Earth Month 2016, Revisited

The end is nigh! No I am not referring to the end of life, existence, or the Blackhawks playoff run; however, Roosevelt University’s Earth Month Extravaganza 2016 has ended. There were so many interesting activities during this year’s Earth Month celebration that have challenged us to rethink how we fit into the overall system of life on the biosphere we affectionately call home.

 Earth Month events

We had several events and competitions during Earth Month, which included:

-Safe Cycling Demo

-Reuse Art Competition

-Outdoor Workday/Cleanup

-Environmental Justice Twitter Chat

-SUST 340 Teach-Ins

-Garden Planting/Recyclables Sorting Contest

-Arbor Day Observance

-Green Office Challenge

-Indoor Walking Course Competition

-Sustainability Studies Symposium

Projects like the Reuse Art competition, Green Office  competition, and recycling sorting contests prompted the RU  Community to consider what lifestyle changes individuals can make to be more sustainable, as well as what larger changes we can make as a community.  Other projects like the Teach-Ins lead by SUST 340 students and the Environmental Justice Twitter chat lead by Mike Bryson, the Director of the Sustainability Studies Program, illuminated the ins and outs of sustainability, social- environmental issues such as environmental justice, food waste, community sustainability and water quality.

The Schaumburg campus also played an important role in RU’s Earth Month Celebration. RU held an outdoor work day activity on April 18 in which volunteers from the RU community helped to beautify the campus by cleaning up old plant debris from last year, planting flowers in planters in the main courtyard and by picking up litter around the 27 acres that make up RU’s Schaumburg Campus. On Friday, April 22 the Schaumburg RU community, with the help of children from Bright Horizons Daycare, observed Arbor day by planting a native Ohio Buckeye tree. This planting is a segment of the ongoing tree removal and replacement plan that is currently being implemented at the Schaumburg Campus. Approximately 60 trees at the Schaumburg Campus have been infested, damaged and killed by the Emerald Ash Borer, among other pests and diseases. To halt the advance of the Ash Borer and to protect local wildlife, these diseased trees are being removed and replaced with native trees. The natives scheduled to be planted, such as the Ohio Buckeye and Swamp White Oak, not only can withstand the Borer’s onslaught, but will simultaneously support a larger community of native birds and insects.

These activities underscored that these issues aren’t individual, they affect our entire society, and as such we all have a part to play. So in the coming year let’s keep the lessons learned from Earth Month front and center and work together to make our lives more sustainable.

To stay involved with sustainability at Roosevelt visit our sustainability blogs at  and the Sustainability Studies blog run by Mike Bryson at

Please feel free to attend RU’s Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) meetings to join faculty, staff, students and alumni to implement RU’s Five Year Sustainability Plan. Dates for ESC meetings are advertised via Roosevelt’s Broadcast, blogs and email blasts.

~Author Nicholas Waskowski, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate~

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Prairie Burn, Life Renewed.

On March 29th the main prairie at RU’s Schaumburg campus was burned to rejuvenate the landscape. Prairie fires naturally occur during thunderstorms from lighting strikes and Native Americans also periodically lite the Prairie ablaze to simulate wildfires. Fire benefits the health of prairie ecosystems in multiple ways.

First it prevents non-prairie plants from invading.  The most important non-prairie plants that fire controls are trees. Some other invasive plants that fire keeps out of prairies are Queen Anne’s Lace, dandelions, and garlic mustard.

Fire helps prairie plants by triggering seeds to germinate and existing root systems to expand and encourage plants to grow. Additionally, fire helps some prairie inhabitants, such as bumblebees and sweat bees, by clearing the ground so these native bees can create burrows for themselves and their young.

Fire also improves the health of prairies by recycling nutrients from old plant material into ash that is quickly incorporated into the soil. The burned landscape will quickly give way to luscious prairie plants like aster, Echinacea and black eyed Susan, so please visit our prairie and watch its progression from dormancy to bloom.

~ Author Nicholas Waskowski, Evironmental Sustainability Student Associate~

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Our Green Office Challenge Winners are…

This Earth Month, 5 earthusiastic teams participated in RU’s first Green Office Challenge.  The challenge measured trash output, along with waste diversion through recycling, composting, and reuse.  Teams also gained points tracking their sustainable transportation and use of electricity for a week.  All of the teams did extremely well.

The Attainable Sustainables took first place at the Schaumburg campus.  Their recycling habits are extremely noteworthy, as they had a 988.89% diversion rate (recycling items/trash items).  Some of their proactive sustainability habits include regularly collecting excess office supplies from faculty and staff for redistribution, reusing shipping boxes and packing material for future use, and recycling their toner cartridges, and batteries through RU’s recycling programs.

The office of CCPA Enrollment took first place for the downtown campus, with exceptionally noteworthy reuse habits.  They brought reusable lunch bags/tote bags for lunch every day of the week, and they also made use of RU’s e-waste program to recycle an old fax machine.

Some other sustainable highlights include team 648 Forever! keeping the lights off in their office for 3 days straight, and 1 team member took the stairs at least 2 times a day every day rather than the elevator.  Team RUduce, RUuse, RUcycle and the Information Security team both tied for the most sustainable transportation points by using public transit and walking and/or biking to work.

All 5 teams received Green Office Certificates for their participation.  Thank you to all of our participants!


Written by Sarah Tag

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The (Reuse Art Competition) Votes Are In!

This Earth Month we were fortunate to have artists from the RU community participate in a Reuse Art Competition.  They shared their creativity with us, and made art projects utilizing only reused items.

Our first place winner is Donnette Noble, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Organizational Leadership Program in the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies.  Her piece, “Party Time Trash Table” received many votes.  She found the table near the trash with a sign on it: “Free! Do you want to give me a home?”  She painted it and covered the rest with magazine, newspaper, flyer, and mail clippings that she found intriguing and/or amusing.  The table is now in her office.  Donnette received a first place “ribbon” made of, you guessed it – reused materials (pictured below)!

Table 1

“Party Time Trash Table” by Donnette Noble


1st Place Ribbon made of Reused Items

1st Place Ribbon made of Reused Items

Our second place winner, Jill Collins created this piece entitled “Watering Hole.”   She had this to share:


“Watering Hole” by Jill Collins

“Fun Funky Fish fashioned from old plastic laundry detergent bottles, Sunny Sea Turtle shaped from old plastic soda bottle, Enlightened Elephant designed from broken glass found along the beach & broken baubles gathered in the bottom of my junk drawer.  (I) never knew old & broken could be so fun, exciting & beautiful! Together we can help Mama Earth heal by creating reusable artwork & raising awareness of protecting our natural resources.”

Inspired by Ancient African Proverb:African Proverb


Our third place winner, Nicole Giangiulio, created her untitled piece out of mostly reclaimed materials.


Untitled by Nicole Giangiulio


Congratulations to the winners and thank you all of our artists for their participation!


Written by Sarah Tag

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Vote for your favorite piece of Reuse Art for Earth Month

The Reuse Art Competition is now open and available for viewing. To vote on your favorite piece of art, please follow the link below. Images of the art have been uploaded to the survey and are available for you to view. If you’d like to see the art in person, please visit the Murray-Green Library.

For questions please email Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate at

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Earth Month 2016

eco-earthIt’s been decided, Earth Day —a single day dedicated to the importance of preserving our planet and the life it holds– is simply not enough! That’s why the entire month of April has been deemed Earth Month by a team of sustainability-focused students, faculty, and staff at Roosevelt University! Several events and competitions will be hosted during April, the month of Earth Day (22nd). We encourage you to show your support for preserving our planet and sustainability at Roosevelt by participating in the upcoming events and competitions. The majority of events and competitions will be held during the last two weeks of April and there will be prizes, giveaways, and/or food at the events!


Reuse Art Competition — April 18-22: Students, faculty, and staff will be able to collect items that would otherwise be thrown away, and use the items to create their own personal art piece. Your creativity will be on display in both the Downtown and Schaumburg libraries from April 18 through April 22. This is an opportunity for art minors, as well as students, faculty, and staff that are art-inclined and/or passionate about sustainability to show their talents to the RU community. Show us why the materials and items you utilize are not just trash, but worth much more! An online voting form will be available for the whole RU community from April 19 through April 30 to choose winners of the competition. Prizes will be awarded to the top three participants! Get started with collecting your items now, and contact Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, at to sign up. The last day to sign up will be April 14th.

Green Office Competition — April 25-29: This challenge is open to all Roosevelt faculty and staff at the Chicago and Schaumburg campuses. A sustainability tracking form will be provided to all competing offices. The goal of this competition is to get faculty and staff to think and act sustainably, and we hope for it to continue after the competition ends. All participating offices will be recognized for their participation with a Green Office Certificate, and the office in 1st place will be in for a treat! The competition concludes on April 29th. Please contact Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, at as soon as possible to get started.

Indoor Walking Course Competition – April 25-29: An out-of-your-office, interactive challenge, this competition encourages those at the Schaumburg campus to avoid the ‘2:00pm crash’ and instead get up to stretch a little throughout the day. The course (starting in the Licht Center) will have signage posted and 4 laps (in either direction) amounts to 1.13 miles. Each day you can mark your name, email, and distance you walked on the course on a slip of paper and put it in a box— the paper and box will be at the start of the course. You may also email the information to Nick Waskowski, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, at The top 2-4 participants with the most miles walked, will receive a grand prize.


Safe Cycling Demo
Thursday, April 14
1:15-1:45pm, Wabash 1215
Katie Bowes, Special Projects and Enforcement Coordinator with the Chicago Department of Transportation, will be discussing safety while cycling – being visible and predictable, proper helmet use, bike locking, commuting, bike lane use, and more.  There will be time for questions as well.


Schaumburg Prairie

Outdoor Workday/Cleanup
Monday, April 18
9am-12pm, Schaumburg Campus
In an effort to get outside and work together as a community, an outdoor work/cleanup day will take place at the Schaumburg Campus. We will meet near the kiosk at the main entrance area of the building. Activities will include planting flowers, cleaning up any trash,and—best of all—getting some fresh air and having a lunch after, near the volleyball court.

Student Teach-Ins by SUST 340
Tuesday, April 19
2-5pm, WB Dining Center and AUD Congress & Fainman Lounges
Students in SUST 340: Policy, Law, & Ethics Class will be hosting multiple teach-ins on various applications of sustainability in the Dining Center, Fainman Lounge, and Congress Lounge. The event focuses on increasing awareness about positive sustainable action on campus and beyond. Students from SUST 340 will run interactive exhibits/activities and provide information about environmental justice, food waste, campus/community sustainability, and water quality. Free RU t-shirts and reusable water bottles will be available till they run out. Please stop by and engage in conversation and fun activities! Contact Professor Mike Bryson at with any questions or for more info.

Environmental Justice Twitter Chat
Tuesday, April 19
12:30-1:30pm, online and WB 1214
RU Sustainability Studies professor Mike Bryson (@MikeBryson22) hosts an #RUjusticechat on Twitter about environmental justice (EJ) in Chicago. Share stories, photos, questions, and comments about #Environmental(In)Justice here in Chicago, the birthplace of the urban environmental justice movement. Tweet from where you are, or bring your laptop/device to the LEED-Gold Wabash Building (room 1214) at RU’s Chicago Campus to join Professor Bryson in person for some communal Earth Week tweeting and accompanying verbal conversation. All are welcome!

Garden Planting Day & Recyclable Sorting Contestewaste
Wednesday, April 20
2-5pm, Wabash 317
The RU community will be able to start seedlings for the rooftop garden, create and decorate personal, potted plants to take home, and compete in a recyclable sorting and jump-shooting contest. All three activities will be hosted by RU Green (student organization) and Physical Resources, with help from RU Reforesting, in WB 317, on April 20, 2-5pm — there will be prize giveaways and free food! This is an opportunity to take part in the expanding rooftop garden in the Wabash building, learn more about sustainability on campus, and much more.
The recyclable sorting and jump-shooting contest will allow you to show off both your sustainability knowledge and jump shot! Participants will sort through (thoroughly-cleaned) dry waste, and determine what is recyclable and what is not. After the recyclables are sorted out, the items will be shot into their respective bins. 1st and 2nd place winners of the contest will receive $25 gift cards to Cafecito! Please join us at any time during the event from 2-5pm.

Earth Day Meal
Friday, April 22
Wabash Dining Center
The first 100 people to order an Earth Day Meal (all vegan and plant based) will receive a free tree seedling – White Fir or White Dogwood (1 per person, for the first 100 people). We look forward to celebrating Earth Day with you!

Arbor Day Pic3

Arbor Day Observance, 2015, with Bright Horizons

Arbor Day Observance & Tree Planting
Friday, April 22
10-11am, Schaumburg Campus
The History of Arbor Day can be traced back to 1872, when J. Sterling Morton first proposed the idea. In the 1870s, the tradition of this observance and celebration expanded and by 1882 schools nationwide participated.

In an effort to recognize this long-standing tradition, and to express the importance of trees to the community and environment, Roosevelt University, via the Physical Resources Department, will be holding an Arbor Day Observance at the Schaumburg Campus from about 10am-11am on Friday, April 22 (Earth Day). We will meet near the Torch and the tree planting will take place near the front entrance of the building—you won’t be able to miss seeing the location. Free give-a-ways will be available and we look forward to participation from the RU Community.

Sustainability Studies Student Symposium
Wednesday, April 27
2:30-5:30pm, Wabash 1214
This spring’s SUST Student Symposium is hosted by students of the SUST 390 Sustainable Campus honors seminar, and is the biggest symposium to date since this biannual event began in Fall 2013. Honors students will describe their campus sustainability/activism projects undertaken this semester starting at 2:30pm, then at 3:45pm senior SUST and BCPS majors will present findings from their internships and research projects from this past year. Join us for lively conversation and scrumptiously healthy refreshments, and be dazzled by the work of our students! Refreshments at 2pm; presentations begin at 2:30pm. Free and open to the public. Come late, leave early, stay for everything — all are welcome to attend! RSVP to Professor Mike Bryson (


Questions or comments on any of the events/competitions? Contact Rebecca Quesnell, RU’s Sustainable Operations Coordinator at or 312-341-3673, and you will be directed to the right person.

Competition/Event Organizers and Contributors: Physical Resources, Sustainability ru green logo 2Studies Program, RU Green, and Wabash Dining Center
Prizes Contributors & Sponsors*: RU Admissions, RU CSI, RU Bookstore, Cafecito, Mark Vend*
Author: Reece Krishnan, SUST Student

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Upcoming Environmental Sustainability Committee Meeting

Roosevelt University’s next Environmental Sustainability Committee meeting will be held on Monday, April 4th, from 11 am-12 pm in the Wabash Building, Room 1214. We will be using Zoom to meet virtually with those who cannot be physically present.

The Environmental Sustainability Committee’s current focus is to implement RU’s 5-Year Strategic Sustainability Plan, which is broken up into four action groups: Climate & Energy, Education & Outreach, Waste & Natural Resources, and Economics & Governance. The link to the Plan can be found on our Green Campus Webpage:

If you are interested in attending our third meeting of the year, or learning more about our committee, please contact Rebecca Quesnell, RU’s Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at for more details.

All are welcome, so if you want to help improve sustainability at RU, please stop by. We would love to see more new faces from the RU community!

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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

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