Indiana Daily Student

IU Student Government optimistic about IU’s plans to address climate change concerns

<p>IU’s landscaping service workers push a tree into a hole near Dunn Meadow. IU looks to improve its sustainability and eco-friendliness this year. </p>

IU’s landscaping service workers push a tree into a hole near Dunn Meadow. IU looks to improve its sustainability and eco-friendliness this year.

IU Student Government wants to ride the momentum of last year to continue putting pressure on IU’s administration to address climate change.  

Last year, pressure from local environmental advocacy groups lead to the formation of a climate action planning committee at IU.  

“If IU wants to say that they care about their students, then they have to listen to their students,” IUSG co-Director of Sustainability Anetta Itnyre said. 

One new goal this year for IUSG is to see how much waste IU produces. Called a “waste audit,” this will allow IU to find ways to reduce waste on campus.  

[Related: IU makes no formal commitments after meeting with student climate groups

“As students, there’s only so much we can do with the resources we are given, but what IU can do is improve their composting system,” Itnyre said.  

Divestment from fossil fuels continues to be a major goal for IUSG. In 2012, IU made the transition from coal power to natural gas. However, Itnyre said natural gas is still a significant source of emissions. 

“Fossil fuels are not going to be around forever, and they can’t be the future because of the climate emergency,” Itnyre said. “It's an ethical and sustainable thing to divest from fossil fuels.” 

The organization responsible for IU’s investments, the IU Foundation, has not agreed to pull its money from fossil fuel companies. Pushing for fossil fuel divestment is a main goal for Sunrise Bloomington, a local environmental advocacy group. 

[Related: Bloomington climate groups pressure IU to divest from fossil fuels, create action plan

IUSG also hopes to utilize IU’s campus farm to reduce waste and emissions from the transportation of food, IUSG co-Director of Sustainability Henry Wolfla said. If more food is produced at IU, then they would be able to spend less money and reduce emissions. Currently, the IU Campus Farm provides fresh produce to local organizations that fight food insecurity in Bloomington.  

Last spring, the IU administration created a climate action planning committee made up of students and faculty from across multiple IU campuses. The committee does not include anyone from IUSG or Sustain IU, the IU department tasked with finding sustainable solutions for the university. 

“Our goal is to echo student voices. We are privileged that we can reach administration,” IUSG Vice President Bell Pastore said. 

The co-directors of sustainability want to have a finalized climate action plan from the committee by the end of this school year. 

Local environmental advocacy groups Sunrise Bloomington and Students for a New Green World are holding a joint rally Friday with the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition. Their goal is to pressure IU to divest from fossil fuels and address other climate concerns.  

The joint rally will begin at 3:00 p.m. at the Showalter Fountain. 

“It’s going to be a great way to really get the message out to the incoming class of what we think should happen in our community,” Wolfla said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Bell Pastore.

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