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The Center for Sustainable Communities hosts Harvest Festival

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The Center for Sustainable Communities hosts Harvest Festival

Sean McKenzie(‘20)  utilizes the cider press.

Sean McKenzie(‘20) utilizes the cider press.

Martin Donovan (‘20) | Chips

Sean McKenzie(‘20) utilizes the cider press.

Martin Donovan (‘20) | Chips

Martin Donovan (‘20) | Chips

Sean McKenzie(‘20) utilizes the cider press.

Martin Donovan, Sports Editor

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Luther alums, faculty, staff, and students gathered outside the Valders Hall of Science on Saturday Oct. 27 for the first Sustainability Harvest Festival, hosted by the Center for Sustainable Communities.

The festival engaged with community members through an array of events that included squash bowling, pumpkin carving, a cider press, kubb, and yoga. Green Iowa Americorp and Seed Savers also helped with the event.

According to Sustainability Coordinator Toby Cain, the event’s goal was to connect community members with the Center for Sustainable Communities.

Martin Donovan (‘20) | Chips
Morgan Seemann (‘20) tosses a squash in sqaush bowling.

“I think this event first and foremost will get people involved with the center,” Cain said. “Any time we can meet face-to-face and have our student educators interacting with folks in the community that’s great.”

Kim Chham (‘21) helped organize the festival by coming up with activities for the event, coordinating with the rest of the center, and arranging to bring in outside help for leading yoga and usage of the cider press. While the event promotes sustainability, it also promotes mental health according to Chham.

“We are also trying to foster this idea of mental wellness as a part of sustainability as a whole on campus,” Chham said. “The definition of sustainability is so broad, but people only focus sustainability on [environmentalism].”

In addition, having the Sustainability Harvest Festival on Homecoming weekend allowed the Center for Sustainable Communities to update alums on sustainability initiatives on Luther’s campus. Sean McKenzie (‘20) was excited to be able to interact with the alums.

“Our message [to alums] is mostly the progress we made and the progress we’re hoping to make in the next coming years,” McKenzie said. “Just talking about the efficiency projects that we have had in the last decade like the solar panels all over campus and of course the wind turbine.”

Martin Donovan (‘20) | Chips
Morgan Seemann (‘20) and Lauren Leonard (’21) indulge in the harvest festival snacks while examining the table of options.

The Center for Sustainable Communities also hopes attendees will incorporate changes into their daily routines to become more environmentally aware. Before the event, Cain described what activities the center planned to promote environmentalism both on an individual and global level.

“One thing we will have are 10 spooky facts about climate change since it is the holiday season, and 10 different pledges that folks can take,” Cain said. “We’ll have [attendees] write them down and be very intentional about it and make a pledge publically saying things like ‘I will use a reusable coffee cup, I will turn off the lights, I will buy thrifted clothing’. I hope that those pledges will make Luther students take something beyond the event and practice those commitments in their everyday life.”

According to Chham, providing community engagement and education is important for the Center for Sustainable Communities to achieve their goals.

“We want to accomplish so many goals, but just to do it within the center is not possible,” Chham said. “So to get as many people involved as possible and to actually get people to live sustainably every day would be a greater way to reach the goals of sustainable communities.”

In the future, the center will focus on teaching sustainability to students by promoting reusable energy, waste reduction, and energy consumption reduction and will hold events to promote these practices.

Attendee Julia Simpson (‘20) said that the Sustainability Harvest Festival provided her with a better understanding the Center for Sustainable Communities’ work on campus.

“I think it is very important for Luther students to come to these events to become more educated and to be more aware of the sustainable things that are happening around campus,” Simpson said.

rk on campus.

“I think it is very important for Luther students to come to these events to become more educated and to be more aware of the sustainable things that are happening around campus,” Simpson said.

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