Environmental Caucus Notes

April 12th, 2013. ARD, Large Pod

Attendees:Derek Hansen, Adrah Parafiniuk, Liz Wiggen, Tim Clark, Rod Parnell, Cat Sullivan, Abrahan Garibay, Eva Putzova, Lindsey Wagner, Meg Eastwood, Robert Douglass, Liz Taylor, Jim Allen, John Morris, Chris Harnois, Scott Perelstein, Cori Cusker, Cherae Bilagoby, Nolan Bade,

I. New introductions & Announcements:

A. TransAT- A presentation by Derek Hansen. If you would like the fully presentation, please email

i. TransAT works towards creating a multi-modal culture and campus. It is part think-tank, part focus group, and part action group. This presentation shares accomplishments and also goals ahead.

B. Update on Office of Sustainability:

i. Had a meeting last week to discuss the manager position. 25 people came and shared input. Taken comments to put into job description. Will work with human resources for correct salary.

ii. NORESCO resources can help. Facilities can help support this position with implementation and outreach.

ii. Would like to see this position keep a neutral role, and an independent office of sustainability.

iii. Will get the job description out. If you are interested in participating in the candidate selection for this position, let John Morris know.

C. Earth Week and Sustainability Awards- Green Jacks (10 min.)

i. Go to nau.edu/earthweek for event info. Please send students and people interested to this website for event details or send them Liz Wiggen’s ()

ii. This is the 3rd year that the Green Jacks are organizing Earth Week. It is completely student led, and run. Lots of exciting events, especially two hosted by the Environmental Caucus: Mary Ellen Hannibal’s talk and the Campus Sustainability Awards. Hope you can make it!

II. Connection to community:

A. Liz Taylor- FoodLink: Asking how to better work with community.

Questions from caucus:

  • How do we incentivize community members to come on campus to participate?
  • Sees passionate students; how to partner with the community and participate?
  • How to learn about and participate in outside organizations.
  • Think beyond the classroom.
  • Is Foodlink talking to local retailers?
  • How do we expand into the community?
  • Bridge the gaps.
  • Students not as knowledgeable with food systems. How to expand knowledge?
  • Learning projects
  • Direct action between students and community
  • How can the caucus specifically support Foodlink and is there an area Foodlink needs extra support or help?

B.The Island phenomenon: Foodlink is already connecting to the campus. Very connected to SSLUG. Very ambitious and driven to create a local food system and policy council.Came out of Center for sustainable environments. Focus was on creating school gardens and educating children about local food and community. Very strong connect to NAU. Success has been created through relationship with NAU and our students.

C. Killip Elementary School and Garden: part of the reluctance of the community to work with NAU students is that it takes work to do so. Easier for NAU students to come to Killip. Challenge is the high turnover of students. (little time) vs. community members that spend lifetime here. Freshman come to campus and are overwhelmed. Huge difference between freshman and senior year.New skills freshman are learning. Takes a long time to understand the inner workings of Killipschool, for example. Different levels of understanding and routine.Multiple programs wanting interactions with classroom.The school is as busy and overwhelmed as NAU. Relationships are key. Faculty delegates. Graduate students usually don’t come from Flagstaff. Are clueless as first years when it comes to community and relationships. Must understand the community’s culture fundamentally. Flagstaff is little and relational.

D. Will the University students contribute to our focus, goal, and our students needs? Showing up for activities planned. Takes a lot of energy to get university students to show up. Community needs to tell us how we can support the community. It’s usually one-time events. Want a deeper meaning and learning; it requires an ongoing relationship.

E. More thoughtful transition from one graduate students to the next. This is a new program and is a ‘start-up’. Achieving one level of stability and predictability is going on. Shared relationships between the University and NAU.When you are new in a place, there is only so much you can take in. We need to have reasonable expectations. Process needs to be structured properly. People are asked to do what they can do based on their skill level, ambition, and qualities as a person. Much easier to work with people that are motivated rather than required.

F. Bricks and Criollo are a sponsor for us this year. 1% of all cash purchases at Bricks. We don’t have a lot of resources here. We have limited retailers. Know one another, have history with one another. See how it benefits them. Reciprocal relationship is key. Only hires are project-based hires. Fund or partially fund garden coordinator. No money from the City of Flagstaff. Have piecemeal for funding a garden coordinator.

III. Summer retreat this summer:

A. Think about future processes with community and campus partnerships.

B. Chair serves two-year term. Associate term takes over this summer- Scott Perelstein. Take on a more strategic perspective over the next two years.

C. Retreat of Environmental Caucus steering committee where they meet individually with Vice Presidents across campus to get a feeling of their needs, but also with community members.

D. Will be doing it during June. If you have ideas for participants, topics, process, goals, let Rod know. (usually strategic plan comes out of it).