In response to the divisive 2016 election, the faculty at Mount Mercy University chose as its Fall Faculty Series topic the state of American democracy in 2017. I organized the series, which consisted of lectures, workshops, art, and guest speakers. From August through November, students, faculty, staff, and community members discussed the structure of U.S. government, the role of the free press, racism, inclusive feminism, health care, civil discourse, the role of non-violent protest, and the economics of the wealth gap. Associate Professor of Communications Joe Sheller documented the series in his blog CRGarden Joe’s Blog .
The series was featured here in the Mount Mercy Magazine.
Meanwhile, MMU was invited to apply for a College Sustainability grant by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. Originally part of a small committee that put together a statement of intent, I was eventually selected to write the grant, which I did during the spring. Happily, we were awarded $425 000 in August. The grant money will allow the creation of an Office of Sustainability and Stewardship, which will coordinate a Sustainability Scholars Program, campus stewardship goals, curriculum development, community outreach, and small infrastructure projects. Read more about it here .