Meeting: 4/23/08

1. Last Earth Week Event: Adopt-a-River TODAY Meet at 11 in front of Sayles

2. Earth Week Thanks

3. STA Applications- due May 7

4. SOPE Hits Up D.C.- Composting Task Force Returns from Epic Journey

5 . Environmental News

6. THE VISION OF SOPE (or, Why This Week’s Minutes Are So Freaking Long)

7. Next Week’s Assignment

8. Fun Bonus If You Make It To The Bottom Of The E-mail

1. Last Earth Week Event! Adopt-a-River: TODAY: meet in front of Sayles at 11 : should last 2-3 ½ hours, so you can come down to the Cannon and find us or leave early at your convenience. In addition to manning the banks on foot, there will be a canoe flotilla braving the rushing rapids of the river. Come compete for the craziest trash prize- past finds have included car tires, carpets, washing machines, St. Olaf track hurdles, golf clubs, coke bottles from the 1930's, and a large blue wolf flag.

2. Thanks so so much to everyone who helped plan and organize and also to everyone who attended any of the Earth Week events. Considering that we didn’t start thinking about this until less than a month ago, I’m very impressed and proud of how awesome the week’s celebrations turned out! Thanks again, and don’t forget… every day is Earth day!!!

3. STA applications (attached to greennetwork e-mail from Earth Day): due May 7 Apply to be a Sustainability Assistant next year! STAs do sustainability outreach on campus, focus on one of four institutional areas (food and dining, building, landscapes and transportation, energy and carbon neutrality, or campus culture and sustainability) with a staff mentor, and write for the sustainability website and blog. Seriously, you can get paid for doing this!! Send completed applications to .

4. Composting Task Force members return from EPA P3 grant competition in D.C.

-Claires Bansberg and Bosworth and Shaun “Claire Three” Sawtell returned from D.C. on Wednesday morning after four days of enjoyable but unsuccessful competition for the $75,000 second stage of the P3 grant for the Earth Tubs

-Shaun said although there was not as much to bring back to Carleton as he had hoped, it was still a very interesting experience, and it was especially encouraging to see how enthusiastic people were about our project since the exhibit was open to the public the entire time and many of the projects involved less-accessible higher-level science

-There were 58 competitors for 6 or 7 of the second-stage grants, almost all of them graduate engineering programs who were designing their own projects with innovative technology, as opposed to ours , which was just installing a previously existing technology (the Earth Tubs) and more oriented towards community building (which we like , says Claire)

-UC-Davis was one of the winners with a water treatment system which removes contaminants and makes them into silverware resembling our compostable variety, except made of sewage. However, they weren’t really on their shit (no pun intended, seriously) with their proposal to use the additional $75,000, since they were planning to put it to use at a commercial water treatment plant, but had not contacted any such businesses

-Many of the projects involved aid to developing countries, including another non-winner (okay, loser) proposal to meet basically every need of a small Indian community: energy generation, hospital, stopping the spread of cholera, schools, etc. However, they didn’t have any established connection to said community.

5. This week’s environmental news item , courtesy Phil Camill:

Global average food prices have risen 83% in the past three years, with a particularly sharp increase in the last six months. Growing demand for previously unaffordable meat and other 'luxury' foods in rapidly developing nations like China, India, and Brasil is frequently cited as one of the main drivers of higher prices. There are growing concerns that a greater shift from food production towards biomass-for-biofuels production will further aggravate food shortages and price concerns.


Okay, if this e-mail isn’t already long, it’s about to be. The better part of our last meeting was dedicated to group discussion of “the vision of SOPE”, i.e., what we see as SOPE’s role and how we want to address campus involvement and state and regional networking and cooperation. Here’s basically a play-by-play of what was said, I’m way to lazy to analyze or synthesize or summarize or anything like that:

-We’re the leading environmental group on campus, which comes with lots of responsibilities, and we think we fulfill a lot, but not all of them

-SOPE has limited resources (in other words not very many people) so should we put our resources toward networking through TEAM MN, and if so does that come at the cost of campus action? Also, is it worth our while to put effort toward recruiting?

-What is TEAM MN asking of us?

-Well, here’s what TEAM MN (Transcampus Ernergy Action Movement MN) is : it started just a year or two ago and is spearheaded by Macalester. Right now there are about 8 or so MN schools involved, but the goal is to have every institution of higher education in Minnesota, including community colleges, on board. The structure can be represented like a bike wheel (thank you Mark for the visual) with each school at a point on the rim, and “spokes” (ideally two representatives from each school) connecting each one to the central organization. There is also an intermediate level of four? regional representatives who try to establish involvment with other schools in their region and organize things at a level bigger than campus but smaller than statewide. Currently Ray is both the Southeast regional coordinator and sole Carleton spoke

-So to answer the question, TEAM MN involves statewide initiatives , actions at the capitol for the most part; lobbying at the state level is a very different goal from lobbying at the school. Also includes sharing ideas, statewide working groups on specific issues (like transportation, no new coal)

-Do we want to pick one working group to be involved in?

-It would be great to get us involved, there are great things going on on campus, but many people want real world experience we can apply to our futures (careers) and we can capitalize on MN’s liberalness (real word?) to really get some things done

-There are so many people at Cton who care about environmentalism and we could get so much more done with more people; SOPE doesn’t have very much visibility on campus, it would be productive even just making people aware of environmental issues by adding an educational aspect to SOPE

-The way to get people involved is to give the most diverse set of options for how to be involved, for example allowing SOPE members to choose between campus and state action involvement, maybe by having task forces focused on scope (e.g. campus, Northfield, Minnesota, regional, national task forces) instead of on specific issues

-During fall term, some might argue, SOPE accomplished more than the EAC; things are just not happening on campus

-A guy from the EPA in DC said if we can get both Cton and Olaf behind something, that’s a huge force, and think about how much we could accomplish if we got every school in MN behind something; so what if we had parallel task forces on specific issues (e.g. establishing composting systems) at every school to share efforts, info, etc.

-The motivating factor for being involved in SOPE or any organization like it is having a mission, a tangible goal

- We should make things happen on campus! SOPE can do both “domestic” and statewide things

-Publicity task force?

-What if whenever someone is interested in something specific TEAM MN is working on, they can get involved and start a task force if they want

-Much as the goal of SOPE is to promote environmental awareness and achieve progress, we should keep in mind that like any other student organization, we are also about building community both within the group and with the entirety of the campus

-We should shorten up group time (announcements, etc.) at meetings; it’s all in the minutes, and we need substantial time to get things accomplished during meetings

- Everyone will be added to the TEAM MN update mailing list which goes out every two weeks and will help keep us all abreast of what TEAM MN is doing so we can get involved if something looks interesting, etc.

-Composting task force has to talk, see whether the TF is going to continue since the Earth Tub project is sort of at a dead end (I would add though that there are lots of other smaller things that can be done on campus in the realm of composting and it’s a meritorious topic/issue

-SRF and Think Outside the Bottle task forces will continue, publicity task force would be great

-We should employ personal contact to get people involved!!!

-We could look over email list of 160 people to facilitate said personal contact/badgering

7. SO…

In light of this valuable conversation/transcription, which does not end here but has merely been suspended since it was 10 o’clock, everyone’s assignment for this Wednesday is to think about why you come to SOPE, what you want out of it and what you want to be doing (in SOPE). In other words, reflect upon how it’s not about what you can do for SOPE, but what SOPE can do for you!

NEXT WEEK: We will discuss our personal reflections, talk as a group about taking action on publicity and outreach , and break into task forces, including a publicity task force to manage our efforts therein

8. In closing, be sure to check out the attached photo of what I found in my basement Friday night! (It is not inappropriate in any way) Oh, I just realized it might not let me attach something so big to a list e-mail, in which case... you will just have to come to Adopt-a-River or the meeting this week (preferably both) to find out what it is!!!

~ T e s s , E l i z a b e t h , a n d R a y ~