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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., vice chair and chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper.

"Our Environmental Destiny” with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Friday, November 9, 7 pm, UMD Marshall Performing Arts Center

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., vice chair and chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, will speak on fresh water and the environment at UMD. The event will take place on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 pm in the Marshall Performing Arts Center. ASL interpretation provided.

Kennedy was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his success helping Riverkeeper, a member-supported watchdog organization, lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. Kennedy is also chairman of Waterkeeper Alliance, an advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and protecting water from polluters.

Kennedy said he developed an interest in rivers because his father was an environmentalist as was his uncle, President Kennedy. In an interview in 2012, Kennedy said, “We have very good environmental laws in this country. If we enforced them, we probably wouldn’t have environmental problems.” Kennedy has been fighting for water and fisheries and working for fishermen for over two decades. One of his concerns is the mercury contamination in fish found in nearly every state in the U.S. He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.

Among Kennedy’s published books are the New York Times’ bestseller Crimes Against Nature (2004), American Heroes: Joshua Chamberlain and the American Civil War and Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief (2008). His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside Magazine, The Village Voice, and many other publications.

Kennedy is clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. Earlier in his career he served as Assistant District Attorney in New York City. He is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. He received a a Masters Degree in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law.

Tickets required, $8 general admission, UMD student tickets free. Contact MPAC Box Office at 218-726-8561, 218-726-8877 or (see UMD School of Fine Arts ticket box).

Community members may park for free in the pay lot, any maroon lot, or the meters after 6:30 pm.



"Neighborhoods Go Green: Scaling up Sustainability" with Doug Farr
Tuesday, November 6, 6 pm, Montague 70

Doug Farr is the founder of the architecture and urban design firm Farr Associates, and because of the firm’s pioneering sustainable design practice and his insights gained from chairing LEED-ND, Doug was able to write urban planning best-selling book Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature in 2008.

"Sustainability Fair"
Wednesday, November 7, 10 am - 2 pm, Kirby Commons, Kirby Student Center

The Sustainability Fair explains how the community and UMD programs are trying to protect the sources from which we get our water, and how important water will be for future generations.

"Water and Our Environment"
Thursday, November 8, 7-8:30 pm, Kirby Ballroom

The Water and Our Environment event consist of eight short presentations by UMD faculty and alumni showing the importance of fresh water on our planet, and UMD's related research and projects.

More info on Water Week


Minnesota Campus Compact Forum -- free event
Thursday, November 15, 6:30 - 9 pm, Griggs Center
Limit 100 people, RSVP to
Experience effective public deliberation. Make new connections. Identify priorities for collaborative action. Together with the American Commonwealth Partnership and local organizations and leaders around the state, Minnesota Campus Compact will be holding a campus-community dialogue using the National Issues Forums guide, “Shaping Our Future: How Can Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Need?,” to consider multiple perspectives on the purpose and value of higher education and to find common ground for action. The event is sponsored by the UMD Office of Civic Engagement. For info contact Alex Johnson,, or Erin Zoellick, 218-726-6355.

UMD commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Land-Grant Act this year.


In the midst of our nation’s civil war, President Abraham Lincoln had the foresight to create an entirely new educational system. He believed that in order for the United States to become a great power, its industries needed an educated workforce. Introduced by Vermont Representative Justin Smith Morrill, the Morrill Act was signed into law by Lincoln in 1862. The act created land-grant universities, provided higher education to a wider range of social classes, and emphasized more applied studies to prepare students for the world.

Over the years, land-grant universities produced research that taught practical agriculture, built local economies, improved lives and created entirely new technologies. America's land-grant universities continue to fulfill their democratic mandate for openness, accessibility, and service to people. Many of these institutions, like UMD, have joined the ranks of the nation's most accomplished public research universities. Through the land-grant university heritage, UMD students study a wide range of academic disciplines and explore fields of inquiry far beyond the scope envisioned in the original land-grant mission. 

Written by Cheryl Reitan with Madiha Mirza, October 2012

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UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,

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