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Project Updates for collection: Student Sustainability Committee Funded Projects


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  1. Weekly update: Green Quad Day, Donations

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, On the whole, an uneventful week. We tabled at Green Quad Day last Friday, but other than that it was business as usual. A local bike shop is scaling back their operations, and we got a lot of donations as a result, including NOS handlebars, fenders, and tires. Always welcome! There is, too, the potential for more demand with one less option locally for folks to fix their bike. We’ll see how that plays out over time.

    Tonight is the Bike Project Member Meeting, which I’ll attend.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 42
    Sales: $362
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $170
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Tires/Tubes:  9 for $72


    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  2. Weekly capstone meetings: Meeting from 3/29 and 4/5

    Meeting from 4/5/2023

    Summary: Ethan and Sarthak met via zoom where they discussed the work on the plan that Ethan has done so far. They also discussed the thorough plan for the next year to describe to the stakeholders, in regard to their involvement with the 2024 plan. Ethan is expected to respond to stakeholders by next week, add onto the plan (mainly the executive summary, goals & objectives, introduction, and planning process sections). Ethan will send Sarthak separate emails about his Urban Planning presentation on their work for school, and request for GIS information.

    Meeting from 3/29/2023

    Summary: Ethan and Sarthak met briefly via zoom (Ethan was out of town dealing with a family emergency so there was not much to discuss). Ethan is expected to make a Google Sheet with stakeholders' information and responses, a sheet of timeline for the planning process, and a document for the 2024 plan.

  3. iSEE Green Chapter and Event Certifications

    Happy Earth Month! Congratulations to our newest recipients of the Greener Campus Program.


    Green Chapter: Delta Gamma, Silver, Recertified April 2023

    Green Event:

    -Chancellor's Office for Special Events Gov Pritzker Press Conference, Certified April 2023

    -ECEC23, Certified April 2023


    Keep up the great work, and check out our exciting events for Earth Week this year!

  4. Weekly Update: Bike sales, Bike Fix-it day, Stripping junk bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Business as usual over here. We’ve almost fully occupied the front lobby space with for sale bikes—which will likely diminish a bit this week with the warm weather. Fingers crossed.

    This upcoming Saturday we have a partnering event with the Urbana Parks District to help with a bike fix-it day from 10  - 12p in Urbana at the Phillips Recreation Center. Will be nice to get off campus and help folks where they are—or maybe closer to where they are. The event was successful last year and will hopefully be so again this year. Although, offsite repairs always mean you can’t bring every tool for every possible repair, which is a strong impulse.

    We’ve hit a bit of a stride with some volunteers and staff stripping junk bikes. This, of course, has the added bonus of creating a surplus of used 26” tires. We’ll have no trouble working through those in due time. Accordingly, I’ll be grabbing a few more from the warehouse this week.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 44
    Sales: $529
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $240
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Tires/tubes: 8 for $31

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  5. LW004 Monarchs Need Milkweed - Successful

    Morgan White, the Associate Director of F&S of Sustainability and Interim Director of Capital Programs at UIUC, responded to the LW004 Monarchs Need Milkweed with the following message:

    Dear Land and Water iCAP Team and iWG,

    Thank you for your continued support and advocacy for the Illinois Climate Action Plan.  Last semester, we received the recommendation below for adding more milkweed around campus to support the monarch butterfly population, and we are happy to take action. 

    F&S has the personnel and expertise to coordinate this effort successfully. The Grounds team will plant milkweed at the low mow zone and prairie areas, prioritizing the locations shown on your map.  Additionally, once our Grounds Workers do the seeding, they will be more likely to know where it is growing in the future and be able to avoid accidental mowings. 

    To assist campus sustainability, F&S is amenable to doing the work without additional compensation.  We will also request $2,500 from the Illinois Green Fund for the purchase of enough seeds for roughly 64,000 SF of space, which can then be divided up into the multiple locations.  Some of the smaller locations suggested may not be planted, depending on future campus building plans.  For the low mow zones, plantings will be prioritized along road corridors where passers-by will be able to see the plants growing and ascertain the success rate. 

    Please let Brent Lewis (copied) know if you have any questions.  We look forward to assisting our pollinator population with this project.



    For future updates related to the Monarchs Need Milkweed, see the Increase Pollinator-Friendly Areas project here. 

    See the iWG assessment LW004 Monarchs Need Milkweed and transmittal update here.

    See the original LW004 Monarchs Need Milkweed recommendation here. 

  6. Weekly Update: Earth Month, Nice weather

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Happy Earth Month! Weather is picking up in the next week or two, so we’ll see how that impacts visit numbers. Still working our way through the warehouse bikes and our for sale bikes are hovering around 20. Other than that, business as usual.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 36

    Sales: $612.75
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $360
    Membership: 3 for $90

    Tires/tubes: 6 for $35.75


    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  7. Monarch seeds or plugs

    Associated Project(s): 

    Jen and Morgan asked Brent Lewis about the use of plugs instead of seeds. They also want to explore partnering with schools and community groups to collect seed from local sources and that The Urbana Free Library has a seed library, in which we could help encourage participation.  Also, Jen would like to engage University Primary School, which is adjacent to the prairie where students found a lot of milkweed. One of their lessons is about monarchs. Milkweed pods are easy to harvest in the fall.

    Brent responded with the following message:

    Hi Jennifer,

    If we are doing butterfly weed on the main part of campus, then I want to use plugs.  For this recommendation, we’ve shifted to enhancing the low mow areas.  In that case, we are talking about a huge amount of space.  Due to the easy nature of growing these from seed and the large impact we are looking for, having them broadcast seed through these zones is the most effective way of accomplishing this. 

    We will make sure to get some out at the school there too.  That’s a great suggestion.



  8. Weekly update: No First Visit Free policy, weekend and summer programming

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Pretty chill this last week. Weather was iffy but we were a little busier than expected considering that. I moved some bikes over from the warehouse as we have a volunteer who’s on a take-apart-a-bike-every-Friday schedule, so I’ll do my best to accommodate him going forward.

    We have been piloting our No First Visit Free policy without too much push back. We’ve had a few people turn and leave, but that’s fine.

    This week I’ll work on planning/R&D for some weekend programming and take stock of summer staffing.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 41
    Sales: $552
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $180
    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tires/tubes:  4 for $36

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  9. Weekly capstone meetings: Meeting from 3/1, 3/10, and 3/22

    Meeting notes from 3/22:

    • LRTP 2045 review it
    • They are starting work on 2050
    • Subject line for email: Name of Person/Organization
    • Expect 5-7 meetings (Landscape Architects, SPO, Transportation iCAP team, SSC, maybe League of American Bicyclists, Champaign County Bikes, RPC)
    • The rest will be communicated with through emails and/or CTAC
    • April 27th, morning meeting with CTAC
    • Start document for 2024 Campus Master Bicycle Plan (start outlining sections i.e introductions, executive summary, etc.). Use the 2014 plan as a template. 
    • In April we will start filling some of the information on the 2024 plan (Introduction, Planning Process).
    • In April will present to Bumsoo Lee and DURP to show progress

    Meeting from 3/10:

    Sarthak and Ethan met via zoom to discuss plans for the rest of the semester. Ethan is to finalize the email template which they will begin sending out after Spring break (last two weeks of March). Ethan is also to finish readings mentioned by Stacey by the next meeting in two weeks. 


    • Be ready for reach out process, email ready, finish readings, you will hear from us in coming months, there will be future stakeholder meetings, feel free to share some ideas over email now, attach 2014 bicycle plan and 3 reports (at least the 2019 and 2022 one) (link it in email itself). 
    • Start report for undergraduate project early April.

    Meeting from 3/1:

    Sarthak and Ethan met via zoom to reflect on their meeting with Stacey. Ethan and Sarthak made note of stakeholders that she suggested that we reach out to and other readings to review. Ethan is to draft an email for reaching out to stakeholders once we return from Spring Break. Ethan is also expected to review RPC Bike Plan, Campus Master Plan, Crash Data, and TDM Plan.


    • Readings to do:
      • RPC Bike Plan
      • Campus Master Plan
      • Crash Data
      • TDM
      • APBP and League of American Bicyclists we will reach out to
      • Look at TDM report for Bicycle Friendly University updates
      • TDM to be published this year
    • Starting introductory email template and we would greatly appreciate your input and guidance when developing plan
    • Give info on what the old plan was and progress
    • Suggestions on adding more 
    • Ethan: start draft of email 
  10. iSEE New Green Office and Event Certifications

    I hope everyone had a restful spring break, welcome back and congrats to our newest recipients of the Green Office and Green Event Certification Programs!

    -Green Office: University of Illinois Police Department, Gold (35 sustainable actions pledged!), Recertified March 2023

    -Green Events: 

    -Chancellor's Office for Special Events University Scholars Reception, Certified March 2023

    -Chancellor's Office for Special Events SSCIL Gies Groundbreaking Ceremony, Certified March 2023

    -Chancellor's Office for Special Events Chancellor's Staff Excellence Awards, Certified March 2023

    Keep up the great work!


  11. Considerations for clean thermal energy

    There are a few examples of clean thermal energy in use on campus at this time. These include:

    • the solar thermal panels on the Activities Rec Center, heating the three swimming pools
    • the biomass boiler at the Energy Farm, heating the two story greenhouse on south Race Street
    • geothermal installations providing heating and cooling at the Fruit Farm Admin Building, the RIPE greenhouse, the Campus Instructional Facility, a few buildings at Allerton Park, the solar decathlon Gable Home at the Energy Farm, and a few rooms in the Hydrosystems Building
    • a wood-fired stove heating some maintenance buildings at Allerton Park

    We could expand these types of energy systems...

    • Additional geothermal installations are being planned for various places around campus, including a geothermal battery system at the Energy Farm.  The other geothermal locations in planning discussions now include the South Campus Center for Interdisciplinary Learning, a future greenhouse for CABBI, and the Doris Christopher Kelley Illinois Extension Building in the Arboretum.
    • The biomass boiler at the Energy Farm was designed with the anticipation of future expansion.
    • Solar thermal is a great option for our area of the planet, but it is not easy to integrate it in our existing energy enterprise.

    Another option for clean thermal energy is biogas, which UIUC contributes to locally through the Grind2Energy system, which takes food waste from the dining halls to the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District (UCSD).  UCSD puts it through their anaerobic digester which captures the methane (a very strong greenhouse gas).  Currently, that captured methane is used to run an electrical generator, which provides power to the UCSD facility.  An alternative would be to upgrade the methane to pipeline quality and use the biogas a Abbott Power Plant on campus.  This is an expensive option that would require a lot of coordination and funding.

    Another strong option is a micronuclear reactor, which is being studies by the Grainger College of Engineering faculty and researchers.  This system could be integrated with the existing steam distribution system and provide ghg-free energy to campus.


  12. Weekly Update: Closed for Spring Break

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Bike Center is closed this week for Spring Break and I’ll be working an abbreviated week myself. We’ve got a dozen plus bikes for sale and I’ll safety check a few more before I bow out for the week.

    On Friday, we got maybe the oddest donation yet: an iPod mini, complete with charging cord…

    We reorganized and moved one of our storage racks from the backside of the space up front to the lobby so we can hold more bikes for sale up there. In the storage area, we’re pulling pedals/turning handlebars and so can fit more bikes without the rack.

    In more sobering news, a patron who’d finished a Build-a-Bike a couple weeks ago was hit while riding the bike he’d fixed here and ended up in the ER needing stitches. He is fine, otherwise, and told me the news in person, so he is ok. The number of people I know who’ve been hit by a car is quickly approaching double digits.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 37

    Sales: $1,234.50

    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $825
    Membership: 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 7 for $115

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  13. Zero Waste iCAP Meeting 3/10/2023

    On January 30th, the Zero Waste iCAP team met to discuss final thoughts on the finished tailgate recycling recommendation, the feasibility of a large scale composting program on campus, and current work with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). 

    Meeting minutes are attached.

    Attached Files: 
  14. iSEE New Green Event Certifications

    Congratulations to the newest recipients of our Green Event Certification Program!


    -Recreation, Sport, and Tourism/Champaign Park District Bunny Open House, Certified March 2023

    -Chancellor's Office for Special Events University of Pretoria Delegation Lunch, Certified March 2023


    Keep an eye on the iSEE calendar for all of the Earth Month activities coming up in April!

  15. Weekly Update: Open M-F, Closed for Spring Break

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Notable item of the week was running out entirely of used 700c tires—popular size, I guess! I was able to run over to the warehouse and grab enough wheels off junk bikes that we’re able to live another week. I used the long bike trailer on Wednesday morning and yet another person called out “nice bike!” as I pedaled by. I always get looks or comments when piloting that thing around.

    This week we’ll be opening back up to 5 days a week, M – F 2 to 6p. We’ll see how our Tues/Thurs numbers look but I doubt we’ll be swamped yet as folks adjust to our new hours.

    We’ll be closed next week for Spring Break and reopen Monday, March 20th.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 18

    Sales: $174.50
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Tires/tubes: 6 for $43


    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  16. Weekly capstone meetings: Meeting from 2/23 and 2/24

    Sarthak and Ethan met with Stacey DeLorenzo to discuss their development of the planning process for the 2024 Campus Master Bicycle Plan which will occur this semester. Stacey approved of a bicycle audit happening in the fall as well as gave some suggestions for some other stakeholders to include such as Ride Illinois. They also discussed more readings to refer to such as the TDM Plan and Urbana bike plan. This semester will culminate with the meeting with CTAC discussing the working structure and plan for the next two semesters. They also talked about other potential ideas to include in the plan such as scooter parking, more bike share programs, and more bicycle education programs. Stacey agreed to meet with Sarthak and Ethan once a month to get updates on their progress.