Augsburg News

News Archives - 2004

Tom Ruffaner, Metro-Urban Studies graduate, is helping to make Augsburg College a sustainable urban environment

February 2004

Tom Ruffaner standing in front of Franklin Lightrail station.Thanks much to Tom Ruffaner, ’98 graduate of the Metro Urban Studies program and Custodial Supervisor for the college, Augsburg is taking definitive steps toward reducing its environmental footprint on the community.

After four years as a community organizer in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis, working with citizens to reduce crime and increase a sense of community, Tom pushed to promote sustainability at Augsburg. After he spearheaded the Waste-Wise audit on campus, the college committed itself to reducing its use of natural resources, minimizing the use of chemicals, promoting alternative transportation modes, and boosting its recycling program. In addition to being kind to the environment, such changes have saved the college money. In addition, as a result of a Neighborhood Sustainability Conference held at Augsburg, Tom worked on developing Minneapolis' sustainable initiatives.

Ruffaner finds Augsburg’s city setting to be the ideal environment for an Metro-Urban Studies major. “Being located near the center of the city, we see first hand the issues that face a metropolitan setting. As in any large city, parking and public transportation are always at the forefront.” Ruffaner also served on the advisory group to help design the Light Rail Train station located at Franklin Avenue near the Augsburg campus. “We wanted to make sure that it worked well for the community, that it was safe and that the future growth of the neighborhood was taken into consideration.”

Tom always had an interest in city planning. After a stint in the Navy and years at NASA in Washington, his education and passion for affecting positive change in the community have come together to help him put his own footprint on the Augsburg campus and beyond.