IU working with Crane on sustainability, other issues

  • Oct. 15, 2015

Editor's note: This story from The Bloomington Herald-Times is being published here as a courtesy for readers of IU in the News.

By Laura Lane

A partnership between Indiana University and the Crane Naval Support Activity announced Wednesday will integrate the strengths of each entity.

For instance, IU Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Kirk White explained, students and faculty studying sustainability issues now will be able to access Crane's massive base to identify ways to better manage energy resources on the military and civilian installation located in a rural area 30 miles southwest of Bloomington.

He said IU and Crane have been education allies since a 2011 agreement, "and this is the next step looking beyond." White said Wednesday's agreement, called the Milestone Pact, provides more open access to the base to allow IU students and staff to use the extensive resources at Crane. And the military base, in the end, will benefit from the students’ research and findings.

"It will allow Crane staff to work with IU resources as well," White said.

In the sustainability example, for instance, "students will have a large laboratory at Crane to study" the issue, White said.

Fred Cate, IU vice president for research and an IU Maurer School of Law professor, said the initiative focuses directly on student learning in real-world situations. "We would place students in Crane for practical experience and Crane would get the benefit of consulting advice or a fresh look at issues they’re dealing with," he said. "It's really designed to focus on problems we share, like sustainability and energy management."

Cate said the presence of Navy Rear Admiral Rick Williamson at Wednesday's announcement speaks volumes about the importance of the pact between the two largest employers in southwestern Indiana.

"This landmark agreement stands not only to benefit both institutions but to greatly strengthen Indiana's economic competitiveness," IU President Michael McRobbie said in a statement to Inside Indiana Business. "This agreement also provides a tremendous opportunity for our students and faculty to engage in vitally important research and to solve important real-world challenges."