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UIndy takes strides to help the environment

Posted on 03.08.2017
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Graphic by Juliana Rohrmoser

According to NASA, the icecaps are melting at a rate of 15 percent per decade, and the global sea level has risen 6.7 inches in the last century. Since 1950, there have been increases in record high temperatures and decreases in record low temperatures in the United States, the website said. NASA says that global warming is of “particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.” At the University of Indianapolis steps are being taken on campus by faculty, staff and students to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

Some individuals involved in reducing UIndy’s effects on the environment are on the Sustainability Committee, which is composed of eight to 10 faculty and staff members who meet every month to track progress and propose new goals.

“We are still [relatively] new, but we are currently working on single stream trash flow,” said Executive Director of Facilities Management and Head Chair of the Sustainability Committee Pamela Fox.

A single trash stream is a receptacle into which one may put both recyclable and non-recyclable trash. The trash would then be separated by the trash service (in this case Rays Trash) which would cut costs and make recycling easier.

“Most [people] don’t know that when they put non-recyclable material in a recycle bin, it contaminates the bin,” said Director of Grounds Dustin Bodart.

Currently, UIndy spends $95 for an eight-yard trash dumpster, compared to only $50 for a recycle dumpster. Furthermore, the efforts of the Sustainability Committee have produced a 20 percent diversion of trash from landfills.

However, according to Bodart, there are still 1,100 tons of waste compared to 230 tons of recyclables. Fox said that future action of the Sustainability Committee involves communicating with students about good recycling habits, providing recycling options for tailgating and perhaps an urban garden initiative.

Proactive steps are being taken not only by the staff and faculty members, but students as well. Currently in its early stages is a student Sustainability Club that meets at 8 p.m. every other Tuesday. The faculty advisor of the group is Assistant Professor of Physics and Earth Space Science Leah Courtland. The club idea started when Courtland mentioned to one of her associates that she had an interest in starting a group relating to earth-space science.

“The next thing I know, after class a few students run to me saying they would like to help create it,” Courtland said. “It’s their club, and I’m here to help them.”

While not an official club on paper yet, students are brainstorming activities and future ideas to help UIndy become greener. Plans include working with the Sustainability Committee in order to help whatever green initiative is proposed.

“I want to provide a platform for students to come together,  gain experience and make a difference,” Courtland said.

Some ideas for the future involve creating signs for recycle dumpsters, calling state senators about sustainability issues and having the sustainability director of Butler University come to talk with the students.

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