Monday, March 10, 2014

Sustainability Strategic Thinking Process: Stakeholder Focus Group

In 2012, Provost Lon Kaufman and Vice-Chancellor for Administrative Services Mark Donovan initiated a Sustainability Strategic Thinking Process (SST) aimed at setting the stage for making sustainability the lens through which all of the university’s activities—including teaching, research, processes, operations, and community work—will eventually operate. This process has approached sustainability as a holistic concept that resonates with the definition put forth by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which includes “human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations.” The latest Summary Document of the SST Process can be found here.

As the last stage in the process before completing the report this coming summer,  all faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend a Stakeholder Focus Group during the month of March. These will facilitate the discussion of Research, Economic Development, Teaching & Learning, Community Engagement and Campus Climate as these focus areas relate to Sustainability at UIC. Here is a complete list of these meetings and the date/time & location where they will be held.

Economic Development: Thursday, March 13th – 1:00 – 2:30p, Room 213 SCW
Research: Thursday, March 13th – 3:00 – 4:30p, Room 213 SCW
Teaching & Learning: Thursday, March 20th – 1:00 – 2:30p, Room 110 CUPPA Hall
Community Engagement: Monday, March 31st – 1:00 – 2:30p, Room 603 SCE
Campus Climate: Monday, March 31st – 3:00 – 4:30p, Room 603 SCE

We encourage you to attend the event which most closely relates to your role on campus. Although walk-in attendees will be welcome, we do encourage you to RSVP – please send an email to with your name, contact info, and which Focus Group you will be attending.

We look forward to meeting with you about Campus Sustainability!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Green Fee funding for student projects!

Request for Proposals for Funding by the UIC Green Fee
Letter of Inquiry Deadline: February 21, 2014
Final Proposal Deadline: April 18, 2014

The Green Fee Advisory Board (GFAB) is currently accepting student proposals for Spring 2014. Approximately $30,000 is available to support proposals that help to establish a sustainable campus environment by expanding such areas as composting, landscaping, and transportation initiatives while also reducing waste and conserving resources.  Funding proposals must address the three pillars of sustainability - environmental protection, social equity, and economic benefit - and align with the goals of the UIC Climate Action Plan.  

Who can apply: All UIC students and student organizations are eligible to apply. If needed, the GFAB will help provide access to campus resources and personnel to approve projects. GFAB can also suggest other entities that may provide funding or other assistance.

Application process:  Applicants are required to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by February 21, 2014. Following the review of LOIs, the board will notify all applicants via email by the end of February if they have been selected to submit a full proposal. Full proposals must be submitted by Friday, April 18, 2014. Grantees will be notified by the end of the spring semester. The board reserves the right to issue a second call or directly invite one or more proposals of interest.  For questions regarding the guidelines and the application, please contact or visit the website here:

The Letter of Inquiry allows the GFAB to pre-screen proposals for appropriateness and feasibility. LOIs should be a maximum of two, single-spaced pages and should describe the project, its appropriateness and campus impact. Furthermore, it should provide a rough estimate of the breakdown and total cost of the project, including expected completion and cost savings, if any. Projects that pass this stage will be invited to prepare a complete proposal for consideration by the board.  The Letter of Inquiry form can be found here:

Funding Criteria
In addition to the quality and completeness of the proposal, the board will evaluate projects based on the following criteria:
     High visibility and educational exposure on campus
     High level of student involvement or employment
     Long-term cost benefits
     Interdisciplinary collaboration and research
     Incorporation of the three pillars of sustainability - environmental protection, social equality, and economic benefit

Additional aspects of project that can add value:
     Indirect energy impact
     Budget effectiveness, cost sharing, and leverage of external funds
     Likelihood for success
     Education and outreach

Project Rules & Restrictions

  • Funding will not be given to projects that are fundamentally for research purposes only.  Projects with a research component, however, will be fully considered.
  • Funding is subject to any University restrictions including bidding process and site approval.
  • All funding recommendations made by GFAB must be approved by the Office of Student Affairs and Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Administrative Services.
  • If the proposal is approved for funding, the board is permitted to post the entire proposal on its website, and/or publicly disseminate any and all information pertaining to the proposal.
  • Quarterly status reports and account statements detailing spending of awarded funds will be required until the completion of the project. Additionally, a comprehensive final report is required on project completion, a case study prepared for the NWF Campus Ecology Program (if appropriate), and a project presentation carried out (if appropriate).
  • The entity carrying out the project is expected to acknowledge the board’s support in any public communications, and carry out activities, as appropriate, to publicize the project and the board’s support.
  • All projects are required to be completed by December 2015. Exceptions are possible at the board’s discretion.
  • A member of the board will be assigned to track the project until completion.
  • Any changes in scope, timeline, or budget must be approved by GFAB.
  • GFAB funding can be withdrawn in cases of change of scope, inadequate progress, or lack of communication.

Monday, February 10, 2014

UIC Kicks Off its 2014 RecycleMania Collegiate Recycling Competition

UIC Kicks Off its 2014 RecycleMania Collegiate Recycling Competition
14th Annual Competition Focuses on Student Engagement   

 Chicago, IL (Feb. 10, 2014) – The University of Illinois at Chicago has successfully kicked off its participation in the 2014 RecycleMania tournament, the national competition in which college campuses compete over eight weeks to see which can reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste.

In addition to UIC, 461 schools, with more than 5.3 million students and 1.2 million faculty and staff are participating in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. Schools compete in 11 categories to see which recycles the most on a per capita basis; which produces the least amount of waste; and which recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. The competition runs through March 30.

UIC will compete in the formal competition, which ranks schools based on standardized weight measurements. Schools compete in 11 categories to see which can recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, and food waste on a per capita basis; which can produce the least amount of waste; and which recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. Additional categories recognize successful recycling at home basketball games and call attention to the recyclability of film plastic and scrap electronics.

Updated rankings published online each Friday allow schools to track their progress and rally to improve their standings against rival colleges.

UIC recycles many materials- from paper to plastic to electronics to laboratory materials and almost everything in between! You can participate in many ways. 1) Take the recycling pledge at 2) place all paper, cardboard, glass, metal, and plastic in to the proper recycle bins. 3) Clean out your office by recycling all your old paper files. Request a “green tote” to be delivered to your door. 4) Send old electronics, batteries and computers to electronics recycling. 5) Recognize people around you that are going above and beyond to recycle! Got a co-worker or classmate that makes everyone recycle properly or know a UIC Building Service Worker busting their tail to get recycling done in your building? Let us know at

UIC will post updates about the Recyclemania competition to You can also check to see how your specific building is doing!

“Every year UIC participates and we are among the best!  In the category for total weight of recyclables, UIC placed sixth in 2013.”  said Joe Iosbaker, UIC Recycling Coordinator. “This year, we hope to break into the top 5”.

“RecycleMania is exciting because it builds on traditional college rivalries by adding recycling to the list of things that schools can brag about when it comes to their archrivals," said Stacy Wheeler, president of RecycleMania, Inc. "The competition aspect of the event makes it fun and helps to encourage everyone on the entire campus to make recycling a part of their daily routines."  

In 2013, 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered, which prevented the release of greenhouse gases comparable to the carbon sequestered by 99,535 acres of U.S. forests in one year. 

Top schools in the 2013 competition included University of Missouri Kansas City in the Grand Champion category; California State University San Marcos, in the Per Capita Classic; and Valencia College, which won the Waste Minimization category for the second straight year.

“Encouraging waste reduction and recycling among college students is crucial to building and sustaining vibrant communities, both on campuses and beyond,” said Keep America Beautiful’s Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling.  “Supporting Recyclemania is a key component of KAB’s efforts to improve recycling on college campuses.”

The competition is made possible with the continued sponsorship support of the Alcoa Foundation, the American Forest & Paper Association, The Coca-Cola Company and SCA Tissue.

A complete list of participants can be found at For more information about UIC’s RecycleMania program, contact

About RecycleMania
RecycleMania was launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. Today, RecycleMania is an independent program of RecycleMania, Inc. The program is made possible with sponsorship support from the Alcoa Foundation, American Forest & Paper Association, The Coca-Cola Company and SCA. Program management is provided by Keep America Beautiful with additional program support from the U.S. EPA’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). RecycleMania is proud to partner with UNCF Special Programs, the Campus Conservation Nationals, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). To learn more about RecycleMania, visit 

About UIC
UIC ranks among the nation’s top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago’s largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

One Earth Film Festival to Host 2 Free Pre-Fest Screenings at UIC

One Earth Film Festival to Host 7 Free Pre-Fest Screenings

Documentary films aim to engage and educate viewers
about climate change and sustainability

OAK PARK, IL – In advance of its March 7-9 event weekend, One Earth Film Festival will host seven free pre-Fest screenings. These showings will give people a taste of the festival, which celebrates and shares the transforming power of documentary films with focus on environmental issues.

“These seven events offer entertaining and practical ways to explore ideas for sustainable living,”
says Ana Garcia Doyle, film selection committee chair for the One Earth Film Festival. “While the Festival strives to show compelling views of tough issues, we also want to emphasize that solutions are within reach. The films we have chosen, as well as the accompanying activities and discussions are geared to that idea.”

      In partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago, “The New Environmentalists” will be shown at 3:30 p.m. Wed., March 5 at the UIC’s Latino Cultural Center, 803 S. Morgan St., Chicago. Robert Redford narrates this multiple Emmy Award-winning series featuring inspiring portraits of passionate and dedicated activists. These are true environmental heroes who have placed themselves squarely in harm’s way to battle intimidating adversaries while building strong grassroots support.

      Also sponsored by UIC will be a showing of “Trashed” at 5:45 p.m. on Wed., March 5 at their Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., Chicago.  The multi-award winning documentary starring Jeremy Irons looks at the risks to the food chain and the environment through pollution of our air, land and sea by waste. Prior to the film screening and discussion, the UIC gallery will host a reception beginning at 5:00 p.m.

The third annual One Earth Film Festival weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. Fri., March 7 with a Green Carpet Gala at the 19th Century Club in Oak Park. Billed as the Midwest's premier environmental film festival and produced by local volunteer organization, Green Community Connections, the Festival will feature 30 sustainability-themed films and facilitated discussions at about two dozen sites throughout Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, and River Grove on Friday, March 7 through Sunday, March 9.  A Google Map of all venues is here: Most films are free, but donations are invited. The suggested donation is $5 per film or $15 for the entire weekend. Reservations are strongly advised since some screenings  may “sell out.”  Reservations and donations can be made at

For more information about the pre-Fest screenings, as well as the full One Earth Film Festival 2014 schedule, visit  Find us on Facebook and Twitter (@OneEarthFF).

Green Community Connections is a deep-roots organization devoted to creating a sustainable future in the Oak Park/River Forest, IL area.  We’re working to build a resilient, environmentally sustainable community locally, and we strive to be an environmental leader in the Chicago metropolitan area.