Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.68
Liaison Jennifer Palilonis
Submission Date July 21, 2021

STARS v2.2

Ball State University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Sam Snideman
Director of Governmental Relations
VP for Governmental Relations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

As signatory to the Second Nature Climate Leadership Commitment, the university has elected to reach beyond its own greenhouse gas inventorying and sustainability initiatives within the campus boundaries to work in collaboration with its near-surround Muncie/East Central Indiana community to advance implementation of sustainability practices.

This enterprise is framed under the banner of Resilience Commitment planning and involves numerous outreach activities with the local community.

Moreover, this builds on the substantial track record of immersive learning projects in the near-surround Muncie/East Central Indiana community that have involved students working under faculty mentorship to service the needs of numerous public and private sector client groups. Significantly, this commitment links to implementation of the Muncie Action Plan (MAP) 2.0 and the Vision 2021 Five-year Economic Development Plan of the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance. We (the university, with the support of institutional leadership) worked with local elected officials on both advocating for MAP 2.0 and on its implementation, including on Initiative 5 (Managing Community Resources). Elements of MAP 2.0 have shaped (and continue to shape) local public policy, and we continue to advocate for policies aiming to create more sustainability in the Muncie community. Top institutional leaders, including President Geoff Mearns and Provost Dr. Susana Rivera-Mills, have been supportive of the university's efforts on the local level to adopt elements of MAP 2.0 through public policy.

During the spring of 2019, the University hosted a Green Business Summit in partnership with the Muncie-Delaware County Indiana Economic Development Alliance and Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. Joel Makower, co-author of The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America's Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century provided the keynote presentation, “The State of Green Business: Aligning Prosperity, Security and Sustainability”. These efforts engaged local policymakers in our local community.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

We continue to shepherd the work of the Indiana Green Campus Network and we
have advocated for updating the Indiana Residential Energy Code (last aligned with the 2009 IERCC) to be brought into alignment with the 2018 International Residential Code. This work continues to be done with the support of top institutional leaders, including the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.

We continue to educate legislators on the value of adding sustainable elements to capital projects funded by state appropriations, including our ongoing STEM and Health Professions Facilities project. A large portion of this education includes highlighting the ongoing/long-term savings accrued by the inclusion of features such as rooftop solar panels. We successfully advocated for funding of these projects, to include sustainability elements. Our institutional investments in sustainability have been core features of our messaging to state-level policymakers. We view these efforts as an attempt to set an example for state-level policymakers as to how sustainable design and policy can be implemented, despite fiscal constraints and with relatively modest state investment.

We continue to engage in advocacy with state legislators to support efforts of higher education institutions to make their own choices regarding energy policy and investments in renewable energy activities. This advocacy is done with the express support of our institution's leadership. As a leader in the use of renewable technologies, we center investments like the geothermal project and "green" enhancements to new campus construction in our conversations with state legislators and other policymakers. We want to preserve the flexibility of higher education institutions to be innovators and leaders in the areas of renewable energy use, and have had many productive conversations that have kept harmful legislation off the table in the state.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

In 2007 Congress enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). Section 471 of that Act creates a new program called "Energy Sustainability and Efficiency Grants and Loans for Institutions." The Section 471 Program will provide an important source of grant funding to help implement energy efficiency projects at colleges, universities, school districts and municipalities.
While the program has been created in law, Congress has not yet funded the program. We continue to advocate for funding of this program. Unfortunately, EISA Section 471 includes a $1 million cap on any grant award made by the U.S. Department of Energy under the program. This cap is problematic for two reasons: (1) The purpose of the Section 471 program is to provide grants to large institutional entities (colleges, universities, school districts, municipalities) for energy efficiency projects. By their very nature, such entities are going to have larger projects with higher costs. The Department of Energy should have the flexibility to assist institutional entities with grants of a meaningful size and (2) At some point in time, we would all like to see the House and Senate Appropriations Committees fund this new program. However, to do so, they will need to see support from the intended beneficiaries. With the current $1 million cap on grant awards, there is just not enough interest in the program to generate support. The potential federal assistance is not enticing enough. We advocate both for the funding for the program and for the changes in the grant cap. These efforts have long had the support of top institutional leaders at our university, including the Office of the President.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:
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A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

Former BSU President, Paul Ferguson served as vice chair of the Steering Committee of the Climate Leadership Commitment wherein carbon reduction and campus resilience were unified under the Climate Leadership Commitment, which Dr. Ferguson signed on behalf of Ball State University.


A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

N/A


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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