The list of projects below is a sampling of how students at Ball State are engaging the issues of sustainability. Please check back often as this list will continually be expanded.

From Campus to County

50th Anniversary Earth Day "Teach-in"

Rinard Orchid Greenhouse

LEED Lab:  The Letterman Communications and Media Building

Society of News Design Awards

Brownfields to Brightfields

Planet Muncie

Student Farm

Hope Garden

The Language of the Guerrilla Gardening Movement

Ball State Wind Potential

LEED-LAB:  The Glick Glass Center

Charter Schools:  Patterns of Innovation; A New Architecture for a New Education:
     A BBC Immersive Learning Project

Ball State Students for Water Reuse

BSUdapest: Hungary Redefined

Classrooms From Shipping Containers

Craddock Wetland: LA Design/Build Award 


Focus the Nation 2011

GeoMobile Learning

Greening Indiana Communities:
     A BBC Immersive Learning Project

GrOwING GREEN Mobile Greenhouse

JFNew NativeSpec Database Development:
     A BBC Immersive Learning Project

Muncie Sanitary District Watershed Project:
     A BBC Immersive Learning Project

Stormwater Study

Straw Bale Eco Center

Students Receive Awards in 2009-10 Leading Edge Design Competition

Substantial Sustainability Projects

Sustainability and Local Food Systems including Highlander Fieldtrip:
     A BBC Business Development Project

Sustainability Report for Ball State University—Global Reporting Initiative:
     A BBC Immersive Learning Project

Students + Sustainability: 5 Ways Ball State Students can go GREEN

Website:       From Campus to County (PDF)

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Project Title:  From Campus to County

Dates:                  2022

Key Players:       Karisa Candreva, Honors College Creative Project

Description:     In coordination with the Ball State Honors College, this project serves as an Honors Thesis Creative Project. Beyond meeting graduation requirement, this publication acts as a capstone experience for the academic passions discovered by this student over her undergraduate career. The intent of this project is to orient students and stakeholders from Ball State University, Muncie, and Delaware County to a selection of the local sustainability issues and opportunities for awareness, learning, and action within the area. To understand and promote place-consciousness—knowing and respecting one’s surrounding environment and social community— this publication includes relevant, timely examples of sustainability initiatives.

Website:       From Campus to County (PDF)

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Project Title:  50th Anniversary Earth Day "Teach-In"

Dates:                  2020

Key Players:       Annette Rose, Department of Educational Studies

Description:      An interdisciplinary team of students  from the course SUST 250 developed educational materials to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  The effort was part of a national celebration that included a "Teach-In".  Due to the pandemic restrictions of the time, in lieu of a physical teach-in event, the materials were collected and posted online.

Website:       Ball State 50th Anniversary Earth Day Teach-In

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Project Title:  Rinard Orchid Greenhouse

Dates:                  2019

Key Players:       Martha Hunt, Department of Landscape Architecture

Description:      An interdisciplinary team of students undertook a study of the Ball State facilities and site amenities housing Ball the university's greenhouse, Christy Woods and the renown Wheeler Orchid collection.  A project of the capstone course for Ball State's Minor in Sustainability,  the study focused on expanding and improving facilities and programs with an eye toward sustainability and sustainable design practices.

Final Report:       Rinard Orchid Greenhouse Study

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Project Title: Project Title:  LEED Lab

Dates:                  2019

Key Players:       Janet Fick, Department of Construction Management

Description:      A team of Construction Management students became the first student team in the Midwest and one of only three teams nationally to ever receive LEED Certification for a building though USGBC's LEED Lab Program.  The students prepared and submitted an extensive and highly technical application for the David Letterman Communications and Media Building under the LEED for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance program.  Ball State was one of the first participants in the USGBC’s LEED Lab program, which now has 36 institutions from around the world engaging “project based learning and the built environment to educate and prepare students to become green building leaders and sustainability-focused citizens” (USGBC, 2019).

Website:               LEED Lab

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Project Title:  Society of News Design Awards

Dates:                  2019

Key Players:       Emily Wright, Department of Journalism

Description:      Emily Wright, an award-winning student designer prior to these recent awards, went up against professionals in the Society of News Design’s Best of Digital Design/World Best 2019 competition and won two two bronze medals. According to lecturer of journalism, Ryan Sparrow, the SND competition coordinator, “Two awards might not seem like much but … in the nine years of running this competition, I think we have given no more than 15 awards total for students. It is known for being an extremely rigorous competition. One of the awards was for work she did in student media and the other was something she self-published.”  Below is a link to Emily's self-published work on plastic pollution:


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Project Title:  Brownfields to Brightfields (Phase I and II)

Dates:                  2017, 2018

Key Players:       Sanglim Yoo, Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Description:      With the support and facilitation of the Center for Energy Research/Education/Service (CERES) at Ball State University a group of second year urban planning students in the College of Architecture and Planning studied the brownfield redevelopment programs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and analyzed the solar potential of 41 brownfields as well as the existing conditions of many sites in Delaware and Grant counties in Indiana.

Websites:         (Phase I)
                         (Phase II)

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Project Title:  Planet Muncie

Dates:                  2017

Key Players:       David Hua, Department of Technology

Description:      The Muncie Action Plan and Ball State University are partners in the Building Better Neighborhoods Initiative that coordinates expertise and resources to support local neighborhood initiatives. PlanetMuncie is the outcome of an immersive learning project sponsored by the Building Better Neighborhoods Initiative. This project brought together a group of students and a faculty mentor with the goal of building a clearinghouse where residents could locate resources related to sustainability in Muncie and Delaware County.

Final Report:         Planet Muncie Final Report (PDF)

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Project Title: Student Farm

Dates:                  2016 -

Key Players:       Jessi Haeft, Department of Environment, Geology, and Natural Resources

Description:      Dr. Haeft is Director of the Ball State Student Farm, which was started with a Discovery Grant in 2016. Over 400 students have been involved in the production of over 179 varieties of produce. The goals of the Farm are to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in food systems management as well as to provide a showcase conservation farm for dissemination of new techniques and research to local producers. If you are interested in a tour, volunteering, or have questions about the student farm, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Haeft.

Contact:         Dr. Jessi Haeft

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Project Title:  Hope Garden

Dates:                  2015

Key Players:       Angela Hampton, Department of Elementary Education

Description:      Students in the Schools Within the Context of Community-South View project in Spring of 2015, partnered with multiple community agencies to better understand the important roles of community in supporting students' educational development. One agency students learned about was the YWCA of Muncie. Some of the children we taught at a local elementary school during the day were living in this shelter. After learning about some of their needs, my students partnered with YWCA leaders and the women living there to create a community vegetable garden, called the Hope Garden. Ball State students researched the best raised bed materials, most appropriate soil and plants for the location, gathered materials and prepared the garden for the families to use. Students included hanging marigold baskets on the sign for the garden, because one of the women we met expressed that she and the other women living in the shelter were like these flowers--resilient and strong.

Photo:                Student Team (JPG)

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Project Title:  Language Analysis of the Guerrilla Gardening Movement

Dates:                  2015

Key Players:       Author: Ellen Jackson; Faculty Advisor: Mai Kuha, Department of English

Description:      An analysis and discussion of the language surrounding the guerrilla gardening movement and a discussion of the relationship the movement has with eco-terrorism.

Presentations:   Guerrilla Gardening Language Paper (PDF)
                           Guerrilla Gardening Language Slides (PDF)

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Project Title:  Ball State Wind Potential

Dates:                  2014-2015

Key Players:       Eric Hedin, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Description:      Sample results of an independent study course (PHYC 482) that focused on the possiblities of using wind power as a sustainable energy source for Ball State University.

Presentations:   BSU Wind Power Potential (PDF)
                           BSU Wind Turbine Feasibility (PDF)

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Project Title:  LEED-LAB:  The Glick Glass Center

Dates:                  2015-2016

Key Players:       Janet Fick and Jim Jones, Department of Construction Management; Kevin Kenyon and David Shepherd, Facilities Planning and Management; Multidisciplinary student team.

Description:      LEED Lab is a multidisciplinary immersion course that utilizes the built environment to educate and prepare students to become green building leaders and sustainability-focused citizens. In the course students assess the performance of existing facilities on campus and choose one building where they will facilitate the LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) process with the goal of certifying the facility.  During the Spring Semester of 2015 a multidisciplinary team of students began the certification process for Ball State's Glick Glass Center which opened in 2010.

Web Link: 

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Project Title:  Charter Schools:  Patterns of Innovation; A New Architecture for a New Education

Dates:                  2009-2010

Key Players:       Ball State Office of Charter Schools; Pamela Harwood, Department of Architecture; Andrea Swartz, Department of Architecture

Description:      During 2000-2010, the student teams worked with selected charter schools in Indiana developing overview reports on these schools.  This was followed by research on best practices and high performance school design for the design of new or renovated charter school facilities. Students conducted case study research, nationally and in the state of Indiana, on exemplary charter schools and high performance “green” school design to develop ways to incorporate issues of curriculum, funding, facility planning, and sustainable strategies into the overall design of the building.  This information was used to develop concepts or “patterns” for incorporating environmentally sustainable strategies into the planning and design of charter school buildings.  Team members travelled to eight charter schools in Indiana, interviewed students and faculty, discussed the schools’ pedagogical philosophies with administration and board members, and developed school profiles examining curriculum, funding and facility planning.  At the end of each semester, the students will complete the profiles and extract/articulate design principles for incorporating in an illustrated guidebook, which is updated every semester as the project progresses.  This book as well as the development of a comprehensive website will serve to distribute the information to a wider audience. 

Web Link:   

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Project Title:  Ball State Students for Water Reuse

Dates:                  2013

Key Players:       Sheryl Swingley, Department of Journalism, Students of the Department of Journalism

Description:      A team of twenty students developed a public relations campaign dealing with water use/reuse issues both regionally and globally including World Water Day.  The materials from their campaign are documented in their website in photos, videos, interviews, and articles

Web Link:  

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Project Title:  BSUdapest: Hungary Redefined

Dates:                  2012

Key Players:       Sheryl Swingley, Department of Journalism, Students of the Department of Journalism

Description:      Six students traveled through the streets of Budapest, Hungary and documented their travels in through various journalistic works.  A part of their story involved exposure to the city's approach to water, water use and wastewater treatment.  A series of stories discussing these issues are posted on their website under "The Newsroom - H20".

Web Link: !the-newsroom/vstc3=h2o 

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Project Title:  Classrooms From Shipping Containers

Dates:                  2012-2013

Key Players:       Tim Gray, Department of Architecture, Students of the Department of Architecture; Butler Center for Urban Ecology Farm, Big City Farms

Description:      A team third-year architecture students repurposed several shipping containers into mobile classroom units as a design-build project designed to expose the students to real world sustainability issues and to assist local community organizations involved in sustainability education and public assistance.  The project started with students creating two mobile classrooms for an Indianapolis charter school that was starting a farm. When that school was shut down, the team began looking for alternative sites. One classroom wound up at the Butler Center for Urban Ecology and the other went to Big City Farms, which farms on vacant land adjacent to the Midland Arts and Antiques Market in Indianapolis. The classrooms are the result of two semesters’ work by 29 students who had a budget of $7,500 provided by Ball State’s provost to complete the project.

Web Link:  

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Project Title:     Craddock Wetland: LA Design/Build Award

Dates:                  2009-2010

Key Players:       Les Smith, Department of Landscape Architecture, Students of the Department of Landscape Architecture

Description:      A team of central Indiana conservation groups has won national honors for restoring a 27-acre wetland that's become a rest stop for migrating birds and a haven for other wildlife.  The John M. Craddock Wetland Nature Preserve Team received the 2010 National Earth Team Volunteer Group Award on Tuesday.  The team restored the area in Muncie near the White River to a condition close to what European settlers found when they arrived in the area. They also built wooden boardwalks for the public and placed signs identifying plants and animals. Team members have also worked to clear trash and invasive plants from the site. The award recognizes outstanding work by participants in the Earth Team Volunteer program, which is sponsored by the federal government's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Ball State University Department of Landscape Architecture students and faculty have volunteered over 6,500 hours to date in support of this project and will complete the last two phases of construction in 2011 and 2012. The assistance these landscape architecture students have given has added a great deal of value to the John M. Craddock Wetland Nature Reserve facility (and many Muncie community members who utilize the CWNP area along the Cardinal Greenway) for research, recreation, education and nature viewing. 

Web Link:  

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Project Title:     ecoREHABstudio

Dates:                  2009-2011

Key Players:        ecoREHAB of Muncie, Inc.; City of Muncie Community Development Department; Church; Jonathan Spodek Department of Architecture

Description:       The ecoREHAB initiative was established in 2009.  Working collaboratively with Ball State University, the City of Muncie’s Department of Community Development and the local non-profit agency ecoREHAB of Muncie, Inc.  this outreach program’s aim is to provide leadership in the ecologically sound, green and sustainable rehabilitation of existing and abandoned housing.  Students work with the City of Muncie’s Unsafe Building Authority to identify potential properties for rehabilitation.  They evaluate and develop a green rehabilitation plans for these properties including construction plans, specifications and schedules.  Following this design phase they engage in the execution of the green housing rehab.  In general, the focus is on minimizing/eliminating construction waste, energy efficiency, use of green building products and recycled building materials, designing for passive methods for indoor comfort, cool roofs, reduction of water use, and site work addressing storm water management and native plantings.  Upon completion of the building rehab, the homes are sold to qualifying low income home owners.  

Web Link:     

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Project Title:     Focus the Nation 2011 

 Date:                    02/24/2011

Key Players:        BSU Students for a Sustainable Campus, John Vann, Department of Economics, BSU Green Initiatives Coordinator 

Description:       Focus the Nation is a national non-profit headquartered in Portland, Oregon. They believe that building a clean energy economy presents an opportunity to renew American prosperity and US leadership at the local and international level. Focus the Nation is driven by a fierce commitment to empower today’s youth with the imaginative, civic and systems-thinking skills to become powerful agents of change in their own communities.  Focus the Nation Forum 2011 at Ball State University was organized to educate participants about the scientific principles and possible solutions to the climate change problem. The intent was that this forum would actively engage participants in critical discussions about what our future could look like, and create a framework for closing the gap between science and action. This forum was intended to begin an interdisciplinary discussion about the academic and societal response to these problems and generate ideas for solutions for BSU and individuals, with discussion on how to implement them.

Web Link:              BSU Focus the Nation Forum 2011 Event Program (PDF) 

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Project Title:     GeoMobile Learning

Dates:                  2012

Key Players:        Mary Annette Rose, Department of Industry and Technology

Description:       Students worked to develop a smartphone app to help students locate and learn about the energy systems on the BSU campus.

Flyer:                 Geomobile Learning Usability Test (PDF)

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Project Title:     Greening Indiana Communities

Dates:                  2007-2008 (Business Fellows)

Key Players:        Westfield Washington Schools; Muncie Unitarian Universalist Church; James Eflin, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management

Description:       Students worked with two community groups that were interested in improving the environmental performance of facilities and incorporating “green stewardship” ideals into operations.  They conducted research into best practices and conducted background studies of demographic and other factors of the communities to inform recommendations about procedures or practices they could adopt to enable green stewardship.  A slide presentation and report were produced to help the Green Committee at the church identify improvements to its facilities and within its congregation to address environmental goals necessary to follow church principles for stewardship.  A report including an environmental assessment and recommendations for operations and management of the present and future school facilities was given to the facilities manager of the schools.

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Project Title:    GrOwING GREEN Mobile Greenhouse

Dates:                  2015-2016

Key Players:        Tim Gray, Department of Architecture; Travis Ryan and Tim Dorsey, Butler University Center for Urban Ecology

Description:       GrOwING GREEN is a mobile greenhouse designed and constructed by fourth year architecture students at Ball State University in support and represents the fifth in a series of design build projects undertaken by students at the College of Architecture and Planning in support of Urban Farming operations in Indianapolis. The project is funded by a Butler University Innovation Fund Grant and is the second project undertaken by BSU designing and constructing facilities at the Butler University Center for Urban Ecology (CUE). A team of fourteen Ball State students have designed a controlled environment to cultivate plant starts for the CUE farm. Fabricated in Muncie on a on a customized truck bed, the greenhouse will be transported to the CUE farm when complete.

Web Link: 

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Project Title:     JFNew NativeSpec Database Development

Dates:                  Fall 2009 Semester

Key Players:        JFNew; Martha Hunt, Department of Landscape Architecture; Robert Koester, CERES and Department of Architecture, Emerging Technologies Department

Description:       Students from a variety of disciplines collaborated with JFNew and the Ball State Emerging Technologies unit to design and develop a searchable database tool to be used for specifying native plant species for ecological restoration projects. The database accepts user inputs regarding site conditions such as soil type, hydrology, solar exposure, and bioregion and then searches a database of several hundred native plant species to provide recommendations for the optimal project specification. Throughout the project, the students interacted with restoration ecologists, native landscape designers, botanists, and native plant nursery professionals to define the need and scientific constraints to make this database system a highly useful productivity tool. The final product was a decision support tool that will help ensure the success of sustainable landscaping and ecological restoration projects.  The project won a national communications award in September 2010 from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Web Links:    

                                Students win national award for immersive learning project. 

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Project Title:     Muncie Sanitary District Watershed Project

Dates:                  2007-2008 (Business Fellows)

Key Players:        White River Watershed Project (Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District); Jennifer Bott, Department of Marketing and Management

Description:       Ball State University students developed a community outreach program for the Jake’s Creek residential area of the Muncie Sanitary District (MSD) to address stormwater reduction. The team looked at the continuing problem of sewer overflow after significant rainfalls, its consequences, and how residents could reduce the amount of stormwater runoff on their property. The team created a Water Conservation Fair Day for the residents to educate them on the benefits of rain barrels, rain gardens, and other flood reduction options.  Students designed mini-rain gardens and created lists of the plants so the residents could re-create the design at home. They also held a rain barrel workshop to teach residents how to install and use a rain barrel.

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Project Title:     Stormwater Study 

Dates:                  2007  

Key Players:        Dr. Jarka Popovicova, Megan Griffith and Nicole Holt                  

Description:       This endeavor is the continuation of a class project students Megan Griffith and Nicole Holt participated in during fall semester (‘07) with Dr. Jarka Popovicova. The class focused on water issues and a final class project intending to promote awareness about storm water issues. Due to the limited time available to work in the semester, stenciling storm drains in Yorktown was as far as the project extended. After the class ended, Megan and Nicole still wanted to raise awareness at Ball State University so an independent project was created to help the campus community become familiar with storm water issues directly related to campus. 

Web Link:        

Additional Links:    Brochure
  24" x 36" Poster
  48" x 36" Student Symposium Board

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Project Title:     Straw Bale Eco Center  

Dates:                  2006-2008 and ongoing  

Key Players:        Timothy Gray, Associate Professor of Architecture; John Motloch, Professor of Landscape Architecture, John Taylor, Land Manager; Indiana Department of Energy and Defense                  

Description:       This ongoing project represents the first immersive  learning / demonstration / research project of the Land Design Institute's LandLab demonstration site. The first phase of construction was funded with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency and resulted in the first load bearing straw-bale building in the region, a class/ research / demonstration building located at the edge of a restored prairie on the Cooper Field Station, about two miles off the Ball State Campus. Renewable energy systems were installed Spring 2008 with the support of a grant from the Indiana Department of Energy and Defense. Close to eighty students working under the direction of faculty member Timothy Gray worked to construct the center over the course of three semesters. The Eco Center respects local climate conditions and resource flows and demonstrates the potential for regenerative synergies between building and landscape. The project builds on a longstanding tradition of commitment to sustainable practices at Ball State University and seeks to build sustainable relationships between people, prosperity and the planet. Tours of the facility are available on request.  

Web Link:         

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Project Title:     Students from Ball State Receive Awards in 2009-10 Leading Edge Design Competition

Dates:                  January-April 2010

Key Players:        Robert Koester, CERES, Architecture 

Description:       The Leading Edge Student Design Competition seeks to support and enhance the study of sustainable and energy-efficient building practices in architectural education. With our 2009-2010 competition, students and instructors of architecture and design used the competition as a framework to explore the use of new materials and strategies for building, and the integration of aesthetics and technology for high performance, cutting-edge architecture that approaches the goal of zero-net energy use.
This year the competition focused on the coastal city of Long Beach, California. Students entering Challenge 1 designed a zero-net energy Workforce Training Center; students entering Challenge 2 designed a zero-net energy Student Residence.

3rd-5th year undergraduate and graduate students from Ball State University's Center for Energy Research/Education/Service (CERES) won First Place in Challenge 1:
   • Erin Chapman
   • Andrew Hesterman
   • Jason Klinker

Another group of students from CERES received a Citation of Merit in Challenge 1 for Exploration of Facade Systems:
   • Xiorelis Ferrer (Cox)
   • Kate Lengacher
   • Ben Mc Hugh

There were over 400 registrations, 195 for Challenge 1 and 231 for Challenge 2. Many of those in Challenge 1 (and some in Challenge 2) represented universities from countries as diverse as Israel, Scotland, Mexico, Hungary and Spain, to name just a few. More than 40 US universities and colleges participated, from all regions of the country.

Web Link:

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Project Title:     Substantial Sustainability Projects

Dates:             Fall Semester 2011 

Key Players:     S.M. Smith, Miller College of Business,  Students of ISOM 300 Project Management, Fall 2011

Description:     During the fall 2011 semester, Ball State University (BSU) undergraduate students enrolled in ISOM 300 – Project Management implemented extensive experiential projects to improve the Student Involvement category grade on The College Sustainability Report Card located at  Sixty-five (63) students divided into 14 teams executed immersive learning projects that focused on increasing awareness about campus environmental issues, improving the campus landscape, intensifying recycling efforts, and providing information about saving energy.

Web Link:         Substantial Sustainability Project Report (PDF)

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Project Title:     Sustainability and Local Food Systems including Highlander Fieldtrip

Dates:                  May-June 2009

Key Players:        Shelly Glowacki-Dudka, Ed Studies

Description:       BBC provided administrative support for this project.  Program was designed to heighten participants’ understanding about sustainability and local food systems as it relates to educating and engaging communities in projects such as community gardens, farmer’s markets, slow food movements, and co-ops. The program included a field trip to the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee where the participants learned about Highlander’s role in community education over the last 75 years.

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Project Title:     Sustainability Report for Ball State University—Global Reporting Initiative

Dates:                  2010 - Present

Key Players:        Gwen White, Department of Accounting, Annette Rose, Department of Educational Studies

Description:       This group is at the forefront of preparing the university’s first Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) based sustainability report. This experience will put student's work on par with what has become mainstream reporting among the largest 250 companies in the world.  Project work includes producing a published sustainability report to share with the university’s faculty, students, alumni, legislators, and the general public and gaining knowledge of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System.  In the spring of 2020, Dr. Rose and the project received a Ball State Immersive Learning Faculty Award. Watch the video of the award announcements. 

Web Links:               Click Here for the Full Reports
                                  GRI Web Site

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Project Title:     Students + Sustainability: 5 Ways Ball State Students can go GREEN  

Dates:                  Spring 2010 Semester  

Key Players:        Meagan Tuttle, Graduate Student, Department of Urban Planning.  Scott Truex, Adviser, Department of Urban   Planning.  John Vann, Mentor, Miller College of Business.  

Description:       Students + Sustainability is a guide that was created specifically for Ball State students.  The guide includes a brief narrative illustrating the importance of sustainability in the campus community and highlights several key initiatives that Ball State has engaged in to achieve its goal of becoming a more sustainable university.  The guide provides recommendations for ways that BSU students can implement sustainable practices into their everyday lifestyles in five areas: at home and in class, and when traveling, eating and shopping.   The recommendations are simple and practical to help show students that it can be easy for Ball State to go green.  The project includes a guide that has also been formatted to a webpage and a page on the social media site, Facebook, to provide students with updates and weekly "green challenges."

Web Link:  

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