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LETTER: On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, work together for a sustainable world



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Activism can take place in many different forms and spaces. As the Director of Sustainability for IU Student Government this year, my goal for my term was to address the culture of sustainability on campus, ensure students had the opportunity to make sustainable choices and to be a catalyst for long-term sustainability initiatives that would affect every single person within the IU community. 

When it comes to IUSG, to accomplish intentional and profound change in one school year, one must work to collaborate professionally and productively while having difficult conversations. IUSG addressed sustainability initiatives through collaborative engagement, strategic planning and long-term initiatives. It is through our activism and engagement with campus organizations that students were given a seat at the table with administrators and were taken seriously.

I would like to highlight a handful of ways that IUSG directly tackled large systematic issues in sustainability this year.

IUSG wrote, passed and now leads the first-ever Association of Big Ten Schools Commitment to Sustainability, establishing a framework, committee and annual report to ensure continuity of collaborative sustainability efforts. 

In partnership with Students for a New Green World, we were invited to meet with the IU Foundation in which IUSG was offered a role on the IUF Investment Committee to continue advocating for sustainable investing.

The Sustainability Data Collection Survey received a record-breaking 1,037 responses that translated directly to IUSG’s tangible focus on divestment, general education, renewable energy and reusable dinnerware. 

IUSG advocated for and successfully commenced an official Bloomington Faculty Council Task Force dedicated to creating a sustainability general education shared goal, so that all IU students will get the opportunity to learn about sustainability and its interdisciplinary applications.

Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. To celebrate, IUSG has helped organize an online speaker series and at-home challenges with prizes

In every day and every meeting, the students are on my mind. Your livelihoods and right to a sustainable future are my priority. Activism is communication, engagement, empathy, systems-thinking and cannot be explicitly defined. There is no room for exclusivity within a movement that is meant to encourage unity.

Emilee Brown

Senior, environmental sustainability studies

Director of Sustainability, IU Student Government

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