Winona State University will kick off its yearlong focus on “Sustainable Futures” with a range of events Sept. 10-12.

The Sustainable Futures Fair will take place from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, in East Hall, Kryzsko Commons. The fair is free and open to the community and will feature more than 30 local organizations and vendors, including the Winona Artisan Market, the Winona Farmers Market, local bike shops, the Wildlife Refuge, the WSU Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, the Winona Park Rec department, and more. Come enjoy live music with local bands, do outdoor yoga and learn how we can use Winona’s past as inspiration for our own sustainable future.

As part of kick-off week, WSU students will also have the opportunity to partake in a locally sourced, sustainable meal served by Chartwells in the Jack Kane Dining Center Wednesday evening, and WSU’s ECO Warriors will participate in boat tours focused on river utilization and conservation with the “Friends of the Mississippi” aboard WSU’s Cal Fremling Thursday.

To wrap up kick-off week, on Friday, Sept. 12, WSU will host the Dakota Nation drum circle at 1:30 p.m. at the WSU Alumni Gazebo. At 2:30 p.m. an exchange of sacred seeds will take place, featuring Native American elders, WSU President Scott R. Olson and Winona Mayor Mark Peterson. This event is free and open to the public.

The 2014-15 University Theme will explore what sustainability means and why it’s important as a goal on campus and across the globe. The theme fuses natural and social sciences with communicative arts and real-world experiences, extending learning opportunities beyond the classroom.

The university theme will raise awareness among students, faculty and community members about the costs of growth and the challenges our society is facing, including climate change, soil and water scarcity, and high energy costs. The yearlong focus on “Sustainable Futures” will also promote a dialog about possible solutions, including alternatives to the cultural philosophy of growth at any cost.

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Brett Burger

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