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Michael Hamburger
Department of Geological Sciences

Paul Sullivan
Deputy Vice President for Administration

Last modified: Monday, January 7, 2008

IU Bloomington task force posts report on campus sustainability

Jan. 7, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A Campus Sustainability Report for Indiana University Bloomington charts a course for IU Bloomington to become a leader in the study and practice of environmental sustainability. Produced under the direction of the IU Task Force on Campus Sustainability, the final report has been posted on the campus sustainability Web site,

"We view this initiative as an opportunity for Indiana University to take a leadership role in incorporating concepts of sustainability into university practice in the operation of the university as well as the creation, dissemination and application of new areas of academic scholarship in this emerging field," the report says. The report defines sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Paul Sullivan and Michael Hamburger

Task Force on Campus Sustainability co-chairs Paul Sullivan and Michael Hamburger.

Print-Quality Photo

The report was initially released in draft form on Nov. 19, 2007. The final report reflects suggestions and feedback gleaned from an extended period of comment and review. "The period of review allowed us to incorporate constructive feedback from a wide range of university stakeholders," said Michael Hamburger, a task force co-chair.

In addition to addressing comments, suggestions and concerns from individual members of the university and broader communities, the final report reflects perspectives gleaned from formal reviews by the Bloomington Faculty Council, Bloomington Professional Council and the IU Student Association.

The final report includes a large number of specific recommendations for action, including academic initiatives and a host of operational efforts related to campus energy use, environmental quality and land use, resource use and recycling, transportation, the built environment and food. A central proposal of the report involves establishment of an IU Bloomington Office of Sustainability to provide administrative leadership and support for campus-wide programs.

IU Vice President for Administration J. Terry Clapacs appointed the 16-member Task Force on Campus Sustainability in March. Co-chaired by Hamburger, associate dean of the faculties and professor of geological sciences, and Paul Sullivan, deputy vice president for administration, the task force includes faculty, staff and students representing both the academic and operations sides of the campus.

The Campus Sustainability Report resulted from nine months of collaborative work by more than 100 IU faculty, staff and students who examined sustainability issues in academic, administrative and operational programs. Twenty undergraduate and graduate student interns conducted research and collected information that contributed to the report.

A central theme of the report, Hamburger said, is that IU Bloomington has a firm foundation on which to a build a prominent sustainability initiative that spans the academic and operational facets of the university. For example, the working group on academic initiatives identified 29 undergraduate and 34 graduate programs and more than 20 research centers or institutes that address some component of sustainability.

The report recommends that Indiana University as an institution make a "formal, public commitment" in support of sustainability by establishing an IU Bloomington Office of Sustainability and by signing one or more public statements on sustainability or climate change currently being endorsed by U.S. colleges and universities.

"The work of the task force lays an excellent foundation for a national-caliber sustainability program at IU," Sullivan said. "It does a good job of highlighting what we have accomplished thus far, setting specific goals, and identifying the challenges that lie ahead."