|Blo-No has something for everyone|
|Written by Caitlin Perry, Daily Vidette Columnist|
|Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:25|
There never seems to be a lack of school spirit here at ISU. Every day I see countless students wearing shirts featuring our local celebrity Reggie Redbird or “Illinois State University” in big, bold letters. There’s no doubt that when you go to ISU, you are truly proud to be a Redbird.
What really fascinates me is the pride I have, not only in our school and campus, but in this area. To me, Bloomington-Normal is one of the best communities that can be compared to no other.
This area is full of progressive ideas and is constantly developing in order to best serve its citizens. I believe this pride for what extends beyond our campus is a feeling that isn’t expressed as often as it should be.
I’m from a town 35 miles directly south of Chicago. (Note: I’m from Chicagoland, not Chicago). This area is dramatically different economically and demographically than here in Blo-No. My hometown struggles to keep businesses open and most residents will go to Indiana for their shopping needs. Moving to Normal three years ago was a big change because suddenly, everything I could ever want was within a short distance from me.
Besides having access to numerous grocery stores, unique small town shops and a decent mall — all places I don’t have within a close distance at home — Blo-No is home to some of the most progressive ideas I have ever seen in a community. What I love most about this area is its constant motivation to do what’s best not only for the local residents but for the greater good of the planet.
In the time I’ve spent living in Normal, I’ve seen people come together with the common goal of creating a sustainable living environment. I’ve sat behind the wheel of an all-electric car, been up close and personal with a wind turbine, splashed around in recycled stormwater, eaten food from local farmers and this weekend I helped build a rain barrel — something people back home haven’t even heard of.
Both Bloomington and Normal recently began new recycling programs — Bloomington upgraded from 14-gallon bins to 65- and 95-gallon wheeled carts, and Normal began to offer curbside recycling to its residents for the first time. Participation in these programs has been excellent, with 60 percent of Bloomington residents now recycling in their homes. In addition to curbside recycling pickup, Normal has offered drop-off locations for recyclables for years, and recycling containers can be found throughout Uptown Normal and ISU’s campus.
Normal is home to a Mitsubishi Motors plant, which debuted its first all-electric car, the “i”, here in Normal. I know we all felt warmth in our hearts and a tear in our eye when we saw this area featured on the big screen in Mitsubishi’s commercial. The Bloomington-Normal area is on its way to establishing itself as an electric vehicle community, or EVTown. The EVTown website, www.evtown.org, provides readers with information on the benefits of electric vehicles and where in the Bloomington-Normal area they can charge them.
These are examples of ways in which this area is striving to teach people how they can live without having a negative impact on the environment and improve the quality of life for future generations. Blo-No’s constant effort toward becoming a leader in progressive thinking has provided us with many great opportunities to learn about a more sustainable lifestyle.
If you get the chance, I strongly encourage you to look beyond your school spirit and realize you’re part of something even bigger. Great things are happening all around us, even outside of this wonderful campus. Be proud in not only our school, but this entire area, and take advantage of all it has to offer while you spend your few short years here.