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.
I bet it was an easy decision for Thomas Gaines to name IU as one of five most beautiful college campuses in his book, The Campus as a Work of Art. I mean it couldn’t have been that difficult when he saw IU’s 1,933 areas of fragrant flowers, mature trees, lovely green spaces, and the Collegiate Gothic buildings crafted from limestone. Not to mention, the Arboretum and Dunn Meadow are definitely not a sore sight for eyes. However, what would this place look like if the Physical Plant workers didn’t pick up 1,500 pounds of trash every day? It is uncomfortable to imagine, stepping over piles of garbage while walking to class, or seeing fast-food wrappers floating in our ponds by the Wells Library.
To ensure a beautiful campus for the incoming generations, the Office of Sustainability and I have coordinated an equal effort between influential alumni and faculty ranging from IU Athletics to a retired Vice President of Administration. In addition to these all-star advisors on our project, we will be collaborating with IU’s most involved and powerful student leaders ranging from Greek leaders to Indiana Student Foundation to other sustainability focused groups. Our main goal before this semester’s end is to release a pilot anti-littering campaign focusing on student involvement and education in the value of keeping IU beautiful. We have our initial kick-off meeting next Friday between the working and advisory groups to capitalize on my research of the best waste and littering reduction methods to form a cohesive program that will further be implemented into IU policy.
I can speak for the whole Office of Sustainability when I say that we are all extremely excited to launch this program and protect the allure and opulence that this campus currently projects. I know when I bring my future children here in attempts to continue my family’s IU glory that it will be a lot easier when we play Frisbee in Dunn Meadow and watch squirrels frolicking in throughout the American Beech in the Chemistry Building.
Written by Shannon M. Beatty, IU Pride Coordinator of the IU Office of Sustainability