Register Now for SUST 361 Urban Ecology this Summer!

Now that the Spring 2020 semester is finished, it’s a great time to set yourself up for a summer class @RooseveltU. The Sustainability Studies program will offer an innovative and exciting fully-online course, SUST 361 Urban Ecology, taught by Prof. Graham Pickren.

SUST students conduct field experiments on water infiltration rates in Chicago parklands (summer 2018)

A unique experiential learning (EXL) course, SUST 361 introduces students to the research methods and practices of the growing field of Urban Ecology. In the environmental sciences, cities were once considered unsuitable for studies of “nature.” However, urban landscapes are now being recognized not only as important places for wildlife habitat, but also as laboratories where new relationships between people and ecosystems are emerging.

This course provides students with an overview of urban ecology followed by instruction in research methodologies like air quality monitoring, urban heat island monitoring, and stormwater management. While normally offered as an in-person experiential learning course, due to COVID-19 this course will be offered fully online in 2020. Students will still be able to independently collect and analyze data relevant to human and ecological well-being in Chicago and will visit significant ecological sites around the city on their own. Professor Pickren will provide guidance via Zoom and Blackboard. This will typically involve students meeting with the professor via Zoom in the morning and then practicing research methods in the field in the afternoon. The course culminates in a series of reports on topics of significance to the environmental community in Chicago.

SUST majors and minors may take this class to fulfill an upper-level SUST 3xx requirement, but 361 also is open to students at large (currently at RU, from the colleges and universities of the Resilience Studies Consortium, or other institutions) seeking an experiential learning course, needing a general education course, or desiring elective credit.

Course goals:

  • Demonstrate basic command of core urban ecology methods, concepts, and theory;
  • Design a practical multidisciplinary research project as a team;
  • Collect and analyze data to inform research questions;
  • Write a research report and deliver project findings to stakeholders in written and oral form; and
  • Make scientifically informed decisions about societal issues related to urban areas.

For questions and more details about this course, please contact Dr. Graham Pickren (gpickren@roosevelt.edu), assistant professor of Sustainability Studies. RU’s summer session registration information is available here.

Posted in biodiversity, cities, conservation, courses, ecology, education, faculty, parks and public land, Roosevelt, science, students, wildlife | 1 Comment

A Message on Earth Day 4/22/2020

The only planet we have (photo: NASA)

The students and faculty of the Sustainability Studies Program here at Roosevelt wish everyone peace and good health today, 4/22/20, which marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. As all of us deal with the stresses, challenges, and sorrows of life during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is good for us to remember the strength and purpose of the many scientists, artists, political leaders, activists, and citizens who have fought (and today are still fighting) on behalf of our natural and human communities for the last 50 years.

Reprinted below is a message sent via email earlier this month to folks in the RU sustainability community from Sophia Gallo, Vice President of the Roosevelt University sustainability club, RU Green (@RUGreenClub on Instagram). While the club is running a host of activities during Earth Week, as noted here on Monday 4/20, the information below provides options for those interested in and able to engage in environmental/social justice activism, as your conscience dictates. Thanks to Sophia, Samantha, and all the members of RU Green for their advocacy, encouragement, and energy on behalf of the Earth and our relationship to it.

Hey folks!

Samantha and I hope that everyone is staying safe and calm during this tough time. We also wanted to send an update about the status of RU Green for the rest of the semester. Since we obviously won’t be able to do meetings in person, we wanted to provide some activities you can do at home during your quarantines. So, this Earth week from April 20th-April 24th we will be posting videos of some easy eco-friendly DIY projects you can try out that we will keep up and available for you to access at any point in time!

We know people are in very different situations regarding this quarantine and not everyone has the luxury of free time or the desire to learn new crafts and hobbies. However, we still want to share some fun things we’ve been doing to make our lives a little lighter and more sustainable and hope that they will be things that you can enjoy as well. We will keep you updated on what exactly we’ll be doing once everything is solidified. Follow our Instagram @ RUGreenclub for more updates as well.

On another note, I wanted to share some information I’ve gathered recently because I’ve been feeling a bit powerless in this situation. I am in an incredibly privileged position during this time to be in a comfortable home with a supportive family. Because of this, I feel an extra responsibility to help out in any way I can. I can imagine some of you might be feeling this as well, so I wanted to provide some links to different organizations that are doing amazing work. If we have the means it’s important we do what we can to support people through this. I understand that consuming lots of info right now can be really anxiety-inducing so please know that the info below isn’t necessarily light-hearted and may even be emotional. Nevertheless, it is important, so please give it a look if you are able.

Indigenous Environmental Network

  • Indigenous land is continuing to be stolen and used for harmful projects like the Keystone Pipeline even now during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pipeline building is being pushed ahead with no regard for the safety of Indigenous peoples who might come in contact with infected pipeline workers.
  • Text IENCOVID to 44-321 to donate from your phone or click the link above for more information and alternative methods of donation and support.

Rent Control

  • In Illinois, there is currently a law in place (1997 Rent Control Preemption Act) that prevents any forms of rent control from being implemented. Governor Pritzker says that his hands are tied because of this law even though he has the power through his emergency executive authority to repeal it. For those who don’t know, rent control allows limits to be placed on how much landlords can charge for their rent.
  • In this time when many people are unemployed and ordered to stay home to contain the virus, rent control should be a priority so people losing income don’t get evicted. While many banks have paused mortgage payments for landowners nothing has been done to protect renters who are disproportionately Black, Brown, undocumented, disabled, queer, and/or trans folks.
  • Check this website to contact the governors/legislatures in your state and demand the implementation of rent control in an effort to save lives. I have a template of what to say if you’re unsure that I would be happy to send to those who are interested.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

  • Simply put, the increased loss of income for many families due to the COVID-19 virus brings about the increased need for food.
  • Donate using this link or consider volunteering if you are able. For more information scroll through the “Get Involved” section on the website.

Feeding America

  • If you’re not from the Chicagoland area or not currently living here Feeding America might be an organization you’d be interested in.
  • Follow the link to donate or check their “Take Action” page for other ways to get involved including volunteering.

Getting Protective Equipment (PPE) to our Healthcare Heroes

  • The shortages of basic protective equipment like N95 Respirators, surgical masks, protective goggles, and gloves for health care workers is incredibly concerning. Healthcare workers are essential at a time like this and are not only being overworked but aren’t being protected. By putting healthcare workers at risk of contracting the virus the capacity of the system to work effectively is significantly reduced.
  • Donate using the above link or click on “About” -> “Advocacy” for other ways to get involved such as calling senators and signing petitions.

Movement for Black Lives COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund

  • Black Americans have been contracting and dying from COVID-19 at higher rates and this is, unfortunately, no coincidence. Our system has failed Black people in this country in every possible way and this pandemic is not an exception. From housing discrimination to mass incarceration Black folks are feeling the consequences of COVID-19 at disproportional rates.
  • Support this effort by donating through the link and help to secure resources curated for Black people by Black people in this time of need.

Coronavirus Virus Group Donation (Bernie Sanders)

  • A collection of groups identified on Bernie Sanders’ website dedicated to fighting various issues of the COVID-19 pandemic including some of which have already been listed such as “Amazonians United Mutual Aid Fund to support Amazon warehouse workers, The Workers Fund to support gig workers, Rent Zero Tenant Organizing Fund to support people struggling with housing, COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Community Bail & Bond Funds, the CERF+ COVID-19 Response Fund to support artists, and the Restaurant Worker Disaster Relief Fund to support restaurant workers.”

This list is nowhere near exhaustive but it has been a helpful start for me. I’ve seen many resources online that can guide people to other organizations, especially ones that are local to certain communities. Feel free to take this info and share it anywhere you’d like.

For those of you who are struggling during this time or need any help please consider using these resources to your benefit (they all have sections where you can go if you need support) and let me know if you’d like any more information about them. The best we can do is love and support each other in whatever way we can.

Sophia Gallo (she/her)
RU Green Vice President

Posted in activities, community, ecology, education, events, Roosevelt, social justice, students | 1 Comment

Celebrate Earth Week 2020 with RU Green Student Org

From Sophio Gallo, VP of the Roosevelt University sustainability club, RU Green (@RUGreenClub on Instagram):

We hope everyone is holding up well. Earth Week is here and we have an exciting list of activities RU Green will be doing! Above is a photo of the schedule that you are welcome to post on your social media to encourage people to participate in (also see this pdf). Please share widely!

Whether you do one or all of these activities, we’d love to hear from you about your experience! Send us a private message or tag us in your social media posts so we can see how you got involved. Each day we will post on @RUGreenClub on Instagram and email a more detailed version of how to get involved. The schedule will be as follows:

Monday 4/20
DIY Beeswax Wrap Video
Learn something new about the climate movement!
Call elected officials about climate change issues
One Earth Virtual Film Fest (Mon 4/20 – Sun 4/26)

Tuesday 4/21
DIY Garden Rocks Video
Unplug electronics for 1 hour to save energy and have a clear mind
Go outside and experience nature (keeping social distancing in mind)
One Earth Virtual Film Fest (Mon 4/20 – Sun 4/26)

Wednesday 4/22 (Earth Day!)
DIY Extra Fabric Video
Strike w/ Us Livestream Day 1: Community Building
We the Planet Campaign Social Media Action
One Earth Virtual Film Fest (Mon 4/20 – Sun 4/26)

Thursday 4/23
DIY Pollinator Home Video
Strike w/ Us Live Stream Day 2: Stop the Money Pipeline
One Earth Virtual Film Fest (Mon 4/20 – Sun 4/26)

Friday 4/24
Strike w/ Us Live Stream Day 3: Voter Registration
Ecological Footprint Quiz
Whose Land Are You On?
One Earth Virtual Film Fest (Mon 4/20 – Sun 4/26)

Reference Links here:
Strike w/ Us Live Stream (all days) https://strikewithus.org/
Stop the Money Pipeline https://stopthemoneypipeline.com/
Ecological Footprint https://www.footprintcalculator.org/
Whose Land https://native-land.ca/
One Earth Virtual Film Fest (Mon 4/20 – Sun 4/26)

We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone!

Thank you,
Sophia Gallo (she/her)
RU Green Vice President

Posted in activities, community, education, events, Roosevelt, social justice, students | 2 Comments

Summer 2020 Course Preview for SUST 361 Urban Ecology

For coming summer semester (2020) the Sustainability Studies program will offer an innovative fully-online course, SUST 361 Urban Ecology, taught by Prof. Graham Pickren.

SUST students conduct field experiments on water infiltration rates in Chicago parklands (summer 2018)

A unique experiential learning course, SUST 361 introduces students to the research methods and practices of the growing field of Urban Ecology. In the environmental sciences, cities were once considered unsuitable for studies of “nature.” However, urban landscapes are now being recognized not only as important places for wildlife habitat, but also as laboratories where new relationships between people and ecosystems are emerging.

This course provides students with an overview of urban ecology followed by instruction in research methodologies like air quality monitoring, urban heat island monitoring, and stormwater management. While normally offered as an in-person experiential learning course, due to COVID-19 this course will be offered fully online in 2020. Students will still be able to independently collect and analyze data relevant to human and ecological well-being in Chicago and will visit significant ecological sites around the city on their own. Professor Pickren will provide guidance via Zoom and Blackboard. This will typically involve students meeting with the professor via Zoom in the morning and then practicing research methods in the field in the afternoon. The course culminates in a series of reports on topics of significance to the environmental community in Chicago.

SUST majors and minors may take this class to fulfill an upper-level SUST 3xx requirement, but 361 also is open to students at large (currently at RU, from the colleges and universities of the Resilience Studies Consortium, or other institutions) seeking an experiential learning course, needing a general education course, or desiring elective credit.

Course goals:

  • Demonstrate basic command of core urban ecology methods, concepts, and theory;
  • Design a practical multidisciplinary research project as a team;
  • Collect and analyze data to inform research questions;
  • Write a research report and deliver project findings to stakeholders in written and oral form; and
  • Make scientifically informed decisions about societal issues related to urban areas.

For questions and more details about this course, please contact Dr. Graham Pickren (gpickren@roosevelt.edu), assistant professor of Sustainability Studies. RU’s summer session registration information is available here.

Posted in biodiversity, cities, conservation, courses, ecology, education, faculty, parks and public land, Roosevelt, science, students, wildlife

Meet Our SUST Student Associates for Spring 2020

This spring 2020 semester, we’re lucky to have three SUST Student Associates working on behalf advancing sustainability on (and off) campus here at Roosevelt University. While the Covid-19 pandemic and hiatus of on-campus classes and activities has put many of our projects on hold, these student workers are tackling a variety of research, writing, and social media projects remotely/online. We’re grateful for their work, dedication, and enthusiasm for promoting and advancing sustainability here at Roosevelt.

My name is Abby Ramirez, and I’m a senior at Roosevelt double-majoring in Sustainability Studies and Political Science. Advocating for sustainable initiatives and working to achieve those goals is my true passion. As a Sustainability Associate, I have the privilege to do this with my fellow Lakers. Currently, I am focused on improving Roosevelt’s waste habits, specifically related to composting. When on-campus life resumes, I plan to analyze RU’s compost diversion rates by performing weekly waste audits in the AUD building. Another goal for future semesters is to engage the Roosevelt community in working to improve our rooftop garden.

In conjunction with both of these goals, I am working with my fellow SUST Associates to develop an open dialogue and connection between students and staff on how to implement sustainable actions in our daily lives. Before becoming a Sustainability Associate, I worked in my previous institution’s biology department, creating biology labs, running the on-campus greenhouse, and maintaining the rooftop garden.

Outside of work, I enjoy exploring new places and take up any opportunity to be outside and in nature. Kayaking and biking are just a few of my favorite ways to do so. My political science side also drives me to follow regional, state and national politics. Listening to podcasts, following news updates and social movements are fun ways to engage me in political thinking.

I’m Kary Sepulveda and currently a second-semester freshman here at Roosevelt University earning my bachelors in sustainability studies and planning to double major in political science. I chose to come to Roosevelt because of my interest in pursuing a career in sustainability and because of its dedication to social justice issues. Being that Roosevelt is such a tight-knit community, it encourages one to share ideas and be heard; really allowing students to make an impact within the university and beyond.

My interest in sustainability was initially sparked by an AP environmental science class I took my junior year of high school. From there I took the initiative to apply for a study aboard program centered on the topic, and after having that experience, there was no doubt in my mind that this is what I wanted to dedicate myself to. That is why I am fully committed to making a positive impact on the university’s sustainable development and continue to make Roosevelt a leading example of institutional sustainability.

My name is David Zampillo, and I’m a Sustainability Studies major in my second semester here at Roosevelt. I was born in South Holland IL and grew up in Mokena IL.  My parents were born in Italy and immigrated here in the 1960s in hopes of better opportunities. They succeeded and were able to give four children a better life than they had. I am forever grateful for that. I obtained a degree in Business at the University of Iowa. While working as a bartender there I decided to stay in the industry and am now currently employed full time in the restaurant industry as a General Manager and looking to make a career change.

In the last five to seven years I have taken an interest in sustainable food which has given me the desire to pursue a second degree in Sustainability Studies at Roosevelt University. I love to read, and am a huge Star Trek fan. I spend my free time with my significant other Cristina and her lovely 10-year-old daughter Sophia.

Posted in education, Roosevelt, students | 1 Comment

IL Governor Issues “Stay-at-Home” Mandate / RU Updates

Roosevelt University has posted a Coronavirus (Covid-19) Emergence Response website to provide the university community with up-to-date information about this rapidly changing situation. Please check it frequently for new information on classes and campus operations. RU students should check their student email accounts frequently for announcements from the university as well as their professors. All Spring 2020 classes will resume in fully online format on 3/23.

The following is quoted directly from the latest post on the RU coronoavirus site, as of 3:24pm on 20 March 2020.

Dear Roosevelt Community,

Today [Friday 3/20] at 3:00pm Governor Pritzker has issued a ‘Stay At Home’ order for Illinois residents effective Saturday, March 21 at 5pm through Tuesday, April 7.  Keep in mind, while this is a serious mandate to protect ourselves, families, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens, residents can still go to the grocery stores and pharmacies and put gas in their cars.  All local roads, including interstate highways and tollways will remain open to traffic.

Illinois’s Stay At Home Order

The order allows the following to remain open:

  • Essential services to continue: healthcare operations, grocery stores, food banks, convenience stores and other establishments engaged in retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish and poultry, and other household consumer products
  • Operation of gas stations, auto supply and repair businesses
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Hardware stores
  • Restaurants that serve food only for deliver and carry-out
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults and children
  • Laundromats, drycleaners
  • Mailing and shipping services and other

Social Distancing at Roosevelt

Here at Roosevelt we have already been taking those steps by practicing all forms of social distancing, including by moving classes online and providing students with guidance and resources around maintaining their coursework while not in the classroom. In an abundance of caution and social responsibility, we have also canceled or rescheduled a number of scheduled events.

Now that the stay at home order is in effect, we write to provide you with information regarding services and resources that will continue to be available at Roosevelt.

Students in Residence Halls

  • The Wabash Building and the University Center remain open and accessible for all residential students. If you have not notified the office of residence life that you intend to remain in the halls, please do so immediately by emailing reslife@roosevelt.edu.
  • The dining center in both buildings will remain open.
  • Only essential residence life, building maintenance and campus security staff will remain on campus.
  • For a full list of student services that remain available via phone or online, please visit the COVID-19 website.

Classes

  • There will no longer be scheduled in-person classes. All classes will be held online.  Please check Blackboard, your email, and the COVID-19 website for updates.  As previously communicated, online classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, March 23rd.
  • Roosevelt has 24 hour/7 day a week technology support. Go to roosevelt.edu/helpdesk and if you are unable to resolve the issue through knowledge base, you can submit a ticket or call 312.341.HELP (4357).  For Blackboard and Zoom related help email blackboardhelp@rooesvelt.edu.

Payroll

  • Payroll for faculty, administrators and staff will continue to process, as scheduled, and will be paid by direct deposit. If you do not have a direct deposit form on file, please contact Heather Williams at hwilliams15@roosevelt.edu
  • Direct deposit is strongly encouraged and those who have not established direct deposit could experience lengthy delays in getting paid.

Campus Facilities

  • All university buildings and offices are closed, or moving fully online, until further notice, with the exception of the following: campus safety, office of residence life, dining services and university facilities.

What we know today is that we will continue to make decisions in order to keep our community safe and healthy during this local state of emergency.  We will keep you updated on the impact this mandate has on our community as we get the information.

Please continue to visit this site for all the information, updates and resources and email us at COVID19info@roosevelt.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Ali R. Malekzadeh, Ph.D.
President

Lois Becker, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Posted in courses, education, faculty, health, Illinois, news, Roosevelt, students

All @RooseveltU Classes Postponed Until 3/23

Roosevelt University has posted a Coronavirus (Covid-19) Emergence Response website to provide the university community with up-to-date information about this rapidly changing situation. Please check it frequently for new information on classes and campus operations. RU students should check their student email accounts frequently for announcements from the university as well as their professors.

Note: Term 3B eight-week online courses originally scheduled to begin on 3/17/20 will now start on 3/23/20, as all classes are cancelled for next week and will resume on 3/23. In the Dept. of Sociology & Sustainability, this applies to the online courses SOC 215 The Family (Prof. Robert), SOC 220 Water (Prof. Bryson), and SUST 240 Waste (Prof. Pickren). This change in start date has been confirmed by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences on 3/13.

The following is quoted directly from the latest post on the RU coronoavirus site, as of 8am on 13 March 2020.

While there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus at Roosevelt, the safety and wellbeing of our community is our highest priority. We are taking the following steps to give every member of our community the support and resources to continue uninterrupted access to their academic program in whatever manner is necessary.

Steps that we are taking to achieve these objectives are as follows:

Classes

  • Roosevelt University classes are postponed until Monday, March 23. [This includes Term 3B courses originally scheduled to start on 3/17; see above.] At that time and until further notice, most classes will be offered online.
  • Accommodations will be made for courses/programs that require in-person course work, as those courses/programs are identified.
  • A student who reports that they need to miss classes for reasons related to COVID-19 must be excused and the absence reported to the VP for Student Affairs. No medical or other documentation regarding the absence is required.

Residence & Dining Halls

  • The University’s residence halls and dining hall will remain accessible at this time, but with restrictions. For your safety and for the safety of the campus community, we are strongly encouraging students who are able to remain home to do that.
  • For students who return or remain in the residence halls, you must notify the Dean of Students Office at dos@roosevelt.edu.

Student & Employee Travel

  • No University-sponsored travel by air is permitted. You are responsible for canceling currently-scheduled travel and making arrangements for refunds.
  • Students and employees currently in and returning from countries with a Level 3 Health Notice must complete 14 days of self-quarantine before returning to campus.

Athletics

  • Roosevelt University is immediately suspending all athletic activities indefinitely. This suspension also pertains to all Roosevelt programs, including spirit squads, eSports and Performing Arts, that were previously offered at Robert Morris University Illinois.
  • This suspension covers all intercollegiate athletics programs and related athletics activities, including all competitions, all practices, and all team meetings.
  • Teams currently on spring break travel and competing in tournament competitions will return from their trips as scheduled and immediately adhere to the suspension of athletics activities. The Robert Morris men’s volleyball team competing at Trinity Christian College tonight (Thursday, March 12, 2020) will compete in the match and adhere to the suspension of athletics activities following the conclusion of the match.
  • Athletics facilities owned, leased or rented by Roosevelt will be closed to students until further notice.

University Operations 

  • Effective immediately, any employee who is in a high risk category is strongly encouraged to work from home or adjust their work schedule to reduce contact with others.
  • Key offices (campus safety, residence life, physical resources, payroll, information technology, and human resources) will remain fully open.
  • Student Offices (all student-facing offices) remain open for visitors with reduced staffing. Each Division head will outline a plan for this with their respective teams.
  • All other offices are highly encouraged to work from home.
  • An employee who reports that they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19 must be excused and the absence reported to Human Resources. No medical or other documentation regarding the absence is required.

Roosevelt’s top priority is the health and safety of our community. We remain committed to communicating the most up to date information as frequently as possible.

Ali R. Malekzadeh, Ph.D.
President, Roosevelt University

Lois Becker
Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Posted in courses, education, faculty, news, Roosevelt, students