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Gift helps IU expand Indiana Sustainability Development Program to IUPUI campus

For Immediate Release Jan 23, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University has announced the expansion of its Indiana Sustainability Development Program, a workforce development program administered by IU’s Office of Sustainability in partnership with Indiana-based private, public and nonprofit organizations.

The program, which is in its second year, supports the state’s sustainability efforts by providing training and development opportunities for the next generation of sustainability leaders. A $213,500 gift from the McKinney Family Foundation will expand the program – which was previously limited to the Bloomington campus – to IUPUI in 2018. This gift counts toward the $3 billion For All: The Indiana University Campaign.

Members of the Indiana Sustainability Development Program's first cohort
Members of the Indiana Sustainability Development Program’s first cohort attend the annual Sustainability Symposium in April 2017.Photo by Chaz Mottinger, IU Communications

“The Indiana Sustainability Development Program’s pilot year demonstrated strong demand and high satisfaction among employers and students who participated,” said Bill Brown, university director of sustainability. “I’m grateful this round of funding from the McKinney Family Foundation will allow us to double the number of students working with Indiana employers and expand the program to include IUPUI students.”

Over the program’s first year, 15 students attended intensive, specialized “boot camp” training sessions and networking events. They were then matched into 12-week summer externships with Indiana employers that demonstrated need for solutions-based sustainability expertise. In 2018, the number of student participants will rise to 30.

“Expansion of the Indiana Sustainability Development Program to IUPUI epitomizes our university’s commitment to the Indianapolis community,” said Jessica Davis, director of IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability. “It will provide IUPUI students with professional, hands-on and intensive experiences in sustainability, while furthering implementation of sustainable best practices in Indianapolis and the organizations our students are placed with. Urban environments like Indianapolis face unique sustainability challenges, particularly with energy usage, water management, food access, air quality and transportation. We’re proud to be addressing these challenges and playing a role in creating a thriving, sustainable community for all Hoosiers.”

In addition to the program’s physical expansion, support from the McKinney Family Foundation will be used to establish two-year fellowships for McKinney Family Sustainability Leaders.

“The McKinney Family Foundation shares Indiana University’s commitment to creating an environmentally sustainable future for all Hoosiers,” said Stephanie Goodrid Lawson, executive director of the McKinney Family Foundation. “By investing in the next generation of sustainability leaders, we’ve taken a solutions-based approach to tackling the immense challenges associated with environmental change. And we’re proud to expand opportunities for IU students and Indiana-based organizations to participate in this innovative initiative.”

In May 2017, Indiana University announced Prepared for Environmental Change, a $55 million investment in actionable solutions that prepare businesses, farmers, communities and individual Hoosiers for the effects of ongoing environmental change. The initiative, which is funded through IU’s Grand Challenges Program, established the Environmental Resilience Institute, which will work with the Indiana Sustainability Development Program to implement best practices and expand education about sustainability at the local level.

“Incorporating sustainable practices – such as energy efficiency, water conservation and waste minimization – benefits taxpayers and raises the health of Indiana communities,” said Janet McCabe, assistant director of policy and implementation at the Environmental Resilience Institute. “The support of the McKinney Family Foundation is making it possible for well-qualified IU students with an interest in sustainability to contribute their knowledge and skills to improving the future of Indiana. And the growing scope of this program will allow us to make a real and lasting difference for cities, businesses and nonprofits around the state.”

First-year student participants were composed undergraduate and graduate scholars majoring in subjects including environmental science, advertising, law and public policy.

English major Kristen Billings provided communications support for Prosperity Indiana, a statewide association of members dedicated to improving the quality of life in local Indiana communities. Billings assisted with external relations for the organization’s “SUN for All” program – Solar Uniting Neighbors.”Participating in the Indiana Sustainability Development Program was instrumental to my personal and professional development,” Billings said. “Through the program, I was able to build relationships with environmental leaders throughout the state. The connections I fostered as a McKinney Family Sustainability Scholar gave me a more holistic picture of ongoing efforts to address environmental and climate concerns in our state. And working with Prosperity Indiana and other program partners gave me a sense that I was contributing to a shared vision for a more just and resilient Indiana in the face of climate disruption.”

Students interested in becoming McKinney Family Sustainability Scholars and Fellows are encouraged to learn more about the program by attending tabling events from 3 to 7 p.m. today at IU Bloomington and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 24 at IUPUI.

Professionals interested in joining the Indiana Sustainability Development Program professional network can visit the program’s website to fill out a secure online form. Anyone interested in learning more about the program may contact .

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IUi’s bicentennial year celebration. To learn more about the campaign, its impact and how to participate, visit 

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