2009 FORUM











Saturday Concurrent Presentations

Assets over Needs: Alleviating Poverty from the Inside Out
Vera Belazelkoska '09
8:45 a.m only, Regents Hall 356

Belazelkoska will discuss community economic development, connecting her experiences in Namibia and Nicaragua. She will highlight the similarities in needs but differences in assets of each community and the importance of shifting away from need-based to asset-based community development. She will also discuss the importance of non-discriminatory, opportunity-building micro loans and caution against the hype of choosing to support one developmental tool while abandoning projects that work to satisfy a community's basic needs.

Changing the Climate by Doing Campus Ecology
Jim Farrell, professor of history at St. Olaf College
and St. Olaf students
8:45 a.m. and noon, Regents Hall 210

Farrell and students (past and present) from St. Olaf's Campus Ecology class will talk about a class that studies the moral ecology of everyday life on a college campus, and shows how people (students, faculty, staff, administrators) can contribute to campus policies and campus culture that harmonize human life and the teeming life of the planet.

Climate and Culture on Baffin Island
Craig Johnson, School of Environmental Studies (SES) and Allison Mills, Northland College
Noon only, Regents Hall 390

In the 2007, Craig Johnson and a small group of SES students traveled to Clyde River on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic to participate in a Youth Cultural Exchange between SES and the school and community of Clyde River, Nunavut. The goal of the exchange was to put a face on climate change by connecting students in Minnesota with students living at the epicenter of this global environmental challenge. This session will focus on the student exchange, observable evidence of climate change in the Clyde River region and the cultural impacts and implications of those changes

Climate Stories from Tanzania
Joseph Mbele, associate professor of English at St. Olaf College
8:45 a.m. and noon, Dittmann Center 204

College Students at the Policy Table: The Power of MPIRG
Jamison Tessneer, organizing director and Thom Boik, chair, board of directors, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG)
Noon only, Regents Hall 290

In Minnesota, environmental public policy decisions are influenced by a multitude of various interests, including the private sector: coal and oil companies, chemical corporations, and the logging and mining industries.  Citizens have responded with their own organizations to work with decision makers at the state level to protect and improve Minnesota's pristine natural environment.  College students have also responded by establishing their own organization to represent their interests and have a seat at the decision-making table, crafting public policy focusing on the environment in Minnesota.  This presentation will focus on the unique power college students have and what they have been able to accomplish over the years.

Developing a Local Food Economy
Olivia Frey, Secretary and Chair of the Center for Sustainable Living in Northfield and Rose Ann Steenhoek
8:45 a.m. only, Regents Hall 290

This session will focus on the need to develop local food economies as a “resilient” response to peak oil and global warming. It will introduce the idea of communities becoming “Transition Towns.” We will also do an activity where partners take turns expressing and listening to their fears, hopes, and potential action to eat local and “powerdown.”

Ecological Challenges in South India
Rebecca Dyer '09, Chelsea Koloski '10, Tony Paterno '09,  
Ian Pray '09, Kate Sullivan '09
8:45 a.m. only, Regents Hall 190

In India we learned how to live with a much smaller carbon footprint than the one we leave here. However, the challenges there include contaminated waterways, invasive species, and sustainable cooking and agricultural practices. There are movements such as restoring land with native and medicinal plants, creating a new tiger reserve and elephant corridor and the "plastic-free" Nilgiri project that are simple in concept, complicated to implement and extremely important for our long term well-being.

Endangered: The Island of Tuvalu
Vicki and Lee Dilly
8:45 a.m. and noon, Regents Hall 410

Tuvalu has a maximum elevation of 4 meters above sea level and the island shrinks annually due to rising sea levels that are a result of global warming. Former Peace Corps volunteers Lee and Vicki Dilly were stationed in Tuvalu in the early 80s and will discuss the plight of this small Pacific nation.

Exploring the Faces of Climate Change
Lindsey Bulger (Luther '08), Youth Program Co-Coordinator, Lutheran Peace Fellowship
8:45 a.m. only, Regents Hall 390

Through the interactive exercise “Circle of Truths,” we’ll explore how climate change affects individuals’ lives worldwide.  This powerful activity will provide a chance to step into other people’s shoes, to think critically and creatively, and connect with the humanity at the bottom of this complex issue.

Exploring the Growing Rural Renaissance
Jan Joannides, co-founder and executive director of Renewing the Countryside
8:45 a.m. only, Regents Hall 310

Renewing the Countryside strengthens rural areas by championing and supporting rural communities, farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, activists and other people who are renewing the countryside through sustainable and innovative initiatives, businesses, and projects. Co-founder Jan Joannides will explain the philosophy behind, and the effects of, RTC's program of sharing stories of rural renewal, building awareness and support for sustainable endeavors, connecting people interested in sustainable rural development to each other, providing practical assistance and networking opportunities for those working to improve rural America, and fostering connections between urban and rural people.

Faith Based Approaches in Conservation: A Lasting Legacy or a Bunch of Preaching?
Sudeep Chandra, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada-Reno
Noon only, Buntrock Commons, Black Ballroom

Hop on the Bus! 
Pete Sandberg, Assistant Vice President for Facilities at St. Olaf College
8:45 a.m and noon, Meet in front of Buntrock Commons, parking lot entrance

Hop on the bus and take a trip to view the St. Olaf wind turbine up close and personal.  Swing on by the St. Olaf compost operation and then cruise by the newly constructed Regents Hall that received Xcel Energy's Best-Integrated Design award from the company's Energy Design Assistance Program.

How Does the College Garden Grow?
Abby Benson '11, Kristin Johnson '10 and Rob Smith '10
8:45 a.m. and noon, Buntrock Commons 142

The STOGROW farm project is a student-run community initiative. The goals are to practice sustainable farming methods; to provide fresh, local vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers to the community; to foster agricultural awareness; and to provide education about sustainable food production. Learn how campus affiliated farms can provide healthy food for the college and community.

Human Consequences of a Warming Planet: Seeking Climate Justice and How You Can Help
Michael Schmitz '03 and Mark Fangmeier, volunteers for Oxfam Action Corps-Minnesota
8:45 a.m and noon, Regents Hall 150

Climate change affects everybody, but is particularly devastating to the world's poorest communities. In this seminar, you will learn more about the stories of courage profiled in Oxfam's film Sisters on the Planet. Schmitz and Fangmeier will illustrate how solutions to the impact of climate change are within reach and they will train you to advocate for climate policies that stop hurting and start helping.

Local Energy Action Now: Engaging Local Citizens to Mitigate Climate Change
George Kinney, Bruce Anderson and Pat Allen
8:45 a.m. only, Buntrock Commons, Black Ballroom

This presentation will describe how the Northfield Energy Task Force prepared a series of recommendations, as required, to the Northfield City Council to meet the Cities for Climate Protection milestones. Along the way, the Task Force catalyzed citizen groups to form around the topics of wind energy, car pooling, energy conservation, and other issues.

My Arctic: A Discussion of Siberian Children’s Art
R. Max Holmes, Woods Hole Research Center and Matt Rohn, professor of art history at St. Olaf College
8:45 a.m. only, Dittmann Center, Flaten Museum

Holmes and Rohn will discuss the current exhibit in Flaten Museum: My Arctic: Siberian Schoolchildren Express Environmental Awareness Through Art

Palestinian Christian Clubs: Building Community
Kate Hagen '09
Noon only, Regents Hall 356

Christian clubs in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and the Bethlehem area create a strong community under Israeli occupation. This student seminar will discuss how six Christian clubs, interviewed in January 2008 for the larger project “Palestinian Christians: Strengthening Identity, Activating Potential,” beat the odds of occupation to provide a positive environment, a source of scarce hope amongst demoralizing political and economic circumstances.

Peace Piece
Anthony Roberts, choreographer and artist in residence in dance at St. Olaf College, Jen Berghs '09, Shannon Denzel '12, Libby Nail '11, Megan Parlanti '09, Brittany Paulsen '10, Meagan Smith '11, Tiela Talley '12, Britt Were '11
8:45 a.m. only, Dittmann Center, Studio One

“Peace Piece was conceived from a single gesture and with the broad conceptual theme of peace in mind. As a political in-activist, Peace Piece represents my ambivalence and frustration toward the concept of achieving peace through non-peaceable means and the business of politics. In its essence, Peace Piece's abstract negotiation between human bodies, minds and spirits in space, time and energy is a metaphor for the complex struggle inherent in achieving and maintaining peace.”

Perspectives on the Sustainability in Art and the Art in Sustainability
Aaron Dysart, local sculptor and sustainable art-making fellow, Public Art Saint Paul
Noon only, Buntrock Commons, Sun Ballroom

Re-Generation: The Youth Climate Movement
Power Shift Students
8:45 a.m. and noon, Buntrock Commons, Valhalla Room

Explore the emergence and growth of the Youth Climate Movement, an extraordinarily diverse, multifaceted movement of young people that is shaping international climate negotiations, shifting American politics, and uniting climate and energy solutions with economic revitalization and community building on campus and beyond. Learn how you can join in.

Sustainable Justice: The Future of Environmental Justice
Environmental justice students from St. Olaf College
Noon only, Regents Hall 310

Teaching the Wedge Game: How to Provide a Climate of Hope Using Current Technologies
John Schade, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, St. Olaf College 
8:45 a.m. only, Buntrock Commons, Gold Ballroom

Schade and students will explain how to use this activity to help instill hope in students and colleagues. In response to audience interests, participants will answer questions and discuss strategies and pitfalls faced in teaching the wedge game.

The Healing Journey: Integrating Modern Science, Traditional Knowledge and Environmental Stewardship
Jon Waterhouse, director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council
Noon only, Dittmann Center, Flaten Museum

Join Jon as he speaks of a “healing journey” that began a few years ago and has gone global. During these journeys by canoe, they collect modern scientific data, but more important is the interaction between indigenous peoples leading to many long discussions with elders and youth about observations of climate change and the effects on the culture. Their travels have taken them along the length of the Yukon and Porcupine Rivers, to the Pacific Northwest, the Lena River in the Sakha Republic and soon to the MacKenzie and White Nile rivers.

The Impact of Global Warming on Environmental Health Challenges in India
Shoshana Blank '10, Matt Gilbertson '09, Kayli Henry '09,
Rebecca Rand '10, Deanna Tollefson '10
Noon only, Regents Hall 190

Water and waste and how these are handled are critical community health issues. We will share our research on topics ranging from preventing mosquito breeding to limit diseases such as malaria and dengue fever to handling the massive amounts of water associated with monsoon rains. Wastes contaminate the water but its disposal contaminates the air. Indoor air pollution from wood and dung cooking fires is another challenge related to the survival and well-being of the communities we studied.

The Listening Project
Carrie Lennox
8:45 a.m. only, Buntrock Commons, Sun Ballroom

The film follows four unique Americans through 14 countries – from a Shanghai hip-hop club to a war-ravaged Kabul neighborhood to a village at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro — in each place asking "what do you think of America?" In beautifully-photographed locales, we encounter fascinating and diverse characters who reveal not only the impact of the U.S. on their lives, but also their perspectives on crumbling empires, human fellowship, and what it means to be a citizen in a globalized world.

The Polaris Project: Current research in Arctic Ecosystem Science
Andy Bunn, Huxley School of the Environment, Western Washington Univ.;Katey Walter, Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska-Fairbanks; William Sobczak, Biology Department, College of the Holy Cross and Karen Frey, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University 
8:45 a.m. and noon, Science Center 280

Scientists who are major participants in the Polaris Project will present significant research activities related to arctic ecology and the impacts of climate change. Each session will consist of two research talks with time for questions from the audience.

Using Satellite and Space Telescope Images
Joel Halvorson '83 and Sally Brummel, Minnesota Planetarium Society
8:45 a.m. and noon, Buntrock Commons, The Pause

The Minnesota Planetarium Society is collaborating with NASA to create immersive domed experiences that enhance the climate literacy of students of all ages, using satellite and space telescope images from NASA, NOAA, and other sources.  Holli Riebee of NASA's Earth Observatory will join MPS staff to remotely share some of the latest understanding of climate change via this unique data scaling system.  (Max. 25 participants in each session; however, the dome also will be open between sessions for anyone interested in viewing additional images and the capabilities of the system.)

Wal-Mart and Green Corporate Responsibility
Eric Fure-Slocum, assistant professor of history, St. Olaf College
8:45 a.m. only, Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater

Wal-Mart's green strategy marks a significant change for the world's largest retailer. From it's trucking fleet to light-bulbs, Wal-Mart has taken up the cause of green commerce. But can green strategies be effective within the context of big box retail? How do we measure success toward sustainability for a company like Wal-Mart? Can green strategies and growth find common ground in discount retail? What are the benefits and drawbacks to market-based solutions for climate change and environmental problems?

Water Issues in the Middle East
Thomas Van Wylen '11 and St. Olaf Students
8:45 a.m. and noon, Buntrock Commons, 144

Students from the fall 2008 St. Olaf College Term in the Middle East program will lead a discussion on global water issues based on their experiences learning about water issues throughout their travels to Turkey, Morocco, and Egypt. River management, water privatization and governmental policies are of particular importance in these water scarce regions of the world.

What Does It Mean to Be a Peace Scholar? Studying Peace, Sustainability and Community in Guatemala
2008-09 Peace Scholars
8:45 a.m and noon, Buntrock Commons, 143

Peace Scholars from Nobel Peace Prize Forum colleges will discuss their experiences in Guatemala, a country recovering from civil war but still struggling with endemic violence, poverty, inequality and environmental damage, and how it changed their understanding of peace and sustainability.

St. Olaf College is one of five Midwest ELCA colleges that collaborate with the Norwegian Nobel Institute to host the annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum. This prestigious forum is held in cooperation with the Norwegian Nobel Institute and is the institute’s only such program or academic affiliation outside Norway.
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