The just-released Spring 2013 issue of RU’s alumni magazine, the Roosevelt Review, features an array of articles and graphics on the university’s sustainability initiatives — from curriculum to campus operations/grounds projects to recycling and composting.
The magazine’s spring publication (accessible here as a pdf) marks a watershed year for sustainability at the university in which:
- Roosevelt joined Northwestern, SIU Carbondale, and University of IL at Springfield as newly-recognized Illinois schools in the prestigious Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges;
- the Sustainability Studies program in the College of Professional Studies finished its third year with 187 enrollments in Spring 2013 classes and over ten graduates thus far;
- Roosevelt garnered eight major awards for its sustainability initiatives, from the LEED-Gold certification of the Wabash Building to the “Green School” Innovation Award from the US Green Building Council to the Tree Campus USA designation for the Schaumburg Campus from the National Arbor Day Foundation;
- the University’s food waste recycling / composting program began using scraps from the Wabash Building’s dining center to produce compost that enriches the soil of the Schaumburg Campus community garden, thus integrating urban and suburban sustainability practices around food and waste;
- the RUrbanPioneers community garden at the Schaumburg Campus was significantly expanded from 9 to 27 plots during April’s Soil Service Days.
Last but not least, several undergraduate students took on significant leadership roles at the university.
- Kenton Franklin (BPS Sustainability Studies, Dec. 2012) won the inaugural Outstanding Student Award in Sustainability Studies at the College of Professional Studies annual awards ceremony in April.
- Troy Withers and MaryBeth Radeck, both SUST majors (BPS) have worked as Environmental Sustainability Associates at the Chicago and Schaumburg Campuses, respectively, under the supervision of Paul Matthews in the Planning/Operations department. Both, along with Kenton above, have been instrumental in guiding the day-to-day sustainability initiatives across the university, from improving recycling to managing the community garden to reducing energy/water consumption to event planning.
- SUST seniors Nicole Burns and Josh Campbell went to Tanzania with RU biology prof Nobby Cordiero to work on rainforest conservation and study biodiversity issues in this important ecosystem, as described here in Nicole’s guest SUST blog post from earlier this spring. Members of this biology class founded RU Reforesting, which plans on focusing on local conservation issues now that they’ve returned from Tanzania.
- Honors student and SUST senior Conor Swenson co-founded another student activist group on campus this year, RU Fossil Free, to promote climate change awareness, advocate local policy changes to mitigate GHG emissions, and — most importantly to RU — urge Roosevelt’s Administration to divest from any support of/investment in the fossil fuel industry. Leading this divestment campaign is Dylan Amlin, an undergraduate honors student who has become an intern and young leader with the Institute of Cultural Affair’s Accelerate 77 project that aims to promote sustainability work in all 77 Chicago community areas.
And yet, our work on sustainability at the university — and beyond, as an emerging leader on this issue in the Chicagoland community — has just begun. Stay tuned for more developments, and be sure to check out the great articles from the beautifully-produced Roosevelt Review at the links above!