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Sustainability Task Force

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University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008

Indiana University to hire sustainability director, extend campus initiatives

Sept. 4, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University will hire a full-time director of campus sustainability and take other steps to continue the momentum developed by a sustainability task force for the Bloomington campus, IU President Michael A. McRobbie announced today.

"Thanks to the leadership of the Task Force on Campus Sustainability, we have taken significant steps to leverage IU Bloomington's strengths to create a coordinated sustainability initiative," McRobbie said. "It is important that we move forward with these efforts and with a rigorous and clear-eyed examination of the ways in which greater sustainability can benefit both Indiana University and the state of Indiana."

McRobbie approved a campus sustainability proposal from Karen Hanson, the IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President, and Terry Clapacs, University Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. It calls for:

  • Employing a full-time interim Director of Campus Sustainability, reporting to Hanson and Clapacs, and supported by a graduate assistant and part-time student employees.
  • Extending student sustainability internships through the 2008-09 academic year and the summer of 2009.
  • Transforming the Task Force on Campus Sustainability to a Sustainability Advisory Board, capable of establishing working groups to implement specific projects.
  • Implementing high-priority sustainability activities in consultation with academic, administrative and operations groups

Hanson said the campus sustainability initiative has brought together academic and operations units to address issues facing the university and society. "Students, faculty and staff have done extraordinary work to advance this important initiative," she said. "We are now taking the next step for IU Bloomington to be a leader in the research, teaching and practice of sustainability."

"The task force has been busy over the past year and a half putting together a sustainability strategy," added Clapacs. "This proposal begins to create an implementation plan for that strategy, to formalize it and give us a platform that will allow for continued progress. We've seen tremendous interest in this on the part of our faculty, staff and students. I'm very pleased the president has chosen to move forward."

The proposal approved by McRobbie is an interim implementation plan designed to keep critical initiatives moving forward while a long-term plan is developed. It responds to key recommendations in a report released by the Task Force on Campus Sustainability in January 2008.

Clapacs appointed the 15-member task force of faculty, staff and students in April 2007. The group, chaired by Michael Hamburger, associate dean of the faculties and professor of geological sciences, and Paul Sullivan, deputy vice president for administration, developed a framework for IU Bloomington to be a national leader in environmental sustainability, which it defined as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." The Task Force issued its Campus Sustainability Report in January 2008, and has been expanding campus sustainability initiatives since that time.

The current proposal includes a budget of $251,000 for compensation of staff, travel, office expenses, and support for six academic-year interns and 15 summer 2009 interns. It also calls for seed funds that can be leveraged against matching contributions from campus units to advance sustainability projects.

Following are some of the high-priority initiatives for 2008-09 listed in the proposal:

  • Develop academic opportunities in sustainability, including courses and research.
  • Extend student-led activities in areas such as environmental literacy, recycling, energy awareness and sustainable food.
  • Develop new service-learning opportunities centered on sustainability.
  • Discuss a campus climate action plan to examine greenhouse gas emissions and move toward a model of climate neutrality.
  • Evaluate whether IU should adopt a formal campus policy on sustainability and whether it should become a signatory to a national statement on climate or sustainability.
  • Examine models for incorporating sustainability in a campus master plan.
  • Incorporate Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards into all new buildings and renovation projects where possible.
  • Implement energy-saving projects, including an energy audit and utility metering.
  • Develop procurement policies that promote the purchase of products made from recycled materials, products that can be reused or recycled, and "green chemicals."
  • Implement watershed protection projects for the Jordan River and Griffy Creek watersheds.
  • Continue developing and implementing an integrated pest management plan for campus.
  • Develop a comprehensive bicycle-pedestrian transportation policy for the IU Bloomington campus.
  • Encourage and assist campus food providers in using more local food and composting food waste.