The Environmental Institute at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has a new sign this summer.
Coal Gass, a 2017 graduate of the Environmental Science program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College who is completing a summer internship in the college’s Environmental Institute, spent about 25 hours creating and painting a new sign marking the Environmental Institute’s building location on the south side of campus.
Coal is a former president of both the Art Club and Environmental Science Club student organizations at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, and was able to combine two passions into one project that solved a small problem. Coal said that it was difficult for students and community visitors interested in participating in Environmental Science Club activities to find the Environmental Institute building where club meetings are held.
Courtney Kowalczak, director of the Environmental Institute, wanted to have a sign painted to raise the visibility of the institute. She knows the new sign will help raise awareness about the Environmental Institute and the educational programming and recreational opportunities to get outside that it provides to the campus and the community.
“I wanted to showcase the talents of our students like Coal who are making such a difference on our campus through their talent and passion,” said Kowalczak. “The sign turned out to be just wonderful and I could not be happier with the end result.”
Gass knew it was important to include tribal aspects in the sign’s design, so the medicine wheel was a logical choice. The prominent symbol of native American culture is commonly interpreted to symbolize the four directions (north-south-east-west) or the four elements (air-earth-fire-water). Coal wanted to add some colors to the sign, and included some flowers that are similar to those often depicted in Native American art.
“I was excited to do this project. It is another positive change on campus that I was able to be a part of, and something to be remembered by,” said Gass. “To me, it is somewhat of a lasting legacy.”
– by Michelle Kantonen, Student Assistant, FDLTCC Public Information Department
Coal Gass with Painted Sign

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