Planning for Environmental Justice: Kim Wasserman of LVEJO @RooseveltU, this Wed 9/26

Lineup of “Just By Nature” environmental activism & justice events at Roosevelt University, Fall 2018. All events held in the Sullivan Room of the historic Auditorium Building @RU. For more info, contact Prof. Bethany Barratt (bbarratt@roosevelt.edu).

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Posted in community, education, ethics, events, planning, policy, pollution, presentations, Roosevelt, social justice, waste

Don’t Miss the Farm to Table Fundraiser Dinner at Eden Place Nature Center, Tomorrow 4-8pm

RU students are in their 5th year of doing service work at the only nature center on Chicago’s South Side, Eden Place. Tomorrow is their first annual farm-to-table fundraising dinner. This year’s inaugural event will feature organic and fresh food from Eden Place and local area farms — a great chance to eat well and support a vital community institution in Chicago’s Fuller Park neighborhood.

Enjoy a four-course meal prepared by three of Chicago’s best restaurants, live music and a host of special guess attendees. Enjoy Delicious Cuisine Creations from Majani Restaurant, Roe’s Gratitude, Sweet Blooms, and Eden Place Farms.

Tickets are still available online! Event will be at the Nature Center, with street parking on the north end. See event info on Facebook here.

Posted in activities, agriculture, events, food

How Does Your Water Flow? Comparing soil infiltration rates between natural areas and turf grass in urban parkland

By Brittany Janney (SUST Major class of ’18) and Michelle Giles (SUST Major class of ’18)

This past summer we participated in the Urban Ecology Field Lab program at the Field Museum of Natural History. The Field Lab is an interdisciplinary research program where students get to design and implement a research project under the expert guidance of ecological and social scientists at the Field Museum. This year, 8 students participated in the program and split into three teams working on different topics related to urban ecology in Chicago: one focused on community interactions with green space, a second examined plant/pollinator relationships on restored sites, and our team looked at the relationship between soil and water infiltration rates across different land use types.

This is the second year a Roosevelt Sustainability major has participated in the program. Last Year Diana Ramirez (BA ’17) blogged about her experience working on the social science element. Brittany, Michelle, and visiting scholar Disha Sinha from New Delhi, India homed in on soil and water infiltration, which has big implications for storm water management.

Our research was conducted in a diverse natural area in Chicago known as the Burnham Wildlife Corridor, located on the south lakefront. This area covers 600 acres of land and features 100 acres of natural areas alongside turf grass and beaches interwoven through the narrow lakefront landscape (CPD, n.d.). The natural area restoration contains three terrains native to Illinois: prairie, savanna and woodlands. The combination of restored natural areas directly juxtaposed with turf grass sites made it the ideal location to compare infiltration rates between the various landscapes.

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The Chicago Park District Natural Areas program focuses on planting native vegetation in some areas instead of traditional turf grass in order to provide habitat for pollinators and improve stormwater management. In this image, you can see the difference between native plants on the left and turf on the right.

The goal of our research was to experiment on restoration sites of various ages and type to determine the factors that significantly influence water infiltration rates. The aim was to provide actionable data for the main land manager within the Chicago region, the Chicago Park District (CPD). CPD has already undergone a transition to a more natural area focused management and presently 16% of Chicago Park District is managed as a natural area (Freer, 2018). The soils and grounds that support the plant life of Chicago will see changes as the number of natural areas grow. Our study aims to shed some light on how these changes are making a difference for stormwater management.

Approaches to Managing Stormwater

Traditional stormwater management is designed to remove and direct water from wherever it lands towards treatment facilities. This has typically been accomplished through massive hardscape designs including tunnels and reservoirs. This management is not consistent with the natural hydrological processes of soil infiltration, which would naturally slow the absorption and retain that same stormwater in place (Redfern, et al. 2016). This disruption can exacerbate urban heat island effect by drying out landscapes and can result in flooding despite stormwater management hardscapes (Couttes, et al. 2012).

The Environmental Protection Agency has shifted to a model of “Green Infrastructure” encouraging installations of green roofs, land conservation, bioswales and other elements that mimic nature by soaking up the water instead of simply exporting it (EPA, 2018). In Chicago, stormwater management is an issue of utmost importance. Chicago could see precipitation rates that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts could change from -1% up to +19% by the end of the century (CMAP p. 16, 2013). The Chicago Green Infrastructure Vision encourages a patchwork of natural areas to support storm management in a more holistic fashion (Mengler & Williamson, 2012).

Since vegetation can be so impactful, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) has also supported green infrastructure efforts by getting rid of legislative barriers (CMAP, 2011) and approving grants for green infrastructure throughout the region (MWRD, 2018). The city of Chicago has combined sewer systems meaning that wastewater from homes and storm water funnel through the same pipes. This can result in combined sewer overflows (CSO events) that force the MWRD to release untreated water into rivers (MWRD, 2015). While the MWRD is increasing its hardscape capacity with the Deep Tunnel and Reservoir Project to contain 20.55 billion gallons of water by 2029 (MWRD, 2015), they are highly in support of preventative green projects to keep that storm water in the soil instead of the sewer.

The Chicago Nature & Wildlife Plan Update defines natural areas as “managed open space dominated by native vegetation that supports wildlife and provides ecosystem services.” (Chicago Advisory Committee, 2011). Along with the co-benefits of providing wildlife habitat and aesthetically appealing landscapes, natural areas can help manage stormwater as well and are a key tool discussed throughout the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Green Infrastructure Vision for the city (CMAP, 2013). Presently, the Chicago region boasts over 3,000 acres of natural areas. Yet the Natural Areas Directory map (City of Chicago, 2011) shows over 900 additional acres are available for the creation of more natural areas, which will help Chicago become more climate ready and resilient per the goals of the Chicago Nature & Wildlife Plan Update (Chicago Advisory Committee, 2011). 

Methodology and Research Objectives

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Our study sites in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor

Given this interest in green infrastructure in Chicago, our research objective was to compare water infiltration rates between restored natural areas of different ages and traditional turf grass areas within 1-200 meters from one another. In other words, are natural areas better at managing stormwater than traditional turf grass parks? 

We hypothesized that the restored natural areas, containing mostly plants native to prairies and savannas, will have higher rates of water infiltration than nearby turf grass sites based on the deep perennial root structures characteristic of restored sites.

In lay terms, we poured water into the ground and measured how long it took to completely penetrate the soil. We hypothesized that water would take longer to penetrate the soil in areas that were turf grass instead of native vegetation, thus showing that restoring areas to native plants would enable the landscape to better manage heavy rain events.

In more scientific terms, our research utilized the United States Department of Agriculture’s recommendations for single-ring infiltrometer with a few modifications to better meet the site needs. A six inch (16 centimeter) PVC ring vessel was fixed approximately two cm into the ground to contain the water. A small garden shovel and rubber mallet were used to get the ring to stay in the ground without leaks. Our team repeated the test (pouring a fixed amount of water into the ring) six to eleven times to find constant rate of infiltration (Jarrett, n.d.).

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Conducting “pours” on turf site (Standing: Disha, Left: Brittany, Right: Michelle) 

Additionally, we took soil cores at three locations per site to access compaction and perform a crude qualitative analysis of sediment type, moisture content and color. The image on the left shows the healthier soil found in restored sites versus the compacted soil found in turf grass areas. Water moves more easily through the soil on the left.

Pill bugs were numerable enough to make mention of at two of our five testing locations in 41st St Bioretention and 47th St Restoration. These sites both had soil cores that showed dark, earthy and organic matter. Since infiltration rates can benefit from a healthy biotic community, we believe there is a connection here between decomposer presence and the time it takes water to infiltrate. More recording and literature review would be necessary to include this information in future studies.

Research Results

Due to the statistical significance in our p-value of 0.03, our hypothesis was supported. We have found natural areas to have higher infiltration rates and are therefore highly valuable in storm management. Their increased absorption may also have added benefits of reducing heat island effects and vegetation has the ability to support wildlife. Natural areas are in line with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Infrastructure recommendations and are a valuable solution for stormwater management.

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It was an honor and a privilege to conduct this research. Not only did we gain valuable experience, but our results were geared towards affecting land management policy. It is extremely rewarding to have been a part of the Urban Ecology Field Lab and has made us both very passionate about the future of green infrastructure in Chicago and the power of plants.

 

Posted in uncategorized | 1 Comment

Planning for Environmental Justice: Kim Wasserman @RooseveltU, Wed 9/26

Lineup of “Just By Nature” environmental activism & justice events at Roosevelt University, Fall 2018. All events held in the Sullivan Room of the historic Auditorium Building @RU. For more info, contact Prof. Bethany Barratt (bbarratt@roosevelt.edu).

Posted in community, education, ethics, events, planning, policy, pollution, presentations, Roosevelt, social justice, waste | 1 Comment

American Dream Reconsidered Conference this Week @RooseveltU

Please join the Roosevelt University community for the kickoff to the American Dream Reconsidered Conference today!

Ida B. Wells Lounge Dedication Reception | 430 S. Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor East | 5 p.m. Monday 9/10

The reception will honor Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her many contributions to the struggle for civil rights and equality for African Americans. Featuring guest of honor, Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells-Barnett and professor at Columbia College Chicago.

The Historical Oddity of American Health Care | Ganz Hall | 6:30 p.m. Monday 9/10

The panel will explore the post-WWII history of American health care. Panelists will attempt to untangle the web of influences that have given rise to the complicated arena of health care in America. Featuring Dr. Lawrence D. Brown, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health professor; Guian McKee, University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs associate professor; and Dr. Stephanie Vomvouras, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois vice president of healthcare delivery and chief medical officer.

For American Dream Reconsidered Conference program information: roosevelt.edu/americandream

Join in the Conversation — Submit your questions for the American Dream Reconsidered panelists

The American Dream Reconsidered Conference begins today and now is your chance to join the conversation. Submit your questions today for the American Dream Reconsidered Conference’s keynote speaker events, led by the Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. and musician and actor Common.

For “A Conversation with Common: Activism in an Age of Polarization,” questions can also be submitted for fellow panelists Dr. Mary Ellen Caron, PhD, chief executive officer of After School Matters, and Dr. Janice K. Jackson, PhD, chief executive officer for Chicago Public Schools. During these events, a selection of the submitted questions will appear onscreen for the attending audience.

Don’t wait to engage in the conversation. Submit your questions now for the Eric Holder and Common keynote panels!

RU President Ali harvests greens from the WB Rooftop Garden during the #AmDreamConf service day, 15 Sept 2016 (photo: RU)

Service Day, Sept. 14 – Volunteers are Needed

We need volunteers! Opportunities are still available at both Chicago and Schaumburg. Sign up at americandreamconference.com/service-day.

Schaumburg: Meet between 8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. in Room 126 for Service Day T-shirt pickup and designated meeting area.

  • Painting and Community Garden Cleanup – 9 a.m.
  • Trash Pick and Window Cleaning – 12 p.m.

Chicago: Meet between 9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Fainman Lounge, AUD Bldg. 2nd Floor Service Day T-shirt pick up. Check your confirmation for room number and time to meet.

  • Feeding Children Everywhere (campus)
  • United Nations Cause Advocacy (campus)
  • Rooftop Garden (campus)
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository (off-campus – bus provided)

SUST alumni & students on the WB Rooftop Garden during Service Day 2017. L to R: Moses Viveros, Diana Ramirez, Beeka Quesnell, & Maria Cancilla (photo: M. Bryson)

For more information:

  • Chicago, call Keturah Brown, 312-341-3543 or email at kbrown80@roosevelt.edu
  • Schaumburg, call Erica Poremba, 847-619-8650 or email at eporemba01@roosevelt.edu
Posted in activities, conferences, education, events, presentations, Roosevelt, service, social justice | 1 Comment

College of Arts & Sciences Events for Fall 2018

Dean Bonnie Gunzenhauser cordially invites all members of the Roosevelt University community to attend the following events sponsored by the college during the fall, 2018 semester. Please contact Juli Rowen with any questions at jrowen@roosevelt.edu or at (312) 322-7142.

Register for next week’s American Dream Reconsidered Conference: www.roosevelt.edu/americandream.

Computer Science Department Meet and Greet
The Computer Science Department is hosting a meet and greet for all computer science students and interested students on Monday, September 10 from 3-4 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 320. Meet fellow students and faculty members and enjoy conversation and refreshments. For more information, contact Professor Meng Yu at myu04@roosevelt.edu.

Honors Program Welcome and Induction
Please join the Honors Program for the kick-off the new academic year at the Fall Welcome and Induction Ceremony on Monday, September 17 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 244. Learn about updates for the upcoming year; hear from featured speakers; and welcome back returning Honors students, and formally induct new Honors students to the program. For more information, contact Professor Marjorie Jolles at mjolles@roosevelt.edu.

4th Annual Actuarial Career and Networking Fair
The Actuarial Science Program and the Office of Career Development are sponsoring a career fair for students and alumni in the actuarial science field on Thursday, September 20 from 4-6 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Murray-Green Library, 10th floor of the Auditorium Building. The event includes a keynote speech by an industry professional and the opportunity for students and alumni to speak with employers. Interested students should bring their resumes and dress for success. For more information, contact Professor Wanwan Huang at whuang05@roosevelt.edu or the Office of Career Development at career@roosevelt.edu.

History Graduate Student Welcome Party
The History Program is hosting a welcome party for new and prospective MA History students on Thursday, September 20 from 4:45-6 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 834. Meet fellow students and faculty and enjoy pizza, beverages, and good cheer. For more information, contact Prof. Margaret Rung at mrung@roosevelt.edu.

Annual Women’s and Gender Studies Fall Social
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program is hosting its annual fall social on Monday, September 24 from 5-6 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, in the in the Gender Justice Space, Auditorium Building, room 680. Open to all members of the Roosevelt community. For more information, contact Professor Sandra Frink at sfrink@roosevelt.edu.

Actuarial Science Interest Session
The Actuarial Science Program is hosting a session for students interested in how to make an entry into one’s first actuarial role on Wednesday, October 3 from 5-6 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 306. A representative from Ezra Penland will be the guest speaker. For more information, contact Professor Wanwan Huang at whuang05@roosevelt.edu

Special Education Advocacy Training
The Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation is hosting a training session for individuals interested in becoming advocates for students with disabilities on Friday, October 5 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Chicago Campus. Upon completion of the training and a background check, Roosevelt students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to serve as surrogate educational advocates. For more information or to register, contact Professor Heather Dalmage at hdalmage@roosevelt.edu.

Grand Re-opening of the Gage Gallery
Steve Schapiro: Civil Rights Era Contact Sheets —
A Companion Exhibition with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Celebrate the re-opening of the Roosevelt University Gage Gallery in its new location – 425 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago (the former Roosevelt bookstore) – with an opening reception on Thursday, October 11 from 5-7 p.m. This exhibition will showcase a collection of enlarged proof sheets from Steve Schapiro’s work during the civil rights era of the 1960s. During this decade, called the “golden age in photojournalism,” Schapiro produced photo-essays on subjects as varied as narcotics addiction, Easter in Harlem, Haight-Ashbury, political protest, the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy, and more. An activist as well as documentarian, Schapiro covered many stories related to the Civil Rights movement. Called by Life Magazine to Memphis after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Schapiro produced some of the most iconic images of that tragic event. The show, which is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, ends December 22, 2018. For more information, visit www.roosevelt.edu/gagegallery. A companion exhibition, Activists and Icons: The Photographs of Steve Schapiro, will be on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie from October 7, 2018-June 23, 2019. The exhibition features iconic as well as never-before-seen photos of the Civil Rights Movement and cultural and political change-agents of recent history. (www.ilholocaustmuseum.org).

Scholar Activist Training Workshop
The Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation is hosting the Hopmayer Scholar Activist Workshop on Monday, October 29 from 2-5 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 426. Roosevelt students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in the three-hour training. Participants will learn about Abolitionist Activism from a scholar activist perspective. Sangeetha Ranvandavich, associate director of the Arab American Cultural Center, University of Illinois-Chicago, will address theories and practices of scholar activism, anchored in the context of current Abolitionist organizing and activism. Faculty members are encouraged to bring their students. For more information or to register, contact Professor Heather Dalmage at hdalmage@roosevelt.edu.

Montesquieu Forum Lecture – Abraham Lincoln and the Daughters of Dred Scott
The Montesquieu Forum for the Study of Civic Life is hosting a lecture with Diana Schaub, Professor of Political Science at Loyola University, Maryland, and visiting Professor of Government this semester at Harvard University, on Thursday, November 1 at 4:30 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 720. Professor Schaub will discuss Abraham Lincoln and the Daughters of Dred Scott.  Free and open to all members of the Roosevelt community and to the public. For more information, contact Professor Stuart Warner at swarner@roosevelt.edu.

Getting Paid to Create Change – Career and Graduate School Pathways
The Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation is hosting a workshop focusing on career and graduate school pathways for students who want to affect change. The workshop is on  Monday, November 5 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 426. Open to all students interested in developing pathways toward meaningful careers and/or graduate school. For more information, contact Professor Heather Dalmage at hdalmage@roosevelt.edu.

25th Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Lecture – The Roosevelts and the Holocaust
The Center for New Deal Studies is hosting the 25th Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Lecture – The Roosevelts and the Holocaust – on Tuesday, November 6 at 12:30 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, 7th floor Ganz Hall. Dr. Daniel Greene, professor at Northwestern University and curator of Americans and the Holocaust, an exhibition that opened in April, 2018 at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, will discuss The Roosevelts and the Holocaust. The lecture is free and open to the public, but a reservation is required. Please RSVP at FDRLecture@roosevelt.edu or (312) 341-3838. For more information, contact Professor Margaret Rung at mrung@roosevelt.edu.

Montesquieu Forum Lecture  – Wooden Walls: Themistocles and the Battle of Salamis in Herodotus’s History
The Montesquieu Forum for the Study of Civic Life is hosting a lecture with Charlotte Thomas, Professor of Philosophy at Mercer University, on Thursday, November 15 at 4:30 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, Auditorium Building, room 720. Professor Thomas will discuss “Wooden Walls: Themistocles and the Battle of Salamis in Herodotus’s History.  Free and open to all members of the Roosevelt community and to the public. For more information, contact Professor Stuart Warner at swarner@roosevelt.edu.

9th Annual Math x-Position
The Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science and Economics and the Math Club are sponsoring the 9th Annual Math x-Position on Friday, November 30 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Chicago Campus, in the Wabash Building, room 418. All members of the Roosevelt community are invited to attend the poster sessions, career panel, keynote address, and competitions that celebrate the work of our mathematics students.  The event is free and open to all members of the Roosevelt community, but an RSVP is requested by November 26 for lunch: http://mathxposition.eventbrite.com​ . For more information, contact Professor Steve Cohen at scohen@roosevelt.edu.

Posted in activities, courses, education, events, faculty, presentations, Roosevelt, social justice, students

Greenest Region Corps Seeks Sustainability Leaders for Chicago Regional Communities

Across the Chicago Region, communities are voluntarily taking steps to become more sustainable and help make their communities attractive places to live and work. These steps are outlined in the Greenest Region Compact (GRC), a partnership between the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (Caucus) and the 100+ municipalities who are working every day to as stewards of the environment, community and local economic vitality.

To learn more about the GRC, please visit:
http://mayorscaucus.org/initiatives/environment/rec/

The Greenest Region Corps is a NEW partnership between the Caucus and AmeriCorps to find enthusiastic volunteers to lead sustainability projects in a select group of our GRC communities. AmeriCorps volunteers will work directly for a GRC community on a project that will result in greater environmental awareness and stewardship. Volunteers will be recruited and administered by the Caucus, but will be placed directly in one of eight community locations. In addition, volunteers will receive training and mentoring from staff at the USEPA Region 5 Office in Chicago and Moraine Valley Community College. Applications are due at midnight on September 9, 2018.

The program is anticipated to start in October 2018 and volunteers must complete 1,700 service hours by December 2019. Volunteers will be paid a living allowance and will be provided health insurance. Upon completion of the program, volunteers will be eligible for a Segal AmeriCorps Educational Award.

To learn more about AmeriCorps and the benefits of serving, please visit: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-programs/americorps-network

To apply, please visit:
https://metropolitanmayorscaucus.submittable.com/submit/119457/greenest-region-corps-application

Important note: you must create an account to review the job descriptions, locations of each of the 8 open positions, and the application.

 

Posted in alumni, cities, community, conservation, green jobs, service