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Lauren Kastner
Student Sustainability Council

Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'WasteD' week to link college life with sustainability

March 30, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Student Sustainability Council at Indiana University Bloomington has organized the fourth annual SustainIU initiative to spread awareness about sustainability and how individuals can make a positive impact on their environment.

The initiative, titled "WasteD," features a week of diverse events, all aimed at engaging and educating the campus community on issues related to sustainability. Events begin April 17 (Sunday) and end April 23 (Saturday).

"WasteD" falls on this year's Earth Week, which will allow the council to spread awareness of sustainability to a broader campus and Bloomington community audience.

SustainIU: Wasted

"The theme 'WasteD' truly speaks to what sustainability is about: adapting our mindset about consumer output to ensure the security of natural resources for the future," SustainIU Coordinator Lauren Kastner said. "By choosing a theme like 'WasteD' that has a double meaning, we were able to connect the relationship between typical college experiences with issues of sustainability."

Events include the annual "Green Day" kickoff festival in Dunn Meadow, a variety of lectures, film screenings, a poetry slam, a garden planting, and a bike maintenance and safety training day followed by a bike-in movie.

Traditional SustainIU lectures include Anthropology Professor Richard Wilk's talk "Sustainable Consumerism," a panel discussing local waste management featuring Bloomington Director of Sustainability Jacqui Bauer and RPS Environmental Operations Associate Director Steve Akers, and two lectures from Covanta Energy Vice President John Waffenschmidt.

Covanta Energy turns 20 million tons of waste into over nine million megawatt hours of electricity each year and creates more than 10 billion pounds of steam that are sold to a variety of industries. Its Indianapolis facility processes 2,175 tons-per-day of solid waste and produces no less than 4,500 pounds of steam sold per ton, heating the city's downtown businesses, Eli Lilly & Co. and the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Waffenschmidt will speak on the science and technology behind Covanta's waste-to-energy operations and discuss the challenges and opportunities that face a private corporation looking to turn a profit from alternative energy operations.

"The SustainIU steering group never ceases to amaze me with all the exciting events they pack into Earth Week," IU Director of Sustainability Bill Brown said. "Eliminating waste is a fundamental opportunity for campus sustainability, and you certainly won't be wasting your time attending WasteD."

SustainIU is also a jumping-off point for several student initiatives including the Bryan House Garden, advocacy for IU to purchase cage-free eggs, and the installation of a two-kilowatt solar panel system.

IU Bloomington's first campus community garden will begin its initial growing season with a spring planting event on April 23. Students who participate in this inaugural planting also will have an opportunity to view educational signage about the waste associated with the packaging and transport of different types of food items.

"Everyone deserves fresh and healthy foods, and we would appreciate participation from any and all students in the planting," IUOS Campus Garden Intern Stephanie Hopkins said.

One Student Sustainability Council member organization, Revitalizing Animal Well-being (RAW), will be using "WasteD" as an opportunity to bring attention to the issue of IU's purchase of eggs collected from hens kept in battery cages. RAW will be asking students, especially in the residence halls, to sign action cards saying they would like IU to switch RPS to all cage-free eggs.

"Cage-free eggs are better for the environment because they produce less waste, better for humans due to a lower risk of E. coli, and definitely better for the animals because they have more space and the ability to perform natural behaviors," RAW Co-President Beth Reinke said.

Funded by the Indiana University Student Foundation's (IUSF) $12,000 Senior Challenge Grant, Coal Free IU in cooperation with the University Architect's Office and Engineering Services will install a two-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array on the Indiana Memorial Union. The installation will be paired with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a homemade solar cooker craft project during SustainIU.

Admission to all SustainIU events is free. For a full list of the time and location of all SustainIU events, visit

To learn more about the Student Sustainability Council, see a list of all member organizations, and learn how to get involved visit or email