Ball State University has a legacy of sustainability dating back to 1991. Our achievements include:

  • The formation of our Council on the Environment (COTE), the longest-standing environmental sustainability committee in Indiana’s higher education community.
  • President Joan Gora joining 11 other university presidents to initiate the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to become climate neutral.
  • Becoming a charter member of the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) a reporting platform for colleges and universities.
  • Implementing one of the largest geothermal district heating and cooling systems in the nation.

Ball State has many sustainability initiatives on and off campus that improve the health and well-being of the environment, protect and enhance it, and that foster economic growth and prosperity on campus and in the Muncie community. Find out more below about what the university is doing for sustainability on campus and in the community.

There are also actions you can take to help make Ball State a more sustainable campus.

On Campus

The Allègre Restaurant is an on-campus, student-run restaurant. Students prepare and cook meals for patrons, while using sustainable cooking methods, utilizing sustainable produce, and creating zero waste. Students also sometimes utilize food resources grown on campus.

 Visit the Allègre website

Ball State’s campus has approximately 7,000 trees with over 600 different varieties of trees on its campus and is accredited as a Level 2 Arboretum by Arbnet. Five tree trails—Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, and Orange Trails—are available for students, faculty, staff, and the general public to enjoy.

Visit the Arboretum Website

The Basic Needs Hub is a virtual center for resources available to students experiencing basic needs insecurity. Students can find support and assistance with food, housing, financial emergencies, and health and wellness. Faculty can find a suggested Basic Needs Syllabus Statement and get educated on resources available for students.

Visit the Basic Needs Hub Website

Cardinal Kitchen serves as Ball State’s on-campus food pantry for students in need. It has non-perishable foods, personal hygiene and toiletry items, and limited amounts of bread, fresh fruits, and vegetables. It opens the last three Tuesdays of each month from 5-8pm. The pantry is on the lower level of the Student Center, Room L-27, and is available to both graduate and undergraduate students. For those who cannot align with opening hours, contact the Office of Student Life for further assistance or to pick up grab-and-go bags.

Visit the Cardinal Kitchen Website

As a founding member of American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2006, Ball State compiled a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in 2008 and then created a Climate Action Plan in 2010 that outlined strategies that Ball State University could implement to achieve climate neutrality, which is a zero net-carbon-dioxide-equivalent of emissions into the atmosphere. Beginning in 2024, Ball State is working on expanding those actions into a Sustainability Action Plan that balances the needs of People, Planet, and Prosperity.

Learn More About the BSU Climate Action Plan

Ball State has one of the largest geothermal energy systems in the nation. This ground-source, closed loop, district-scale system provides heating and cooling for close to 50 buildings on campus and provides Ball State with numerous environmental, health, and financial benefits. It reduced the university’s carbon emissions to half of what it used to be, eliminated four coal-fired boilers, and continues to save the university money because it is a highly efficient system that helps us manage rising energy costs.

Learn More About Ball State's Geothermal System

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network-based organization that publishes a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is used by corporations, municipalities and institutions worldwide to disclosure environmental, social, and governance performance. Ball State was the second university in the U.S. to conduct a GRI performance assessment and is completing its tenth submission in 2024. Ball State University students conduct the research, compile the data and write each report as an immersive learning experience.

Learn MorE About Ball State's Global Reporting Initiative

All new buildings and building renovations on the Ball State campus are to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification at minimum. This requires strategic design-for-sustainability in site selection, energy, water, and materials use, as well as healthy indoor environmental quality. In addition, Ball State students enrolled in LEED Lab courses have the opportunity to work in collaboration with faculty to help certify new campus buildings as well as recertify previously certified LEED buildings.

Find Out More about Ball State's LEED Certified Buildings

Ball State was a charter member of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a transparent framework for colleges and universities to measure and self-report their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with broad participation from the higher education community. There are 5 recognition levels—Reporter, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Ball State is currently Gold rated.

Find Out More About Ball State's Stars RAting

Ball State University’s mission includes enhancing the economic, environmental, and social vitality of our community. In support of that, an internal funding grant open to students, faculty, and staff, provides seed money to implement innovative, action-oriented sustainability initiatives that advance us towards climate neutrality and integrates social, environmental and economic benefits for our campus.

Expanding on the Climate Action Plan that was created in 2010 and updated in 2013, Ball State is working on expanding those actions into a Sustainability Action Plan that acknowledges the ongoing need to balance the sustainability dimensions of People, Planet, and Prosperity. We are conducting student, faculty, and staff focus groups, surveys, and stakeholder interviews to determine what are our focus areas, questions, and metrics to achieve our climate neutrality and sustainability goals.

The 8Twelve Coalition is an organization of dedicated members of the Muncie Community with the goal of community revitalization. Through their efforts, they work on community-based projects and fundraising to improve the quality of life for Muncie Residents. The 8twelve Coalition also frequently partners with Ball State University faculty, typically in the Communications and Public Relations fields. Faculty are able to implement hands on, high-impact projects into their courses.

This partnership not only gives PR students a chance to get interactive, hands-on experience in their desired field, but also gives the 8twelve Coalition additional help in promoting events and telling the important stories of members of the community.

Learn More

The Muncie Food Hub Partnership’s (MFHP) goal is to provide fresh and affordable food for the Muncie Community, especially products produced locally. Through business development, education, and engagement with the community, the MFHP hopes to increase access to food overall. By tackling the issue of food insecurity, the Muncie community can in turn lead happier and healthier lifestyles.

Learn More

Under Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns, the university established a partnership with Muncie Community Schools (MCS), making BSU the first university in the United States to oversee a public school district. With the partnership, the main goal is to help address various problems faced by MCS, including declining enrollment and financial hardship.

Learn More