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March 2017
Sustainability News
IUPUI Students attend 2017 Food, Waste, and Hunger Summit

Three students from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis attended the 2017 Food, Waste, and Hunger Summit, or Summit Squared, on March 24-25.

Two leaders in IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability’s Campus Kitchen, Director Mark Daiuto and Staffing and Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Moors, as well as the Chair of  Paw’s Pantry, IUPUI’s low-barrier food bank, Christina Geels, went to the Summit.

Summit Squared is an annual event put on by the national Campus Kitchens Project, an organization that empowers students to take the unused food from places like their dining halls and local grocery stores and creates meals for those in need, according to the Campus Kitchens website. This year’s Summit Squared was also co-hosted by Universities Fighting World Hunger.

This is the fourth year that the Office of Sustainability has sent leadership team members to go to the Summit, with some even presenting in the past said Deb Ferguson, assistant director of the Office of Sustainability. This was also the first year a leadership member of Paw’s pantry, supported by the Office of Student Advocacy and Support, attended Summit Squared.

“The keys to why the Summit is so important is it provides leadership experience to students as well as professional development," Ferguson said. "It inspires them and gives them more meaning and passion to what they're doing."

Geels, a Senior, attended the Summit because of Paw's Pantry's recent transition from a student organization to existing within the Office of Student Advocacy and Support, which comes with new resources.

Geels said her favorite part of the summit was listening to World Food Program's MJ Altman, whose "Hacking Hunger" podcast uses storytelling to show the hidden victims of hunger.

“A lot of what we’re combating at Paw’s in our urban area is hidden hunger, like basic nutrient deficiency,” Geels said.

More than just the opportunity to learn about fighting hunger and network with others in the business, Ferguson said students also come away with a greater understanding of the movement.

Geels agreed, saying that she was grateful to the University for the opportunity to go to Summit Squared.

“Before I went to the Summit I felt like we were really alone in this fight,” Geels said. “After the Summit, I realized we weren’t alone, just disconnected.”

Geels said she is hoping to mend that disconnect with the connections she made thanks to Summit Squared.

IU Kokomo to Have Sustainability Themed XWeek in April

IU Kokomo will have its first XWeek this semester, focusing on the theme of sustainability. XWeek is an entire week of campus events that encourage and invite dynamic, transformative learning experiences centered around a single theme. The local community is also invited to participate in the activities.                         

This is an image oXf Week graphic.

The campus-wide theme week will change its theme every year, but for its inaugural week, IUK chose to highlight sustainability across its disciplines, its campus, and its community.

“I hope this will raise a tremendous amount of awareness about the new Office of Sustainability on campus,” said Leda Casey, Campus Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability at IUK. “We are moving as a campus to promote sustainability both within the University and the surrounding community.”

XWeek, which will run April 17 through 2, will include several events every day that are aimed to highlight both the interdisciplinary aspect of sustainability and ways students can be sustainable themselves.

The week will conclude with a campus-wide cleanup and the announcement of the winners of two separate sustainability challenges associated with the week: a reusable water bottle poster challenge and a community service challenge.

The community service challenge awards money to a student group, office, or department on campus who comes up and implements the best sustainability community service project, Casey said. The challenge is just one way the Office of Sustainability, which just began this academic year, is working to get students, staff and faculty involved.

Another event, named IU Kokomo C.A.R.E.S, will be aimed specifically at showing students all the sustainability volunteer opportunities—from the Red Cross to Howard County Recycling District— in their community. The event, which will take place during XWeek, is spearheaded by Office of Sustainability Community Engagement intern Tyler Curnutt.

IU Kokomo C.A.R.E.S. stands for Community Advocacy and Relations Expo in Sustainability, and is meant to engage and connect with students to get involved in their community, Curnutt said.

Curnutt’s is just one event in a week full of events meant to inspire students.

“I think most importantly I hope students are moved to act in a sustainable way because of XWeek,” Casey said. “I hope students see that sustainability is personally connected to them.”

In addition to events like a sustainability art show and showcase courses, where the community is invited to sit in on participating sustainability classes, there will also be a deforestation event where the first 100 visitors could receive a free tree sapling to take home and plant.

The deforestation event is one that Curnutt said he is most looking forward to, partly because he hopes all the tree saplings get planted and partly because it is a great example of how even the smallest thing can make a big impact.

“We tend to think these issues of sustainability are too big to tackle, but if we as individuals make small changes in our lives, those things will grow into the big changes we all think we can't accomplish on our own," he said.

IU Bloomington kicks off its Spring Energy Challenge

Energy Challenge logo

The IU Office of Sustainability began its Spring Energy Challenge on March 27. The Challenge will run through April 17.

The Energy Challenge, which runs both Fall and Spring semester, is a competition between participating campus buildings. This includes residence halls, academic and athletic buildings, and Greek houses. The competition tracks the electric and water usage over the course of three weeks, comparing each building with its own baseline.

Indiana Sustainability Development Program kicks off

this is an image of interns

The IU Office of Sustainability closed applications for its first round of externs for the Indiana Sustainability Development Program on March 31.

The program, which Director Bill Brown first introduced at the Statewide Sustainability Summit, is aimed to develop a statewide network of sustainability professionals in all business sectors, including corporate, nonprofit, government, and higher education.

The program is funded by a $125,000 gift from the McKinney Family Foundation.

Potential externships include jobs with the City of Kokomo, City of Bloomington, the Sierra Club, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

"We have trained over 300 sustainability interns on our campus, and they have had a remarkable impact on our campus sustainability challenges and opportunities and on their own career development," Brown said in an IU press release. "I am eager to see what these externs can do for Indiana employers, and I hope many of them will decide to stay in Indiana permanently."

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