issue 267.27.12
Sustainability in the News
From the Director: Integrated Energy Master Plan
Remembering Elinor Ostrom
Internship Program Update
Events and Opportunities
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Sustainability in the News
Rising carbon dioxide in atmosphere also speeds carbon loss from forest soils, IU-led research finds
Research site Elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide accelerate carbon cycling and soil carbon loss in forests, new research led by an IU biologist has found.

The new evidence supports an emerging view that although forests remove a substantial amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, much of the carbon is being stored in living woody biomass rather than as dead organic matter in soils.

Richard P. Phillips, lead author on the paper and an assistant professor of biology in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, said that after nearly two decades of research on forest ecosystem responses to global change, some of the uncertainty has been lifted about how forests are storing carbon in the wake of rising carbon dioxide levels. 
IU Center for Research in Environmental Sciences transitions to Integrated Program in Environment

The Center for Research in Environmental Sciences, established at Indiana University Bloomington in spring 2008, is merging into the new Integrated Program in the Environment.

The program is a joint effort of the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences and School of Public and Environmental Affairs. It is being formed following recommendations of the New Academic Directions report approved by the IU Board of Trustees in April 2011.

The Integrated Program in the Environment, involving about 60 IU Bloomington faculty members from multiple departments and schools, will offer students opportunities to obtain joint degrees from the College and SPEA in environmental sciences, environmental and sustainability studies, and environmental management.
IU sustainability interns will present projects Aug. 3
Students in Indiana University's Summer 2012 Internship Program in Sustainability will showcase their completed projects on Friday, Aug. 3.

The Summer Sustainability Internship Symposium will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave. It will include oral and poster presentations and a lunch prepared by Indiana Memorial Union Catering, featuring local and organic foods, some of which will be grown in IU's  Campus Garden. Those interested in attending the symposium should  register online. This event is free and open to the public.

Intern biographies and project descriptions can be found on the  Office of Sustainability website

Distinguished Indiana University scholar Vincent Ostrom dies    

Vincent Alfred Ostrom, a world-renowned expert on democratic governance, died Friday, June 29, at his home near Bloomington from complications related to cancer. He was 92.

Ostrom was the Arthur F. Bentley Professor Emeritus of Political Science in the Indiana University Bloomington College of Arts & Sciences.

Among his many accomplishments, in 1955 Vincent Ostrom helped draft Article VIII on Natural Resources of the Alaska Constitution, the first comprehensive constitutional article on natural resources in the world, which enshrined the idea that the people of Alaska, rather than the government, would own the state's natural resources.
IU biologist receives Department of Energy's top young faculty award
An IU biologist investigating how microbes might interact to better produce biofuels from renewable resources has received a $750,000 U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Program award, the agency's most prestigious award for early-career, tenure-track teachers and scholars.
James "Jake" McKinlay, an assistant professor in the IU College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology, received the five-year funding award from the Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research.
IU SPEA report: Hybrid trucks hurt by low fuel prices
A new report from Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs raises questions about the economic viability of medium-sized diesel-electric hybrid trucks.
With volatile fuel prices and uncertain technology and environmental trends, the fuel savings and environmental benefits from driving these hybrids may not be sufficient to recover their higher investment costs, said John D. Graham and Kerry Krutilla, the authors of the study.

Big Ten Climate Scientists Call for Dialogue
By Bill Brown


Dead corn stalks lay in the fields in northern Vigo County Thursday July 5, 2012. The current drought has scorched thousands of acres of cropland in Indiana.

Is this what climate change feels like? The first six months of 2012 were the warmest ever recorded in Indiana, in the continental United States, and across the globe (according to NOAA's National Climate Data Center). The last 12 months were also the warmest ever recorded. The USDA  now counts 1330 counties, a third of the nation, in their "drought disaster zone," and 50 of Indiana's 92 counties are included in this designation.


As the climate continues to warm, can we expect more of this extreme weather we have witnessed in 2011 and 2012? Indiana and Big Ten climate scientists recently answered that question with a "yes."


Professor Scott Robeson, chair of the Indiana University Department of Geography and Purdue's University's Paul Shepson, a professor of analytical and atmospheric chemistry, recently wrote an opinion page letter in the Indianapolis Star linking current extreme weather with climate change. Their letter was co-authored by climate scientists from all twelve Big Ten universities, and similar letters appeared in major newspapers across the Midwest.


Their letter stated:

 "There is a strong probability that climate change is influencing certain extreme weather events. That's what we, as climate scientists, know.

As the climate changes, Earth's normal cycles become altered. Whether from human-related or natural causes, shifts in temperature associated with the changing climate can change the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, and this can lead to major changes in the probability for extreme weather. Some evidence can be found by looking at the ratio of extreme highs and lows in U.S. weather over the last 50 years.

Scientific models are starting to suggest that disasters like the 2010 Russian heat wave, which resulted in the loss of 50,000 lives and billions of dollars of wheat crops, are likely related to human-induced climate change."


After offering a range of strategies to mitigate climate change, the authors concluded, "We can and should educate ourselves about climate science. We can use one of the most pressing issues of our lives as an opportunity to foster open and frank dialogue about the ways for people to work together to ensure the Earth's productivity now and for generations to come."


Big Ten institutions have a long history of  providing the kind of creative research, leadership, innovation, education, and engagement required to foster this critically important dialogue to mitigate the causes of and adapt to the effects of climate change. They have been at the forefront of the response to other societal challenges such as segregation, gender inequality, diversity, international cooperation, poverty, hunger, and public health.


The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which includes all the Big Ten Schools plus the University of Chicago, started an Environmental Stewardship committee a couple of years ago to highlight best practices in campus sustainability that may show the way to a more sustainable future. Big Ten institutions are finding ways to dramatically reduce their environmental impact and reduce utility costs while also educating their students about the importance of doing so. They are practicing what they are preaching in the classrooms by using their campuses as learning labs and progress has been dramatic.


This summer's extreme weather provides a wake-up call to redouble these crucial efforts to, as our Big Ten climate scientists suggest, foster a public dialogue about "ways for people to work together to ensure the Earth's productivity now and for generations to come." Interested in how you can get involved? Let's talk.


Profiles in IU Sustainability


This feature profiles a student, faculty member, staff member, IU alum, or community member who has inspired us as a sustainability leader. We hope you enjoy these stories, and we encourage you to send along your own! View this and past profiles at   

Mckenzie Beverage is this month's featured sustainer:


Beverage 101 Beverage

Degree: MPA 2010 (SPEA), BA International Studies 2007 (COAS) 

Current Position: Program Advisor for the Student Sustainability Committee at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Current Location: Urbana, Illinois

Hobbies: Riding my bike (especially with my dog in tow in his bike trailer), gardening, and making baguettes

Favorite Sport: Rock climbing 

Favorite Food: Heirloom tomatoes in the summer (especially if they come from Hunter's Creek Organic Farm)

Favorite Musician: Bill Callahan     

Favorite Green Tip: Try to carry reusable utensils, mugs, water bottles, and shopping bags. I always have my reusable spork, water bottle, napkin, coffee mug, and clean to-go container (in case I can't finish my lunch) in my bag.  


Tell us a little about yourself:  I grew up in Indiana, but I am a native of Oklahoma. I graduated from IU SPEA in December 2010 with a Master's of Public Affairs and I currently work with an amazing group of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I recently adopted a shepherd-hound mix named Hank, and I just moved into a house with a fenced-in yard where I can garden and lay in a hammock.     


What does "sustainability" mean to you?  For me, sustainability means good stewardship and living mindfully.


What was your inspiration for becoming involved in sustainability?  I have always been concerned about environmental issues. I was the recycling guru and energy saver of my household growing up. It wasn't until I started taking university classes that I began to understand the complexities and interconnectedness of the natural world and the damaging impact humans can have on it. This realization inspired me to roll my sleeves up and get to work, but it also overwhelmed me and made me feel helpless against the world's problems. The sustainability community at IU made me realize how many incredible people stand behind the cause. They inspired me to become involved, and it is knowing people like them that gives me hope for the future.  


What were some of the highlights of your time at IU?  Serving as the 2008-2010 IU Energy Challenge Coordinator and working with the IU Office of Sustainability was hands-down my best experience at IU. And I'm not just saying that because this is an IUOS Profile. That internship allowed me to work with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members in various capacities. Some of my most cherished relationships began because of my involvement as an intern, and the skills and experience I gained are invaluable.   


Has your involvement in sustainability at IU benefited you in post-grad life? If so,  how?  I would not be in this position without my involvement with IUOS. My internship experience strengthened my leadership and management skills, public speaking ability, and furthered my sustainability knowledge.  


How do you practice sustainability in your daily life?  I practice sustainability in my daily life by trying to break away from the linear system of consumption our society has created and closing the loop on consumption (food, products, energy and water) and waste (resources, garbage, compost).

I try to grow as much of my own food as possible, and buy from local growers. I commute by bike and I try to travel long distance by car instead of by plane. I have a worm composting bin, and chickens next door that eat what my worms can't handle. I purchase products with as little packaging as possible and I always bring my own containers for bulk foods and produce. I seek out used clothing instead of buying
new, and reuse as much as I can.

Summer 2012 Internship Symposium  

By Emilie Rex


Next Friday, August 3rd, we will gather at Neal-Marshall Grand Hall for the sixth annual summer celebration of the sustainability-focused research and program development projects of our seventeen summer interns. This event, the 2012 Summer Sustainability Internship Symposium, is free and open to the public. We invite you to register here.


Here's the agenda for the event:

  • 11:30 AM: Doors open 
  • 11:45 AM - 12: 45 PM: Brief remarks by Director of Sustainability Bill Brown and project presentations by three interns. We'll serve a complimentary lunch featuring food grown at the IU Campus Garden and at local farms.  
  • 12:45 - 1:30 PM: Poster session illustrating the project findings for each intern. Coffee and dessert served.  

Some of our interns coordinate long-term programs like Green Teams, Living Sustainably Off-Campus or the Campus Garden Initiative. Others plan annual events like Big Red Eats Green, a celebration of local food in Bloomington (September 6th - mark your calendars!), or the Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale, the biggest effort to divert reusable student move-out items from the landfill, set for August 11th. Finally, several interns have spent the summer researching ways to improve our campus systems, such as the feasibility of a bike share program or the most effective strategies for reducing waste on campus.   


This is the must-see campus sustainability event of the summer. All are welcome, and we hope you'll be able to join us! Again, here's the link to register. 

Events and Opportunities
Full event listings can be viewed on our calendar, while the latest news and opportunities are viewable on our blog

Upcoming Events:


Friday, July 27 
Campus Garden Workday
When: 9:00 - 11:00 am
Where: Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, 2367 E. 10th St
Description: No need to sign up ahead of time, just show up ready to play in the dirt and grow food for the campus community! Gloves and tools are provided. Email with questions. Visit for more information about the IU Campus Garden Initiative.

Hoosier to Hoosier Donation Drop-Off Day

When: 9:00 am  - 2:00 pm 
Where: Gladstein Fieldhouse
Description: The Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale will take anything*-clothes, furniture, housewares, non-perishable food-and all funds raised support local non-profits. Bring your items by, or send us an email and we may be able to come pick it up! Want more info? Visit
*Except mattresses. 


Friday, July 27 & Saturday, July 28 
Hoosier to Hoosier Volunteer Sorting Days 
When: 9:00 am  - 3:00 pm 
Where: Gladstein Fieldhouse 
Description: Volunteers can work for a shift of their choice anytime between 9 am. and 3 pm. Volunteers will be assigned to either transportation or storage. Transportation volunteers will work with a small group picking up donated items with the H2H trucks from off-campus student apartments and greek houses and then transporting to the sale storage location. The storage volunteers will be working at the storage trailers receiving the items from the transportation volunteers and sorting/organizing all items for storage. Volunteers ought to dress for active work and warm weather. We will supply gloves, drinking water, and lots of appreciation. An important note: some activities may require heavy lifting. Please let us know if you're unable to lift heavy items so we can assign you appropriately.  Email to sign up, and H2H will contact you and tell you where to report for your volunteer sorting activity. 


News, ongoing events, and opportunities:   


Volunteer for the Hoosier to Hoosier Sale
The Hoosier to Hoosier Sale donations are still coming in, and volunteers are needed to help sort and stage the many  items. Remaining volunteer days include July 27 and 28, as well as the days leading up the August 11 sale. Email if you're interested.

About Us
The mission of the Indiana University Office of Sustainability is to advance sustainable human-environment interactions within the Bloomington campus and community by facilitating collaborative academic and operational initiatives. 
Contact Us
IU Office of Sustainability
704 E. 10th St. 
Bloomington, Indiana 47408
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