By: Taya Stewart
According to theworldcounts.com, humans extract an estimated 55 billion tons of fossil energy, minerals, metals and biomass from the earth every year. Protecting our planet starts with you. IU South Bend is re-launching a composting and sustainability initiative this spring to improve environmental efforts of composting food waste to reduce our contributions to landfills and methane emissions.
There are five-gallon buckets outside of the dorms in student housing as well as buckets outside the trash cans by the University Grill where you are welcome and encouraged to throw
biodegradable scraps. Scraps include coffee grounds, fruit, veggies and more – see the flier for
more information about what is compostable.
Students that are involved in the sustainability program regularly take the buckets up to the
composting tumblers on the west side of the Franklin D. Schurz library, where the waste will be broken down into composting soil.
Not only will this reduce food waste, it will also get students involved in creating a safe and
healthy planet. This program and initiative is created as a bridge between the students and the
community that includes collaborations in neighborhoods outside of the IU South Bend campus.
Zach Schrank, professor of sociology and director of the Center for a Sustainable Future,
explained that the initiative and activities were created to improve all levels of sustainability,
from composting to landscape pesticide control to solar efficiency.
He said that the program and activities span campus-wide, as the housing community garden has raised beds that students grow vegetables in, as well as native plants that grow along the river.
The hope for this sustainability drive is to eventually be carried over to IU’s largest campus in
“Sustainability and environmental efforts are important for our future, whether it’s to reduce
waste and emission, or create a lifestyle change to promote awareness and value the importance of building connections around the city of Michiana,” Schrank said. “For students, every industry is promoting sustainability, so this is a good practice that helps create change in their community, statewide and on a worldwide scale.”
The Center will be holding community events, including volunteer opportunities for students,
club events and internship opportunities. They will also have Earth Day events that include
workshops about waste diversion and a film created by Mira Costello, one of Schrank’s former
students, on climate change.
“The goal is to teach students about being eco-friendly,” Schrank said, “whether that looks like
learning about lead safety, solar power use, garden composting, or ways to reduce the use of
Within the next few years, the Center hopes to expand the initiative, recruit more students and
volunteers, develop new energy efficiency efforts and teach about the importance of taking care of the environment.
“The future of sustainability is a mindset that creates opportunity and champions new approaches to how people use and dispose material, creating a healthier planet for people in our future,” Schrank said.
For more information about upcoming events and sustainability, visit @sustainiusb on Facebook or Instagram. To get involved with the Center for a Sustainable Future, check out their website at tinurl.com/iusbcsf2023 or contact Zach Schrank at email@example.com.