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National Outdoor Leadership School to bring its ‘Creating A Climate for Change’ bus tour to IU Northwest on May 14

Powered by vegetable oil and solar power, this educational road show offers fun, interactive lessons on leadership, backcountry skills and environmental ethics

On Wednesday, May 14, Indiana University Northwest will host the National Outdoor Leadership School’s bus tour, ‘Creating a Climate for Change,’ on campus from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the southeast corner of the main campus parking lot at 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Gary, Ind. The bus, which is powered by vegetable oil and solar energy, provides the staging area for an entertaining and informative educational road show in which NOLS graduates offer fun lessons on leadership, backcountry skills and environmental ethics.

The NOLS bus program is free and open to IU Northwest students, faculty and staff, and to the public. Anyone in Northwest Indiana who is interested in learning more about outdoor skills or how to become more environmentally friendly at home and during outdoor travel is encouraged to come to IU Northwest and participate in this nationally acclaimed NOLS program.

“Creating a Climate for Change” visitors can learn about alternative energy, practice their climbing skills on a bouldering wall, learn about NOLS courses, perfect their fly-fishing cast, and gain understanding about Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. Presentations on alternative energy sources will be held at the bus at 12:30 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m.

IU Northwest Assistant Professor Ellen Szarleta-Yancy, J.D., Ph.D., who teaches environmental affairs, learned about the bus tour while doing research on another matter, so she called the NOLS and invited the organization to make Gary one of the stops on its current nationwide college tour.

“I am very excited about this,” she said. “I called them and asked if they would be able to visit our campus, and it turned out that they were in the middle of their college tour, and so we were able to arrange for them to come here. If we can get a good crowd to come out and take advantage of this, that would be wonderful. They are a very well-respected organization.”

The ‘Creating a Climate for Change’ bus tour, which is sponsored by NOLS corporate partner and organic-yogurt producer Stonyfield Farm, has traveled to cities and towns across the nation, bringing its positive message of outdoor adventure and environmental care to people of all ages. In three years, the bus has traveled more than 110,000 miles across the lower 48 states, visiting more than 300 colleges, school, retailers, and festivals.

The bus is powered by recycled vegetable oil collected by the crew at restaurants and dining halls along the route. Recycled vegetable oil is a cleaner, renewable alternative to petroleum. The bus also sports a rooftop solar apparatus that keeps the bus off the electric grid while powering televisions, computers, a stereo, and refrigerators, which hold the Stonyfield Farm yogurt treats that are available at every stop.

“We’ve saved thousands of dollars running on veggie oil and solar,” said Bruce Palmer, NOLS director of admission and marketing. “But, more important, as a school that develops positive leaders and teaches environmental ethics, we have practiced what we teach and demonstrated that alternative energies aren’t just possible, they are practical.”

Founded in 1965 by mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS is the leader in wilderness education and sets the industry standard for responsible, high-quality educational expeditions. NOLS provides an awe-inspiring, transformative experience that develops active, positive leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. A private, non-profit school, NOLS serves more than 10,000 students each year with a series of short or long courses on four continents. NOLS students, ages 14 to 70 and older, explore the most remote wilderness areas in the Rocky Mountains, Idaho, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, Alaska, Western Canada, Mexico, Patagonia (Chile), India, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Baffin Island.

IU Northwest and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs are pleased to welcome the NOLS Bus to campus for the benefit of the Northwest Indiana community. For more information about this exciting traveling event, visit the Web at, or contact SPEA at (219) 980-6695. For more information about the NOLS, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit the Web at



Media Contact:

Christopher Sheid

Michelle Searer

Related Links

NOLS Bus Tour

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