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Student Sustainability Committee Funded Projects

Below this project collection listing is a map showing the projects which have a location. Please scroll to the bottom to see it.

Project Listing

Theme Project Status Description
Education ECI Educational Funding Completed

The Student Sustainability Committee, in conjunction with the Environmental Change Institute, has chosen to solicit proposals for the development of sustainability courses. This will allow the SSC to have a hand in choosing proposals to support, while the ECI will manage the projects and administration. In FY2010 the program received ten course proposals, six of which were chosen for funding.

A maximum of $15,000 in funding was made available, with individual grants of up to $5,000.

Education Friday Forums In Progress

The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations’ Diversity and Social Justice Education unit (DiversityEd), along with the RSO Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) and the University YMCA’s Friday Forum Committee, are planning a 10-lecture series themed around sustainability.

Education Illini EcoConcept In Progress

This project funds the Illini EcoConcept team for their efforts to design and manufacture a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Urban-Concept Vehicle to compete in the Shell EcoMarathon Competition in 2017. While the competition has always been centered on energy efficiency, it also promotes and rewards innovation that leads to a more sustainable energy system to support communities around the globe.

Education Illini Formula Electric In Progress

Illini Formula Electric (IFE) is a student organization from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that participates in the Formula Electric competition, both hosted and sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The goal of the competition is to design, fabricate, and race an all-electric race car marketed towards the weekend autocross racer.

Education Inner Voices In Progress

INNER VOICES Social Issues Theatre is raising awareness and address issues of Environmental Justice through the creation and production of an original play with accompanying educational materials and holding an inaugural National Call for Scripts focused on the theme Environmental Justice Is Social Justice.

Education iSEE Collaboratory In Progress

At the heart of iSEE’s mission is training students to become the next generation of sustainability leaders. To help fulfill this mission, iSEE will develop a “collaboratory” — a new classroom, conference, collaboration, and communications space next to our offices in the National Soybean Research Center (NSRC). This new complex will include space for experiential learning, a collaboration incubator, and a communications laboratory.

Education Prairie Project Instructional Workshop Completed

The Prairie Project is a faculty development workshop on the University of Illinois campus that is meant to prepare faculty to teach about sustainability and introduce sustainability issues into their existing coursework. Eighteen faculty members who teach thousands of students each year will make up the interdisciplinary group that the project reaches out to. This is a pilot project that is meant to serve as a basis for future workshops.

Education Science Policy Workshop In Progress

The Science Policy wants to educate students how to effectively interact with policy makers, as well as advocate for continual science research funding. Funding is an inherently policy-based process as it is determined by legislators, but conversely it is the lifeblood of fundamental research and academic innovation. Sustainability, and therefore its funding, is at the heart of science policy, as it relies on the intersection of science for developing new technologies and the public sphere which determines its implementation.

Education Sustainable Studies in the Humanities In Progress

Environmental issues are of increasing importance in the modern world, as environmental literacy is now involved in public policy and industry. This increasing importance has caused sustainability courses to evolve into a central part of research universities. The School for Earth, Society, and Environment (SESE) at the University of Illinois, has developed an interdisciplinary course load that connects physical and technical sciences with economics, policy, and social science.

Energy BIF Rooftop Solar PVs Completed

The Business Instructional Facility was the first production rooftop solar PV array installed on a campus building.  There are 168 panels with 190 Watts per panel, for a total system size of 32kW.  The college has a website that shows the solar output of this system by day, and another site that shows the annual output.

See also, the individual arrays.

Energy Chip PC Thin Client In Progress

Thin client computing devices and servers have low power consumption and increased lifetime as compared to ordinary desktop computers. The Student Sustainability Committee allocated $7,000 (on a reimbursement basis) to the purchase of these thin client computing devices and a server to be used in public access areas, for testing, in student kiosks, and for loans to other departments to encourage widespread adoption of this technology. The Student Sustainability funding allowed for the purchase of 28 of the 40 total units on campus.

Energy ECE Rooftop Solar PVs In Progress

The new ECE building is designed to include Solar Panels on its roof. The panels will provide about 11% of the building's energy needs.  The infrastructure for connecting these panels to the building electric supply was included in the original design and construction costs for the full building, while the solar panels themselves were funded separately. This specific project is to have a series of photovoltaic solar arrays on the roof of the building with a 300 kW peak power rating, capable of generating an estimated 470 MWh of electricity annually.

Energy Geothermal at Allerton Park Completed

Allerton Park was able to install a geothermal energy system at the Evergreen Lodge, with funding from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  There are opportunities for future installations of geothermal energy, when funding allows.

Energy LED Bi-Level Lighting pilot Completed

With the careful use of motion detectors, we can reduce energy demands for unoccupied space.  Rather than turning lights off when no one is in the area, we can use bi-level lights to reduce the energy going to the light fixture.  The results in parking lots have been shown to reduce energy demands by as much as 60 percent over the course of a month.  This technology is available with different styles of lighting, including Metal Hallide, LEDs, and Fluorsecent.  Campus is developing a project using bi-level LEDs in Parking Lot E-15.

Energy Occupancy and Daylight Sensors In Progress

Occupancy Sensors provide automatic ON/OFF switching of lighting loads to enhance convenience, security and long-term energy savings. Daylight sensors are battery-powered sensors that save energy by dimming or turning off electric lighting when sufficient daylight is available. The sensor detects light in the space and then adjusts the lights to take advantage of daylight, thus conserving energy. These sensors are being incorporated into most new projects and as many retrofit/retrocommissioning projects as possible, with funding and electrical/mechanical application being key factors.

Energy Plant Sciences Window Shades Completed

Shades reduce heat from the sun, and thereby reduce the energy needs for temperature control.  These shades replace the need for seasonal soaping of the windows.  Cost avoidance accrues to the department.  This project was funded by the Student Sustainability Committee.

Energy Solar Farm Completed

The 20.8 acre Solar Farm on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign South Farms is a Power Purchase Agreement with Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC, producing an estimated 7, 864 MWh/year of solar energy used solely by the Urbana campus.

Energy Solar Thermal at ARC Completed

The 24-panel, gravity fed solar-thermal system on the roof of the ARC preheats domestic cold water prior to its introduction into the steam-powered heat exchanger for domestic hot water, which significantly reduces steam usage for domestic hot water during normal operating periods. There are three main areas of hot water usage (domestic, pool, and air heating), but domestic (i.e. showers and sinks) represents the most pressing need and efficient use of solar technology.

Energy Speech and Hearing Rooftop Solar PVs In Progress

To support the iCAP effort for additional solar energy generation on campus and to expand the use of clean energy, the Student Sustainability Committee has funded the design and installation of a small solar PV array on the Speech and Hearing Building.  This particular location was chosen due to its viability, visibility, and location near the heart of campus.

Energy Steam System Maintenance In Progress
  • The campus allocated $160,000 recurring to fund two Pipefitter FTEs to replace steam traps.  Subsequently, the Maintenance Division has added an additional two FTEs to the efforts.  
  • Ideally, steam traps will be replaced every five years, on average.
  • The SSC contributed $215,000 toward steam reduction at the Library – via PRVs, steam traps and controls.
  • The DCEO Boiler Grant is available to further support these efforts.


Energy TBH Lighting Project Completed

Temple Hoyne Buell Hall (TBH), built in 1996, was constructed to allow natural light into most classroom, studio, and office spaces in the building.  The building has no automatic lighting controls, however. In order to reduce energy use associated with lighting and cooling within the building, occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and lighting timers will be installed. LED fixtures will be installed in a small part of the building and LED exit signs will replace the incandescent and fluorescent exit signs.

Energy Weatherization of Small Campus Buildings Completed

The Student Sustainability Committee has organized and funded a pilot project in which students conduct energy assessments of campus buildings for the purposes of weatherization. Teams from student organizations conduct the assessments, and receive payment for their work. This semester, five organizations are participating. F&S has contributed support and funds to the actual weatherization of the building. Small campus buildings, including the cultural houses, selected on the basis of energy usage, are assessed.

Transportation Bike Sharing Feasibility Study Completed

In 2011, the Student Sustainability Committee funded a Bike Sharing Feasibility Study, in order to assess whether a bicycle sharing program would be feasible and desirable on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Campus. 

Transportation Campus Bike Center In Progress

The Campus Bicycle Center — a collaboration between the University of Illinois and The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign — is dedicated to empowering individuals with knowledge about how to repair and maintain bicycles and encouraging mode-shift away from single-occupancy vehicles.  This educational center offers hands-on experiential learning that students can’t get in a classroom.  By empowering people with the ability to fix a bicycle and providing a connection between the campus and the community, the Bicycle Center promotes bicycling, collaboration, and community spirit.

Transportation FY09 SSC Bike Parking Upgrades Completed

The goal of this project is to provide standard bicycle parking at three locations on campus: Freer Hall, the Undergraduate Library, and the Agricultural Engineering Sciences Building.  This will encourage bicycle riding and support the Campus Area Transportation Study (CATS) mission “to better accommodate pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and vehicle movements in a more user-friendly environment.”  This is also one of the amenities recommended by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Multi-Modal Transportation Study recommendation to “provide other amenities to accommodate existing bi

Transportation FY12 SSC Bike Parking Upgrades In Progress

In FY12, the Student Sustainability Committee approved $225,000 to upgrade a number of bike parking locations on campus. Facilities & Services is completing the work to upgrade these locations by the end of Summer 2013.

Transportation Japan House and Arboretum Bicycle Parking Proposed

Japan House and the University of Illinois Arboretum request funding to provide bike racks on their grounds. There are currently no available bike racks in the 57-acre Arboretum and Japan House grounds. Japan House is the site of University classes and the Arboretum is frequently used as a resource for classes from units such as Landscape Architecture, and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. In addition, the Arboretum and the Japan House Gardens are a major recreational resource for students, faculty and staff and the general public.

Transportation Sheltered Bike Parking at CLSL In Progress

The goal of this project is to construct an area for students, graduate students, faculty, and staff who frequent the Chemical and Life Sciences Building and Roger Adams Laboratory to stow their bicycles in a secure location throughout the day (or night) that is sheltered from the elements.  Proposed locations of this structure would be either one of the grassy spaces between these two buildings on the south side courtyard.

Land & Space Bevier CaféHerb Garden In Progress

The Bevier Café is a learning laboratory where FSHN students to get hands on experience running a food service establishment. The funding requested in this application will serve to purchase startup equipment for growing fresh herbs for use in their operation.

Land & Space Burrill/ Morrill Walkway Completed

This project is meant to transform the walkway between Burrill and Morrill Halls into a sustainable and multifunctional landscape. The walkway formerly had planters with a few, mostly non-native species. The walkway’s impervious concrete also had the problem of collecting rainwater and flooding. This area is high in student pedestrian traffic and is a part of the “Million Dollar Tour” that prospective donors to the University take while visiting campus.

Land & Space Fly Ash Phosphorous Filtration In Progress

Subsurface (tile) drainage has helped to sustain the productivity of our farm lands by draining excess water from the field. Excess nutrient losses from our tile-drained agricultural fields have contributed to several water quality issues in the region including the formation of hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It has been well-documented that tile drainage is responsible for highly soluble nitrate loss but recent studies have demonstrated that it also contributes to dissolved phosphorus loss from the agricultural fields.

Land & Space LAR Native Plants In Progress

The Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall Living and Learning Community (LLC) is aware of the interest in increasing the number of campus locations with native plants.  They would like to join the effort to plant Native Plant Species in selected areas around Campus. The goal of this project is to locate plants in places like the unused space between Allen Hall and Lincoln Ave. Residence.

Land & Space Native Plantings & Prairies In Progress

Several native planting projects are championed by student and community groups including Grand Prairie Friends, Red Bison, Students for Environmental Concerns, Allerton Allies, East Central Illinois Master Naturalists and the Student Sustainability Committee.

Land & Space Orchard Downs Multifunctional Landscape (ODMFL) Cancelled

The northeast corner of the Orchard Downs complex is a prime location for a sustainable land-use demonstration. The housing complexes at this corner were demolised in the late 1990s. A diverse canopy of mature trees, including red oak, sycamore, sweet gum, tulip tree, and jack pine, and grassy "no-mow" area have since grown in. The land is an underutilized educational, recreational, research, and ecological opportunity for the University.

Land & Space Prairie Restoration at Florida & Orchard In Progress

The University has worked to restore the 2.7-acre no-mow zone at the southwest corner of Florida Avenue and Orchard Street, as one of the campus’ first prairie plantings.  This restoration is designed to educate, beautify, and inspire. It will serve as a highly visible public symbol of our commitments to (1) the historic ecological legacy and the native species once found in this complex ecosystem and (2) campus-wide efforts toward sustainability and carbon neutral practices.

Land & Space Roof to Roof Program In Progress

Root to Roof is a program established to educate students about the sustainability and availability of urban wood for the design and fabrication of furniture, outdoor installations, homes and buildings. It does this through harvesting waste timber from campus and the City of Urbana and milling it to become usable lumber.

Land & Space Small Prairie at Natural Resources Building In Progress

The Natual Resources Building is the site of another native species planting project, both in front of the building and behind it on Pennsylvania Avenue. This project is funded by the Student Sustaianability Project.

Land & Space Sustainable Agricultural Food System In Progress

This project is a significant expansion of the current local food partnership existing between the Student Sustainable Farm (SSF), Multifunctional Woody Perennial Polyculture (MWP), FSHN Pilot Processing Plant (PPP), and UIUC Dining.  Presently the Sustainable Agriculture Food System grows, processes, and serves on campus a variety of tomato sauces (pizza sauce is served across campus) and hot sauce.  Soon, the Sustainable Agriculture Food System will add a whole wheat flour milling line.  It have a very successful and growing program to provide quality, sustainable, and local food products

Land & Space Sustainable Student Farm In Progress

The Sustainable Student Farm is a small-scale vegetable farm operated within the Crop Sciences department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign located on 10 acres of land at Lincoln Avenue and Windsor Road.  The farm serves as a production farm to supply our residence halls with locally grown, low-input sustainable food. In addition, the farm acts as a living laboratory to connect students, community members, and the state at large with regional, small-scale food systems.

Land & Space Tomato Processing and Packaging In Progress

The goal of the Sustainable Agricultural Food System is to further collaboration between the production activities of the Sustainable Student Farm; the teaching, research, and outreach activities at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN); and Dining Services' goal of increasing procurement of locally grown foods. The specific action the project would take in order to support this goal would be purchasing tomato processing equipment.

Land & Space Woody Perennial Polyculture (WPP) Research Site In Progress

The Woody Perennial  Polyculture (WPP) Research Site at the University of Illinois is working create a research farm in which the arrangement of plants is similar to that of the climate’s natural ecosystem, but uses plants that are more practical for human consumption. This research site is the first attempt at a large-scale WPP system in a temperate environment. The research from the farm is intended to show that the WPP system is a sustainable and economically advantageous alternative to the corn-soybean rotation that is commonly used on farms across the Midwest.

Water BIF Greywater Pipe System In Progress

The Business Instructional Facility (BIF) was designed for future use of greywater, which is raw (untreated) water. Although the building is fed from the potable water supply, there is separate piping for the urinals and water closets in the building.

Water Conduct True Cost of Water Study for Chiller Plants Completed

In FY2011, cooling towers constituted 30 percent of the total water use on campus. Due to the large water use of these towers, a ‘True Cost of Water Study’ was performed on with goals of benchmarking water use in cooling towers and generating ideas for improving water use efficiency. The study was conducted by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center in collaboration with Facilities and Services and was funded by the Student Sustainability Committee.

Funding Illini Union Revolving Loan Pool In Progress

The Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and the Illini Union collaborate on sustainability projects that take place at the Illini Union, through the Illini Union Revolving Loan Pool. 

Procurement & Waste Battery Recycling Ongoing

Special recyclables includes battery recycling. As of spring 2017, departments are welcome to fund battery recycling for their units by purchasing boxes through Call2Recycle. The boxes can be used to collect both rechargeable and single-use alkaline batteries. Full instructions for your unit to participate are available at

Procurement & Waste Green Cleaning Products and Practices In Progress

The Student Sustainability Committee Provided Funding for the purchase and testing the Activeion Ionator EXP Cleaning System, a cleaning system that reduces water usage by using no water to mix chemicals and still effectively kills more than 99.9 percent of harmful germs. The Activeion Ionator Systems also element chemical odor and residue caused by other cleaning systems. Initially, Facilities and Services Building Services will purchase 20 units to evaluate in daily cleaning operations in buildings the University campus.

Procurement & Waste RecycleMania Completed

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is participating in RecycleMania in 2014 with a Game Day Event on February 26 and an e-Waste Collection on March 18.

Procurement & Waste Recycling for the Quad Completed

This project will improve the waste process in and around the Quad.  First the project will provide a recycling bin to be placed next to each existing bin.  Then signage will be changed and color coded to clearly indicate that the new bins are for recycling and the existing bins will be used for only landfill material.  In addition, additional signage will be placed in buildings on the Quad to launch new standards and clarifying what can be recycled.  These new signs will assist to inform a community that currently believes all material is sorted on site.

Procurement & Waste Vermicompost In Progress

The dining halls at the University residency halls produce an estimated average 14,962.5 pounds, or 7 tons, of food waste every week. To combat the amount of this food waste that goes to the landfills a pilot on-site  vermi-composting project on the Sustainable Student Farm will be created. The project has the potential to turn into a campus-wide vermi-composting model.

Procurement & Waste Water Fountain Retrofit In Progress

The Illinois Student Senate Environmental Sustainability Subcommittee has a vested interest in promoting environmentally responsible campus policies and projects in an effort to encourage responsible and sustainable practices at the University of Illinois. One of the projects which our committee has been discussing since the beginning of the semester has been encouraging the student body to wean off of disposable water bottles and promoting reusable water bottles, with the greater goal of curbing litter and wasteful discarding of recyclable bottling materials.

Procurement & Waste Zero Waste In Progress

The comprehensive Zero Waste Program will include sustainable procurement components, targeted reuse programs, clear recycling education with incentives for participation, and specific targets focused on waste minimization.  Therefore, the objectives for waste minimization cover all these aspects.

Procurement & Waste Zero Waste Game Day Spring 2014 Completed

The Climate Action Plan includes a commitment to adopt a Zero Waste Policy campus. Campus is working toward Zero Waste with the report done by Marcus Ricci last year, waste characterization audits through the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and hiring a Zero Waste Coordinator under the Waste Management Coordinator, Tracy Osby.  However, ultimately the only way to really achieve Zero Waste is by getting behavior change in individuals.

Outreach Green Observer In Progress

The Green Observer is the only environmental publication at the University of Illinois, written and published by students. We strive for objective reporting on environmental issues affecting our campus and encourage all members of our community to get involved in safeguarding our home.

Visit for more information or to read past issues.

Outreach Illinois Biodiesel Initiative (IBI) In Progress

The UIUC Biodiesel Initiative (or Illinois Biodiesel Initiative) is a project that evolved from Engineers Without Borders and has collected Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) from dining halls on campus in order to convert it to biodiesel fuel. This fuel has been used by campus vehicles at the Facilities & Services (F&S) Garage and Car Pool since spring of 2006.  

Outreach Project Paplet Completed

Project Paplet began in Malaysia as a paper recycling campaign aiming to take once-used paper and turn it into recycled notebooks for children in need. Localizing the project to the University of Illinois, students from the Society of Women Engineers will be collecting used paper from campus departments and producing hundreds of paplets to be donated to the on-campus Child Development Laboratory for use by the pupils.

Outreach Solar Decathlon In Progress

The Solar Decathlon is a bi-annual international competition hosted by the Department of Energy and the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Competitors design, build, and present a completely solar-powered house on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The University's team consisted of efforts from several colleges; ACES, FAA, CoE, Communications, and Buisiness all made efforts in the design and building of the house.

Map of projects

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