Friday, September 25, 2009

Internship in Sustainability

The 2009-10 IUB Academic Year Internship Program in Sustainability

Continuing the tradition of the Indiana University Task Force on Sustainability, the Office of Sustainability (IUOS) addresses issues of environmental sustainability in campus operations, academic programs, and university-community relations. This academic year, we are seeking another group of outstanding undergraduate and graduate students dedicated to advancing sustainability at Indiana University Bloomington.

The IUB Academic Year Internship Program in Sustainability will run from mid-October through the end of the spring semester. Funding is available to support up to eighteen sustainability-related internships. Seven of these interns will work on ongoing IUOS projects, while the other eleven will work collaboratively with IUOS and the Sustainability Advisory Board on projects designed to meet the strategic goals of our seven working groups. Interns will be expected to work approximately ten to fifteen hours per week over the course of the academic year and meet regularly to discuss their progress. Student interns and their mentors will have discretion in setting their work schedules to accommodate varying academic load and other commitments.

To apply, send a brief statement of interest, specifying which of the following project(s) you would be interested in working on, a 1-2 page resume, and one letter of reference by email to or (if there are problems with electronic submission) by mail to Sustainability Program Director, Emilie Rex, at the Office of Sustainability, Geology 429, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405 no later than 5:00 PM, Monday, October 5th, 2009. General information about the IUB Sustainability Program can be found at Information on past internship projects is also available on the web at

Questions regarding internships or the application process can also be directed to

Internships mentored through the Office of Sustainability

1. Energy Challenge Coordinator:
The 2009 IU Energy Challenge proved that students could achieve substantial reductions in energy and water use through simple conservation measures and a little competition. The 2010 IU Energy Challenge has even more potential by expanding the effort to include more dormitories in the competition, exploring new ways of engaging residents utilizing technology to raise awareness of energy use, and possibly expanding the competition to include other Big Ten universities in 2011. Achieving another successful round of the Energy Challenge will require coordination between the Utilities Department, Residence Halls Staff, and numerous student groups. Additional tasks associated with this project include technical work integrating utility data into a web interface and exploring funding opportunities for proposed interactive educational displays.

2. Funding Opportunities for the Office of Sustainability:
This intern will continue the work of our summer internship program, and will involve researching models for internal and external funding of campus sustainability initiatives and their relative fiscal impact. The study will continue to explore revolving loan funds for energy-efficiency upgrades and possible implementation of that strategy at Indiana University to fund more energy-efficient projects, with the loan fund repaid from energy savings. This internship would also help to develop the rules of how this fund would operate in such a way as to assure a sustainable return on investment. The intern will help research potential grant funding from government, foundation, corporate and individual sources and assist in creation of case statements, query letters, cover letters and grant applications.

3. Greening of the Athletic Department:
A well-executed sporting event utilizes a series of well-coordinated systems for transportation, lighting, building efficiency, food procurement, and waste management. Through each of these systems, IU has an opportunity to conserve resources and reduce our carbon footprint. This intern will collaborate with IU Athletics staff to create a strategic plan for greening athletic facilities and events. Special projects may include: implementing an effective and efficient recycling program at tailgating events, analysis of local offset and conservation opportunities for carbon-neutral events, sustainable site and landscape issues, and energy efficiency upgrades of existing sports facilities.

4. Greening of the IMU Charrette Coordinator:
In August of this year, the Duke Foundation awarded the Office of Sustainability a $50,000 grant to fund a green design charrette, an intensive planning exercise to improve sustainability practices, at IU’s most iconic building: the Indiana Memorial Union. Dozens of experts will join will join Indiana University students, faculty and staff to participate in the event. The intern will research baseline data; assist in finalizing the RFP and consultant logistics; and coordinate with a steering committee of key stakeholders to plan, promote and host this high-profile event. Following the event, the intern will work with IUOS staff and service-learning students to write up summaries of the charrette and explore short-term and long-term implementation strategies.

5. Green Team Coordinator:
Informal groups of students, faculty and staff are emerging in departments and schools across campus to discuss their roles in greening IU’s office and living spaces. Because each of these groups represents a unique set of perspectives, interests and skills, the need for communication and resource sharing is paramount. This intern will: (1) develop materials and resources to help encourage the initiation of new green teams in various campus departments and organizations, (2) coordinate a brown-bag series to facilitate communication between green teams and encourage new membership, (3) collaborate with green teams to develop Office resources, suggested campus-wide policy documents, and (possibly) funding sources for the groups, (4) develop an office, department, or school “green certification” program, and (5) develop a green reward system for recognizing individuals or groups for outstanding green practices.

6. Sustainability Reporting Research and Database:
Several campus sustainability rating systems such as the Sustainable Endowments Report Card, Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS assessment program, and the Princeton Review are judging the sustainability of colleges and universities through a number of metrics, including a variety of operational, academic, and investment activities of these institutions. This intern will continue the summer intern’s efforts, expanding the groundwork for improving IU’s ranking in these areas by exploring more accurate and proactive reporting through research and database development. This intern would work closely with the Office and the Sustainability Advisory Board to evaluate IU’s progress toward sustainability.

7. Social Dimensions of Sustainability:
Sustainability breaks with the traditional environmental movement in its emphasis on human-environment interaction. A sustainable initiative is one that addresses the ecological, social and economic aspects of a problem to reach a long-term solution for people and the environment in which they live. This internship will examine the current program’s progress in addressing the social and economic equity aspects of sustainable policy. Focus areas will include: examining the need for academic programming and community projects in environmental justice; continuing the previous intern’s work by implementing recommendations for increasing underrepresented groups’ access to and participation in sustainability programming at IU; and helping coordinate student engagement events aimed at reframing sustainability to include social issues.

Internships mentored through the Sustainability Advisory Board and Operational Units

Academic Initiatives
8. Campus-wide Sustainability Studies Curriculum Development:
Various entities on campus are in the process of revising, adapting or creating academic programs in environmental or sustainability-related studies at the graduate and undergraduate level. The Academic Initiatives Working Group is interested in compiling this information and perhaps developing a campus-wide sustainability studies curriculum, likely in the form of a certificate program. This intern would collaborate with existing campus curriculum committees, build on previous interns’ work, and research peer institutions’ degree programs and class offerings to identify and/or develop a rigorous, inclusive and comprehensive curriculum in sustainability studies well suited to students with varying academic backgrounds and career interests. This would be used as a basis for a detailed programmatic recommendation for the IUB campus.

9. Preparing for the College Themester in Sustainability:
“The College Themester is a new initiative to engage the collective knowledge and creativity of the faculty and to involve undergraduate students in the exploration of ideas across the disciplines” (College of Arts and Sciences, 2009). This spring, the College approved a collaborative proposal for a sustainability-based themester: “Sustain.ability: Thriving on a Small Planet” scheduled for the Fall 2010 semester. This intern would assist the College in coordinating new course development, service-learning opportunities, outside speakers, and community events. Other opportunities include recruiting interested faculty in other schools to participate and helping plan spring semester workshops segueing into the Themester.

Energy and the Built Environment
10. Water Conservation in Academic Buildings:
This intern would continue the Utilities department’s ongoing efforts to increase water conservation in some of the highest usage buildings on campus. Duties will include examining usage data for trends and inconsistencies, developing communication materials on water conservation and attempting to link trends in usage to implementation of conservation messages. This year’s intern would be challenged to coordinate with facilities managers to expand current methods to new buildings, including the Wells Library.

11. Non-academic Building Energy Audits:
IU owns a number of historic homes and other buildings surrounding the campus used for housing various research centers, office space, and support functions. This intern would continue the summer intern’s work analyzing past utility consumption in these buildings, formatting utility data, and establishing priority areas for conservation measures. The intern also will focus on implementing several low-cost and efficient building modifications identified by the previous intern. Lastly, the intern will work closely with several engineers on several buildings with especially high electricity usage to evaluate efficiency needs.

Environmental Quality and Land Use
12. Wetland and Stream Inventory of IUB and the Five Regional Campuses:
Indiana University’s Master Plan includes building projects that may impact jurisdictional waters of the United States. When jurisdictional waters are affected, permitting and mitigation are often required. A complete inventory of wetlands and streams on each campus will help guide future construction projects including site planning, permitting, and mitigation. This intern will complete the partial wetland inventory conducted in the summer of 2009 at IU Bloomington and add a stream inventory. In addition, each of the five regional campuses will be inventoried for wetlands and streams. Identified wetland areas would provide an educational resource to be utilized by IU students for future monitoring and enhancement projects.

13. Sustainable Food Procurement:
Past investigations into how to best provide sustainable local or organic food and composting to IUB’s nearly 50,000 students, faculty, and staff have unveiled significant barriers. This intern will collaborate with the Sustainable Food Working Group to develop solutions to these barriers. Potential projects include but are not limited to: a feasibility study of pilot RPS caf├ęs serving only local and/or organic foods, a cost-benefit analysis of a central composting facility on campus, or an analysis of on and off-campus financial and physical access to sustainable food options.

Resource Use and Recycling
14. Increased Awareness of and Initiatives for Recycling:
Given that IUB and the Bloomington community have limited space, financing and other resources for recycling, it is essential that each of the campus entities providing recycling (housing, IMU and academic buildings) coordinates its efforts to increase consistency, efficiency and user awareness. Building on previous interns’ work, this internship project will involve implementation of several strategies targeted at unifying recycling systems and making them more user-friendly by encouraging cooperation between departments to seek agreement on signage and material recycled. This intern will also assist with current efforts for the campus to collaborate with city and county officials on a more effective regional recycling system. He/she also may create a guide to recycling services available in the community.

15. Reclamation and Resale of Reusable Student Move-out Waste:
Based on similar events at Penn State, Miami University of Ohio, and other universities, the proposed student move-out event would expand previous efforts to divert student move-out waste from the landfill by collecting reusable furniture, clothing, etc. for resale and donation to the campus and community. The intern will begin by researching efforts at peer institutions; analyzing previous efforts at IU; collaborating with off-campus landlords and RPS and several community agencies to manage acquisition, transport and storage of goods; and investigating options for sale of items and donation of profit. He/she will then synthesize these findings in an implementation plan and collaborate with the working group, community organizations, campus units, and volunteers to host the event at the end of spring semester.

Sustainable Computing
16. E-waste Solutions:
During IU’s inaugural E-waste collection event, the IU and Bloomington community recycled over 800,000 pounds of e-waste, preventing bulk sale of these goods into overseas markets and risk of environmental contamination from improper disposal. Apple Inc. has agreed to sponsor the event for a second year, possibly expanding service to include monthly e-waste pick-ups. Apple will pick up old monitors, cell phones, and other types of e-waste for proper handling and zero cost to the community. The intern will be responsible for planning this year’s event, communicating with multiple stakeholders including departments across campus, residence hall managers, and community and corporate partners, and working on implementation and reporting on the event.

17. Feasibility of Acquiring Alternatively Fueled Buses:
The IUB campus will soon be replacing its campus bus fleet. The intern will investigate the feasibility of acquiring alternatively fueled buses for the IUB campus. The intern will evaluate alternatives such as electric battery powered buses and natural gas powered buses in comparison to diesel-powered buses, including diesel hybrids. Included in the feasibility study will be the evaluation of a compressed natural gas fueling station that could be made available for use by all University vehicles and municipal vehicles in Bloomington.

18. Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure:
IU's campus master plan contains goals for improving/expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure, particularly in conjunction with new roadway plans. Furthering other work by the Office of Sustainability, this internship would help to identify and evaluate ways to support the University and Bloomington community as they develop short and long terms ways to implement alternative transportation projects.

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