We strive to have our students engage in real-world applications of their knowledge to addressing environmental issues both in and outside of the classroom.
Our students need to be able to think critically about the management decisions people make in using natural resources that affect their own and other lives. These decisions are interdisciplinary and are informed by the natural, physical, and social sciences in understanding why humans make choices about the natural resources they use to survive. The decisions humans make about using the environment for their prosperity affect the health and safety of the ecosystem and other humans in their community.
Some of the community engagement projects that we need donor help on involve the Local Food Hub project, in which students help provide local food such as fresh produce from farmers in our county to neighborhoods in need of fresh food around Muncie. This addresses the larger issue of food deserts in communities that are marginalized because of lack of transportation or income to buy food. Also, students are motivated to help make a difference in their community by addressing food systems, as well as soil and water conservation projects at the Hults Farm in Albany, Indiana. This farm was donated to Ball State in the 1980s and needs an upgraded classroom and meeting space to host workshops as well as a Wash and Pack facility to prepare food for sale from the student farm.
In summary, we would like to raise funds for facility development at the farm so that students can grow food in a greenhouse and also collect food from farmers to store and sell from the farm site as a home base for Food Hub operations. Other community projects that donors could help us achieve are exposing students to real-world research projects dealing with air and water quality. We would use the funds to provide professional development opportunities for students to learn about research projects going on throughout Indiana that measure air, water, soil and land quality on public and private lands. The foundation accounts would help with travel and scholarships to offset costs to attend conferences or other classroom field trip opportunities.