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Mills: Inside and Out

Mills College
Presidential Communication
April 20, 2018

TO: Mills College Faculty and Staff
FROM: Beth Hillman
SUBJECT: Mills: Inside and Out

Dear all,

This week, Mills celebrated the earth along with the events lauding the accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. A week of Earth Day activities (see the attached flyer for the hard work of our sustainability committee) will be capped off with this weekend's creek clean-up and orchard planting at the Mills Community Farm. I'm grateful to Joanne Wong, our sustainability coordinator, for supporting these efforts as well as Mills' commitment to reckoning with climate change. Our soon-to-be-released Climate Action Plan 2025 details the opportunities we have to meet our goal of reducing Mills' emissions by 40% from our 2008 baseline. This goal is more ambitious than our last climate action commitment, which required a 15% reduction that Mills met through the creativity and investment of our entire community. In the months and years ahead, we'll be asking for your help as we join other colleges and universities working toward carbon neutrality, reducing our energy use and improving alternative transportation options.

Sustainability and learning complement each other, a theme that was front and center at yesterday's groundbreaking for the Laurel Access to Mills, Maxwell Park, and Seminary (LAMMPS) project. In attendance with Oakland city officials, neighborhood leaders, and Mills College was Alysha Nachtigall '07, MPP '08, whose thesis ("The Neighborhood Corridor Project: Linking the Laurel Business District with Mills College and its Neighboring Communities") with the Maxwell Park Neighborhood Council, was crucial in a 13-year effort to realize this streetscape and transportation improvement project. This project, which received $9 million in funding from federal, state, and local sources, is a template for community-engaged learning at Mills. More examples of public policy research were on display at this week's Lokey School showcase marking ten years since the founding of Mills' public policy program, with innovators like founder and Professor Carol Chetkovich (who advised Alysha's thesis!) on hand to celebrate. Please bear with us as the construction begins soon outside of the Mills front gate and up through High Street and MacArthur, and stay tuned for more information on the expected disruption as bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, stoplights, and trees appear.

Yesterday at lunch, the students who traveled with Professor Helen Walter and Dr. Chicora Martin to Roatan, Honduras over spring break described the problem-solving skills, courage, and insight into the marine world they gained from scuba diving (see photo), restoring coral, measuring biodiversity, and swimming with sharks and dolphins. Their stories and studies make clear that engaging in the natural world accelerates learning as much as working with Mills' neighbors in our communities.

Mustering the energy required to build a sustainable world is easier when we remember how close we often are to destroying what we have. For deeper insight, add A Destruction Story, a new and searing work by Mills poet, professor, and dean Juliana Spahr published in the May 2018 issue of Harper’s, to your weekend reading.

Beth Signature



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Last Updated: 4/20/18