Take a Walk through Our Prairie

Interested in some exercise or a great outdoor spot for lunch? Take an on-campus stroll and admire the beautiful native flora and fauna now thriving on the restored prairie at the Schaumburg campus.  Keep your eye out for American Goldlfinch, damsel flies and flying grasshoppers!

Blooming in June on the Schaumburg campus prairie

See what’s blooming and thriving at the Roosevelt Campus Schamburg Prairie Walk

At just over ½ mile, the entire trek takes one through the restored prairie and the RUrbanPioneers Community Garden. If you bring your lunch, you’ll find picnic tables in the shade along the way.

Let us know what you find!

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Indoor Walking Course

It is the pleasure of Roosevelt University’s Physical Resources department to announce the addition of an “Indoor Walking Course” to our Schaumburg campus. The course will traverse the Schaumburg campus existing layout. By following the existing layout the course takes advantage of the sustainable materials rehabbing that has taken place at the campus.

4 laps of the course will equal 1.13 miles. It is our hope that this course will allow Roosevelt’s students, faculty and staff to be physically active when it is convenient for them. If your eyes have been glued to your computer and you need a jolt of energy, don’t reach for your fifth expresso! Take a stroll on the course – it will get your blood pumping without the negative side effect of feeling like your eyes might pop out of their sockets. Maybe the short winter days are giving you a gloomy outlook. Well, saunter on over to the walking course to beat the blues away.

As we all know life can get pretty hectic. It is hard to balance school and work and still find time to exercise. It is our desire to make that balancing act a little easier, so please come join us starting February 18th, at Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg Campus and take a stroll with friends. To dedicate the course Roosevelt University’s President Ali Malekzadeh will be taking an inaugural walk on Thursday, February 18th, at 10:30 am. Save the date Rooseveltians.

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Roosevelt University Earns Bronze STARS Rating: A Student’s Perspective

Bronze STARS LogoWhat is a STARS Rating?

RU is a current member of The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). And the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a comprehensive reporting tool that colleges and universities can use to assess institution-wide sustainability, and to see how they compare to other colleges and universities – both in the United States and around the world.

How long did it take to assess and rate RU?

Great question! This was a considerably lengthy process, taking nearly a year from start to finish. The data gathering began with a brand new Sustainability Studies special topics course at RU: SUST 390 – The Sustainable Campus – first offered in spring, 2015. Led by the director of the Sustainability Studies program, Dr. Michael Bryson, nineteen students were divided into four STARS Teams. The teams corresponded to the four principal STARS Reporting Categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations and Planning & Administration. The student STARS teams were tasked with developing a plan for their data gathering, reporting on individual progress halfway through the semester, and, finally, submitting their data reports.

How did RU get from the end of an introductory course to STARS Submission? Collaboration Abounds!

The STARS reporting had to take a bit of a summer break while exciting things were happening for sustainability at RU: The Sustainability Studies Program moved to the College of Arts and Sciences; SUST grad, Rebecca Quesnell (spring, 2015), was hired as the first Sustainable Operations Coordinator; and the Sustainability Studies Program hired a new Assistant Professor, Dr. Graham Pickren, who taught SUST 240: Waste, and SUST 320: Sprawl, Transport and Planning this past fall.

Once these changes were underway, the STARS Team was formed! Initially, the team consisted of SUST Professors Bryson and Pickren, Physical Resources’ Rebecca Quesnell and SUST major/Physical Resources’ STARS Intern, Maria Cancilla (also the author of this post). As the fall, 2015 semester progressed, so did the STARS Team’s research. As the team approached the Dec. 18th submission deadline, two more Physical Resources Interns: Shannon Conway (Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, Chicago Campus) and Brennan Morrow (Energy Management Student Associate) joined in to help. Both individuals provided valuable assistance to our small team.

Not only was this a collaborative effort on the part of the STARS team – there was collaboration at every level. Both the students in SUST 390 and the smaller, final STARS team reached out to fellow students, faculty and staff throughout the university. Throughout our research, each person we contacted was more than helpful when it came to meeting our deadlines – despite busy schedules, papers to grade, etc.

If this is such a lengthy process, why report at all?

For this answer, we go back to fall, 2014 – when SUST major, MaryBeth Radeck, facilitated RU’s first-ever Strategic Sustainability Planning Session. A group of SUST majors and alumni, faculty and staff convened three times with the end result being a draft of RU’s five-year Strategic Sustainability Plan (SSP). As part of our planning process, we identified the need for a comprehensive assessment of sustainability at RU. We determined that the STARS tool would best meet our needs. But with a 350-page instruction manual and over 70 credits to research, how could we accomplish this monumental task? Students could help! And thus, SUST 390, the Sustainable Campus was born. And we were on our way to our first STARS submission.

Sounds like a great opportunity! How can I get involved?

So glad you asked! It might seem like the work is done now that our STARS report has been submitted and RU has received a Bronze rating. But there is still much to do. SUST 390: The Sustainable Campus will continue to run. This spring it’s being offered as an honors course. Students will be tasked with taking the torch from the first section’s students and running with it! As the student researchers gathered their data, they identified many areas for improvement in sustainability at RU. This is where you would come in: The next section will work on the implementation of all these great ideas for improvement. While the class is already running, many projects are to abound and the developers of those projects could always use extra hands.

Additionally, RU Green-a student organization- is projected to be up and running this semester. You can always get involved with this student organization.

Looking for another way to get involved with sustainability at RU? Consider joining the Environmental Sustainability Committee or an Action Group. Each action group will be implementing goals and initiatives outlined in RU’s five-year Strategic Sustainability Plan. Whether you’re interested in Energy, Education, Waste or Planning – there is a group for you.

Please contact Rebecca Quesnell for more information on ways to get involved: rquesnell@roosevelt.edu

As a student member of both the STARS team and the first Sustainable Campus course at RU, it has been an honor to be a part of this process. And as an institution submitting to AASHE and STARS for the first time, we can be proud of our Bronze rating, and, at the same time, we can be ready to grow and improve as a sustainable institution as we head into a new semester and new year at Roosevelt University.

You can read the full STARS report here.

~Maria Cancilla, Sustainability Studies Student, Roosevelt University

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DIVVY Price Change

Chicagoans are fortunate to have access to the DIVVY Bike sharing program, which offers a sustainable transportation option for its members.  The system, which features thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations around the city, allows members to rent bikes easily – (reducing their carbon footprint), increase mobility for users without other means of transportation, and encourages people to use a feasible mode of sustainable transportation in the city.  If you are a member of the RU community, you may have already acquired membership at a discount.  DIVVY recently altered their membership pricing.  Full, non-discounted memberships are $99/year.  RU students will now receive membership for $75 annually, and RU faculty and staff will receive membership for $89 annually.Divvy Bikes

If you have any questions on the pricing change or on how to utilize this discounted membership, please contact Rebecca Quesnell, RU’s Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at rquesnell@roosevelt.edu.

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Schaumburg Campus Community Gardeners Enjoy a Potluck Dinner to End the Season

potluck dinnerLast week, on Tuesday November 17, many of Roosevelt University’s community gardeners were able to come together to partake in a potluck dinner at the Schaumburg campus. About ten gardeners were able to participate, providing delicious dishes like spicy Mexican soup, caprese toast bites, pecan-sweet potato casserole, sticky buns, and more!

This event was a fun opportunity for me and the community gardeners to learn from each other as we reviewed best practices, considered means of improvement, and recapped a lovely season of gardening. Although we’ve all been tending the garden regularly all summer long, some of us still got to meet other members for the very first time. Most importantly, this was a chance for everyone to connect and reflect.potluck 1

(And for all the sustainability minded readers, we used real dishes. No paper or plastic!)

Thank you to everyone who participated in the dinner! For those who were not able to make it, thank you for a beautiful gardening season! We look forward to seeing you again next year.

potluck 2 To learn more about this and other sustainability initiatives at Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg campus, contact Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, at sfisher@roosevelt.edu

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Sustainable Sanitation at Roosevelt: Electrically Activated Water Technologies

We as the Roosevelt University community have a strong consideration for practicing sustainability efforts in our daily lives. This includes being conscientious of the water we use, of what we throw away, of how much energy we consume, and other ways we can make “greener” choices. However, not many of us think about being sustainable with what we use to disinfect our surroundings.hydris

Sanitizing public areas, especially in educational institutions, is extremely important for eliminating the spread of harmful microorganisms. Epidemics like H1N1 (the flu) have made us more aware of the significant role that disinfecting communal spaces has. Diseases and viruses would spread without the cleaning mechanisms we use. However, the major drawback of using disinfectants is their high levels of toxicity and harmful chemical makeups. Though cleaning keeps us free from illnesses, humans should not be exposed to disinfectants as often as we are. Fortunately, Roosevelt University has recently adopted a strategy that cleans surfaces and eliminates harmful microorganisms in a safe way.

Electrically Activated Water Technologies is a way of disinfecting areas without using harsh toxins, but by simply using different water technologies. The Hydris is an on-site generation cleaning system that refills cleaning products on the spot. This means no shipping, shipping materials, or storage space is required for cleaning products because it is an all-in-one system. The Hydris mixes salt tablets and tap water in its three-chambered electrolytic cell system to produce three different cleaning products. These products include a single-step disinfector, an all- purpose sanitizer and glass cleaner, and a daily floor cleaner. This system will revolutionize our green cleaning future by eliminating the majority of green cleaning products we previously used at both campuses.

For more information about the Hydris System contact Rebecca Quesnell, Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at rquesnell@roosevelt.edu.

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Electronic Waste Recycling During November

Don’t know what to do with your cracked iPod? What about those broken and tangled headphones? Or your unwanted electric razor (no-shave November is now upon us)? Luckily, November is not only for growing beards, but also for responsibly disposing your electronic waste!

E-waste contains precious metals and other materials that can be reused for future electronic devices, so it is important we retrieve them before they go into a landfill. Besides the materials we can salvage, there are many other components of E-waste that are undesirable and health-threatening. E-waste has been wreaking havoc on our environment by polluting the land, water, and air, mainly in developing countries, where we typically trash our unwanted electronics. Toxins such as mercury, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), cadmium, and chromium can all be found in electronic waste, which are all harmful to us and the environment.

Though there are designated areas in the Wabash building to dispose of electronics properly throughout the year, we will be focusing on e-waste specifically during the month of November. For that reason, the Physical Resources Department will be providing more electronic recycling areas. Bins will be located in the following places:

  • AUD (Wabash Ave.) Lobbyewaste
  • AUD (Michigan Ave.) Lobby
  • Wabash Res Life, 14th Floor
  • Wabash Loading Dock
  • Schaumburg Campus Loading Dock

Please play your part by recycling your electronic waste responsibly, because throwing it “away” doesn’t actually mean it disappears!

If you would like to know more about Roosevelt University’s recycling programs, email Rebecca at rquesnell@roosevelt.edu and check out our recycling vendors, VetTech.

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Produce Donations at the Schaumburg Community Garden

food wasteFood waste across America is rampant.  40% of all food in the U.S. goes uneaten.  31% of available food at the retail and consumer level gets wasted.  This food waste also increases methane gas emissions in our landfills.  With an increased interest in sustainability, there is a big push to reduce waste globally, but there is a ton of work to be done – literally.

Here at the Schaumburg community garden, we are working hard to do our part.  With the cooler weather pushing in, it is now time to clean and winterize our community garden.  As part of the process, many of the Schaumburg community gardeners have offered the last of their harvest to those in need, where the fresh vegetables have been greatly appreciated.  Some of our gardeners have been generously donating all summer long.  This season  we have donated over 31 pounds of fresh produce.  Last week, donations went to the Food Pantry at the Schaumburg Township .  Their food pantry provides groceries to any resident of Schaumburg that is in need.

produce donationIf you would like to participate in efforts to reduce food waste in your home, it’s as simple as finding the nearest food pantry.  Many have regular drop off hours.  We also encourage residents of the university to minimize their food waste as much as possible.  For more information on this and other sustainability efforts at Roosevelt University, contact Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate for the Schaumburg campus at sfisher@roosevelt.edu.

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