Letters: March 28, 2024

Thankful for Northland College

Countless times I have silently expressed gratitude for Northland College in far northern Wisconsin. This may not be surprising as I spent close to three decades teaching there. Northland College is proudly committed to environmental sustainability and social justice. Her graduates bring a unique vibrancy to many small communities along the lakeshore. But Northland College is in trouble and needs support. I hope, that by sharing my gratitude you too will find reason to care about this small college on the south shore of Lake Superior.  

I am thankful to Northland students (present and past) for their energy and talents shared during internships, performances, sports, student teaching, and countless volunteer hours in our community programs—given with heartfelt generosity. I am thankful to the many faculty, staff, and alums who have stayed or returned to farm sustainably, start a new business, teach in our schools, provide health care to our aging population, help care for our precious land, water, and air, or to raise their families. I am thankful that Northland College has helped to provide a deeper meaning to life in our region.

I can’t imagine our region without Northland College. Will our ideas stagnate because we no longer see the world through eyes of hundreds of young adults contributing to our communities? Will relations between our towns and Tribal Nations become more strained because there are fewer ties between our communities? Will our businesses slowly wither because students, faculty, staff, their families and those who stayed for the Northland community are no longer here to purchase their goods and services? Will K-12 schools close because of declining enrollments? Will our environment suffer more because there are fewer young adults and professors here putting their hearts and souls into creating a sustainable future in harmony with the earth and all people? Will many more move away when there is no longer the vibrancy of a Northland community?

Northland College is worth saving. Northland is not the only glue that holds our region together, but it benefits us all. Please support the Northland community in these tough times and contribute what you can before April 3rd to save Northland College (northland.edu).
Cindy Dillenschneider
Washburn, Wisconsin

Northland College faculty, campus mobilize to prevent closure

The faculty, staff, and students of Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college in Ashland, have announced an “All Hands on Deck” campaign to prevent College closure at the end of the current academic year. The College community is actively developing new financially-sustainable business models and fundraising efforts following the sudden announcement of an emergency fundraising campaign.

On Monday, March 11, College leadership including President Chad Dayton and Ted Bristol, chair of the Northland College Board of Trustees, announced the College will likely close at the end of the academic year unless it raises $12 million by April 3. Following the announcement, College constituents formed working groups to improve communication, bolster fundraising, design new college business models and visions, and offer campus care networks. 

College faculty believe the combination of a community-generated sustainable business plan and Northland’s hands-on, interdisciplinary curriculum uniquely positions the institution for the future. Angela Stroud, Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Justice, emphasized, “What sets Northland apart from other institutions that are struggling is that we have a mission that has never been more relevant, a campus positioned to serve our region, and a community of supporters who refuse to let us fail. We have fresh ideas rooted in our history that will keep Northland alive for the next 100 years.”

In 1974, Northland became the first college in the United States to adopt an environmental focus across its liberal arts curriculum and mission. Dave Ullman, Associate Professor of Geoscience and member of a newly-formed Faculty Coordinating Group, stressed that the College’s focus and innovative legacy is crucial during difficult times. 

“Northland has always been nimble and creative during times of adversity. From the pandemic to expanding social and environmental challenges, the Northland faculty have always been ready to respond with compassion and intentionality to meet the needs of our local community. We are not just another small, rural liberal arts college. Everything we do is woven into the fabric of our region, and we are poised to reinvent ourselves yet again to create a model of higher education that is truly built around our strengths. This moment revealed what’s at the heart of our college: ingenuity, passion, a commitment to create real sustainable ideas and actions for the future.” 

The faculty stated that despite the abrupt announcement from the Board, the College community came together swiftly to develop a financially pragmatic and inspiring business model that will become publicly available early next week. Stroud declared, “Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and our broader community are passionately committed to a future for Northland College. We refuse to close our doors.”

Reject Stauber’s wolf hunt

   “Chicago philanthropist bequeaths $2.45 million to benefit wolves” in the 3-14-24 issue caught my attention.  
The 3 beneficiary organizations put education and research at top of the list.  
Concurrently, there was a meeting of hunters in Mpls. which was attended by Gov. Walz and Rep. Stauber. Televised comments by hunters made them seem the least likely to even expose themselves to wolf science.  They want a season to kill and trap random wolves. The existing science has shown that breaking up packs in this way decreases the chance for young wolves to learn pack life and wild diet and increases the chance of preying on farm animals.

That is, science shows that killing random wolves which happens in a hunting season expands rather than contracts conflicts with wolves. If wolves must be killed, it should be a targeted situation, perhaps by the DNR.  
Wolves, being a key species, create opportunities for food and habitat for other animals just by living their nature.  
My hope is that we are informed and educated enough to want large swaths of contiguous land for all our wildlife so there is as little conflict as possible.  
It’s not unusual for people to say they want to move to the country so they can just open the door and let the dog out. Some ranchers leave their animals out in fields to give birth. An American should be more responsible.
The wolves are teaching us to be smarter and kinder. I hope a hunting season for wolves is rejected.
Karen Moore
Duluth, Minnesota

Make a difference with 100% 
Electronics Recycling bill

You know that copper-sulfide mining is one of the biggest threats to the Boundary Waters. You also know that copper and nickel are used in manufacturing electronics such as phones, computers, TVs and solar panels.
The world we live in depends on these minerals.
Time and again, we hear that we need to open dangerous, polluting sulfide mines to get the copper and nickel we rely on. That is, we need to risk our water and potentially cause irreversible harm to the BWCA.
That’s not true.
There are more effective, less polluting ways to procure these metals than mining.
Minnesota’s electronic waste contains the metals we need.
In fact, Minnesota’s annual e-waste stream contains $3 billion-dollars’ worth of precious metals. There is a further economic boost to this: By recycling our e-waste, we can create 1,700 direct jobs, and many more spinoff jobs.
Right now, the Minnesota legislature is considering a bill that would make it easier to build the e-waste recycling infrastructure we need to get these valuable minerals, reduce waste, transition to the green economy, and create jobs.
But we need your help to pass this important piece of legislation.
Make a difference by contacting your state representative and tell them to support the 100% Electronics Recycling Bill (HF 3566/SF 3940).
It only takes a few seconds, and you’ll also have the chance to add a personal note about why protecting the BWCA is important to you.
Enacting this bill would allow the state to seize this enormous economic opportunity and would be a major step in reducing the need for potentially dangerous mining activities near the Boundary Waters.
Christ Knopf
executive director, 
Friends of the Boundary Waters