The IU Student Association added a new executive department to its ranks this year to deal with issues of sustainability on campus.
The Sustainability Department’s first goals will be to assess environmental problems that students encounter daily, such as the number of recycling bins on campus or inefficient light use in buildings.
The IUSA Sustainability Department will seek to work with other sustainability and environmental groups, such as the Student Sustainability Council and the Office of Sustainability, on campus to better understand what policy they can realistically implement on campus and what the student body’s immediate sustainability needs are.
“It’s one of the most pressing issues of our generation,” said Parker Angelos, head of the IUSA Sustainability Department. “The world is going to change, and we have to react and be progressive or our lives are going to change for the worse.”
The IUSA Sustainability Department works to gather groups that can serve as a round table for sustainability ideas and collaborate on campus-wide projects. They also hope to reach out to other universities’ sustainability groups to see what has been effective and what could be adapted to help improve IU, Angelos said.
The Sustainability Department also plans to work closely with Reinvest IU, which aims to divest money IU has spent on fossil fuel resources and reinvest these funds into sustainable fuel and other environmentally friendly causes.
Members of the IUSA Sustainability Department also serve on other sustainability councils across campus.
“The importance of sustainability transcends academic interests,” Angelos said.
He also had advice on what students could do to live more sustainably without joining a club.
“Living sustainably is one of the easiest things you can do,” Angelos said. “Turn off your lights, unplug your electric devices, take shorter, cold showers. Maybe some people are deterred by that, but as time progresses these issues are going to become much more pressing and much more internationally important.”
The department meets for the first time Tuesday night to finalize goals, discuss policy and talk about how to integrate into the greater IU sustainability community.
“Institutionalizing ‘sustainability’ as a department was an integral part of the IUSA agenda to ensure that we can dedicate resources to the cause and let our interested staffers have a department for their cause,” Sara Zaheer, IUSA president, said in an e-mail. “Fortunately, Sustainability is on the Bicentennial agenda and there are plenty of resources available across campus that we can more easily engage with through our new department so this should be an exciting year of growth for all of us.”