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IUB's sustainability newsletter
September 30, 2010Issue 6
In This Issue
Sustainability in the News
September's Sustainability Catalysts
Green Team Update
Working Group Update
Upcoming Events & Volunteer Opportunities
Brown to Green

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Sustainability in the News
Energy seminar series receives successful kick-off, seven speakers to follow during Themester
An impressive speaker series on climate change and energy, titled by organizeers "The Grand Energy Challenge," received a successful launch Wednesday (Sept. 15) as part of Indiana University's fall 2010 Themester: "sustain.ability: Thriving on a Small Planet." 
John Haselden, principal engineer in corporate affairs for Indianapolis Power and Light, spoke on the topic of "Moving to Sustainable Energy Supply," to an attentive and inquisitive group of students and community members, according to co-organizer Rebecca Barthelmie, an IU professor of atmospheric science. His talk was the first in a series of presentations that will include visits by Patten lecturer, a leading state energy official, and researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Colorado School of Mines and Purdue University.
Eco-Entrepreneur Majora Carter visiting IU Bloomington as part of 'Student Empowerment Summit'
Majora Carter, an environmental activist who has worked to create "green-collar" job opportunities for unemployed Americans and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius fellowship," will visit Indiana University Bloominton on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
Carter's visit is part of a student event that focuses on student engagement in issues of social justice and environmental stewardship. The two-day initiative, title "greenINg our economy: A Student Empowerment Summit," will be held on Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at IU's Kelley School of Business. The summit is open to all Indiana University students.
To keynote the summit, Carter will speak to university students, faculty and the public at a free event that begins at 10 a.m. Oct. 1, at the IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St.
IUSA rideshare community hits 1,400 users 
The Indiana University Student Association (IUSA) announced on September 7, 2010, that their Zimride Community, a private network for ridesharing, has reached 1,400 active users. Launched in April 2010, Zimride ( provides IU-Bloomington students, staff and faculty an easy way to find and share rides with one another. This alternative to riding alone is a fun, easy and sustainable solution that now demonstrates how working together can create a new form of transportation.
"People who live as far away as Indianapolis are finding carpool partners because of Zimride," says Riley Zink, Transportation Officer for IUSA. "Lots of people are finding commutes, and we expect students to find rides for one-time trips to football games, the airport, or home for the weekend. As we kick off the first full academic year of Zimride, we hope to sign up thousands of people and to match tens of thousands of rides."
Driving personal vehicles accounts for over 17% of total household expenditures and a lot of that is due to people driving solo. Finding a commuting partner has resulted in some Zimriders saving hundreds of dollars a month.
IU Energy Challenge moves to fall; competition to launch in October
For three years running, the IU Energy Challenge has engaged 10,000-plus participants in a competition to see who will be the biggest loser. This year, the first-ever fall competition will take place from Oct. 6 to Nov. 3.
This annual competition to reduce electricity and water consumption through behavioral changes has traditionally taken place in the spring, ending on Earth Day.
"The purpose of the competition is to instill conservation habits participants," said Mckenzie Beverage, Energy Challenge coordinator. "In order to more effectively measure whether the challenge is having this effect, a competition needs to take place earlier in the school year."
International climate change scientist Jean Palutikof kicks off Patten Foundation Lecture Series 
Nobel laureate Jean Palutikof, professor and founding director of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) at Griffith University in Australia, will present two public lectures to launch Indiana University's William T. Patten Lecture Series for the 2010-11 academic year.  
On Oct. 11, Palutikof will speak on "the role of International Treaties in Tackling Climate Change," and then on Oct. 12, she will present "Adaptation Strategies: A Poor Man's Solution?" Both lectures will take place in the Fine Arts building, Room 015, at 7:30 p.m.
Tiny animal will be used to diagnose environmental problems -- and anticipate dangers to human health
Environmental scientists seeking new ways to sense and diagnose impending environmental and human health disasters returned from Maine last week with new ideas about how to use a common water flea species, Daphnia pulex, as a modern era equivalent to the local mine canary.  
Photo by John Colbourne
The nine-day event at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) was a course for veteran scientists and scientists-in-training -- taught by a diverse array of scholars -- who are collectively creating a new field of science called "environmental genomics," largely centered around water flea genomes. Course planners at Indiana University and MDIBL intend for this gathering to occur every August.
September's Sustainability Catalysts: 
Kristine Lindemann, Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, College
Tracy Bee, Director of Academic Initiatives, College
On Friday, September 10th, the College of Arts and Sciences kicked off its second annual Themester titled "sustain.ability: Thriving on a Small Planet."  This is the first year the College accepted proposals outlining thematic programming, events, lectures, curriculum, and outreach efforts. A diverse team of six faculty and staff members authored the winning prospectus, and for the last year and a half the steering committee has been working alongside the College to bring that plan to life.  This month, the Office of Sustainability would like to highlight two exceptional individuals within the College that have been especially supportive of these planning efforts: Kristine Lindemann and Tracy Bee.  

Kristine Lindemann is the Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the College of Arts and Sciences.  Since day one, Kristine has attended steering committee and sub-committee meetings, providing guidance and leadership on everything from program development to financing.  She's trail-blazed through this first year, working to develop new policies for moving forward with the College-faculty team concept.   

Tracy Bee took over this summer for another great ally, previous Themester Coordinator Jeff Weber, as the Director of Academic Initiatives for the College. Within weeks of taking her position, Tracy was tying up our loose ends to guarantee programming would be executed as planned, while simultaneously working overtime to ensure a broad range of students, faculty, staff and community members had access to Themester events.  

Kristine and Tracy, thank you for your hard work and dedication to sustainability on campus.  This Themester would not have been possible without you!
Green Team Update 
The Department of Biology's Green Team was established during the 2009 fall semester. They will be hosting the first Green Team Green Bag luncheon of this school year on Oct. 6, 2010 to discuss their current initiatives. The luncheon series offers Green Teams across campus the opportunity to connect, exchange ideas, and brainstorm new sustainability initiatives. All students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to attend.
 Q&A with Melody Inabinette, Biology Green Team Organizer
Q: Were you discussing sustainable initiatives to implement within the Biology Department prior to the establishment of the green teams program? 
A: It's ironic, it all began around the time campus phone books were distributed last fall (2009), which I believe was the same time Bill Brown was discussing the Green Team with one of our faculty, Heather Reynolds. I had contacted Heather after reading in UITS News  all the trees it requires to print the phone books. To me, this was unacceptable since most of us have immediated access via our computers to look up this information from the IU website. She put two and two together and since Bill had asked Heather if we'd be interested in taking part in the campus Green Team, she asked me if I would represent us since her schedule is pretty hectic.
Q: When was the Biology Green Team developed?
A: After attending my first campus Green Team meeting on November 5, 2009, I decided this was something much bigger than just one or two people could handle for an entire department such as Biology. the full impact didn't hit me until I was setting up for one of our seminars around that time realizeing all the Styrofoam cups we were using almost daily. I immediately contacted Marta Somers in our stockroom to see what alternatives were available - yet affordable. This turned into a major challenge so I decided teh first step would be to encourage people to 'BYOM' (Bring Your Own Mug) to seminars and offer LESS of the Styrofoam cups. I sent the message out to teh entire Department via our List Serve. The immediate response was a giant step forward! Cup usage has been cut in half - and more. But, we're still working (at this moment) on an even better solution - which I hope to discuss on Oct. 6.
We literally have hundreds of people working in our three main buildings (Jordan, Myers and Simon Halls) including faculty, staff, grad students, lab coordinators and scientists, etc. Our first 'official' Biology Green Team meeting was held February 17, 2010. We announced a contest to develop a logo for our team. the winner received a basket of eco-friendly products for garden, food, etc. (The winning design was by Sarah Shannon-Firestone.)
Q: How many members are on your team?
A: Roughly about 25 attend the meetings, but many others are regular 'supporters' (stay in regular contact).
Q: What do you enjoy most about the Green Teams program?
A: The enthusiasm! The teams in both Biology and the Campus meetings provide so many opportunities for useful ideas and information. Everyone seems so eager to exchange what has worked for them or what they are planning to do in the near future. Meeting people who passionately share a common interest that serves a useful purpose gives me something to look forward to. Our team in Biology is great in that participation is a good mixture of grad students, faculty, staff and other where we meet once a month over lunch. I enjoy the camaraderie within our group. There's always someone attending their first meeting here, but they don't hesitate to immediately jump in the conversation since we want everyone to feel welcome and know their input is very important.
Q: At the next Green Bag, you will be talking about composting in the workplace. How was your team able to get a compost bin established in the office?
A: The compost bin was the result of one of our recent meetings where, as usual, we discuss ideas feasible to accomplish for the benefit of everyone in the Department. Living in an apartment, I wasn't all that familiar with compost and, at least in my mind, thought it was something too 'stinky' to do on campus. But others seemed to know what they were talking about so why no? We discussed the idea with the Chair of Biology, Roger Innes, who enthusiastically supported the idea - providing we would see approval for a space to keep it, seek funding (there wouldn't be funds available from the Department with the tightened budgets) and to make sure we had people in place for the general upkeep of it. If you want to know how we were able to purchase a $500 compost bin within a few short weeks - it wasn't too difficult. We'll tell you how - as well as how its worked so far - on Oct. 6! Much to my delight, it has NOT been stinky, either! As the materials we deposit into the bin turn into compost, we'll make it available to anyone in the Department who can put it to good use (for free).
In addition to the composting, we'll talk about other things we've done since forming our Green Team to reduce paper consumption, recycling, etc. It's been a great experience and yet there's still so much more to be done. This is an activity everyone  should get involved in since it doesn't require any special 'talent' or upfront costs to get started.
Working Group Update 
Academic Initiatives
UnTom Evansder the guidance of Co-Chairs Tom Evans and Nicole Schonemann, the Acadmic Initiatives Working Group has been working hard to bring focus to the sustainability course designation process. They have already identified several goals and established draft criteria, which will be discussed at their October 4 meeting.
Sustainability course designations is intended as a mechanism to enable students to identify sustainability related courses by providing an easily searchable term within the course master database. Course designation also serves as a tool to develop a coherent curriculum in sustainability formed from sustainability courses designated. Sustainability course designation also facilitates reporting to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Educations (AASHE). Indiana Unversity Bloomington is a Charter Participant in the AASHE Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS).
Utilizing sustainability intern and staff research, the Office of Sustainability has maintained a database of over 200 sustainability courses. STARS recognizes sustainability related and sustainability focused courses, but IUOS listing lacked that information and there was no formal process or criteria for designation. Formulating these criteria will be one of the important initiatives tackled by the Academic Initiatives Working Group this year.
With formal criteria and a process in place, it will be possible to accurately designate courses, which will provide a useful tool for students, curriculum planners, and prospective students and faculty. It will also serve as an important idicator of progress for campus sustainability.
Upcoming Events & Volunteer Opportunities 
For a complete listing of sustainability events, visit:

For a complete listing of Themester events visit:

Featured event:

greenINg our economy:
A Student Empowerment Summit


Featuring renowned eco-entrepreneur, social activist, and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius fellowship"

Majora Carter

Spots still available!  Register now:

Thursday, September 30th:
  • 6-7:30 PM, Neal Marshall Grand Hall: Workshop 1--Why does Indiana need a green economy? (PUBLIC-registration suggested)
  • 7:45-8:30 PM, Neal Marshall Grand Hall: Meet and Greet with Majora Carter (PUBLIC-registration suggested)

Friday, October 1st:
  • 10:00 AM, IU Auditorium: Keynote Lecture--Majora Carter (PUBLIC-no registration required)
  • 12-1:30 PM, Kelley School of Business: Workshop 2--What is our vision of a green economy in Indiana? (REGISTRATION REQUIRED)
  • 1:45-4 PM, Kelley School of Business: Workshop 3--What is Indiana University's role in promoting a green economy? (REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

About the Summit

From climate change to economic injustice, Indiana residents are coping with complex problems that require comprehensive policy solutions.  We feel young people are integral to ensuring this problem solving is successful.  For this reason, we, as student leaders at IU, have come together to organize the first serious student collaboration at the university level to discuss Indiana's potential in building a green and socially just economy.

We want to challenge each other to think critically about the role that students, Indiana University and the state of Indiana must play in effecting change.  The summit will feature activists, leaders and experts in interactive workshops focused on defining the underlying problems confronting our communities and crafting a vision of a green economy that will address these problems.  We will close with a final workshop aimed a developing and committing to an action plan that will be presented in a formal meeting with the Provost and other IU administrators shortly after the summit. This action plan will consist of realistic and measurable steps we as students can take to promote a green economy. Finally, to evaluate our progress and hold ourselves accountable, we will reconvene this coming spring for a second summit.

This summit is not strictly for students interested in environmental issues! To ensure we truly represent IU students, we need representatives from all corners of campus, representing the full range of diverse perspectives that make us a vibrant student community. That's you! Register today:
Brown to Green:
Thriving Sustainably
by Bill Brown
In 1974, my ecology professor assigned a bestseller, Limits to Growth, which reported the results of a computer model designed to explore how exponential population growth interacts with finite resources. The conclusions included: "1) If the present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probably result will be a rather sudden decline in both population and industrial capacity. 2) It is possible to alter these growth trends and to establish a condition of ecological and economic stability that is sustainable far into the future. 3) If the world's people decide to strive for this second outcome rather than the first, the sooner they begin working to attain it, the greater will be their chances for success."

Over a third of that one hundred years later, I find myself back at the same university as its director of sustainability, almost certainly because I was exposed to the concept of sustainability in a transforming way as a college student. In the intervening years, I have led a number of student, community, professional and civic organizations with "sustainability" in the title and the meaning of the word has always been intuitively clear to me, but I have often had trouble forming a succinct definition for others waiting at the bus stop.
Lately, I have been using, "learning to thrive within our means," as a shorthand definition for the hundreds of lengthy ones I have absorbed over the years.
With the College of Arts and Sciences Themester 2010 - sustain.ability: Thriving on a Small Planet, another generation of students will learn that sustainability is not about sustaining the same strategies that brought us to the present convergence of epic economic, environmental and social challenges. They (and you) will soon be able to interact with a broad scope of world-class sustainability thought leaders to form their own personal definitions for and paths to sustainability.
We can learn together to replace the mindless pursuit of quantity of consumption with a more authentic, mindful quality of living. We can learn to live well, within the regenerative limits of the natural systems that support all life on this uniquely abundant planet. We can learn to thrive within our means. The sooner we begin working, the greater will be our chances of success.
The Limits to Growth, Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III, (New York: Universe Books)
Need to contact IUOS?
General comments and questions should be directed to

Our address:

IU Office of Sustainability
1001 E. 10th St.
Geology 429
Bloomington, IN 47405

For IUOS staff:

Bill Brown
Director of Sustainability

Emilie Rex
Assistant Director of Sustainability