March 19, 2018
Spinach is Springing
The snow may have just melted but the Luther Gardeners are busy harvesting and delivering spinach to the cafeteria. Over the past few weeks over 100 pounds of spinach have been delivered and more is on the way this week. Grown from seeds that were planted in the college high tunnel (unheated greenhouse structure) in the Fall and tended over the Winter, overwintered spinach is one of the sweetest greens you may ever taste. Look for it on the salad bar!
A "Phantom" Competition
Residents of Baker Village have the opportunity to track electricity usage in their unit using the new Energy Genius website, which is currently only available to Baker Village residents. Last week, a basket of Co-op treats was presented to Trondheim-5 for the "Phantom" competition! The secret challenge was to reduce each unit's phantom load the greatest amount from the week of February 13th to the week of February 20th. Trondheim-5 reduced their phantom load by almost 40% from one week to the next! Great work!
Last week was Energy Awareness week for Baker Village! The top three Baker Units that reduced their electricity usage the most between March 12-17th, relative to a February baseline, will receive Co-op gift cards! Stay tuned for information on the winners in our next e-newsletter.
Transition Street Group
Throughout the Fall semester a group of faculty and staff met biweekly to discuss the Transition Streets Workbook and things they could do to lessen the environmental impact of their households. The workbook aims to bring together expert advice that covers cost savings, energy reduction and general sustainability across all areas of our lives. Specific areas of focus include things like water, electricity, waste, transportation and food. We are excited to share some outcomes from that group.
  • One household started a composting system (several group members already had a compost)
  • Two households invited the Green Iowa Americorps team over to do energy audits, which led to installation of LED lights and low-flow faucets and shower heads
  • One household found and fixed a water leak
  • One household installed three new low-flush toilets (the toilets replaced were from 1968!)
  • One household implemented a grey water system to use bath water to flush the toilet
  • One household bought a programmable thermostat
  • One group member discovered they have a root cellar in their home and another group member gave them a book on "root cellaring"
  • The whole group feels more mindful of travel, using offsets, and devising strategies to drive less in town (incl. a "walk to work" day each week & parking the care at daycare and walking the rest of the way)
  • Several group members started to use shower timers
  • Several group members were willing to consider bringing the curriculum to their neighborhood
This group had a great time meeting to discuss strategies for working towards a lifestyle that uses less energy and resources. The Center for Sustainable Communities is open to hosting more such groups in the future. Please contact us if you are interested. More info: Transition Streets
Voting Process for Students
On May 1st Decorah has the opportunity to vote about whether the conversation about the future of Decorah's electricity service should be continued. In order for the Decorah City Council to further pursue investigating municipalization of the electricity system, they need authorization from the citizens of Decorah. A yes vote means the conversation will move forward. A no vote means it will not. Voting yes would authorize the City Council to apply to the Iowa Utilities Board if and when the Council determine it is in Decorah's best interest to do so. Luther students are encouraged to learn more this issue and to cast a vote on May 1st. Stay tuned for information sessions on campus and in the community. You can also learn more and read feasibility studies on the City of Decorah website .

How voting works:
  1. Find a voter registration form - Email Geoffrey Dyck or download one from the Iowa Secretary of State website.
  2. When you fill out the form, list your address as 700 College Drive, Decorah Iowa 52101 and be sure to list the residence hall where you live. Residence Hall information is important because the Luther campus is divided into two different wards.
  3. Return your form to a student like Geoffrey Dyck who is helping collect them or turn it in yourself to the Winneshiek County Auditor's Office (located inside the County Courthouse).
  4. Once you turn in your form, you will get mailed a voter ID card. IF YOU ARE NOT FROM IOWA YOU MUST KEEP THIS CARD AND DO NOT LOSE IT. This is because when you vote, you must either present your Iowa ID (if you are an Iowa resident) or a voter ID card (for non-Iowa residents).
  5. You can vote early at the County Courthouse after April 2nd, 2018 during their business hours 8am-4pm.
  6. The election will take place on May 1, 2018, at Good Shephard Lutheran Church.
If you have any questions please contact either Geoffrey Dyck at or contact the County Auditor's office.

On The Way to 50%
Luther's solid waste is down 20.8% over the same time period last year (June - February), putting us on track to meet our goal of a 50% reduction from our 2004 baseline by May 2018. These accomplishments in waste reduction have involved many people and departments across campus. A special thanks to Facilities Services which has found a way to recycle pallets and Dining Services which is effectively utilizing the new  pulper  and keeping food waste out of the dumpster. It takes a community to achieve these goals and we want to recognize the efforts of our partners across campus in this work. Thanks also to members of our campus community who are utilizing the centralized four-stream bins that have been placed across campus over the past few years. Keep up the great work over the next few months! This work takes all of us.
Live in the Sustainability House!
The Luther College Sustainability House is a co-ed, two-story home located in a residential neighborhood within walking distance of campus. This house offers a living-learning environment where students work together to explore what it means to live an environmentally, socially and fiscally sustainable lifestyle. Interested students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors in Fall 2018 are encouraged to submit an application by Monday, March 19th (that's today!). For more info and to apply.
Sustainability Tip
Clothes dryers are probably one of the most energy intensive appliances in our lives, especially if you are a student living on campus. The energy tip of the month is to hang dry laundry instead of using the dryer. Not only will this action save energy and money but it also will save your clothes and eliminate static cling.

Drying racks are available for check-out from the service centers of all residence halls or you can buy your own from a variety of local stores like Ace Hardware in downtown Decorah.
Student-Worker Spotlight – Anna Lavender '21
Anna started working with Center for Sustainable Communities at the beginning of this Spring semester. She currently works as a gardener and sustainability educator. Anna joined the team mainly due to her background in living sustainably while growing up. Anna's mom taught her how to compost, garden, and recycle as a part of every day life which really motivated her to continue this in college, and to possibly educate others to do the same. Anna also work in the recycling and compost crew and she loves seeing and working with all of the aspects of sustainability around campus.
Sustainability Jobs/Internships/Opportunities
  • Community Ground Work -Garden Manager Position The Community Gardens Manager works closely with the Gardens Director, Gardens Network Manager and garden leaders to support high-priority community gardens in Madison and Dane County. These gardens primarily serve low- and moderate-income (LMI) gardeners. Read more.
  • Green Iowa AmeriCorps -Environmental Steward Positions– Green Iowa AmeriCorps operates through the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education (UNI CEEE) in Cedar Falls looking to recruit passionate and motivated individuals for an 11 month service experience in one of our service locations throughout Iowa. Read more.
  • AmeriCorps Iowa- Trails Corps Crew Members and Leaders Positions– AmeriCorps Iowa Trails Corps Crew Members and Leaders (ages 18-25) participate in on-the-job training to learn natural resources management skills and put those skills into practice enhancing, restoring and improving Iowa’s regional destination trails. Read more.
  • Iowa State university- Master Gardener and Regional Foods Coordinator Position– Work with a team of staff and volunteers to plan, implement, market and evaluate the horticulture education program in Woodbury County. Master Gardener Program Coordinator responsibilities are summarized as: Under general supervision, conducts programs to clients and works with volunteers. Read more.
  • Coe College -Environmental Justice Summer Course– A summer course in the Boundary Waters between June 9 and July 7. The course is part of a wilderness program that the ACM has been running in northern Minnesota for half a century. Now administered by Coe College, the program still recruits faculty and students mostly from the ACM. Course credits transfer automatically to all ACM schools. Read more.
  • Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment -Summer Employment/Internship seeking a qualified individual to work with our Environmental Protection Team. The position will work primarily on an important records inventory and groundwater risk assessment project. The position will also provide support and have opportunities to work in other environmental programs. The work schedule will be 40 hours per week Monday- Friday, with occasional weekend and evening work. Read more.
  • The Dane County Farmers' Market -Sanitation Specialist Position– This is position is responsible for ensuring that the Market is a clean and inviting environment, including: emptying the 8 trash cans and 8 recycle bins around the Capitol Square and transporting the trash bags (via wheeled cart) to our dumpster nearby; assisting with set-up and clean-up, as requested; and generally being a friendly representative of the Dane County Farmers' Market. The position reports directly to the Market Manager. Read more.
  • Lutheran Services in Iowa -Refugee Economic Development Supervisor PositionSupervisor is responsible for the administration of Economic Development programs to ensure newly arrived and former refugees in the Polk County area have access to culturally and linguistically appropriate training, technical assistance and necessary resources to foster business development and acquisition of assets. Read more.
Upcoming Events

Thursday & Friday, April 5th & 6th
Spring Bike Retrieval
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm at Ashmore-Jewell Barn
Spring is just around the corner! Come retrieve your bike from Winter storage!

Saturday, April 14th
Managing Your Woodland' Workshop
8 am - 12 pm, Ashmore-Jewell Barn at Luther College and natural areas
A cooperative workshop with classroom and field visits, hosted by Luther College, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
$10 Registration fee.

Saturday, April 14th
Plate to Politics Workshop
9am - 3pm, Shirley Baker Commons
Interested in running for office, but not sure where to start? This one-day workshop provides hands-on skills training to women in food justice and sustainable agriculture who want to play a critical role in transforming our nation’s food system.
$15 registration fee.
The Center for Sustainable Communities is always looking for ways to improve our publications. If you have any questions, concerns, general comments, or story ideas for future newsletters, please email at any time.

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 v isit: .
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