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April 4, 2013

Green Giant: ISU one of 20 schools nationwide to be named a finalist for the title of Second Nature Climate Leader

Indiana State competing for two awards

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University is gaining a national reputation as an environmental leader.

It is one of 20 schools from across the U.S. that has been named a finalist for the title of Second Nature Climate Leader.

Finalists “are leading the way in terms of implementing sustainability initiatives on campus,” said Rima Mulla, Second Nature communications manager.

Now, ISU is competing for two awards.

In the first, Second Nature looks at what each school is doing to promote sustainability, and in June, it will name Climate Leadership Award winners.

In the second related contest, each finalist has been invited to submit a video about sustainability efforts on campus; the winner of the video competition is decided by popular vote, and anyone can vote.

ISU’s Institute for Community Sustainability (ICS) has entered a video promoting its work. To vote for ISU’s video contest, go to planetforward.org/climate-leadership-awards-2013

The rules state that individuals can vote from each of their electronic devices once a day throughout April. Winners will be announced May 1. (There will be one winner for each Carnegie classification and one overall winner; ISU would be considered doctorate granting).

Being recognized as one of 20 nationwide finalists “is an honor,” said Jim Speer, executive director of ISU’s Institute for Community Sustainability. “We are in a good crowd that is doing some amazing sustainability work and to be recognized in that group really highlights the work that ISU is doing.”

He encourages people to vote — and vote often — for ISU’s video. It’s a fun competition “that puts ISU out there as a climate leader and sustainability leader,” Speer said.

ISU has been working on sustainability since 1989, when it started its recycling center, which has significantly reduced waste going to the landfill. In 2001-02, it converted from a coal burning boiler facility to a natural gas facility. “Both impact the community and reduce the carbon footprint,” Speer said.

More recently, the university signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007 and created a climate action plan.

Last year, ISU funded the Institute for Community Sustainability, which joins together campus efforts and creates ties with community partners.

ISU has made great strides and is producing about half the level of carbon emissions as in 1990, Speer said.

Other recent initiatives include a wind turbine and a “green” roof at Tirey Plaza, in which vegetation on top of an underground building helps insulate the building. The vegetation is planted over a waterproof membrane.

Second Nature is a national nonprofit based in Boston, and its mission is “education for sustainability,” Mulla said. It supports higher education leaders “to make sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.”

There were about 50 nominations for the Climate Leadership Awards, and ISU made the cut to 20 finalists, she said. In overall competition, there will be at least one winner per Carnegie classification, she said.

To be eligible, college’s had to have signed on to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, she said.

Second Nature will formally recognize ISU on the Second Nature website April 18.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

Help ’em out

-- ISU is one of 20 finalists nationwide for the title of Second Nature Climate Leader.

-- The university’s Institute for Community Sustainability has entered a video promoting its work in a national voting contest. Go to  planetforward.org/climate-leadership-awards-2013 to vote for ISU’s video.

-- The rules state that you can vote from each of your electronic devices once a day throughout April. Winners will be announced May 1.

 

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