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“No Impact Week” Supports College Sustainability Efforts

Faculty Sustainability Committee and Environmental Group Host Week of Events to Encourage Sustainability

MCTC clubs to host Sustainability FairThe MCTC Faculty Sustainability Committee and Three-Legged Frog student environmental club will host No Impact Week at MCTC March 3–7. No Impact Week, inspired by the film No Impact Man, is a one-week challenge that seeks to increase awareness, education and empowerment surrounding environmental issues, and to offer alternative lifestyle habits to reduce environmental impact. Click here for a complete schedule of events, including two screenings of the film No Impact Man.

“MCTC is a large institution, and it does create an impact on the environment,” said Erica Joelson, member of the Three-Legged Frog student club and chief organizer of No Impact Week. “We use energy to heat and cool the buildings, water in kitchens, bathrooms and labs, and paper in all sorts of ways. The amount of waste the College creates does have an impact on the environment.”

In 2009 MCTC President Phil Davis signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, joining a network of 450 colleges and universities across the country that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. The mission of this group is to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society. 

MCTC has already taken steps to reduce its environmental impact, and currently has in place programs to recycle packaging materials and food waste, incorporate environmental impact studies on all new construction projects and use a variety of energy-saving technologies. “MCTC planted rain gardens during the recent plaza renovation, and the Science building was built with sustainability in mind,” said Three-Legged Frog student club president Michelle Larsen. “The campus offers a decent recycling program, the cafeteria sells organic milk, campus stores sell reusable water bottles and there are many environmentally- and sustainability-minded courses to take. However, we could still do more.”

“I have had students in classes throughout my years of teaching Environmental Science who started out thinking they couldn’t really make a difference in the environmental problems that our planet is experiencing—that their actions didn’t really matter,” said Cathy Geist, MCTC Biology instructor and advisor of the Three-Legged Frog student club. “However, after a time many of them begin to feel more empowered to make changes, and discover that these changes really do matter. There are myriad changes we all can make one step at a time. That’s what No Impact Week is all about.”

Photo: The Three-Legged Frog student group brought a segment of an exhibit titled “Bottle Buyology” to MCTC’s T Building Skyway in the fall of 2012 to illuminate a small percentage of the amount of recyclables that are thrown away in Minnesota each year. The display, created by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, was originally featured in the 2012 Minnesota State Fair Eco Experience building and measured 30 feet long by 15 feet high.