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 rquesnell@roosevelt.edu and/or Tiffany Mucci, Environmental Sustainability Intern, at tmucci@roosevelt.edu.


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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

Visit bikecommuterchallenge.org

Contact Melissa Morrison at mmorrison05@roosevelt.edu to join ‘Roosevelt U. Bikes.’

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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 https://roosevelt-csm.symplicity.com/ and search for “Environmental Sustainability Student Associate – Chicago Campus”.

If you have questions on the position, please contact Rebecca Quesnell, Sustainable Operations Coordinator, at rquesnell@roosevelt.edu.

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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 greencampusru@wordpress.com  and the Sustainability Studies blog run by Mike Bryson at http://blogs.roosevelt.edu/mbryson/.

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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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 rquesnell@roosevelt.edu with questions