SUST 350 Service & Sustainability Course Canoes Bubbly Creek

This semester, Professor Mike Bryson is teaching a SUST 350 Service & Sustainability seminar focusing on urban agriculture in Chicago. In late April, he organized a canoe trip for the course, in conjunction with the Chicago Lights Urban Farm and the Friends of the Chicago River. Mike reports:

Of the several river trips I’ve done with RU students, this one was the best!

Our group, prior to hitting the water.

RU students paddled the river with CLUF Youth Corps teens from Cabrini-Green, most of whom had never been in a canoe before. We learned about Chicago history and geography, urban river ecology, wastewater treatment, the relationship between urban agriculture and water conservation, and — last but not least — good paddling technique. Nothing beats the river for a fresh perspective on the city!

Heading under the bridges -- a sure indicator that we're in the city. Here we pass under a freight RR bridge, then the Orange Line, then Interstate 55, and lastly Archer Avenue. Underneath the bridges are numerous CSO outlets where the MWRD system releases excess stormwater/untreated sewage into Bubbly Creek during rain events.

Natasha (Chicago Lights Urban Farm Director) and Dave (Friends of the Chicago River Guide Extraordinaire)

Thanks to the Mansfield Institute for the Transformational Service Learning grant that made this trip possible. I’m excited at the prospect of a continued partnership among RU’s SUST program and the Mansfield Institute, Growing Power / Chicago Lights Urban Farm, and Friends of the Chicago River.

SUST 350 will be offered in future semesters, and trips such as this one are built into related Roosevelt seminars such as SUST 210 The Sustainable Future and SUST 220 Water. If you are interested in taking these or any of our courses this summer or fall, please contact your RU academic advisor for registration details. If you are not currently a Roosevelt University student, we encourage you to investigate our degree options and our course listings. For more information, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, our Facebook page, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email

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