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IN university hopes to lead in environmental responsibility

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A central Indiana university has taken the initiative to address environmental challenges on campus and in the nearby community.

Surveys conducted by Butler University have identified plenty of opportunities for cleaner energy and less waste. The school's goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

Julia Angstmann, executive director of sustainability at the university, said they got a jump on it with the university president signing a Presidential Climate Leadership Commitment back in 2012.

"That really was signed with the recognition that this is important work," Angstmann emphasized. "We have a duty to be a role model, both for our students and for our community, and to really try to meet these commitments in our larger care for the world and the environment."

The Office of Sustainability is the nucleus for the school's environmental transitions. Its agenda includes reducing solid waste and single-use plastics. Another project is to replant the university's historic Holcomb Gardens using all native plant species and landscape design from the Indiana Native Plant Society.

Butler's initial assessment showed, like most buildings, lighting, space heating and water heating are the biggest opportunities for reducing emissions. Angstmann explained the largest task will be energy focused.

"As we look at our decarbonization road map, we're going to be doing a lot of work around energy efficiency, LED lighting but also looking at renewable energy on-site," Angstmann outlined. "Things like solar panels on our campus."

The campuswide greenhouse gas emissions data is monitored and reported every year through an online public reporting platform, Antsgmann added. The school's location makes its progress part of the Thrive Indianapolis plan, created in 2019 to reduce greenhouse emissions citywide by 2025.

Terri Dee has worn many hats in her nearly 30-year career in radio, tv, and print as a news reporter
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