Little Moments

06/24/2013 § 2 Comments

By Angelo F. Bardales, Green Teams

Even before the formation of the IU Office of Sustainability, members of the campus community recognized the need for more awareness regarding the way in which we go about our day. When we really stop to think about it, our days are composed of a myriad of little moments and decisions—the mere contemplation of the multitude of possibilities would probably baffle even the most computationally prolific computer. Do I put the fork down first or the plate? Do I tie my shoe first and then go to the bathroom? Or do I just go (not the most farfetched of ideas out there)? Do I put the soda can in the trash or is there something else I can do with it?Image

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The Real Food Challenge

06/24/2013 § 2 Comments

By Angela Babb, Food Planning

In 2006, the California Student Sustainability Coalition and The Food Project’s youth leaders began discussion regarding the ability of students and schools to improve food purchases on U.S. campuses. By 2007, a nonprofit, student-led program called the Real Food Challenge (RFC) officially formed with the intention of focusing national efforts of sustainable food procurement toward a unified goal of 20% ‘real’ food by 2020. Six years later, the RFC has researched dozens of certifications found on food labels (e.g. Fair Trade Certified, USDA Organic, Food Alliance Certified, etc.); they have established a framework for determining the realness of food; and they have developed a network of schools to support each other in this national campaign.

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After several discussions on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, the IU Office of Sustainability’s (IUOS) Food Working Group and the three food providers (RPS, Athletics and Sodexo) have decided to join this network. Developing a university-wide sustainable food procurement policy requires starting with a baseline measure, and the RFC offers a framework and tools for realizing that baseline and measuring progress forward. We have begun the pilot program, a calculator assessment, to investigate the current standing of food items found on campus. From there we will discuss the prospect of signing the Real Food Challenge Commitment – an agreement to purchase 20% real food by 2020, among other educational and institutional initiatives. Commitment aside, however, we will be the first in the Big Ten to complete the assessment and will receive an award for our transparency. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Real Housewives of Sustainability

06/24/2013 § 2 Comments

By Sarah Baulac, Academic Initiatives Intern

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I have a guilty pleasure- it’s watching The Real Housewives of Orange County. I’m not exactly proud of my trashy television addiction. The entire premise of the show is to be more, bigger, and better – a glimpse into the lives of the rich and not so famous. To fit in, one has to be at least 60% silicone (it helps to be married to a cosmetic surgeon) and own a home that could sufficiently house an entire small country. None of the aforementioned ideas are on point with living sustainably; and I can imagine that by this point you’re probably wondering where I’m headed with this blog post.

The lifestyles shown on this TV train wreck are all about keeping up with the Jones’. It seems necessary to have the biggest car, the best house, and send your kids to the most expensive, private daycare. Can we learn something from all of this?

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Funding Opportunities for Sustainability

06/24/2013 § Leave a comment

Sarah Brindle, Sustainability Funding Development Intern

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Former IU President Herman B. Wells

One of my favorite aspects of being an IU student is showing off the campus’s natural beauty to visitors.  Some of the inspiration behind IU’s scenic landscape can be traced to Indiana University’s 11th President Herman B. Wells who was a big supporter of the university’s outdoor space. In his last commencement address he stated that

“I hope that our alumni will always insist on retention of our precious islands of green and serenity — our most important physical asset, transcending even classrooms, libraries, and laboratories in their ability to inspire students to dream long dreams of future usefulness and achievement…”

The creation of the IU Office of Sustainability in 2008 and the 20 Goals for 2020 (created by the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board) in 2010 are steps towards ensuring that IU maintains its natural assets.

My internship for this summer is to develop funding sources for the Office of Sustainability in order to fund sustainable initiatives on campus that further President Well’s dream of “retention of our precious islands of green and serenity.” Part of this internship has been research on how other university sustainability programs function in terms of their funding resources.

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Motivations for Sustainability

06/10/2013 § 4 Comments

By Nikki Wooten, Compost Initiative Intern

As a new cohort of IUOS Interns, the sixteen of us delved into A Conservationist Manifesto by Scott Russell Sanders. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University, where he taught from 1971 to 2009. Author of countless books and essays, Sanders is recipient of many awards for his work. Read his bio here.  For our final discussion of the book, we were lucky enough to be joined by Sanders himself.Image

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Unplug and Unwind

06/10/2013 § 3 Comments

Mary Roper, Green Purchasing Intern                                                                                                                                                                               Today marked the final day for discussing Scott Russell Sander’s work A Conservationist Manifesto. I began reading this work with an open mind, and I finished it with a changed one. Now, that is not to say that I have completely altered bad habits; if this could be done within the mere three weeks my classmates and I spent reading one book, our world would not be faced with the environmental issues it  faces today. What this does mean, however, is that I can feel my thought process begin to shift towards a more conservationist mindset. One aspect of this mindset, stillness, was addressed today by the author himself.

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An Open Mind

06/10/2013 § 2 Comments

By: Jessica Stavole, Energy and Built Environment Working Group Project Intern

I used to wish that time would stop, that it would stand still long enough for me to develop and see all of my ideas come to fruition through my actions.  Yet, the other day, I came across a grandfather clock that had the Latin words “Tempus fugit” inscribed above it.  Translated to mean “time flees”, that grandfather clock reminded me of our vulnerability as individuals and how surprising and unexpected some events in our lives can be.  Every day, it seems as if I encounter a new person, a new experience, a change or an idea, leading me to believe that there is much to be learned and even more to accomplish.

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Developing a Coherent Program Framework for Sustainability Education

06/10/2013 § 1 Comment

Asmalina Saleh, Peer Educator Program Intern

The Peer Educator Program is an educational initiative targeted to improve sustainability Imageliteracy among students, faculty and staff on IU campus. The first core workshop being developed is centered on the relationship between consumption and waste reduction. One of the most compelling projects that feature this topic is the Story of Stuff. This project began as a simple examination of where everyday human ‘stuff’ comes from and has since then provided a wide range of educational resources for anyone interested in exploring our relationship with material objects.

There is no doubt that these educational resources can promote awareness of sustainability issues. However, given that the overall goal of the program is to transform practices, it is necessary to utilize a comprehensive framework that can meet its goals of transforming practices at the personal as well as institutional or societal level. There are several frameworks that have been successful in fostering sustainable practices such as the Community Based Social Marketing. The newly developed Peer Educator Program however leverages a broader social theory – Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) which draws on the works of Engeström (1987); Leont’ev (1974); and Vygotsky (1978).

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Preserve 20

06/03/2013 § 4 Comments

Amanda Redfern, Greening the Athletics Department Intern

I was blessed to have grown up in Santa Barbara, California, where preservation and conservation were historically ingrained into the culture of the land. The Santa Barbara City Council would preserve land that was once owned by the earliest settlers of the area, and they even fought the implementation of Costco into the City. There are Farmer’s markets almost every day throughout the city, and there are festivals that celebrate local artists and restaurants. The preservation of the Gaviota Coast by the Surfrider Foundation is one key example that illustrates the ideals of the city.

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Sustainable Advertising

06/03/2013 § 3 Comments

By: Rachel Joseph, IUOS First Year Experience Intern

First year college students are empty vessels, waiting to be filled with the experiences, opportunities, education, and caffeine of university life. However, students do not rank all new opportunities equally; according to an IUOS PowerPoint chart, only 26% of students deciding on which college or university to attend consider “sustainability initiatives” as very important to their decision. From this information, we can assume that sustainability is not a priority for incoming freshmen, who are most likely preoccupied with signing up for classes, finding a job, making friends, navigating campus, and looking cool. The concept of sustainability is gaining recognition in modern American society; however, it has yet to become a fundamental component of our culture. Sustainable ways of life are not yet automatic, and this is a problem. Residents of Bloomington and leaders in sustainability can do all they can to load college student minds with information about recycling, saving water and energy, farmer’s markets, and volunteering, but what does it all matter if the students don’t care?

It’s difficult to change a person’s habits, behaviors, and ideals. It’s difficult to reach out to young people who are constantly bombarded with competing messages. From what pizza joint to order from, to which television show to watch, to what to do with their Saturday night, college students encounter a million messages every day telling them what to do with their time and money. Although choosing to live sustainably is known by many to be incredibly important for local communities and the world, the message of sustainability is often lost amongst entertainment media. It may seem strange to diminish the larger-than-life nature of sustainability to a single message, but a simple statement, such as an advertisement, may act as an effective catalyst to prompt students to learn more about sustainability for themselves, and most importantly, to care.

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