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.

Posted in waste

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Waste Diversion for the NFL Draft and Next Steps

This year marked the second year that Roosevelt University partnered with and hosted the National Football League (NFL) annual Draft. There were some main differences between how Roosevelt University (RU) and the NFL approached the Draft this year, compared to last year.

Currently, The Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University does not have a recycling system, the main reason being that we do not have the resources (appropriate recycling receptacles), and such resources have a hefty cost associated when stocking an entire building. The NFL approached RU in order to get acquainted with our waste and recycling procedures at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University, and we quickly realized that we did not want a repeat of last year: all the recycling getting mixed in with waste, and going to a landfill. This prompted us to implement a temporary recycling system in that area during the duration of the NFL Draft, to include load in, the draft itself, and load out. The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Physical Resources, Housekeeping, and Independent Recycling Services (recycling/waste hauler for our Chicago Campus) created a plan to make this happen.

By using a small amount of standard recycling and waste bins (of different sizes), and by strategically placing the bins (example: at security check-points), our temporary recycling plan for this space was successful. The Draft itself spanned three days, and the entire event (to include load in and load out) spanned about two weeks. During that time, were able to divert 7.48 tons of recycling (out of a total 11.52 tons of waste generated) from the landfill! That amounts to a 65% diversion rate which consisted of 4.01 tons of paper, .45 tons of plastic, .47 tons of aluminum, 1.67 tons of cardboard, and .88 tons of metal—all of which got recycled.

To put this in perspective, these recycling efforts conserved the following resources:

  • 26 cubic yards of landfill: enough airspace to meet the disposal needs of a community of 406 people
  • 52,360 gallons of water: enough to meet the fresh water needs of 433 people for a year
  • 29,920 kWh of energy: enough to power 3 homes for a full year
  • 127 trees saved: enough to produce 1,059,662 sheets of copy paper
  • 591 gallons of oil: enough energy to heat and cool 1 home for a full year
  • 449 pounds of unreleased pollutants!

Looking ahead, we will hold a strategic recycling and composting session late this summer and/or early fall. During this session, stakeholders (to include the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University, housekeeping, the Wabash Dining Center, Residence Life, our waste/recycling haulers, Conference and Event Services, the Bright Horizons Daycare at Schaumburg, the Gage Building, and the Waste and Natural Resources Action Group (of the Environmental Sustainability Committee)) will be meeting in order to talk about various recycling and composting issues occurring at both of our campuses. From there, we will take what we learn and prioritize on what needs to be done first (strengthening current system, implementing new signage, and acquiring new resources, for example). If you would like to be involved in this session, or if you have any input or suggestions, please email Rebecca Quesnell, Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at and/or Tiffany Mucci, Environmental Sustainability Intern, at


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Join RU’s Team for the Bike Commuter Challenge!

RU is gearing up to participate in and win this year’s 25th annual Bike Commuter Challenge, hosted by the Active Transportation Alliance!  Please join the group ‘Roosevelt U. Bikes’ to help us accrue mileage!  Anyone who will be riding even a single bike commute trip during the week of the challenge is encouraged to participate.  Whether you’ve been bike commuting for years, or are a complete novice, you can join the ‘Roosevelt U. Bikes’ team.  A trip can even include biking to/from the bus, train, or alternative transportation that is taking you to/from RU.

Why?  Biking is a great way to stay healthy, and reduce your carbon footprint.  Plus, it feels great!  For those of you who’ve thought about bike commuting, this is the right time to start.  Active Transportation Alliance has arranged morning pit stops throughout the city to help you on your way.  They’ve also compiled some awesome resources on their website, including safety tips, commuter basics, route planning help, and MORE. Plus, you’ll have lots of support from  numerous other riders and events throughout the week!

JUNE 10–17


Contact Melissa Morrison at to join ‘Roosevelt U. Bikes.’

Posted in Uncategorized

Open, Sustainability Intern Position

An Environmental Sustainability Student Associate position has opened up! This Roosevelt University intern position is housed under the Physical Resources Department and has a sustainability focus. The start date is as soon as possible, and the end date is August 26, 2016.

Please see the job description below:

–Manage the operations/expansion of Wabash Rooftop Garden

–Assistance in creating a comprehensive recycling plan for all campus buildings, to include researching grant opportunities to increase resources

–Assistance in purchasing renewable energy

–Outreach to RU community for engagement/involvement

–Meeting coordination for Environmental Sustainability Committee

–Sustainability related event planning

–Manage sustainability communication to RU community: social media, website, blog, broadcasts, and signage

–Other projects and tasks, as needed

The position will be 12-15 hours a week, and the pay rate is $10/hour (going up to $10.50/hour starting July 1).

To apply for this position, please visit and search for “Environmental Sustainability Student Associate – Chicago Campus”.

If you have questions on the position, please contact Rebecca Quesnell, Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at

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