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Emilie Rex
IU Office of Sustainability

Last modified: Tuesday, April 10, 2012

'Act Naturally' SustainIU events this week focus on environmental, sustainability issues

April 10, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The fifth annual SustainIU initiative, organized by the Student Sustainability Council at Indiana University Bloomington and taking place throughout this week, will spread awareness about sustainability and show how individuals can have a positive impact on their environment, economy and society.

The initiative, this year titled "Act Naturally," features a week of diverse events focused on environmental and sustainability issues. Events began Monday and will end Sunday, April 15. Admission to all SustainIU events is free. For a full list of events and their time and location, visit the SustainIU website.

Highlighting the week is 2011 TED Global Fellow Jae Rhim Lee, a visual artist, designer and researcher whose work focuses on relationships between the mind, body and self and the built and natural environment. Lee will give the first Ben Brabson Lecture on Sustainable Ideas at 4 p.m. Friday, April 13, in Fine Arts 015.

The annual lecture, named for physics professor emeritus Brabson, was established this year by the Student Sustainability Council to stimulate critical thought on a timely issue of environmental, economic or social sustainability. The first recipient of the Michael Hamburger Award for Sustainable Action, also established this year by the council, will be announced at the lecture.

Traditional SustainIU lectures include a talk and discussion led by biology professor Heather Reynolds about steady-state economics and a panel discussing the local food system featuring local growers, chefs and vendors. Other events include garden work days, a film screening, a poetry night and a photo scavenger hunt.

"SustainIU has selected a provocative artist in Jae Rhim Lee to speak to the theme of 'Act Naturally,' and I can't wait to see what she comes up with for her talk," IU Director of Sustainability Bill Brown said. "Nature has had hundreds of millions of years to perfect its elegantly resilient systems, and we would do well to gracefully integrate with those natural systems all around us."

SustainIU incorporates several student initiatives that extend beyond the week of focused events, including student group Volunteers in Sustainability's semester-long "Bike-to-the-Farm" program, for which students bicycle to area farms and gardens to learn about sustainable agriculture. There will also be a work day with the Campus Garden Initiative at Hilltop Garden Center. IU Bloomington's pilot campus garden at the Bryan House began its initial growing season with a spring planting event last year during SustainIU. The campus garden has now moved to Hilltop and has expanded from 900 to 8,500 square feet.

"It's really exciting to see how much the Campus Garden Initiative has expanded since this time last year," said Stephanie Hopkins, Campus Garden Initiative intern with the IU Office of Sustainability. "Plus, with an increase in gardening space comes an increase in volunteer opportunities. It will be great to have space for even more volunteers at the garden this year."

About the Student Sustainability Council

The Student Sustainability Council serves to promote communication and collaboration among member organizations, advise the Indiana University Office of Sustainability from the perspectives of the students, reduce the negative effects of the university on the natural environment, promote social and economic justice and engage the IU student body in these issues.

Council member organizations include Alpha Phi Omega, American Cetacean Society Student Coalition, Building Tomorrow, Coal Free IU, E-Force, Environmental Law Society, Environmental Management Association, Global Village LLC, Graduate and Professional Student Organization, Greeks Go Green, Indiana Public Interest Research Group, IU Student Association, Residence Halls Association, Revitalizing Animal Well-Being, IU Slow Food, SPEA Undergraduate Student Association, Students Producing Organics Under the Sun, Sustainable Development Association, Veg IU and Volunteers in Sustainability.

For more information on the Student Sustainability Council and SustainIU, visit