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'What's Up, Myles?' IU South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future fellow uses YouTube videos to spread sustainability message

Sept. 12, 2012

When people ask Myles Robertson "what's up," they're going to hear about more than the weather or how his favorite teams are doing.

Myles Robertson is a fellow for the IU South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future.

Recent IU South Bend grad Myles Robertson is one of the campus's newly named fellows at the Center for a Sustainable Future.

Through his "What's Up, Myles?" YouTube series, the recent IU South Bend graduate shares his adventures as he seeks out stories of sustainability in action, from interviews with former South Bend mayor Steve Luecke and present mayor Pete Buttigieg to lighthearted bits with fellow students about local food and reuse of existing materials to prevent waste. (In one episode, he sports a bright pink pair of shorts he made from a piece of remnant fabric that was lying around.)

Robertson will continue the video project as one of the newly named 2012-13 fellows for IU South Bend's Center for a Sustainable Future, which will also enable him to expand projects, including a campus garden that he started as an undergrad and his work with the Gaia Sustainability Learning Community (a.k.a. Creek House), a sustainability-themed housing unit.

Robertson completed his degree in general studies and earned IU South Bend's first minor in sustainability in May. After graduating, he joined the University of Notre Dame's Office of Sustainability, where he works with interns and residence hall representatives and heads game-day recycling for home football games.

Robertson said he has about 20 “What’s Up” videos already completed for “season two.”
His sense of humor adds sparkle to the videos. In "What's Up Myles? Episode 102: Reusable 'Magic' Rug," Robertson jokes with Mike Keen, director of the Center for a Sustainable Future, who is passing along a rug to help decorate Robertson's barren apartment. "Currently, my living room looks like no one lives there, so this will be a nice way to re-use it. I bet this attracts the ladies, too," Robertson joked in the episode.

"We are so proud of Myles," Keen told Inside IU. "He is a real inspiration to us, and has been a joy and privilege to work with. He has shown us once again that the most meaningful and important contribution we can make are the graduates we help to educate, empower and engage.” 

Expansion of the campus garden, which launched in May 2011, will bring homegrown produce to students and campus events and make possible more donations to the Center for the Homeless. The Sustainability and Wellness Club, which manages the campus garden, is also considering selling produce at the Purple Porch Co-op, a local food co-op, to raise funds.

"Groups of us have gotten together to have dinner parties as well as get-togethers based around fresh melon and salsa made with ingredients grown on campus," he said. "The garden is still gleaning at this point, and any and all who come upon it are allowed to take from it."

Robertson eventually plans to earn a doctoral degree. Having considered joining the Peace Corps, he's now mulling the possibility of a future in the FoodCorps, a new program associated with the national service program AmeriCorps that matches volunteers with public schools. The volunteers will teach nutrition, plant gardens and help facilitate bringing in fresh, local produce to school cafeterias.

Whatever comes next for Robertson will be related to forming campus and city collaborations that help ensure the success of sustainability initiatives.

"When I graduated, I knew I would still be involved with sustainability at IU South Bend, as long as I was in the area," he said. "Now, with my position at Notre Dame, I get to work with both universities -- and, increasingly, with the city of South Bend. Connecting these three players is a vital component to the sustainability of our region. I’m excited to be a part of it."

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