• Aspen Trees and Blazing Star Prairie Flowers
    "What you do to the earth you also do to your children." - Red Lake Nation
  • Allen and Freda Pedersen Garden dedication
  • members of the Green Team in their t-shirts
  • Children Center Grow Box dedication

Center for Sustainability

The Center for Sustainability along with the Crookston Students for Sustainable Development (CSSD) is committed to working with the faculty, staff, and students at the University of Minnesota Crookston to inspire our community to conduct its business in ways that conserve its resources and are good for all people and good for the planet while engaging our community in an ongoing dialogue and discovery of more sustainable practices that lead to individual and institutional actions towards sustainability.

Our Perspective

  • Sustainability is focused on the future
  • Sustainability is a global and local issue

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to guide our work. These goals recognize that environmental issues must go hand in hand with social and economic issues and can’t be achieved without addressing all of these challenges.

Sustainability includes a broad array of changes including many of the major challenges of our time (poverty, health and education, inequalities, national security, arable land, clean water, energy crisis, climate change, population growth, etc.)

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Logo   United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Circle Logo

United Nations Sustainable Development Circle Logo Expanded to show the different goals


What is sustainability?

What is sustainability?

"meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." - United Nations Brundtland Commission, 1989

As such, it is an approach that requires each of us to be conscious of the implications of our actions and choices,

... to use resources like water, energy, soil and wealth, wisely; 
... to be aware of inequities in our society that lead to poverty, malnutrition, chronic disease, and environmental degradation; 
... to consider how our actions affect the natural environment and other people, both now and in the future.

  • It is an approach that is eager to consider alternatives to extractive processes, conspicuous consumption, and prejudice.
  • It is an approach that invites us to imitate nature, thinking in terms of cycles, adaptation, redundancy and relationships.
  • It is an approach that appreciates the indigenous resources in the region, the natural and human capital, as well as financial capital.
  • It is an approach that optimizes and balances social, economic and environmental priorities.

Sustainability Goals and Initiatives

Sustainability Goals and Initiatives

MNpact25 and a Greener University

Excerpt from Letter from the President, UMN Alumni Magazine

Sustainability is not just a word but a core priority for the University of Minnesota. Through MPact 2025, the University’s first systemwide strategic plan, we are amplifying this important work at the intersection of our shared values and action, or what we define as System Commitments…

The U of M helps our neighbors through the Climate Smart Municipalities partnership between Minnesota cities and the German government. There’s also Extension’s Clean Energy Resource Teams, Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, and the Resilient Communities Project.

--President Joan T.A. Gabel

Sustainability Committee & Working Group Goals

Sustainability Committee's Charge

The University of Minnesota Crookston Sustainability Committee's charged with providing overall leadership for [sustainability] work, while at the same time encouraging broad participation from across the campus, community, and region. It is our responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability by what we do, and how we do it. The success of our sustainability efforts depends on building broad based support.

The Committee is encouraged to:

  • Create an inventory of current campus initiatives
  • Identify energy conservation practices on campus
  • Identify strategies to reduce/reuse/recycle (RRR strategies)
  • Identify strategies to decrease the carbon footprint caused by transportation
  • Explore opportunities to increase the use of local foods and reduce food wasteExplore new program majors as well as integrate sustainability into the curriculum across the academic disciplines
  • Develop a communications plan to increase awareness of the work of the committee
  • Identify internal and external funding sources for those initiatives requiring funding

Center for Sustainability Campus Composting   Center for Sustainability Plastic Film Recycling Bins   Center for Sustainability Cans for Cancer   Center for Sustainability Four Corners Garden in Evergreen Courtyard   Center for Sustainability Bee Lawn   Center for Sustainability Mulching Around Trees on Campus   Center for Sustainability Fill it Forward Water Bottle Incentives   Center for Sustainability Battery Recycling   Center for Sustainability Lamp Recycling

Current Initiatives

  • Climate Action Plan to achieve Climate Neutrality by 2050
  • Sustainability Education for All
  • Sustainability Minor
  • Campus Composting
  • Plastic Film Recycling
  • Cans for Cancer
  • Smart Recycling Station
  • Energy Viewer
  • Sustainable Development Goal of the Month
  • Sustainable Life Series

Electronics Recycling

2018 2019 2020 2021
Resale 83.6 133.1 214.3 57.8
Scrap 3624.4 2104.9 2601.3 4770.2
Grand Total 3708 2238 2815.6 4828

Battery Recycling

    • 2019:
      Alkaline Batteries = 260
      Lead Acid Batteries = None
      LiION, NiCad, NiMH = 25
      Non PCB Ballasts = 756

    • 2020:
      Alkaline Batteries = 42
      Lead Acid Batteries = None
      LiION, NiCad, NiMH = None
      Non PCB Ballasts = None

    • 2021:
      Alkaline Batteries = 42
      Lead Acid Batteries = 209
      LiION, NiCad, NiMH = 42
      Non PCB Ballasts = 250

Lamp Recycling

    • 2021: 1723 lamps
    • 2020: 886 lamps

Energy Efficiency Projects

    • Geothermal Feasibility Study
    • Dowell Hall LED lights and occupancy sensors (Summer 2022)All Academic Buildings, Centennial, and Skyburg Halls lighting covered to LED (Estimated savings $60,000/year)

Grounds Sustainability Changes

    • Bee Lawn Installation
    • Grass Management

    • Irrigation set to assure only 1 inch of water per week
      • Mower cutting deck increased 3 inches
        • Reduces labor, herbicides
        • Maintains soil moisture
        • Four Corners Garden in Evergreen Courtyard
    • Mulching around trees
      • Protects trees from mechanical damage and roots from compaction
      • Reduces labor, herbicides
      • Better Water Retention

Fill it Forward Program
(Program partners CSSD, Vice-Chancellors for Student Affairs, Orientation Programs, Wellness Center)

    • Reduces single use water bottle use
    • Reduces campus footprint
    • Provides hydration status for the day (encourages Wellness)
    • Point System with prizes!!

Sustainability News

Sustainability News

UMN transdisciplinary collaboration receives a $12,000 grant to create spaces, events and activities to showcase indigenous culture and the environment

April 28, 2021
Four faculty, including UMN Crookston’s Katy Chapman Ph.D., Math, Science and Technology, and David Syring, PhD., Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Criminology, College of Liberal Arts, and Jennifer Liang, Ph.D, Department of Biology, Swenson College of Science and Engineering along with Peter Murdock, PhD., Levin Institute on the Environment all of UMN Duluth will launch a series of events, activities and discussions related to “Transdisciplinary Engagements with Contemporary Indigenous Thinkers”.

Waste Audit Results

October 19, 2018
The Sustainable YoU, Sustainable World class, taught by Associate Professor Katy Chapman, recently conducted a waste audit of the various academic areas

Healthy Communities, Healthy Lives Focus of Alumna DeAndra Navratil

August 3, 2017
For 2014 graduate DeAndra (O’Connell) Navratil, a class with Associate Professor Katy Chapman sparked a future career or at least influenced it.

Rain Garden by Heritage Hall

Rain Garden Construction Presentation at U of M Crookston

June 17, 2014
Professor Dan Svedarsky shared information about the construction and ongoing development of the rain garden located just outside Heritage Hall over lunch on Tuesday. A slideshow on the work was followed by a visit to the site.

Campus Garden Dedication to Allen and Freda Pedersen

Campus Garden Dedication in Honor of Allen and Freda Pedersen at U of M Crookston

May 21, 2014
Dedication at noon at garden location on the north side of campus near the Valley Technology Park. Celebrating the legacy of the Pedersens of growing flowers, fruit, and vegetables to share with others.

The public is invited to attend a dedication of a campus garden at the University of Minnesota Crookston on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. The garden, located on the north side of campus near the Valley Technology Park, will be dedicated at noon in honor of Allen and Freda Pedersen. Visitors are encouraged to park in Lot A on the campus and walk across to the garden site for the ceremony.

The vegetable and flower garden is a first for the Crookston campus and the result of the generosity of Allen Pedersen. The collaboration by Sodexo Dining Services, Valley Technology Park, and the U of M Crookston Center for Sustainability helped make the garden a reality. Produce from the garden will be used in the campus dining hall and a student intern will be hired to assist with the garden's maintenance.

Allen and the late Freda Pedersen were long time residents of Crookston and avid gardeners. They were quick to share garden bounty, whether vegetables or flowers, with others. Freda passed away in 2012 just shy of the couple's 75th wedding anniversary. Allen, who celebrates his 98th birthday on May 22, is one of the speakers at the dedication ceremony that includes a welcome by Chancellor Fred Wood with Professor Dan Svedarsky, director of the Center for Sustainability serving as emcee.

The story of Evergreen Hall, the U of MN's first LEED certified residence hall

Learn about it here www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/energized#7 or read and watch below.

Students Pave Green Path with LEED Dorm at U of M Crookston

Sustainability is a priority for the University of Minnesota at Crookston. Students helped lead the effort for Evergreen Hall to become the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified residence facility in the U of M system. The building’s construction focused on minimizing environmental impact and saving energy throughout its development and construction. Students worked with faculty and staff to help research and lead the projects. The projects included an inventory of building-to-building energy usage and creating an energy conservation competition in the dorms. U of M Crookston is part of the Northwest CERT region.

Reports and Resources

Sustainability Event Calendar

Sustainability Event Calendar

Department Faculty & Staff

Department Faculty & Staff

Associate Professor, Sustainability Coordinator
(218) 281-8262

Center for Sustainability

University of Minnesota Crookston

109 Hill Hall

2900 University Ave

Crookston, MN 56716

PHONE: 218-281-8262




Mon 1:00 pm - 5:00pm, Tue 1:00 pm - 5:00pm, Fri 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm