Indiana State University shares 5-year sustainability plan

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — In an effort to improve the environment and quality of life, Indiana State University has unveiled a five-year plan to make the Terre Haute campus more sustainable by reducing waste and increasing energy efficiency.

"It's great to see that we as a campus have been involved in sustainability efforts for some time," Indiana State University President Dan Bradley said. "We're making the campus a more beautiful place, and we're saving money at the same time."

The campus has added green space, learning labs and energy-efficient buildings as it has expanded more than 200 acres in the past 10 years, according to Jim Speer, a professor who leads the Institute for Community Sustainability.

The school even can use brownfields, which have been labeled environmentally damaged by past businesses, for educational purposes such as demonstrating how to balance business and nature, he told the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star ( ).

"Sustainability is about quality of life," Speer said.

The school's plan essentially is a long-term vision to pull together all aspects of its sustainability efforts into a showpiece for the campus. It includes the expansion of existing efforts, such as the recycling center, campus community garden, green spaces and pathways to offset residential density.

Indiana State University plans to create an urban orchard, which will provide both food and nutrients, by filling vacant lots with tree farms, hoop houses and compost rows. The school also wants to develop an "eco-trail," connecting the campus to the Wasbash River area through pedestrian and bike pathways, complete with covered parking for bikes, a bike repair station, picnic area and restrooms.

The sustainability plan also includes the addition of green roofs on top of flat-roofed buildings.

For the past three years, Indiana State University has been named one of Princeton Review's 353 "green schools," according to Kevin Runion, associate vice president for facilities management. The campus has taken many steps since 1990 to reduce its environmental impact and has reduced gas emissions by 44 percent, he said.

The goal of the school's five-year plan is to build a community with a robust economy, social equity and ecosystem vitality, Runion said.


Information from: Tribune-Star,

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