Topic: Sustainability/Environment

September 14, 2007

Ball State's leadership in pioneering the use of biodiesel fuels, constructing high-performance green buildings as called for in its strategic plan and making a dedicated effort to promote sustainability campuswide has earned the university national accolades.

Now in Kiwi magazine's inaugural "Green College Report," Ball State is listed as one of the nation's top 50 green universities. The article cites the university's using biodiesel fuel for its vehicle service fleet, hosting an annual workshop for faculty to help them better incorporate sustainability principles in their teaching and work, and constructing the soon-to-be-LEED-certified David Letterman Communication and Media Building and Park Hall - the first university buildings in Indiana to pursue the certification.

The prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation means the new structures are high-performance green buildings in terms of sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

"To be included in the inaugural 'green' issue at the magazine's request reflects very well on the greening efforts at Ball State," said Robert Koester, director of the Center for Energy Research/Education/Service and chair of the Council on the Environment. "We really have dedicated ourselves in this arena, and it's satisfying to see our growing international reputation yield this kind of result."

One key event has helped Ball State spread the word of its sustainability efforts - the university's Greening of the Campus Conference. This year's meeting concluded with the dedication of the Letterman building and the return of Ball State's most-famous alumnus, "Late Show" host David Letterman.

"People attending the Greening of the Campus have said that Ball State is way out in front of the issue of sustainability," Koester said. "This is the seventh such gathering we've held, and its reach seems to grow more and more each year."

The honor from Kiwi magazine places Ball State in the company of Duke University, Cornell University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the University of California Berkeley, the University of North Carolina, Oberlin College and Ithaca College for exemplary leadership in making a significant commitment to the environment.

In addition to the top 50 list, Kiwi magazine also featured the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which commits the institutions of the signatory presidents to reduce sharply and eventually eliminate all of the their global warming emissions. By signing the agreement, as one of 12 members of the Leadership Circle, Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora joined with a growing list of her counterparts from more than 300 other campuses across the country in endorsing the goals of the pact.

Under provisions of the ACUPCC, Ball State will create a comprehensive institutional action plan moving toward climate neutrality. The plan will set out the university's continued efforts in adopting green standards for buildings, enhancing Energy Star certification for products purchased by the university, offsetting emissions due to air travel and more.

The Kiwi award marks the second national green honor Ball State has received recently. In August, Sen. Richard Lugar visited campus and presented the university's Council on the Environment with the August 2007 Lugar Energy Patriot Award. The council is the longest-standing green committee in Indiana's higher education community and has long 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.