IU Kokomo will have its first XWeek this semester, focusing on the theme of sustainability. XWeek is an entire week of campus events that encourage and invite dynamic, transformative learning experiences centered around a single theme. The local community is also invited to participate in the activities.
The campus-wide theme week will change its theme every year, but for its inaugural week, IUK chose to highlight sustainability across its disciplines, its campus, and its community.
“I hope this will raise a tremendous amount of awareness about the new Office of Sustainability on campus,” said Leda Casey, Campus Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability at IUK. “We are moving as a campus to promote sustainability both within the University and the surrounding community.”
XWeek, which will run April 17 through 2, will include several events every day that are aimed to highlight both the interdisciplinary aspect of sustainability and ways students can be sustainable themselves.
The week will conclude with a campus-wide cleanup and the announcement of the winners of two separate sustainability challenges associated with the week: a reusable water bottle poster challenge and a community service challenge.
The community service challenge awards money to a student group, office, or department on campus who comes up and implements the best sustainability community service project, Casey said. The challenge is just one way the Office of Sustainability, which just began this academic year, is working to get students, staff and faculty involved.
Another event, named IU Kokomo C.A.R.E.S, will be aimed specifically at showing students all the sustainability volunteer opportunities—from the Red Cross to Howard County Recycling District— in their community. The event, which will take place during XWeek, is spearheaded by Office of Sustainability Community Engagement intern Tyler Curnutt.
IU Kokomo C.A.R.E.S. stands for Community Advocacy and Relations Expo in Sustainability, and is meant to engage and connect with students to get involved in their community, Curnutt said.
Curnutt’s is just one event in a week full of events meant to inspire students.
“I think most importantly I hope students are moved to act in a sustainable way because of XWeek,” Casey said. “I hope students see that sustainability is personally connected to them.”
In addition to events like a sustainability art show and showcase courses, where the community is invited to sit in on participating sustainability classes, there will also be a deforestation event where the first 100 visitors could receive a free tree sapling to take home and plant.
The deforestation event is one that Curnutt said he is most looking forward to, partly because he hopes all the tree saplings get planted and partly because it is a great example of how even the smallest thing can make a big impact.
“We tend to think these issues of sustainability are too big to tackle, but if we as individuals make small changes in our lives, those things will grow into the big changes we all think we can't accomplish on our own," he said.