Troy's Sustainability News

Troy Goodnough (Sustainability Director at UMM) sends out a newsletter-style email now and then to the university community, and he’s given us permission to share these here!

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8 September 2022


I hope you had a good and restful summer.

If you are new to campus, or returning – I am thankful for all of your efforts to make this a great place to be.

An update on some of our sustainability efforts

  1. This past year, and for the 4th time, UMN Morris earned a STARS Gold rating. We are one of the top-rated sustainability institutions in the United States. It is hard to earn and maintain these ratings, which reflect sustainability effort across our curriculum, operations, research and public engagement.

  2. Our efforts to create a more sustainable community in Morris were featured in the New York Times in July 2022! They talked about our Morris Model community partnership and how we work together to cultivate our shared sustainability aspirations! Morris alum, Griffin Peck, is now the sustainability project coordinator at the city of Morris. You can see Griffin’s Morris Model updates in our local newspaper.

  3. Our Morris Model team, including UMN Morris, the city of Morris, Stevens County and other partners just released our new Morris Model Resilience Plan. Check it out! Let me know what you think! In May 2022, we had a derecho in Morris that damaged many local homes, businesses, and farms.

  4. UMN Morris is a sustainability leader in the United States. We produce the most clean electricity per student of any campus in the United States. We get power from wind turbines, solar PV panels and more! You can read more about sustainability progress at UMN Morris here. Or you can watch this awesome VIDEO to see how we are leading! Please, watch the video!

  5. UMN Morris and UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center are partnering to launch the UMN Center for Renewable Energy Storage Technology, or CREST. Together we have a shared goal to test energy storage technologies and increase awareness of this tech across the State.

  6. Would you like to become a Green Ambassador (learn how to give sustainability tours) – or would you like to go on a Green Tour of the campus to see all of our cool stuff? Sign-up here and I will get back to you about upcoming Green Tour dates and Green Ambassador training dates.

  7. Wanna do something fun? Electric bikes are available for rental at the Regional Fitness Center (RFC)! Go for a ride along the Pomme de Terre river!

  8. Wanna learn more about our WATER story in Morris? Check out our West Central MN We Are Water work – AND this amazing video series about our water story in Minnesota and Morris! We are working to build a shared water ethic on-campus and in the region.

  9. Wanna learn more about the impact our Morris alums are having out in the world? How did our Morris alums experience campus life – what did they do after graduation – and what are they doing now? Check out these first 3 videos about sustainability careers launched by UMN Morris – in food systems/agriculture, clean energy/energy conservation, and environmental education!

  10. Did you know that our campus hit 1 million pounds of organic material diverted from the landfill? We compost and recycle at UMN Morris! UMN Facilities Management and Stevens County are working together to make this new composting program possible. UMN Morris alum, Sydney Bauer, helps coordinate the county’s composting-outreach efforts!

  11. Did you miss our 240kW solar PV dedication? You can watch it here! You can learn more about how we power the campus with solar energy!

  12. What is sustainability about? There is a global dialogue happening around the Sustainable Development Goals, also called the SDGs? Including funding and research opportunities at U of M in alignment with these goals! How can we work together to create a world with no poverty, no hunger, affordable and clean energy, clean water, sustainable communities, and more? Where do you want to make your impact?

Together we are making progress and shaping the future we want to live in.

Thanks again for everything YOU are doing to add a splash of sustainability into your efforts here at UMN Morris – and beyond.


Troy Goodnough (he/him/his)
Sustainability Director | Office of Sustainability |
Institute on the Environment Fellow
Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Advisory Board
West Central Clean Energy Resource Team Steering Committee
Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability Steering Committee
Welcome Center 207, 600 East 4th Street, Morris, MN 56267
University of Minnesota, Morris | | 320-589-6303

“Do not wait for Plato’s Republic, but be happy if one little thing leads to progress, and reflect on the fact that what results from such a little thing is not, in fact, so very little.” - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Friday 7th October 2022


Happy Homecoming Weekend!

A few quick sustainability notes!

October 8/Saturday at 2PM at Chizek Field (807 E 7th St) – Stevens County is launching its Organic Dropsites program this week! The first Stevens County Organics Dropsites are up and running! To kick off usage of the dropsites, the county will be hosting two events (one at each dropsite). Swing by to pick up your free Organics Starter Kit including: a 3-gal collection bucket, stickers to label waste bins, informational brochures, and compostable bags! Say hi to UMN Morris alum, Sydney Bauer, who serves as a composting coordinator for the county. The next dropsite launch date is Tuesday, October 11th, 6PM-7PM, Morris City Shop (156 Co Rd. 22).

October 9/Sunday at 10AM there will be a Homecoming Green Tour leaving from the Welcome Center. We will board a city of Morris transit bus and learn about a bunch of cool sustainability stuff happening at UMN Morris. We want as many folks as possible to become Green Ambassadors for the sustainability work we are doing here at Morris.

October 13/Thursday at 9AM, the amazing Dr. Gwen Westerman, an educator, writer and artist will be presenting on **Why the Land Matters and how “**Dakota place names are evidence of our connections to this place. Imposed boundaries do not change our connection to our homelands.” Register here.

October 13/Thursday at 3PM will be the annual Kuehnast Climate Lecture, hosted by the U of MN Dept. of Soil, Water, and Climate. This year’s lecture will be given by Zeke Hausfather, a high-profile climate scientist and commentator. Consider attending (in-person or remotely). Full information here. Presenting the “Case for Cautious Climate Hope.”

October 18/Tuesday at 11:30AM, Dr. Michael Osterholm, Regents Professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) and one of the world’s preeminent infectious disease experts will be talking about University’s world-leading response to COVID-19, consider the challenges and triumphs, discuss ways we can be better prepared, and look to the future. Register here.

October 29/Saturday, UMN Morris is partnering with UMN Twin Cities to bring students from Morris and across U of M to a fall Systemwide Sustainability event. Specifically, students are invited to attend a Gopher football game, learn more about sustainability and sports, and food systems. Students can sign-up here. Spots are limited and fill fast!

It was very cool to see the UMN Morris 240kW solar PV field featured in the Washington Post/Bloomberg News as part of UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center’s agrivoltaic research. Read more here.

In case you have missed the updates in our local newspaper – we have been getting some great Morris Model updates from Griffin Peck, UMN Morris alum, who serves as the sustainability project coordinator for the city of Morris. Read more updates here.

Thanks for all you are doing to advance sustainability efforts on-campus and in the community!

Have a great weekend!


Troy Goodnough (he/him/his)

Sustainability Director | Office of Sustainability |

Institute on the Environment Fellow

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Advisory Board

West Central Clean Energy Resource Team Steering Committee

Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability Steering Committee

Welcome Center 207, 600 East 4th Street, Morris, MN 56267

University of Minnesota, Morris | | 320-589-6303

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Just a few updates as we near the end of the semester. A big thanks to YOU for your efforts to advance our sustainability leadership at UMN Morris, in the community, and beyond. I hope to see you at the Sustainability Forum this Friday!

  1. Internationally-known WINONA LaDUKE and several other Native speakers, including Dr. Teresa Peterson and Dr. Michelle Montgomery will be speaking at MCSA’s SUSTAINABILITY FORUM THIS FRIDAY/DEC 2. The event begins at 4:30PM in Science Auditorium. Big congrats to MCSA leadership, and especially sustainability officer, Amalia Galvan, for her efforts to deliver this event. A Zoom option is also available. See the program flyers below!

  2. The Morris Intercultural Sustainability Leaders program was featured by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs). CERTs provided funding to support energy-related programming with the ISLe team. Some great insights from UMN Morris’s Dr. Clement Loo, and recent alum, Lily Sugimura, “It was such a valuable experience because I was exposed to so many different perspectives. I think every speaker contributed really well to my understanding of sustainability and also broadened my definitions of this work.”

  3. The Morris Challenge event at UMN Morris was AWESOME. It was great to have over a hundred high school students here at UMN Morris learning about our sustainability work. Big congratulations to Doug Reed, Morris Challenge Director, and his student interns and partners for a great day! Students also visited UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) and local carrot company, Fresha.

  4. The UMN Morris Center for Community Partnerships released The Stevens County Food Assessment – a year-long effort to evaluate food systems and food security in Stevens County, MN. Faculty lead, Dr. Ed Brands, worked with a VISTA member, UMN Morris student interns, and many community members. This work aligns well with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2: No Hunger.

  5. Did you ride an ELECTRIC BIKE at the Regional Fitness Center (RFC) his fall? MCSA and student leaders started a bike collaboration with the RFC. This past year the RFC has been doing great outreach with the community to educate people about e-mobility, you may have seen UMN Morris student intern, August Bushy at community events. A grant from the West Central Clean Energy Resource Team (WC CERT) supported this work. You can see more electric bikes popping up in Morris!

  6. Briggs Library continues Asking the Big Questions. This fall Briggs, hosted by librarian Peter Bremer, facilitated a fantastic conversation on Growing Sustainability Locally, which featured a range of community speakers.

  7. A new report on the Morris Water Treatment Plant was released, featuring how the plant works, how it improves water quality outcomes in our region, and how it lowers chloride pollution in the Pomme de Terre river. The report was developed by UMN Morris, city of Morris, and a grant from UMN Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (SW-RSDP) supported this work. The report was prepared by Michael Abbing, a visiting scholar from the Muenster University of Applied Sciences in Germany, who spent about 6 months in Morris, as part of our UMN Climate Smart Municipalities partnership work. This work is also part of our West Central MN We Are Water program, working to build a shared water ethic in our region.

  8. A new report released by the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership and CFANS survey shows 76% of Minnesotans are concerned about climate change. Mike Reese, director of renewable energy for the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, said the state is also building solutions within agriculture. It includes the use of wind energy to power the production of nitrogen fertilizer. “I would say we’re responding in practical steps, and farmers in general are more conservative,” Reese stressed. “But we always keep going back to ‘the customer’s always right’ and they’re going to require at some point these products need to have lower carbon intensities.”

  9. The State of Minnesota just released a new Climate Action Framework. The plan sets a vision for how our state will address and prepare for climate change. It identifies immediate, near-term actions we must take to achieve our long-term goal of a carbon-neutral, resilient, and equitable future for Minnesota. Check it out!

  10. UMN Morris, as part of our Morris Model work, developed our most recent Morris Model Community Resilience Plan. This plan also helps us fill our obligations as a charter signatory to the Second Nature Climate Commitment, which has TWO parts, a carbon-neutrality commitment, and a campus-community resilience planning commitment. There are very few university signatories to this full Climate Commitment in Minnesota! The plan was prepared in partnership with Second Nature and The Nature Conservancy. Check it out!


My apologies for the lateness of this post. There’s still time to attend some of the events in this post. Susan

Earth Month 2023 events are popping up.

A few things to keep you your radar over the next few weeks:

  1. Our big student-led sustainability conference, called the SELFsustain conference, is happening at UMN Morris on March 24/25this week Friday and Saturday! Students from across the U of M system will be here!

EARTH MONTH KEYNOTE #1: On Friday/March 24, 1PM, Science Auditorium, ED HUMES, author of the well-known book Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, will be giving a PUBLIC KEYNOTE with discussion. Please, attend, invite a friend, and invite your students! UMN Institute on the Environment mini-grant provided funding to bring Ed Humes to Morris. This keynote is part of the Student Engagement Leadership Forum on Sustainability conference at UMN Morris. This presentation will also be Zoomed: Launch Meeting - Zoom

  1. DUNE MOVIE EVENT: On Friday/March 24, 8PM, Science Auditorium, SCI-FI and SUSTAINABILITY: A SCREENING OF DAVID LYNCH’S DUNE AND DISCUSSION WITH PANELISTS – including Josh Johnson and Clement Loo. Is that Patrick Stewart, is that Kyle MacLachlan, is that STING? Yes.

  2. EARTH MONTH KEYNOTE #2: On Tuesday/April 11, 7PM, Science Auditorium, MacArthur “Genius” Grant Recipient – Dr. Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer, and a renowned expert on plastic waste and oceans will present SEA TO SOURCE: REDUCING PLASTICS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT. This lecture will also be Zoomed: Launch Meeting - Zoom

  3. SUSTAINABILITY POP-UP PRESENTATIONS: On Friday/April 14, 1PM, Welcome Center . Hear a bunch of UMN Morris students sharing presentations about their sustainability work on-campus and sustainability interests. There will be several quick lightning talks.

  4. SUSTAINABLE SPRING THEATRE: A production of CHARLOTTE’S WEB – a charming and timeless story full of fun, friendship and adventure. Bring Wilbur, Charlotte and their farmyard friends directly onto the stage! Via Director Siobhan Bremer, “April 15th and 16th we are doing our children show of Charlotte’s Web and we have done the costume design using all the built costumes from our stock as well as much of our set is collected material.” More info here.

  5. EARTH MONTH KEYNOTE #3: On Friday/April 21, 1PM, Edson Auditorium, Dr. Heidi Roop, director of the UMN Climate Adaptation Partnership, and author of the newly released book, The Climate Action Handbook: A Visual Guide to 100 Climate Solutions for Everyone will give a PUBLIC KEYNOTE as part of the West Central Initiative Spring Convivium happening here! Heidi will share some great insights into how we can all take action on climate change!

FREE BOOK FOR THE FIRST 200 ATTENDEES! PLEASE, REGISTER – IT WILL TAKE 30 SECONDS. Event followed by book signing, refreshments, and networking!

Thanks for all YOU are doing to advance our sustainability efforts – and to our campus partners who are hosting some fun and insightful events this Earth Month!



Spring has arrived. Robins are back in Morris. There are a bunch of good things going on!

Last night was awesome with keynote presentations by Dr. Jenna Jambeck (on plastic waste) and James Vukelich Kaagegaabaw (on living a good life with insights on Seven Generations and Seven Grandfather Teachings).

UMN Morris was one of the few universities featured in The Washington Post as a climate-friendly school – and sustainability role model!


The amazing Dr. Heidi Roop will be here NEXT Friday, April 21 at 1PM, Edson Auditorium. Heidi is a UMN faculty member and leads the U of M Climate Adaptation Partnership. She is an expert on climate adaptation.

She will deliver our 3rd Earth Month Keynote presentation titled: Creating Your Climate Solutions Journey! West Central Initiative will also be GIVING OUT 200 FREE COPIES OF HER BOOK with registration! I will also be joining her on the stage as MC. Come join me!

PLEASE, REGISTER! It will take you 30 seconds. Really.

Please, invite your students, friends – everyone is welcome!


The Sustainability Symposium is THIS FRIDAY, April 14. Welcome Center, downstairs conference room.

12PM – Soup is served – first come, first served. A staff member from UMN Institute on the Environment (IonE) will be here to visit, too.

1PM – UMN Morris students will be sharing lightning talks about their sustainability work and interests! Feel free to pop-in.

5PM – Awards will be given. Two UMN Morris students, Dylan Young and Noelle Muzzy will be receiving the UMN Systemwide Student Sustainability Impact Award for their sustainability work at UMN Morris and in the community.

Other good stuff:

Don’t forget – IonE mini-grants are available for your sustainability project – up to $3000! Due April 30.

I appreciate everything you are doing to advance sustainability on-campus and your communities.