Urban farmer and MacArthur Genius Fellow Will Allen to headline SustainIU week

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Will Allen, recipient of a MacArthur Genius Fellowship for his work founding the nonprofit Growing Power, will deliver the Ben Brabson Lecture for Sustainable Ideas during Indiana University Bloomington's 2014 SustainIU week. The lecture, one of several SustainIU events, will take place at the Indiana Memorial Union Whittenberger Auditorium at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 8.

Allen, a former professional basketball player and corporate sales leader, founded Growing Power in 1993 to support what he terms “community food systems”: networks dedicated to providing equal access to affordable and nutritious food. The organization now runs innovative training and community development programs in diverse communities throughout the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. The lecture also will serve as a preview event for Themester 2014, titled: “Eat, Drink, Think: Food from Art to Science.”

The sixth annual SustainIU Week, organized by IU Bloomington’s Student Sustainability Council and its member organizations, focuses on sustainability issues within an urban context, with an emphasis on students’ ability to have a positive impact on their community through social, economic and environmental justice efforts.

Events will kick off Saturday, April 5, and conclude the following Saturday, April 12. The lineup includes Allen’s keynote lecture, a screening of the green infrastructure film "Water Solutions," three workdays at on- and off-campus garden and woodland restoration sites, and several education events surrounding issues such as genetically modified produce and fair-trade purchasing. Admission to all events is free.

“Collaboration is truly at the core of SustainIU week,” said Faith Liveoak, Student Sustainability Council projects director. “To ensure that the events we host are accessible to students and address pressing issues in sustainability, every event gets a variety of input from IU Bloomington students and staff. This year we have partnerships with 12 different organizations and departments on campus and off, ranging from IUSA to The Middle Way House. The joint effort that is SustainIU is a testament to students' desire for sustainability as a core value on our campus and in our communities.”

During Allen’s keynote, the council executive committee will announce the winner of the Michael Hamburger Award for Sustainable Action, which honors a student, faculty, staff or community member demonstrating innovative and exceptional commitment to sustainability on the IU Bloomington campus. All members of the campus community are encouraged to submit nominations, which close on Wednesday, April 2.

The Brabson Lecture featuring Will Allen is co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, the Food Studies Program, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Union Board, the IU Student Association, the Environmental Management and Sustainable Development Association, the Department of Geography and the Student Sustainability Council.

About the Student Sustainability Council

The Student Sustainability Council serves to promote communication and collaboration among students and student organizations surrounding sustainability issues, advise the Indiana University Office of Sustainability and IU Bloomington administration from the perspectives of the students, promote issues at the intersection of social justice, environmental integrity and economic prosperity on campus, and engage the IU student body in these issues.