UIC Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy for 2016

SISE Nexus flier imageThe Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) is a two-week intensive workshop and lecture series geared towards individuals interested in the relation between sustainability and energy. The 2016 program theme is “Nexus,” that is, the connection between water and energy. In the summer of 2011, SUST alum Jeff Wasil attended the first Summer Institute, the theme of which was water. As the call for applications notes,

The Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) is a two-week intensive workshop and lecture series for students and professionals. From August 4-16, a diverse body of participants will engage a broad spectrum of energy and sustainability-related topics through daily presentations, collaborative projects, mentoring activities, site visits, and networking opportunities with leading research institutions and companies in the digital technology and energy sectors.

The issues presented will be of interest to scientists, economists, political scientists, urban planners, engineers, architects, and entrepreneurs. Graduates leave as thoughtful and informed global citizens with a firm foundation and expanded network for careers in sustainability, energy, and smart technology and infrastructure.

2016 Theme: Nexus
Water and energy have long been thought of–and addressed as–two separate issues. With the advent of systems thinking, life cycle assessment, and similar strategies for interdisciplinary analysis, the connection between water and energy has only recently been fully acknowledged. This nexus will be challenged in the coming decades as a result of 1) a growing world population, 2) the need to cultivate more food, 3) a dwindling supply of available water resources, and 4) unforeseen disasters as result of climate change. It is important for energy and sustainability-minded professionals, and all future decision makers, to become fluent in the issues surrounding the nexus, and to work together to implement innovative solutions in the decades to come.

SISE will 1) explore the relationship between energy and water with an eye towards environmental and agricultural impacts; 2) explore the the use of water, especially in energy extraction (fracking) and generation; and 3) highlight the role of the grid in energy issues, emphasizing three specific areas: smart grid, storage for the grid, and the distribution of energy. Participants will consider where the United States is to date, potential solutions, and obstacles and opportunities for each path moving forward.

Now Accepting Applications
Admission into the program is highly competitive, drawing from a national pool of applicants. Participants can expect lodging for the duration of the 2-week program. Many participants will receive partial support for travel costs.

Senior-level undergraduates (as of the fall of 2016), graduate students, and professionals working in the fields of sustainability and energy who are living, working, or studying in the United States are eligible to apply. An online application, a resume, and two letters of reference are required. Applications will be accepted through July 1, 2016. More information is provided on the SISE website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Thomas Aláan (uic.sise.admissions@gmail.com), SISE Program Coordinator.

In partnership with Argonne National Laboratory; Clean Energy Trust; Institute for Sustainability & Energy at Northwestern (Northwestern University); Loyola University; UI LABS; University of Chicago; Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research (Illinois Institute of Technology)

SISE Website                           SISE on Facebook
http://sise.uic.edu/       https://www.facebook.com/uic.sise

Posted in climate change, education, energy, policy, research, science, students, water

FMNH in the News: It’s Not Easy Being Green (For a 95 Year Old Building)

This announcement from the Field Museum of Natural History’s weekly Science and Education News bulletin (21 April 2016) notes the Museum’s achievement of LEED Gold certification, and how the sustainable operations within this historic building are a green asset to the City of Chicago.

Native gardens outside the Field Museum (photo: L. Miller Hill)

Native gardens outside the Field Museum (photo: L. Miller Hill, 2015)

On March 22, S&E Sustainability Manager Carter O’Brien gave a presentation to the Air & Waste Management Association Lake Michigan States Section at the Union League Club. Carter described the process behind the Museum’s receiving building-wide LEED Gold certification, as well as efforts to continue greening its operations in the context of a landmarked historic building containing 1.3 million square feet of public exhibitions, collections, labs, offices and event space.

Due to their focus on issues relating to the health of Lake Michigan, the audience was particularly interested in the Museum’s landscaping plans, as the in-development Rice Native Gardens, which will replace turf grass with native plants and permeable pavers, thus increasing storm water retention and carbon absorption, improving stormwater quality draining into Lake Michigan by reducing fertilizer usage, and reducing urban heat island effect.

On March 25, Carter presented and was part of a panel on institutional best practices at the annual Good Food Festival at UIC. Carter described how the Museum worked closely with Greg Christian and Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners to craft a sustainable food operator program, designed to help the restaurants put the Museum’s mission of conservation into practice within its walls and to educate the public while doing so. While an increasing number of institutions are serving sustainably sourced food, the Museum’s program is in a class of its own, as our restaurants are externally audited every quarter, and are on or well above target for over 50 separate goals pertaining to supply chains and day-to-day operations, with increasing sliding-scale metrics over a 10-year time span. After their first full year of operation, the Museum restaurants have achieved the following:

• 18% of all food purchases met one or more sustainable standards (USDA organic, Fair Trade, sustainable seafood, etc,)
• 5% of all food purchases are locally sourced
• 44% of the menu is vegetarian friendly
• 74% waste diversion rate

Click here to read the FMNH’s full 21 April 2016 news bulletin (pdf).

Posted in architecture, food, green design, museums, news, publications, waste, water

Join Us on Wed, Apr 27th, at the Spring 2016 SUST Student Symposium at RU’s Chicago Campus

This Wednesday, April 27th, please join the Sustainability Studies Program at Roosevelt University for a special afternoon Symposium of student projects and research from 2:30-5:30pm in RU’s LEED Gold-certified Wabash Building at 425 S. Wabash Ave. in downtown Chicago (room 1214). Students in Roosevelt’s SUST program will give presentations about their recent campus sustainability projects, internships, and research experiences in a forum that is open to all RU students, faculty, and staff as well as the general public. The Symposium also will be videoconferenced via Zoom, so you may attend online or by phone, if you wish (see below).

Featured Student Speakers

Members of SUST 390 Sustainable Campus (honors) — From Plan to Action: Moving Sustainability Forward at RU

Students in the Spring 2016 honors seminar “Sustainable Campus” will start our Symposium with a series of group presentations on their campus sustainability projects undertaken this spring to help advance RU’s Strategic Sustainability Plan across several fronts. Teams will discuss their initiatives in four areas: general education curriculum (Nicole Kasper & Kurt Witteman), food waste reduction (Michael Gobbel & Tom Smith), student orientation (Jessica Heinz, Claudia Remy, & Moses Viveros), and bottled water policy (Ashley Nesseler, Lacy Reyna, & Brandon Rohlwing).

Lindsey Sharp — A Key to Unlocking Species Diversity at Lolldaiga Ranch

Lindsey is a senior SUST major and returning adult student who was awarded the prestigious Travis Foundation Scholarship this fall at RU, a competitive award given to 16 students each year. The scholarship enabled her to continue her studies as well as pursue a Spring 2016 internship at the Field Museum of Natural History, which she reported on recently here. Her project focuses on the preparation and identification process of specimens collected during field research in the Eastern Province of Kenya. The results of the identification process were also analyzed in order to determine the area’s population of rodent species, which can be compared to earlier samples gathered from the area in order to determine changes in biodiversity over time. Her talk will discuss her everyday work at the lab in the larger context of mammal ecology, biodiversity conservation, and the value of museum collections research.

Cassidy AventSummer at SCARCE: An Environmental Education Internship Experience

Throughout the summer of 2015, SUST senior Cassidy Avent had the opportunity to work as an intern for an environmental NGO known as School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE). Her summer included working at the SCARCE office in Glen Ellyn IL, giving environmental education presentations at schools and community events, participating in teacher workshops, and many other fulfilling activities. Within this presentation she discusses her experience at SCARCE along with all of the valuable information and insights she gathered while interning at such a fascinating place.

Tiffany Mucci head shotTiffany Mucci — Midewin: One Land’s Story of Recovery and Renewal

SUST senior and returning adult student Tiffany Mucci, who has served as the Assistant Editor of the SUST at RU Blog this academic year, explores Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie as a living example of both the challenges we face in restoring and managing our native landscapes, and the resiliency of nature. Her presentation will highlight this site’s history as one of our nation’s most productive ordnance complexes to ever exist, and reveal its present-day designation as a protected tallgrass prairie ecosystem under the U.S. Forest Service. From seeding, to frogging, to corralling the newly-adopted buffalo of Midewin, she’ll relate what goes into “making a prairie” in the 21st century.

Lacy-ReynaLacy Reyna — Temporal Distribution of Bryophytes in Cook County, IL

Senior science major and honors student Lacy Reyna, a double major in biology and psychology and RU’s 2015 Lincoln Laureate, worked in the botany division of the Field Museum while enrolled in the museum-based SUST 330 Biodiversity course this past fall with Lindsey. Using collections data from various institutions including the Field Museum, her research done in collaboration with FMNH scientists documents the shift in bryophyte species in Cook County across time. Her talk provides potential explanations for the shifts in species populations as well as discusses the importance of museum collections for biodiversity conservation.

Come join us to learn about and celebrate these students’ work! This event is free and refreshments are provided. Kindly RSVP to Mike Bryson (mbryson@roosevelt.edu) your plans to attend. Videoconferencing will be made available via Zoom. Hope to see you there! And if you need further incentive to attend, just check out past Symposia from 2013-15.

Essential Information

  • Date / Time:  Wednesday, Apr. 27th, 2015 / 2:30-5:45pm
  • Agenda:  Refreshments served and pleasant hobnobbing begins at 2pm; presentations start promptly at 2:30pm; event concludes ~ 5:30pm (with more chit-chat and eating)
  • Place:  RU’s Wabash Building, 425 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago IL, room 1214
  • Zoom Videoconferencing: Can’t attend in person? See below!
  • RSVP:  SUST Director Mike Bryson (mbryson@roosevelt.edu)

Zoom Videoconference Information

  • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://roosevelt.zoom.us/j/368245293
  • Or iPhone one-tap:  14086380968,368245293# or 16465588656,368245293#
  • Or Telephone:
    +1 877 369 0926 (US Toll Free) or +1 888 974 9888 (US Toll Free)
    Meeting ID: 368 245 293
Posted in activities, biodiversity, education, events, internships, museums, presentations, recycling, research, Roosevelt, science, students

US and 170+ other Countries Sign Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day 2016


Posted in climate change, ecology, events, news, policy, social justice

Where We Live: Earth Day, 22 April 2016

Source: NASA

Source: NASA

Posted in climate change, conservation, ecology

Voting Open for Reuse Art Competition at RU during Earth Month

Reading Room at RU's Auditorium Library

Reading Room at RU’s Auditorium Library

As part of our campus Earth Week events, Roosevelt’s Reuse Art Competition is now open and available for viewing! To vote on your favorite piece of art, please follow this link. Images of the art have been uploaded to the survey and are available for you to view. Voting runs through April 30th.

If you’d like to see the art in person, please visit the Murray-Green Library at the Chicago Campus, which will be on display through Friday, Earth Day, April 22nd. Students, faculty, and staff collected items that would otherwise be thrown away, and used the items to create their own personal art piece. These art objects show us why the materials and items we utilize are not just “trash,” but worth much more. Prizes will be awarded to the top three participants!

For more information, contact Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, Physical Resources (sfisher@roosevelt.edu).

Posted in activities, arts, exhibits, humanities, recycling, Roosevelt, waste

Travel Course Interest Meeting Tomorrow at RU

FLYER - Faculty-Led Travel Course Interest Meeting Spr16The College of Arts and Sciences at Roosevelt University invites all students to come learn about upcoming faculty-led trips, the benefits of studying abroad or taking a faculty-led travel course at Roosevelt, and the experiences of students who have previously taken faculty-led courses at the Faculty-Led Travel Course Interest Meeting.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, April 21st from 4:45pm to 6:00pm in AUD 720 (flyer here) on the Chicago Campus. Light refreshments will be served. We hope to see you there!

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