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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. 

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

Kaler's Spotlight Shines on IonE Projects

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In University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler's year-at-a-glance video on U of M achievements, several IonE-affiliated projects get the spotlight.

A MODEL OF COLLABORATION - The Resilient Communities Project is an initiative of the U's Sustainable Faculty Networkwith funding and administrative support provided by IonE and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. In its second year RCP is partnering with the city of North St. Paul to address community-identified sustainability projects. 

HIGH NOTES -  Daniel Crawford, College of Liberal Arts undergraduate; Scott St. George, IonE resident fellow and professor of geography, College of Liberal Arts; and Todd Reubold, IonE director of communications, put their heads together to develop "A Song of Our Warming Planet," which sets climate change data to music.

ALL THE MORE POWER - The University of Minnesota Morris - West Central Research and Outreach Center project that uses wind energy to produce anhydrous ammonia that can be used as fertilizer was funded through an IonE Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment grant. The project is part of a larger goal to reduce fossil fuel consumption in agriculture. 

Connections not featured in the video but ones of which we are equally proud are UMD's Large Lakes Observatory, which is supported by IonE, and Sarah Hobbie, who is an IonE resident fellow. Both are listed on the president's "2013 A Year to Remember" Web page.

U Students Buck the Status Quo in 2012-13 Acara Challenge

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Spirited voices mixed with the scent of Indian spices in The Commons: Meeting and Art Space at Institute on the Environment last Monday night. Dozens of Acara students, mentors and investors were gathered for a showcase of the 2012-13 Acara Challenge contestants.

Attendees supped on fare from Gandhi Mahal and mingled with the young entrepreneurs before settling in for brief presentations on seven start-ups developed by Acara alumni. The goal of each business - in addition to viability and profit - is to address a social or environmental issue at home or abroad.

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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