IU South Bend moves forward with plans for Sustainability Showcase

On the edge of IU South Bend's campus, 10 city blocks of underutilized land will soon get a "green" face-lift.

In November, the university announced plans to turn the lot into a Sustainability Showcase. Now the project is moving forward with feedback from both the local and campus communities.

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Proposed outdoor and indoor learning spaces for the project include a greenhouse, gardens, tiny houses, learning spaces, walkways, outdoor learning labs, beehives, composting, native plantings and more. Photo courtesy of IU South Bend

"The showcase is meant to be a bridge between the campus and the local community," said Krista Bailey, the director of IU South Bend's Center for a Sustainable Future. "This space will highlight the actions and steps we can all take to live as sustainably as possible."

The showcase will be a one-stop shop for students, faculty, staff and community members to interact with and learn about sustainable initiatives as they "look and feel." Furthermore, the sustainability models will serve as examples for how to adopt similar ideas or structures in visitors' own backyards.

The site, between the Franklin D. Schurz Library and Esther Street, will connect campus to the River Park West neighborhood. Proposed elements of the site include both indoor and outdoor spaces, such as a greenhouse, gardens, tiny houses, learning spaces, walkways, outdoor learning labs, beehives, composting, native plantings and more.

Three areas are being targeted with this project: sustainable design, sustainability in action and sustainability revenue options.

For the revenue segment, Bailey said the hope is to show the community a small business model. For example, if you make your own honey, the next step is to think about how you can sell it and make a profit.

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The sustainability showcase, located between the Franklin D. Schurz Library and Esther Street, will connect campus to the River Park West neighborhood. Photo courtesy of IU South Bend

"People are really excited for this," Bailey said. "Nothing else like this exists in the state."

IU South Bend is one of a few campuses in the IU system and in the region to offer sustainability degrees, Bailey said. Continuing as a leader in sustainability, the showcase space will house a new building for the Center for a Sustainable Future, which will be a certified "living building."

A living building is a step higher than a Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design-certified building and requires the structure to generate all of its own energy. IU has several LEED-certified buildings, but this structure will place IU among only two other universities in the country with living buildings.

The building will be a space to hold community events, take part in research and teach classes.

IU South Bend hopes to break ground on the area by IU's bicentennial celebration in 2020. Until construction begins, several courses will have students working on projects to test the viability of options for the space.

Additional details about Earth Week activities across the university include:

  • IU Bloomington e-waste documentary screening

    As part of Indiana University Bloomington's Earth Week celebration, starting Monday, April 15, the Office of Sustainability is offering a free screening of the documentary film "Death by Design: The Dirty Secret of Our Digital Addiction," at 7 p.m. April 19 in Woodburn Hall. The film, directed by Sue Williams, highlights the devastating human and environmental cost of devices that are designed -- purposely -- to die, creating an endless cycle of perceived need.

    Coordinating the event is the Sustainable IT working group, co-led by Nathan Ensmenger, associate professor in the School of Informatics and Computing, and Noma Maier, sustainable IT project manager at University Information Technology Services.

    "E waste is any electronic piece of equipment that's no longer needed, whether it's broken or not," Maier said. "It can be anything from ear buds, batteries all the way up to a server or monitors or keyboards."

    Working group intern Alex Sanchez said waste is prevalent on college campuses. The group chose the film to raise awareness of the issue, in hopes of creating a more eco-friendly campus and city.

    "Bringing events like this to campus sets the tone for future initiatives and opportunities to educate students about critical issues, whatever they may be," Sanchez said. "I think students are willing to be educated and get involved, but we need to provide fun and interactive ways for them to do this."

    Maier said the resources are out there, but people don't always know about them.

    "IU-purchased electronics go to the IU Surplus store once they're no longer usable," Maier said. "There are plenty of other local outlets that students and Bloomington residents can use to properly dispose of their personal e-waste."

    The floor will be open after the screening for questions and discussion, and there will be tables set offering access to resources.

    Sanchez looks forward to the screening and how it could impact attendees.

    "I'm very excited to see who comes out to watch the screening," Sanchez said. "Whether its five people or 150, we are looking forward to engaging with any students, faculty, staff and community members who are interested in this issue."

    Find more examples of e-waste at GreenIT.IU.edu. Learn more about the Sustainable IT working group and other sustainable initiatives across the Bloomington campus.

  • Sustainability featured in first-ever IU Kokomo X Week

    Learn more about sustainability, and how to do your part, by attending Indiana University Kokomo's first-ever X Week, set for April 17 to April 21. The event includes showcase classes, a student research exhibition, daily "Small Change, Big Impact" information tables, and many other programs, all free and open to the public.

    Complete details are available in a news release.

  • IU Bloomington Earth Week celebration

    A forum featuring Indiana University faculty experts on environmental policy and environmental science and a lecture by a top Environmental Protection Agency official in the Obama administration will highlight Earth Week activities April 15 to 22 at IU Bloomington.

    Complete details are available in a news release.

  • IU Northwest Earth Day Clean-Up 2017

    Celebrate Earth Day with IU Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College at the eight annual Gary Community Clean-Up and Block Party. Volunteers will meet for breakfast at 8 a.m. in the multipurpose room at Ivy Tech Community College. Volunteers can register by contacting Brother to Brother at 219-980-6738. The event is sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College; the IU Northwest Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs; the city of Gary; IU Northwest Brother 2 Brother; and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. 

    Complete details are available.

  • IUPUI plans Earth Month events

    Celebrate IUPUI's monthlong emphasis on the planet and sustainability! Participate in a range of festivities, such as the Fresh Produce Market or the Indy Re-Cycle Ride. Do you want to make a difference or need to rack up some volunteer hours? Sign up to help beautify the campus gardens or plant trees around campus.

    The entire IUPUI community is encouraged to attend these events. Check out campus sustainability resources, share photos this month using the hashtag #JagsGoGreen and stay up-to-date with the full calendar.