Chicago River Now Accessible With Google Maps Street View

If you’ve taken SUST 220, SUST 350, or a SUST Special Topics course, there’s good chance you’ve also participated in a guided canoe trip on the Chicago River.  Now this urban waterway can be toured from the comfort of your computer or mobile device with the Google Maps “Street View” feature.  Here we reprint the Friends of the Chicago River website’s January 19th announcement: 

(source: FCR)

(source: FCR)

Friends of the Chicago River is thrilled to announce that the Chicago River has joined some of the few rivers in the world including the Thames, the Seine, and the Hudson in being Streetviewed by Google. On an expedition initiated by Friends’ board member, Kevin Hartman, Google’s head of analytics, members of the “Streetview” team captured the mystery and the majesty of the river when drivers took their tools to the water where they traveled the Main Stem, up north around Goose Island, and down into Bubbly Creek to bring the river to life for people around the world.

The river has never been more accessible to people and Google Streetview for the river makes it even more so. It is astonishing to see the river this way and people are going to love it, said Margaret Frisbie, Friends’ executive director.

The Chicago River is emerging as a center of life in the city of Chicago and beyond. This last year, we celebrated the newly expanded Chicago Riverwalk, improvements in water quality, investments in wildlife habitat, and increased public access. By making the river healthier and more accessible, it has become a catalyst for community revitalization and economic development.

Google’s Streetview river will allow people of all ages to discover the river, see what it really looks like, and figure out how they can use the river themselves. This easy to use navigational tool is like a boat ride down the Chicago River people can enjoy at any time, from anywhere they can use a computer or mobile device. — Kevin Hartman, Friends’ board member and Google’s head of analytics.

The Chicago River “Streetview” can be accessed at or by dragging the Google Maps people icon and placing it on the river.

Google Maps Chicago River Street View: View of Friends' McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum (source: FCR)

Google Maps Chicago River Street View: View of Friends’ McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum (source: FCR)

Posted in cities, news, parks and public land, water | Leave a comment

A Big Warm Cyber “Hello” From Your SUST@RU Assistant Editor


This is Tiffany Mucci, SUST senior and your 2015-16 Assistant Editor of the Sustainability Studies @ Roosevelt University and Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future blogs. I’m writing to you this January morning, as we embark on a new semester, to formally introduce myself and bring you up to speed on the recent growth within our blogs. Editing and contributing to these blogs has been an excellent extracurricular opportunity for me. Since transferring to RU in Spring ’14, I’ve predominantly chosen to take online classes, this being the more convenient option as a returning adult student based in the suburbs. I am truly delighted to be taking a more active role as an online student in the RU and SUST communities.

Hiking through Busse Woods, a National Natural Landmark woodland-wetland mosaic in the NW suburbs of Chicago (photo: M. Bryson, May 2015)

Students in SUST 390 hike through Busse Woods, a National Natural Landmark woodland-wetland mosaic in the NW suburbs of Chicago (photo: M. Bryson, May 2015)

You may have already noticed the addition of the Writing Urban Nature page to SUST@RU. This online environmental humanities project, which Prof. Mike Bryson and I launched this past fall, is influenced by the creative writing found on the Center for Humans and Nature’s City Creatures Blog and other wellsprings of urban nature and sustainability writing. The essays featured in Writing Urban Nature were written by RU students in Prof. Bryson’s Summer ’15 inaugural section of SUST 390 Special Topics: Writing Urban Nature, and offer first-hand accounts of encounters with nature within everyday urban and suburban environments.

Over on our sister blog, SSF, the Environmental Justice section has more than doubled in size. The student essays showcased there profile environmental justice and waste issues of communities in the Chicago region, the Midwest, and beyond. Watch for more growth on these two pages, as we will continue adding to them throughout 2016!

Before coming to RU, I earned my Associate in Science degree at Joliet Junior College.  During my time there, I was heavily involved with the student subcommittee of the JJC Sustainability Initiative, serving as co-chair in 2012-13. Some of our more memorable accomplishments from those years include designing and rolling out an online Sustainability Pledge for students, faculty, and staff; organizing and hosting annual week-long activities in celebration of Earth Day; and giving presentations at the SMHEC (South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium) Student Sustainability Summits of Fall 2012 and Spring 2013. It was also at JJC — on Earth Day, of all days — that I met Prof. Mike Bryson, and was introduced to the SUST program.

A dickcissel sings inside Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (photo: T. Mucci May 2015)

A dickcissel sings inside Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (photo: T. Mucci May 2015)

In my concluding semester at RU, I am interning at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, a 19,000-acre preserve in Chicagoland’s southwest reaches.  Formerly the site of mass-produced army ammunitions, the land at Midewin is undergoing profound transformation towards a restored tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Just last October, a small herd of American bison was reintroduced to the property as part of their long-term efforts to bring balance and stability to the grassland. Stay tuned, as I will be blogging more on Midewin and my work experience there this spring.

It is a pleasure to “meet” all of you, and I look forward to sharing this academic year with you through the blog.  See you there!

Tiffany Mucci

Tiffany Mucci head shot

 Tiffany Mucci is a senior Sustainability Studies major at Roosevelt University and graduate of Joliet Junior College, the first public community college in the US.  This year she is Assistant Editor of the SUST@RU blog and co-editing its Writing Urban Nature page, as well as the Environmental Justice section of the SSF blog. She resides near Joliet IL with her husband, where she practices holistic health and dabbles in suburban homesteading.

Posted in biodiversity, education, humanities, internships, news, Roosevelt, students, suburbs

Fall 2016 Course Preview for SUST 330 Biodiversity at the Field Museum

This coming Fall 2016 semester the Sustainability Studies program will offer a special section of SUST 330 Biodiversity that will meet at the Field Museum of Natural History on Thursdays from 9am to 1pm.

Overview of SUST 330 at the Field Museum

SUST major Lindsey Sharp in the FMNH mammalogy lab, Fall 2015 (photo: J. Kerbis)

SUST major Lindsey Sharp in the FMNH mammalogy lab, Fall 2015 (photo: J. Kerbis)

Taught by Dr. Julian Kerbis Peterhans, professor of natural science at RU and adjunct curator of mammals at the FMNH, this course is an exceptional opportunity to learn about biodiversity, conservation, and sustainability at one of the world’s foremost natural history research museums.

The Field Museum is actually a “Library of Biodiversity” as it has been documenting plant, animal and fossil species of the world for 125 years. As Dr. Kerbis Peterhans notes, “Come join the team at the museum where you will work on these specimens: either sorting, cataloguing, photographing, drawing, databasing, or counting. Let us know if there are a particular group of plants or animals that you are interested in and we will see if we can find you a position.”

SUST 330 includes weekly seminar-style class meetings where students discuss readings and hear from scientists working on biodiversity research in a variety of fields. They then work individually with a scientist in one of the many laboratories/collection departments of the museum, based on their individual interests. Several RU students have secured short-term paid positions following their successful experiences in this course, and two are currently employed on a year-round basis.

For additional information about SUST 330 at the Field Museum, please contact Dr. Kerbis Peterhans (

Course Registration Information

  • Title/number: SUST 330 Biodiversity (section 01)
  • Semester offered: Fall 2016
  • Location: Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago (map here)
  • Day/time: Thursday 9am-1pm
  • Start date: 29 Aug 2016
  • Pre-req: UWR

SUST majors and minors may take this class to fulfill an upper-level SUST requirement, but 330 also is open to students at large who need a general education course in natural science or desire elective credit. It also counts toward the Environmental Science minor for BIOL and CHEM majors.

Posted in biodiversity, conservation, courses, education, faculty, museums, research, Roosevelt, science, students

RU’s Community Service Week Events Planned for Jan. 25-29

Join RU’s Center for Student Involvement next week for Community Service Week. Several campus events are scheduled:

Sol FloresMonday, Jan. 25 – Guest Speaker: Sol Flores (pictured at right), founding executive director of La Casa Norte. 2 p.m. in Wabash 418.

Tuesday, Jan. 26 – Community Service Fair, noon – 4 p.m. in Congress Lounge.

Wednesday, Jan. 27 – Student Involvement Fair and Build-A-Bear. The Involvement Fair will be from noon – 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Build-A-Bear will begin at 2 p.m. for students.

Friday, Jan. 29Greater Chicago Food Depository, 9 a.m. – noon. Those who are interested can sign up at any of the events and also in Wabash 317! Volunteers will meet and leave from the CSI office at 8 a.m.

Please use #RUServing when talking about and attending these events!

Contact Tanner Strong, Graduate Assistant, Center for Student Involvement, at, with any questions.


Posted in activities, community, events, Roosevelt, service, students

Greenprint Plan Empowers Community Colleges, Develops Green Workforce

Editor’s note: This message is adapted from the Illinois Green Economy Network’s News and Events webpage announcement.

Source: IGEN

Source: IGEN

Jobs for the FutureNational Wildlife FederationBank of America, and education leaders all across North America last month released Greenprint: A Plan to Prepare Community College Students for Careers in the Clean Economy. This plan comes at a critical time, in the wake of the historic Paris accord, in which 195 nations agreed to invest in lowering global greenhouse gas emissions. These leaders will challenge all nations to develop a workforce skilled in sustainability.

The objective of the Greenprint plan is to equip 20 million students with sustainability knowledge and career skills by 2025. This new report begins to address the challenge of linking environmental quality and workforce development.

Highlights of the Greenprint plan include:

  • A call to key stakeholder groups such as government and the private sector to work with education institutions to increase programs and employment opportunities for a workforce with sustainability skills.
  • A review of federal and state policy vehicles that can provide clearer and more direct support of sustainability skills and knowledge.
  • The marrying of sustainability education programs with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
  • How student organizations can play a role in supporting the nation’s transition to a greener workforce.

The Greenprint plan was created by thought leaders representing industry associations, student groups, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and higher education entities in the U.S. and Canada who participated in a national and statewide convening as part of the Greenforce Initiative, organized by the National Wildlife Federation and Jobs for the Future with support from Bank of America Charitable Foundation, NASA, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, and other donors.

Posted in publications, news, green jobs, community, economics, education

SUST Alumni Guest Post: Bridget Powers (BA ’14) Reflects on Her Americorps VISTA Year at the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana

IMG_0865This alumni guest post is by Bridget Powers (BA ’14), who after graduation secured an AmeriCorps VISTA post working at a Boys and Girls Club on the Northern Cheyenne Nation’s Reservation in Montana in 2015. She spent last year writing grants, developing environmental education curriculum, leading field trips for children, and contributing to various community development projects on the reservation. Here she reflects on her SUST education at Roosevelt and her experiences on the Cheyenne Reservation.

I joined Americorps VISTA  to serve in Montana and work with the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation in January of 2015. Coming to Montana and working with the club has been  one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I have been able to work with a great organization, become a part of a completely different community, and help make a difference in children’s lives.

Campers getting ready to swim at one of the ponds at Crazy Head Springs at the annual weeklong No"Meth"ing Around summer camp in July, 2015, (B. Powers)

Campers getting ready to swim at one of the ponds at Crazy Head Springs at the annual weeklong No”Meth”ing Around summer camp in July, 2015, (B. Powers)

When I was applying for VISTA positions I was looking for programs in areas that would be very different from my home town of Chicago and outside of my comfort zone. The State of Montana hosts 15 different AmeriCorps programs and projects that place dedicated individuals in communities across the state that work to help improve the lives and people living in Montana.

Since as a Sustainability Studies student I gravitated towards policy and its impacts on a community, I wanted to have a better understanding of rural communities and their challenges, especially coming from an urban area like Chicago. I have been able to spend time living with the Cheyenne people and experiencing life in Montana.

Listening to traditional stories around a campfire, Northern Cheyenne Reservation (B. Powers, 2015)

Listening to traditional stories around a campfire, Northern Cheyenne Reservation (B. Powers, 2015)

The Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation is a year-round after-school and summer program. The Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation is located on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation located in southeastern Montana. Life on the reservation is very difficult, as there are very high unemployment and substance abuse rates. Many of the children we serve are living in broken and impoverished homes and the Boy and Girls Club provides stability and structure that are greatly needed in their lives.

The Boys and Girls Club is the only community entity on the reservation that provides facility‐based after-school and summer programs designed to enhance academic performance, inspire character development, and promote healthy life choices. There are three active Boys and Girls Club Units on the reservation, located in the Lame Deer, Ashland, and Busby communities. The Boys and Girls Club also has a strong cultural component that is very unique to the club.

Bridget Powers (BA '14) and kids from the Boys and Girls Club, Northern Cheyenne Reservation (2015)

Bridget Powers (BA ’14) and kids from the Boys and Girls Club, Northern Cheyenne Reservation (2015)

My duties at the club included writing grants and working on creating new curriculum. I also was a major part of the committee to open the new club unit in the Busby community. I have also been able to work with the kids directly and they are some of the most deserving kids I have ever met despite the challenges that they face every day. I have been able to go on several cultural trips with the club kids to important sites of cultural and religious significance for the Cheyenne People.

The time I have spent here with the Cheyenne has been very rewarding and I know I will always love and think positively of my time with the Cheyenne people. I have had the opportunity to be embraced by the people in the community and they have been open to sharing with me an understanding of their lifestyle and cultural traditions. I have been able to help on a ranch, gaining an understanding about hunting and its importance; I have also been able to participate in tribal ceremonies and celebrations.

On an ATV on the banks of the Tongue River, helping to herd cattle for branding (B. Powers, 2015)

On an ATV on the banks of the Tongue River, helping to herd cattle for branding (B. Powers, 2015)

Overall I have loved living a country life and plan to always be involved in some way with the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation. My work here has definitely changed my career focus. I am still planning to attend grad school in the near future; however, I’ve discovered that I would like to work with and for children.

Posted in degrees, policy, students, social justice, service, green jobs, Roosevelt, education, alumni

City of Chicago Releases “Sustainable Chicago Action Agenda 2012-2015 Highlights and Look Ahead”

sustainable chicago 2012-15 imageTake a look inside the Sustainable Chicago Action Agenda 2012-2015 Highlights and Look Ahead, an easy-to-read summarization of Chicago’s progress thus far in the City’s commitment to a sustainable future.

Recent achievements such as passing the Energy Benchmarking ordinance, joining the global Compact of Mayors, as well as receiving high rankings in environmental governance policies and city bike-ability, just to name a few, are amongst the many strides the City has taken in emerging as a leader amongst sustainable U.S. cities.

Listed alongside these highlights are the City’s plans for the foreseeable future, in expanding upon the advancements that have already been made across the agenda’s 7 themes of sustainability.

From the City of Chicago website:

“A sustainable Chicago is a city that spends less on energy use with each passing year, creates good-paying jobs in up-and-coming industries, responsibly maintains and upgrades its infrastructure, and ensures every Chicagoan has the opportunity to live a healthy and active lifestyle.” – Mayor Emanuel

The Sustainable Chicago Action Agenda represents Mayor Emanuel’s vision to make our city more livable, competitive, and sustainable.  The plan, which launched in 2012, outlines 7 themes, 24 goals, and 100 concrete actions that comprise a clear commitment to leadership, partnership, and positive impact. The plan also offers a roadmap for how residents and businesses can contribute to Chicago’s ambitious sustainability goals.

Sustainable Chicago’s 7 themes are mutually-reinforcing, with success in one area supporting many other related efforts:

  1. Economic Development and Job Creation
  2. Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy
  3. Transportation Options
  4. Water and Wastewater
  5. Parks, Open Space and Healthy Food
  6. Waste and Recycling
  7. Climate Change
Posted in cities, community, news, planning, policy, publications