Minimalist Monday: My Alma Mater And A Commitment To Sustainable Living

Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine included a nice hike, watching some favorite shows on Netflix, playing my flute at the Greeley Arts Picnic, and some time with friends. I am enjoying the final days of vacation and savoring every last-minute of freedom. Tomorrow I am going to start working on setting up my new classroom for the coming school year. My schedule is still flexible for a couple of weeks and I will only be working for a couple of hours a day but it is time to start changing gears and thinking about my career. August 11th will be here before I know it!

At the arts picnic I met up with an old friend, Donna, from my college days whom I had not seen about 29 years. It was great to catch up after such a long time. It is funny how we can live so close to people and never get the chance to see them. We spent several hours catching up and talking not only about old friends, but the exciting changes going on at our alma mater as well.

Donna and I graduated from a small liberal arts college, Bethany, in Lindsborg, KS. A town of 3,400 otherwise known as ‘Little Sweden USA’. Over the years I have remained a ‘Swede’ through and through. I am proud of the college, community, and everything they represent.  Lindsborg and Bethany are not what you would expect to find in central Kansas. In addition to proudly preserving its Swedish heritage, it is a progressive community dedicated to the arts, being of service to the world, and sustainable living, all with a distinctive midwestern feel. I love Lindsborg and even though it has been several years since I have been back,  when I visit I still feel like it is home.. ( You may know from my previous posts this is saying a lot since it has no mountains or ocean! However, what it lacks in geography it more than makes up for with its soul.) It was quite good timing that Donna and I were able to meet up because our visit inspired this post. Bethany doesn’t just give students a liberal arts education, it prepares them for a way of life; body, mind, and spirit. This life fits in very well with the ideas of Minimalism and living  a more mindful lifestyle. Places like Lindsborg and Bethany inspire me and give me hope. for the future.

Bethany has four Missional Directions about a service centered life. ( If  you would like to read more you click on the link..) Today I feel compelled to share a little about the fourth Direction, which is Sustainable Living. Bethany instructs its students in ways to cultivate a more sustainable lifestyle. Last year Bethany received a grant to develop a community garden. The garden serves as an outdoor classroom for all Bethany’s students, as well as the community, and local farmers.  Even children have the opportunity to come and learn skills for a more sustainable lifestyle. ( click for a photo of the garden.) As the campus grows and moves towards its vision for the future, sustainable living is  also a consideration for campus development.  The Swedish Chapel and Welcome Center are under construction with a green building design. As a part of the green design one of the more interesting features will be a 3,000 gallon rain harvesting system that will be used for plumbing or possibly to irrigate plants.

As I read of the aspirations and goals of my little alma mater, I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before other towns and cities start to make such commitments to our collective futures.  Will I see big strides in communities investing in our collective well-being in my lifetime? Will my neighborhood ever resemble what I knew in Kansas? I have been blessed to have been able to live and learn in such an amazing community. It has shaped who I am and I am truly grateful. More importantly, I am happy to see that Bethany and the town of Lindsborg is still shaping young people for a lifetime of service to others and the development of a better world. Thank you, Bethany! Keep up the good work.

As always, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by the blog and until next time, Go Swedes!

Laura

 

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