Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

Iowa Entrepreneur profiles Ideal Energy, Fairfield

November 1, 2017

IPTV IOWA entrepreneur

Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Entrepreneur aired a profile of a local sustainability company in Fairfield, Ideal Energy, co-founded by two MUM graduates, Troy Van Beek and his wife Amy Van Beek. The show first aired on IPTV July 28, 2017. Here’s the hyperlinked title and description to the video: Ideal Energy, Fairfield.

After returning home from active duty, a Navy SEAL sought an education in sustainability at a small Iowa university. Now, he and his wife work together, using renewable energy to sow the seeds of peace.

The show opens with a description of what makes Fairfield unique and the influence of the local university, Maharishi University of Management. The university was the first in the country to offer a four-year degree in sustainability. Students and faculty practice Transcendental Meditation.

The video profiles Troy’s time as a U.S. Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, a lead sniper, part of a team, to protect the head of the country. We later see him setting up his own security company in Africa. During this time he was having second thoughts about his chosen profession using guns to create peace. When he found Fairfield and MUM on the internet, he was inspired to make a life-changing decision and moved to this small Midwest city to become a student. It was there that he would meet his future wife, Amy Greenfield, an eco-developer.

Troy was immediately recognized as someone exceptional and was asked to help with projects to upgrade the university’s buildings to greener standards. They supported his ideas and he learned by doing. He graduated in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Sustainability (now a BA in Sustainable Living) and the skills to make a difference.

Mayor Ed Malloy invited Troy Van Beek and Lonnie Gamble, one of his teachers and a founding faculty member in MUM’s Sustainable Living department, to join a select committee to put a Go-Green Strategic Plan 2020 together for Fairfield. Reducing energy usage and making buildings more energy efficient was part of the plan. Companies supported this vision, but there was no one to help implement it.

IPTV-Ideal Energy Co-Founders Amy and Troy Van Beek

To fill that void, Amy and Troy started their own sustainability company, Ideal Energy. They became one of the first solar companies in Iowa, installing around two megawatts of solar power on various buildings across the state. Thanks to their efforts, Fairfield has the highest number of solar energy installations per capita in Iowa. They received national and international recognition. In 2014, Troy and Amy were featured in a Huffington Post article and video: What the EPA Clean Power Plan Means: More Jobs, Less Carbon. And they were invited to speak at the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.

I asked Troy how this IPTV show had come about and he said, “They reached out to us. We just made ourselves available. They did reference the Oprah video though. That may be where they heard of us.” Troy and Amy were included in Oprah’s televised visit to Fairfield, America’s Most Unusual Town, which featured an impressive profile of Troy.

In the Iowa video, this dynamic young couple explain how they started the company with just the two of them doing everything. As the demand for more solar installations increased, they needed to hire staff. Troy feels his experiences as a Navy SEAL prepared him to build a team and inspire them with the vision they were manifesting. Not only were they saving energy costs for local businesses, they were also providing jobs, and improving the local economy.

Troy also describes what he saw overseas—the disparities between the haves and the have-nots—especially when it came to energy and power. He sent me a quote for this article. It’s a powerful statement that sums up the core value of their company’s mission—to offer a proven solar solution that could put an end to wars over oil.

IPTV - Troy Van Beek, Co-Founder - Ideal Energy

“We are moving to an abundant sustainable world. Every solar panel adds to this movement. The technology makes it possible to move away from fossil fuels. It’s our mindset and entrenched vested interest that slow the transition. With that said, we are moving from a system of centralized energy and power to one that is distributed. This opportunity makes it one of the most important liberation movements of human history.”

Watch this inspiring 13-minute video profile of Troy and Amy Van Beek’s company, Ideal Energy, in Fairfield, Iowa. Visit their website: www.idealenergysolar.com. The 27-minute show of Iowa Entrepreneur, CapArms & Ideal Energy, aired July 28, 2017.

Related News on Fairfield, Maharishi University, and Ideal Energy

The university did build their off-the-grid Sustainable Living Center, the first of its kind. Troy installed a wind-turbine, with the help of students who built it, and added more solar panels on the energy cottage and new SLC classroom building.

Last year the Des Moines Register’s Kevin Hardy wrote a profile on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit and the University’s sustainability efforts, which included a video interview with Troy: Why this Iowa town is thriving when so many aren’t. And, while ABC News was in town covering the political campaigning, Josh Haskell dropped by for a live report from MUM’s SLC to interview students and learn about sustainability and Transcendental Meditation from Department head David Fisher.

The Smithsonian Magazine rated Fairfield in their top ten list (No. 7) of The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Later that year, Des Moines Register columnist Rox Laird featured Fairfield’s civic collaboration and Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center in his Op-Ed piece: Fairfield defines community action.

The following year, BuzzFeed named Fairfield No. 2 of their 11 Coolest Small Cities It’s Time To Road Trip To. Mayor Ed Malloy and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott were interviewed on Moving America Forward, a national television show hosted by William Shatner. In 2004, Fairfield was selected Most Entrepreneurial Capital in Iowa, and in 2003, as the Most Entrepreneurial City in America (with a population under 10,000). Read more: Fairfield: The “Entrepreneurial Capital of Iowa.”

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MUM’s Innovative Sustainable Living Center @MaharishiU Featured in Solar Tribune

November 13, 2014

Small College Makes Solar a Big Priority

Nestled among the cornfields of Southeastern Iowa, Maharishi University of Management is not your typical small college. More than 40 years after its founding, this unique campus has become a showcase of sustainability and solar technology.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, best known as man who taught meditation to The Beatles, bought the defunct Parsons College campus in Fairfield, Iowa in 1971 and set up an accredited university to teach his philosophy of world peace and enlightenment through meditation. Along with computer science, accounting and BA, MA and PhD programs, the curriculum stresses healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment.

Biology Professor David Fisher launched the nation’s first four-year BA program in Sustainable Living at MUM in 2003. The Sustainable Living Department offers courses in solar, wind and other alternative energy systems, water management, permaculture, alternative building techniques, and performance design for the built environment, and their building serves as a hands-on showcase for the technologies they teach. On an annual basis, the building is not only a “net zero” building, but actually produces as much as 40% more energy than it consumes. The excess energy offsets electricity used elsewhere on campus.

South wall of MUM Sustainable Living Center

Opened in 2012, the Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center at MUM is a showpiece of green building technology. The 6,900 square foot building features sustainable infrastructure including daylighting, a greenhouse and edible landscaping, gardens, rain catchment, earth block and “whole tree” construction and both solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV), as well as a wind turbine. The architectural style, known as “Vedic” architecture, marries eastern and western styles and reflects the philosophy of the university, while exceeding LEED platinum standards.

Daniel Chiras PhD is currently a visiting professor at the Sustainable Living Center. Dan serves as the Director of the Evergreen Institute and is author of over 30 books on solar and sustainability topics, including The Natural House, The Solar House, The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy and many more. Chiras said of the MUM building: “The Sustainable Living Center is one of the greenest—if not the greenest—classroom buildings on a college campus in the world! It’s an extraordinary model of ecological sustainability and an inspiration to those seeking to build a sustainable human future. The building is a pleasure to teach in and a great learning tool for students.”

Solar Features At The SLC:

The Sustainable Living Center sports 12.5 kW of PV panels to provide electricity. The PV panels are grid-tied by two 2.5 kW and one 5 kW SMA Sunny Boy inverters. An Outback 3.6 kW battery based inverter also stores energy in an off-grid battery bank. The solar PV at the Center puts out an average of 16,250 kWh per year.

A drain-back solar water heating system with 750 square feet of evacuated tube solar thermal collectors capture solar energy that is then stored in a 5,000 gallon tank, where it is then pumped through the in-floor heating system. The collectors provide about 30% of the heating for the building. Additional heat comes from a ground source heat pump, which uses electricity from the solar and wind systems to provide 75,000 BTUs per hour.

In addition to the solar arrays, The Sustainable Living Center features a Bergey XL 10 wind turbine on a 100 foot latticed tower. The estimated annual output is 17,000 kWh, with power production peaking in the winter and spring. This compliments the solar PV, which produces most of its power during the summer months, when wind speeds are typically much lower.

The SLC has an annual energy use of about 30,000 kWh, including lighting, heating and cooling, fresh air circulation office equipment and classrooms, which is already amazingly low for a building of its size.

Not only at the Sustainable Living Center, but across the entire MUM campus, sustainability initiatives are in full effect. In fact, the school achieved a perfect score for sustainable food sourcing and is the first college in the United States to offer an organic, 100% vegetarian menu. The college encourages bicycling and energy efficiency and is currently in the planning stages of a large-scale solar array to offset more of their electrical use with solar energy.

Read more about the MUM Sustainable Living Center at: https://www.mum.edu/academic-departments/sustainable-living/buildings/sl-bldg

Article reprinted with permission from the author. Solar Tribune is a solar news, education, and advocacy website. Article is published under: .

See more news about MUM’s SLC in this Des Moines Register article: Fairfield defines community action. There was a lot of news coverage on the official opening of MUM’s SLC, April 20, 2012. Here are two TV News reports, with links to other reports: KTVO News: Groundbreaking Sustainable Living Center a source of pride in Fairfield and WHO News: BEYOND GREEN: Building Produces Extra Energy. Also see The Fairfield Ledger: M.U.M.’s newest building sets new green standards.

“Moving America Forward,” a national TV show hosted by William Shatner, to feature Fairfield

March 6, 2014

Fairfield to be featured on national TV
By ANDY HALLMAN for The Fairfield Ledger, Jan 30, 2014

Doug Llewelyn, left, interviewed Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, center, and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott last week in Los Angeles for the television show, “Moving America Forward.” The two men were interviewed as part of the show’s episode on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit. The episode will air later this year at a time and channel to be announced. Llewelyn is perhaps best known to television audiences for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner.

Doug Llewelyn, left, interviewed Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, center, and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott last week in Los Angeles for the television show, “Moving America Forward.” The two men were interviewed as part of the show’s episode on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit. The episode will air later this year at a time and channel to be announced. Llewelyn is perhaps best known to television audiences for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner.

In the past few years, Fairfield has been in the national spotlight as numerous television programs and magazines have publicized what makes this town such a great place to live.

This year appears to be no different. That’s because Fairfield will be featured on a television show called “Moving America Forward,” hosted by William Shatner. The show will focus on the town’s entrepreneurial spirit and how this affects the residents’ quality of life.

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott flew to Los Angeles last week to be interviewed for the show. Their interviewer was Doug Llewelyn, who is most famous for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner, which aired from 1981 to 1994.

The episode about Fairfield will air on YouToo TV this spring. After it airs on television, viewers can see it on the website YouTube.

Lippincott said he and Malloy chatted with Llewelyn for a few hours before taping began to give him an idea of what Fairfield is all about.

“We touched on what it’s like to live in Fairfield, and we covered the areas that make us a great place to live,” said Lippincott.

Fairfield will be the first town “Moving America Forward” has featured on its show, which normally highlights the accomplishments of individual business owners rather than whole cities. Lippincott said the show’s producers heard about Fairfield through the Smithsonian Magazine, which in 2013 named Fairfield the seventh-best small town to visit.

“Fairfield was recognized for fostering the environment that helped these businesses grow,” he said. “What makes this a unique recognition is we have 9,000 people but we have accomplished so much. That is, at its core, why we were recognized by ‘Moving America Forward.’”

Malloy said he began talking to the show’s senior producer Ruth Collins last year, who informed him Fairfield was a candidate for a spot on the show.

“She said they had done some research on our city and they found it fascinating, with all these different elements such as the entrepreneurship, sustainability and arts and culture,” he said. “She said, ‘We’d like to know more,’ so we sent them links to some of our websites.”

Collins said Fairfield was chosen from a pool of 70 candidate cities.

Malloy said Fairfield is often referred to as “Silicorn Valley,” a play on “Silicon Valley” near San Francisco, for the numerous technology and computer companies that were born here. He said many of those businesses were started in the late 1980s by software engineers educated at Maharishi International University, now known as Maharishi University of Management.

“Everyone who came to study and wanted to stay had to bring their own livelihood with them,” he said. “Because there were so many people who had a background in computers, there were a good dozen to 20 companies that were developing software. It became a phenomenon that these companies were originating from a small town in Iowa.”

Malloy said a financial journalist was doing a story about the entrepreneurial boom in Fairfield at the time, and referred to this technological enclave as the country’s “Silicorn Valley.”

During their interview with Llewelyn, Malloy and Lippincott mentioned not only the town’s strong IT sector but also its many other strengths such as manufacturing, tourism, education and agricultural economy.

The taped interview with Llewelyn lasted 15-20 minutes. Although Shatner is the host of the show, he was not on set for the interview. He introduces the clips and provides commentary throughout the show.

Malloy was filmed answering a set of questions about Fairfield. Shatner will be filmed asking those questions, and the two clips will be spliced together to make it appear Shatner is talking directly to Malloy.

Lippincott said the answers he and Malloy gave to the questions were not scripted, although the producer had an idea of what they would say from talking about their town with Llewelyn that morning.

In addition to the interviews with Malloy and Lippincott, the segment on Fairfield will include still photographs and silent camera footage of noteworthy places and events in town to be shown during the interviews. Malloy said he and others submitted videos to the producer, and the producers will get more video footage on their own later.

Even if residents miss the opportunity to watch the episode when it’s broadcast on television, chances are they will be able to view the video later. That’s because three Fairfield entities pooled their resources to purchase the video to use as a promotional tool once “Moving America Forward” is done with it.

Rights to the video cost $11,700, and the three entities who chipped in to purchase it were the city of Fairfield, the Fairfield Economic Development Association and the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau. The three entities will own the video collectively.

Malloy said he felt the asking price to purchase the video was a bargain. He said he is glad the city will be able to show the “Moving America Forward” segment on the Fairfield Media Center’s public access cable channel, FPAC–9.

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Related articles on Fairfield, Iowa’s entrepreneurial spirit:

@DMRegister’s Rox Laird Features Fairfield, Iowa’s Civic Collaboration and @MaharishiU’s Sustainable Living Center

Des Moines Register: Oprah in Iowa: Fairfield meditation segment airs Sunday

The Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively

See an article on The Power of the Entrepreneurial Class: Turning Fairfield, Iowa into a Rural Renaissance City, by Burt Chojnowski, published in the Economic Development Journal.

@DMRegister’s Rox Laird Features Fairfield, Iowa’s Civic Collaboration and @MaharishiU’s Sustainable Living Center

December 18, 2013

On the first Sunday in November 2013, the Des Moines Sunday Register published an Opinion piece about Fairfield, a city of around 10,000 in southeast Iowa. Written by editorial columnist Rox Laird, it praises Fairfield’s ability to work together as a community to manufacture dreams. Laird tours the town with Mayor Ed Malloy, who points out many cultural assets, creative entrepreneurial businesses, and green features for energy self-sufficiency, part of an overall plan for the city. They visit a new and unique net-zero classroom building housing the Sustainable Living Center on the campus of Maharishi University of Management in the north part of town.

MUM obtained permission to make this wonderful article available as a reprint. Here is a PDF of the article: Fairfield defines community action, also available on the MUM website link.mum.edu/GreenFF.  A photo of the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center replaces the Register file photo in the article. The same photos of the Sustainable Living Center and Mayor Malloy appear in the reprint along with FACC and MUM logos and contact information at the end. For additional information, I’ve listed some articles at the bottom related to some of the topics mentioned in the Op-Ed piece.

Laird: Fairfield defines community action
Jefferson County town shows how to ‘manufacture dreams’ through civic collaboration

Nov. 3, 2013 3:45 PM
Shops on the square in downtown Fairfield, a mixture of classic Main Street Iowa and international fare. / Register file photo

Shops on the square in downtown Fairfield, a mixture of classic Main Street Iowa and international fare. / Register file photo

Written by ROX LAIRD

Fairfield, Ia. – Drive around this Jefferson County seat with Mayor Ed Malloy and you begin to understand why this town is considered unique in Iowa.

The obvious reason is the presence of Maharishi University of Management that is a magnet for Transcendental Meditation devotees from around the world, which is evident as Malloy wheels around the downtown square. It is lined with unusual shops, art galleries, bookstores, restaurants offering international fare, imported chocolates and teas. A monthly First Friday Art Walk draws a cross-section of the community and people from around the state.

Just off the square, across from the Jefferson County Courthouse, sits the community center and the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. It is home to what is described as the only professional live musical theater company in the state and attracts a variety of performing arts events.

A couple of blocks on is Malloy’s oil trading company, housed in an office building built according to the ancient Indian principles of Maharishi Vedic architecture that seeks harmony with the energy of the sun and nature for the well-being of occupants. Many examples of Vedic design can be seen in Fairfield and in Maharishi Vedic City, incorporated in recent years.

Fairfield is a town of contrasts, where you can see a BMW parked on the street next to a pickup truck. The native population has increasingly accepted immigrants who brought a different culture and an entrepreneurial spirit that invigorates the city’s economy. Fairfield has earned a long list of plaudits in numerous “best of” categories, including the April Smithsonian magazine’s list of “The 20 Best Small Towns in America.”

Fairfield lives green

Among the striking things about Fairfield is its ethic of self-sufficient sustainability. This manifests itself in many ways, such as a cooperative organic food market and a solar-powered radio station run by volunteers. Solar panels sprout from roofs and from freestanding structures. The city of Fairfield has an energy efficiency coordinator, whose salary is shared by the city and by Iowa State University’s extension service.

In the city’s industrial park, Sky Factory uses backlit photography to create outdoor scenes for ceilings of hospitals and medical clinics. The plant has set aside space next to its parking lot for an array of solar panels and a garden tended by employees.

On the opposite side of town, a mostly off-the-grid subdivision called Abundance EcoVillage captures energy from the wind and the sun, and draws air for heating and cooling from the Earth.

This conservation ethic runs deeper in the community than these outward symbols of alternative and renewable energy sources. As a participant in Alliant Energy’s Hometown Rewards program, Fairfield took on a challenge beginning on Earth Day in 2012 to reduce its overall energy consumption by 4 percent. It hit that and exceeded it: Fairfield residents shaved electric and natural gas consumption by 8.5 percent and businesses cut theirs by 8 percent.

Working with Alliant, which provided marketing and technical support, the city held workshops for residents and business owners, some 4,500 participants pledged to meet energy savings goals by doing laundry in cold water and installing compact fluorescent light bulbs. A fund was created to make loans for new windows and insulation.

The total savings of 10.2 million kilowatt hours of gas and electricity is enough energy to power 1,077 homes for one year, according to Alliant, which independently verified the energy savings. Besides the savings on power bills, Alliant dangled a carrot in the form of a grant of nearly $19,000, which the city put toward installation of solar panels on the roof of the Fairfield Library this summer.

Alliant Energy spokesman Justin Foss attributed the success of this impressive energy savings to the level of community engagement, working at a neighbor-to-neighbor level creating peer pressure that came from an active group that led the charge.

“This is a program that works really well for Fairfield,” Foss said. “You can’t do that in every community.”

A foot in both worlds

Ed Malloy is perhaps the best example of how Fairfield has melded small town Iowa values with the exotic culture inspired by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Malloy is an immigrant from New York, practices TM and lives in a spacious and handsome home built to the exacting Vedic principles. He moves comfortably among traditional and nontraditional Fairfield, which is evident from his support by voters for more than a decade.

Malloy says Fairfield’s can-do culture begins with setting ambitious goals, but achievements are celebrated by the entire community, not just the strong core of Transcendental Meditation followers fed by Maharishi University.

In Fairfield, Malloy said, “people go out and manufacture their dreams. When we all share the pride, that’s when everything changes.”

Classroom building is a lesson in sustainability

Fairfield, Ia. – Maharishi University of Management here set out three years ago to build a new classroom building for its sustainable living program that lived up to the department’s mission. The finished product may be the greenest building in Iowa.

The building is constructed of compressed-earthen blocks manufactured by students on site and load-bearing timbers consisting of full-size aspen tree trunks. It generates more energy than it consumes. It collects and treats rain­water from the roof for drinking and flushing. Daylight supplies two-thirds of light in classrooms and offices during the day. Passive and active solar energy is stored in 600 tons of earthen blocks and a 5,000-gallon water tank, which is supplemented with wind-generated electricity. It has a greenhouse for growing plants indoors and edible landscaping outdoors.

The Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center is performing exactly as intended. In fact, it is “exceeding our expectations in energy efficiency in cooling and heating seasons,” said Lawrence Gamble, professor of sustainable living at MUM and an irrepressible evangelist on the subject of renewable energy and natural resource conservation.

Standing beside the center’s electric meter outside the building recently, Gamble pointed to the spinning wheel that measures electric consumption. The wheel was going backward, however, meaning the building was returning power to the electric grid. In fact, according to Gamble, the center produces about a third more energy than it consumes. And it consumes less than a quarter of what an ordinary building of the same size would consume.

Besides employing nearly every imaginable green building technique, the Sustainable Living Center design follows the principles of Maharishi Vedic architecture, an ancient design philosophy from India that puts buildings in harmony with nature. It is hard to imagine a building that does a better job of meeting that goal.

The Smithsonian’s 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Fairfield, Iowa is in the Top 10 (No. 7)
Iowa Outdoors: Fairfield’s Abundance EcoVillage: Harmonious Living With Nature — Off The Grid
Video segments of Oprah’s Next Chapter on OWN: Oprah Visits Fairfield, Iowa—”TM Town”—America’s Most Unusual Town

A few selected Comments:

Chuck Offenburger · Top Commenter · Cooper, Iowa

Terrific look around Fairfield by Rox Laird. It’s been fun over the last two decades or so watching Ed Malloy develop as one of the most effective and most congenial leaders in Iowa. The whole extended Fairfield community has been very well-served by him — and he has frequently contributed his talent and insight to state-level initiatives, too.

Dan Piller · Sales Executive at TLC Vintage Collection

Remember the fuss four decades ago when the Maharishis took over the old Parsons College? You’d thought the Soviets were coming in. I am disappointed that the Beach Boys never set up their planned recording studio there.

Ed Malloy · Mayor, City of Fairfield at Fairfield, Iowa

Rox Laird did an outstanding job with the article and to have it recommended by my good friend Chuck Offenburger is icing on the cake. Thanks Chuck!

Gary Greenfield · Top Commenter · Works at Certified Teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique

Well-deserved praise. Fairfield continually strives to be a dynamic and creative community that embraces sustainable living.

June 2016, Des Moines Register business writer Kevin Hardy wrote an article on Fairfield: Why this Midwest town is thriving when so many aren’t, which was also posted in USA TODAY.

Maharishi University featured in ALT magazine

April 24, 2013

Journalism students from Grandview University in Des Moines, Iowa came to Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa to find out what we were all about. The result of that visit is this article, MAHARISHI, which can be found in Volume 7 of ALT Magazine. You can see it online, pages 25-26/33, http://altmagonline.com/Maharishi, and can download a PDF to see the layout as it appears in print on pages 46-49, http://altmagonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ALTVol7.pdf.

IMG_1157

Google describes Transcendental Meditation as “A technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation and repetition of a mantra.”

In a Southeastern Iowa town, TM, or Transcendental Meditation®, is the method the Maharishi community eats, sleeps and breathes.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed the TM technique that the students of the Maharishi University of Management, a liberal arts school (M.U.M.), use everyday to decompress and get away from the stresses of college and everyday life.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVES

Hannelore Clemenson, a 32-year-old student from Des Moines and single mother, has been a student for two years at MUM and practices TM daily.

Clemenson found Fairfield and TM by word of mouth. Her dance teacher suggested going to MUM and when she thought her son was missing out on “small town life” she made the trip to Fairfield and hasn’t left.

Clemenson said, “I came across this school ten years ago and it was always a possibility and something definitely different from all the other schools I had been to before. If I was going to go back to school with my son it was going to have to be a special place.”

The soft-spoken Clemenson said MUM provides students with a Consciousness-Based℠ education that helps get rid of fatigue and stress and keeps students awake in class. M.U.M. uses block scheduling, which means they have only one class a month and attend six days a week.

IMG_1110-300x200Clemenson said the classes are very hands on, which allows her to pursue music depending on which class she has that particular month. With the block scheduling, students take one class for an entire month, allowing them to do more in-depth projects.

Class is only part of the MUM college experience. Clemenson, along with the rest of the M.U.M. students, are required to take a six-week course that introduces the students to Maharishi’s knowledge. In the second week, students are taught how to meditate and learn the proper technique of meditation. Students are required to meditate for 20 minutes before coming to their morning class, and after their morning class is completed they do a ten-minute meditation, which Clemenson said is very helpful.

“That’s really benefited me, even though it’s not a full meditation. I have a lot of stomach problems, so when I started meditating before I went to eat it helped soothe me,” Clemenson said.

When the afternoon classes end around 2:45 p.m., students take a break and attend their second full meditation together.

Clemenson said, “It’s a really nice way to unwind and shake your eyes from the computer screen. It’s just 20 minutes, twice a day, it’s the most incredible thing. I’ve noticed it’s changed me little by little. All these things have improved; the way I operate, the way I think and react to things, it’s just happened and I’m grateful everyday that I do this.”

Clemenson said, “Learning TM was the best thing that’s happened to me; it’s sweet to have that be a part of everybody’s life.”

AHEAD OF ITS TIME

IMG_1143Have you ever been in a building that creates more energy then it uses? Or in a building that is held up by tree logs and made entirely of Earth blocks? It’s unlikely because many of us haven’t been to Fairfield, Iowa to visit Lawrence Gamble and his Sustainable Living Center.

The Sustainable Living Center on the Maharishi campus is a classroom, a workshop and an office building, all while not leaving behind a carbon footprint.

On a sunny day, the center will generate ten or twenty times more power than what is actually used and on an annual basis, the building produces 30% more than what they use, for not only electricity, but for heating and cooling as well. The building has produced 3,000 more kilowatts than what it’s used.

The building is one of a kind, made entirely of earth blocks that were formed by former M.U.M. students and large tree logs that support the building. Everything in the building is all-natural.

The paint that goes on these earth blocks is made of sand, chopped straw and cow manure which helps everything stick together. The building is heated by a flow of water running throughout the entire center and is lit only by strategically placed windows. In classrooms, the desks that students sit in are hand-made from wood.

MISTER GREEN

Gamble, the Curriculum Director for the Department of Sustainable Living, said, “A large percentage of energy in a building like this is for lighting, and there are environmental consequences for building solar panels and wind generators, so we want to use that energy really wisely.”

Gamble continued by saying the classrooms stay lit by, “Putting the windows in the right places.” The building has taller windows that allow more light to enter and the main corridor is designed to let light in.

Gamble said, “In our program, what we are designed to do is give students the skills to be successful in a world that doesn’t exist yet. We are giving them a way of looking at the world with a new set of eyes, and we are trying to give them a broad perspective.”

Sustainable Living Programs are comparable to environmental science classes, and the area that M.U.M. and Gamble decided to focus on was environmental problem solving.

“We rolled our sleeves up and got right to work asking ourselves what are the practical things we can start doing now,” Gamble said. “The development of consciousness, which is kind of the central unique feature of M.U.M., is essential to this whole process.”

Another feature to the Sustainable Living Center is the Greenhouse or student lounge. The windows in the Greenhouse face south and this is one of the main ways the building is heated. Solar panels sit on top of the Greenhouse and provide shade in the summertime. With the sun’s position in the summer, the panels shade the windows so that the building does not get unnecessary heat, keeping the building cool.

Gamble said, “We like to do a lot of project based learning. I’ve taken kids to an island off the coast of Alaska.”

He said that him as well as a group of students over a period of years, helped setup solar powered energy in an Alaskan Village.

The students that worked on that project learned how to install solar panels and when they returned they started their own company. Last year, they sold a million dollars worth of solar panels.

Gamble, as well as every other professor at M.U.M. believes TM is essential for a student to fully maximize their potential in the classroom.

Gamble said, “Transcendental Meditation has such a simple way of allowing your mind to settle down, get deep rest and have that experience of being inside you that everything in nature is connected. Then when you come out of that meditation and you study sustainable living, you are intellectually exploring how everything is connected.”

MEDITATION BENEFITS

Transcendental Meditation, TM, benefits more than studying habits. According to tm.org, the techniques help develop the brain and increase creativity and intelligence while improving decision making and problem solving skills.

THE BRAIN OF TM

Dr. Fred Travis, Director for the Center of Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at M.U.M. studies the brain to understand consciousness.

Travis said, “The brain is the interface between us and the world. The brain is a way that allows us to actually see the world and interact with the world.”

Travis, who taught at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, said M.U.M. is different from other places he’s taught at.

“It’s quite unlike any other place,” Travis said. “The students don’t have their heads on the table, they keep you on your toes with very challenging questions.”

Travis said that when the brain is stressed and tired, it doesn’t allow you to take in as much information as it would if you were rested and aware. By adding TM it opens the student’s mind and brain to an entirely new way of thinking.

Travis observed that stress takes frontal executive circuits off line and so keeps students from being able to see larger implications of what they are learning.  He noticed that the students he taught at Iowa Wesleyan were are able to follow the lecture, but he couldn’t tell them everything that he knew.

“What you would be giving them is very much superficial, facts and how the facts relate,” Travis said. “The more fundamental ideas of underlying principles and how this relates to the meaning of life and how it relates to the environment, you can’t go into that because they don’t have the framework to take it in.”

Travis believes that the scheduling at M.U.M. plays a major role in how the students succeed in the classroom.

“At M.U.M., students take one class at a time. Instead of juggling two or three courses at once, you can focus on one subject,” Travis said. “The part of your brain used when you focus is the memory center. The part of the brain during multitasking is that part of your brain that has to do with sequencing.”

Travis said, “TM practice adds another engine to learning. Learning requires localized areas of the brain to function. In contrast, TM practice is a process of transcending and the brain is restful and alert as suggested by global alpha brain coherence.”

With regular TM practice, these brain changes are seen during a person’s daily activity after meditation practice. This gives a new platform to see the world. You are more awake, and more alert.

Writers Joey Aguirre & Stephanie Ivankovich Designer Allie McFayden Photographer Stephanie Ivankovich

I asked Fred Travis to revise his quotes to appear closer to what he said. – Ken Chawkin

1. Dining Hall 2. Argiro Lobby Flags 3. SLC Tree Posts 4. SLC Earth Blocks 5. Veda Bhavan:CBCC

See this article from Drake University journalism honor students: Students find their centers at Maharishi.

Documentary shines a new light on rural energy

February 24, 2011

‘Sustain Angoon’ documentary shines a new light on rural energy

By Richard Radford | Capital City Weekly
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“December and the Meter’s Spinning Backwards,” Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Energy Coordinator Dan Lesh wrote on the Sustain Angoon blog. He included photographs of the frozen landscape surrounding the demonstration house – the home of Angoon elders Peggy and Kelly Williams – and a video that indeed showed the electric meter rotating counterclockwise.

This is no small feat for a community which has energy costs that can add up to as high as $1,200 a household a month, about 6 to 8 times more expensive than in the Lower 48. Angoon is heavily dependent on non-renewable resources, and combined with a shrinking population and high unemployment, keeping up with the bills can prove to be a challenge.

What sent the wheel of progress spinning forward and the meter backwards? The Sustain Angoon Project, which tackled the problem of energy usage from several angles, involving a combination of weatherization, energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. The efforts of the project have culminated in a film, which will be shown this week at a special screening in Juneau.

The project has combined the collective efforts of several organizations including the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, SEACC, the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority (THRHA), Angoon Business Center, and the Maharishi University of Management of Iowa.

The Williams’ house was fitted out with new insulation and siding, caulking and sealing and duct repair. Improved high-efficiency lighting and Energy Star appliances were installed, monitored by The Energy Detective, or TED 5000, system. Solar panels were put up, including a solar hot water system.

Solar power is not the first thing one might think of when talking about energy in Southeast Alaska, but Lesh said that the system appears to be operational and effective.

“When you’re talking about a place that pays five times as much for energy, it doesn’t matter if you get one sixth of the sun,” he said.

The meter actually does run backwards on sunny days, Lesh said, though of course in the winter there are few hours of daylight, so at least during this time of year the new equipment doesn’t cancel out all energy usage.

There have been a few issues working out all the details of monitoring the solar hot water system, though there is anecdotal evidence from the Williams family who noticed that their boiler doesn’t kick on during sunny days.

They also put up a wind tower and hooked it up to the local school, which charges batteries that can run the washing machines. They have yet to set up a monitoring system for that, but so far it seems to be working.

Lesh said that the problem of high energy bills can’t be solved by just turning the lights out before leaving a room. On average citizens in places like Angoon, served by the Inside Passage Electrical Cooperative, use far less energy than residents of places like Juneau.

“So they turn the lights off, they use everything sparingly, but they may have something that’s on that’s draining power or leaky windows,” he said. “But they are head and shoulders above us [who live in cities] in terms of a lot of types of behavior in terms of energy efficiency.”

Renewable energy systems and weatherization are expensive, and Lesh said it will take time to work out how cost effective their implementations are.

“Not to say that our project should be replicated, but the kinds of discussions we’ve been generating should lead to more action along those lines,” he said. “Energy efficiency is low-hanging fruit that would make big differences in the villages.”

Newer to the project is Carrie Sykes, who started her position as the Business & Economic Development manager at Central Council in October. Sykes said she has worked with the THRHA on a joint application to expand similar ideas being explored in Angoon for other communities in Southeast with high energy costs like Kake and Hoonah.

Another project on the drawing board is a training program for local people in weatherization, which could help cut energy costs and provide jobs.

“When you put in this kind of stuff, you’ll need people who will be familiar in case something goes wrong,” she said.

Teaching and learning are the most important things to take away from the project as it progresses, Sykes said. The documentary will hopefully be a good tool to spark interest, especially with the younger generation.

“You really have to start educating, and start educating young,” she said. “We’re going to be getting the documentary to the schools, science teachers and all the tribes. We want to get it out there about all that can be done.”

Robert Gongwer, co-founder of the Iowa-based socially and environmentally conscious consulting firm Tidal Wave Group, said that there some in Angoon who doubted that the project would get pulled off, who were later “blown away when the electric meter started running backwards.”

“It was a big turning point, when it became real,” he said.

Gongwer co-directed the documentary, working on pre-production in Angoon in September of last year when the project was building up steam, and has recently put the final polish on the film. Coming from the outside, he was nervous about being able to give the best description of what was going on in Angoon. The goal was to be totally honest about the people, the community, and the energy providers.

He and his team wanted to make sure that the community was receptive to the project before getting involved. He was taken aback by the amount of hospitality shown to them by the residents of Angoon, regardless of any reservations they had about the potential of the project.

“We went to the [ANB Hall], and everyone was just so, so happy,” he said.

There is a respect for older people in Angoon, Gongwer said, and they are not only cared for, they are looked to for answers.

“It just really struck me as something that is really broken in the culture I’m from,” he said.

The concerns voiced by the elders of Angoon were first and foremost on Gongwer’s mind while working on the project.

“[An elder] told us her worst fear is to fly over Angoon with her grandchildren and tell them, ‘that’s where we used to live,'” he said.

The Sustain Angoon Project has shown the kinds of things that can be accomplished, Gongwer said, though there is still a lot more exploration to be done. The project isn’t the solution, but rather a demonstration of one take on a larger set of solutions. Maharishi University of Management Professor Lonnie Gamble, who also worked on the project, explained the situation as, “We don’t need a silver bullet, we need silver buckshot.”

“We’ve made some progress, that’s great,” Gongwer said, “but really the issue is how can we sustain progress? We just need to keep after it…maybe this [project] will help to change some laws, change some policies.”

“Sustain Angoon” will be shown at the Silverbow (120 Second Street) back room Thursday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a discussion with members of the project. For more information or to follow new developments of the project, go online at www.sustainangoon.org.

Richard Radford may be reached at richard.radford@capweek.com

There are additional photos for viewing at the top right of the article. Go to: Click Thumbnails to View. Click on a photo, then click on it again for a larger view.  Here are the descriptions to go with some of those photos: Work on the house got underway in early fall of 2010. During sunny days, the electric meter actually runs backwards now. The community of Angoon came together to work on the energy project. The Williams’ house was fitted out with new insulation and siding, caulking and sealing and duct repair. Improved high-efficiency lighting and Energy Star appliances were installed, monitored by The Energy Detective, or TED 5000, system. Solar panels were put up, including a solar hot water system.

This article was also published in The Washington Examiner
Film looks at energy-saving efforts in Angoon

In this September 2010 photo provided by Tlingit and Haida Central Council, workers with the Sustain Angoon Project talk in the southeast Alaska village of Angoon. The Sustain Angoon Project tackled the problem of energy usage in the village from several angles, involving a combination of weatherization, energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. The efforts of the project have culminated in a film.

Solar Energy to Power Completion of MUM’s Sustainable Living Center

July 19, 2010

Maharishi University of Management

MUM to Launch Renewable Energy System

Solar panels provide power to complete construction of Sustainable Living Center

 

Photo credit: Robbie Gongwer

Fairfield, Ia, July 20, 2010 – On Thursday, July 22, at 2 pm, Fairfield’s ‘green’ mayor, Ed Malloy, will flip the switch on the solar electricity of the Utility Cottage to use only renewable energy to power all the equipment needed to complete construction of Maharishi University of Management’s (MUM) new Sustainable Living Center. (SLC)

The Sustainable Living Center will set a new standard for green building in America by being completely off the grid with respect to electricity, heating and cooling, water, and waste, and will be the first of its kind on any campus anywhere in the world.

On Earth Day, Whole Tree Posts and Beams were put in place, walls were tilted up, and roof trusses were placed on top of them. The entire shell of the building is now complete and is expected to be ready for occupancy in late fall.

Four Building Philosophies

The Sustainable Living Center features four green building philosophies. It has been designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the highest standard for sustainable design and green building in the world. It will be one of the first three to achieve this. And it will be unique because it will be the first to combine that standard with the standards of LEED Platinum certification, Building Biology, and Maharishi Vedic Architecture.

Architects talk about 2030 as the year when all buildings will be built this way, sustainable and without a carbon footprint. But MUM is doing it now, with existing technologies and materials. “There’s no other building like this going up in the nation, or in the world for that matter, that we know of,” said nationally known green building expert Mike Nicklas, FAIA, founder and president of Innovative Design, the building’s Project Architects.

To date, Innovative Design has designed over 4750 buildings and more than 100 schools that use renewable energy solutions. Mike Nicklas is the Technical Architect for this project, and Jon Lipman, AIA of Fortune-Creating Buildings, is the Design Architect. Mr. Lipman was responsible for the initial concept, and for the design and Vedic architecture throughout the project.

A Building That Teaches

The Sustainable Living Center will serve students in the university’s Sustainable Living major. It will have classrooms, workshop, meeting room, greenhouse, kitchenette, research lab, recycling center, and offices, as well as east and west covered verandas and a porch on the north.

It has been designed as a building that teaches. In addition to embodying sustainability, it will allow students to monitor performance and energy efficiency and make adjustments.

“The Sustainable Living Center will be a living, evolving building,” said David Fisher, head of the MUM Sustainable Living Department, who helped plan the building. “The building itself is an educational tool, not just a passive one like most classroom buildings. It will provide participatory education where students will be continually adding to, or altering, the building and grounds as well as systematically checking its effectiveness.”

Off the Grid

The Sustainable Living Center will be completely off of the energy and utility grid. Every feature will exemplify healthy and sustainable green building — and will be geared to teaching those principles.

Construction uses all non-toxic materials from local sources, as defined by the Living Building Challenge requirements. All energy will be provided from solar panels on the building and from an outside wind turbine. Rainwater catchment will be the complete source of the building’s water, with purification of drinking water via ultraviolet technology. Wastewater will be treated onsite using a constructed wetland. Natural day lighting will illuminate the entire interior. Geothermal technology will assist with heating and cooling.

An Embodiment of Sustainability That’s Feasible and Practical

This achievement is remarkable because none of the systems in the building are new or experimental, according to developer and construction manager Dal Loiselle. “The Sustainable Living Center is being constructed using ‘state-of-the-shelf technologies,’” he said. “This building proves that we can meet our environmental goals for our built environment with the materials, technologies, and green building protocols we already possess.”

A Community Oriented Toward Sustainability

Sustainability has become a major focus at Maharishi University of Management, which has long used techniques for living in harmony with natural law, including the Transcendental Meditation technique and other Vedic technologies including Vedic Architecture. The University has filed a climate action plan to be 100% carbon neutral by 2020 as part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Fairfield, too, has taken a strong direction toward sustainability, hiring a sustainability coordinator and moving ahead with its Go Green Strategic Plan to become a sustainable city. In 2009, MSN.com named Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy as one of the nation’s 15 greenest mayors — alongside the mayors of New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.

“Our city will benefit enormously by having this building on the campus of MUM as a demonstration of a new standard of design and will reinforce our commitment in Fairfield to changing the culture towards a more sustainable future,” Mayor Malloy said.

Industry-Educational Partnerships Industry leaders in green technologies provide sponsorships

The Sustainable Living Center features four green building philosophies, is entirely off grid and has amassed an impressive list of leading corporate sponsors. These industry-educational partnerships showcase a new level of leadership, cooperation and sustainable capitalism unique to green building and sustainable development within the state, nation and world at large.

The Sustainable Living Center has benefited by in-kind donations from these nationally recognized leaders in green building materials: Serious Materials (high performance windows); Pittsburgh Corning (FoamGlas insulation); Gerdau AmeriSteel (rebar); United States Gypsum Corporation (Aqua Tough-paperless drywall); Green Building Supply; SpiderLath Inc (lath mesh to support exterior stucco); and GlobalWatt (PV panels).

GlobalWatt is excited about participating in this special project and is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor. MUM SLC will be one of the very first customers to receive PV panels off the line at their new Saginaw, Michigan manufacturing plant, a former automotive facility. “We are pleased to partner with MUM on this historic educational green building,” says GlobalWatt Director of Sales, Dave Slivinski.

Wege Foundation Grant

There seems to be a Michigan connection here. With GlobalWatt in Michigan, the Kresge Foundation is headquartered in metropolitan Detroit, in the suburb community of Troy, Michigan. They provided MUM with a Planning Grant, and possibly an upcoming Challenge Grant.

Another Michigan foundation, the Wege Foundation, provided a $100,000 grant to fund the Maharishi University of Management Sustainable Living Center to help it achieve the Living Building Challenge. Peter M. Wege, who built Steelcase, Inc. into the largest office-furniture manufacturer, is an environmentalist who founded the Wege Foundation to promote environmental activities primarily in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Steelcase, Inc. is headquartered. The board of the Wege Foundation made an exception and funded the MUM SLC in Fairfield, Iowa because it is a nationally significant sustainable building. This is the largest Foundation grant the Maharishi University of Management Sustainable Living Center has received to date. In appreciation for this gift the University will name the largest classroom in the Sustainable Living Center, the Peter M. Wege Classroom and Event Center.

The Building will also be a showcase for the public, and will feature meeting rooms, a real-time energy and renewable systems monitor, and displays of materials and building systems featured in the building to showcase partnerships with leading technologies and materials manufacturers. For more information please contact: Marco Sunseri @ 641-472-7000 x2449.

Available for media interviews: Sustainable Living department head David Fisher, construction manager Dal Loiselle, Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, and design architect Jon Lipman, AIA. Contact Ken Chawkin, Director of Media Relations.

• • •

Also available here: http://www.mum.edu/sustain/slc and http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/07/prweb4290894.htm

See KTVO News Report: Solar power at Maharishi University With a flip of the switch, solar power is taking over one construction site in the Heartland. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU69q2P_R4c

Hollywood Today reports on American Indian Conference

September 20, 2009


American Indian Conference to Focus on Health, Sustainability

September 20, 2009

Stocel+drum

STOLCEL of the WSANEC First Nation performs traditional recitation at international conference in Holland

Leaders of Native Indian tribes from around the US and Canada will gather on the campus of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, for an international conference September 25-27 entitled “Building Healthy, Sustainable American Indian Communities.”

Conference speakers include Joe A. Garcia, president of the National Congress of American Indians; Robert Cook, president of the National Indian Education Association; Lucille Echohawk, strategic advisor for the Casey Family Programs; and Kevin Skenandore, acting director of the Bureau of Indian Education.

Conference hosts and participants include the Hocak Elders Council, Inc., the Indian Health Services (IHS), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIE), Winnebago Tribal Health Services (WTHS), the Winnebago Treaty Hospital-IHS, and the David Lynch Foundation.

For more information see conference website and video on TM and Diabetes Among Native Americans: http://www.americanindiansustainableconference.org/

See Indian Country Today article, Sustainability quest: http://bit.ly/4vNhWo

Also News From Indian Country article, Indian Country leaders meet in Iowa to explore new approaches to sustainable communities: http://bit.ly/JUOM7

Canadian First Nations participants include STOLCEL [John Elliott], Tekahnawiiaks [Joyce King], and Tim Paul. STOCEL is a cultural and language custodian for his [Saanich] People and speaks extensively on culture and language and history; Tekahnawiiaks [Joyce King] is currently the Director of the Akwesasne Justice Department and is on the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne; and Tim Paul, is Executive Director of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council of New Brunswick. http://mncc.ca/

STOLCEL will be receiving an honorary Ph.D. from M.U.M. for his lifelong work to revive the mother tongue of the Saanich People, his contribution as Co-Founder of FirstVoices, the world’s first web-based Aboriginal language archive, and for his discovery of the connection between the traditional language of his people and the underlying intelligence of Nature available in the sounds and structure of Veda, which he made in collaboration with M.U.M. founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. [See BACKGROUNDER on STOLCEL]

Tekahnawiiaks [Joyce King] will be speaking twice at the conference: on Education, and on Safeguarding Culture and Language. She lives on the Akwesasne Reserve near Cornwall, Ontario, along the border between Canada and NY State. Her bio is available online: <http://www.tekahnawiiaks.com/bio.html>.

Tim Paul will speak on his own experience with TM and the lowering of his blood sugar levels, as well as his keen interest in the “eco village” model at MUM, and the desire of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council to incorporate many of the “sustainable technologies” demonstrated there, in his own Maliseet communities throughout New Brunswick.

The conference will showcase Consciousness-Based education, prevention-oriented health care, renewable energy, organic agriculture, and cultural preservation.

Researchers will also present the results of several controlled studies on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation® technique for reducing acute stress and behavioral problems among hundreds of at-risk American Indian youth at the Winnebago (Nebraska), Pine Ridge (South Dakota), and Passamaquoddy (Maine) reservations.

Findings to date show the Transcendental Meditation technique promoted higher scores on standardized state tests of mathematics and reading, 25% less absenteeism, a 20% drop in disciplinary incidents, and 30% higher graduation rates among the meditating young people compared to controls.

“The timing is perfect for this conference because the need is so great among the tribes,” said John Boncheff, who is co-director of the Transcendental Meditation program at the Winnebago reservation. “The Transcendental Meditation technique is not only helping students perform better in school, but it’s also helping both adults and children to overcome the terrible epidemic of diabetes, which strikes up to 80 percent of all American Indians.”

Dr. Boncheff said that it’s also helping American Indians reconnect with their spiritual heritage and traditional culture.

—————————–

BACKGROUNDER

STOLCEL [John Elliott]

(Photos available upon request)

STOCEL is a descendant of the hereditary family of Chiefs of the WSANEC [Saanich] People and lives on the Tsartlip Reserve near Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He is the Co-Founder of ‘First Voices’, the world’s first web-based Aboriginal language archive. This web-based archive allows predominantly oral tradition languages of any aboriginal nations to be recorded, uploaded, saved, and learned in perpetuity by future generations online, rather than becoming obscure or obsolete when the Elders or fluent speakers pass away. As a result of his initial inspiration, there are now over 60 First Nations archiving their languages online, with 35 of those now publicly available for First Nations’ youth and non-mother tongue speakers to learn their languages: <http://www.firstvoices.com/>.

STOCEL is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Language for the First Nations Education Council for British Columbia, as well as the Chair of the Saanich Native Heritage Society, and is an active member on the Board of Governors of the First People’s Cultural Foundation. He has been teaching, developing curriculum, and preserving aboriginal languages for thirty years.

STOLCEL holds First Nations’ Language Certification from the British Columbia College of Teachers. He has taught in all grades and is now teaching Grades 7-10 in the SAANICH Tribal School as well as SENTOTEN for adults at the University of Victoria.

STOLCEL is being honored with of the degree of Doctor of Natural Law Honoris Causa by Maharishi University of Management for his work to bring out the connection of traditional language and the underlying field of Nature that upholds every culture in peace and progress.

In STOLCEL’s words: “There is never time enough time in the day for all the work that has to be done. Our languages are the key to ancient knowledge. Inside each language is the pattern of how to live in harmony with the earth and all the living things. More today, than ever, this knowledge is needed. Each time another language dies forever, our ancient connections to all life, our knowledge of the plants the animals, the trees and our mother earth is lost.”

Canadian Contact: Christopher Collrin, 506-471-5598, collrin@gmail.com

US Contact: Ken Chawkin, 641-470-1314, kchawkin@mum.edu

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY: Sustainability quest: Tribes to gather for conference of meditation and renewal

September 11, 2009

Indian Country Today

Sustainability quest

Tribes to gather for conference of meditation and renewal

By Rob Capriccioso

Story Published: Sep 15, 2009

FAIRFIELD, Iowa – Organizers are preparing for a unique gathering of tribal elders, leaders and members to focus on building sustainable communities through meditation, renewable energy, organic agriculture and cultural preservation.

The event, billed as the “International Conference on Building Healthy, Sustainable American Indian Communities,” is largely being put together by the Hocak Elders Council, the Ho-Chunk Elders Advisory Council, the David Lynch Foundation and members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

It will be held at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa Sept. 25 – 27. Planners expect hundreds of participants to attend.

“We are very excited to be able to help offer this one-of-a-kind experience,” said Bob Roth, vice president of the David Lynch Foundation, which focuses on spreading scientifically-proven stress-reduction Transcendental Meditation technique to at-risk youth.

The meditation techniques focus on regular, quiet reflection times aimed at reducing stress and its harmful health impacts.

Studies have shown the methods to have health benefits, such as curbing behavioral disorders in youth and reducing the need for insulin in those with Type 2 diabetes.

Planners with the foundation are using the conference as a platform to highlight their commitment for the past three years to a project called the “Model American Indian Community Initiative” on the Winnebago Reservation.

The project strives to help at-risk youth relieve stress through meditation. It has achieved some promising results which conference organizers are eager to share.

John Boncheff, an event organizer who co-directs the Winnebago project, said Indian youth in the program are not only doing better in school, they are absent less and have a better chance of graduating.

Esteemed Indian leaders have taken note. Joe A. Garcia, president of the National Congress of American Indians; Robert Cook, president of the National Indian Education Association; Lucille Echohawk, a strategic planner for Casey Family Programs; and Kevin Skenandore, acting director of the Bureau of Indian Education are scheduled to attend and present at the sustainability gathering.

The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine have started similar projects, hoping for equally positive results. Planners said many more tribal leaders have requested information.

Roth said it has been an honor to see more tribes get involved and for Native Americans to teach each other the benefits of healthy meditation and its similarity to some traditional spiritual beliefs.

Prosper Waukon, a leader with the Hocak Elders Council and a citizen of the Winnebago Tribe, said the project has also attracted keen interest from his tribe’s elders.

In 2007, Waukon said several older tribal members took a trip to Maharishi University to learn about transcendental meditation, which the institution strongly promotes. Many were suffering from debilitating side effects of diabetes and wanted to understand ways to meditate to improve their well-being.

Some of the elders have since been able to dramatically better their health outcomes, and some rely much less on diabetes medications, Waukon said.

“Many elders found there was something missing with medication alone. Using meditation to relieve stress ended up helping them connect with traditional ways. It has been a win-win situation.”

As a part of studying the elders’ progress, IHS has contributed $560,000 to the project in in-kind testing services. They are hopeful that IHS may end up promoting the program to more tribes in the future upon seeing positive results.

Information about the elder diabetes program will also be highlighted at the conference.

Waukon said the event won’t just be about promoting sustainability through meditation. It will also feature sessions on organic farming, wind and solar energy development and cultural preservation.

“These are areas of sustainability that all connect to each other,” he said, adding that experts in the various fields will be in attendance.

Boncheff would like the conference to raise awareness of the Winnebago project’s success and to see what can be done to take it to the next level. He is hopeful that at least seven more tribes launch similar sustainability projects by next year.

For people who can’t afford to attend the conference, it will be Web cast online. Registration information and more details are also available online.

On February 1, 2012, Indian Country Today published an article, Transcendental Meditation Combating Diabetes in Indian Country, by Mary Annette Pember.


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