Colleges & Universities

Latest News Stories

NEW:Cal Lutheran Student "Die-In" Will Advocate Climate Action

California Lutheran University students will hold a die-in, which involves people lying down together in public to simulate their deaths, in order to raise awareness about climate-related threats as world leaders meet at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Students in Victor Thasiah's Religion and Power class are planning the die-in as an experiential-learning project to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on the planet, people and pocketbooks, including issues related to biodiversity and ecosystems. They are inviting other students, faculty ,and staff to join them by wearing green shirts and lying down with them. They want to force people to think about the issues by impeding pedestrian traffic through the academic spine of the campus between classes. For more information about this event, click here.

NEW: Muhlenberg's Green Team Promotes Smart Recycling Practices

At the beginning of each school year, Muhlenberg Green Team members reach out to all students during move-in to collect cardboard and recycling, and educate the campus regarding recycling on campus. This year, Muhlenberg recycled 1.28 tons of cardboard, a 25% increase from previous years. A Green Team was organized by the campus Environmental Action Team, the Sustainability Coordinator, Kalyna Procyk, and Plant Operations Assistant Director Jim Bolton. To learn more about this event and other campus initiatives at Muhlenberg click here.

NEW: Concordia Moorhead Creates Interactive Sustainability Map

Concordia Moorhead has created an interactive map which shows sustainability-related initiatives and features that are found throughout the Concordia Moorhead campus. These include: experiential learning sites, institutional initiatives, landscaping, student initiatives, transportation, and energy. This map allows users to click on the images in the description for a link to more information on Concordia's website. To view this map click here.

NEW: Lenior-Rhyne Residence Hall Uses Storm Water Cistern

Recently, Fritz-Conrad residence hall was outfitted with a storm water cistern. The cistern collects rainwater from the roof of Fritz-Conrad and stores it for later use. In the near future, this water will be used to irrigate new plantings near the dorm. Catching rainwater lowers our dependence on city water supplies, especially during times of drought. Cisterns also reduce stormwater runoff, a major source of non-point source water pollution. To learn more about Lenior-Rhyne's sustainability initiatives, click here.

NEW:Extended Growing Season at Concordia Moorhead

LoadingConcordia has extended their growing season through the installation of a high tunnel, or hoop house, warmed by a solar air system. Last spring, Concordia received a grant to build a high tunnel. Further research showed a solar air system could extend the growing season even longer. Additional funding made it possible. Solar panels capture sun energy that heats air pumped through tile lines underneath the soil. This combination extends the growing season from Valentine's Day to Thanksgiving. To learn more click here.

Numerous Schools Offer Students the Opportunity to Live in a Community Committed to Living More Sustainably


There are currently eight ELCA schools that seek to promote sustainable living in community by designating on-campus houses.

Here is the list of links to active houses and residence hall floors that dedicate themselves to living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle:and residence hall floors as "sustainable". The students living in these houses and dorms make a commitment to improve their daily practices in a way that will reduce their impact on the environment.

Wagner College Offers a Unique City Studies Minor

In this minor, students study how transnational migration, public policy, labor issues, global finance, environmental sustainability, and the arts are handled in major cities. Field trips in New York City and opportunities to travel to other American and foreign cities give students an intimate and hands-on approach to urban issues. To read more about this minor, click here.

Capital University Practices Sustainable Printing

Capital University is practicing sustainability by reducing their amount of paper waste. That's why they started the Going Green Print & Copy Program.  Capital took a look at how much students were using printers and copiers and decided to allot a $50.00 - or 500 page - print and copy credit to each student per semester. This limit is projected to reduce excessive printing and save Capital over 120,000 printed pages each semester. 

Take a look Capital's printing tips!

Think Before You Print

You can help Capital preserve the environment and save energy with these printing tips.

Learn to review and edit documents online, so you only have to print a final copy.

Use email, CDs, or flash drives to distribute documents when possible.

Print on both sides of the paper.

Reuse before you recycle. Use the back of waste paper as scratch paper.

Recycle waste paper when you're finished.

For more information click here.

Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois practices sustainability in Dining Services

Augustana College: Rock Island, Illinois is promoting sustainability via their sourcing and disposing of food. The college's "Farm2Fork" Program invests in the health of the broader community and strives to build regional and local food systems. The "Farm2Fork" Program utilizes local and regional foods in food service operations throughout the college.

Augustana is also promoting through their partnership with Wesley Acres, which converts fryer oil into bio-diesel that is used to heat their green houses to extend the growing season and also to run farm equipment. Augustana also composts all pre and post consumer food waste. For more information click here.

Augsburg, Gettysburg, and Luther College Strive to Reduce

Food Waste While Helping the Community

Augsburg College
and Gettysburg College are participants in The Campus Kitchens Project. As part of this project, volunteers from these two colleges use unused food from the campus as well as local grocery stores and farmers markets to make meals that are given to those in need. The Luther College Cafeteria to Community Program is very similar. This student-initiated program packages left-over food from the cafeteria, which is then distributed to a local food pantry. Some of this food is packaged into reusable containers which the recipients bring back to be refilled.


California Lutheran University Projects Stress Water and Cost Reduction

California Lutheran University (CLU) has recently developed two projects that focus on water and cost reduction across campus. With one project CLU is creating new outdoor learning spaces by replacing grass with drought-tolerant native plants. The college's grounds-keepers installed native plants in a teaching garden near a residential area not only to save water, but also to offer choices for homeowners who are ready to remake their yards.
CLU students are also working to promote water conservation through a new student-initiated campaign: "Take CHARge". The goal of this campaign is to get Thousand Oaks residents to save water by using biochar. Biochar is a soil amendment made from charred and shredded plant waste that not only reduces the need for water and fertilizer but also improves plant health.

Augustana Sioux Falls and California Lutheran University Alumni Seek to Promote Sustainability in Their Communities
Last summer, 2014 Augustana graduate Anh Ta created "Vitality," a piece that appeared in an ad campaign designed by Sioux Falls' Public Works Environmental Division.Ta's
artwork was featured on Sioux Area Metro buses for the 
duration of 2014 in an effort to engage and educate the public about sustainability.

California Lutheran University's 2008 graduate, Jenn Radtke has became a water resource educator, or "Clean Water Evangelist",for the Washington Conservation District in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Radtke has worked to get the word out to residents, businesses and elected officials on addressing issues like water pollution and wastefulness. Radtke presents numerous workshops in the community on the benefits and how-to's of rain gardens. She also is active in her agency's Green Congregations program, which works to further rain barrel use at local churches.

Pacific Lutheran University and Texas Lutheran University Work to Better the Environment Through Waste-Related Initiatives

Pacific Lutheran University has partnered with Keep America Beautiful, College and University's Recycling Coalition (CURC), and Goodwill Industries to provide the "Give and Go" program. Here, students are able to easily donate unwanted clothes, food, toiletries and furniture. Last year's efforts collected 104 tons of items! 63% of this was either recycled or recovered! In the fall, Texas Lutheran University's Sustainability Council hosted a recycling and swap shop event on campus. The recycling event allowed student to bring in their old unwanted batteries, phones, eye glasses, and other hard-to-recycle items for recycling. The swap shop allowed students to bring in any unwanted clothes, non-perishable foods, home decor, and other items to be donated. Students could also take home anything they found appealing at the swap event.

Lenoir-Rhyne and Valparaiso Address Environmental Responsibility

Lenoir-Rhyne University recently co-hosted a panel discussion on "Faith-Based Perspectives on Creation Care."  The panel included lay leaders and local clergy who have been at the center of faith-led movements responding to climate change.  Participants offered Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist perspectives on the issue. Valparaiso University's "Environmental Responsibility" website now has a section devoted to "Articles and Studies."  Resources include "Theology and Environmental Ethics," "Biblical Views of Nature," and "Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac and Martin Luther's Freedom of a Christian."

Jim Martin-Schramm, Colleges and Universities Page Co-Editor

Greetings! My name is Jim Martin-Schramm. I serve the ELCA as a Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. I have the honor of serving as the host for the “Colleges and Universities” section of the Lutherans Restoring Creation website. The purpose of this section is to share information about “care for creation” activities and sustainability initiatives that are taking place on our campuses.
Over time this site will offer access to a wide variety of resources and reports that have been developed at our schools. This can only happen with your participation, however. Please send me hotlinks to related campus websites, related worship resources, reports on campus sustainability projects, climate action plans, and other related news and resources for posting on the website. Please also send me suggestions for blog discussions. Electronic document transfer is preferred. Please send electronic media materials to . Please send printed materials to Jim Martin-Schramm, Professor of Religion, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA, 52101. You can also reach me by phone at 563-387-2131.

I look forward to the fruits of our collaboration and sharing!
Best wishes,
Jim Martin-Schramm

Read a sermon by James Martin-Schramm:

Kristina Johnson, Colleges and Universities Page Student Editor

I am currently a student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. As I have grown in both my faith and my passion for the environment, I have continually found ways in which the two intertwine. I find that there are many ways in which God is calling us to be stewards for the beautiful earth which he has created. I believe that creation care is not just something that we as Christians should do, it is something that we are called to do. This is why I am currently pursuing a double major in Environmental Studies and Religion. I want to find a way to promote the development of sustainable practices, influenced and founded by faith. Read More

Connie Barclay, Colleges and Universities Page Co-Editor

My name is Connie Barclay, member of First Lutheran in Decorah, IA. Currently I serve as the chair of our Green Team/Property Committee. My awareness of the need to nurture our precious earth is a confluence of events and opportunities over the last decades. I am employed at Luther College, which is highly committed to green practices and takes pains to inform and educate its community of the need to reduce our carbon footprint. Working with two passionate educators, Professors Jim Martin-Schramm and Ruth Kath, I have been involved in the planning of several greening conferences and events. I also serve as co-editor of the colleges and universities page of Lutherans Restoring Creation. Read More

Events: Happening Now

Nearly 1.8 million people of faith demand climate action

Thousands of Lutherans joined 1,780,528 million people around the world in putting their names to faith-based petitions urging political leaders at the climate summit to "take decisive action to curb global warming and deliver a strong, fair deal that helps poor countries adapt to their changing climate."

On Sunday, Nov. 28, the petitions were presented to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres at the 'Faith in Climate Justice' event in Paris. This event was organized by four international faith-based networks, including ACT Alliance, of which the ELCA is a member. For more information about the ELCA's role in the UN Climate Change Conference, click here.

Helpful Resources

NEW: Guide to Green Degrees and Careers:

With environmental issues gaining traction in the social consciousness, green careers are constantly growing in both popularity and availability. In turn, colleges and universities are offering more degrees which lead to green jobs. This guide was created to help prospective students understand what their sustainability education options are and what type of careers these programs lead to. The guide was developed in part by Nurit Katz, Sustainability Coordinator at UCLA, and provides an in-depth look at the typical green career path, top-paying green careers, and more. To visit this site, click here.

NEW: Sustainability in Action: Tips for Going Green

Accredited Schools Online has come up with A Guide to Sustainability In College and In Life. This includes an explanation of how colleges are being green, the benefits of sustainable living, fun facts about sustainability, and other sustainability-related resources.
  1. Rent, borrow, or share a bike
  2. Reduce use of packaging and bags
  3. Unplug electronics not in use.
  4. Use reusable coffee mugs and water bottles
  5. Use a laptop instead of desktop computer
  6. Use a LED desk light
  7. Watch your water usage
  8. Recycle and compost

NEW:Generating an Eco-Justice Reformation: A Speakers Bureau

A Speakers Bureau has been gathered of informed leaders in the ELCA capable of serving as conference speakers, panel participants, and workshop leaders for events sponsored by congregations, synods, seminaries, ministeriums, colleges, and other agencies of the church. To view, click here.

More News Stories:

International Conservation Journal highlights St. Olaf researchers
Organic Farmer speaks at Augustana-Rock Island
Wittenberg students participate in People's Climate March
No-touch fountains at Augustana-Sioux Falls
Minding the Hive at California Lutheran

Click here for an archive of past news stories.

What are ELCA Colleges and Universities doing to save energy?
How are ELCA Colleges and Universities engaging students, faculty, staff and their communities?

Campus Pastors at ELCA Colleges and Universities:

College Contacts:

Contact people at ELCA colleges who are involved in sustainability.

Additional Information:

Contribute a report about what your college is doing about creation care.
Find additional resources for colleges and universities
Position announcements

What You Can Do

Sustainability Tip: Carthage College

Want to know ways that you can be environmentally friendly in the office? Carthage College has provided a list of tips for a greener life at home or work.

 Some of these include:

1. Cancel junk mail

2. Repair broken items or donate them to someone who can

3. Use glass or ceramic mugs instead of disposable cups for drinks

4.Use both sides of a sheet of paper.

5.Think before you print: Is this document ready to be printed? Does it need to be printed?

Wartburg College Offers A New Twist to the Common 3R's of Sustainable Living

The majority of people have probably heard of the 3R's of Sustainable Living:  Reduce, reuse, recycle. Wartburg College has added two extra categories to their list: Refuse and repair.

"You have probably heard of the 3 R’s of waste reduction (reduce, reuse, recycle) but there are actually 5 R’s at Wartburg College. They should be considered in this order too.

  1. Refuse – if you don’t need it don’t take/get it

  2. Reduce – only take what you really need, you can almost always get more

  3. Repair – just because it may be inexpensive to get it new, repair will keep it out of the landfill

  4. Reuse – if you are done with it, maybe someone else can use it

  5. Recycle – if there are no other options, recycle, keep it out of the landfill"

Wartburg Sustainability strives to promote these five R's through sustainable practices around campus.

To read more about Wartburg's sustainability efforts, click here.

Arrange a meeting between the administration of the university and the physical plant offices in order to brainstorm ideas for greening administrative buildings on your campus! Click here for more details.

Archive of past suggestions...