Topics: Sustainability/Environment, Geothermal

September 9, 2009

For the first time, Ball State's Greening of the Campus Conference will have a national partner and, due to its increasing popularity, a new location in the Hoosier capital of Indianapolis.

Ball State launched the conference series in 1996 and is exporting this year's event — titled "Embracing Change" — to the Indianapolis Convention Center Sept. 20-23. The move is accompanied by the welcome arrival of a prominent partner: the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

"After many years at Ball State, we've secured a well-respected national partner and are moving to downtown Indianapolis to accommodate a potentially larger and more diverse audience," explained Robert Koester, director of Ball State's Council on the Environment and the event's founder. "With the number attendees coming in from around the country and around the world, I anticipate this will be our most successful conference in the series."

One exhibit that should generate interest among conference-goers will showcase Ball State's geothermal initiative. Construction of the system began this summer. Upon completion, it will be the nation's largest groundsource geothermal system, serving more than 45 buildings across the 660-acre campus.

Many of those expected represent institutions that are signatories to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to eliminate emissions that contribute to global warming. They are praising the initiative as a national model for use of alternative energy, Koester said. While Ball State, an original party to the ACUPCC, has taken a major step to meet its goal of reducing its carbon footprint through the geothermal project, other institutions still are evaluating ways to implement their climate action plans, he added.

The conference's keynote speakers will be:

  • Ray Anderson, founder, chairman and chief operating officer of Interface Inc. As the leader of the largest commercial carpet manufacturer in the world, he is a world-renowned advocate for sustainable industry.
  • Geoffrey Chase, dean of undergraduate studies at San Diego State University, is an expert in sustainability in higher education, institutional change, curriculum and sustainability. He is the co-editor of "Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change."
  • Frances Moore Lappé is the author of "Diet for a Small Planet," a book that sold more than 3 million copies since its publication in 1971 and changed forever the way people think about food.
  • Jerome Ringo is the president of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of organized labor, environmental, business and civil rights leaders determined to free the United States of dependence on foreign oil.

A variety of green workshops will be conducted throughout the conference, as well, covering curricular offerings, the crafting of climate action plans, managing and promoting recycling programs, the role of community colleges in green jobs training and more.

For complete information, visit the Greening of the Campus Web site.