Assistant Professor of Education
What is something about you that we'd be surprised to know?
I like to do construction, woodworking, and building things in general. My most recent projects include a chicken house for my chickens, installing a hardwood floor, and building a new stairway and railing system in my new addition.
What are your thoughts on sustainability?
I have always considered myself to be an environmentalist. So, during my recent years in graduate school, sustainability education became a focus of my research with preservice teachers. One of the things that really hit home for me is that educational institutions, particularly higher education, have 100% of the educational footprint for our future leaders, business owners, teachers, and others who have the potential to have a great impact on society. Therefore, I believe it's incumbent upon colleges and universities to educate for sustainability in light of a growing global population, human suffering, environmental degradation, and dwindling resources, so that a more sustainable society may take root.
How did your sustainability efforts start at SJC?
Three years ago, Dr. Anne Gull and I began doing research projects with our Core 6 students on campus. Students have researched topics ranging from energy, water, food waste and consumption, to traffic patterns and waste water treatment. What we have learned is that students are very concerned about the state of our environment and want to learn how to make a difference. Since those projects began, I have learned that Saint Joseph's College has a deep history of self-sufficiency and sustainability dating back to the earliest C.PP.S.
Catholicism and sustainability
Additionally, I have come to understand that sustainability also encompasses issues of social justice, perfectly complementing our Catholic mission in terms of stewardship and care for the poor and vulnerable. Sustainability is also embodied in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Themes of sustainability are a perfect fit for living and learning at SJC.
The "greening" of SJC and the Community Learning Garden
Over the course of the past year, I have found more than a dozen faculty members who are interested in developing curriculum in this area. There is also growing support across campus--from student life to Campus Ministry--to build a culture of sustainability. Some examples include a new student club called the GREEN Pumas, plans to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, the addition of two sustainability student interns in the cafeteria, and the Community Learning Garden where we grew vegetables last summer. The garden brought together students, faculty and community members to grow, harvest, prepare, and enjoy local food together. Collectively, these activities have greatly expanded my vision of what it means to be educated. The right kind of education not only develops the mind, but the heart and spirit as well. Sustainability education is about learning to live well in your place, to care for the environment and to care for others, both now and for generations to come. I hope to be an integral part in creating a community of learners at SJC who embrace an ethos of sustainability.
Lakeshore Public Radio Interview with Dr. Zimmer
In fall 2011, Lakeshore Public Radio interviewed Lana about Harvest Fest, an event created for SJC's incoming freshmen. The event was a celebration using local foods that were grown, prepared, and enjoyed on campus in honor of our newest Pumas.
Listen to the interview