Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Stephanie Hopkins
Student Sustainability Council

Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Student Sustainability Council honors IU faculty with creation of annual award, lecture

Feb. 14, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An annual award and lecture created by the Student Sustainability Council at Indiana University Bloomington will honor IU faculty members Michael Hamburger and Ben Brabson for their commitment to sustainability on campus and in the community.

The council voted unanimously to establish the Michael Hamburger Award for Sustainable Action, recognizing a member of the IU community for support of sustainability; and the Ben Brabson Lecture on Sustainable Ideas, to stimulate critical thought on a timely issue of environmental, economic or social sustainability.

The first Ben Brabson Lecture on Sustainable Ideas will be presented during this year's SustainIU Week, a series of sustainability-related events hosted by the Student Sustainability Council from April 9 to 15. At the lecture, the first recipient of the Michael Hamburger Award will be announced.


Chris Meyer

Michael Hamburger

Print-Quality Photo

Since working to establish the IU Research and Teaching Preserve a decade ago, Hamburger has been an activist for campus environmental initiatives. In 2007, he was named co-chair of the first IU Task Force on Sustainability and began working with campus and community members to create a Campus Sustainability Report and hire the first group of sustainability interns.

Hamburger, professor of geological sciences, was recently involved in the planning and execution of the College of Arts and Science's Themester 2010 "sustain.ability: Thriving on a Small Planet" and co-chaired the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Committee, which created a proposal for the re-establishment and modification of the environmental studies program.

The Michael Hamburger Award for Sustainable Action will serve as an annual award recognizing a deserving member of the IU community who has generated awareness of, interest in and novel approaches to matters of environmental, economic or social sustainability.

"Professor Hamburger has set a definitive example for sustainable leadership on our campus and in the community, and we hope to reward and recognize others for doing the same," said Ben Calvin, logistics director for the Student Sustainability Council.

Brabson, professor emeritus of physics of climate change, joined IU as a physicist in the 1960s. After decades of scholarly work in particle physics, Brabson followed his evolving passion into the field of energy physics. By the 1990s, he was immersed in climate research and was a prominent researcher on extreme wind speeds and their potential impact on wind turbines.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used Brabson's research in its Fourth Assessment Report. In addition to his research, Brabson has always been passionate about educating students of all ages and spreading the word about what can be done to curb global warming.

"Ben makes believers out of non-believers," said Student Sustainability Council member Jacob Bower-Bir, who initiated the idea for the lecture. "His scholastic aptitude and genial conduct persuade and disarm global warming naysayers. People -- even those already committed to the cause -- reconsider their biases after meeting him.

"Ben is the finest ambassador for the environment I have met; more importantly, he is a champion of reason and deliberation," Bower-Bir added. "In short, Ben is a true educator. We at Indiana are fortunate to have his guidance."

The Ben Brabson Lecture on Sustainable Ideas will be held annually to honor Brabson's scholarly knowledge on climate change and his inspiration to students to devote their careers to related pursuits.

About the Student Sustainability Council

The Student Sustainability Council serves to promote communication and collaboration among our member organizations, to advise the Indiana University Office of Sustainability from the perspectives of the students, to reduce the negative effects of the university on the natural environment, to promote social and economic justice and to 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 SSC and SustainIU, visit