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Our Environmental Successes

Ball State continues to lead in sustainability. Here are some examples of how our students and faculty are protecting our planet.



A Great (Lakes) Story

It may sound glamorous to spend your summer on a lake, but graduate students David Starzynski and Kip Rounds wouldn’t use that adjective to describe their two months on Lake Michigan. Grimy, grungy, and exhausting might be more accurate, but the biology students wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. Rounds and Starzynski spent summer 2011 researching the yellow perch population in Lake Michigan, part of a decades-old Ball State collaboration with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Fighting Blight 

Jonathan Spodek instructs the students joining him for his EcoRehab course to forgo laptops and backpacks and come prepared for class with protective glasses, steel-toed boots, and leather gloves. 

Central Indiana Clean Cities Alliance Gives Ball State award

The Central Indiana Clean Cities Alliance (CICCA) presented Ball State with its Stakeholder Achievement Award for the university’s use of biodiesel and ethanol in campus shuttles, trucks, and cars.

A Passion for Plants

Cheryl LeBlanc’s fascination with plants was sparked when she was introduced to her first orchid as a 9-year-old living in Massachusetts. That first meeting ignited a love affair with one of the world’s most beautiful plant species. LeBlanc admits she is very lucky to be working with Ball State’s orchid collection, which is nestled in a greenhouse in Christy Woods. Surrounded by a lush green landscape and teeming with squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional deer, the collection has developed a reputation for being one of the nation’s most diverse.

Modeling Sustainable Living

On a prairie north of the Ball State campus, architecture students are learning firsthand about sustainability in a house made of a building material not traditionally used in the Midwest—straw. The Eco Center, constructed by students from the College of Architecture and Planning and Associate Professor Timothy Gray, is the first-ever load-bearing straw building in the region.

Seeking Bedrooms for Bats

Timothy Carter wants to help some creatures of the night, endangered Indiana bats. “I have always been fascinated with the marvel that is the bat,” said Carter, an assistant biology professor at Ball State.

Working with Unimin Corporation’s Tamms/Elco plant in southern Illinois since 1998, Carter has helped turn abandoned mines into habitats for hibernating bats. For those efforts, he was named the 2006 Community Partner of the Year by the Wildlife Habitat Council.

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