Greetings to participants and future participants of Lakehead University’s Centre for Place and Sustainability Studies,

For the academic year 2013-2014, the Centre will focus on several related projects that invite participation from sustainability enthusiasts from the LU community and from the diverse communities that make up the Thunder Bay region. Other Centre-related activities can be viewed here on our website.  

1. The Local Visionaries Forum will resume beginning Wednesday, September 18 from 3-5. Our guest in September will be Anne Ostrom, Healthy Communities Coordinator for the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. Anne also chairs the Walkability Committee for EarthCare Thunder Bay. She will be sharing a vision of a more walkable Thunder Bay, and the link to economic, social and physical well-being. The Local Visionaries Forum forum is a place to meet people, in and outside of the university, who are enacting a vision of sustainability, to get inspired by local sustainability stories, to comment on existing projects and proposals, to explore potential partnerships, and to hold conversation around shared interests and concerns. For the Fall, 2013 Local Visionaries schedule please see http://placecentre.org/local-visionaries.html.

2. In an effort to deepen and expand awareness around ongoing and potential sustainability initiatives at LU, the Centre will be helping to implement the STARS campus sustainability assessment (https://stars.aashe.org/). This is a one to two year project aiming to examine how LU does sustainability, to inspire new directions, and to make what is happening more visible, accessible, and relevant to a wider public. Centre staff are working with diverse units on campus to participate in this initiative and will advertise these opportunities widely. Please see our website (http://placecentre.org/stars.html) and contact Ledah McKellar for more information (lpmckell@lakeheadu.ca).

3. This fall the Centre will be planning an April, 2014 faculty development workshop around the theme of “place-conscious sustainability education.”  This funded 2 day workshop/retreat will feature opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration in research, teaching, and outreach, as well as opportunities to learn more about community-based collaboration and service learning. Please contact David Greenwood for more information (greenwooddavida@gmail.com).

4. The Centre is currently lobbying the administration to create an award for Community Engaged Scholarship. Seeking such an award is an effort to recognize and legitimize faculty members who practice “integrated scholarship” or “the scholarship of engagement” with diverse communities and stakeholders outside the ivory tower. For more information, please contact Brian Ross (bross@nosm.ca).

5. The Centre is sponsoring a student contest that aims to capture the sustainability stories and experience of students, staff and faculty at Lakehead. While the STARS initiative launched by the Centre this fall collects data that represents sustainability achievements, we want to uncover the stories behind this data, or that STARS may otherwise fail to capture. We will be opening a call out to all students, faculty and staff to submit their sustainability story of Lakehead, in the form or a picture, drawing, map, story, song or other format.  These submissions may be visions, critiques or current practices that deserve to be more widely known. Submissions will be made public on our website to show a diverse range of sustainability stories at Lakehead. A sustainability prize will be given for the best submission that tells the story of a current practice or vision for change at LU. Stay tuned to our website for more details.

To wrap up, here is an inspiring quote that I believe speaks to our shared work.

To nurture is to care for the well-being of other humans, our fellow creatures, Earthly habitats, and ourselves. To be generative is to design and implement innovative cultural practices that imaginatively and effectively restore, solve, or shelter, that truly serve the whole person and the web of live (endeavors in education, for example, or governance or healing). To be an adult, in this sense, is to enthusiastically an competently embrace opportunities to enhance the vitality of beings, places, and communities, present and future---and, where you don’t find such opportunities, to creatively generate them.

 

                                                      From Wild Mind by Bill Plotkin (New World Library, 2013)