Hamline News

Sustaining a Campus: Sustainability Storytelling at Hamline

Photo of Karl Hahn

During the 2020-2021 school year, Hamline students and community projects have worked to promote sustainability on and around campus. Leading the charge is Karl Hahn, a member of the Green Corps program who works with sustainability programs at Hamline University.

Green Corps is an environmental organization that trains recent college graduates in a one-year post-graduate program in grassroots community organizing. Hahn describes his position as working on campus sustainability at Hamline and as a public service to the state.

Hahn is a 2018 graduate of Augsburg University, where he studied urban and environmental studies.

“A lot of the work started with this idea of wastelessness, what we call the wasteless campaign: reducing waste, but also reducing things like costs and creating a better sense of well-being,” Hahn said.

This idea of wastelessness drives all of the programs and initiatives that Hahn has started on campus so far this year. These include working with the Hamline-Midway Coalition, where he serves as a member of the Transportation Committee.

The largest ongoing project on campus is around sustainability storytelling. This focuses on not only spreading awareness of sustainability on campus but also accessibility to it, showing that everyone can be involved in sustainability.

“I discuss with different people what their ends of sustainability and resilience are ... I might be talking to a student with a background in psychology work,” Hahn said. “Another time I might be talking with a professor who works with economics or someone with a historical perspective on things. And what this really allows is not only to show how malleable the word sustainability is but also to get other perspectives.”

In this project, he focuses on the ways that people with different backgrounds interact with sustainability. He explores how their unique perspectives shape and define how they view sustainability, especially on campus. These interviews are filmed, and Hahn and students plan to use these to showcase the diverse nature of sustainability on campus.

In Hahn’s mind, things such as this project allow students in other areas of study to become interested and eventually involved in sustainability on campus. For example, in its recent student leadership selection, the Sustainability Office selected a number of new interns that will help with their upcoming programs.

Anyone interested in becoming more involved with sustainability on campus is encouraged to contact Hahn or the Sustainability Office.

Written by Eliza Hagstrom '23
April 21, 2021