Major Madness @RooseveltU this Thursday, Oct. 19th, 1-3pm

This most excellent event (pdf) promises to be a great way for current RU students to learn about our various undergrad majors by talking directly with faculty. Professor Mike Bryson will be on hand to chat about the Sustainability Studies and Sociology majors in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Come for the food, stay for the conversation — hope to see you there!

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Eden Place Nature Center Hosts Annual Fall Festival this Saturday, Oct. 14th

Each fall semester since 2014, Roosevelt University students in SUST 350 Service & Sustainability have volunteered hundreds of hours working at the remarkable Eden Place Nature Center and Farm in the Fuller Park community on Chicago’s South Side. Each October, Eden Place hosts a Saturday pumpkin festival open to one and all.

If anyone in the RU community or beyond is looking for volunteer opportunities, please call Mr. Troy Howard at 773-624-8686 and let him know you’re interested in helping out. Or, just show up between 11am and 4pm to volunteer on the spot, or simply to have a good time outdoors in “urban nature,” Chicago-style!

Posted in activities, community, courses, education, events, food, service, students | Leave a comment

Rooftop Gardening, Community Service, & Social Justice: Reflections on Service Day 2017 @RooseveltU

By Diana Ramirez (BA ‘17)

Volunteers work in the WB Rooftop Garden (photo: D. Ramirez)

Last week, Roosevelt University held a Day of Service to conclude a week of panels and performances exploring contemporary issues of social justice for the second annual American Dream Reconsidered Conference. The Roosevelt community and general public were offered the opportunity to get involved with the WB Rooftop Garden on campus as one of several Service Day projects available for participation on Thursday, Sept. 14th.

Volunteers were free to work on a number of different gardening activities we had available, from weeding to seed sowing to harvesting, as well as participate in an informal discussion about how environmental justice and sustainability are essential elements of achieving social justice and dissolving societal disparities.

RU students & staff garden on RU Service Day (photo: D. Ramirez)

This discussion was intended to raise awareness of the many efforts undertaken on campus towards a more sustainable future, such as the waste services offered to achieve a 40% Waste Diversion rate, the plan with Retrofit Chicago to cut carbon emission through energy reduction, LEED building certification, and the use of low-flow plumbing to conserve water.

With a special focus on the Rooftop Garden, we learned about the importance of urban green space to function as a means of water absorption in order to minimize stormwater runoff, which is of particular importance in the city of Chicago where urbanization over many decades has overwhelmed the capacity of the city’s combined sewer system and thus degraded water quality in its rivers.

In addition to these environmental benefits, the Rooftop Garden provides fresh vegetables and herbs to the Dining Center which enhances the health and well-being of the Roosevelt community. With a source of onsite food production, the Dining Center is also cutting carbon emissions by eliminating the need for additional produce to be grown, harvested, packaged and transported to our Chicago campus.

Alumni rooftop reunion: Moses Viveros (BA ’17), Prof. Mike Bryson, Diana Ramirez (BA ’17), and Beeka Quesnell (BA ’15) — photo by SUST major Maria Cancilla

After about an hour of labor with soil and seeds, we invited our volunteers to conclude their service project shift with a snack prepared with ingredients that were harvested from the garden itself just two days prior! The Dining Center was gracious in preparing some delicious corn muffins with chive from the garden, as well as a beautiful salad of mixed greens comprised of kale, endive, and swiss chard from the gardens.

Our Garden Team also gave out reusable Roosevelt water bottles to volunteers in an effort to influence a simple step towards a greener future by ditching the plastic, disposable (and privatized) water bottles. This is just a small example of how one can take deliberate and cooperative action to enhance sustainability in our everyday lives.

Butterfly weed (photo: M. Bryson)

To take our sustainability efforts on campus even further, we initiated a very exciting project with the Rooftop Garden on Service Day! History was made at Roosevelt University as the first-ever Butterfly Weed seeds were sown to establish a rooftop pollinator garden/ restored prairie within the city’s downtown landscape.

The importance of Butterfly Weed, which is a type of milkweed with a shallower root system suited for a rooftop garden setting, is tremendous as the Monarch Butterfly population has decreased by 80% in the past 2 decades, and ⅔ of our food is provided by the services of pollinators, such as the monarch and honey bee.

By making more milkweed available in Chicago, which is within the monarch’s migratory path, we can actively work towards enhancing urban conservation and wildlife habitat, for the environment’s sake as well as our own sustainability and well-being. To learn more about how YOU can help with this effort, check out this info from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Diana Ramirez earned her BA in May 2017 at Roosevelt University in sociology and sustainability studies (with honors) and was an active member of the RU Green student environmental organization. This past summer, she worked with fellow SUST alum Moses Viveros as stewards of the WB Rooftop Garden at RU’s Chicago Campus, while also completing an environmental science research fellowship with the Urban Ecology Field Lab at the Field Museum in Chicago. 

Posted in activities, alumni, biodiversity, ecology, education, events, faculty, food, green design, Roosevelt, service, students

This Week @RooseveltU: The American Dream Reconsidered Conference 2017

WhenWhere: Roosevelt University – 425 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 | Ganz Hall, Room 745, Auditorium Building

Join the conversation about what it means to be an American in these challenging times.

Roosevelt University, founded on ideals of religious and racial freedom, invites you to take part in our conference on the meaning and future of the American Dream. Enjoy engaging panels and service activities open to the Roosevelt community and general public.

Attendance is free* and open to the public, but registration is requested.

*The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Keynote Event is being ticketed separately through the Auditorium Theatre. TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT.

Posted in activities, alumni, community, conferences, education, ethics, events, faculty, history, humanities, policy, presentations, Roosevelt, social justice, students

Return Your Solar Eclipse Glasses; Support Science Education Worldwide

Roosevelt students, faculty and staff — If you still have any solar eclipse glasses, please turn them in to Prof. Mike Bryson (mailstop: AUD 835 or office: AUD 829) or Prof. Norbert Cordeiro (WB 816).

Glasses will be donated to the Astronomers Without Borders and Explore Scientific, which will send them on to schools in South America and Asia for use when eclipses cross those continents in 2019.

For more information, please visit this link:

Posted in education, museums, recycling, Roosevelt, science

Crickets and Kale: WB Garden Summer Update

by Diana Ramirez and Moses Viveros

Diana Ramirez harvesting greens, August 2017 (photo: M. Viveros)

Despite the slow start at the beginning of this year’s growing season, the 2017 Wabash Rooftop Summer Gardeners have been working hard to revitalize our outdoor plots to harvest fresh herbs and vegetables that will be used in the Dining Center! So far, we’ve grown a significant amount of kale and chive on the 5th floor rooftop gardens along with some basil and mustard greens. Our first summer harvest included 5 oz. of kale, 3.2 oz of mustard greens, 1 oz of collard greens, 4 oz of chive, and 1 oz each of oregano and basil. Not bad for a couple week’s worth of work!

Photo: D. Ramirez

In addition to our outdoor plants, we have been tending to a couple of baby seedlings in the SUST Lab in the AUD building. With a little more TLC, these plants will soon be enjoying life out on the rooftop along with their other green friends. In the SUST Lab we have oregano, cilantro, sage, more basil, and even more kale.

Earlier in the week we were able to directly sow different vegetable seeds into our outdoor plots in the hope that we can gather an abundant fall harvest. We planted a variety of durable plants that will withstand the change in climate going into fall. Some of these include broccoli, champion collards, basil and, you guessed it — more kale!

Moses Viveros sowing seeds in the rooftop garden, August 2017 (photo: D. Ramirez)

So far this summer, our 5th floor garden herbs and vegetables have encountered the company of a number of critters most of which have been completely harmless. However, others have gotten into the habit of snacking on some of our green friends. We’ve observed some slugs in a couple of plots in which we will experiment with some pest control methods to rid of these unwanted, yet shockingly cute (to some), little critters.

Photo: D. Ramirez

Although crickets may be known to help themselves to a nibble in one’s vegetable gardens, they’re not creating enough damage to be considered a problem for our case. In fact, they make the experience of urban rooftop gardening even more thrilling by popping up spontaneously here and there as we maneuver through the garden plots.

Photo: M. Viveros

In order to keep our rooftop gardens thriving, we need as much help as we can get! In addition to growing vegetables and herbs for the use of our campus’ Dining Center, we’re interested in taking the sustainability initiatives with our work in the rooftop gardens a step further. Beginning this summer we will be working to prepare selective plots for introducing native prairie plant species as well as some very important milkweed to attract some butterflies.

Stay tuned for our next post that will have some updates on how our garden is growing a little greener each day!

Diana Ramirez (BA ’17 SUST and SOC) and Moses Viveros (BA ’17 SUST) both graduated with honors from Roosevelt this past May. This summer they are working part-time as rooftop gardeners at Roosevelt’s downtown Chicago Campus.

Posted in agriculture, alumni, biodiversity, food, Roosevelt, students

SUST Alumni Tend the WB Rooftop Garden at RU this Summer

SUST grads Moses Viveros and Diana Ramirez (BA, May 2017) are working this summer as Sustainability Student Associates at RU’s Chicago Campus. Among their many and various projects is tending the WB Rooftop Garden on the 5th floor of Roosevelt’s Wabash Building:

The WB Garden has provided opportunities for hands-on learning and stress relief, as well as herbs and greens for the WB Dining Center, the past three years. Glad to see Moses and Diana digging in this summer as they tend our crops the coming weeks!

Diana Ramirez works the garden plots on the WB Rooftop Garden, July 2017 (photo: M. Viveros)

Posted in alumni, food, green design, internships, Roosevelt, students