|Submission Date||Feb. 26, 2018|
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy
|2.00 / 2.00||
Professor of Physics
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
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:
The College is a nonprofit, and as such cannot lobby or take political positions. We, however, actively and intentionally have taken the lead in our region to host speakers, forums, debates, and expert panels where data and positions of groups and individuals can be shared. Members of the College community are formally encouraged to engage in public debate and political processes.
The College's six sustainability centers empower faculty and staff to provide valuable data that pertain to sustainability discussions and decisions in many areas: clean water, agricultural runoff, mining, climate change, wilderness policy, endangered species, and interfaith understanding and dialog.
The College fosters rigorous and independent scholarship by its faculty and students, encourages free inquiry in the pursuit of truth, and offers its objective findings to the larger community. The College fulfills these purposes by safeguarding scientific inquiry and intellectual discourse so all voices can be heard in the pursuit of a deeper truth.
The purpose of a liberal arts college is to teach students how to think, not what to think. Accordingly, Northland College—as a liberal arts college with a unique focus on the environment and sustainability—strives to teach students how to apply insights from the arts and sciences to the specific challenges faced by our local communities, region, and world.
Bayfield County in Wisconsin is exploring Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) regulations that would be stronger than current state regulations. The Northland College Center for Rural Communities (CRC) conducted telephone interviews with a random sample of 701 households in Ashland and Bayfield counties in December 2015 regarding the proposed CAFO in the town of Eileen in Bayfield County and CAFOs in general. These findings were distributed to the County Board and the community before regulation decisions were finalized.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
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:
In a response Wisconsin Senate Bill 76 which will privatize water rights, eliminate oversight, and prohibit the DNR from reviewing the cumulative impact of high capacity wells on local communities, the Northland College Center for Rural Communities conducted a telephone public opinion poll on drinking water between May 5th and June 2nd of 2016.
Households in Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, and Iron counties were selected to participate. The poll included questions about respondent’s drinking water, responsibilities of the public sector in relation to drinking water, private ownership of water resources, and potential concerns about local water infrastructure. https://www.northland.edu/sustain/crc/polling/
Northland College’s Timber Wolf Alliance—a program under the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute that is committed to using science-based information to promote human co-existence with wolves and an ecologically-functional wolf population in areas of suitable habitat—responded to a Wisconsin state bill 602/AB712. This bill proposed to discontinue funding for wolf management and to make it illegal for state law enforcement officers to enforce laws related to the management or killing of wolves, for as long as gray wolves in Wisconsin remain listed as a federally threatened or endangered species.
The Timber Wolf Alliance has the following concerns about this bill: discontinuation of population data gathering, the relationship between the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the disregarding of tribal concerns, and the abdication of responsibility for managing wolves and other wildlife species to the federal government.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
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:
The Northland College Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation convened a Water Summit in October 2016 dedicated to “The Future of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.” Experts from New York to Minnesota gathered on Madeline Island in Lake Superior to examine past successes and challenges of GLRI—an initiative launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes, the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. The conference allowed freshwater and policy experts have a frank and robust conversation about the accomplishments, challenges, and future of the GLRI.
The distinguished gathering consisted of leaders from a mix of state and federal agencies, Native American tribes, industry, nongovernmental organizations, and academia. The result was a White Paper, designed to provide the presidential transition teams of the 2016 election, context and analysis about the future of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Information about the Summit can be found here:
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
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:
World Water Day:
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 as World Water Day, a day of international observance and opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others, and take action to make a difference. Each year a theme is chosen and Northland does a number of initiatives to bring attention on water issues on this day including a robust social media campaign and an annual campus speaker. Topics for the Marvin Pertzik World Water Day lecture have included freshwater research and water quality and scarcity.
We Are Still In:
Northland College has joined with other higher education institutions in signing onto the coalition "We Are Still In" to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. The organization formed in June after President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate change.
A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
The College and its president and trustees do not formally take or advocate for political positions, although the faculty, staff and students do, along with individuals of the college community.
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
The College does not make political contributions.
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.