Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.17
Liaison Emily Neal
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Luther College
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Toby Cain
Sustainability Coordinator
Center for Sustainable Communities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Enhancing Community Flood Resilience in the Upper Iowa River Watershed

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus?:
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above:

Faculty and students from Luther College are partnering with the Iowa Flood Center and the Upper Iowa Watershed Management Authority to explore flooding experiences of residents of the Upper Iowa River Watershed. Ultimately, this work is geared towards evaluating and enhancing community flood resilience in the watershed. The work is in year two of a three year partnership, in which the Iowa Flood Center provides technical and financial support (through a federal grant from Housing and Urban Development) for the work of the Upper Iowa Watershed Management Authority - a board of elected city and county representatives tasked with mitigating flood risks in the watershed. The team from Luther has received funding from the Iowa Flood Center to conduct a community flood resilience assessment, and ultimately to design community outreach and inventions to enhance flood resilience.

To date, the Luther College team has conducted over 20 in-depth interviews with flood affected residents in the small community of Freeport, which meets criteria for low-to-moderate income and is considered "socially vulnerable" to flooding. In addition, the team distributed a watershed wide mail survey of 2250 residents, receiving nearly 600 responses of a questionnaire on the economic, environmental, and social impact of flooding in the region (three pillars of sustainability). Further, we have convened a group of emergency managers across the region with goals of improving coordination. In all of cases, our goals are to ultimately conduct research that feeds back to the community through watershed wide planning, enhancement of social capital, and through the development of community-based flood preparedness.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
Community-based Identification and Prioritization of Natural Resources in Winneshiek County

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (2nd partnership) (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (2nd partnership):

Faculty and students from Luther College are partnering with the Winneshiek County Planning and Zoning Commission under the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors to conduct a county-wide, community-based assessment of natural resources. The county asked Luther faculty to submit a proposal for this work, with and ultimately seek a proactive framework for understanding key resources in the county, rather than only reacting to development pressures (such as mining, quarries, housing developments, and road-building).

Over an 18-month period, Luther faculty and students will work to construct a community based process for identifying and prioritizing key environmental resources in the county. In particular, we will hold 5-9 community meetings, conduct outreach to key community stakeholders and interest groups, and conduct a county-wide survey. All methods are geared towards getting a broad cross section of the county, including under-represented groups. Ultimately, this data will be used to inform the creation of a county "resource protection overlay" district which will enhance county-level zoning and ordinances.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (3rd partnership):
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (3rd partnership) (Yes, No, or Unknown):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (3rd partnership):

Luther College is a core partner of the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, which focuses on making the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone in the region. The four areas of focus for the work include Early Childhood, Food System, K-12 Schools and Youth Engagement. Through this initiative we take a systems approach to creating community change.

The Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative has brought people in northeast Iowa together to make our region a place where every day, all people have access to healthy, locally grown foods and abundant opportunities for physical activity in the places where we live, learn, work and play. We see NE Iowa as a unique place where all residents and guests experience celebrate and promote healthy locally grown food and engage in physical activity and play every day.

Underrepresented groups have participated in regional leadership groups, school wellness committees and regional food system strategic planning.


A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:

Luther College hosted a Better Angels Skills Workshop in December 2018, moderated by by Bill Doherty and a Luther Professor.

Doherty is the co-founder of Better Angels, a bipartisan citizens' initiative founded in 2016 with the goal of working towards depolarizing our political discourse. He is a professor, the director of the marriage and family therapy program in the department of family social science, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.

This event is meant to help communities learn to communicate constructively even if they are split politically. Doherty will lead the participants through a variety of exercises designed to foster and improve skills for communicating more effectively, even with people on the other side of the political divide. These skills will be practiced in the workshop.

Luther College Center for Ethics and Public Engagement connected with Better Angels after learning about them at the Peace Prize Forum in 2017 where Better Angels hosted a workshop with a mix of Augsburg and University of Minnesota students.

Better Angels works to bring liberals and conservatives together into a working alliance, building new ways to talk to each other, participate in public life and influence the direction of the nation. The group seeks to understand opposing political points of view, look for common ground and support principles that bring people together and foster productive conversation.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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