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Jacob Bower-Bir
Student Sustainability Council

Last modified: Thursday, December 2, 2010

IU Student Sustainability Council seeks to establish Sustainability Fund for green projects

Dec. 2, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Student Sustainability Council (SSC) and its 22 member organizations are campaigning to establish a Sustainability Fund for the promotion of 'green' initiatives and projects on the Indiana University Bloomington campus.

Go Green - Prairie

Art by Julia Denison

The Sustainability Fund would be supplied by a voluntary $5 fee offered during course registration. To make this optional fund available, the SSC must collect signatures in support of the Sustainability Fund from one quarter of the enrolled student body (nearly 10,000 students) by the end of this semester. Students who sign in support of the Sustainability Fund are expressing only that they would like to have the optional fee available -- they are not committing to pay the fee by signing the petition.

The SSC, with support from the Indiana University Student Association, is pioneering the use of an online petition. Permission to use the online tool required the approval of Dean of Students Harold "Pete" Goldsmith, the Office of the Registrar, and University Information Technology Services. Soon to be extended to other university activities, the Sustainability Fund petition serves as the first test of this new, efficient and democratic instrument.

The petition can be signed online here:

If the Sustainability Fund is established, students and student organizations will have the opportunity to apply for funding for sustainability-related initiatives and projects on campus. In collaboration with the IU Office of Sustainability and the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board, the SSC will review proposals and allocate the money raised through the Sustainability Fund each semester. Potential projects might include extending recycling coverage, purchasing motion-sensor lighting, installing solar panels, or enhancing transportation infrastructure.

Go Green - Global Warming

Art by Marine Tempels

As a university-recognized student organization, the SSC will apportion the Sustainability Fund with the utmost transparency. The SSC constitution affords representation to every student group at IU Bloomington. Leaders of student groups wanting to join the council should send an e-mail to Once a member, student organizations will be able to propose and vote on sustainable capital projects with the rest of the council. Proposals that successfully navigate the SSC's selection process will then be published and open to public comment.

"The voluntary nature of the fee and the fact that it is student-administered sends a clear message to IU officials and officials from peer universities that Indiana students are interested in and capable of identifying and addressing large-scale problems," said Jacob Bower-Bir, Graduate & Professional Student Organization sustainability officer and SSC logistics chair.

The SSC is made up of representatives from both undergraduate and graduate student organizations and student government bodies. It was created during the fall 2009 semester in an effort to promote communication and collaboration among organizations interested in advancing environmentalism and sustainability at IU Bloomington. The group's central objectives are to: advise the IU Office of Sustainability from the students' perspectives, help to reduce the negative effects of the university on the natural environment, promote social and economic justice, and engage the IU student body in issues of sustainability.

To learn more about the Student Sustainability Council visit or visit the council on Facebook at