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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Earth Week and Bike2Campus Week, 2015

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With the smell of Spring in the air, and finals nearing, Earth Week / Bike2Campus Week offers a great opportunity for everyone in the RU community to take a break, get some fresh air, delve into interesting conversations, and even get their hands dirty if they choose to!

In addition to two week-long competitions, daily events will take place Monday, April 20th-Friday, April 24th. Please see the details below. *Also note that there will be free food and give-a-ways at most events (YES, FREE)! You can also receive 50% off coffee in the Wabash Dining Center if you bring your re-usable coffee mug!

Bike2Campus: Ride, Record, Reward! Competitively participate in this week-long event by biking anywhere in Chicago and recording your trips at www.bike2campus.com. Top participants will be able to win an array of prizes, and will receive a free complementary coffee from the Wabash Dining Center if they bring in their helmet to show they have biked. Don’t forget to #chibike2Campus on Instagram!

Sustainable Action Competition: Show us how you are being green! Go green this week and track your efforts: you can take pictures and/or make posts showing what you have done. You can take a picture of you using your reusable water bottle and/or  coffee mug, your efforts of recycling, biking, taking the train, and more—Record what you feel is green in your life. Keep track of being green by using the hashtag #RUEARTHWEEK2015. Participants’ efforts will be tracked, and top participants will win prizes!

Monday, April 20th: Plastic Paradise Film Screening and Discussion; 5-7pm, Wabash 1017. Screening and faculty-led discussion of the environmental documentary Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch <http://plasticparadisemovie.com/>. Join RU students, staff, and faculty members Bethany Barratt (Political Science), Kim Ruffin (English / Grad Studies), and Mike Bryson (Sustainability Studies) for conversation about this independent film.

Tuesday, April 21st: Kramer’s Health Foods Free Tastings & Seminar; Leave WB Lobby @ 3pm. Join us in a free food/juice tasting at Kramer’s Health Foods & Vegetarian Café (230 S. Wabash). Learn about the benefits of juicing as well as cutting (at least some) meat out of one’s diet, and learn about the benefits of biking.

Chicago Bike Ambassadors Workshop; 4:15-5:45pm, SAIC 37 S. Wabash, Room 327.After the Kramer’s Health Foods Free Tastings & Seminar, walk over to School of the Art Institute (37 S. Wabash) with us for a bike repair and maintenance workshop led by the Chicago Bike Ambassadors. Please bring your state I.D.

Wednesday, April 22nd: SUST Student Symposium; 3-5:30pm, Wabash 616. Open to all from the RU community, the 3rd SUST Student Symposium will be held at the Chicago Campus on Wednesday, April 22, 3-5:30p.m., in Wabash room 616. With the theme of Earth Day in the air, join us to learn more about the research and internship experiences of students in RU’S Sustainability Studies Program.  Indulge in stimulating conversation, pleasant hobnobbing, and free refreshments courtesy of RU’s Physical Resources department. Enjoy lively presentations by SUST majors Melanie Blume, Rebecca Quesnell, Mary Rasic, and Emily Rhea as they reflect on their internships and make noteworthy connections to sustainability themes. Please RSVP to Prof. Mike Bryson at mbryson@roosevelt.edu.Check our past symposia at https://rusustain.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/biodiversity-science-and-art-powerful-themes-at-this-springs-sust-student-symposium-at-roosevelt/ .

Thursday, April 23rd: Rooftop Garden Workday; 10am-5pm, Wabash 5th Floor. Join us for a Rooftop Garden Workday on the 5th floor of Wabash. Volunteers can stay for as long as they would like, sign up for a ½ hour timeslot in the Wabash lobby, or just stop by to check things out. Take a break from finals, and get some fresh air!

RU Reforesting Garden & Games5-7pm, Auditorium 426. Later, from 5-7pm, the student organization RU Reforesting will be hosting a Garden & Games event. There will be free food, games, and other fun activities, open to all!

Friday, April 24th: Arbor Day & Garden Kickoff Event; 8am-12pm, Schaumburg Campus. Roosevelt has much to celebrate this year! We obtained level I Arboretum accreditation from the Morton Arboretum/ArbNet last August AND, for this year’s Arbor Day, we are planting a Food Forest consisting of 13 fruit trees. We are thankful to have the help of a jubilant group from Bright Horizons and Bill Bedrossian from Bedrock Earthscapes too! Everyone is welcome to attend this event anytime between 8am and 12pm (we will be in or near the gardens) as we celebrate accomplishments and have a kickoff for the Schaumburg Campus Community Garden!

If you have questions about any of these events or competitions, please email Rebecca Quesnell at rquesnell@roosevelt.edu

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Discounted Student Divvy Memberships

Hey there RU students! Did you know that there is currently a discounted DIVVY membership rate for RU students? It is $55 versus $75 and it is a great time to take advantage of this discount! Utilize a DIVVY bike to get to class, meet up with friends, run errands, explore the beautiful city you are living in, and more.

In order to get the student membership, simply follow these few short, simple steps:
1. Log on to http://www.divvybikes.com/signup/roosevelt
2. Create an account with your Roosevelt email address
3. Membership Plan: Roosevelt
Partner Password: BikeRoosevelt
4. Enjoy the perks of being a DIVVY member!

If you have any questions, contact Tom Shelton at tshelton@roosevelt.edu

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The Lights Off Event is Coming Soon

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Don’t forget that the Earth Hour Lights Off Event is this Saturday, March 28th, from 8:30pm-9:30pm. Take time and turn your lights off for an hour and reflect on how energy and resources have a huge role in everyday life.

For instance, I am tracking my carbon footprint for my SUST 310: Energy and Climate Change class here at RU. I have done this at least twice in my academic career, and each time it amazes me at how dependent I am on energy. Though I try to use natural lighting in my room during the day, I still work on homework late into the night when there is no natural lighting and flipping the switch is the only option to have light. I take the stairs as much as possible, but I live on the 13th floor and so I use the elevator whenever I need to go from my room to the first or second floor. I prefer hot showers to cold ones, and in order for the water to be warm, energy must be used.

I am a SUST student, and while I try to keep sustainable practices at the core of my heart, the truth is that I am also dependent on energy in my everyday life. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but it is definitely essential to note our dependencies and reflect on how we might be able to reduce our energy consumption. Whether it is turning your lights off for an hour, investing in sustainable and renewable energy, taking shorter showers, using natural lighting, using the stairs whenever possible, and more, it still makes a difference and it helps to rewire our brains into thinking instead of just doing.

So take a long shot and turn your lights off for an hour on Saturday, March 28th, from 8:30-9:30pm. Reflect and Think. And be the change you would like to see, for massive change starts on a much smaller level.

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Earth Hour Lights Off Event, 2015

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On Saturday, March 28th, from 8:30pm-9:30pm, Roosevelt University will proudly join 162 countries and territories worldwide in the famous Earth Hour Lights Off Event, 2015.

Earth Hour, a nonprofit organization out of Singapore, was originally started as a Lights Out Event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. This organization has the goal of uniting people from all walks of life to help combat global climate change through solidarity. This is an iconic event that Roosevelt has participated in the past few years, and we hope that students, faculty, and staff will join in this movement too!

Accept this challenge, and turn your lights off for an hour- you can make it your one hour break from homework, turn it into a dance party, meditate, breathe, or simply close your eyes and take a nap. But don’t forget, this isn’t JUST about turning lights off for an hour- it is also about becoming more aware of how we depend on and react with everyday essentials that also impact our environment in potentially negative ways. An hour is not long, but we hope that it is long enough to have students, faculty, and staff stop and think and become encouraged to go beyond the hour, and incorporate sustainability into everyday life.

Get to know About Earth Hour and check out the Earth Hour 2014 Report by visiting http://www.earthhour.org/ . And don’t forget to check out some mind-provoking blogs on the Earth Hour Blog.

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Call For RUrbanPioneers Community Gardeners!

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My name is Mary Rasic and I am a Sustainability student and Environmental Sustainability Associate for Physical Resources Department at Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg campus.

I am coordinating Roosevelt University’s RUrbanPioneer Community Garden for the 2015 growing season. This is our third year and we are excited to get started.

Everyone interested in access to fresh, organic produce is welcome to participate. Garden members tend their own garden and participate in community tasks from early spring through November.

Last year, we installed a drip irrigation system making each plot customizable to suit individual gardeners’ needs. We continue to learn and experiment with procedures, techniques, and equipment to make for a sustainable gardening. We’d love to hear your suggestions to improve upon previous seasons.

Please let me know if you’re interested in reserving a plot ASAP – assignments will be given on a “first-come-first-serve” basis.

Our goal is to finalize plot assignments by March 20th.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at Mrasic02@roosevelt.edu if you have any questions.

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IAEP Student Career Conference @ DePaul University

On Saturday, January 24, 2015, The Illinois Association of Environmental Professionals (IAEP) hosted its annual Student Career Conference at DePaul University, Chicago, IL.

The IAEP is a society of professionals who work unswervingly to enhance our global environment. It serves to connect specialists in business, government and education in the fields of environmental planning, research, management, and evaluation. The society also offers certificate programs and awards research grants to students enrolled in environmental programs.

The purpose of the IAEP Student Career Conference is to deliver information about the benefits of professional organizations and internships, and teach the next professional generation how to network and build a CV/resume.

Versatile students from several colleges near Chicago, had the opportunity to network, explore career options within various sectors, and get a personalized resume review from each of the following speakers:

Robert P. Sliwinski, M.S. CPESC – Senior Wildlife Biologist, Christopher B. Burke Engineering Inc. and President of the Illinois Association of Environmental Professionals

James E. Huff, P.E. – Owner of Huff & Huff, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

George P. Nassos – Principal of George P. Nassos & Associates, a consulting company focusing on renewable energy and environmental sustainability

Mary Rasic, Sustainability Studies student at Roosevelt University, attended the IAEP Conference and reported back with optimistic reflections. The main takeaway was Dr. Nassos’ discussion concerning why sustainability should be more of a culture, imbedded in the business and politics of our country. From his lecture, Mary noted that most corporations focus on 3-month economic returns, whereas, sustainability has more long-term investments. The global economy, namely the U.S., needs a business strategy for natural resources by employing sustainability in business courses. Nassos proposed some ways that the government could regulate our resources, such as, applying a carbon tax to influence entities to conserve and explore alternative energy sources.

Dr. Nassos concluded his lecture on a powerful note – he said that there are many individuals who do not believe in global warming. Worse yet – there are people that consider it a possibility, but disregard the evidence because they likely won’t be around for the repercussions. Nassos’ response to that viewpoint:

“Say nothing happens, carbon emissions are a hoax and the world will be fine…But say that all the scientific predictions are accurate… wouldn’t you rather contribute to the solution while the opportunity exists instead of later regretting what you didn’t do, when it’s too late”?

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22 Ash trees removed from Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg campus

Removed Ash Tree - SCH

Over winter break, The Care of Trees removed 22 Ash trees from Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg campus, due to the Emerald Ash Borer. The trees were pulverized into mulch and will be reused on campus, as doing so will conserve soil moisture, impede weed growth, reduce soil erosion, limit salt build-up, protect plant roots from traffic, moderate soil temperatures, and improve soil fertility and structure.

Environmental Sustainability Associate and Sustainability student, Mary Rasic, is presently working with arborist and landscape expert, Bill Bedrossian, to select native replacements for many of the removed trees. Roosevelt plans to purchase various replacements from Possibility Place Nursery, because they specialize in growing native trees and shrubs that are indigenous to Northern Illinois. Ninety percent of their plants’ seed are collected in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa; therefore, they are better adapted to the Chicago climate than plants grown from seed collected further east and south.

Possibility Place Nursery does not use chemicals (such as copper), insecticides, miticides, or fungicide sprays. They do use post- and pre- emergent herbicides and organic fertilizers. After seeds are collected, they are taken through several growing steps in a system that encourages fibrous roots. Seeds are put in flats with wire bottoms, and then placed on benches with wire tops. As the seed germinates, the roots grow through the wire into air. The root tips dry out and die. This encourages the production of more roots. The seedling is then placed in half pints that mechanically direct the roots toward air holes. Roots grow through the air holes, and the root tips again dry out and die. Finally, the plants in half pints are then planted in gallon containers to repeat the process again. A fibrous root system is key to the establishment of vigorous growth of a plant. A tree or shrub with a fibrous root system not only transplants well but thrives.

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