In 1987, the United Nations released the Bruntland Report,
which defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
Although Indiana Wesleyan University has employed sound
sustainability practices in recent years, an organization was established two
years ago to ensure that commitment not only would continue but also would grow
Stewardship Initiative consists of faculty, staff and administrators. There
also is a partner student-run organization called Creation Care Alliance.
The issue of sustainability does not focus solely on
environmental issues. It also includes economic and social development. IWU’s
mission as world changers lends itself to the social aspect of sustainability.
The goal of the Creation Stewardship Initiative is to engage
and educate the IWU campus on sustainability and stewardship issues, to ask
what our role is as Christians when it comes to caring for our environment and
what we can really do to be good stewards of what we have.
Megan Stephens, Project Manager in the Office of Operations
and Facilities Planning, said she hopes the lessons that students learn on
campus will last them for a lifetime. “We want students to have an
understanding of the bigger picture,” Stephens said. “Sustainability is not
just about what happens at IWU. It affects our entire planet.”
Stephens has a degree in environmental design from the Ball
State University School of Architecture. Part of her work revolves around
sustainability issues related to IWU buildings, but she also has been involved
in various student projects.
Here are some of the sustainability projects and practices
that IWU has undertaken:
“We still have a menu of projects we would like to do,”
Stephens said. “When we invest, we get a return through energy savings, but it
still takes money upfront to do the projects.”
While there is much left to do, there also is progress to
celebrate on matters related to sustainability.
IWU has reduced solid waste landfill costs by about 50
percent in the last year and has a solid waste budget today that of about half
the amount that it was 10 years ago. Even with three times as much waste today
as 10 years ago, the total cost of waste removal continues to go down — even as
enrollment goes up.
The long-term goal is for IWU to become a national leader
among Christian campuses in stewardship and sustainability.