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Project Updates for collection: Housing Department Projects


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  1. SSC Extension Request for Dump and Run

    Associated Project(s): 

    An extension request was submitted for Dump and Run, an SSC-funded project. This request addressed a change in the project's scope, including ending a partnership with the University YMCA, potential rebranding, and new initiatives for UIUC-led collection programs.

    See the scope change in the attached files.

  2. Dump and Run for Spring 2022 is Cancelled

    Associated Project(s): 


    Below is an email from Morgan White describing that the University YMCA plans to only conduct Dump and Run in the fall.

    This led Morgan, F&S, & Housing leadership to decide to delay their version of spring collections until the full-time Zero Waste Coordinator has been hired.



    From: White, Morgan

    Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2022 8:24 AM

    To: Johnson, Bryan Lloyd; Kuehl, Mark A; Hiser, Daniel William; Patterson, Shawn L 

    Cc: Boehm, David ; McKay, James; Sealine, Alma R; Varney, Peter W; Kamarah, Ehab 

    Subject: RE: Dump and Run - arranging a meeting


    Hello everyone,


    Thank you for your patience and willingness regarding the UIUC collaboration with the University YMCA on the Dump and Run. 


    This year, the Board and Leadership of the University Y made the decision to only do Dump and Run in the fall.  In 2021, they had arranged a fall-only collection, followed immediately by a sale in August at the Stock Pavilion.  As they reviewed the impacts of that fall-only sale compared to the collection efforts and impacts for the spring collection and fall sale, they decided to focus solely on the fall sale from now on. 


    Following that news, I spoke with F&S and Housing leadership, and we agreed that it would be best to delay our own version of spring collections until the full time Zero Waste Coordinator has been hired.  This search is approved, and we hope to have a new employee who will report to Pete Varney (and try to fill Shantanu Pai’s shoes) in the next few months.  That person will then work with us to develop an appropriate solution for keeping gently used materials (clothes, books, etc.) out of the landfill during move-out week.


    Thank you all very much, and we will be in touch as plans develop for a spring 2023 collection.


    All my best,




    Acting Director of Capital Programs

    Associate Director of F&S for Sustainability

    Facilities & Services | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  3. Funding Approval for Grind2Energy

    Ehab Kamarah and Madhu Khanna approved $135,000 of funding from the Carbon Credit Sales Fund for the Grind2Energy system.

    "This project will install the Grind2Energy system for food waste at the Lincoln Avenue
    Dining Hall on campus... Housing has successfully installed the Grind2Enery system as a sustainable solution for dining hall pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste in four of the five dining halls. This funding would allow them to complete the final installation before the student body returns in fall 2022." -Morgan White (12/14/2021)


    An email of approval is attached below.

  4. Information Regarding Grind2Energy Funding for LAR

    The following message was sent to Morgan White to share with Carbon Credit Fund Administrators by Thurman Etchison, the Assistant Director of Dining - Facilities and Equipment, on November 18, 2021. The email & attachments contain important information regarding the potential installation of a Grind2Energy system at LAR:

    Carbon Credit Fund Administrators,


    Housing Dining Services is seeking funds to add a Grind 2 Energy system to our Lincoln Avenue Dining Hall. Grind 2 Energy is a system that allows us to put our food waste into a pumpable slurry so that it may be taken to an anerobic digester at the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District. These systems replace the aerobic digesters we previously had in our dining units. The aerobic digesters had issues with the effluent not meeting EPA standards.


    This system would be our fifth and likely final system as we would have one at every residential dining location. These are operational at Ikenberry, PAR, FAR and ISR. Currently, University Housing does not have resources to fund this project due to the impact of COVID on our budget. We would reach out to the Student Sustainability Committee for funding but for us to do the infrastructure work and have the unit installed prior to the next school year, we need to start before the next round of submissions.


    The use of Grind 2 Energy has been a very successful program for us. It meets our needs, keeps us in compliance with regulatory bodies, is comparable in costs to other methods of disposal. It is very sustainable in terms of the environment. To date, we have diverted 289 tons of food waste even though there was limited use until this school year.


    The amount we are requesting is $133,538.00. A simple breakdown of our expected costs is below. As our tradespeople have installed the 4 previous units, we believe this number to be very accurate. Our last unit came in within $1000 of our estimate.


    LAR Grind 2 Energy – Preliminary Budget Cost

    • LAR Grind 2 Energy System (equipment and labor)…..................................................................... $86,000
      • (Rigging fees)........................................................................................................................... $4,650
    • Concrete Slab Work (existing planter modifications site work & new concrete slab)….................... $23,100
    • New Wall at Table (Demolition, floor work, ceiling work, MEP & new wall)…................................... $19,788
    • TOTAL:                                                                                                                                              $133,538


    I would like to add that these units are highly visible on campus and it is our intention to start highlighting the metrics in our dining units via electronic messaging. This may include digital displays, The Housing Insider and social media platforms. There is also great deal of interest in biogas impact from these units. I have met with 2 groups of students from the CEE 190 class about these units in the past month.


    In short, this program reduces carbon emissions, produces fertilizer and creates energy. The systems are highly reliable and have had almost no issues to date. Please see the attachments for additional info.


    Thank you for your consideration, 



    Assistant Director of Dining - Facilities and Equipment


  5. Dump and Run held this August!

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dump and Run is BACK! After a 1-year hiatus, the University YMCA is thrilled to once again hold community collections and the Big Sale this August. All collections and the sale will be held at the U of I Stock Pavilion, in cooperation with the College of ACES and Dept. of Animal Sciences.

    Dump and Run keeps over 30 tons of used, quality goods out of Champaign-Urbana’s dumpsters and landfills each year. This project reduces litter and consumer waste, saves space in landfills, lowers dumping costs for certified housing and apartments and provides inexpensive items for folks to purchase in the fall.

    While we were unable to hold our normal spring collections this past May, we look forward to collecting as many great items as we can from our community and hope that you will join us in helping find usable goods a new home. Thanks to the community and the University of Illinois for making Dump & Run a success each year, and we will see you this August!

    (From the YMCA Dump and Run website) More information here

    August 2021 Collection Days:

    All collections will be held at the UI Stock Pavilion, located at 1402 W. Pennsylvania Ave, Urbana IL, beginning on Monday, August 2.

    Monday Aug. 2: noon - 4:00pm

    Tuesday Aug. 3 - Friday Aug. 6: 9:00am - 4:00pm. Late collection on Wednesday Aug. 4 until 7:00pm

    Saturday, Aug. 7: 10:00am - 2:00pm

    Monday Aug. 9 - Friday August 13: 9:00am - 4:00pm. Late collection on Wednesday Aug. 11 until 7:00pm

    Saturday, Aug. 14: 10:00am - 2:00pm

    FINAL collection day, Monday Aug. 16: 9:00am - 4:00pm


    Check out the YMCA Dump and Run website for more information. 

  6. Update on LAR East Gardens

    Associated Project(s): 


    “Chuck: You mentioned recently the patio had some weeds that needed to be cleaned up.  I took these photos today.  The areas in the photo are student garden areas.  I did see someone in one of the garden areas southeast of LAR last week.  I am not clear if she was there to work in the garden or perhaps for other research work.

    John: Would you be able to assist (organize some student help perhaps) with weeding in the patio gardens?  Could you also  include the student garden plantings at the main east entry to the building as well as the smaller gardens each side of the drive at Lincoln Ave.?  These are the first areas people will encounter at move in.”

    -Wayne Bugaj (07/27/2021)



    “Hello All,

    Yesterday I did some cleanup along with Sara Mason, a former LAR LLC member who graduated last year.  We pulled weeds by the small beds near the wheelchair ramp and did some trimming in the front beds including the one near Lincoln Ave. Two other former LLC students from 2016 and 17 helped a couple times this summer with some very basic weeding.  The people who started this maintain an interest, but most have let town.  The virus and “student priorities” have kept the regular LLC students from doing anything in the plantings for about 2 seasons.  Hopefully that will change this year.   Basically the plantings are mostly doing well.  They need some weeding and thinning.  A couple spots on the S side of the front steps and SW side of the building have areas where one or two species have taken over.  Some replanting would probably be good there, but is not critical.

    The main goal of providing pollinator resources is definitely being met.

    Chris Murphy told me in the spring that he hoped to get a faculty member to oversee a few students who could get credit for maintaining the plantings. 

     Anyway things look better now.  We took out 2.5  35 gallon cans of weeds.

     I hope this helps”

    -John Marlin (07/29/2021)

  7. Article Highlights Conversion of Food Waste Into Energy

    To combat the issue of food waste, U of I Housing collaborated with F&S Utilities & Energy Services, Operations, Maintenance & Alterations, and environmental compliance. The committee researched various food waste options, including composting, pulpers, and grinder systems used for anaerobic digestion -- including Grind2Energy systems.

    These operate similarly to an industrial garbage disposal. However, it uses significantly less water than the digester system, up to 90-95 percent less. Additionally, it does not send the waste directly to the sanitary sewer. The food waste is pumped into a 5000-6000 gallon tank located on the outside of the building it serves. A tanker truck empties the waste and takes it to the local sanitary district. The industrial-strength waste is processed in an anaerobic digester, where it undergoes treatment without oxygen. The methane produced is collected and used to generate electricity at the treatment plant.

    Read more about Grind2Energy use on campus through the F&S Website or the PDF in the attached files!


  8. Wildflower Display at Lincoln Ave Residence

    Associated Project(s): 

    The following is a message from John Marlin. In this message, Marlin includes information about the wildflower display at Lincoln Avenue Residence (LAR), as well as photographs of the location:



    At the moment and for the next several weeks woodland wildflowers will be blooming at LAR, specifically to the north of the front steps, continuing past the edge of the building, and alongside the north east side of the building.  There are about 20 woodland species in the mix.  This is a fairly good example of the type of plants that could be placed in small beds around campus to help pollinators and provide visual relief.  The spring plants are especially nice to have around as students face the stress of finals and leaving their friends for the summer. I believe you would find a visit worthwhile. I would be glad to join at any convenient time.


    The project was initiated in 2016 by the LAR Living Learning Community.  In addition to the woodland plantings there are prairie and related plantings starting at the south side of the steps and continuing around the south side of the building to the loading dock.  An additional planting is in the courtyard by the dining room.  Various prairie species will bloom in sequence beginning now and through the fall.  These plantings compliment the nearby Red Oak Rain Garden.


    Over 50 students and community members planted the area.  A part-time intern helped maintain it for the first year and a half.  A $5,000 grant paid for the most of the plants and intern.  There has been very limited maintenance due to the virus and lack of funds for the intern.  The main problems are some weeds and aggressive spread of some of the native plants.  Insects and birds use the plantings and several classes have visited.


    There is a growing consensus in favor of locating pollinator pockets and other native planting around campus.  Once in the ground they require minimal maintenance.  A few seasonal student interns with some supervision could manage quite a few.  I hope there can be some action along these lines over the next few years.

    John C. Marlin, PhD

    Research Affiliate, ISTC, PRI



    Photo 1: Volunteers planting at LAR in September 2016

    Photo 2: Up-close photo of LAR flowers in April 2021

    Photo 3: Up-close photo of LAR plants, including flowers, in April 2021

    Photo 4: Photo of LAR plants and flowers underneath a tree in April 2021

    Photo 5: Photo of LAR plants and flowers in April 2021


  9. Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting: 26 February 2021

    The meeting which took place on 26 February at 4PM (CDT) discussed the following:

    • Reusable dining options (Follow-up to Feb 12 guest presentation)
    • Reusable dining options (Recommendation)
    • Elimination of virgin paper at F&S Stores
    • Food Literacy Project
  10. Tests Performed for Illinois Biodiesel Initiative's Quality Control

    Associated Project(s): 

    As provided by Allison Narlock, the current quality control lead for Illinois Biodiesel Initiative (IBI), IBI performs a series of standard tests for every batch. The tests, with the ASTM test number, are the following (in no particular order:)

    • Acid Number: D974
    • Water and Sediment: D2709
    • Flash Point: D93 (D6450), we use the closed cup method
    • Oxidative Stability: D2274
    • Visual Inspection: D4176
    • Cold Soak: D7501
    • Cloud Point: D2500

    For each test, results are recorded to provide information as needed.


  11. 12/18 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes from the Zero Waste SWATeam on 12/18/2020. The following agenda items were discussed:

    • Grind2Energy Additional Scope.
    • NERC membership.
    • Mask Terracycle Program.
    • Organics Master Plan.
    • Vending Machine Single-Use Plastics Replacement.
    • Mitigating single-serve options in third-party vendors in Union.
    • Reusable dining operations during COVID.
    • Reuse of Surplus Goods.
    • Battery Recycling Options.
    • Purchasing Order Fufillment: Sustainable Options.
    • Purchasing Sustainability Digital Booklet.
    • Food Waste Reduction Webinar Engagement Opportunity.
    • Sustainability Integrations within punch-out catalogues/iBUY.
  12. 12/4 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes and chat log of the Zero Waste SWATeam on 12/4/2020. 

    The following were discussed:

    • SSC Letter of Support for Illini Union Shadowbox Recycling project
    • Vermicomposting
    • Composting
    • NASEM Circular Economy Conference
    • Food Literacy Project
  13. 11/13 Zero Waste SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes and chat from the Zero Waste SWATeam meeting on 11/13.

    Discussed were the following topics:

    • Update: Adopt-a-highway/Clean-up Program
    • Composting Partnership: Alex Poltorak of Urban Canopy
    • Student Project: Vermiculture Composting
    • Grind2Energy Additional Scope
    • Food Literacy Project
    • Update: Clean Plate Program
    • Purchasing Sustainability Update