Since the implementation of a 20,000 reusable container fleet in University Dining, additional outlets for the use of reusable containers on campus have been explored by the team. One such location is Beckman Cafe, which is a heavily to-go-centric vendor on campus that could benefit from a reduction in single-use plastics.
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Students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Project Based Learning course proposed solar panels over parking lots, and Willard Airport executive director, Tim Bannon, was interested in possibly getting solar over the parking at the airport.
Perhaps the best option for decarbonizing thermal energy on campus is renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG is a drop-in solution that can be generated from a variety of technologies — most notably from upgrading biogas produced from anaerobic digestion — and used in existing infrastructure such as at Abbott Power Plant. Argonne National Laboratory publishes a database of RNG projects divided into the following categories: farms, food waste, landfills, wastewater treatment, and other waste.
Several colleges offer 100-level courses designed to onboard students and ease the transition into college life. By FY24, we aim to integrate a sustainability unit into each of these courses. We will pilot this program through, as an example, sections of the Grainger College of Engineering and the College of LAS. Each course will include a lesson designed to expose students to the iCAP goals and introduce practical applications of sustainability learning. For example, how can students, as members of campus and of society, apply sustainable practices to their education and daily lives?
The Committee for Environmental Sustainability within Illinois Student Government (ISG) is investigating the prospect of including a sustainability GenEd credit for all students. ISG developed and passed a resolution in December 2019 (attached). The proposal was presented at the Sustainability Council meeting in spring 2021.
The UIUC campus has several research labs across campus, with amazing cutting-edge research underway and accomplished over the last 150+ years. These research facilities are transformative for the global community, yet they also use a lot of energy and water and produce waste products. This project aims to integrate the iCAP objectives in the research areas on campus, through an open and concensus-based discussion with sustainability staff and research staff, as well as interested students and researchers.
The Zero Waste iCAP Team intends to explore options for the implementation of more sustainable practices with reference to the vending machines on campus. This project is still in the founding stages.
iSEE, along with F&S and Extension, is in process of developing a "Student Recycler/Composter Certification" program for Earth Month 2021. Each week for seven weeks, there will be a one-hour session that includes a guest speaker from campus and/or the community to help students understand how to decrease their waste behaviors. At the end of the program, students will receive a "Recycler/Composter Certification", valid for as long as they commit to 10 hours of volunteering within a 12-month period. Stay tuned for more info!
The iCAP objective #6.1 is: Broaden the availability of sustainability education across the entire curriculum, beginning with first-year student orientation and continuing through commencement, with at least one of four proposed methods implemented by FY24.