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Sustainability leadership trip announced

Concordia students are gearing up to go green in Portland, Ore., over spring break on a student-designed sustainability trip.

“It will be one way to learn about changes to make personally to help impact the world positively,” said Megan John, a Concordia senior who is co-planning the trip with senior Kelsey Kava.

This year’s sustainability trip will focus on food in what is considered the United States’ green capital, Portland. Students will take a close look at sustainable eating, including locally produced foods, farmers’ markets and community efforts to make sustainable eating easier.

A group of Concordia students, including John and Kava, will fly to Portland on Feb. 22 and return March 2. The trip will cost approximately $200.

“You couldn’t spend your money in a better way over spring break,” said Nathaniel Cook, a Concordia alumnus who planned Concordia’s first sustainability leadership trip. “The value of what you’re getting for the price you’re paying is remarkable.”

Last year’s trip traveled to Kentucky to explore mountaintop-removal coal mining.

“We looked at how (mountaintop removal) affects the environment and community not only surrounding the process, but also how it affects our entire nation,” Cook said.

“But this year’s trip is really tangible for students,” according to Cook, because students will easily be able to bring sustainable eating habits back to Concordia.

The trip will be entirely student-led, but faculty advisor Natalie Peluso will join students on their trip to Portland.

“I’m only part of a feedback loop,” Peluso said. She has been answering questions and making suggestions, but it has been Kava and John planning the entire trip.

Ken Foster, of Concordia’s political science department, has also played a role in the planning of the trip. He has worked mostly on lowering the cost of the trip through different means, such as the Student Government Association’s Sustainability Fund—money set aside to aid in efforts to make Concordia greener.

“Ken has been crucial,” Peluso said.

Kava and John have been planning the trip from India, where they are studying for a semester.

“Being in India, we have realized the importance of living a sustainable life and how your lifestyle affects everyone,” Kava said. “It’s cool to go green, but it’s something that we need to do in order to have the world we want.”

This article was submitted by Andrew Carlson. He can be reached at

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