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Build a Culture of Sustainability (In Progress)

Description

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 11, objective 2 is, "Strengthen and communicate about sustainability outreach programs. Specifically, at least half of the full-time campus staff will be participating in the Certified Green Office Program (CGOP) by FY20."  Although the University's activities are a major focus of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), activities in the surrounding community are also of importance. The University will take action to promote and encourage sustainable activities in Urbana, Champaign, and other surrounding areas.

The CGOP will be focused on adding more campus units, with a target of 50% participation from full-time campus staff by FY20. 

Background

There are several outreach programs that campus supports on a regular basis. 

Certified Green Office Program (CGOP)

The main goal of CGOP is to reach out to more staff employed by the University of Illinois. The third-edition CGOP is relaunched by iSEE in January 2016 to engage the entire community in a campuswide commitment to sustainability. The number of offices signed up for CGOP is growing pretty well, up to 28 offices and 4 new recent ones. There are approximately 8500 staff members on the campus from U of I facts and the first pilot round had over 750 people including the staff in University Housing. Still, getting 50% of participation rate of full-time staff by FY20 is an ambitious goal. iSEE is working on growing to that number by activities such as inviting speakers to present on sustainability-related topics or encouraging Green Teams to build up awareness and engagement of sustainability.

Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet)

CCNet is a volunteer-led organization that hosts open discussions about the broad topic of sustainability in the community. It is designed to provide a forum where business leaders and citizens can learn about new technology, ideas and business models associated with the emerging trend toward sustainability. They meet monthly at the same time and place, learning about a specific topic, with time for discussion. Also, they host special events, as needed, on topics or at locations of interest to the group and community. CCNet seeks to position the community as a leader in sustainability while improving the quality of life for the citizens of Champaign County.

Sustainability Seminar Series

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) hosts sustainability seminars on a regular basis, usually one or two per month. Researchers, policy makers and corporate executives present on various topics related to Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment.This series is an opportunity to share scientific research with peers in a relaxed, informal environment.  Seminars usually last about an hour and questions are welcome. Some most recent seminar topics are "Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment" and "Are Pyrethroid Insecticides a Threat to Aquatic Non-Target Species?" More information can be found in http://istc.illinois.edu/about/sustainability_seminars.cfm.

Student Competitions

The Campus Conservation Nationals are called “Eco-Olympics” at the University of Illinois.  RecycleMania is another student competition that campus occasionally participates in.

Guest Speakers

The University of Illinois has a substantial number of guest speakers from diverse fields presenting issues on sustainability throughout the year. Each year, iSEE Congress assembles leading national and international scientists from different disciplines to present the latest scientific research on a particular facet of future sustainability. Individual departments such as Civil and Environmental Engineering has frequent CEE seminars to inform students and staff with a wide range of current topics on environment and solutions toward sustainability. In addition, the University of Illinois holds workshop such as Majora Carter Workshop to inspire student with ideas on creating a better environment.

A mechanism is suggested for identifying people to include in the guest speaker list and a database of prepared sustainability presentations to be shared or modified as needed. Thus, the outside agencies or groups could both review the list and submit a request for a speaker at their specific event.

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