See you at the symposium…

07/30/2014 § 1 Comment

By Amishi Kumar, Green Purchasing Intern

As my stint as an Indiana University Office of Sustainability Intern comes to a finish this summer, I can’t help but reflect about how great this summer has been. In the past few weeks I’ve really gotten to know my fellow interns and realized this group of students are dedicated to making a difference. When I say dedicated I mean it. Not in the typical sense like after classes I’m going to work on this project dedication but more like I will live, breathe, eat and dream my project. These are the people that will put recycling in the right bin even it means grabbing it out of the trash. Henri, our biking intern, is so committed he chose to ride his bike even in the worst torrential downpour. I had second and third thoughts about running outside to reach my car that day. Rumors are Andrew, the greek experience intern, has even completely changed his wardrobe to relate to the greeks on campus more. #TFM #amiright #IUgeareveryday. I’m almost certain if we unleashed Meghan, Miss. Rain Garden, she could singlehandedly plant rain gardens in all of her 110+ purposed sites within a week. Emily who is working on the hoosier to hoosier sale has somehow convinced me to not buy anything new and wait until the sale. This is a feat considering my undergraduate degree should have also mentioned my minor in the Art of Online Shopping. This is just a glimpse into how committed the IUOS interns are. If you want to learn more about these amazing individuals and the great work we’ve produced I highly suggest coming to the Summer 2014 Sustainability Internship Symposium on Friday, August 1st from 11:30 AM to 2 PM in the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall. That’s not a plug but it’s a plug.

RE-Populating Bloomington

07/28/2014 § Leave a comment

By Dana Schroeder, Sustainability Peer Educator Program

Summertime in Bloomington has been a beautiful thing. The weather’s been fabulous, our lives seem to have slowed down a bit, and the farmers’ market is bursting with green goodness! But something is missing…

Oh yeah, maybe it’s the thirty thousand or so students who will be moving back to town in just a few short weeks. Don’t get me wrong, the traffic-free streets have been wonderful, but I’m really looking forward to the buzz returning to our vibrant town! For those of you who will be making a move in the near future, remember a familiar adage to lessen the impact (and cost…and stress) of your transition: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. Read on for a breakdown of the why and the how.

Hierarchy « Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainability as a Quality of Life Indicator

07/18/2014 § 3 Comments

By Brad Lufkin, Education and Research

Quality of life (QOL) has a number of definitions that can include factors such as healthcare, employment, politics, and development. Sustainability, however, is also inherently linked to QOL; in order to have healthy, productive residents with meaningful lives, the environment must be cared for. The degree of environmental pollution, for instance, is a product of sustainability efforts, and has a clear influence of QOL. Even when viewed from a product perspective, however, the continued production of goods and services that maintain life functions is reliant upon the natural ecosystem. There is a certain level of natural capital that is simply necessary for the continuation of human life. Sustainable practices help protect that natural capital.

Here is a back-of-the-napkin, down and dirty regression, plotting countries’ quality of life against sustainability.

Quality of Life regressed against Sustainability.

Quality of Life regressed against Sustainability, using a sample size of 67 countries.

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Say “I Do” to Eco-friendly Weddings

07/08/2014 § 3 Comments

By Meghan Ploch, Rain Garden Development

I have been a guest at several weddings this summer and a Maid of Honor for one this coming weekend, and much of my time has been planning and helping with the big day. With so much of my time dedicated to these special days, I have been reflecting on different ways the traditional wedding could become more sustainable. Having a eco-friendly focus on a wedding doesn’t mean that style or elegance is sacrificed. Approximately 2.5 million weddings take place each year in the US producing up to 600 pounds of waste and 62 tons of carbon dioxide. Green weddings can be every bit gorgeous as conventional weddings, but without the waste. « Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s be Functionally Chic

07/08/2014 § 1 Comment

By Henri Venable, Bicycle Initiative Intern

Sustainability is an important topic, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, it’s a topic incessantly accompanied by a lot of doom and gloom. Well fear not, this is a nice lighthearted post with just a little sustainability thrown in.

Bicycling is on the rise in the United States (finally!) but the perception remains that bicycling is purely a recreational, as opposed to functional, endeavour. You can’t possibly do your grocery shopping, go to work, chauffeur your kids, or blah blah blah on a bike…so they say. These lovely people beg to differ.

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Making Sense of Green Product Labels

07/02/2014 § 1 Comment

By Amishi Kumar, Green Purchasing Intern

green Labels

Common Ecolabels

One of the trending marketing ploys is the sudden emergence of all things green. I’m sure you’ve noticed the growth of environmentally friendly products in department stores, grocery stores, and malls. It is important to become familiar with the various branding efforts used by companies so you can decipher which products are more interested in the green in your wallet versus promoting a more sustainable, green product or service.

An easy and simple way of verifying the integrity of a product is to look for a valid third party certification or seal of approval. Many regulatory agencies and other external parties have realized the importance of providing objective assessments and quantifiable requirements for the protection of consumers. To obtain the seal or certification from these parties, the producer usually must pay a fee for testing and verification that their product meets a comprehensive list of requirements. Here is a list of some common “ecolabels”:

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Sustainability, Local Government and Volunteers

06/30/2014 § 1 Comment

Emily Hughes, Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale



In class we have been discussing the e-book, Community Based Social Marketing which describes how to build effective programs that lead people to adopt sustainable behaviors. After identifying the behavior that needs to be adopted and crafting a relevant message to a specifically defined target audience, the most interesting and challenging part of the social marketing strategy is harnessing social norms to instigate behavior change.  According to the book, people are unlikely to change how they behave based on information they have, but they will change their behavior if they feel social pressure to act in a certain way. Our classroom discussions prompted me to think more deeply about how it might be possible to implement effective behavior changing strategies on larger scales.

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