Decrease Pain at the Pump: Avoid the Pump

07/29/2011 § Leave a comment

This week, the Office of Sustainability interns heard about state and federal environmental policy from the Hoosier Environmental Council’s Jesse Kharbanda and Sen. Lugar’s senior policy analyst, Neil Brown. In preparing for this discussion, we read through a variety of documents including Sen. Lugar’s proposed energy legislation. In reading through Sen. Lugar’s “Practical Energy Plan,” I couldn’t help but notice the frequent use of the phrase, “to decrease pain at the pump” as justification for proposed higher fuel efficiency standards, alternative fuel research, and a decreased dependence on foreign oil.

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Modern career paths: curvy, not straight

07/28/2011 § Leave a comment

For the past couple of weeks, the Summer Sustainability Interns have been treated to a variety of guest speakers, including Bloomington and Indianapolis sustainability coordinators, local nonprofit leaders, and a policy analyst for Sen. Lugar.  My favorite question to ask of these folks is always, How did you arrive at your current position?

One trend has become apparent: the descriptor “unique” is not unique at all!  Most of these people prefaced their personal history of education and work experience by saying they had taken a rather unique – or at least roundabout – path to get where they are now.  As could be expected, many did not study environmental topics in college but have nevertheless applied their degree in economics, anthropology, etc. to their current career in sustainability.  After graduating from college, they typically took a circuitous pathway toward finding their place in this relatively new field of sustainability.

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Reducing Waste at IU… One Refillable Bottle at a Time

07/24/2011 § Leave a comment

Little known fact: you never have to pay more than $0.55 again for soda or tea at any RPS location on the IUB campus. What magical key can unlock this precious savings on your daily dose of caffeine?  An RPS refillable bottle…

RPS refillable bottles are available for purchase at the Wilkie, McNutt, and Wright c-stores.  The bottles cost $3.99, but you can use them the entire time you’re at IU.  Assuming you buy two drinks a day for $1.50 each, for every month you spend at IU without one of these bottles you’re losing $90!  Over the course of four years at IU (assuming no summer school), that’s equivalent to losing nearly $3,000!  (…and needlessly dumping nearly 2,000 cups into a landfill!)

$0.55 gets you a refill of any kind of soda, tea, or lemonade.  Learn more about the bottles here.

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This Week in Sustainability 7.18.11

07/18/2011 § Leave a comment

If you are interested in having an event sent out over the listserv, please send an email with the title, time, date, location and description to by the Saturday evening before your event occurs. Upcoming Events:

Thursday, July 21
Lunch and Learn at the Bryan House Garden

When: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Where: The Bryan House Garden

Description: To fulfill its mission of growing for the IUB campus and engaging the community in the process, the Bryan House Garden will host a Lunch and Learn for faculty and staff. IU Office of Sustainability intern and Garden Coordinator Stephanie Hopkins will lead a discussion about the importance of growing food for the campus community and incorporating the food growing process into IUB’s academic initiatives. Shade and salad greens from the garden will be provided, just be sure to pack a lunch! For more information or to RSVP, please email:

This Week in Sustainability 7.12.11

07/12/2011 § Leave a comment

If you are interested in having an event sent out over the listserv, please send an email with the title, time, date, location and description to by the Saturday evening before your event occurs.

Upcoming Events:
Thursday, July 14
Bloomington Food Policy Council Meeting
When: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Where: McCloskey conference room of the Showers Building, 401 North Morton Street
Description: Attendees will have the opportunity to help fine-tune the mission statement and get involved with one of the working groups (governance, advocacy, education, and assessment).

IUOS in Indianapolis: Recycling Center

07/12/2011 § Leave a comment

This week the Indiana University Office of Sustainability interns ventured to Indianapolis to learn more about  Energy Solutions, Republic Recycling Center, and The Nature Conservancy. Interesting discussion was generated from meeting with representatives from all 3 organizations. It was great to learn more about wind and solar energy, and discuss the features of the LEED certified building and green roof at the Nature Conservancy– but throughout the day our conversation seemed to drift back to what we saw at the recycling center.

Rachel Fullmer, Stephanie Hopkins and Rachel Abrahams getting ready to tour the recycling center. (left to right)

I have always had mixed emotions about recycling. There is no doubt in my mind that we should be attempting to reuse plastics, glass, aluminum, paper products and other recyclable material that already exists from current production of these goods; reusing these materials to divert them from landfills and avoid the destruction of more raw material resources is undoubtedly a good thing. However in encouraging material reuse, recycling seems to create a few negative side effects along the way.

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The Nature Conservancy: Part of the Natural Environment

07/08/2011 § Leave a comment

This past week the Indiana University Office of Sustainability interns took a trip up to Indianapolis to learn about three companies working in the sustainability field. They included: Energy Solutions, Republic Recycling Center, and finally The Nature Conservancy. As we walked the halls the Efroymson Conservation Center, home of the Indiana Nature Conservancy, I felt as though I wasn’t in an actual building. This may sound strange, but bear with my explanation. Typically, an individual walks from the “outside” into a building- making them “inside.” When I walked in, however, nothing seemed to change. It was as if the Center was within, and part of, the natural environment, rather than separate from it. Here’s why. « Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Sustainability 7.6.11

07/06/2011 § Leave a comment

If you are interested in having an event sent out over the listserv, please send an email with the title, time, date, location and description to by the Saturday evening before your event occurs. 

Upcoming Events:

Thursday, July 21 
Lunch and Learn at the Bryan House Garden

Led by Bryan House Garden Coordinator and IU Office of Sustainability intern, Stephanie Hopkins
When: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Where: The Bryan House Garden
Description: Bring your lunch and a friend and join us for a discussion about the pilot campus garden at the Bryan House. We’ll talk about the importance of growing food for our community and incorporating it into IUB’s academic initiatives.  A small gardening activity will follow the discussion.
RSVP to « Read the rest of this entry »

Utility Use on Campus

07/05/2011 § Leave a comment

IU's Central Heating Plant provides steam to the campus that is used to heat buildings and make hot water. The plant uses both coal and natural gas.

Hello.  My name is Nolan Hendon.  My internship duties fall under the broad rim of the label “Utilities Conservation Intern.”  Much of what this means is that I pass away hours staring at a screen filled past capacity with Excel Spreadsheets; parse through formulas determining years worth of  water, electric, condensate, and gas use for nearly all of the campus’s buildings; and copy and paste cell after cell to my own spreadsheets where I can analyze the data further.  All this is done with the aim of capturing what the school has saved in water and electricity since the inception of the IU Energy Challenge in 2006.  I was surprised to learn that no one had yet calculated such a figure, and even more surprised to learn what would be involved in computing it.  It would be relatively easy to determine the overall savings during the twenty-eight days of each Challenge since 2006, but our goal also involved capturing the savings during non-Energy Challenge months that may have been a result of behavioral changes learned during the Challenges.  Thus far, after looking at only at Academic Buildings, we have found huge savings in both water and electricity since the start of the Energy Challenge, both during and in between Challenges.  I am currently analyzing RPS (Residential Programs and Services) buildings to see if similar trends have been occurring there. « Read the rest of this entry »

Sustain-Ability and the First Year Experience

07/01/2011 § Leave a comment

Griffy Woods, home to the IU Research and Teaching Preserve and site of the first-ever IUBeginnings program focused on sustainability.

My name is Bridget Flynn and this summer I am the Sustainability and First Year Experience Intern. I am working on many different projects this summer, including a Green Dorm Certification Program and research on how other universities integrate sustainability into their first year programming. One project that I am particularly excited about right now is the IUBeginnings trip that IOUS and the Office of First Year Experience have collaborated to put on. IUBeginnings are five-day long trips for first year students that occur right before Welcome Week at the beginning of the fall semester. They provide new students an opportunity to get acquainted with other incoming students while participating in interesting projects related to a central theme. There are different focuses of IUBeginnings trips, such as the arts, leadership skills, outdoor adventure, and service.

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