One week ago, the IU Office of Sustainability celebrated its 16th Energy Challenge Awards and 5th Campus Catalyst Awards.

This year, a total of 16 academic and administrative buildings, 39 Green houses, and 19 residence halls were included in the Energy Challenge. IU’s Energy and Water Challenge is one of the largest in the country – this year Hoosiers saved 109,197 kWh of electricity (enough to power 121 homes for a month!) and 328,495 gallons of water.

According to Hank Hewetson, Assistant Vice President of Facilities, over the 16 Energy Challenges to date, IU has saved the electricity equivalent to taking 5,000 houses offline for three weeks and 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This has a positive economic impact for the university, as well as an environmental impact. We have avoided more than $2 million dollars in utility bills and avoided emitting more than 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Good job, Hoosiers!

This year’s Energy Challenge winners were:

  • Administrative Buildings: Alumni Center, Bryan Hall, Owen Hall
  • Classrooms: Geology, Swain Hall, Myers Hall, Jordan Hall
  • Residence Halls: Union Street Center, Collins, University Apartments, Campus View Apartments
  • Greek House: Delta Upsilon
  • Winning Greek House Banner: Alpha Delta Pi


Fall is a time to pause and reflect on the last year as we gear up for a new season. It’s a time to give thanks for the people who lift us up, challenge us, encourage us, and lead us. Each fall, IUOS asks campus members to nominate their students, professors, or peers for a Campus Catalyst Award. These awards celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of sustainability catalysts and thank them for their leadership, innovation, and positive impact as the campus community works together to achieve a more sustainable future. Four individuals and one group are honored each year, chosen by a panel of external judges –former IOUS interns who are now sustainability professionals. This year our judges were Nolan Hendon, Sharlene Kipfer, Dana Schroeder, and Mark Milby. Thank you, judges!

The awards were as follows:

Excellence in Teaching: Dr. James Farmer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies. Nominated for his field-based courses that focus on sustainability, agriculture, and social justice. Dr. Farmer also teaches a sustainable gardening course at the IU Campus Garden.

Excellence in Research: Dr. Darren Ficklin, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography. Dr. Ficklin’s research focuses on the effects of climate change in agricultural systems, aquatic habitats, and western freshwater sources. His work has been cited nearly 700 times and he is one of the most successful junior faculty at IU in securing external funding.

Excellence in Leadership: Steve Akers, Environmental Services, RPS. Steve passionately advocates for composting and waste reduction on campus. Caryn Hojnicki, Sustainability Coordinator in Athletics said of Steve, “He is a role model not only to me but to so many across the university and throughout the Bloomington community. He is enthusiastic, generous with his time, and always good humored. When others get discouraged, Steve presses on.”

Student Leader Award: Linus Platzer, Graduate Student in SPEA and GPSG Sustainability Chair. Linus is a member of ReInvest IU, a student led movement on campus to encourage the IU Foundation to move away from climate damaging fossil fuel investments. Linus was presented his award by Dr. Bennet Brabson, Emeritus Professor of Physics. Dr. Brabson noted that, “while this work is critical for the future of young people, it is neither pleasant nor easy. Linus has the scientific background and the demonstrated leadership capabilities necessary to move IU’s thinking forward on this issue.”

Team Award: Associate Professor of Informatics and Computing Mehmet Dalkilic, Soumik Dey, Kurt Zimmer, and Logan Keating. Dalkilic, Dey, and Zimmer(Informatics) teamed up with IU Campus Bus student supervisor Keating to analyze bus location data and passenger counts to optimize the scheduling to better meet demand.

Left to Right, Dr. Darren Ficklin, Dr. James Farmer, Steve Akers, Linus Platzer. Not pictured: Team Award

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s