Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 54.08
Liaison Julie Hopwood
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

Ball State University
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Delaina Boyd
Associate Vice President for Community Engagement
Office of Community Engagement
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Muncie Food Hub Partnership

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership?:
Sustainability-related

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? :
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability:

Muncie and the surrounding region of Delaware County – known applicably as “Middletown America” – was once considered the quintessential American small city. But decades of economic decline have left the region in crisis: widespread poverty affects 23% of adults and 32% of child residents. Likewise, food insecurity – defined by the USDA as not having access to enough food for an active, healthy life – affects 17% of adults and 25% of children. This is especially troubling for youth in the community, who require adequate nutrition to grow, learn and develop into successful citizens.

The Muncie Food Hub Partnership (MFHP) seeks to nourish and strengthen the Muncie community through the robust exchange of fresh, affordable local food. MFHP manifests that investment in East Central Indiana food production through business development, education, and civic engagement.

The food hub specific objectives are to expand markets for local growers, increase community-wide availability of fresh, affordable, local foods, provide the next generation of students with critical training in food systems skills, and boost economic development and prosperity through job creation and exchange of goods in the East Central Indiana (ECI) region.

The Muncie Food Hub partnership promotes sustainable agriculture, sustainable food systems, rethinking the way we grow, aggregate, and distribute food to 1) support growers who are farming sustainably, 2) support a food resilient community, 3) connect growers to communities/residents in need, and 4) develop a regional food policy that will synchronize complimentary food and health related strategies for Muncie and East Central Indiana.

Given current social, environmental, and economic constraints in ECI, rebuilding our local food system is a challenging and multifaceted process and initially requires deliberate partnership building and persistent engagement with the greater Muncie community. Toward this, the Muncie Food Hub Partnership spent the first and second project years doing just that: conducting community listening sessions, attending community and organizational meetings, conducting interviews and focus groups with Muncie citizens (including food insecure individuals) and food related organizations. This initial work has resulted in strong and long-lasting partnerships based on the consistent message of supporting our local farms through the development of new markets for selling their goods and providing locally grown food to food deserts and the food insecure. Our organization has become deeply embedded in the community particularly with regards to the food system and efforts to make it better for everyone. The focus on a mobile farmers market – bringing healthy and fresh food to food insecure residents – was a community driven solution – coming directly out of our community meetings and listening sessions.

Ball State has contributed more than $250,000 to this effort by way of an Academic Excellence Grant. In addition, the following entities have also committed significant resources to this project including consultation, outreach support, event planning, research participation, and publicity platforms - Edible Muncie, Purdue Extension, City of Muncie, Over 50 regional farmers and producers of local food, Open Door Health Services, Muncie Delaware Clean and Beautiful, Minnetrista, The Farmer’s Truck Mobile Market, Treehill Farms Mobile Market, Yorktown Farmer’s Market, Muncie Maker’s Market, The Fair Food Network, Urban Garden Coalition, Indy Hunger Network, Youth Opportunity Center, Soup Kitchen of Muncie, Delaware County Food Council. Muncie Public Library.

Website URL: https://munciefoodhub.org/


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
ecoRehab

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (2nd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):

ecoREHAB, having emerged from a 2009 immersive learning studio within Ball State’s architecture program, has long supported the university’s efforts to provide students with real-world, hands-on educational experiences. The Muncie nonprofit has outfitted dozens of architecture students with sustainable design and building expertise through projects to transform abandoned properties into inviting, affordable homes.

One of ecoREHAB’s most recent rehabs gained regional attention as Muncie’s first full-scale rehab of a former meth home. The effort proved that homes stained with the stigma of meth are not destined to become toxic wastelands. The 10th Street property is now Norma Ruttan’s “dream home,” and it is inspiring neighbors to invest in mending other abandoned properties tearing at the fabric of our city.
ecoREHAB also partners with other nonprofits to uplift neighbors and improve neighborhoods. The organization has helped dozens of elderly residents’ age-in-place through home improvement projects in collaboration with PathStone Housing Corporation of Indiana and Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity. EcoREHAB has also provided home design plans to the Muncie Area Career Center Building Trades Program. The organization has also engaged in improvement projects throughout the city, including a composting solution and toolshed for Motivate Our Minds after school program.
ecoREHAB is an active partner in the 8Twelve Coalition, which was formed in 2015 to address the disinvestment experienced by residents in two of Muncie, Indiana's neighborhoods hardest hit by blight, abandonment, and drug addiction. Through the 8Twelve Coalition's work, residents engage in several community meetings each year to discuss their vision for their neighborhood and celebrate neighborhood-wide improvements. Goals established during planning meetings have included housing rehabilitation and the addition of safe, clean, affordable home-ownership opportunities within the community. The organization is currently working with construction management undergraduate students to develop plans for their Memorial Street rehabilitation project funded by federal HOME dollars and in partnership with the 8twelve Coalition’s housing committee.

As the organization continues to expand its reach and reputation, ecoREHAB has collaborated with a team of marketing, public relations, and advertising students to achieve marketing and communications goals. These strategic plans are guiding ecoREHAB’s efforts to provide low-cost home energy audits.

With its focus on partnership, education, and sustainability, ecoREHAB continues to play a vital role in Muncie—building community, one house at a time.
Ball State has funded various projects through Building Better Neighborhood grants.

Additional information on ecoRehab can be found at https://ecorehab.org.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter - Brownfields to Brightfields

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (3rd partnership):
No

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):

Brownfields to Brightfields: Analyzing solar potential for brownfields in East Central Indiana

Delaware County and adjacent East Central Indiana counties have established its manufacturing and industrial reputation since Indiana Gas Boom of 1880s. However, after decades of industrial decline starting around 1980s, many of its flagship industries moved out of the region resulting in many underutilized former industrial sites, often called brownfields. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a brownfield as a real property that is not currently in use due to the actual presence or potential presence of hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminants. Even though there are strong developmental potentials for brownfields, largely due to the presence of potential presence of hazardous substances, reuse and redevelopment of brownfields may be complicated. According to US EPA, there are more than 40 brownfields in Delaware County, Indiana.

Meanwhile, beginning in early 2000s, developers and communities slowly began to view brownfields as an opportunity, and now they are starting to attract significant funding and subsidies from private investors, non-profits, and government agencies. The US EPA identifies the redevelopment of brownfields into solar generators as one of the most adaptive reuses of such sites, providing multiple benefits to developers, community, and residents of a community. Also, to promote renewable energy production, the State of Indiana provide incentives to utility companies to voluntarily increase the amount of clean energy resources in their electricity portfolios.

Against the above backdrop, the Brownfields to Brightfields Project was implemented to assess the solar potential of brownfields in Delaware County and Grant County. This project was fulfilled twice in Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 semester as Ball State University’s Regional Planning and Design Studio (PLAN 320). Partnering with Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, this project tried to find sustainable development potentials from brownfields in East Central Indiana Counties.

Using a full list of brownfield sites identified by the US EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), urban planning major students assessed each brownfield site to document its physical characteristics (e.g. acreage, site ownership), proximity to electrical infrastructure, zoning ordinances, and current land uses, then narrowed the list down to 22 sites. Students visited these 22 sites to conduct on-site observations to verify and update the data, then created an interactive GIS map describing each site’s physical characteristics, potential capacity for solar generation, suitability analysis for a large-scale or the utility-scale solar PV installation. They also calculated greenhouse gas equivalency. The students also developed a dissemination strategy which includes a publicly available ArcGIS Story Map website describing the project’s cumulative progress, students’ learning outcomes, and an interactive GIS map. Students also produced a detailed replication guideline describing data sources and methodology to assist other Indiana communities in replicating this analytical survey.

Ball State University has contributed more than $35,000 to this effort by way of Provost’s Immersive Learning Grant supported students learning and the dissemination of the project outcome to wider community. Representatives of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, the project partner, requested students to present the project’s findings to leaders and stakeholders of Indiana Michigan Power, the local utility provider, at a meeting in February 2018 to demonstrate Delaware County’s potential as a possible future site for anticipated large-scale solar development. Students also participated in Indianapolis Sustainability and Resilience Conference in Spring 2018 and American Planning Association National Conference in Spring 2018 and Spring 2019 to disseminate the result of this project.

This project has received international recognition; see page 14 in the International Sustainable Campus Network, 2018 Sustainable Campus Best Practices Publication available here:
https://www.iau-hesd.net/sites/default/files/documents/iscn-report-2018-web.pdf

Publicly accessible project websites:
Phase 1: http://arcg.is/1ruGry
Phase 2: https://arcg.is/0yn15W


A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:

Sustainable communities empower residents to contribute and work together toward shared priorities. They encourage businesses, city governments, and nonprofits to partner in innovative ways to improve quality of life and invest in the community’s long-term future. Ball State University recognizes that the future of any community lies in the health, well-being, and achievement of its youngest citizens. In 2018, Ball State embarked on the nation’s first public university-public school partnership to transform Muncie Community Schools into a model for innovative, inclusive, and relevant education.

During a special legislative session in May 2018, the Indiana General Assembly adopted legislation to grant Ball State University—Indiana’s fourth-largest public institution—authority to appoint a Muncie Community School (MCS) Board of Trustees, whose members assumed leadership in July 2018. In addition, the state granted administrative and academic flexibility to implement innovative strategies for the benefit of Muncie Community Schools and the children and families it serves.

Since July 2018, enrollment has stabilized; a new director of public education and chief executive officer, Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, was hired, and stakeholders have contributed nearly $4 million to support the development of a community-based, cradle-to-career school district.

A join BSU-MCS Academic Innovation Council, under the direction of Ball State Provost Suzanna Rivera-Mills and Dr. Kwiatkowski, was established to develop a long-term Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan, which Ball State and MCS will present to the Indiana legislature in June 2020. The council also oversees collaborative projects between Ball State faculty and students and Muncie Community Schools, with priority placed on initiatives in the following areas:
• Safe and Healthy Schools
• Curriculum and Instruction
• Cultural Competency and Community / Family Engagement
• Leadership, Finance, and Governance

A Community Engagement Council of community leaders and concerned citizens has been formed to facilitate advocacy, volunteerism and fundraising for the district.

Throughout the development of the Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan, community leaders and citizens have participated in dozens of listening sessions, including 25 public discussions, facilitated by the United Way of Delaware, Henry, and Randolph Counties. Ball State professors and students have conducted district-wide assessments and trainings in support of the partnership, and more that 500 MCS teachers, nonprofit leaders, and national experts weighed in during a two-day Academic Innovation Summit.


Website URL where information about the institution’s community partnerships to advance sustainability is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.