CFACT’s Spring Activities


The University of Minnesota’s chapter of Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) had an event filled week April 18-22. The student group, which focuses on practical solutions to environmental problems, hosted a river cleanup, a tour of Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank stadium, and a lecture by Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., a climate policy academic. These three events were featured myriad activities and education opportunities for the university community and the public.

Pielke has received degrees in mathematics, public policy, and political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is the director of the Sports Governance Center within the Department of Athletics at the Center for Science and Technology Research. Pielke has also been active in policy research regarding environmental sciences earning the Public Service Award from the Geological Society of America. On April 18, Pielke gave a speech on the politicization of science and how there has been a fall in the quality of policy debate based around science. Pielke’s experience with this comes from his research regarding the correlation of natural disasters with climate change. 

Pielke has concluded that there has been no evidence yet to prove causation of natural disasters and climate change. An example that is commonly brought up is the damage hurricanes has caused within the past two decades. Pielke claims that the damage done by hurricanes in the western hemisphere has not increased because of frequency or intensity, but rather due to societal and economic factors. Pielke has been under fire from politicians who want to use the hysteria of natural disasters as a political tool to pass climate change policy legislation. 

CFACT had its annual river cleanup on April 20 at the East River Flats on campus. CFACT has officially adopted the stretch of the Mississippi on campus and cleans the area of litter and debris on the Earth Day weekend each year. Sophomore CFACT member Mitch Bendis commented:

“It really was a humbling experience to walk alongside the Mississippi and partake in its stewardship. On campus, you really feel like you are in a city, but down by the flats I realized that right by us is this large force of nature that we are also responsible to take care of”

After the river cleanup new and old CFACT members go together for a cookout to reflect on the importance of what they did. CFACT president Michael Ziebarth commented:

“The cookout is one of the most important parts of the year. It is spring and all that, so we get to see what we are trying to preserve in front of us instead of just snow. It also is a time where us seniors start to hand over responsibilities to younger members, keep the traditions and spirit of environmental stewardship going.” 

On Sunday the 22, CFACT members took a tour of U.S. bank stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The $1.129 billion structure dominates the Minneapolis skyline in place of where the historic Metrodome used to be. CFACT members got to learn about how the stadium uses the ceiling windows as a natural source of heat from the sun, and how U.S. Bank has large pivot doors that also help with natural airflow. The stadium is also powered 100 percent by natural wind energy. The stadium’s lighting and waste removal also is designed to mitigate environmental damage so that Minneapolis can have a world-class stadium without a large carbon footprint to match. 

For those who are interested in joining CFACT they can get involved by emailing, or connecting on Gopher Link.