Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 47.51
Liaison Chris Frantsvog
Submission Date May 1, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Luther College
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Maren Stumme-Diers
Assistant Sustainability Coordinator
Environmental Studies
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:
Luther faculty members serve on the board of the Winneshiek Energy District. The Energy District's mission is to make Winneshiek county a better place for kids and all of life through the promotion and implementation of a sustainable energy society. Luther staff serve actively on other local boards, such as the Iowa Food Hub and Oneota Food Coop. Every winter Luther College supports the annual Oneota Film Festival, a non-profit festival which features several nationally and internationally acclaimed sustainability-themed films as the focal point of a community discussion of local sustainability issues including food, energy, economies and life choices. The films are intended to generate discussion of local initiatives related to sustainability issues and an overall look at the community’s potential for developing and maintaining a more independent and sustainable local economy.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):
a) Luther collaborates with the First Lutheran Church Food Pantry on the Cafeteria to Community Program. This program began in November 2013 and packages over 1,000 pounds of food per month into quart-sized containers that are frozen and donated to the local food pantry twice weekly. Students coordinate and oversee the program as part of work study responsibilities. b) This program is working to repurpose the surplus of food that was produced by the college cafeteria. Even with careful planning, it's inevitable that extra pots of soup or main entres will be produced and never be put out on the line. This food has traditionally gone to the compost pile, but is instead going to individuals and families in the community who need it. The next phase of the program will be to introduce reusable containers as a way to decrease the packaging waste associated with food donations. Containers are currently recyclable, but for long-term financial and ecological sustainability the program will be transitioning to higher quality packaging that can be industrially washed, sanitized and reused. c) Luther College makes all surplus food available for the program and financially supports the work study hours that it takes to run the program smoothly. Packing takes place on two nights a week and is done by a crew of 4-6 volunteers who are supervised by student coordinators. d) Student program coordinators communicate regularly with coordinators at the First Lutheran Food Pantry and are constantly working together to market and improve the program. Starting February 2014, a group of seniors citizens from the local senior volunteer group are volunteering once a month to help package food.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:
Luther College is one of four core partners of the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Luther hosts four Americorps and two Food Corps members who work with school wellness teams, youth teams and food service directors to create healthy school environments. Service members work in 18 school districts within the six county region of Northeast Iowa. Members of the Luther staff are dedicated to overseeing school outreach initiatives and hosting sustainability-related teacher workshops and oversight of school gardening initiatives. a) Luther has been a core member of the Food and Fitness Initiative since 2007 b) The Food and Fitness Initiative sees schools as the hubs of rural communities. Through the initiative's work, children in rural Northeast Iowa school districts are exposed to nurtition education, able to sample healthful foods, walk to school with walking school buses led by community members and get their hands dirty in school gardens. By virtue of working in schools in rural Iowa, the school outreach work is serving underserved and vulnerable populations. c) Luther is a core partner, meaning that we actively participate in monthly partnership meetings. Staff and faculty sit on the FFI Regional Leadership Team and staff of the college actively support and oversee the work of the Food Corps and Americorps members doing school outreach work. d) Work is with all school districts within the six county region supported by the Food and Fitness initiative who are interested in working with the organization. e) School policy and wellness teams are key strategies employed by the school outreach team. We find that often policy follows practice, so part of our work is to foster sustainable change and nudge school administrators, teachers and students to make the healthy choice the easy choice in day-to-day operations. Many schools are exercising geographic preference in regards to local food purchasing and, as such, have set local food definitions and schoolboard-approved procurement policies and procudures relating to local food.

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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