munching on a piece of his favorite kind of pizza: cheese with banana peppers. 
Seed Regeneration and Evaluation Crew- Seed Savers
Seed Savers is now hiring two individuals to do field work and lab work as a part of their Preservation team. These crew members will be working seasonal full-time positions from May through November  Read more
Green Iowa AmeriCorps 
Green Iowa AmeriCorps is hiring multiple members to provide community energy efficiency assistance and to serve as sustainability coordinators in K-12 schools across the state of Iowa.  Read more
Source Water Community Facilitator- Department of Natural Resources and Conservation District of Iowa
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Conservation Districts of Iowa (CDI) are looking for two Source Water Community Facilitators! They are seeking dynamic, self-motivated employees who can initiate community conversations and bring diverse groups to the table to discuss source water protection.  Read more
Economic Developement Supervisor- Lutheran Services in Iowa
Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) currently seeks a full-time Economic Development Supervisor within our Refugee Community Services program in Polk county.  Read more
connect logo