In the spring of 2009, several sustainability-oriented student organizations on the IUB campus worked together to plan a week and a half of events called SustainIU. These included panels on student involvement in campus sustainability, sustainability in business, and global issues of sustainability; a film screening and discussion with John de Graaf; a musical celebration in Dunn Meadow; and a keynote lecture by Anthony Cortese, Second Nature president and co-director of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. In planning these events, the organizations agreed that a unifying representative body designed to facilitate communication and collaboration on such projects would benefit the campus. In the fall semester, with the help of the IU Office of Sustainability, representatives of many of these groups came together to discuss the formal creation of an umbrella student organization focused on sustainability initiatives. With a constitution signed in mid-November, the Student Sustainability Council was formed.
In the Fall semester of 2010, the Council took on the ambitious project of establishing an optional student registration fee. To do this, the SSC needed to prove student support for the fee by collecting signatures from one-quarter of the student body (approximately 10,000 signatures) by the end of the Fall semester. With hundreds of volunteers out on campus seeking support, and pioneering a new online signature system, the SSC collected a whopping 11,266 signatures, ensuring that students wishing to advance the sustainability of the Bloomington campus would have the option of donating to a student-directed fund.
The creation of the IU Sustainability Fund added new responsbilities to the Council, and with a growing membership and expanding agenda, the SSC began a restructuring effort in the Spring semester of 2011. This effort culminated with the adoption of a new Constitution, which laid out better the organization of the Council and allowed for involvement by students not affiliated with other student groups.
In April 2013, the Sustainability Fund supported its first project: the revamping of Ballantine Hall's lighting infrastructure. New motion-sensing, energy-efficient lighting in Ballantine Hall was installed in the stairwells with the purpose of immediately reducing energy consumption and increasing long-term energy savings. Read more about the project here.
In December 2014, SSC voted to allocate its funds for three projects:
- $20,000 to the Physical Plant for a solar heating pilot project for one of the dorms.
- $5,363 to the Art Museum for the Greening of the Light Totem, which will now be powered by solar power.
- $3,965 to the RAIN Initative for the construction of a rain garden on campus.
Read more about the projects here