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Projects Updates for Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE)

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  1. iSEE building feasibility study committee

    Sending on behalf of iSEE Director Madhu Khanna:




    The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) is exploring a dedicated building to raise the profile of iSEE on campus and provide space for the institute to grow and expand sustainability research, education and operational support. I would like you to be part of the committee we are assembling to give feedback during the building feasibility study.


    This committee will help shape the way the physical space can facilitate building multi-disciplinary research teams, hosting classes for the sustainability minor, supporting sustainability student groups, and overall, being a hub for sustainability activity on campus.


    The feasibility study was recently approved and a design firm has been selected. We anticipate meeting monthly through the Spring semester.


    If you accept this invitation then you will receive a formal charge letter from VCRI Martinis. You may also delegate this to a colleague or staff member if appropriate. Please respond by December 22. Thank you for your consideration.


    Elizabeth A. Murphy


    Sure, no problem.

    Morgan White

  2. iSEE Campus Sustainability Team Meeting notes

    Notes from our Campus Sustainability team meeting are attached.


    Miriam reaching back out to Ball State for more info on their program

    Jen reaching out to DIA for a mtg-some direct requests for signage, staff support for recycling collection, getting volunteers

    Morgan asked F&S to do an analysis of what could be accomplished with current $$ from carbon credit sales

    Ask Daphne to look into options for SFC bins

    Morgan would like for Madhu to speak to Paul Ellinger for his perspective on the carbon credit sales

    Jen to reach out to Lowa and Alma about water quality testing

    Miriam working to set up time with SSLC in Jan for a touch base meeting


  3. Action: slides for iSEE advisory committee &Subcouncil

    Hi All,


    The iSEE advisory committee and Sustainability Subcouncil will meet on November 27. I would like to get a first draft of the slides done by Friday, November 17 so Madhu has time to review it before the Thanksgiving holiday.


    The Advisory slides on Box:


    I have put update assignments in the notes section of the slides, but will also list them here:

    Heidi-slides 6,7 (if there is something exciting), 9,11 (Proposal metrics, new proposals submitted, Sust Trans update) Should we add Kyushu in here?

    Luis-slides 13, 14 (Critical Conv and Sloan Workshop)

    Eric-slides 15-20 (ELP and Gen Ed. Add a slide about the ESG certificate)

    Jen/Miriam-slides 22-30 (Waste reduction efforts/DIA engagement and Carbon Credit accounting)


    Subcouncil slides:

    Jen and Miriam—pull the slides about waste reduction and carbon credits over to this talk also. Make a slide on the Green research (there is a placeholder)

    Eric-pull the Gen Ed slides over to this talk and replace the previous version.





    Hi Elizabeth,


    I have compiled all the draft subcouncil slides into this version:


    Please let me know if you have any questions or changes.






    Hi all,


    Please use the version:


    Sustainability SubCouncil Nov 2023_11.17.2023_new.pptx







    Hi All

    Thanks for putting these slides together in a timely manner. I have a few comments and suggestions below



    A few formatting edits are needed to improve the look and readability of the slides

    1. Remove the top header which says education or campus sustainability on each slide since it is redundant to have it on each slide
    2. Instead make the content oriented header which is on the next line the top header and in larger font.
    3. Please change font to be at least 20 or more everywhere
    4. Add a section break for each change in topic – is this current section header following our latest template? If not would be good to have that.
    5. Miriam - Send me the numbers underlying the graphs for carbon credits that you have created
    6. Miriam – any idea on how our decision to sell or not would affect our AASHE gold star rating?


    All- take a look at the two slides I have added at the end and see if you agree.

    We have three choices for our recommendation on carbon credits –

    stop sales completely

    or follow the Ball state example and say that we will stop sales after we reach carbon neutrality, sell our credits in the meantime and not claim any environmental benefit from these reductions in the meantime,

    or only sell to entities that are willing to retire these credits and not claim it to achieve their own carbon reduction goals.


    Thoughts? We can keep it open for now and solicit ideas from the council.


    If I could have these back by Wednesday then I can go over again and have a final version ready for Elizabeth to send to the Council by Saturday. 


    Have a great Thanksgiving!




    Hi Madhu,


    Regarding the last slide: Second Nature confirmed at the end of October that we have 10,264 remaining unsold carbon credits. These credits are vintage year 2018, and we haven’t verified any credits beyond 2018. I’m not sure if we can estimate total potential credits if we achieve carbon neutrality as I’ve been told the calculation used is quite complicated, but I’ve reached out to Second Nature to ask if there is any guidance to come up with a rough estimate. Another consideration is how we plan to reach carbon neutrality, and the feasibility of achieving carbon neutrality through emissions reductions alone. It looks like most schools plan to achieve carbon neutrality by buying some offsets.


    Please see my responses to your other questions below in blue:



    1. Miriam - Send me the numbers underlying the graphs for carbon credits that you have created

    The graphs were generated on SIMAP. The attached spreadsheet includes the underlying data. I’ve also included a screen grab below that lays out the numbers clearly.

    1. Miriam – any idea on how our decision to sell or not would affect our AASHE gold star rating?

    Institutions can earn up to 8 possible points for Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the AASHE scoring system. UIUC received 3.15 out of 8 possible points in this category. Carbon credits sold or transferred are accounted for in our total score, so selling carbon credits could reduce the points we earn here. I looked at the report for Ball State, and found they achieved a Gold rating in 2023. Their score for Greenhouse Gas Emissions is also higher than ours at 4.5/8.0. This suggests there are ways to maintain a high score in this area while selling carbon credits.
    Our most recent AASHE score is 73.25, and the range for Gold is 65-85, so I do not expect that selling carbon credits would have a strong enough impact on our score to alter our overall Gold rating.

    Thanks and please let me know if you have any other questions!





    Hi Morgan,


    The data from the carbon emissions charts in the subcouncil slides is attached here.



    Attached Files: 
  4. Spring 2022: iSEE Quarterly Update (iQ)

    The Spring 2022 iSEE Quarterly Update (iQ) was released with the following message from Madhu Khanna, the Interim Director of iSEE:


    Greetings Colleagues,


    Attached, please find the Spring 2022 edition of iQ, our quarterly update. You will see that in this six-page pdf recapping the recent semester, we had plenty of news and updates from our research, education, events, and campus sustainability fronts.


    But the work did not end there! Since the semester ended, we have had two other exciting announcements:


    • The U of I campus was rewarded with the only USDA NIFA “Farm of the Future” grant. Our I-FARM project will be an 80-acre testbed for merging technology, sensing, and agronomy into a farm setting with crops and livestock that will be productive and profitable. Read our June 1 news release >>>
    • In addition, for the fifth consecutive time, our campus reached Gold-level status in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) run by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). New solar and geothermal energy projects, a reduction in water use, and wide-ranging sustainability research helped us reach this level yet again. Read the May 25 news release >>>


    For more up-to-date news from iSEE, please sign up for our E-newsletter at


    Best wishes for a healthy and productive summer,




    Attached Files: 
  5. iCAP update presented at Senate Committee on Campus Operations

    These iSEE representatives presented an update of key efforts underway for the iCAP 2020: iSEE Associate Director for Campus Sustainability Dr. Jennifer Fraterrigo, iSEE Associate director for Education and outreach Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Sustainability Programs Manager Meredith Moore, F&S Associate Director for Sustainability Morgan White, and Sustainability Academic Advisor Eric Green. the key topics were:

    • Earth Month
    • Clean Power
    • Plastic Waste Reduction
    • Environmental Leadership Program
    • Sustainability Gen Ed efforts

    The following links were also sent to be shared with the committee:

    Also, if anyone is interested in participating in one of the Topical iCAP Teams, as a faculty member, please let us know. The topics are listed on the iCAP Portal at


  6. iSEE Newsletter 03/01/2022

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


    Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment





    March 1, 2022










    Magazine Features U of I Basalt Project

    A University of Illinois team researching the use of basalt rock for "enhanced weathering" of farm fields was recently featured in Anthropocene magazine. Spreading rock dust could boost crop yields and lock up vast amounts of carbon. Researchers Carl Bernacchi, USDA Agricultural Research Service Plant Physiologist; Evan DeLucia, Arends Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology; Ilsa Kantola, soil ecologist and iSEE Visiting Research Scientist; and Stephen Long, Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology, discussed their work with the magazine's Dan Ferber. The Illinois work is part of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation (LC3M) and was funded in 2021 for five more years of studies in the now nearly $3 million project.






    Scott Tess from the City of Urbana meets with Environmental Leadership Program students in the iSEE Collaboratory. Credit: Mark Herman/iSEE



    ELP Updates: Projects and Visitors

    iSEE's Spring 2022 Environmental Leadership Program is rapidly nearing its conclusion. The students and instructors have been meeting since January to hear from governmental and advocacy representatives as well as academic experts — and pursuing their own projects as they prepare to make presentations to local and state government officials. For the latest on the ELP, please check out the blog by iSEE Communications Intern Kratika Tandon, a member of the 2022 cohort!









    Plant Model Expert to Highlight Crops in silico Symposium

    Registration is open for the 6th Crops in silico (Cis) Symposium and Hackathon on May 11-13, to be held virtually through the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). The keynote will be delivered by Leah Band of the School of Biosciences and School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Nottingham, who creates models to gain understanding of plant growth and development. Trained as a mathemetician, Band has collaborated closely with experimental biologists in her work. Stay tuned for more details about the keynote and other presentations by visiting this website, and register here! >>>











    Green and white banner advertising the "Use the Bin" recycling pledge at U of I.







    Upcoming Events & Opportunities







    Engineering a Greener Future Mural. Calling all student artists! Help create a mural showcasing sustainability initiatives and green technology research on campus. “Engineering a Greener Future” will be featured in the main gallery of the Siebel Center for Design (SCD) during the Fall 2022 semester. Sponsored by the Student Sustainability Committee and hosted by SCD, the project is designed to put a spotlight on sustainability initiatives like Solar Farm 2.0 and inspire students to participate in sustainable actions! Applications are due Friday March 4! >>>

    Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference (ECEC). Registration is open for ECEC22, co-hosted by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant! Keynote speakers are Scott Coffin, a Research Scientist with the California State Water Resources Control Board; and Abby Hendershott of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Out of an abundance of caution, the conference has moved from a hybrid format to fully virtual. Undergraduate scholarships covering registration fees are available.
    Saturday-Sunday | April 27-28, 2022 | Register

    Nomination Deadline March 4 for Social Justice Awards. The Diversity and Social Justice Education Program’s Annual Social Justice Awards honor unsung members of the U of I campus and community who have sought to address marginalization, oppression, and/or privilege in their communities. Nominations for outstanding undergraduates, graduate students, staff/faculty members, alumni, and registered student organizations will remain open through Friday, March 4. You can nominate yourself or someone else by visiting this website >>>

    Breaking the Plastic Wave: Solving the Plastic Pollution Problem. Plastic has become ubiquitous in our lives, from disposable bottles to microbeads in body washes, and plastic waste is piling up in our terrestrial and aquatic systems. Jim Palardy, Project Director of the Conservation Science Program at The Pew Charitable Trusts, will give an overview of the current trajectory for plastic pollution and highlight a better solution for the environment, the economy, and communities. This Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) webinar is an iSEE-certified green event!
    Noon-1 p.m. | Thursday, March 10 | Register

    Watch the Sustainability Training Video! Help our campus reach "herd sustainability" by watching our video and filling out a short survey. You'll learn about everyday actions you can take to get your semester off to a sustainable start and build an environmentally responsible campus! Visit our website to watch now>>>

    Green Your Lab With Our New Toolkit! Facilities & Services and iSEE have developed a Greener Labs Inventory Toolkit to help facility liaisons and principal investigators track energy usage in their labs and identify more sustainable practices, such as leaving items unplugged or upgrading equipment. For questions, email

    C4 Social Media Internship Available! The Champaign County Climate Coalition (C4) is looking for several social media/marketing interns to share information, resources, and opportunities with the county-wide community. Applicants must have enthusiasm for climate action and experience with marketing and social media; graphic design experience appreciated. This is an unpaid internship. To apply, email your resume and/or a letter of interest describing your qualifications to Savannah Donovan at

    Check out iSEE’s Illinois Sustainability Calendar for a full list of events!






    Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment

    Suite 350 National Soybean Research Center MC 635
    1101 W. Peabody | Urbana, IL 61801









  7. 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. 


  8. Celebrate Campus Sustainability Month in October!

    iSEE invites you to a series of events throughout October to increase sustainability in our campus community. Take part in the Waste Reduction Challenge, join us for Green Quad Day (Oct. 7), or check out the first Student Sustainability Summit Research Symposium (Oct. 26)! And don’t miss the Campus Sustainability Celebration on Oct. 20. Find all the events on iSEE’s Sustainability Month Calendar!

    October 1–31

    Celebrate Campus Sustainability Month in October!

  9. iSEE Newsletter: Plantings Complete Solar Farm 2.0!

    The final stage of the Solar Farm 2.0 project is wrapping up this month with the planting of a native pollinator habitat. The farm will serve as a major demonstration and research site for pollinator-friendly solar arrays, with more than 6.5 million flowering plants and native grasses around the 54 acres of panels creating a natural habitat for birds and beneficial insects. With this second solar farm, the campus has achieved clean energy goals outlined in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) nearly four years ahead of schedule. Clean energy production will now support roughly 12 percent of annual campus electricity demand. Congratulations to Facilities & Services for all of the hard work on this important project; iSEE and its SWATeam members were proud to provide key support for Solar Farm 2.0 by pushing for an increased renewable portfolio in the iCAP. Students in iSEE's sustainability minor also helped assess the new array's carbon footprint!

  10. Global Climate Change: Implications for National and Global Energy Policies

    Climate researcher James Hansen, known for raising alarms about climate change in the 1980s, will address failures in energy policy & suggest changes moving forward. While the public is coming to grips with climate change, scientists & engineers failed to shape policies to avert its worst consequences, says Hansen, Director of Columbia University’s Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program.

    May 5, 12–1:30 pm • Zoom | Password 591223


    Julie Wurth Asmussen • Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment

    Global Climate Change: Implications for National and Global Energy Policies

  11. Certified Greener Campus Programs Workshop

    iSEE hosted our first “Certified Greener Campus Program Workshop” to guide U of I organizations in certifying as “green,” even while unusual conditions add complexity to campus’s daily operations. The online workshop included a program overview, steps to certification, FAQs, and an open discussion about overcoming common barriers to sustainability.

    If you were unable to attend Thursday’s workshop, you can still take steps to advocate for sustainable practices in your unit! I invite you to:

  12. Fall 2020: iSEE Quarterly Update (iQ)

    The Fall 2020 iSEE Quarterly Update (iQ) was released with the following message from Madhu Khanna, the Interim Director of iSEE:


    Dear Colleagues,

    Attached, please find attached the Fall 2020 “iQ” – the quarterly update from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE).

    It has been two months since I became interim director of ISEE.  It has been exciting to see ISEE bring in multimillion-dollar research grants, launch a new research initiative in regenerative agriculture, and help coalesce sustainable agriculture research on our campus during this period.

    Our Certificate in Environmental Writing has engaged students in making insightful contributions to a new issue of Q Magazine. We have also expanded our opportunities for education and scholarly discourse with several online events, including those on nuclear energy and geothermal energy research.

    We formally launched the new Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP 2020) on Oct 20, 2020. This ambitious plan is the result of the hard work of campus sustainability folks who worked hand-in-hand with Facilities & Services and incorporated the vision of hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members into a plan for the next five years and beyond — all the way to carbon neutrality no later than 2050!

    I am so grateful to Evan Delucia for his efforts over the first seven years as the first director of our Institute. He has left iSEE as a vibrant part of the Illinois community, and I am working with our outstanding ISEE staff to expand upon the work already begun — as evidenced in this six-page update.

    Please take a quick look at those updates and more in “iQ.” For more regular news, please sign up for our E-newsletter at

    Wishing you a successful end to the fall semester,


  13. Trans008 Mode Share Survey recommendation - Assessment started

    The iCAP Working Group (iWG) met on May 10, 2018, to discuss and start the assessment of the SWATeam recommendation, Trans008 Mode Share Survery. The iWG's draft comment on the recommendation was:

    "iSEE should create and administer a mode-share survey, with recurring on a regular basis. For example, every other year or as often as the Big 10 averages."

    See SWATeam recommendation Trans008 Mode Share Survey here.

  14. SWATeam Appreciation Letter