Get Involved this Summer: Sustainability in/around Chicago

Vicki Gerberichby SUST adjunct professor Vicki Gerberich

During summer, sometimes university students and faculty can feel disconnected from the sustainability issues and the sense of community that they care about. In an effort to stay involved and connected this summer in the Chicago region, here are a few ideas:

Conferences and Festivals — the summer months are often filled community festivals and many of them have a “green” theme. Conferences are also a great way to stay connected and network with fellow sustainability-minded people. The People’s Summit is a conference coming up this weekend (Friday, June 17th-Sunday, June 19th at McCormick Place in Chicago).

People's Summit 2016 Chicago speakers
The Summit is a convening of organizations and individuals committed to social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. It includes plenary and workshop sessions devoted to key issues; see the schedule for more information. There’s an opportunity to gain a free entry to the summit through Food & Water Watch by volunteering with them. If you are interested, fill out this Doodle form and email Jenya Polozova ( with your information. She will then be in contact shortly to confirm your involvement and send you a link to register for the conference for free.

Political Activism and Organizational Support — Another great way to stay involved and informed is by showing your support for those issues that mean the most to you, either through showing support of specific legislation, such as the The WATER Act (Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability) which was just introduced by US Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan). The purpose of this act is to provide dedicated funding by closing corporate tax loopholes to keep our water and sewer up to date and to protect our drinking water for generations to come.

You can learn more about this proposed act on Food & Water Watch’s website. If so moved, you can sign a petition to let all of your elected officials know that you support this act here and you can also volunteer with Food & Water Watch to help push this act through Congress. There are several issues that need support and volunteers; find an organization that corresponds to your passions and get involved in whatever capacity is doable for you.

Personal Action and Community Education — Sometimes the best way to stay involved is to be the “involver.” Get your friends and family interested in a topic of concern or plan fun yet educational events and outings — plant a garden and invite your friends over to help, cook a meal with ingredients from your garden or the local farmers market for your family, take a walk in the local forest preserve, visit one of the many museums or make an effort to reduce to your reliance on your automobile.

The possibilities and your reach are endless. Don’t let the summer pass you by without taking advantage of the many ways to stay involved and have fun, too, because before you know it, you will be fully occupied by your Fall course load. (Speaking of which, it’s not too late to register for Fall 2016 SUST classes at Roosevelt!)

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