Roosevelt Medicinal Plant Garden

Garden Planting

Volunteers in action, planting the Medicinal Plant Garden (Photo: N. Waskowski, 2016).

On June 23rd Roosevelt broke ground on its newest addition to the Schaumburg Campus, as part of using the campus as a learning and living laboratory. Roosevelt’s College of Pharmacy, in conjunction with Campus Planning & Operations and with support from Complete Landscaping LLC., repurposed the F quad courtyard to create the Roosevelt Medicinal Plant Garden.

The mission of the project is to provide the College of Pharmacy with high quality medicinal plants to be used in lab experiments. The long term goal is to produce new homeopathic treatments and the next generation of pharmaceuticals. This project was made possible with the generous help from Complete Landscaping LLC., as they donated time and the plants to RU; plants which run the gambit from classic old world medicinal plants, such as St. John’s Wort, to new world ones such as the iconic Echinacea (Purple Coneflower).  The garden was planted with support by volunteers from the College of Pharmacy, Campus Planning & Operations and Paul Gange of Complete Landscaping LLC.  We are very excited to start utilizing the Medicinal Plant Garden as a ‘Living Lab’ experience.


~Author, Nicholas Waskowski, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate| Roosevelt University, Schaumburg Campus Planning and Operations. ~

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“Sweeter than Sugar” Bee Apiary


Two bee hives, installed on Roosevelt’s Schaumburg Campus in July 2016. (Photo: N. Waskowski, 2016).

In July 2016, Roosevelt University expanded its “Living and Learning Labs” with the addition of an apiary to the Schaumburg Campus. Affirming the University’s’ mission to support social justice and sustainability, Roosevelt made this addition by partnering with Sweet Beginnings LLC., a subsidiary of the North Lawndale Employment Network.


This partnership helps renew our community by providing skills and work for citizens reentering the workforce. This partnership also provides living space for the hardest working insects and the lynchpin of your food system: Apis mellifera, aka, the noble honey bee. This mighty insect is responsible for pollinating up to 1/3 of our fruits and vegetables. Despite the honey bee’s central role to global agriculture, Apis mellifera is under siege worldwide, from colony collapse disorder and loss of habitat. These mighty flyers will reinvigorate the surrounding environment around RU and promote a healthy and balanced biotic community.

Presently, Roosevelt’s Schaumburg Campus is home to two hives with hopes to increase the amount in the future. The apiary can be spotted from the prairie path, near the community garden, so if you’re curious we invite you to come visit. Please be aware that the bees are protective of their homes so please stay back from the hives/do not provoke the bees, and every party will be just fine.
~Author, Nicholas Waskowski, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate| Roosevelt University, Schaumburg Campus Planning and Operations. ~

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WB Rooftop Garden: 2016 Season Update

We, the Wabash Rooftop Gardeners, are pleased to report that despite an admittedly late start to our 2016 growing season, our plants are healthy, robust, and productive. This summer’s crops consist of a wide variety of fresh herbs and greens which, as of last week, are being used in our own Dining Center’s culinary delights. So far, our 2016-season harvests have weighed in at a total of 3.10 pounds.

Tending to the garden, RU style. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

Tending to the garden, RU style. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

Currently, our most productive plants are the Italian large leaf basil and arugula. Like basil, arugula is used in many Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Though it isn’t considered an herb, its tender and mildly spicy leaves add a pop of flavor to salads, sandwiches, pizza, and more. Other herbaceous pickings that are making their way from our garden to your plates are dill, parsley, oregano, cilantro, mint, and lime basil (a sweetly aromatic variety that was specially requested by the Dining Center). Very soon we will also be harvesting organic and heirloom varieties of Swiss chard, collard greens, and kale, all of which have long growing seasons which extend into the late fall.

Our first 2016 garden haul: arugula, kale, and an aromatic assortment of fresh herbs. (Photo: R. Quesnell, 2016)

Our first 2016 garden haul: arugula, kale, and an aromatic assortment of fresh herbs. (Photo: R. Quesnell, 2016)

Besides vegetables and gardeners, the rooftop has attracted some other resident life forms. Insects, of course, have made themselves perfectly at home — the most populous being a bouncing generation of grasshoppers. We have also noticed, in the past few weeks, a family of house sparrows is often perched on the ledges or quietly poking around the plots. While there’s no nest in clear sight, there is reward in knowing that our rooftop garden offers a welcome oasis to city dwellers of the winged kind.

A family of house sparrows perches on the garden wall. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

A family of house sparrows perches on the garden wall. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

Interested in joining our team of Wabash Rooftop Gardeners? Contact Environmental Sustainability Intern Tiffany Mucci, at

Author: Tiffany Mucci, Environmental Sustainability Intern

A grasshopper poses near the basil. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

A grasshopper poses near the basil. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

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Move-Out Donation Drive Promotes Environmental Awareness, Earns Cash

Savers logoThis past May, Roosevelt University ran a Move-Out Donation Drive as students emptied their dorms between May 4th and 13th. The donation drive was sponsored by Campus Planning and Operations, Residence Life, and Savers, a thrift retailer. The numbers are in, and we are proud to announce that the program was a great success!

A whopping 960 pounds of unwanted goods were prevented from entering landfills. Acceptable items included clothing, shoes, accessories, books, linens, and other household goods, which will be resold in Savers stores and reused by families throughout Chicagoland. Due to Roosevelt being a non-profit university, Savers purchased all donated items on a per-pound basis: 20¢ per pound of soft goods, and 5¢ per pound of hard goods. By simply dropping off their gently used items in the Residence Life Lounge Area, student donations earned our institution a total of $171.30. Not a bad deposit to our piggybank in exchange for unwanted belongings!

This was our first donation drive with Savers, and in light of its success, Campus Planning and Operations hopes to grow the program in the future as an opportunity to reduce waste, reuse existing items, and increase environmental awareness on campus.

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Royalty on the Wing: Monarch Waystations


This spring Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg Campus was recognized as a Monarch Waystation. This certification indicates that RU is dedicated to creating and maintaining a healthy environment not only for the RU community, but the entire biotic community. This accreditation has gone hand and hand with the ongoing transformation of the Schaumburg Campus to native prairie plants and trees. The main requirement for the award is to provide adequate food for the Monarchs (Danaus plexippus), and Monarchs like to eat one thing above all else: milkweed. Specifically, Asclepias syriaca or (Common) Milkweed is their main food source, accounts for 90 percent of their diet, and it also provides Monarchs with an added defense: it makes them poisonous to predator such as birds and other small animals. The Monarchs need all the Milkweed they can get, not only because it is their main food source but because the need a series of Waystations through the entirety of their habitat from Southern Canada to Northern Mexico a distance of roughly 3,000 miles.  It should be mentioned that the toxicity of Monarchs’ is not enough to kill a bird such as the American Robin, but it makes Monarchs unappealing as a food source. Milkweed is also to thank for the brilliant coloring of Monarchs throughout their lifecycle, which is an advertisement of the poison.  This colorful warning is so effect that another butterfly the Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) has evolved to mimic the Monarch’s coloring even though it isn’t poisonous. So come take a layover this summer at RU in Schaumburg we encourage you to enjoy and utilize the prairie restoration at the Schaumburg Campus, by taking a walk on ‘The Prairie Walk’.  Who knows, maybe you’ll see some Monarchs touching down at a Waystation during their epic 3,000 mile migration and be inspired to create your own Waystation.

Monarchs above.

The Viceroy( above) can be distinguished from the Monarch by the black bow shaped band on their inner set of wings.


~Author, Nicholas Waskowski~

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Bike Commuter Challenge Results


Bonnie Wedington (left) and Melissa Morrison (right) at the BCC Rally. (Photo Credit, Melissa Morrison).

We are very excited to share with the RU Community that our University team ‘Roosevelt U. Bikes’ did exceptionally well during the annual Bike Commuter Challenge (BCC), hosted by the Chicago Active Transportation Alliance. From June 10-17, the team of 15 took 116 trips for a total of 621.79 miles! The top rider of the ‘Roosevelt U. Bikes’ team was Robin Hofstetter who rode a total of 98 miles in a one week timeframe!

To put this in perspective, this is equivalent to the following: 

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from 0.082 tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled
  • CO2 emissions from 29.2 gallons of gasoline consumed
  • CO2 emissions from 277 pounds of coal burned
  • Carbon sequestered by 6.7 tree seedlings grown for 10 years

Throughout the week, riders were able to partake in several ‘Pit Stops’, participate in the weekly ‘Bike Week Rally’, and/or the ‘Wrap Party’, hosted through the Chicago Active Transportation Alliance. Additionally, RU provided some treats to the University team—coffee and donuts—throughout the week.

For more information on the details of this challenge, please contact Melissa Morrison, Scheduling and Facilities Coordinator of the Music Conservatory, at


BCC Rally (Photo Credit, Melissa Morrison). 

If you want to get strategically involved with sustainable transportation at RU, and/or register to use the Wabash Bike Room, please contact Rebecca Quesnell, Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at


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Busy as Bees in the Wabash Rooftop Garden

The 5th floor Wabash Rooftop Garden is ready and raring to go!


(Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

As of last week all of our vegetable and herb seedlings have been transplanted, the bounty of which will be donated to the Wabash Dining Center. The 2016 season’s homegrown items include kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and arugula, as well as a delectable selection of fresh herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary (sorry — not thyme, for all you Simon and Garfunkel fans), dill, cilantro, mint, oregano, and several kinds of basil. All of our veggie, herb, and companion plantings are of organic and/or heirloom varieties.

The rooftop garden is available for tours by appointment throughout the spring, summer, and fall. This summer we have already hosted two tours, the most recent of which brought student interns from a Chicago youth program called Calumet is My Backyard (CIMBY). CIMBY has been connecting high school students in the Calumet area to local urban nature for over fifteen years. In fact, Roosevelt’s Sustainability Studies program boasts one of its majors, Yessenia Balcazar, as a former student of CIMBY, the environmental ethic of which is now carrying into her college career. On this tour, CIMBY students saw an example of the intersections of greenspace, food, and climate change mitigation as part of a sustainable campus tour here at RU.


Rebecca Quesnell speaks to CIMBY students on a tour of the 5th floor Wabash rooftop garden. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

The rooftop garden is also open to new and returning volunteers! Even if you’ve never gardened before, don’t be shy about volunteering this season — our rooftop is a great place for beginners and veterans, alike. This time of year we are focused on thinning plant growth, harvesting, and general watering and weeding. Also consider the garden as a site for class participation. In the past, biology classes have conducted soil sampling tests here. We enthusiastically welcome new and creative ideas for integrating this dually functioning campus greenspace and learning lab into academic activities.


Wabash rooftop garden denizen. (Photo: T. Mucci, 2016)

If nothing else, visiting the rooftop garden is a great way to enjoy some fresh air and summer sun without ever leaving the building! For more information about volunteering or to schedule a tour, please contact Rebecca Quesnell, Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at, or Tiffany Mucci, Environmental Sustainability Intern, at

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If a butterfly can visit our rooftop garden on the 5th floor of Wabash, so can you:) Please join us for a harvest day tomorrow from 9:30am-12pm. All are welcome, even just to check things out! Email with questions