Let’s Talk Compost!

03/26/2013 § 1 Comment

You consider yourself an environmentally conscious person; frugal with your resources and aware of your individual effects on the earth and its ecosystems. You recycle all of the glass, paper, and plastic your city will accept, yet you regretfully still send some items to the landfill every week.

 The next time you get a chance, look in your trash can at home. No need to dive through and analyze all of the contents, but get an idea of what’s in there. How much of what you throw away do you think could be saved from the landfill, and put towards another purpose?


According to the EPA, about 24 percent of our waste is organic material that can be composted. They state that Americans throw away about 1.3 pounds of food scraps daily, which equates to almost 13 percent of the nation’s municipal solid waste stream.


Why not try composting? The results are great for your garden, as they provide healthy and nutrient-rich soil to create healthier and more fruitful plants. You help divert unnecessary trash from the landfill, and if you’re a Bloomington resident, this will even fatten your wallet!

There are endless resources online that will more thoroughly and eloquently describe how to make your own compost then I could, so here’s a list of some of my favorite sources. Try it!








Okay, so you’ve made it this far and would like to compost but just don’t have the room. Well, don’t worry! You can take your compost to the Hilltop Garden on campus, the SPROUTS Garden, or a community garden in Bloomington. Opportunities to compost are endless, so why not try it?

The Sustainability in Prisons Project

03/25/2013 § Leave a comment

By Tim Gates, Green the Health Center Intern

The picture below was taken during a tour I was on in 2011 of the Cedar Creek Correctional Center in Washington State. Standing and laughing joyfully with me is the State Commissioner of Public Lands, and the Superintendent of the minimum-security facility. One might ask, “Who could possibly laugh and smile this much in a minimum-security correctional facility, and why are they in a greenhouse?” Well, it has something to do with an amazing program called the, Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP), that started off as a small science and social project, and turned into an amazing success. Currently this statewide effort has implemented some form of the program in all 12 state prisons.


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This Week in Sustainability 3.18.13

03/25/2013 § 1 Comment

This Week img

Upcoming events are listed in a weekly email bulletin and on our calendar. If you do not receive our weekly email and would like to, please email sustain@indiana.edu to subscribe.

Select ongoing events and opportunities are highlighted in our weekly email, while the full list of items are available on this weekly blog post. Instructions for submitting an item to either our calendar or blog are at the end of this post.

IUOS Website | Twitter | Facebook |  Calendar

Featured news, ongoing events, and opportunities: 

Graduate Student Sustainability Research Development Grants Available (posted 3/25)
Application Deadline: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Description: This program provides opportunities for Indiana University graduate students to develop new research programs related to sustainability. The grant program, sponsored by the IU Office of Sustainability, University Graduate School, School of Public Health, and the Integrated Program in the Environment, awards grants up to $10,000 to any graduate student from the IU Bloomington campus.  Funds may be applied to graduate student fellowships (up to $5,000) as well as field, laboratory, computational, or library research.  Both individual applicants and teams of graduate student are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to high-quality interdisciplinary projects that include participants from multiple disciplines.
Questions: For more information about the grant program and information on how to apply, click here.  To learn more about sustainability initiatives at Indiana University, click here.  Any questions can be directed to Emily Rex, at ekrex@indiana.edu.

“Where Does Our Food Come From?” Farm Internship 2013 (posted 3/25)
Application Deadline : Monday, April 15, 2013
Description: Work and learn about small-scale local market intensive farming and food distribution on Schacht Farm in Bloomington.  Students will keep a field journal, and write presentation about their experiences, while participating in all aspects of farm work, including: pasture broiler chickens, pasture hens and hogs, CSA operation, and Farmer’s market sales.  This internship counts towards the new Minor in Food Studies Anthropology, with up to 6 credits available. Hours are variable depending on the number of credits. There will be 2 summer sessions: 1. 8 weeks from May 7 – June 28 and 2. 6 weeks from May 7 to June 14.
Questions: For more information or an application, click here, or contact Professor Richard Wilk at:  wilkr@indiana.edu or 855-3901.

2013 Geothermal Student Competition (posted 3/4)
Application Deadline : Friday, March 29, 2013
Description: The US Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program and Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education are pleased to announce the 2013 Geothermal Student Competition.  The Competition is looking for engaged students to take part in a collaborative exercise to make a business plan for developing a geothermal enterprise.  Applicants are encouraged to consider a candidate resource in their home state/region, though convincing plans for any domestic target will also be considered.
Questions: For more information, click here or contact Dr. Desmond Stubbs, Program Manager, at: goethermalstudentcompetition@orise.orau.gov . 

Best Internship on Earth with the Sierra Club (posted 3/18)
Application Deadline : Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Description: Interns will be required to travel around the country to different Sierra Club outings and activities — you might go hiking and rafting in spectacular settings and learn about all the different ways the Sierra Club is protecting the planet.  The interns will film these adventures and produce a regular video blog about youth and the environment.  Depending on time and interests, other media will be utilized to enhance the storytelling and help us experience your journey.  The ideal candidate is passionate about the environment and being outside, open to new experiences, a skilled storyteller, and engaged with their online community.
Questions: For more information, click here and see the list of FAQ’s about the internship by clicking here.

March Madness: What Seven Lessons Can We Learn From IU Athletics About Organizational Excellence?

03/25/2013 § 1 Comment

By Bill Brown, Director

At a recent campus committee meeting it was proposed that we aim for the “mean” of the Big Ten to set a particular policy goal. Being in the middle of the pack is certainly safe and defensible, but the thought occurred to me, which I felt compelled to ask in the meeting, “What would Fred Glass or Tom Crean say about aiming for the middle of the Big Ten?”

So often institutions settle for compliance, which is the worst performance allowed by law, or something slightly above that which won’t attract too much attention. On the north side of this campus, the goal is always excellence, which means being number one. It is a high stakes gamble with great risks and the potential for great rewards.

Here are seven lessons we can all learn from IU Athletics: 

1. Have a vision of excellence. A vision should inspire people to imagine a future that is so compelling they personally commit to achieving it. This shared commitment unites the team and makes almost anything possible. Excellence becomes contagious.

2. Be prepared to lose before you win. The first years of a vision of excellence may be filled with frustration, especially if you are starting from the bottom.When Victor Oladipo was asked how IU basketball went from a losing team to a winning team last year, Victor replied, “it’s the will man.” If you ask Victor what his goal is this year, he will not tell you it is to achieve the mean of the Big Ten. They want to win it all, and they want to do it as a team. They are a tight-knit team because of the early hardships they had to endure together to get to this level as Big Ten champions and a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Audacious goals require persistence and patience and will. Learn and grow from your defeats.

3. We are all in the education business. Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls are Academic All-Americans. IU Athletics never forgets they are educating students and places academic excellence before athletics excellence in their mission statement. Even with the demands of a premier sports program, IU basketball players are graduating in less than four years. How can we make everything we do reinforce the educational and research mission of the university?

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Spring is here!

03/25/2013 § Leave a comment

Patricia Peng, Living Sustainably Off-Campus Intern

Get ready for spring-cleaning and do so with basic products around your home to avoid commercial cleaning agents with harsh chemicals. For example, using products with bleach or ammonia are costly and contribute to indoor air pollution.


Many of the commercial cleaning products use organic chemicals to kill germs, but release air pollutants that damage your health in the process.  A common chemical released from cleaning products, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be released in a gaseous form from solid or liquid household products, including cleaning supplies[1]. Breathing these chemicals can lead to respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches.[2] Some products emit air pollutants while they’re being stored at your home and can be harmful even when they are not in daily use.

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How I Am Beginning to Change Your Behavior

03/24/2013 § Leave a comment

As the No Waste Program Coordinator for the Indiana University Office of Sustainability and a teaching assistant for a course entitled “Human Behavior and Energy Consumption”, I read, think, and talk quite a bit about effective strategies for changing behavior. It is a fascinating, complex, and interdisciplinary area of study that has countless connections to what college students call “the real world”. In my experience, I have noticed that nearly everyone studying behavior change arrives with and struggles through the same misconceptions. I’m going to briefly explain the biggest of these misconceptions and describe a simple model that helps me visualize it in the context of the intervention process.

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Net Impact’s Alternative Break Trip 2013 to Seattle

03/18/2013 § Leave a comment



By: Daniel Edelson, Sustainability & the Greek Community Intern

On March 8th, IU Bloomington students were let out for their spring break vacations.  Of these spring breakers, eight students traveled in a group to Seattle, Washington for an Alternative Spring Break (ASB).  Organized by Net Impact’s co-president, Michael Queenan, the group traveled around Seattle meeting with local gardens, and various environmentally conscious businesses to learn about sustainability in an “alternative” setting.

The trip was organized on behalf of Net Impact- an International organization that focuses on education and advocacy for environmentally sustainable and socially responsible businesses practices. In coordination with the Kelley School of Business, Net Impact members and other Kelley students toured from Sunday to Sunday in to one of the country’s greenest major cities.

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