Monday Moments with President Bergman: April 20, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on April 20th, 2020 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Wednesday, April 22, 2020, is Earth Day, and this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a global day to heighten awareness and promote action related to environmental sustainability. This year’s theme is climate action, and people everywhere are encouraged to join a “global digital mobilization” that will drive actions big and small for the benefit of our planet and its people.

By now, many of you know that I am a nature lover. Yesterday, my husband and I took a brisk walk on the North Oaks trail system, which is one of our favorite activities. There are hints of new buds on the trees, and green plants are starting to push up through leaves. Ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes are active and noisy, as are the frogs in the wetlands. Spring is once again in the air.

It may seem like we have paused our efforts to advance environmental sustainability during this time when the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over so many aspects of our daily lives. Let me reassure you that although we are meeting remotely, the President’s Council for Environmental Sustainability (PESC) continues to press forward on our two big campus-wide initiatives–energy reduction and progress toward being a zero-waste campus.

This week is a good time to remember that actions big and small can make a difference in mitigating climate change in our homes as well as on campus. I would love to hear about steps you are taking to promote environmental sustainability during our “stay at home” period. If you’re out cleaning up your area or have implemented sustainable practices in your home, I invite you to share a picture on social media using #gustavusearthday or emailing a photo to Lily Engebretson ’22, who is helping the student-run Environmental Action Coalition compile a series of pictures to promote sustainability.

At my home, because we are all washing our hands more often, and we stopped using shared hand towels, I noticed that more paper towels were being used. That seemed counterproductive, both for the sake of environmental sustainability as well as the fact that paper towels were in short supply. So, I cut up cotton fabric into a bunch of 10″ x 12″ pieces and placed them in a basket by the kitchen sink for one-time use. Then, they get washed with all our other towels and are available for reuse.

I invite you to check out on Wednesday and join a global digital mobilization to support the Earth. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day will be filled with 24 hours of global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more. Each day, be conscientious about taking actions big and small to support our precious and fragile environment.

Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties.

Yours in community,



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