Campus and Community Sustainability Awards
IU South Bend Presented Campus and Community Sustainability Awards
IU South Bend’s Center for a Sustainable Future presented four awards at its annual Earth Day Reception on April 22. The awards recognized work being done locally to further sustainability in the community.
The Campus Staff Sustainability Award recognized the work of Connie Fox, laboratory supervisor for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who is responsible for waste disposal and laboratory safety in faculty member’s research labs and who goes well beyond the minimum required to provide an outstanding program in all aspects of handling chemical reagents.
The Student Sustainability Award recognized junior Ian Spink, who is in the physics/pre-med program with a minor in sustainability studies and an active member of both student government and the president of the Sustainability and Wellness Club on campus.
The Community Individual Sustainability Award went to Jon Burke. In addition to working for the city of South Bend as the municipal energy director, where he has identified energy solutions which will save city taxpayers $10,000,000 over the next eight years while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Burke has helped start two community gardens and lends his garden and food preservation knowledge and the fruits of his labor to his neighbors and those in need.
The Community Organization Award went to McCormick Motors of Nappanee, which considers giving back to their community as their corporate responsibility and has made a significant investment in improving their use of energy and reducing their carbon footprint.
Campus Staff Sustainability Award
Connie Fox has become firmly entrenched in sustainability efforts for the campus, particularly for the science departments. She has focused on reducing the amount of chemical waste generated and implemented lab practices that have now become a routine part of the teaching program. The results are not only evidenced by reduced costs and reduced chemical waste, but have instilled in students the expectation that recycling is a central feature of any chemistry experiment.
Fox has taken upon herself to research alternative environmentally-friendly solvents to replace current reagents in our teaching labs. Her commitment to the environment is exemplified in her personal habits: sustainability is not just her job, but her life.
Student Sustainability Award
Ian Spink is a resident assistant in the Gaia Learning Community and president of the Sustainability and Wellness Club. He is passionate about sustainability and the environment, being a role model, an educator, and a sustainable citizen. According to IU South Bend’s Director of Housing and Residence Life Paul Krikau, “He seeks ways to be involved not only in the houses where he lives and works, but also in his local community and further out into the nation. He has a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility to and for others and to the earth.”
Community Individual Sustainability Award
Jon Burke was hired to the newly created position of municipal energy director in 2010. Burke was asked “find the city’s low-hanging fruit” for sustainability. In his first few weeks of work, he found “fruit all over the ground.” In his 2-1/2 years at this new position, he has work to find energy solutions will save city taxpayers $10,000,000 over the next eight years, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Thanks to his work, many city buildings and parking garages now have high efficiency lighting. The latest projects were the parking garages and the “Little Gennie,” the city’s 62 kW hydroelectric turbine, purchased in the 1980s. Gennie is now installed on the East Race and generating clean, renewable power from the St. Joseph River.
Burke is available to local businesses and non-profits to bring sustainable solutions to the greater community. This has resulted in Logan Center saving over $35,000 per year in utility costs, a collaboration with Indiana Toll Road operators on energy-saving solutions, and his involvement with South Bend Community School’s task force to address sustainability initiatives across the corporation as well as a secondary task force to convert Greene Intermediate Center into an environmental magnet school and serving as a board member for Greening the Bend.
Community Organization Award
McCormick Motors considers giving back to their community as their corporate responsibility. McCormick’s takes pride in supporting local chambers of commerce and non-profit agencies focused on the youth of today, and consider it a moral obligation to be good role models for the future leaders of the community. Since 1998, McCormick Motors has made a significant investment in improving their use of energy and reducing their carbon footprint. Despite a 70 percent increase in building space and staff since 1998, McCormick Motors has maintained its 1998 level of electric consumption and reduced natural gas consumption by 70 percent. These savings were achieved using a wide range of initiatives including new technologies and targeted processes. In January 2009, the dealership completed the installation of a 6kW solar panel system, the first of a six phase renewable power generation plan for the dealership.
IU South Bend’s Center for a Sustainable Future was founded in 2008. Since its establishment, the center has developed new sustainability curriculum, facilitated research in sustainability, and fostered civic engagement to help develop sustainability action plans. The Center for a Sustainable Future is taking the lead role in further turning IU South Bend into the ideal green campus: one whose boundaries do not stop at the edge of campus, but whose teaching, research and service contribute to the development of a sustainable future not only for itself, but also for the community, the country, and the world.