Kobe, Lebron and the Stats of Sustainability

01/31/2012 § Leave a comment

by Ben Inskeep

Fact: Kobe Bryant is better than Lebron James.

Or is he? The criteria we use to compare these two athletes will likely determine our conclusion. Kobe has won five national championships.  But Lebron has better stats over his career in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks and steals. Kobe scored 81 points in a game and is a proven performer in clutch situations. But Lebron has won two Most Valuable Player awards to Kobe’s one.

So who wins the argument? On some metrics Kobe is more impressive, but if you look at different measures Lebron is clearly dominant. The point is that something as straightforward as determining who is a better basketball player isn’t actually quite so simple, even when you have a stack of statistics in front of you. It all depends in your definition of what makes a good basketball player. Is it winning championships? Having the best stats? Intangibles like “making your teammates better” and the ability to nail a last-second, game-winning shot? Or some combination of these things?

This sports example is analogous when we talk about trying to become a “leader in campus sustainability”. When comparing how sustainable IU is relative to other universities – or even just within our own university across time – it is challenging to determine who is more sustainable or if our university is becoming more sustainable every year. After all, there are many definitions of sustainability, each with different criteria for measuring it. For example, as IU continues to expand, it will add additional buildings, thereby increasing total energy consumption. Bad news for sustainability, right? But if IU switched from a primary energy source of coal to natural gas during that time period, its carbon emissions would fall dramatically – despite the increase in energy consumption.  Add another layer of analysis into the mix – for example, the environmental harm associated with hydraulic fracking used to extract natural gas – and things can get pretty hairy. « Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Sustainability 1.30.12

01/30/2012 § 1 Comment

This Week imgIf 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 susevent@indiana.edu by the Saturday evening before your event occurs.

 

IUOS Website | Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, January 31
Info Session for the Summer 2012 Internship Program in Sustainability

When: 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Where: E-House, the new home of the IU Office of Sustainability, 704 E 10th St
Description: Today we begin accepting applications for our sixth summer internship class, and we want to give you an opportunity to learn more about the program and the application process. We’ll be holding an info session this Tuesday, January 31st from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at E-House, the new headquarters for the IU Office of Sustainability.  Please join us for snacks from Bloomingfoods and to discuss:
-Sustainability 101:
What is the Office of Sustainability’s mission on campus, and how are students interns critical to our success?
-Internship Projects:
Sustainability interns take big ideas and work with campus and community stakeholders to make them a reality. Learn about summer projects like the Big Red Eats Green Fall Festival, our second annual celebration of restaurants and market venders who supply us with delicious local food, or the Bicycle Friendly Campus Initiative, a new steering committee aimed making biking easier and safer for our community.
-A Day in the Life of an Intern: Former and current interns will be on hand to discuss their experiences in the program and answer questions.
-Application tips:
IUOS staff will share suggestions for how to improve your application. A PDF version of the application (without position descriptions) is available for download here, and you can learn more about the program and application here. Check them out before the session, and come prepared with questions!
Click here to register!
Questions may be directed to Emilie Rex at ekrex@indiana.edu.

Wednesday, February 1
Whether to Weather Workshops for IU Students

When: 4:00 PM
Where: E-House, the new home of the IU Office of Sustainability, 704 E 10th St
Description: Tired of cold winter weather and high energy bills? Want to do something about it? Participate in a FREE winter weatherization workshop for IU students! You’ll get the opportunity to:
– Learn how to weatherize your home to make it more energy efficient
– Enjoy tasty snacks from Bloomingfoods
– Take home a weatherization kit that includes materials for weatherizing your own home, including: weatherstripping, insulation for light switches and electrical outlets, rope caulk, and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)

Click here to register. Questions may be directed to Rachel Irvine at rmirvine@indiana.edu.

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Keeping up with the Dunns

01/29/2012 § 1 Comment

Did you know that Indiana University’s physical plant picks up 1,500 pounds of litter every 24 hours, which amounts to about 15,000 pieces of trash daily? Consequently, IU’s Office of Sustainability has created an open internship for an undergraduate student to take on the task of creating a more beautiful IU campus than ever before.

I was originally hired as an intern that dealt with evaluating current sustainability metrics, but IUOS’s Director, Bill Brown, called me shortly after my initial interview and asked if I could partake in a different role, a role that he has been thinking about for some time. I obviously was incredibly excited to venture into a zone that no prior intern had been exposed to and told him I would be in the office on Monday to discuss this new internship position.

I had previously worked on sustainable and environmental issues through McNutt Student Government, Gamma Phi Beta, and Greeks Go Green. Therefore an internship involving beautifying IU’s campus through the launch of an anti-litter campaign would be my next step in making sustainability differences on campus before my impending graduation date.

Indiana University is nationally acclaimed for its beautiful campus and is admired by many when visiting Bloomington. I know personally I was taken aback by IU’s marvel especially when I visited Purdue the week before.

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This Week in Sustainability 1.25.12

01/25/2012 § Leave a comment

IThis Week imgf 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 susevent@indiana.edu by the Saturday evening before your event occurs.

IUOS Website | Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, January 25

Student Sustainability Council General Assembly Meeting
When: 7 PM
Where: Woodburn Hall Rm. 200
Description: SSC General Assembly meetings are open to all students, but those wishing to have voting rights must petition for membership as a representative of a student organization. Those interested in petitioning may contact Stephanie @ stehopki@indiana.edu. Remaining meeting dates this semester are 2/22, 3/21, 4/4, & 4/25, all at 6:00 PM.

Green Drinks presents Sheryl Woodhouse-Keese
When: 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Where: Banquet Facility of the Upland Brewing Company, 350 West 11th Street
Description: At 6 p.m., Sheryl Woodhouse-Keese, founder and owner of Twisted Limb Paperworks, will do a presentation entitled “Eco Beer Paper for Green Drinks Fans: How Twisted Limb Paperworks Is Recycling Upland Barley Into a Fun New Product.” Beer Cards will be available for sale with 25% of each sale being donated to Green Drinks Bloomington.
Green Drinks Bloomington is a lively, informal social networking event for people from all walks of life who are interested in making a greener world.  Folks gather every month to share libations and ideas, discuss, debate, explore and make new friends and business connections. It is held the 4th Wednesday of every month from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Banquet Facility of the Upland Brewing Company. There’s a $5 suggested donation, some food will be provided. To receive a monthly reminder, write greendrinksbloomington@gmail.com.  To learn more about Green Drinks visit www.greendrinks.org. « Read the rest of this entry »

My Experience as an IUOS Intern

01/25/2012 § Leave a comment

Displaying my projects poster during the IUOS Spring Symposium

by: Bridget Flynn

I applied to the IUOS internship program about this time last year. Thinking so highly of the program and former interns, I was hesitant to apply. I thought “am I ready for this kind of challenge?” Apprehensive yet ambitious, I finally completed my application materials. I tried not to get my hopes up, but low and behold a few weeks later I was invited to interview. After an unnerving waiting period, I found out I got the job and would become the Sustainability and the First Year Experience Intern at the Office of Sustainability. That was nearly a year ago, and what an awesome year it’s been! « Read the rest of this entry »

From Hoosier to Hoosier

01/17/2012 § Leave a comment

After our last intern seminar, in which we discussed personal sustainability choices, I realized just how wide the range of choices one can make really is. My fellow interns are aware of everything from their window coverings affecting energy usage to how much water it saves by turning the shower off while lathering. And I was feeling high-and-mighty for recycling, not printing readings, and biking when the weather suited me! The point is, we all come from different backgrounds and have different levels of sacrifice we are willing to make for the good of the Earth and future generations. But it is undoubtedly our duty to at least be aware of the consequences of our actions. And starting small—heck, even with a simple investment like purchasing and committing to using a re-usable water bottle—can go a long way in boosting your awareness and easing your environmental conscience.

So, I urge you all, simply pick one area of your life to make more sustainable this semester. Research your options for dorm, apartment, or house recycling, turn down the thermostat when you leave for the day, pick up a piece of litter on campus, or skip driving one day a week and walk or bike to that friend’s house. I can promise you that being informed and taking small steps toward a cause that will truly benefit everyone, present and future, is accompanied by a very rewarding feeling.

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Shut the Sash Campaign

01/17/2012 § Leave a comment

During this past summer internship program one of the projects was to assist in the writing of a guidance document that would help the architects and engineers select more energy efficient fume hoods for laboratory renovations and any new building plans. However, there are no current renovations or new building plans so the question arose: What can we do to reduce energy consumption in the laboratories right now?

This sticker will be placed on the sash of all fume hoods to remind laboratory workers to shut the sash when done working.

This is where the “Shut the Sash” campaign comes into play. When a fume hoods sash, which is the sliding glass door that covers the front of a fume hoods, is left open a large volume of air is constantly exhausted from the building, wasting massive amounts of energy. A single fume hood can use as much energy as three to four residential homes. If the sash is shut when the fume hood is not in use then the volume of air will decrease, resulting in significant energy savings.

Several other academic institutions have implemented similar programs to great success. Two stickers have been designed as part of the project.

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