Student organizations at the Bloomington campus of Indiana University (IU) are working to spread awareness about sustainability and how individuals can make a positive impact on their environment. The Second Annual SustainIU initiative will feature a week and a half of events aimed at engaging and educating the campus community on issues related to sustainability.
SustainIU will kick off this coming Monday, April 13 with new IU Director of Sustainability Bill Brown, student interns for the IU Office of Sustainability, and other student leaders discussing students’ roles as advocates for sustainability on campus and in their home communities.
Says Brown, “If you want to catch some brilliant rays of hope about the future of our planet, just look at what these student leaders are doing now to engage their university community in the solutions to our most pressing problems.”
Panel discussions will address global perspectives on sustainability, sustainability in business, access to and the affordability of sustainable food, and consumerism. SustainIU keynote speaker, Tony Cortese, will offer a lecture on April 16 titled “Higher Education’s Critical Role in Creating a Healthy, Just and Sustainable Society,” providing strategies for moving IU Bloomington forward as a leader in campus sustainability. Cortese is president of Second Nature, co-director of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, and co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the Higher Education Association Sustainability Consortium.
SustainIU will culminate on the campus’ Dunn Meadow at 3 p.m. on Earth Day, April 22, with an announcement of the winner of the 2009 IU Energy Challenge. In its second year, the Challenge is a dormitory energy and water conservation competition, and this year, the contest was expanded into several houses in the Greek community.
Beyond SustainIU Week
For the remainder of the spring semester, artistic recycling bins have been placed around the Bloomington campus to encourage the members of that community to improve recycling efforts. The “More Art, Less Trash” outdoor recycling initiative is led by IU’s Volunteers in Sustainability (ViS), which seeks to use art to inspire students, faculty and staff to recycle.
The designs for the colorful bins were selected through a competition held by ViS. Bins from last year’s “More Art, Less Trash” competition were repainted with new designs selected by a student and faculty panel, with the top design commanding a $100 prize for the artist. First place (koi fish with waves inspired by Hokusai) was created by Corey McAninch, junior, Studio Art/Art History major.
Steve Akers, associate director of environmental operations for IU Residential Programs and Services, has been interested in seeing IU adopt an outdoor recycling program. “The second annual ‘More Art, Less Trash’ contest provides outdoor recycling, collects materials that would have otherwise entered the waste stream, and promotes outdoor art created by IU students,” he says.
Placed in high traffic locations around campus, the recycling bins will collect plastic and aluminum. Recyclables collected in the bins will be emptied by Campus Division staff and deposited into the campus recycling system.
Nathan Bower-Bir, coordinator of ViS, noted, “We are excited that after its second run, the contest has served another of its principal purposes—we’ve been told that a plan for permanent outdoor recycling bins has been approved.”
This recycling project is supported by ViS, in coordination with the IU Bloomington Office of Sustainability, the Residence Halls Association, the University Architect’s Office, the School of Fine Arts, and the Department of Physical Plant, Division of Building Services.
SustainIU events are presented by the Environmental Management Association, Greeks Go Green, INPIRG, Office of Sustainability Interns, Indiana-Ecuador Partnership for Sustainable Development, Indiana University Student Association, NetImpact, Sustainable Development Association, and Volunteers in Sustainability, with additional support from the IU Libraries, Kelley Undergraduate School of Business, Office of Sustainability, Residence Halls Association, the School of Education, the School of Informatics, the School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Union Board, and the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.