Conservation in the Classroom

Encouraging Classroom Stewardship

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internsInstructors: We respectfully request your assistance in a new voluntary classroom initiativeto encourage students to take personal responsibility for classroom litter and conservation of energy and water resources. All incoming IU Students recite the Indiana Promise recognizing each individual’s accountability for his or her own behavior. Unfortunately,Building Services staff report spending as much as four hours removing litter from the floor of a single large classroom and 11,000 man-hours are spent each year picking up litter on campus. Research suggests that peer modeling of responsible behavior is among the most effective ways to encourage positive behavior to eliminate litter and waste. With your help, this model behavior can start in the classroom.A the most basic level, this could include:

  • Picking up all nearby litter around their desk
  • Placing recyclable items in the blue bins and non-recyclable waste in the trash
  • Turning off the lights if they’re the last to leave a classroom, and
  • Minimizing water waste in academic buildings

Our hope is that students, with a prompt from their instructors, will learn from their peers to be personally accountable for their behavior throughout their day and become stewards of this beautiful campus, indoors and out.


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Suggested ideas for encouraging positive conservation behaviors among your students include:

  • Set the Tone Early.  Begin the start of the semester with a short introduction to the classroom environment and student responsibility. Use the start of semester PowerPoint slide to set the tone. You may want to recruit a graduate assistant or student classroom leader to deliver the message. Here are some basic talking points:
    • Indiana University is considered one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Our Building Services and Campus Division staff work extremely hard to maintain our campus, but we ALL have a role to play in campus sustainability and beautification.
    • In this classroom, we expect you to be actively engaged, respectful of your peers, and personally responsible for your classroom space. This means setting an example by cleaning up after yourself and conserving energy and water. It also means holding your peers accountable and encouraging them to do the same.
    • Please take a minute to identify the blue recycling bins and the trash/landfill bin in this classroom. As you prepare to leave class everyday, you are expected to collect all of your belongings, including any waste and dispose of it in the proper bins. (Area recycling bins for containers may not be available within every classroom, but are provided on every floor.)
    • If you use classroom space to study or collaborate with peers, please turn off the lights if you are the last to leave.
    • Please be advised that the City of Bloomington is under mandatory water use restrictions until October 11.  Please do your part to conserve water on campus and at home. Use water sparingly when showering, brushing teeth, washing hands or doing dishes.
    • Thank you in advance for taking personal responsibility.
  • Send a Follow-Up Message or Announcement via Oncourse. Send a follow-up Oncourse announcement requesting their support for conservation activities in the classroom or append it to your syllabus. Here's a sample announcement for reference.
  • Remind Your Students. Use the end of class PowerPoint slide to remind students of their responsibilities in the last few minutes of each class until it is apparent that the message has taken hold.
Thank you for your assistance. Best regards for a great semester.