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 »

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