Center for Urban Ecology & Sustainability

Indianapolis skyline from a distance

Ecology for the city.

The Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability (CUES) strives to connect students, faculty, and community in a common effort to research, educate, and empower change to inform and inspire a more sustainable future on Butler University’s campus, in Indianapolis, and globally. The CUES operates from two theoretical frameworks: the traditional ecological understanding of the interactions between and among organisms and their urban environment (ecology “in” the city) and a systems ecology perspective where the city itself is viewed as an ecosystem (ecology “of” the city). Through these dual lenses, we work to solve real-world sustainability problems facing today’s cities, or ecology “for” the city.

Because we recognize the importance and complexity that humans bring to the system, we aspire to connect disciplines—from biology to business and beyond—in the topic areas of zero waste, the built environment, food systems, social change, and ecological systems in order to establish best practices for a more sustainable society.

Our Mission

CUES initiatives, programs, and projects aim to progress cutting edge urban ecology and sustainability research, inform the public of scientific knowledge, and empower citizens to create individual and social change.

cues students digging in the dirt

Our Work

The CUES mission comes to life in the classroom, across Butler’s campus, and throughout the City of Indianapolis.

CUES research in the dirt

Impactful Research

We strive to create a more sustainable world through research and collaboration with experts from natural and physical sciences, social sciences, health sciences, business, communications, urban planning, the arts, and education.

students paying attention during class

Curricular Innovations

The CUES is enriching Butler curriculum with sustainability learning outcomes across departments through CUES-staff-led courses and nearly $1 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

small waterfall and pond on way to Holcomb Gardens

Sustainability at Butler

Butler leads dynamic sustainability projects that create a positive environmental legacy for current students and future generations.

a female student holding lots of flowers

Sustainability Leadership

Through the Sustainability Leadership Cohort, students experience real-world internships that provide tangible skills for any career.

vegetables in crates

A Living Example

The Farm at Butler serves as a model for urban agriculture and a place-based hub for research, education, and outreach, both on campus and in the Indianapolis community.

Indianapolis skyline at sunset near the canal

Community Partnerships

We don’t accomplish all this on our own! The CUES relies on community partnerships that support both project and student success.

Give to the CUES

Please consider giving to the CUES to help us continue supporting student and community engagement efforts. Every gift helps!

Note: If making an online gift, select “Other Designation” and specify “Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability.”