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Academy for Sustainability

The Academy for Sustainability is a Ball State University Knowledge Group. It provides a focal point for the research, education, and service by members of the University community as they confront the complex issues of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Its members work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions and share these solutions with relevant constituencies.  It is charged to formalize its operational structure into a BSU Knowledge Unit and ultimately a BSU Academic Unit -- the Ball State University Academy for Sustainability.

This knowledge group will extend the long tradition of sustainability involvement at Ball State University which includes the Greening of the Campus Conferences dating to 1996, our signing of the Talloires Declaration in 1999, and especially the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment made by President Jo Ann Gora in 2006.  Our creation of a Council on the Environment in 2001, our adoption of Unit-Level Sustainability Planning in 2007, and our GHG Inventory in 2008 have reinforced that commitment. We have instituted a climate Action Plan and in 2009 initiated construction of our (geothermal) ground-source heat pump district heating and cooling system which will serve 45 buildings on campus and eliminate the Scope 1 combustion of coal, and reduce our CO2 emissions by 85000 metric tons.

The Academy for Sustainability Knowledge Group will enhance the intellectual climate for its members and enrich their perspectives on sustainability. The group will serve as a hub for sharing of ideas, requests for information, offers of collaboration, announcement of upcoming conferences, books, web sites etc. Members will look to their partners with specialized knowledge on issues of sustainability for information to enhance their lectures or to serve as guest lecturers or panel discussants in one another’s classes.

This Knowledge Group will provide opportunities for sharing information and conducting research within, and at the intersections of, each member’s discipline. As examples,

  • Major high school earth science textbooks are adopting sustainability/systems perspectives.  This has provided opportunities for sustainability content programming directed to high school teachers attending a summer workshop at Ball State.
  • In the past, faculty from two different disciplines in the Miller College of Business collaborated on research regarding sustainability measurement and reporting for businesses.   This research resulted in a refereed journal article and the introduction of a sustainability module into the managerial accounting course.
  • In the Family and Consumer Science Department, exposure to sustainability issues has been career-changing, with a faculty member redirecting her research, teaching, and outreach activities.

The Academy will develop lines of financial support for academic programs. These programs will serve the full range of higher education, extended education, immersive learning, career transformation and community leadership.  Through outreach, the knowledge group will advance sustainability initiatives throughout East Central Indiana and the broader Midwestern region.  Constituencies outside of the university who will benefit from the establishment of this knowledge group include: Businesses; K-12 teachers; Local governmental agencies; Governing bodies; Administrators from other universities; Faculty from other universities; Staff from other universities.