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Sen. Klobuchar holds climate change forum at St. Olaf

By Mara Fink '11
May 5, 2008

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) visited St. Olaf College Saturday to discuss global climate change and the measures the college is taking to become a more sustainable campus.

Sen. Klobuchar and St. Olaf panelists listened to questions during Saturday's forum. Participants included (clockwise, from top) Kate Huber '09, Christian Balzer '08, Professor of Physics Robert Jacobel, Alexa Tennyson '08 and Klobuchar.
The senator's presentation, which is available for viewing online, featured a panel discussion with St. Olaf students and faculty. Klobuchar began by discussing the issues surrounding global climate change that are currently before Congress. She emphasized that the debate now is not over whether global warming exists, but what needs to be done to solve the problem. Legislators are making progress, she said, but the innovation and creative thinking that college students bring to the table is important. "Sometimes I think we just need a little more imagination in Washington," Klobuchar said.

Alexa Tennyson '08, Christian Balzer '08 and Katie Huber '09 told the senator about some of the initiatives currently under way at St. Olaf to address global climate change and create a more sustainable campus. They highlighted the extensive natural habitat restoration projects that the college has done on some of the more than 700 acres of natural lands it owns. They also discussed the St. Olaf Garden Research and Organic Works (STOGROW) farm project, which is a student-run community initiative that aims to practice and promote sustainable farming methods and agricultural awareness. In addition, the students spoke about the eco-friendly initiatives of St. Olaf's food service provider, Bon Appetit, which recently launched a Low Carbon Diet that strives to create more awareness among students about the impact their food choices can have on the environment.

St. Olaf Professor of Physics Bob Jacobel talked about a variety of measures the college is undertaking to improve campus sustainability. He noted that St. Olaf has a wind turbine that supplies one-third of the campus' energy. He also pointed out that the new Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences is a sustainable building that minimizes the impact on the environment. In addition to those projects, Jacobel noted that St. Olaf faculty members and students have performed research related to global climate change and examine the issues related to it in various classes and coursework.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or