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Barbara Coffman
IU Foundation

Dana Cummings
IU Student Foundation

Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

IU seniors make a sustainable mark for the future

Funds will be used to install a 2-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array panel on the Indiana Memorial Union

Feb. 23, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Student Foundation (IUSF) launched its 2010-11 Senior Challenge with a $12,000 grant for the Sierra Club's Coal Free IU project. The funds were awarded from the "Hoosier Legacy Fund," established with contributions from last year's Senior Challenge, and will be used to install a 2-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array panel on the Indiana Memorial Union.

The year's Senior Challenge gives the graduating class at IU Bloomington the opportunity to begin building its own philanthropic legacy on the campus by donating $20.11, in recognition of their year of graduation.

Coal Free IU

Left to right: Nicholas McKay, Hannah Hunt, Emily Winters and Lauren Kastner.

The award was presented at the IU Student Foundation's Black and White Gala on Dec. 2. The event, which was attended by student leaders, was the kick off for this year's Senior Challenge campaign, which will raise funds for next year's project and begin the class's tradition of philanthropic giving to IU.

"This year's project, Coal Free IU, truly blew us away," said Ryan Convy, Indiana University Student Foundation president. "This project represents student values, ingenuity, and hope, as well as the current interest of many, many students -- that of creating a more sustainable and healthier environment while demonstrating energy conservation as a lasting legacy for the next generation of IU Bloomington students."

Accepting the award for Coal Free IU were Lauren Kastner, Hannah Hunt, Nicholas McKay and Emily Winters. In accepting the award, McKay expressed gratitude for assistance from the Assistant Director for Utilities Mark Menefee, Director of Sustainability Bill Brown, and EcoSource, Inc. for supporting and assisting with the details of the project.

Coal Free IU President Kastner commented that "installing the solar array on the roof of the Indiana Memorial Union makes a very public statement that IU intends to adopt more sustainable energy solutions. The University does have plans for small photovoltaic systems elsewhere on campus. This project is a first step in a long journey towards carbon neutrality, but the best news is that this first project was organized and funded by students for students and will have a lasting impression on future students in its very visible location."

According to a Princeton Review survey, 23 percent of prospective college students are taking into consideration a university's sustainability practices when selecting a college.

The solar panel is expected to be installed on the Indiana Memorial Union in April with a special event and other projects intended to raise awareness on sustainability and clean energy use.

The Indiana University Student Foundation ( was established in 1950 to provide IU Bloomington undergraduates with opportunities to learn about the power of philanthropic support, take part in community service, receive leadership training, and make life-long friendships. Student Foundation members annually organize and produce more than 60 events, including the Little 500 bike race, and award more than $150,000 annually in scholarship and grant funds for IU Bloomington students.