Moving Forward

By Bill Brown, Director of the IU Office of Sustainability

Just as the Campus Master Plan highlighted the importance of sustainability in campus design and operations, President McRobbie’s New Academic Directions Committee called for IU to “seize opportunities for strategic structural innovation.” Included was the recommendation to “develop a new interdisciplinary undergraduate major in sustainability studies and a strategic plan for service learning and community outreach in sustainable development.” Creating new interdisciplinary majors is much more difficult than, say, unifying a comprehensive campus-wide recycling program, but it is critically important work and the initiative is moving forward.

The IU Office of Sustainability (IUOS) will be searching for ways to greatly expand our current collaborative programs to catalyze sustainability research and curriculum development in 2012. Assistant Director Emilie Rex will continue to oversee one of the country’s largest and most successful student sustainability internship programs as an effective way to integrate research and teaching into campus operations.

Here’s a brief preview of what 2012 may hold for IUB Campus Sustainability, organized by the seven working groups of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board:

Academic Initiatives is co-chaired by Tom Evans and Rob Meyer, with assistance from sustainability intern Alexi Lamm. AIWG is growing and organizing into three focus areas: research, curriculum, and co-curricular initiatives. AIWG will explore ways to expand sustainability initiatives in each of these areas through seed funding and a clearinghouse for sustainability research; curriculum development grants and workshops; and tools to facilitate and document co-curricular activities on and off campus.

Environmental Quality and Land Use is co-chaired by Peggy Schultz and Mike Jenson, with sustainability intern Sara Dille. EQLU will delve into green chemistry, integrated pest management, rain gardens, tree canopy expansion, edible landscape, and eradication of invasive species in Dunn Woods.

Energy and Built Environment is co-chaired by Rebecca Barthelmie and Peggy Maschino, with sustainability intern Nolan Hendon. EBE will assist with the Campus Conservation Nationals/Energy Challenge, look at opportunities presented by a fully metered campus, explore building and campus energy dashboards, explore the recommendations of the Integrated Energy Master Plan (due out in late Spring), develop a green campus walking map/tour, and explore the potential for using social media and metering to curb peak energy.

Food is co-chaired by Jeanne Sept and Sandra Fowler, with sustainability intern Stephanie Hopkins. The Food Working Group will organize the second annual Big Red Eats Green festival, maximize the potential of the expanded Campus Garden at Hilltop, explore opportunities for increasing use of local food, and research waste reduction in campus dining facilities.

Resource Use and Recycling is co-chaired by Steven Kreft and Tom Fallwell, with sustainability interns Meredith Dowling, Erica Bramlet, and Mark Milby. RURWG will continue initiatives to consolidate and improve campus waste and recycling programs, conduct waste and litter audits, explore composting options, and help with the third annual Hoosier-to-Hoosier Community Sale, which diverts tons of move-out waste from the landfill for resale and reuse.

Sustainable Computing is co-chaired by Kim Milford and Vic Borden, with sustainability interns Joowon Kim and David Roedl. SCWG is pursuing initiatives on four fronts: computer-related energy use, conservation of resources related to printing and document management, e-waste reuse and recycling, and using computer technology to facilitate other campus sustainability efforts.

Transportation is co-chaired by Virginia Sojdehei and Perry Maull, with sustainability intern Hannah Hunt. TWG is assisting with a Transportation Demand Management study called for in the Campus Master Plan; planning to commence a campus bike plan; working with IUSA on their bike rental plan; writing grants for campus bus funding through federal grants; and planning more self-service bike repair stations. IU was one of the first twenty higher education institutions designate a Bicycle Friendly University in 2011 and plans are afoot to go for silver in 2012.

IU Office of Sustainability Initiatives leverage a team of sustainability interns, including Ben Inskeep, who is focused on sustainability metrics and an update to IU’s STARS report. David Roedl is designing a Campus Sustainability Dashboard in collaboration with Ben and the Sustainable Computing Working Group. A new summer intern will put the finishing touches on a Green Events Certification web portal. Sara Swan is developing programs for incoming freshmen in collaboration with the Office of First Year Experience and Residential Programs and Services. Rachel Irvine is developing resources for students to live sustainably off-campus. Mary Liang is assisting with resources to make IU LEED green building projects easier. John Hageman is at work Greening Cream and Crimson. Amy Allen is coordinating Green Teams. Shannon Beatty is working with Litter-Free IU to develop an anti-litter campaign for the Bloomington campus.

Campus sustainability is not a spectator sport. Over 200 faculty, staff and students are actively engaged in making IU Bloomington an international leader in this new world of opportunity and you can be part of it, too.  Contact us today.

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