By Kathrine Schulze, IU Statewide Sustainability Intern
If you are reading this, you probably care about sustainability practices and policies. The work that is done at IU-Bloomington alone is crucial to understanding and utilizing the environment around us in the most responsible and effective way possible. But IUB does not exist in a vacuum. That is where I come in. As the IU Statewide Sustainability intern, I help to facilitate communication among all of IU’s campuses, so each organization can benefit from the sharing of best practices and collaboration. One of the best ways this can occur is when faculty and staff from every campus can come together in one place and meet face-to-face. This is why my biggest responsibility is organizing the second ever IU Statewide Sustainability Summit.
In honor of the Summit, which takes place next week, I put together a list of three ways in which you could encourage your own collaboration with like-minded environmentalists.
Do your own investigating
If you have a really great idea for a sustainable initiative, like creating an urban garden in front of Wright Quad, jump on the internet and see who on campus is an expert in gardening, who is already maintaining a garden, what the cost might be, and what rules IU has about setting another one up. This way, you’ll not only know what options are available to you, but you’ll have the opportunity to talk to those who have already gone through the process.
2. Reach out
Once you find those who are already involved in the sustainability initiatives you’re interested in, reach out to them. Either virtually or in-person, meeting up with someone to share ideas, ask questions, and sound ideas off of is a crucial part of sustainability practice. Most people will respond enthusiastically to a simple email asking to discuss a project that they are passionate about.
3. Plan an event
Sustainability should be a part of everyone’s life, regardless of whether or not they work in environmental fields. Planning a sustainable event for your community both connects you with others who are interested in your work and expands the sustainable community. An event does not have to be as big as a Summit, though. You can plan a planting day at your local community garden, a sustainable cooking class, or just a meetup and viewing of “Planet Earth.” The possibilities for engaging your community in sustainability are endless.