As part of Ball State University’s mission, we aim to enhance the economic, environmental, and social vitality of our community, state, and the world. We value social responsibility and acting for the benefit of society at large including an enduring commitment to environmental stewardship, improving health and wellbeing, and fostering economic growth. We are committed to reaching climate neutrality by 2030.

One of the key metrics for that goal is measuring our greenhouse gas emissions. Did you know that over 80% of Ball State University’s greenhouse gas emissions is from energy use to heat or cool our buildings and for transportation? The remaining is from the trash we produce whether that is for food or products.

Did you also know that Ball State paid over $14.6 million in 2022 for our utilities bill? At times the climate change challenge may seem overwhelming, but there are actions that you can take to help us reduce costs, keep tuition low, be good stewards of our resources, reduce our environmental footprint, and have a healthier planet for all to enjoy by adopting some or all of these practices.

Help us save money, be good stewards of our resources, reduce our environmental footprint, and have a healthier planet for all to enjoy by adopting some or all of these practices.

Personal

Heating, cooling, and air circulation account for 40% to 60% of the energy use in a building. To reduce costs, keep temperatures around 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. When unoccupied, like when you're away at work or on breaks, adjust the thermostat down in the winter and up in summer by 7 degrees. Doing that can save you as much as 10% on your bills. 
Turn off your lights, appliances, and electronics when you are not using them to save energy and money. Appliances and electronics can still use energy when plugged in so unplugging or using a smart power strip can save you 10% to 25% on your energy bills.

Wash clothes in tap or cold water. Doing so could save you as much as $200 a year in energy costs and extend the life of clothing.

Choose to carpool, walk, bike, scooter, or take mass transit to campus. You can get your exercise, save money, not get frustrated looking for a parking spot, and have some social time while doing good for the environment.

Shorten your showers and turn off the water while brushing or shaving. Every minute of shower time is about 2 gallons of water so shortening your showers by just 1 to 2 minutes will save up to 700 gallons a month. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving saves 3 gallons a day.

Purchasing products that align with sustainability values, while being better for the environment could save you money. For example, look for items such as ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics which saves at least 25% or more energy than the average; WaterSense which saves at least 20% or more water than the average; LED lights which saves 75% of energy; organic foods which have no pesticides; support women, minority, or veteran-owned businesses; support Benefit Corporations and fair trade groups.
Manufacturing a new product requires a lot of material and energy. The most effective way of reducing waste is to reduce how much you buy and to reuse items. This help us save resources, protect the environment, reduce pollution and waste, and save money. Consider sharing items, reducing single-use items, as well as going to a thrift, reuse, or excess inventory stores.
Recycling and composting can save energy and water while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch, recycling plastic bottles saves 75% of the energy used, and recycling paper saves 60% of energy. Composting enhances soil health, reduces the need for chemical amendments, and improves plant growth.
Eating more plant-based meals promotes good health and reduces diseases such cancer and diabetes. It also reduces pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, while saving water and animals.

Learn more by taking sustainability-related classes like those within the Sustainability Minor or Graduate Certificate in Sustainability or get involved in sustainability-related research, service, and student organizations.

The Charles W. Brown Planetarium is the largest planetarium in Indiana. It is an immersive theater where state-of-the-art technology transforms the 52 foot (16 meter) dome into a simulation of the night sky as seen from Earth and from space. The planetarium has free, public educational programs and seats more than 150 people per show.

Visit the Charles W. Brown Planetarium Website

Christy Woods has 100 years of history as an outdoor teaching laboratory for Ball State University. Located on the southwest corner of our beautiful campus, Christy Woods is a 17-acre property filled with mature deciduous forest, tall grass prairie, is home to our Environmental Education Center, and houses Ball State University’s four greenhouses. Christy Woods is highly diverse in plant species, which in turn attract a multitude of species to visit and reside here, from Tiger Swallowtails to Red Bats to migratory Scarlet Tanagers. The property is one of six managed by the Field Station and Environmental Education Center.

LEARN MORE About CHRISTY WOODS

With over 2,000 orchids, the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse contains the largest university-based orchid collection in the United States.The 3,400-square-foot Rinard Orchid Greenhouse is a resource used by students in biology, natural resources, art, technology, landscape architecture, and photography and presents a variety of educational programs open to the general public. Programs include Saturday programs, mini-educational programs, walk-in tours, and guided tours by request. Changing educational displays, student art exhibits, and other seasonal features make the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse a great place to visit throughout the year.

Learn More About The Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse

At 161 acres (65 hectares), Ginn Woods is one of the largest remaining old-growth forests in east-central Indiana, and among the largest remaining old-growth forests (of any type) in the entire state of Indiana. Ginn Woods is an exceptional remnant of an ecological community that once covered most of this region. Ginn Woods serves as a critical education and research asset to the university. 

Learn More About Ginn Woods

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability is designed for working professionals (and current students) who want to confidently develop, implement, and evaluate sustainability initiatives.

Learn More About Ball State's Graduate Certificate in Sustainability

Ball State offers an undergraduate minor in Sustainability. The classes students take to fulfill the requirements for the minor in Sustainability include the following: 

  • Intro to Sustainable Development

  • Our Warming World

  • Creating A Sustainable Future

  • 9 additional directed elective credits, with one class taken in each of the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. 

Learn More about Ball state's Sustainability Minor

The Muncie Action Plan is a strategic guide that expresses the values and aspirations of the Muncie, Indiana community and creates a compelling agenda for our future. Each iteration of the plan has been rooted firmly in values identified by our community and is supported by extensive factual analysis of trends and current conditions. The Muncie Action Plan was developed in 2010 and subsequently expanded by several task forces focused on specific issues. The plan has been updated in 2013, 2018, and 2022.

Find Out More about the Muncie Action Plan

The Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity repairs homes and builds new houses for Muncie residents in need. All resources and labor are provided through volunteer work. 

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Next Muncie is a collaborative group that works to improve quality of life in the Muncie community. Next Muncie advocates for projects and programs they have a positive impact on members of the community. Next Muncie’s ultimate goal as an organization is to work together to ‘build lively places, foster healthy living, and create new opportunities for living and working.’ People, Places, and Prosperity are at the core of all that Next Muncie does.

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Ball State believes that we have an obligation to serve those in need. This annual event provides opportunities for our graduates, faculty, staff, and students to make a difference throughout the day in the lives of our friends and neighbors across East Central Indiana. There are both on-campus and off-campus projects such as creating Literacy, Snack, and Warm Blanket Kits as well as neighborhood cleanups and beautification efforts.

Learn More About Ball State's United Way Day Of Action

One of the largest single-day volunteer events in Delaware County happens every fall in September. For over 15 years, volunteers have helped to clean up the White River by remove of thousands of pounds of trash. Join us this year..

Learn More About the White River Cleanup