By: Trace Weaver
Those of us on the marketing team thought it would be cool to give all our new and returning members a recap of all the fun things we did last semester. We will be doing something similar on all of our other social media platforms in the coming days as well, so look out for that! Without further ado, here are some of the highlights from fall 2015.
On Monday September 21, we had the opportunity to hear from the University Director of Sustainability, Bill Brown. Mr. Brown talked about IU’s bicentennial strategic plan and all of the wonderful effects this initiative is having on campus. To start, IU leads the Big Ten in the number of LEED-certified green buildings with 14. They hope to have 20 buildings certified by 2016, with Hodge Hall in the works. One of the major benefits of green buildings is their air quality, as they are shown to lead to over 40% fewer allergy symptoms! Another initiative of the bicentennial strategic plan is to reduce emissions on campus by 30% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Also, the IU energy challenge helped saved over 28.6 million gallons of water over the last two years. That is more than the rest of the Big Ten combined!
A week later, we played a green kitchen trivia game to learn fun facts about the sustainability (or lack thereof) of the making and storing of the things we eat. For example, did you know that the United States uses over 80 billion aluminum cans every year! While aluminum can be recycled over and over again, that is still way too many aluminum cans. So even though we were startled by some of the statistics, we had a ton of fun playing the green kitchen trivia game and our Director of Internal Education Adam Reddigari did a great job putting it together!
For our meeting on Monday October 5, we had the opportunity to hear from Professor Stephen Glaholt, a limnologist from the School of Public and Environmental affairs. Professor Glaholt spoke to us about how freshwater ecosystems are being harmed by businesses across the globe. he also explained the process that toxicologists go through when studying the environment and the effects of pollution and different types of pollutants. He finished up his presentation by describing how businesses can change their ways and become more environmentally responsible going forward.
On Monday October 12 we brainstormed in small groups to come up with an event that Net Impact can hold next semester as part of sustainability week. There were some really creative ideas, ranging from a 4th Street crawl to a sustainable strategic game! Anyways, if you weren't able to make it to the meeting, I hope this was a good recap and feel free to check out some pictures from the event.
On Monday October 19, we received a visit from Greg Spratt, the Chief Sustainability Officer for Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. Mr. Spratt discussed Lilly's efforts to improve the environment. He used an recent example from the company's headquarters to illustrate this. Mr. Spratt noticed that the trash cans in the cubicles of Lilly's employees were only 10% full every time they were changed and more than 50% off the trash in those bags was recyclable. So, Mr. Spratt decided to take away all personal trash cans from employees' cubicles. Employees did not take too kindly to this and at one point even piled trash on Mr. Spratt's chair. However, employees eventually got adjusted to the change and it ended up saving the company a lot of money in addition to reducing waste.
Net Impact participated in the very first annual Social Impact Summit on Friday, October 23! This event was hosted by all of the organizations in the Kelley Institute for Social Impact, including Net Impact. Those in attendance got the opportunity to network with other students and professionals who are passionate about social responsibility. A presentation was also given by author Rania Anderson, detailing the success of women in business and in especially in emerging markets. Net Impacters in attendance also got to brainstorm ways to help solve the challenges the IU Athletics Office faces in the area of sustainability!
On October 26th, Net Impact took a tour of the new Cyberinfrastructure building on campus! The CIB is the most environmentally-friendly building on campus with goals of reducing energy use by 28% and water use by 40% in order to reduce the university's carbon footprint.
Net Impact also held its first ever internal debate, titled "The Great Paper Debate", on Monday November 9th. The room was split into two and each side got to argue whether the production and use of paper was good for the environment. One side focused on the number of trees cut down and the carbon effects of producing paper, while the other side highlighted the artistic uses of paper and how it can be recycled many times. Both sides made intriguing arguments and the debate ended in a tie!
In addition to general meetings, Net Impact held several community service events. We worked with Habitat for Humanity to help build a house and worked with IU Athletics to lead zero waste stations at the IU football games. Both helped spread sustainability into the Bloomington community and, hopefully, will make a difference in the environment!