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Dubuque Colleges Sustainability Coalition Holds First Meeting

By Stacey Ortman

DUBUQUE, Iowa - The Dubuque Colleges Sustainability Coalition brought together representatives from seven colleges in Dubuque County to identify commonalities and establish areas for possible collaboration in the area of sustainability.

"This coalition is designed to create a forum for ongoing collaboration and communication on shared environmental, societal, and collegiate challenges facing us all," said Joshua Chamberland, MPA, stewardship and sustainability coordinator at the University of Dubuque.

The coalition is comprised of faculty, staff, and students from Clarke University, Divine Word College, Emmaus Bible College, Loras College, Northeast Iowa Community College, University of Dubuque, and Wartburg Theological Seminary. Representatives from the City of Dubuque and Green Iowa AmeriCorps joined the coalition at its first hybrid meeting on November 18, 2021, in the Multicultural Student Center inside the Peter and Susan Smith Welcome Center on UD's campus.

"It's is a great opportunity for the different campuses, apart from whatever other topic, to be together and consider making steps together to make our area better and to improve our environment overall," said the Rev. Tom Ascheman, SVD, president of Divine Word College.

The coalition, he added, presents an opportunity to begin to think about sustainability beyond Dubuque and to think across the whole planet.

Chamberland, whose position is supported by the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, led a group of around 30 in breakout sessions at the coalition's first meeting. People shared their institution's mission and priorities, what their institution is doing that is sustainable, and what they would like to see.

"We're really trying to build on the things that do unite us," Chamberland said.

Bev Wagner, education and communication coordinator with DMASWA, said she was excited about the turnout and enthusiasm at the coalition's first meeting.

"I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes," she said.