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Accolades for Acara

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With its innovative work to encourage impact entrepreneurship around the world, we've always had a hunch the Acara program is something special. That hunch got some solid affirmation recently when Acara won the C. Eugene Allen Award for Innovative International Initiatives (III Award) from the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance. The award recognizes faculty and staff who internationalize their work or the work of their department. The recipients receive an award trophy and a $2,500 professional development or program assistance stipend.

Leaders Are Made, Not Born

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"Leaders aren't born, they are made," said revered football coach Vince Lombardi. That's the guiding principle behind the Boreas Leadership Program, a strategic initiative of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. Boreas offers leadership development opportunities to graduate, professional and postdoctoral students from all University colleges. 

Boreas seeks to develop the next generation of social and environmental leaders -- those who will tackle the tough challenges facing the world today -- through skills workshops, networking and mentoring events (the weekly Boreas Booyah!), and participation on a student advisory board. 

"Boreas programming complements a traditional graduate education and helps develop the kinds of leaders we need in the transition to a more sustainable world. Boreas students move beyond the University as stronger communicators and better-networked leaders ready to jump into making an impact," says Boreas program director Kate Knuth. "It's exciting to see what they're up to and where they're going."

Paddle Forward: Mississippi River

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BY ELIZABETH JUST

Last fall, 10 other people and I paddled more than 2,000 miles in canoes. Our trip was called Paddle Forward, and we were on a mission to paddle the length of the Mississippi River. I've been paddling for years but mostly in wilderness areas such as the Boundary Waters. While I love these places and enjoy the quiet time alone in nature, recreating on local waterways brings a new appreciation to the place you live. 

I spent the majority of college learning about environmental issues surrounding climate change, such as energy usage, water depletion, resource extraction and decreases in biodiversity. Alone, secluded in serene wilderness, you are less likely to think about difficult climate issues. However, while paddling a river that more than 50 cities depend on for daily water supply, you can't escape noticing the effects humans have on the fourth largest watershed in the world.  

I became interested in sustainability issues after I took an off-campus course from HECUA that opened my eyes to the many environmental challenges we face today. After completing the HECUA course, I immediately signed up for the sustainability studies minor, housed at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, to dive even deeper into the complexity of these issues. The minor furthered my knowledge on sustainability topics and provided the necessary tools to think critically about complex environmental systems. I also thrived in the experiential learning environment provided by the minor. I graduated in 2012 from the College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences with a B.S. in environmental science and policy management. 

Earthducation Expedition 6 Heads to the Land of Everest

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What does education look like in remote mountain villages where electricity is nonexistent or unreliable? How does a developing country seeking to grow its economy, boost tourism and expand its infrastructure do so sustainably? Earthducation Expedition 6 aims to find out -- and share what it learns with teachers and students around the world. This sixth in a series of seven-continent explorations investigates the intersections between education and sustainability in Nepal, the roof of the world. Led by Aaron Doering and Charles Miller of the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development with funding from the University's Institute on the Environment, the expedition will set out April 27 for a journey to this diverse ecological powerhouse that boasts some of the most majestic geographical wonders on Earth.

U of M Students Compete for Honors, Kindle Fire

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Students from across the University of Minnesota will vie for top honors in the 3rd annual Sustainability Symposium this Friday, April 11, 1:30-5:00 p.m. at Institute on the Environment.

Undergraduate, graduate and professional students from such diverse programs as civil and mechanical engineering, psychology, architecture, music, finance, chemistry, animal science and more will present past and current projects, describing how their work supports or advances sustainability goals.

This year's Sustainability Symposium kicks off with a keynote address from Chuck Bennett, former vice president of Earth & community care at Aveda Corporation. Bennett, whose career spans more than two decades of corporate citizenship advocacy, will talk about "leading from every chair," the idea that everyone--no matter their level of expertise or chosen discipline--has important contributions and must be willing to engage in developing sustainability solutions if we are to be successful.

For more information about the event, visit 

www.susteducation.umn.edu/symposium2014

Photo: poster competition, Sustainability Symposium 2013, courtesy of Madeline Geifer

Developing World Changers in Graduate Education

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In a world with a growing population, limited resources and a changing climate to boot, it's natural to ask, "Where are the leaders who are going to solve these problems?"

Well, a lot of them are in graduate school where they're preparing to take on some of the world's greatest challenges. So, are they getting the skills they need?

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.

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