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

STARS v2.1

Luther College
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jim Martin-Schramm
Professor of Religion
Religion
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Luther College has advocated repeatedly for public policies related to the growth of renewable energy, the expansion of energy efficiency, and the preservation of net metering in Iowa. More specifically, Luther College and Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC have jointly responded on several occasions to invitations from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to address various public policy questions regarding the growth of "distributed generation" in the State of Iowa.

Within the local area and region, the CSC has worked with several different community partners on policies and practices that promote sustainability and healthy living within the region. Specifically, we have worked with over 10 different school districts on implementing policy and practices that foster healthier school environments, including adding local food procurement priority into district wellness policies. We currently are assisting the Decorah City Council in drafting a sustainability plan, including creating climate action and waste reduction goals for the entire city.

Luther has offered ideas and remarks to the planning and zoning commissions of both the City of Decorah and the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors regarding draft zoning regulations and restrictions regarding the siting of renewable energy systems.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Luther College, through its Center for Sustainable Communities, have developed many partnerships throughout our region and state, including:

1) Community Flood Resilience and Mitigation: Luther College faculty - in partnership with the Iowa Flood Center and the Iowa Watershed Approach - have worked alongside the Upper Iowa Watershed Management Authority to explore community flooding impacts, ultimately with the goal of enhancing community flood resilience. This work has involved working collecting stories and data on flooding impacts in the unincorporated community of Freeport, as well as conducting a watershed wide survey of 2250 addresses (with over 500 responses) seeking to understand the indirect impacts of flooding on citizens in the watershed. This information will inform community resilience action plans and watershed plans, which serve as guiding documents for prioritizing water quality and flood mitigation activities in the watershed. Additionally, Luther convened meetings of Emergency Managers in the watershed to facilitate information sharing across jurisdictional and organizational boundaries.

1.5) Floodplain Development/Rezoning: In response to proposed additional commercial development in the floodplain, Luther College held an open community forum on floodplain zoning to facilitate sharing of best practices from other cities facing similar pressures, as well as to facilitate conversation among elected officials, city employees, and community members. In addition, Luther faculty attended and - in some cases - spoke at community meetings about the proposed floodplain development. Ultimately, the proposed development was not approved by the city planning and zoning board.

2) County-level Community-based Environmental Asset identification and prioritization - this work is very much emerging, but faculty from Luther have begun partnering with Winneshiek County, the Board of Commissioners, and the County Planning and Zoning Commission to create a community-based environmental asset identification process. The ultimate goal of this work is to collect from the citizens of the county information that will potentially inform the creation of an environmental resource protection overlay zone in the county that could potentially restrict uses that threaten those resources.

3) Luther College has advocated repeatedly for public policies related to the growth of renewable energy in Iowa. More specifically, Luther College and Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC have jointly responded on several occasions to invitations from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to address various public policy questions regarding the growth of "distributed generation" in the State of Iowa.

Much of Luther's advocacy in the IUB docket NOI-2014-0001 has supported Iowa's net metering policy because this key policy has enabled substantial investment in renewable energy systems in Iowa. Luther has encouraged the IUB to increase the cap on the size of systems that are eligible for net metering. Luther has also proposed expanding net metering to virtual net metering, which would make it possible for Iowans to invest in community solar gardens rather than in systems on their own property. Luther has also countered claims by utilities in Iowa that net metering results in an unfair cross-subsidization of renewable energy by those who do not own eligible distributed generation systems. In response, Luther has encouraged the IUB to conduct an extensive Value of Solar study.

4) Luther has also hosted local, state, and federal elected officials to tour Luther's significant investments in wind and solar power and to learn more about the key policies that enabled these investments. Iowa's Lieutenant Governor, Kim Reynolds, and Luther's congressional representative, Rod Blum, have participated in such tours in the past few years.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, in 2017 President Carlson signed a joint statement released by the "We Are Still In" campaign coordinated by Second Nature. It asserts that:
1. In the absence of Federal support, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses will pursue ambitious climate goals, to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.

2. In the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities and businesses.

3. We will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to under 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.

Luther College, as a member of AASHE, supports the Green New Deal. Staff and students hosted a Green New Deal Watch Party on February 6th to learn more from national leaders of the Sunrise Movement about the launch of the Green New Deal Resolution. 30 community members attended this policy-focused event.

Luther has also worked in close partnership with the Winneshiek Energy District to submit funding proposals to the federal government to support investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy on campus, in Decorah, and throughout Winneshiek County.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, in 2017 President Carlson signed a joint statement released by the "We Are Still In" campaign coordinated by Second Nature. It asserts that:

1. In the absence of Federal support, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses will pursue ambitious climate goals, to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.
2. In the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities and businesses.
3. We will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to under 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.

In February 2017 Luther College President Paula Carlson signed onto letters to Senators Grassley and Ernst requesting their support and co-sponsorship of the Bridge Act to extend the safety and security of DACA to undocumented students.

In January 2017 Luther College President Paula Carlson signed onto an American Council on Education letter to Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly following the January 27th executive order.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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