Last Saturday morning I, along with roughly 60 other Concordia students and faculty, planted 52 trees on the edge of campus as part of a Student Environmental Alliance (SEA) event.

As of late, Concordia has been big on ideas of sustainability. Every residence hall on campus has a few eco-reps who give friendly reminders about water and energy conservation in the bathrooms. Cobbikes are available for rent in the library so students can bike to nearby places rather than drive, most water fountains on campus have water bottle fillers installed to encourage using reusable water bottles, and last year, President Craft signed the Climate Commitment on behalf of the college. As part of this commitment, Concordia will work to reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions to become carbon neutral. In other words, Concordia is working for there to be no net release of emissions into the atmosphere. The commitment also includes a promise that the college will work with the city of Moorhead to create a more resilient campus and surrounding community in the face of climate change.

To me, the most important part about this climate change commitment is creating a “more resilient campus and surrounding community.” It is so easy to forget about the parts of Moorhead that surround Concordia. Concordia students are a part of this commitment, not just the faculty who signed it. Without the help of students, this commitment will not come to fruition. Moorhead has a population of roughly 42,500 people, and college students make up a large percentage of it. Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) has roughly 6,600 undergraduate students and Concordia has around 2,100. Combined, college students make up 20 percent of Moorhead’s population. At almost one fourth of the population, students have a huge responsibility in working to make Moorhead a sustainable place.

For a lot of students, sustainability and climate change are not at the forefront of their minds. A lot of other academic and social problems take precedent over worrying about the Earth. Many college students will likely not stay in the Fargo-Moorhead area after graduating from school, so what’s the point in working to create a more sustainable and climate friendly place if you aren’t even going to benefit from it in the future?

20 percent is an extremely large portion of the Moorhead area that experiences a lot of turnover from year to year. New students are constantly being introduced to not only Concordia, but the Moorhead area itself. Most students going to school here call the Moorhead area home for at least four years, if not more. If we are going to reap the benefits of Concordia College, we are going to reap the benefits of the Moorhead area. It is our responsibility to give back to a community and area that has provided such amazing educational opportunities and social experiences for a significant portion of our lives. I think it is easy for students to forget that they too are residents of the Fargo-Moorhead area. It is a second home.  

With that in mind, students should be paying much more attention to environmental activities and events to uphold our commitment to becoming a sustainable community. Check out what the SEA has to offer and take time out of your day to consider the impact you have on not just the Concordia community, but the larger Moorhead area. Planting trees was not only good for the Earth, but it was a great way to meet new people from the community. Keep your eyes peeled for more events like tree-planting at Concordia and in the surrounding area. There is always something you can and should do to uphold your responsibility as a resident of Moorhead, Minnesota.

Sonja Flancher

Sonja is a sophomore double majoring in Global Studies and English Writing. Aside from writing, she enjoys singing in the Concordia Chapel Choir and spending time with her two golden retrievers. This is her first year writing for the Concordian and she hopes to continue in the years to come!

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