Meet the 2017 Trip Leaders

Meet Kaya Baker.

Senior | Biology & Spanish | HILT: Portland — Minimalism & Mindfulness 


Along with planning and leading the HILT for this year, I am involved/have been involved in a variety of activities across campus, such as:

  • Student Coordinator of Eco-Representatives (position under Res-Life aimed to promote and foster inquiry in sustainable living through holding educational events and creating sustainability initiatives)
  • Presenter at Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference 2016 in Boston
  • 12 hours volunteering as an environmental education leader at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
  • Captain of women’s cross country running team
  • Volunteering: Special Olympics, Little Free Garden Build, Red River Market Zero-Waste Initiative, Feed My Starving Children Concordia College Student Environmental Alliance (student organization)
  • Women’s hockey 2013-2015
  • Founder of the Happy Harvesters Garden Club Co-Founder of Nature Nerds, a campus club aimed to promote ecological literacy and foster mindfulness
  • F-M Sustainability Network Food drive organizer of the 2016 100-Mile Market, an annual community farmers’ market held at Concordia College that showcases food and products from farmers and artists within a 100 mile radius of Moorhead

I frequently find myself in one of two situations: class distracted by thoughts of like… All of the disposable coffee cups I see on any given day. What would it take to get my peers to use a reusable mug? Talking, talking, talking to anybody and everybody I run into. Everyone is beautiful and everyone is important because they have a story. I will talk about the whether if you want to, but I’m most interested in tickling out passions in people.

I am most eager to visit the Rocky Mt. Buddhist Center! There, we will meditate and converse with people of the buddhist community in Missoula, MT.

Meet Brett Drevlow.

Senior | Environmental Policy | HILT: Portland — Minimalism & Mindfulness 


Leading a HILT relates to my passions in community and civic engagement, and my want to drive positive change in any political climate. I am a Campus Co-President and a Member of the State Board of Directors of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG); an organization that practices civic engagement and student empowerment in positive change through policy and advocacy. I am one of several sustainability interns, with my job focusing on assisting in the reporting process for the college to receive a sustainability rating and the measurement of greenhouse gases. Outside of campus, I hold credentials to work with LEED, as a Green Associate, to consult using the credit system as standards for homes that approach green building. I spend a significant amount of time finding ways to get donated or affordable consultation and guidance easily available for building owners interested in improving building efficiency and sustainability. In my spare time, I act as a community activist, assisting in planning a variety of actions with a core group of activists in the Fargo/Moorhead community.

I was interested in leading a HILT because it would give me the opportunity to offer my knowledge and help groom the future leaders of the college. The wonderfully cyclical issue with leaders in the college is that you will always need new ones because your current and former ones are stepping into the world to make a difference as a leader, post-graduation. HILTs give the current leaders the opportunity to lead, teach, and interact with students. I loved the idea of picking a topic and building a trip that I knew would speak to college students on a level that they would be receptive to working with. By building affordable student led trips specifically targeted with sending message in a way students want to receive it, collaborative opportunities become present. Not only do collaborative opportunities groom discourse and dialogue, they groom leaders that collaborate which each other. This fortifies a strong future leadership base on campus between different disciplines.

There’s definitively one part of the trip that I’m most excited for. I spent time trying to find an experience on this trip that students wouldn’t forget. I was able to find an entire tiny house village that we were able to rent one of our nights near Portland, close the base of Mount Hood. This night will put my love for mountains, passion for sustainable housing, and minimalism together in one experience. I’m also excited to hear the idea of students and find ways to bring those ideas in the form of change back to campus.

Meet Sam Ferguson.

Senior | Environmental Policy & Global Studies | HILT: Detroit — Environmental Justice & Social Activism


I came into Concordia as undecided, but was actively thinking about pursuing a double major in Business and Psychology. I hadn’t seriously thought of pursuing anything environmental related until after landing a job at a local park near my house the summer after sophomore year. For some reason, when people came to do the regular water safety check at our swimming beach, I felt that I could see myself doing that in the future. It was this spark that made me switch to environmental studies, kickstarting my leadership and passion for sustainability. I became heavily involved on campus and, to this day, am very involved. Sophomore year, I served as the Eco-Representative for Livedalen Hall, joined the Student Environmental Alliance (SEA), and went on my first HILT to San Fransisco which focused on organic farming. After studying abroad in India fall of my junior year, I became very interested in the ways in which many forms of injustice intersect, which is where my passion for environmental justice comes from. I worked for a year as an intern for Cornucopia, Concordia’s organic garden on campus. Through that position, I presented a poster at the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education conference in Baltimore. Currently, I am SEA’s Co-President, am a resident at the EcoHouse, and serve as Sustainability Representative for student government. All of these experiences have culminated into this trip, as I am utilizing the skills, knowledge, and abilities I have gained through past leadership experiences to pursue this endeavor.

I was interesting in leading a HILT because I had been on two trips in the past and had great experiences on them both. HILT is such a unique and fantastic opportunity for students from many different majors to have fun, meet new people, engage in thoughtful dialogue, and experience a new topic that they may or may not have been familiar with beforehand. I find the whole idea of a student taking initiative to plan and lead the trip as another reason I was drawn to it. I feel that there is a lot of freedom to explore new places and new ideas, pursing a passion of the individual leading the trip. Since much of my passion lies in environmental justice, it was easy for me to choose a topic and then everything else kind of fell into place when doing more research on the places we could visit.

When most people hear that I am leading a trip to Detroit, they have a negative reaction because of the city’s history of violence, crime, and overall injustice. However, my choice was very intentional. I wanted to choose a place that would challenge students and myself. The topic of environmental justice can be very tricky because of ties to race, privilege, and power. I made sure to connect with organizations where our group could help out and make a difference, as well as learn about the topics. The itinerary is balanced with work, play, education, and exploration. There are many, many things I am looking forward to on the trip, but I think I am most excited to help out at the organization Voices for Earth Justice, where the group is doing a much-needed task by helping with the facility’s garden chores.


One thought on “Meet the 2017 Trip Leaders

  1. I love seeing your experiences and their affect on not only those in attendance but those family and friends that are able to share your experiences.


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