RU Makes the Princeton Review’s Green Schools List for 3rd Year in a Row

PrincetonRev GreenColleges 2014The Sustainability Studies Program is glad to report that, for the third consecutive year, Roosevelt University has made the Princeton Review’s prestigious list of the top 332 green colleges and universities in the US. Great credit for these accomplishments go to the many staff, faculty, and students who have contributed to RU’s efforts since 2010 to become more environmentally sustainable in its operations and to integrate sustainability into its curriculum.

Special thanks for their hard work and vision are due to Paul Matthews, Assistant VP for Planning and Operations; Tom Shelton, Sustainability Coordinator; and Mary Beth Radeck, 2013 environmental sustainability associate (and SUST major!). Mary Beth will be speaking at the upcoming SUST Student Symposium next Wednesday at 4pm at the Chicago Campus (room 1016 in the Wabash Building, 425 S. Wabash in downtown Chicago).

The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) have teamed up yet again to release the fifth annual edition of the unique, free guidebook saluting the nation’s most environmentally responsible green colleges. The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges: 2014 Edition (pdf) profiles 332 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. This book is the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges. 

The Guide provides college applicants with: 

  • School profiles with application, admission, financial aid and student enrollment information
  • “Green Highlights” – write-ups detailing each school’s most impressive environmental and sustainability initiatives
  • “Green Facts” sidebars reporting statistics and facts on everything from the school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies programs, and green jobs career guidance
  • A glossary of 40+ green terms and acronyms from AASHE to “zero waste”
  • Lists identifying schools in the book with various green distinctions – among them: those with LEED-certified buildings and those that are signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

Princeton Guide 2014 RU info

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RecycleMania Diverted Over 89M Pounds of Material from Landfills this Year

The nationwide college and university competition to recycle and compost material had 461 participating universities that diverted over 89 million pounds during the eight-week period. Antioch University was awarded Grand Champion with the highest percentage of overall recycled waste (93 percent); Kalamazoo College won the Per Capita Classic with over 48 pounds of recyclables per person; and Valencia College won in the Waste Minimization category with 2.87 pounds of waste per person. Rutgers University won the Gorilla Prize, the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard and bottle and cans regardless of campus population, at 1.53 million pounds.

Antioch University students with REcycleMania banne_web banner

See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainable Management of Campus Waste & Materials

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Celebrate Earth Week at Roosevelt University, April 21-25

Monday, April 21st – Friday, April 24th marks Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week at Roosevelt University in Chicago and Schaumburg! All week students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to get involved in many events! On the 14th floor of Wabash, all week long, there will be a box for EWaste (for any electronics, batteries, etc. that you would like to get rid of). By putting any EWaste in here, versus throwing it out as trash, students help to bring down pollution and divert that waste from landfills.

Get On Your Bikes!

Bike and ManStudents, faculty, and staff are also encouraged to Bike2Campus all week! In order to prove that you are doing so, get onto and fill out a sheet to show you have biked, and then, by proving it, you can earn some sweet rewards! Students and staff who Bike2Campus and show their bicycle helmets to staff in Wabash Dining Center will get ½ off some delicious fair trade coffee!

More daily events for Bike2Campus Week/Earth Week at Roosevelt

Thursday, April 17th: Water Conservation Day. This event will be in Fainman Lounge from 3-5pm. It will mark the introduction of Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week, April 21st- 24th. Students will receive ideas on how they can conserve water, as well as learn why water conservation is so important. Reusable water bottles will be handed out for FREE! Students are also encouraged to Bike2Campus and by doing so can receive free prizes throughout the week! (Check out this info from World Water Day at RU’s Schaumburg Campus from 2012.)

Monday, April 21st: Alternative Transportation Day. This event will be from 2-5pm in the Wabash Lobby. It will include more information on Bike2Campus week and alternative transportation!

One of the several green roofs on RU's LEED Gold-certified Wabash Building

One of the several green roofs on RU’s LEED Gold-certified Wabash Building

Tuesday, April 22nd: Rooftop Garden Planting Day. Students can help to start the rooftop garden on the 5th floor of Wabash from 2-5pm. We will be meeting up on the 5th floor by the workout facility. The weather (looking ahead) is supposed to be nice, so come join in on this and get some fresh air, get your hands dirty, and also receive some free goodies! There will also be an Earth Day Dinner in the Wabash Cafeteria this day, so be sure to go and indulge in some delicious food that is locally sourced!

Wednesday, April 23rd: EWaste donations are welcomed all week, but this day will mark the actual event to dispose of any of your electronics! You will also be able to learn more about why this is beneficial to our environment! The event will be 2-3:30pm on the 14th floor of Wabash!

Allison Breeding, Kyle Huff, Ron Taylor, and Prof. Mike Bryson (L to R) at the first SUST Student Symposium, Oct. 2013

Allison Breeding, Kyle Huff, Ron Taylor, and Prof. Mike Bryson (L to R) at the first SUST Student Symposium, Oct. 2013

Wednesday, April 23rd: Learn about the research being done by students in RU’s Sustainability Studies Program at the SUST Student Symposium in WB 1016, from 4-5:45pm. FREE refreshments served! Details on the presentations by SUST undergrads MaryBeth Radeck, Colleen Dennis, and Jordan Ewbank are on the SUST blog; RSVP to Prof. Mike Bryson at

Wednesday, April 23rd: 2pm at 916 S. Wabash Ave., Room 150 — Get Out and Often: Safe + Fun Tips For City Biking. This event is free, open to the public, and supported by Sustain Columbia, DIVVY Bikes, the Chicago Bicycling Ambassadors, and Bike 2 Campus Week. The event is co-sponsored by The School of the Art Institute Chicago and Roosevelt University. Columbia welcomes the City of Chicago Bicycle Ambassadors to campus for a short presentation on the ins and outs of biking in Chicago. The Bicycle Ambassadors are a team of bicycle safety and education specialists who have been encouraging Chicagoans to ride their bikes more often and safely.  They will cover topics such as bike rules of the road, quick bike equipment checks, biking safety tips and more. This presentation is for novices and experiences cyclists, as you can never be too careful out there.

For more information visit:

Thursday, April 24th: Rooftop Garden Planting Day from 2-5pm on the 5th floor of Wabash (meet by the workout facility)!

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Bike2Campus Week at RU, April 21-25

Bike and GirlWhile Earth Week (April 21st-25th) is fast approaching, not all of us may know that this same week marks the first time ever that the Chicago Network of Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE) is hosting the Chicagoland Bike2Campus Week!

As a part of this week, and to help in overall environmental consciousness-raising, Roosevelt University, along with many other colleges and universities in Chicago, is encouraging students to bike to campus. This five-day “alternative transit challenge” aims to get students thinking about reducing emissions, encourages students to practice a healthy lifestyle, and it teaches students, or gives them the tools to learn, about bike safety issues.

Aside from being a challenge, the event is also very competitive! Why, you may ask? While the rider tracks their trips to and from campus, their campus also tracks their activity (through the use of online surveys and other social media platforms). At the end of the week the school with the most participation will be deemed the “WINNER”! The grand prize will be a 4-year DIVVY membership, while there will also be additional prizes that students can win throughout the week. In order to prove that you are in fact biking to campus, get onto and fill out a sheet to show you have biked, and then, by proving it, you can earn some sweet rewards!

This event is supported by Roosevelt University, City Colleges of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Dominican University, Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, the School of the Art Institute Chicago, DIVVY Bikes, Chipotle, and the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Also, students who Bike2Campus (4.21-4.25) and show their bicycle helmets to staff in Wabash dining will get ½ off some delicious fair trade coffee!

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side this Summer in SUST 390 Sustainable Chicago!

RU skyline AIAThis summer, the Sustainability Studies Program at Roosevelt University will offer a SUST 390 Special Topics course, “Sustainable Chicago,” that features a variety of exciting field trips and hands-on learning experiences. Taught by Adjunct Professor Vicki Gerberich in an innovative and experiential format, the class meets on six Saturdays (May 17-June 21), alternating between the Chicago and Schaumburg Campuses, for field trip-based excursions; and utilizes Blackboard for online interaction and classroom support. The Saturday field trips are varied and will provide hands-on exposure to sustainability efforts taking place throughout the Chicagoland region, as detailed below in Prof. Gerberich’s preview of the course:

What is sustainability? Is it taking place in our own backyards or up the street? Where can we see sustainability projects unfolding and why should we care? What factors are threatening sustainable development and what are scientists, citizens, and school systems doing about it? Come take a walk on the wild side as we explore the many facets of sustainability through urban landscapes, suburban sprawl and natural habitats of prairies, waterways and more. Warning: you will get dirty!

We’ll go behind the scenes at our very own Roosevelt University and tour the urban landscape by foot, rail, and likely wheels, visiting some of the many city parks; study native habitats and help restore prairie grasslands at the Poplar Creek Prairie; paddle parts of the Chicago River with Friends of the Chicago River and learn about the extensive role Chicago’s geography played in regards to waste and water management; visit a “sustainable-by-design” smart growth project and talk with the resident farmers; and of course, get a feel for urban agriculture as we help sift worm castings, move woodchips, and build compost bins at Chicago’s Growing Power Iron Street Farm, followed by a visit to The Plant.

Join us as we get our hands dirty learning about the relevance of sustainable development and conservation concepts within an urban environment!

Fast Facts about SUST 390 Sustainable Chicago

  • SUST 390, sections 17 (Chicago) and 30 (Schaumburg) — these sections are cross-listed, meaning you can register in either one
  • Meets Saturday 10am-4pm on five dates: May 17, 24, and 31; and June 7 and 14. Final assignments due on June 21
  • Minimal, but SOME online interaction required (through Blackboard)
  • Hands-on, field-based learning opportunities about sustainability and community development
  • Pre-requisite: ENG 102
  • Taught by: Professor Vicki Gerberich (email: | phone 708-528-1069)

Tentative Weekly Schedule

Week 1 (May 17) Chicago — Overview of Urban Sustainability: buildings, land use, transportation, and parklands; tours of RU’s Chicago Campus, Millennium Park, and other city green spaces/facilities (Chicago Center for Green Technology and/or Stearns Quarry Park)

Week 2 (May 24) Schaumburg — Biodiversity & Resource Management: SCH Campus redevelopment tour, restoration work at local conservation area

Week 3 (May 31) Chicago — Urban Water & Waste: canoe trip on the Chicago River (fee required)

Week 4 (June 7) Schaumburg — Sprawl & Smart Growth in the Suburbs: driving tour of the Village Schaumburg and/or Prairie Crossing development

Week 5 (June 14) Chicago — Sustainable Food & Urban Agriculture — visits to urban farms, community gardens, and/or food distributors in Chicago

Week 6 (June 21) TBD — Final Assignment(s) Due

Enrollment Information

If you are interested in enrolling in SUST 390 this coming summer, please contact your academic advisor. Transportation logistics for Weeks 2-6 will be discussed during Week 1′s initial class session. And if you’ve never tried an online course before, taking this course is a great way to “test the waters.” While the online portion is minimal, there will be readings and videos for students to access and review along with follow-up discussion and/or questions after each field trip. Since students will have plentiful interaction with the instructor and each other face-to-face, they will have ample opportunity to get the help/support with the online component, if necessary.

Posted in cities, courses, education, field trips, Roosevelt, suburbs | 1 Comment

Digiting Flowering Plants Specimens at the Field Museum: Taxonomy, Technology, and Sustainability

This guest post is the fourth installment of periodic blogs this winter/spring from Roosevelt University Sustainability Studies major Colleen Dennis, who is working as a student intern in the botany division of the science department at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Here Colleen describes her recent work documenting families of flowering plants, the FM’s photographic technology, and the relevance of sustainability to the museum’s overall operations.

image22For the past few weeks, my time at the museum has been divided among more plant families than it had been before.  I started photographing Ericaceae, a flowering plant family including blueberries, cranberries, azalea, and various heathers.  The next day I was assigning bar codes to samples of Lecythidaceae – a family of roughly 300 species, one of which bears the edible Brazil nut – and later in the week I was databasing Loganiaceae, with fruits varying from edible to highly poisonous, and family to some of the most ridiculous of all the ridiculous tropical plant names I’ve come across in my internship.

image20Progress is felt in subtle ways.  We started with the largest groups of South American seed plants, working our way to the smaller and smaller groups.  When we are now moving through a family in a day instead of a month or more, the momentum keeps us motivated.  I knew essentially nothing about plants when I started here in September, but now I can walk through the Plants of the World exhibit and recognize nearly all the families that are native to South America, because I have worked with them myself.

image21It was during these past two weeks that I fully began to realize the awesome scope of what we are really doing with this project.  I’ve come to appreciate the enormity of the herbarium at the Field Museum – one of the largest in the world.  In addition to sharing the collections here with other museums, the e-Museum database (eMu) will serve as a kind of offsite storage for the specimens within.  This acts as insurance for the original specimens while allowing others immediate access to the treasures of the John G. Searle Herbarium.

image23The equipment being used in the Botany department is highly advanced both within the Field and in the area of Botany among other museums.  Occasionally, scientists from different museums come into the imaging lab where I work, either to borrow our camera setups for their own projects, or to learn how they work so their institutions can invest in the same equipment – with good reason.  With a camera whose lens alone can cost upwards of two thousand dollars, we produce very high-quality, valuable images.  These pictures, along with precise and accurate data, make for an admirable collection of infinitely shareable information.

As a student in Sustainability Studies at Roosevelt University, I’m exceptionally proud of my role at the Field Museum.  The institution is so massive, and its impact so vast, that operating on a sustainable platform would be both initially challenging and hugely rewarding.  Currently, the Field Museum’s sustainability committee, “A Greener Field” — led by award-winning Sustainability Manager Carter O’Brien — is implementing various green initiatives on the path to becoming LEED certified.  This will be an enormously influential conversion not only for the museum, but for the entire city of Chicago as well.

image24I’ve now spent 99 hours working at the museum this semester, and I still meet new people and see new things every week.  All the dedicated, gifted people I’ve worked with have made a point to take me under their wing and help me learn more here however they can.  I’m looking forward to the last few weeks of this semester’s internship, as well as whatever follows the eventual culmination of this project that has positively captured my heart.

IMG00148Colleen Dennis is a Sustainability Studies major at Roosevelt University and an intern in the Botany Department of the Field Museum of Natural History. She’s writing for the SUST blog about her scientific internship experience during the spring 2014 semester. Colleen began working for economic botany collections manager Christine Niezgoda in the fall of 2013 as a student in Prof. Julian Kerbis Peterhans‘ SUST 330 Biodiversity course at the Field Museum.

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Celebrate Earth Week at the 2nd SUST Student Symposium on April 23

Earth Week is coming up! What better time to hear about the research and internship sustainability projects being undertaken by undergraduate students at Roosevelt? On Wednesday, April 23rd, from 4-5:45pm, join the Sustainability Studies Program at Roosevelt University for a special afternoon symposium of student research in RU’s LEED Gold-certified Wabash Building at 425 S. Wabash Ave. in downtown Chicago (room 1016). Students and recent graduates of Roosevelt’s SUST program will share their recent internship and research experiences in a forum that is open to all RU students, faculty, and staff as well as the general public.

Featured Student Speakers

Radeck MaryBethMaryBeth Radeck is a Sustainability Studies major at Roosevelt University, where she also worked as an environmental sustainability associate at RU’s Schaumburg Campus in 2013 and managed the university’s 2-year-old community garden. A longtime marketing and communications professional, she also has a Master Gardener’s certificate from the Chicago Botanic Garden. MaryBeth will present her work on furthering (and documenting) the sustainable redevelopment of the Schaumburg Campus and managing the expansion of the RU Community Garden in 2013. For her SUST 395 Internship this spring 2014 semester, she is developing a framework for a Roosevelt University comprehensive sustainability plan.

IMG00148Colleen Dennis is a Sustainability Studies major at Roosevelt University and an intern in the Botany Department of the Field Museum of Natural History. She’s writing for the SUST blog about her scientific internship experience during the spring 2014 semester. Colleen began working for economic botany collections manager Christine Niezgoda in the fall of 2013 as a student in Prof. Julian Kerbis Peterhans‘ SUST 330 Biodiversity course at the Field Museum.

PlanktonRounding out our presenters at this spring’s Symposium will be senior SUST major Jordan Ewbank, who is working with a team of SUST students and recent graduates under the guidance of Adjunct Professor Michele Hoffman Trotter on her exciting ocean biodiversity film project, Microcosm. Jordan will preview the film and describe the team’s work on social media promotion, researching and seeking funding support for filming, and planning special fundraising and promotional events, such as the one at Columbia College last October.

Come join us to learn about and celebrate these students’ work! This event is free — but kindly RSVP to SUST Program Director Mike Bryson ( your plans to attend. Hope to see you there!

  • Date/Time:  Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
  • Agenda:  Refreshments served and pleasant hobnobbing begins at 4pm; presentations start promptly at 4:30pm; event concludes at 5:45pm
  • Place:  RU’s Wabash Building, 425 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago IL, room 1016
  • RSVP:  SUST Director Mike Bryson (
Posted in agriculture, events, food, planning, policy, presentations, research, Roosevelt, science, students | 2 Comments