Roosevelt University’s RUrbanPioneers Community Garden Drip Irrigation is here!

The Sustainability team at Roosevelt’s Schaumburg campus teamed up in late June to install the first-ever drip irrigation in the community garden.


Mary Rasic, Kevin Markowski (shown) and Pedro Perez will no longer be filling barrels twice a week.

Previously, water barrels were filled and irrigation consisted of hand-carried buckets, a time intensive practice.

Two years in the making, Sustainability interns Mary Beth Radeck, Kevin Markowski and Mary Rasic partnered with Pedro Perez, Chief Engineer at Schaumburg to plan and execute this improvement. The team expects to save up to 50% of the water used to irrigate the garden this year—reducing the effort and costs of irrigation, but also improving the environment, too.


First, trenches were dug for irrigation lines.

Drip irrigation delivers water slowly, at low pressure near the plant’s roots so that none is wasted and less water evaporates. Usually used with flower beds and gardens or hard to water areas, drip is more efficient and effective than spray irrigation, and much more precise by allowing maximum control over how much water is given to each individual plant. Control of the water reduces runoff and erosion, as well.


Irrigation spigots provide water to each garden plot. Gardeners install micro-tubing which delivers water to each plant.

A drip system is easy to install and even available at local home improvement centers such as Home Depot. Every garden should have one, especially as water costs rise and the risks to Lake Michigan water levels continue.

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How 1 RU Student Saved 551 Metric Tons of Lake Michigan Water with One Simple Act


Upon moving into the Wabash Building this summer I noticed many changes. I quickly learned that moving from the University Center to the Wabash building required an open mind, and a willingness to adjust to a greener lifestyle. Life at the UC was quite comfortable; after all I had lived there for three years.

High powered showers, bright lights, and smooth floors were everyday luxuries that I found quite enjoyable. If I had to choose my favorite UC feature, it would have been the powerful shower head that nearly knocked me down every time I turned it on and all of my shampoo and conditioner quickly rinsed out my hair without hesitation. I must admit that the low pressure shower head in the Wabash Building kind of turned me off my first couple weeks living here. Sadly, I was ignorant to the massive amount of water I was using at the UC, and never thought about how much water I could be saving.

After educating myself by comparing the water features of the University Center to my current living space in the Wabash Building, I was shocked to find this difference. The LEED Gold Wabash building saves more than 20% potable water than Chicago code through the use of aerators, low-flow pumping and plumbing fixtures. What simpler way to save water than by changing the pressure of a shower head? You never know how much water you could be saving.

While living at the University Center I wasted at least 140,529 gallon of water per year, which is equivalent to 20,250 two liter size bottles of soda. Since moving to the Wabash Building two months ago I have already saved 145,783 gallons of water.

My entire outlook on my shower is now changed. I now understand the green initiative of the Wabash building and feel proud of myself for being a part of this initiative. So far this summer I have learned to not only have an open mind about my current living space, but also research the features of it.

Submitted by Taylin Humphrey, Roosevelt Student and budding Sustainability blogger


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Harvesting begins at RU’s Wabash rooftop

Interrupted only by a noon-hour rainstorm today, we harvested othe first 4 lbs of produce from the fifth floor rooftop at Wabash. Herbs and greens were donated to Chef Charlie at Roosevelt University’s Wabash Dining Center on the 2nd floor and included: thyme, baby arugula, broccoli sprouts, chive, chive blossoms, baby spinach and lettuce.

Most of the 4 lbs were broccoli sprouts and chive, a prolific variety of onion which is blooming on the roof now. The chive, thyme and arugula smelled wonderful!

It’s possible this week’s customers may find rooftop grown, chive blooms, arugula, spinach and broccoli sprouts in their next lunchtime salad. Yum.

Garden fact:
Broccoli is a cool-season crop that is grown in cooler weather and is a member of the cabbage family and is rich in vitamins.

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Wabash Rooftop Garden Efforts

Earth Week and Bike2Campus Week were both just two weeks ago, right before finals week. As such, students, faculty, and staff of Roosevelt University were encouraged to join in on the Wabash rooftop garden planting prep days: Tuesday, April 22nd (Earth Day) and Thursday, April 24th.Wa

On Tuesday, myself, Rebecca Quesnell, and Tom Shelton, the Environmental Sustainability Coordinator in the Department of Physical Resources, spent about an hour moving 2ft by 2ft by 8in plots that had a compost and standard soil mix in some, while others primarily had a gravel mix. Later on, Sustainability studies major Kyle Huff also came out the rooftop garden and helped put together pea trellis. Kyle interned at Growing Power here in Chicago last summer and got quite a bit of gardening experience doing so. Herbs were also planted such as basil, oregano, sage, and thyme.

Thursday the 24th had a great turnout too! Professor Aaron Shoults-Wilson, his wife, and their young son showed up to help with planting, as well as Noe Villagomez, who is the food and beverage manager for the Auditorium Theatre, and Sophia Johnson and Ian Todd, students here at Roosevelt University. There was a lot going on Thursday day in terms of what needed to be done and what got done. Another trellis was put together, this time a leaning trellis for black beauty squash- a summer squash- to grow up and along, and it was strategically fastened since it can get pretty windy up on the rooftop! Many vegetables were also planted such as kale, arugula, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peas, and carrots. Other vegetables that will be planted in the coming weeks, and in early summer include the following: Nasturtium, squash, zucchini, cucumber, onion (two types), watermelon, green beans, okra, broccoli sprouts, endive, and marigolds and possibly tomatoes and bell peppers. The goal is to get production this year and to have the Wabash dining center utilize any and everything that will take up there.

I have high hopes for the rooftop garden this year, and while I wish I could see it through, Mary Beth Radeck, who helped jumpstart the prairie restoration, prairie walk, and community garden, among various other projects out at Schaumburg, will be seeing it through. Only time will tell how things will go, as it is a trial and error process to see what will take five stories up, and what will not. Trellises are a new addition this year, and they will hopefully allow us to keep growing even higher up on our vertical building.

If you would be interested in helping tend to the Wabash rooftop garden anytime over the summer, then contact Mary Beth Radeck at There will be a group of individuals switching on and off in tending to the garden and Mary Beth will be in charge of those efforts. Have a fun and safe summer!

Also, pictures to come!

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Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week 2014!!!

Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week 2014!!!

Join Roosevelt, tomorrow the 17th for Water Conservation Day as well as to help kick off Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week 2014! This event will be taking place from 3-5pm in the Auditorium Building, Fainman Lounge. Stop on by and grab some ideas on how to conserve water and see what all will be going on next week!!!

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Finals Are Coming Up, So Take A Break!!!

Finals are approaching fast…faster than I would like to admit. And, with that in mind, you deserve a break from all that hard studying! As such, April 21st-25th marks Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week and it also offers the perfect opportunity to take a break from all that hard studying, whether you stop by at our table that will be set up on different days, at different times, or help to plant and jumpstart the Wabash rooftop garden! So come join in on this experience (and finals break opportunity) throughout the week! The events are listed below, and don’t be shy to show up, ask questions, or get your hands dirty when we plant on two of the days!

Monday, April 21-Friday, April 25 is Bike2Campus Week, an event being hosted by Chicago Network of Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE). The event is a challenge, and also competitive, so while the rider tracks their trips (by going onto and filling out a sheet) to and from campus, their campus also tracks their activity. At the week’s end, the school with the most participation will win and receive a 4-year DIVVY membership, while there will also be additional prizes to win. Also, students, faculty, and staff who Bike2Campus this week and show their helmets to staff in Wabash dining, will get half off some delicious fair trade coffee!
There will also be an EWaste container on the 14th floor all week.
Thursday, April 17th: Water Conservation Day and Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week Introduction, Fainman Lounge, 3-5pm.
Monday, April 21st: Alternative Transportation Day, Wabash Lobby, 2-5pm.
Tuesday, April 22nd: Rooftop Garden Planting Day, 5th floor (meet by workout facility), 2-5pm. Also, Earth Day Dinner in the Wabash Cafeteria this day, so enjoy some delicious, locally sourced food!
Wednesday, April 23rd: EWaste event/donations, 14th floor of Wabash, 2-3:30pm and, also, another event off campus that everyone is welcome to come to (did I mention it’s free?!) is Get Out and Often: Safe + Fun Tips For City Biking, 916 S. Wabash Ave., Room 150 @ 2pm. For more information visit:
Thursday, April 24th: Rooftop Garden Planting Day, same time and place as on Tuesday!

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Earth Week and Bike2Campus Week, What?!

Most of us know that Earth Week (April 21st-25th) is approaching. However, not all of us may know that this same week marks the first time ever that the Chicago Network of Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE) is hosting the Chicagoland Bike2Campus Week!

CNSHE “is a network of higher education institutions working to advance sustainability and accelerate climate action.”

 As a part of this week, and to help in overall environmental consciousness-rising, Roosevelt University, along with many other colleges and universities in Chicago, is encouraging students to bike to campus. This five-day “alternative transit challenge” aims to get students thinking about reducing emissions,  encourages students to practice a healthy lifestyle, and it teaches students, or gives them the tools to learn, about bike safety issues.

Aside from being a challenge, the event is also very competitive! Why, you may ask? While the rider tracks their trips to and from campus, their campus also tracks their activity (through the use of online surveys and other social media platforms). At the end of the week the school with the most participation will be deemed the “WINNER”! The grand prize will be a 4-year DIVVY membership, while there will also be additional prizes that students can win throughout the week.

This event is supported by Roosevelt University, City Colleges of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Dominican University, Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, the School of the Art Institute Chicago, DIVVY Bikes, Chipotle, and the Chicago Department of Transportation, and yours truly and you should support/show your support too!    

Monday, April 21st-Friday, April 24th marks Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week! All week students, faculty, and staff are encouraged- strongly encouraged- to get involved in many events! On the 14th floor of Wabash, all week long, there will be a box for EWaste (for any electronics, batteries, etc. that you would like to get rid of). By putting any EWaste in here, versus throwing it out as trash, students help to bring down pollution and divert that waste from landfills. Students are also encouraged to Bike2Campus all week! In order to prove that you are doing so, get onto and fill out a sheet to show you have biked, and then, by proving it, you can earn some sweet rewards!

More daily events for Bike2Campus Week/Earth Week are listed below:

Thursday, April 17th: Water Conservation Day. This event will be in Fainman Lounge from 3-5pm. It will mark the introduction of Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week, April 21st- 24th. Students will receive ideas on how they can conserve water, as well as learn of why it is so important. There will also be reusable water bottles being handed out for FREE! Be sure to stop on by and get an introduction to Earth Week/Bike2Campus Week! Students are encouraged to Bike2Campus! You will also be able to receive free prizes for doing so throughout the week!

Monday, April 21st:  Alternative Transportation Day. This event will be from 2-5pm in the Wabash Lobby. It will include more information on Bike2Campus week and alternative transportation!

Tuesday, April 22nd: Rooftop Garden Planting Day. Students can help to start the rooftop garden on the 5th floor of Wabash from 2-5pm! We will be meeting up on the 5th floor by the workout facility. The weather (looking ahead) is supposed to be nice! Come join in on this and get some fresh air, get your hands dirty, and also receive some free goodies!

Wednesday, April 23rd: EWaste donations are welcomed all week, but this day will mark the actual event to dispose of any of your electronics! You will also be able to learn more about why this is beneficial to our environment! The event will be 2-3:30pm on the 14th floor of Wabash!

Thursday, April 24th:  Rooftop Garden Planting Day from 2-5pm on the 5th floor of Wabash (meet by the workout facility)!

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