Lugar presents Energy Patriot Award to Ball State Council on the Environment

Topics: President, Sustainability/Environment

August 8, 2007

Lugar
U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar presented the August 2007 Lugar Energy Patriot Award to Ball State University's Council on the Environment (COTE) on Aug. 8. Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora accepted the award on behalf of the council which provides leadership for environmental initiatives at Ball State and the surrounding community.   

COTE assembles members from academic colleges, vice presidential areas, the student body, and the Muncie community to lead initiatives that promote the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of ecological systems that sustain life. Its roots go back to 1991. 

"I am honored to receive this award on behalf of our Council on the Environment," Gora said. "The council is the longest-standing green committee in Indiana's higher education community and has set the stage for Ball State being a leader of sustainability and an innovator in regards to continually improving energy efficiency at all levels of the university."

Lugar applauded the university's efforts. "There are exciting things happening on Ball State's campus, and the Council on the Environment has led the way for energy initiatives and sustainability practices," Lugar said. "This special partnership between students, faculty, administration and local leaders sets not only an example for the Ball State community and the city of Muncie, but also universities across the country."  

Lugar was in Muncie for a briefing by Ball State administration and faculty on energy efficiency, green design and sustainability. 

Thanks in part to COTE's leadership, Ball State's strategic plan requires all new buildings to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver criteria or better. The rating system addresses sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design processes. The David Letterman Communication and Media Building and the Park Hall residence hall, both opening on campus this fall, will be LEED-certified.

The Energy Patriot award is part of an ongoing effort by Lugar to recognize professionals, scholars, students or businesses that demonstrate leadership and initiative in taking concrete action to reduce America's dependence on foreign energy sources. 

An editorial profile of COTE is below and may be published in its entirety.  Additional information is available at: www.lugar.senate.gov/energy/links/patriot/.

For more than a decade, Lugar has stressed the strategic importance of energy security and the economic and security risks of dependence on oil. His legislative efforts promote sustainable energy production and use, incentives for renewable fuels like cellulosic ethanol and E85, increased fuel economy in cars and clean coal.

The Lugar Energy Initiative at http://lugar.senate.gov/energy highlights the repercussions of America's dangerous dependence on imported oil and provides information on energy legislation introduced by Lugar, commentary by outside experts and information on alternative and renewable energy sources. 

Profile of a Patriot

Each month, Sen. Lugar profiles a student, professional, scholar or business that has demonstrated leadership and initiative in taking concrete action to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

Ball State University's school colors are cardinal and white, but its history suggests an important role for green.

The University's Council on the Environment (COTE) assembles members from academic colleges, vice presidential areas, the student body and the Muncie community to lead initiatives that promote environmental sustainability and protect ecological systems. The Council has evolved from roots going back to 1991.

"The council is the longest-standing green committee in Indiana's higher education community and has set the stage for Ball State being a leader of sustainability and an innovator in regards to continually improving energy efficiency at all levels of the university," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora.

COTE's monthly 90-minute meetings - which include presentations from specialists, membership reports, staff reports, and public input - have influenced strategic planning at Ball State.

When the Council passed its Sustainability Statement, it was endorsed by senior staff, academic deans, the University Senate, and the Board of Trustees, all within a year. 

The resolution made it Ball State policy to incorporate environmental concerns as a significant priority in university decision making; seek alternative practices and procedures to minimize negative impacts on the environment; conserve natural resources and restore environmental quality; protect the biodiversity of the region; serve as a living laboratory and habitat for local species; consider the social, economic and environmental impacts of Ball State's operational policies; and foster a participatory process in developing policy.

Since 2002, the Council has passed resolutions advocating a variety of sustainable practices on campus. 

"Energy efficiency has always been a central issue to the COTE. They pushed for things like additional recycling, hybrid cars and hybrid electric buses, biodiesel and E85, occupancy sensors for lighting in classrooms, improvements in public and bicycle transportation, and reducing energy use for computing," said Kevin Kenyon, Ball State's associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management.

As a result, Ball State was one of the first Midwestern universities to switch to electric buses and has been using biodiesel fuel for almost five years. Ball State even has its own E85 pump and more than half of its vehicle fleet is flex fuel capable.

Thanks also in part to COTE's leadership, Ball State's strategic plan requires all new buildings to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver criteria or better. The rating system addresses sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design processes. Two new buildings opening on campus this fall will be LEED-certified. 

Not only does COTE provide leadership on campus initiatives, but it also takes the time to recognize and motivate additional accomplishments. It has created the Green Initiative Award to recognize "everyday activities, decisions, or contributions that help to move Ball State University toward sustainability," and since 1996 it has hosted seven "Greening of the Campus" conferences to encourage educational institutions around the country to make similar reforms. 

Just last month, President Gora signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, placing Ball State on the path toward "climate neutrality" by sharply reducing and eliminating global warming emissions. Her actions were supported by COTE, and also hint at the role the council might play in the future as the university inventories its greenhouse gas emissions and develops sustainability plans for each department at the university.

"COTE wants to set an example for the community - beyond just the campus. The things we're worried about affect not just the campus, but the greater Muncie community and the world," Kenyon said.

Sen. Lugar agrees. That is why he congratulates Ball State's Council on the Environment on being his August 2007 Lugar Energy Patriot.

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