Purdue Awarded Grant for Sustainability Project

The Purdue School of Engineering & Technology at Indiana University-Perdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has been awarded a grant to launch a project aimed at revitalizing Riverside, a neighborhood on the west side of Indianapolis, just north of IUPUI?s campus. The School of Engineering & Technology and the Riverside Civic League are joining forces for the Riverside Watershed Environmental Living Lab for Sustainability (RWELLS) initiative, developed to improve quality of life by creating jobs through entrepreneurship in the area of sustainability.

?RWELLS is unique because it will involve neighbors helping neighbors in developing long-term sustainable solutions in which they have ownership,? explained Dr. Tom Iseley, program director and professor of construction engineering management technology at the School. ?We were delighted to receive an IUPUI Solution Center Venture Fund grant to provide student support for developing a strategic plan. The Buried Asset Management Institute-International (BAMI-I) has also agreed to provide matching funds through a special Industry Advisory Board program for RWELLS, sponsored by the Plastic Pipe Institute, Midwest Mole, Inc., AP/M Permaform, Sanexen Environmental Services and CH2M Hill. We?re extremely grateful for the many groups sharing and supporting our vision for Riverside.?

Located just north of the IUPUI campus between 16th and 30th Streets, with the White River as a west border and the old canal and Fall Creek on the east, Riverside is the only neighborhood in Indianapolis that is surrounded by water. That, combined with the dedication of neighborhood leaders to seek out viable solutions for the practical betterment of their community, makes Riverside an ideal pilot site for this program.

?RWELLS addresses some of our most pressing community concerns, from public health to sustainable economic development to quality of life,? said Phyllis Hackett, Riverside civic league president. ?We are very excited to bring together the brightest leaders in the community to use science and entrepreneurship to develop a scalable model for healthy, thriving neighborhoods.?

Iseley, a highly-regarded expert in underground utilities, has also gained great respect for his work spearheading private-public partnerships that save government dollars while benefitting communities at large. In 2009, Iseley played a key role in materializing an agreement between IUPUI and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, through which IUPUI evaluated new products and services for the city agency. This resulted in lower costs and shorter review times for the city and invaluable professional experience for IUPUI students.

Throughout the spring 2012 semester, IUPUI student interns are working to gather key data while collaborating with Iseley, the Riverside Civic League and additional faculty, community and business leaders to solidify the strategic business plan of RWELLS.

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