Jon Jensen, Luther College associate professor of philosophy, will be named director of Luther's new Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) at the college's Spring Convocation Thursday, Jan. 31.
"I am pleased Dr. Jensen will be leading this effort as he has played a central and important role in Luther's sustainability achievements. The CSC will serve as a coordinating entity for campus sustainability efforts and will develop and implement a vision for Luther to be more actively involved in promoting sustainability throughout the region," said Luther College President Richard Torgerson.
Jensen will lead the new center through an initial planning process and will be responsible for guiding the center's work in the areas of food and wellness, energy, education and outreach, and land stewardship. His three-year appointment will guide both on-campus and external initiatives in keeping with the center's purpose to promote sustainability.
"Luther has made tremendous strides in sustainability under President Torgerson's leadership. Now we're excited to look ahead and prepare for the next chapter of sustainability initiatives on Luther's campus and in the region. We hope to continue in a role as leaders in environmental stewardship," said Jensen.
In addition to the college's energy-generating projects including the construction of a wind turbine and a solar photovoltaic array, under Torgerson's watch, the college has begun numerous recycling and energy-reduction initiatives such as converting waste vegetable oil into biodiesel, starting a bike share program and shuttle services. Through these and other efforts, the college has been recognized as a leader in collegiate sustainability efforts.
The center will act as an umbrella to bring together Luther's many sustainability efforts, as well as continuing and enhancing outreach into the community.
"We have just begun a three-month strategic plan process with 36 individuals from campus and the community to shape the mission and vision for the center, as well as set goals and priorities for the future. Our overall objective is to strengthen both the college's sustainability efforts and to work with partners to enhance sustainability throughout the region," said Jensen.
One primary goal for the Center is to give students opportunities for further learning in sustainability as well as hands-on experience with community sustainability initiatives. The center will support student internships and other experiences that will allow students to explore and then apply learning in ways that affect positive change.
In addition to his duties as director of the CSC, Jensen will continue to teach courses in philosophy and environmental studies.
Jensen holds a bachelor's degree from Luther and a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.
To view a few words from Jensen regarding the CSC, visit youtube.com/watch?v=UKFLORLU-uk.