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That’s right – we want you to take your Tops Off…of your plastic bottles, that is.
Several years ago, a student introduced us to a local resource that turns plastic bottle caps into benches. The Elkhart County 4-H Fair collects them and they come back as benches to the fairgrounds.
You can be a part of beautifying the largest Indiana county fairgrounds by depositing lids in the buckets labeled with the Tops Off sign.
What lids are accepted? Thanks for asking!
CAPS: SORTED, WASHED, CLEAN AND DRY
- Medicine Bottle Caps minus cardboard inserts & Medicine Bottles (2,4,5 with label removed)
- Flip-top caps (ie: Ketchup, Mustard, Creamer tops)
- Drink Bottle Caps
- Milk Jug Caps
- Detergent Caps
- Hair Spray Caps
- Spout caps (i.e.: Mustard tops)
- Spray Paint Caps
- Toothpaste Tube Caps
- Ointment Tube Caps
- Deodorant Caps
LIDS: SORTED, WASHED AND CLEAN
- Cottage Cheese Container Lids
- Cool Whip Container Lids
- Mayonnaise Jar Lids
- Coffee Can Lids
- Yogurt Lids
- Cream Cheese Container Lids
- Peanut Butter Container Lids
- Butter Container Lids
- Ice Cream Bucket Lids
- Metal Of Any Kind with the plastic
- Soap Pumps, Lotion Pumps and Trigger Sprayers
- Fast Food Drink Lids or Coffee Lids or #1
- Unclean lids & caps
With all of the acceptable caps listed above, they are looking for a recycle number of 2, 4, or 5. They will also take medicine and vitamin bottles (all paper taken off bottle) if they have a recycle number of 2, 4, or 5.
See the original post about the project, “Bottle Caps to Benches“
The Center for a Sustainable Future is currently seeking to fill three Work Study positions for the 2021-22 academic year. Work hours will be for approximately 15 weeks per semester for an average of 8 hours week. Pay ranges from $10.15-11.25 per our based on credit hours accrued at the start of each semester. On campus work with a team of 5 students and the Director of the Center will offer real opportunities to identify and implement sustainability solutions on campus.
Students do not need to be Sustainability Studies majors, minors, or graduate certificate program students to apply, although some experience with or knowledge about sustainability is preferred.
Students will report to the Director of the Center for a Sustainable Future and work with campus faculty and staff as well as community partners. In addition to project goals, students will set their own learning and project goals by meeting one-on-one each semester with the Director to discuss personal and professional skills, areas of improvement, and project goal setting. Students will meet for one hour each week with the Director and/or team members to review project progress, plans, goals, issues, challenges, and successes. Team meetings will take place every other week as to review projects, support other students’ projects, and to communicate issues, opportunities, and brainstorm solutions. A field trip will be coordinated each semester to see sustainability in action in South Bend/Michiana and meet professionals at work.
About the Positions
Based on the IU South Bend Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating Systems (STARS) report results, students will be researching data, tracking and reporting systems, and best practices to address areas the campus falls short of targets. STARS, developed by and for members of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, provides a baseline for continuous improvement that informs strategic planning and budgeting related to sustainability and helps campuses make real progress toward sustainability goals.
Student projects will focus on 3 areas: campus engagement, planning, and operations.
- Develop new employee orientation and/or outreach and guidance materials that cover sustainability
- Learn how to assess baseline knowledge, how to design and deliver orientation and/or outreach materials, and evaluate results through the design of effective assessment.
- Develop annual professional development and training opportunities in sustainability for all staff
- Learn how to develop a training program built on prior knowledge about sustainability practices that will to foster sustainable behavior through active participation and engagement in the program.
- Increase the number and percentage of students engaged in community service by developing and conducting one event per semester
- Learn how to collaboratively plan and promote service events with other campus units or community partners to engage students in sustainability service events on campus and/or in the community
- Researching and recommending approaches to developing a campus climate action plan
- Learn how to research climate action plans on similar campuses, review their effectiveness, and recommend format and reporting systems that will be effective for the IUSB campus.
- Review campus data to identify baselines, craft compelling solutions, and outline a down to action plan
- Researching and recommending approaches to developing a water use reduction plan
- Researching and recommending approaches to developing a building energy use reduction & education program
- Identify baseline data and opportunities for reduction
- Learn about water use/energy reduction plans that are in place on other IU campuses
- Work with facilities and the Facilities Committee to make plans for water use reduction on the South Bend campus
- Work on IU-wide effort to conduct a Greenhouse Gas Emissions inventory for the South Bend campus
- Learn about data collection methods and software, collect and analyze data, and prepare a summary report for administration
Applications are currently being accepted through Handshake, the IU South Bend Career Services job portal. Click on IUSB Careers Student Login at https://students.iusb.edu/career-services/students-and-alumni/index.html to apply.
Send questions about the Krista Bailey, Director, Center for a Sustainable Future, at email@example.com
Planting for Pollinators Workshop
What: Sam Buchanan, the Environmental Educator for the St. Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District, will be discussing the importance of pollinators and how we can help them through pollinator-friendly planting. She will cover the basics of what a pollinator is and why they are important, what sorts of plants are pollinator-friendly, some common Indiana-native pollinator-friendly plants, and some easy tips and tricks for planting for pollinators.
As a Bee Campus USA, this event is part of a series of campus and community education and outreach conducted by IU South Bend.
This workshop took place Wednesday, April 21, 2021 and aired live on the Center’s YouTube channel!
See the recording below or on YouTube
Take a closer look at the slides by clicking the image below to download them:
Severe and unusual winter storms recently swept much of the United States. After moving my fair share of snow and ice, I sat down to work. The issues of the day included food insecurity, expanding local food access and supporting local growers, the slow process of change, the difficulty people have knowing where to find sustainability resources, students struggling to balance academics with pandemic-pressured home and work environments, and finding the time to research and communicate what we do know to others. In other words, a pretty typical day for me. While some might be disheartened by these challenges, I see them as inspiring opportunities that challenge me to learn more, do more, network more, and share more.
Here are some compelling solutions and ways you can get involved in them:
Food Insecurity & Food Access and Sale Expansion
For the last two years, the WIC program offers double up bucks that double the value of WIC vouchers at area Farmers Markets. This makes a $20 voucher worth $40 in purchase power at places like the Mishawaka Farmers Market. More farmers are signing up to accept WIC vouchers and participation has risen exponentially each year. There is still money available to be used in this program! Promoting this opportunity and the use of it is key to its longevity and success.
Slow Process of Change (AKA your voice matters)
It is always exciting to see cool new sustainable projects appear in our communities! To those of us not involved, it can seem surprising, slow, or long overdue. For example, the new hydroelectric dam being installed in downtown South Bend is the result of at least 5 years of negotiations, regulations, and partnership negotiations that followed years of envisioning it as a functioning feature in the community. Reducing storm sewer overflows has been the result of decades of data gathering, modulating flows, and designing mitigation features that will support resilient infrastructure. Food insecurity could be addressed by starting to grow food where people need it.
What changes happen to address what issues? This is where your voice matters. County Council and Common Council meetings are easier than ever to attend (virtually) to learn and to speak. The South Bend Department of Community Investment even has an Engagement Specialist who works with the community. These are powerful resources available to us all.
We are pleased to offer a monthly series about incredible initiatives and approaches to sustainability that utilize innovation and entrepreneurship skills. They are focused on growing more engaged and healthy communities. You can learn more by joining us for one of the First Friday Innovation Conversations we are hosting, and be seeing past presentations on our YouTube channel.
Supporting one another
Listen, engage, and offer support even if you are struggling. If we can share our struggles, we can emerge as stronger, more resilient people and communities. By listening, you will learn. By listening, you show that you care. By listening, we expand our hearts and our communities.
While 2020 may be winding to a close, the issues and opportunities we have encountered this year are not going away. We have learned a lot about our own capacities to manage change, and have gotten better at it even though it has felt torturous at times. At the same time, we have developed clearer, more refined visions for the future we want. Health, prosperity, good will towards all, opportunities to learn and grow, and a healthy planet to support us top my list – what is on yours?
Fear about our day-to-day life, and about our future, have been our norm for far too long. I propose that as we move ahead, we recognize our addictions to a “normal” way of life and things we think we “need” and adopt our own sustainability serenity prayer: to accept the things we cannot change, have the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The author Natalie Goldberg offers some useful advice. She writes, “We have to look at our own inertia, insecurities, self-hate, fear that, in truth, we have nothing valuable to say….If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.” Let’s be brave!
At the Center this year, we have adapted each week to changing stress and pressures and new realities and expectations. We have kept a strong focus on encouraging waste reduction, as this is something we can do anywhere and everywhere and at any time. We have also worked to raise awareness about the close connection between health and sustainability by publishing posts about How We Can Enjoy a Healthy and Sustainable Lifestyle and how Our lives depend on a healthy planet along with a few new videos on our YouTube channel.
We have looked inward and assessed our own campus activities. We are sending in our first Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Ratings System report to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). It would not have been possible without data and input from people working across campus in academics, purchasing, student affairs, facilities, and governance. We look forward to sharing our results – and corresponding next steps – in the next e-newsletter!
As a Tree Campus and a Bee Campus, we have plans in place for spring to continue to educate and engage campus and community in these crucial ecosystem service providers. Watch for workshops and service opportunities coming in the spring.
Remote work and sharing has been a theme for us, as it has for many of you. While students came to campus to work one shift a week, I met with them throughout the week on Zoom, phone calls, and emails. I presented remotely, along with my counterpart at the University of Notre Dame, at the annual AASHE conference, and one of our graduate students led a session as well. This was a new experience for all of us, and an interesting way to learn and interact with our peers across the planet.
Since we were not able to host our Transforming South Bend speakers in the spring, we will be continuing to host the speakers, one at a time, for First Friday Innovation Conversations that take place at noon the first Friday of the month. Take a look at the schedule, and join us for one or more. They have been really interesting and inspiring!
As we move together into a brave new year, consider making a New Year’s resolution that will improve your life, the life of other people, and the life of our planet. Here are a few ideas:
- Reduce food waste to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Finish leftovers before making fresh food.
- Compost waste and send recyclables for recycling.
- Plant/nurture trees and plants.
- Limit mobile phone usage by two hours a day and tune into people and the planet.
- Switch on lights only when absolutely necessary.
- Give time, money, or food to local food banks and pantries.
- Advocate for equity
- Practice antiracism by becoming actively conscious about race and racism and take actions to end racial inequities in your daily life
As we emerge together, stronger, from 2020, what will we keep? What will we compost? I’d love to hear your ideas!
“Information is like compost; it does no good unless you spread it around.”
~ Eliot Coleman
Tony Bush is graduating!! He has worked at the Center for the past three years, with his main focus on IU South Bend’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report. As he moves into the “real world,” here are some things you should know about Tony.
•What is something you learned while working at the Center?
While working at the Center for a Sustainable Future I have learned that we are all a work in progress, and sustainability is a much bigger issue than any one individual or group can solve by themselves. It is ok to be unsure and nervous about ideas that you may have, or projects you work on aimed at moving yourself, and your community forward to a more sustainable future. It is important that you be humble, trust in yourself, and rely on others to help you grow and accomplish your goals no matter how small or large they seem.
•What do you want others to know about sustainability and/or sustainability work?
Sustainability is more than a career choice; it is a life choice. We can choose to ignore the global challenges we face today leaving them to our children to solve, or we can choose to be sustainability champions working toward building a more sustainable local and global community together. Whatever your interests and passions are there is always a more sustainable path forward if you choose to take it.
- How do you hope to use what you have done and learned post-graduation?
One of the first things we learn as sustainability students at IU South Bend is that Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meeting their own needs. Since then I have learned and grown more each day as I pursued my bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Sustainability Studies, and my Master of Liberal Studies degree with a Graduate Certificate in Strategic Sustainability Leadership. As I move forward wherever my future takes me I hope to use what I have learned at IU South Bend to continue growing as a sustainability champion leading by example, encouraging, and teaching others how they can be more sustainable in their personal lives and careers.
Human Health and Sustainability:
The Relationship Between Human Health and the Environment
By definition, sustainability aims to promote healthy, viable, and equitable communities.
There is a strong relationship between human health and sustainability. From the air we breathe to the water we drink and use, life here on Earth depends on the natural resources and the environment around us.
Our lives depend on a healthy planet
Every breath we take depends on another life, another species. Many of the global health challenges that we face today, including infectious diseases, malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases are all linked to the decline of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The poorest people on the planet tend to suffer most from the health effects from exposures to environmental hazards like air pollution and impure water. In turn, disease and disability related to polluted environments slows and blocks economic development. Environmental health can be integrated into sustainable development by improving environmental quality for the poorest populations with the greatest burden of environmental diseases, by reducing exposures to air pollution in homes and villages from biomass burning, and providing clean water and sanitation.
Protecting and creating healthy environments is a critical component of sustainable development.
Identifying efforts to address environmental problems that can also provide health benefits. For example, creating environments that encourage biking and walking for transportation reduces greenhouse gas and toxic air pollution emissions (environmental benefit) and increases physical activity (health benefit).
Healthier people mean not only less disease but also reduced greenhouse gas emissions from health care.
A new study published in PNAS found that if citizens in 28 high-income nations like the United States, Germany and Japan actually followed the dietary recommendations of their respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food they eat would fall by 13% to 25%.
A healthy diet also helps the environment
You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and while good dietary choices boost your own health, they also could improve the health care system and even benefit the planet.
According to research, diets comprising of processed and red meat products have been found to cause ill health and also lead to environmental pollution. Some foods such as high sugar diets including soft fizzy drinks, biscuits and confectioneries tend to have great impact on health but have minimal impact on the planet.
”Continuing to eat the way we do threatens societies, through chronic ill health and degradation of Earth’s climate, ecosystems and water resources. Choosing better, more sustainable diets is one of the main ways people can improve their health and help protect the environment.”
– Michael Clark
For the past 4 years, the Center for a Sustainable Future has held a series of 8-12 weeks of individual talks in the Sustainability & Innovation Series.
Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, the Center will showcase local sustainability and innovation leaders to share how and why they are working to transform South Bend and the greater region into an innovative and sustainable place.
The theme of the talks is “Seeing Systems,” which invites speakers to make and share connections between social justice, sustainability, community building, peace building efforts, and more.
Join in on First Friday Innovation Conversations each first Friday from noon – 12:30pm EST.
Listen in and join the conversations every first Friday at noon from wherever you are that day!
First Fridays from 12:00-12:30pm EST
Live on the Center for a Sustainable Future’s YouTube channel
October 2 “Six Steps to Success in Tech” by Shabbir Quitbuddin, Director, IT Sector Partnership, Ivy Tech Community College
Based on workforce development, talent sourcing, and community engagement, this talk will focus on educating a community person about how to build a career in technology, starting from the basic foundation until the advance level. Learn how unique talent diversification and talent outreach efforts would help solve the problem of tech talent in the region. By helping community stakeholders with market intelligence, networking, branding, training, and talent, acquiring an alternate career, better pay, and growth are all possible. These efforts help in developing a sustainable economy by using data, information, interconnections, and marketing.
Watch a recording of Shabbir’s talk HERE
November 6 “Sustainability, Education, Peace, and Community Building with Solar” by Tyler Kanczuzewski, Vice President of Marketing and Sustainability, Inovateus Solar
Hear how the benefits and sustainability of solar farms and solar rooftops, zero-waste operations, energy efficiency, pollinator grass and end of life cycle planning for products and materials make solar the optimal renewable energy choice of the current era. By focusing on sustainability, education, peace and community building there is great opportunity for more jobs in this industry. more ways to bring together communities, and more ways to educate people about how to live more in balance with nature.
Watch the recording of Tyler’s talk HERE
December 4 “The Spring at Small Farms” by Kay Westhues, artist, folklorist, and IU South Bend Sustainability Fellow and Alva Muhammad, President, Gary Food Council, Inc.
The Spring at Small Farms is an artesian well located on the southwest side of Gary, Indiana. For over 50 years, this roadside spring has supplied drinking water to residents living in the nearby communities of Small Farms and Black Oak. Its story reveals what can happen when the delivery of safe drinking water is not guaranteed to all citizens. It illustrates how people of color and those with few economic resources are disproportionately burdened with the cost of pollution. The spring’s continued role as a public commons resource makes its protection a critical concern.
Watch a recording of Kay and Alva’s talk HERE
February 5 “Growing Sustainable Urban Landscapes” by Dr. Deb Marr, IU South Bend
The 2019 United Nations Biodiversity Report documented that more than 40% of biodiversity has been lost in large areas of the U.S. Midwest and Plains states compared to an intact ecosystem. This loss of species can be reduced by using plants in our landscapes that support biodiversity. However, we need to think carefully about the ecological role of plants – not just any plant species will do. Learn ways we can use urban landscapes to support biodiversity, as well as improve water and air quality.
March 5 “Healthy Soil, Healthy People, Healthy Communities” by Judith Rubleske, Kankakee Wetlands Organic Gardens (KWOG)
The foundation of all wellness is something you cannot see. Learn about how community wellness and resiliency are being grown through the power of food and soil. KWOG and is ingrained in community building and provides nutrient dense produce for people from different parts of South Bend. Growing stronger together through community gardening, people are able to cultivate their own justice and peace. Even when not engaging directly with the garden, community events featuring locally sourced produce promote community and peace building efforts.
April 2 “The Strength of Community” by Jacob Crawford, Mishawaka Parks
This talk will focus on the Mishawaka Education Foundation Community Greenhouse project run the Mishawaka Parks Department and Mishawaka High School Garden Club students. Learn how a strong and connected community can transform an unused greenspace into something wonderful like our new Greenhouse and Community Garden. The talk will highlight the involvement of local students, civic groups, and individuals that made the project possible.
May 7 “Growing Global Sustainability” by Avanti Lalwani, Briter Products, and IU South Bend Sustainability Fellow.
Small locally owned businesses have an important responsibility in global sustainability efforts. If the hypothesis were accepted that small business can work with nature through small and constant observations and efforts, there would be short, medium and long term impacts. This talk will highlight how Briter Products, Inc. in South Bend, Indiana efforts to amend the soil of the business’s property revealed previously unseen systems.
12:00pm Welcome and Introductions
12:05-12:15pm Speaker’s talk/presentation
12:15-12:28pm Q&A with Center Director and live audience
Back to school this year has been more stressful than usual. It has also opened up a lot of new opportunities for learning and growing. We are going to classes virtually, but still creating connections. We are coming to campus in small numbers, and doing so wearing masks. We are working on projects, research, and new ideas, but not gathering together to celebrate or meet or learn with our community. We are celebrating our designation as a Tree Campus USA, but without having been able to do a public tree planting event this past spring (we are planning for a late fall event!). We are practicing safe and clean approaches to how we behave day to day. We are learning to live well and live with less waste.
|On campus, we are seeing signs of new, less wasteful ways of being on campus. For example, we all received reusable masks so we can proudly display our “Hoosier Spirit, Titan Pride” without creating a lot of trash in the process.|
|We can stay healthy and hydrated by refocusing on the importance of refilling vs single use (or putting your face into a water fountain!).|
We are finding ways to feature sustainability innovations in our community, beginning with the timely and popular “Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability” discussion series. The reading booklet features pieces by and the discussion challenges participants to think deeply and in new ways about our role in society and the power we each have to change and foster positive change. Register HERE
A much anticipated event is the live-streamed presentation of mini-TED style talks. “Transforming South Bend” was scheduled for spring, but thankfully has been rescheduled to bring top creative and innovative minds in our community to you. Join us for the live-stream on our YouTube channel beginning at 6:30pm on Thursday, October 1.
In many ways the pandemic disruption has led to the production of increased waste and lost jobs. This disruption has also led many of us to experience a new or renewed enjoyment of our parks and green spaces where we can get fresh air, exercise, and natural relaxation. It has caused many of us to reconsider our day to day work, our jobs and careers, and how to best balance and pursue our personal and professional goals. This may be just the right time to consider how we can balance economic development with the emotional and spiritual well-being of all people. This concept of “Gross National Happiness (GNH)” is being explored by some of our students this fall.
I hope you enjoy the last bit of summer and the oncoming fall colors and harvest treasures. Keep in touch – I hope you can join us (virtually) this fall!