Sept. 28, 2007
UI Civic Engagement Program to focus on environmental awareness and action
To promote its new focus on environmental education and action, the University of Iowa Civic Engagement Program has created a Web site to collect local environmental events and resources for UI students and the campus community. With the theme, "Environmental Impact...Go Green Iowa," Civic Engagement will also lead a number of projects and events related to the health of the Iowa River in observance of national Make a Difference Day in October.
The new Website -- http://www.uiowa.edu/~gogreen -- will help build awareness in the local community of current initiatives and projects, upcoming events, and web-based resources aimed at environmental issues and concerns. Groups on and off campus that already have a specific area of interest or programming related to the environment are invited to list information about their projects and events on the Website by contacting the Civic Engagement Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Web site's launch marks the beginning of a three-year commitment to improving the environment by encouraging members of the university and Iowa City community to think about how they can meet community needs related to the environment through volunteerism, service learning, internships and programs, said Mary Mathew Wilson, coordinator of the Civic Engagement Program.
"Part of the Civic Engagement Program's mission is to promote students' community involvement, create partnerships between the university and community organizations, and help meet community needs through service," Wilson said. "The development of the environmental theme addresses all of these goals by getting the university involved with community groups aimed at meeting needs related to environmental issues that affect us all."
Mathew Wilson noted that there are several environmental groups on campus and in the community. And she encourages those who don't have a specific environmental project or focus to consider adopting one.
"We hope that those groups will continue their work and let the university community know about their progress and needs," Wilson said. "The environmental theme is meant to inspire the university and our larger community to set priorities and work together for the health and welfare of the environment."
"It's important that the university support sustainability issues and I'm happy to see an effort that is uniting people in the community to think ecologically," said UI student Kyle Sieck, co-president of the UI Environmental Coalition. "The Website is exactly what we need to inform everyone of what's going on and how they can get involved."
The kickoff event for "Environmental Impact...Go Green Iowa," will be 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Illinois Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. Nathan Lein, a water program legal analyst for the Iowa Environmental Council, will speak on why he nominated the Iowa River as one of "America's Most Endangered Rivers" by American Rivers, which later designated the Iowa River as the third most endangered river in the United States.
Also, Civic Engagement will be involved with several projects in concert with national Make a Difference Day, Saturday, Oct. 27. On Sunday Oct. 28, there will be a water quality "snapshot" sampling from six bridges on campus, a riverbank litter cleanup and a canoe float from Sturgis Landing to Hills to remove debris from the Iowa River. For more information on national Make a Difference Day see http://www.usaweekend.com/diffday/index.html.
For more information about the environmental theme and Make a Difference Day focus of the Iowa River, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~gogreen or call the Civic Engagement Program at 319-335-7589.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500