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Projects Updates for Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS)

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  1. Sustainability Career Panel Newsletter


    SECS Newsletter 02/13/2022

    WHEN: Wednesday, February 15, 2022

    TIME: 5:30 - 7:30 PM

    WHERE: Campus Instructional Facility, Room 2035 (1405 W. Springfield Avenue)


    Happy Monday! I hope you guys are enjoying the sweater weather outside! We will take a break from our projects this week as our sustainability career panel will take place on Wednesday at the CIF. The panel will feature leaders from the Illinois EPA, Illinois Environmental Council, Prairie Rivers Network, Urbana Park District, Sola Gratia Farm, and more. This event will be broken into two 50-minute sections separated by a break, and there will be plenty of time for a Q&A session. Food will be provided (👀), with vegetarian-friendly options available.

    Also, don't forget about our Valentine's Day fundraiser this Tuesday! Stop by our table at the quad from 12-4 to buy some V-Day cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and roses! If you want to bake out or help, it's not too late - use this link to sign up. Thank you!


    We hope to see you on Wednesday! Go green or go HOME!




    Join the Discord!


  2. Campus Sustainability Month Activities - Oct 2022

    One of our favorite times of the year is almost here… Campus Sustainability Month! Below is a highlight of major events and programs happening this October, though check out the iSEE Sustainability Calendar for the full list. This is the perfect time to take action and show your support for environmental consciousness (and the Illinois Climate Action Plan!). I look forward to seeing you across campus!


    • Plastic Reduction Challenge: Are you up to the challenge? From October 3–30, we provide the resources and point system to help you track your plastic use each week and find sustainable alternatives. The point system and fillable grid are attached, and additional information will be sent out prior to the start of the challenge. Take part with this fun and interactive community, and earn the chance to win a sustainability prize pack. It is easy to make a positive impact! Sign up here for the challenge.
    • Clothing Swap: This is the perfect opportunity to donate your clothing items and update your wardrobe! Join iSEE, SECS, and SSLC for this reduce/reuse event at the Channing Murray Foundation on Tuesday, October 11. Drop off clothes at Channing Murray the day before, or during the event itself from 10AM – 3PM.  All are welcome to drop off and/or participate (it’s free!).
    • Green Quad Day: Come check out the variety of student, staff, faculty, and community-led environmental groups on Thursday, October 13 from 11AM – 3PM at the Anniversary Plaza (cement area between the Quad and Union). This is a great opportunity to talk with and learn about the many sustainability efforts on campus. The rain date is October 17. If you are interested in representing your organization at a table, sign up here.
    • Water Taste Test: It’s 2022 – why are we still drinking from plastic bottles? Let’s put our tap water to the test and see, blindly, which water we prefer. Check out the iSEE table at Green Quad Day (above) and see if you can taste a difference between bottled water and tap! In the meantime, take our drinking water behavior survey (and win a chance for a $50 gift card).
    • Illini Lights Out: Join us to shut off lights in buildings around campus to save energy and reduce the environmental impact of our massive university! Meet at 5:30PM in the lobby of the Foreign Language Building on Friday, October 14 to receive brief instructions before heading out to turn off lights in assigned buildings. Come back to FLB (roughly 6:30) when you are done to turn in your clipboard, get a snack, and pat yourself on the back for helping to save so much energy! Register here, and come by yourself or bring a friend!
    • Campus Sustainability Celebration: All are welcome to attend this annual event on Monday, October 17 from 3-6PM at NCSA (auditorium and lobby), 1205 W. Clark St., Urbana. The first two hours will be spent in the Auditorium, where we will hear from campus sustainability leaders and from the iCAP Teams. Following the presentations (5-6 PM), each iCAP Team will have a table in the lobby/atrium area for roundtable discussion, suggestions, and a Q&A. Student environmental groups will have tables set up and together, we will enjoy conversation, light refreshments, and cake!
    • Trash Cleanup: Help keep our campus beautiful! On Wednesday, October 19, meet at Alma Mater at 4PM and join us to collect trash and recycling around campus until 5:30PM.
    • TED Talk: Eco-Edition Series: Tune in to this edition of iSEE’s ongoing Zoom series on Wednesday, October 26 from 7 – 8PM. Our host this month is Lucy Nifong, a senior in Agricultural and Consumer Economics, iSEE Communications Intern, and Vice Chair Internal of the Student Sustainability Committee. Participants will view a prerecorded TED Talk, followed by a guided discussion and roundtable on Campus Sustainability Month! Sign up here.
    • Sustainability BINGO: Fill out the iSEE board (attached) for a chance to win prizes! The board (PDF) includes sustainability-related activities and initiatives you can do across campus during Sustainability Month (Oct. 1-31). Make sure you document and let us know which actions you completed using the Google Form to be eligible for the prize drawing.
    • Have you gotten your office, event, or Greek chapter certified as Green yet? It’s easy to be sustainable! Get certified and be recognized!
  3. SECS Newsletter 9/6/2022

    SECS Newsletter 9/6/2022

    WHEN: Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

    TIME: 6:30 - 7:30 pm

    WHERE: Channing Murray building (1209 W Oregon St)

    I hope everybody had a nice and relaxing Labor Day weekend. SECS will have our next meeting this Wednesday. We are just under a month out from our climate strike (3 Fridays from now, 9/23 @12pm on the quad)! Many of our groups will focus on logistics and promotions for the strike, while others will continue the strong work we have done to start the semester. Everyone is welcome to join a different group and learn more about its projects; we encourage you to explore :) For instance, if you like hands-on projects, feel free to help paint our banner for the Solidarity Garden at Channing Murray! 

    With the recent spike in COVID cases on campus, we ask that you wear a mask at our today's meeting.

    See you guys on Wednesday! Go green or go HOME

    • Illini Lights Out meets for the first time this school year this Friday, Sep. 9th at the Foreign Language Building from 5:30pm-6:30pm. 
      iSEE’s Illini Lights Out (ILO) program demonstrates the immense energy-saving impact of simply turning off the lights when you leave a classroom, lab, or study space. On a few Friday nights each month, volunteers gather to form mini lights-out brigades and tour campus buildings recording how many lights are left on (and shutting off as many as they can, of course). Volunteering takes about an hour and a half, and there are always snacks afterward! Thanks to a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), ILO has multiple events you can take part in each semester!

    Join the Discord!

    Visit our Website


    SECS is pleased to share our new website with you all:
    Feel free to browse the site and learn more about the history of our beloved RSO, our current projects and endorsements, while also keeping an eye out for upcoming environmentalist blog posts





  4. SECS Newsletter


    SECS Newsletter 8/31/2022

    WHEN: Wednesday, Augut 31st

    TIME: 6:30 - 7:30 pm

    WHERE: Channing Murray building (1209 W Oregon St)

    Aaaaaand we’re off to the races!

    Thank you to everyone who came to our first meeting last week! It was great to see some friendly faces as well as some new ones! SECS will have our second meeting of the school year today, and we’re going to pick up where we left off last time, brainstorming on new and existing ideas for this year’s projects. Feel free to join any of our breakout groups: Green Observer, Solidarity Gardens, Environmental Justice, Green Rooftop design, Community Outreach/Education, and Action/Divestment.

    With the recent spike in COVID cases on campus, we ask that you wear a mask at our today's meeting.

    We hope to see you all! Go green or go HOME


    Join the Discord!

    Contact Us!

    PRESIDENT Gabriel Kosmacher,  gkk2 at
    VICE PRESIDENT Zoe Huspen, zhuspe2 at
    TREASURER Danika Ford, djford2 at
    SECRETARY Alex Chavez, achavez5 at

    EDUCATION OFFICER Claire Sullivan, csull7 at

    MEDIA OFFICER Lexi Delmonico, acd4 at
    ACTION COORDINATOR Rudy LaFave, lafave2 at
    OUTREACH COORDINATOR Owen Jennings, orj2 at
    DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Nancy Peña, nancyp3 at

    Visit our Website

    SECS is pleased to share our new website with you all:
    Feel free to browse the site and learn more about the history of our beloved RSO, our current projects and endorsements, while also keeping an eye out for upcoming environmentalist blog posts



  5. Inaugural Meeting Wednesday!

    WHEN: Wednesday, August 24th

    TIME: 6:30 - 7:30 pm

    WHERE: Channing Murray building (1209 W Oregon St)

    And it’s deja vu all over again, folks~

    SECS will have our inaugural meeting of the school year this Wednesday, and, honestly, quite frankly, it’s gonna be epic :)  We will learn about the storied history of SECS, discuss organizational goals, review our code of conduct, and kick off our campaigns for the semester. All this, of course, will be overshadowed by the pure joy derived from being with a diverse group of driven students passionate about making our community greener, happier, and healthier!

    It ain't over till it's over. See ya Wednesday

    Join the Discord!

    Contact Us!

    PRESIDENT Gabriel Kosmacher,
    VICE PRESIDENT Zoe Huspen,
    TREASURER Dankia Ford,
    SECRETARY Alex Chavez,

    EDUCATION OFFICER Claire Sullivan,

    MEDIA OFFICER Lexi Delmonico,

    Visit our Website

    SECS is pleased to share our new website with you all:
    Feel free to browse the site and learn more about the history of our beloved RSO, our current projects and endorsements, while also keeping an eye out for upcoming environmentalist blog posts 👀

    Copyright © 2022 Students for Environmental Concerns, All rights reserved.
    You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

    Our mailing address is:

    Students for Environmental Concerns

    1001 S Wright St

    Champaign, IL 61820-6225

    Add us to your address book

  6. SECS follow up meeting with F&S staff

    Gabriel Kosmacher, Shallon Malfeo, Betsy Liggett, Morgan White, and Brent Lewis met this morning to discuss the plans for adding a green roof at the Nick Holonyak Jr. Micro-Nano Technology Center.

    SECS is interested in developing the green roof on the closed patio for MNTL.  What structural load can the patio maintain?  Qu Kim had said the patio was closed off because they weren't comfortable with having people out there, and Brent thought it would be a really good idea to put a green roof there.

    SECS requested the floor plans to identify the square footage of the patio, and apply for SSC funding. Brent will provide the floor plans. SECS will work through who will maintain the green roof.

    Morgan asked if perhaps it could be a vegetable garden, which could provide food to users or donated to the Bucket Brigade. Shallon noted that the food could go to Solidarity Gardens. Morgan asked if Brent thinks vegetable gardening is even feasible in this location, and he explained that it would be way more maintenance. Betsy said it would need maintenance daily instead of monthly, if it were veggies. Additionally, the veggies would lead to more carrying green materials throughout the halls, which would not be well received by the users. This space should not include human food production.

    Step 1 -- talk to Ryan Wild and Qu Kim about whether this space is feasible. Then work on design plans and SSC funding application. Consider contacting Fine and Applied Arts about a long-term partnership. There will also need to be a Memo of Understanding about the maintenance of the green roof.


  7. Weekly Announcement

    Hello all~

    We would like to update two announcements from our last email.

    Shallon Ted-Talk:
    Our amazing president Shallon is hosting an iSEE TED Talk: Eco-Edition discussing sustainable agriculture at 7pm on March 28th — join us to learn more about sustainable agriculture locally at the Student Sustainable Farm and discuss the future of agriculture globally. Register for the event here: 

    Barn Dance:
    SECS will be participating in the upcoming Barn Dance with other RSO’s on campus. Things don’t get much better than this, folk’s. Sign up with this link: 

    and venmo @Mathew-Pianfetti, make sure to include 'SECS Barn Dance <firstname lastname>' in the memo

    SECS is pleased to share our new website with you all:
    Feel free to browse the site and learn more about the history of our beloved RSO, our current projects and endorsements, while also keeping an eye out for upcoming environmentalist blog posts

    PRESIDENT Shallon Malfeo, smalfeo2 at

    VICE PRESIDENT Alec Van Patten,  alecrv2 at
    TREASURER Danika Ford, djford2 at
    SECRETARY Gabriel Kosmacher, gkk2 at

    EDUCATION OFFICER Emily Detmers, emilygd2 at

    MEDIA OFFICER Zoe Huspen, zhuspe2 at
    ACTION COORDINATOR Michelle Verlinsky, mav5 at
    OUTREACH COORDINATOR Owen Jennings, orj2 at
    SOCIAL EVENT PLANNER Lexi Delmonico, acd4 at
    GOVERNMENT LIAISON Sophie Speedy, sspeedy2 at

  8. Spring 2022 Semester Goals

    Co-presidents Owen Jennings, Maiah Caise, Jack Reicherts, and Maria Maring are excited to embark upon their second semester as SSLC leadership together. The primary goals of the semester include: 


    • Bolster collaboration between environmental RSOs on UIUC campus. The SSLC hopes to work with Student Affairs to incentivize participation with the SSLC, using the University of California Berkely’s Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) as a template. Weekly board meetings and monthly full meetings will continue per usual.

    • Bolster collaboration between other Illinois schools like University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Springfield, and Illinois State University. Both SECS and ISG may play significant roles in this relationship-building. The SSLC has already been in contact with Illinois State.

    • Host Earth Month events. The SSLC already began communication with the Illini Union Green Team last semester to begin planning events like Green Quad Day and a movie night on the Quad. Organizations like SECS, Red Bison, and iSEE that have been historically active in Earth Month events will be essential in these processes. 

    • Write SSLC bylaws. The Council has not previously had bylaws, and they are absolutely essential to moving forward in an organized and successful fashion. 

    • Continue to monitor the fight for divestment from fossil fuels. This iCAP Objective has caused copious political strife between students and administrators. Because divestment continues to be a hot topic, the SSLC will continue to listen to student concerns. 


  9. Fall 2021 Semester Summary

    The SSLC underwent many changes under the new leadership of co-presidents Owen Jennings, Maiah Caise, Jack Reicherts, and Maria Maring. The board experimented with the mission and niche of the SSLC, ultimately establishing that the organization shall act as a medium of communication between student groups and the administration. The organization will also be the primary host of the annual Student Sustainability Summit in October, touting – among other interdisciplinary events – Green Quad Day, Sustainable Student Research Symposium, and Tuesday Talks at Bevier Cafe. 


    This Summit was the Council’s most noteworthy accomplishment this semester. The SSLC collaborated with: Red Bison, Outdoor Adventure Club, the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering, the Sustainable Student Farm, the Pilot Processing Plant, Grand Prairie Friends, the F&S Solar House, Stop Line 3 CU, Students for Environmental Concerns, Prairie Rivers Network, and the Student Sustainability Committee. This myriad of events had varying levels of attendance. The SSLC leadership learned two primary lessons from the inaugural Student Sustainability Summit: first, quality over quantity in terms of events; and second, planning well ahead of time is absolutely essential in order to adequately advertise each event. If you attended or co-hosted any Summit event, and you would like to let the SSLC board know your feedback, please fill out this form. The current SSLC leadership looks forward to how future leadership will expand upon the Summit. 


    Another noteworthy accomplishment of the SSLC this semester was action following the publication of the Campus Admin Manual’s Expressive Activity Policy draft. Students were largely emotional about the policy’s stringent punishment for demonstrations on campus, so the SSLC – in conjunction with SECs and the SSC – wrote a letter to Chancellor Jones demanding that the policy more closely align with the student body’s needs. As of January 2022, the SSLC has received no reply from the Office of the Chancellor.  


    Co-presidents Maria Maring and Owen Jennings spoke at the Campus Sustainability Celebration and Sustainability Council meeting, respectively, on the topic of divestment. Though SSLC leadership was merely prompted to give basic updates at these meetings, they utilized the face-to-face opportunity with campus administrators to voice student concerns about completing iCAP Objective 9.1: Fully divest from fossil fuel companies by FY25. 


    In a first, the SSLC and general members participated in the Homecoming Parade. Roughly a dozen students marched with divestment-related signs. The SSLC hopes to expand Homecoming attendance next year. 


    The SSLC revived its dormant Facebook account (@sslcuiuc) and newly established an Instagram account (@uiuc_sslc). On the latter, the SSLC made 40 posts and gained 227 followers. The Facebook account has 93 followers; engagement on this platform is much less. The SSLC also made a linktree and a Google calendar to which other RSOs can sync. That way, all events from all different orgs are all conveniently on one calendar. This joint calendar is still undergoing troubleshooting, and it is not yet available for public viewing. 


    Amidst these new endeavors, the SSLC held full membership meetings roughly once a month, as did the previous leadership. One recurring issue was lack of attendance and engagement. Leadership held many conversations with both general members and staff advisors about how to increase the efficacy of the Council, but no good solution was found. The SSLC will continue to hold these monthly meetings and brainstorm about how to increase engagement throughout the upcoming spring semester. 


    The SSLC board met weekly. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the Council at

  10. Climate Rally 11/12 at ISU Campus

    The following information was received from Haley Cepek, the secretary for the Student Environmental Action Coalition at Illinois State University:

    We are currently planning a climate rally in response to the recent COP26 conference. It would take place this Friday, 11/12/21, starting at 1pm at Uptown Circle right outside ISU campus. I want to spread the word over to the University of Illinois so that more people would have the opportunity to use their voice for change. It is an important event and I would love for University of Illinois to have representation. I would greatly appreciate if you could help me in spreading the word over to your campus. We are hoping to make as big of an impact as we can with this rally, and we would truly benefit from combining our communities together to support one cause.

  11. SECS rep met with F&S staff about a green roof

    Alec Van Patten met with Brent Lewis, Betsy Liggett, and Morgan White to discuss the SECS' idea to get a new green roof on campus.  F&S staff shared some lessons learned from other green roof installations, and suggested some potential locations.  These include:

    • Newmark Civil Engineering Lab - first floor roof by the bridge
    • Nick Holonyak Micro & NanoTechnology Lab - closed picnic balcony on the north side
    • National Soybean Research Center - gravel roof by iSEE conference room
    • Turner Hall - the north entryway and offices
    • Future Arboretum Building - longer term and influential
    • The SECS team should review Google Maps and look at roofs they are interested in, if they want to consider other options.

    We also mentioned the ECE green wall, which needs help getting refurbished.  It most likely needs better watering and possibly needs a review of the soil quality.

    For the funding, the SECS is likely going to request SSC funding in the spring semester.  Brent says they can request pricing info from to get an estimated budget.

    Once a location is selected, Alec will email this group to move into the preliminary approval stage.

  12. Join the Climate Strike! (Hosted by SECS)

    Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) is leading a climate strike on Friday to demand action on climate change! Participants will meet at the Alma Mater statue, march around the Quad and down Green Street, then reconvene for speeches at the Alma Mater. The event ties in with a Global Climate Strike organized by the youth-led group Fridays for Future to demand intersectional climate justice.

    The strike will take place on Friday, September 29th, 2021 at Noon.


    See the iSEE website for more details!

  13. Some Coal Plants in Illinois to be shut down


    The company also announced its next phase of coal plant closures in Illinois and Ohio with a combined capacity of more than 6.8 GW, by 2027. The plan has the following timeline:

    • End of 2022: Edwards Power plant, Bartonville, Illinois, 585 MW, in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.
    • End of 2025: Baldwin Power Plant, Baldwin, Illinois, 1,185 MW; Joppa Power Plant, Joppa, Illinois, 1,002 MW (plus 239 MW of gas turbines), both in MISO.
    • End of 2027: Newton Power Plant, Newton, Illinois, 615 MW, in MISO; and Kincaid Power plant, Kincaid, Illinois, 1,108 MW, Miami Fort Power Plant, North Bend, Ohio, 1,020 MW, and Zimmer Power Plant, Moscow, Ohio, 1,300 MW, all three in the PJM Interconnection.

    "These plants, especially those operating in the irreparably dysfunctional MISO market, remain economically challenged," Vistra said in a Sept. 29 statement. "Today's retirement announcements are also prompted by upcoming Environmental Protection Agency filing deadlines, which require either significant capital expenditures for compliance or retirement declarations."

  14. South Campus Afforestation Recommendation - Transmittal to the unit

    The recommendation was submitted to the NRES unit on March 2, 2018, by Morgan White. Jay Hayek, Extension Forestry Specialist in NRES, will be planting 2 acres of trees at the southwest corner of Race Street and Windsor Road.  The trees were purchased by the Champaign County Rotary Club.  There will be a wide variety of native oak and hickory species that come in 3 gallon containers and range in height from 3-6 feet.  The Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) plan to assist with planting the trees, when they are delivered in early April.

    See iWG ALUFS003 Assessment

    See SWATeam ALUFS003 Recommendation

  15. SECS Re_home landscaping

    In 2011, students at faculty from the University of Illinois develop the Re_Home for the Solar Decathlon Competition. As a result of a new landscaping and beautification plan, the Re_Home has found a permanent place on campus. In maintaining a “sustainability ideology”, the landscaping plans for this project are geared toward sustainability with the use of native, low maintenance plants as well as vegetables, edible herbs, and fruit trees. The Re_Home is an exemplary embodiment of sustainability and its permanent home will serve as a showcase in sustainability education.