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Projects Updates for Student Sustainability Committee (SSC)

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  1. Student Let Project Feasibility

    Hey Morgan,


    The SSC has moved to fund this; I would like to get the go-ahead on it.


    Improper waste segregation poses significant environmental and financial challenges. In colleges, even students often need to pay more attention to separate waste correctly, leading to damaged recyclables, increased landfill waste, and the labor-intensive task of sorting improperly discarded waste. This issue extends beyond universities, indicating a larger problem with waste management globally. The current approach of replacing traditional single-bin systems with costly three-bin recycling bins has improved diversion rates but falls short of expectations. Financial burdens arise from the need to hire workers for manual waste sorting. To address this problem, we developed a cost-effective solution that ensures minimal damage to recyclables by sorting waste at the point of disposal.

    The project's use of AI, and revenue optimization contributes to more efficient waste management practices. This not only minimizes contamination and reduces landfill waste but also optimizes the recovery of recyclable materials. The data analysis dashboard provides users with valuable insights into disposal trends and waste composition. This empowers users to make informed decisions about waste management, promoting responsible practices. Additionally the lower cost of switching to SegBin.Ai than conventional 3 bin dustbins by over 50% significantly reduces spend on waste management infrastructure and it also has a major boost in waste diversion rates.

    I don’t like the budgeted amount of $1,600.00 for CAD and Software, it is confusing, it appears the students are paying themselves. I would like clarification on this.



    Hi Codie,


    Can you point me to the full file for this?  Are they just developing a software program, or building some sort of AI robot system for sorting mail?





    Hey Morgan,

    This is the link for the project application and Excel application, I cc’d Daphne Hulse in the email as she is the advisor and can help with clarification questions. I always appreciate your time,


    Hi Morgan,


    The student group here is developing both a software system and physical prototype to place on top of existing recycling bins (the ones that are not the 3-stream bins). They are piloting sorting system at the recycling bin for the software to distinguish different types of objects and tell the user which stream to place it in (trash, paper, bottles/cans, etc.). They are planning to pilot this at PPSB and Garage & Carpool, with the understanding that it needs to be feasible for BSWs.


    Thank you,

  2. SSC Project: Greening the Garage

    Hi Lisa,


    As discussed during the SSC F&S feasibility meeting, I wanted to send over to you the product that we are requesting funding for. Based on this, are there any concerns?


    Thank you,



    Hi Daphne,


    Thank you for sending me the cut sheet for the oil filter crusher.


    I don’t see any code requirements above and beyond what is already being done at the garage for oil filter disposal.  I have no concerns, and neither does Mike Brown in Code Compliance and Fire Safety.


    It is my opinion that this project is feasible, no changes needed.


    Thank you,



    Thank you, Lisa! We appreciate you taking the time to thoroughly review this piece of equipment.


    In a seperate email thread Daphne sent the message below and the attached file:


    Hi Lisa & Morgan,


    Shawn & I are submitting a SSC funding request for a piece of equipment at the garage that would allow us to crush and recycle metal oil filters. We go through about 1500 oil filters a year, and they are currently landfilled.


    Thank you,



  3. SSC Student Led Under $10,000.00 Project (Small-Scale Anaerobic Digester) Feasibility Check

    Hey Morgan,


    A brief discretion of the project,
    Developing a working small-scale anaerobic digester with a membrane separation technology to collect separated carbon dioxide and methane that is an economically viable system for small farms. This allows for the farms to lower their carbon emissions, and decrease the need for natural gas extraction, by utilizing natural sources of cattle manure. And can be utilized on the UIUC research cattle farms.


    Small-scale anaerobic digestion with membrane filtration is possible for small farms. Illinois specifically does not have any prominent sources of natural gas production, thus, a lot is transported in. By showing that small-scale systems are possible, this can be utilized on the many small farms that are in Illinois to decrease reliance on importing methane, which has leakage issues in the pipeline. The system also allows for capturing carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released from composting, the byproduct creation of fertilizer, and the main point of capturing methane for usage. The project's deliverables would be the small-scale anaerobic digester and then a feasibility study on whether a membrane separation technology would be cost-effective and feasible for the system.


    It appears they are building their own and operating it out of a lab.

    Codie Sterner


    FYI – this is the student application.  Are there code concerns for this project?  Thanks! Morgan



    Good morning Morgan,


    Some questions:

    • Can ‘small’ be defined?  Pictures?  Dimensions?
    • Will the equipment be inside or outside?  If inside, I think we would want a plan indicating the location, and what else is in the building.  Methane is a flammable gas – and CO2 is considered an asphyxiant.  An outside install is less risky than an inside install.  If outside, we would want a site plan.
    • “Canisters” of Methane and CO are listed.  What type of volume is proposed?  (Again, outside versus inside is the key factor – if outside, how close will any structures be located?
    • Any power requirements?
    • Has Safety and Compliance been informed?  Betsy Richardson might have some comments.


    katie sperl


    Hi Katie,


    That was what I was thinking too. I think it might be a Lab-scale digester like 5/10 L, but they have not specified where they will be building or operating the digester and the team did not define the “scale” of this project. Their faculty advisor, Jiajun He, is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering with a background in Chemistry and a focus on Energy.


    I was wondering if they have talked to DRS also.


    I agree that Betsy or Colleen should be included. However, if it is a Lab-scale reactor, I don’t know if Betsy or Colleen would be needed.


    Thank you,

  4. RE: Enerdrape design and installation


    Hi Mark,


    I am going to assign an SSC project to you as the PM to take it through design and construction.  The construction can be done through Contractor Services, so this would normally go to a Planner.  However, it will be in an existing Steam Tunnel, so it is very much a UES project, and will need to have coordination with Frank C. and Mike L.  Some older emails about this project are attached here, and I’ll get it set up in FCPweb today.





    Hi Morgan.  I have a few questions.  So The Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (Aman Mehta) requested funds from SSC for these panels?  And the only reason Utilities is involved is because these will be their steam tunnels?  I’m not familiar with SSC projects.


    Also, I’m not optimistic about hiring a PSC for $10,000 (the amount listed in their info)..  Especially if the participation goals are to be met.  I assume this will be a RWO or do you know if Enerdrape provides those services for their panels?

    Will our office’s role be similar to some of the smaller natural gas projects I’ve done?  Will there PM Fees?  C&I Fees?



  5. SSC applications submitted in fall 2023

    Hi Morgan and Lisa,


    This fall I have submitted two SSC step-1 applications:

    1. Shipping containers for bicycle storage - $85,000
    2. Purchase and Installation of bike shelter - $250,000


    See attached the application. Thank you,

  6. 4 new EVs and new EV charging stations installed

    F&S has received 4 new Ford F-150 Lightnings all electric trucks, bringing the total to 6 Ford Lightnings and 1 Ford e-Transit cargo van for F&S fleet.

    We have also installed another level-2 Ford dual point smart chargers on the south side of PPSB and we are working on the installation on another one. We have 2 more chargers to install. The Charging Stations installations are being done using the SSC funding.

  7. Campus Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) spring 2023

  8. SCILL SSC application



    Just my opinion, but the application tends to vilify Abbott Power Plant by stating that geothermal will “exceed” iCAP goals by “reducing dependance on the Abbott Power Plant”.


    Also stated in the application, “The project builds on a new paradigm established with the Campus Instructional Facility, expanding the network of deep green infrastructure and drastically reducing energy reliance on the Abbott Power Plant.”


    With the acceptance of Abbott Power Plant into the International Test Center Network for Carbon Capture (ITCN) early this morning in London, England, I think it is important to note that Abbott is involved in other carbon reduction technology development efforts.


    To continue to develop negative connotations regarding Abbott Power Plant with the campus community is counterproductive to the resilience of the Universities efforts and mission. I support the impact that geo-thermal can have to help us reach carbon neutrality, but I also support the fact that we still need Abbott to achieve the core mission of the University, and we need to continue to find ecological solutions that support our invested physical plant assets.


    Please continue to declare success regarding carbon reduction, but don’t make Abbott Power Plant the bad actor.


    Again, just my opinion.




  9. Student Sustainability Committee applications - due 3/24

    Hello XMT,


    If you or your staff are planning to submit an application for Student Sustainability Committee funding this spring, please copy me and Lisa Peacock, so we can advocate and support the F&S applications during the committee review periods.


    The step 1 applications are due this Friday, March 24, and the info is online here:







    Is there a funding limit for SSC?



    David Hardin


    Hi Dave,


    They don’t really have a funding limit, but they are more likely to fund something under $250k, especially if they are contributing to a project with other funding too.  A lot of student-led projects are only $50-10k.  They probably have about $750k available this spring and they will have more in the future, as they just got approval to raise the fee.







    I asked Dylan to submit an application for Wohler’s Hall. The ReCx team identified some deferred maintenance/energy conservation work at a total cost of $450K. I spoke with Brad, and he believes there is $150K available from deferred maintenance funds, and UES can provide $150K, hopefully another $150K from SSC, which would allow us to move forward. The energy reduction would result in a 5-year payback.



    David Hardin

  10. Bike Fee potential increase - discussion with SSC

    Sarthak Prasad, Morgan White, and Stacey DeLorenzo met with Jack Reicherts and Lucy Nifong from Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) to discuss a possible increase in the Bike Fee from $1 per semester per student to $3 per semester per student.

    SSC will lead the referenda and seek approval for this increase from the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC). Sarthak Prasad has shared the Bike Fee proposals from FY17 to FY24 that were approved by the SFAC as supporting document. Sarthak will also share a possible proposal for FY25 and FY26 with the budget of nearly $250,000 per year.

  11. Pollinator Signage Final Report

    Several students apart of the Sustainability Living-Learning Community attended the 2017 AASHE Student Summit and participated in a Bee Campus USA workshop. These students decided that the University should obtain Bee Campus USA Certification for UIUC. Displaying signage focused on pollinator conservation was one of the requirements for this certification. Four signs were installed, and since their installment UIUC is a part of Bee Campus USA.

    Attached is the full report.


  12. Campus Sustainability Celebration - 10/17/22

    The 2022 Campus Sustainability Celebration was a huge success! Thank you to all who participated! The PowerPoint presentation is attached, and the agenda for the event was as follows:

    • 3-3:15 PM – Welcome
      • Jennifer Fraterrigo, on behalf of Director Madhu Khanna (iSEE)
      • Chancellor Jones
      • Vice Chancellor Susan Martinis (OVCRI)
    • 3:15 – 3:30 PM – Holistic initiatives
      • Plastic reduction (Jen)
      • Clean energy/Solar Farm 3 (Morgan)
      • Greener Campus Program (Meredith)
    • 3:30 – 4:40 PM – iCAP Team presentations
      • Energy
      • Transportation
      • Land and Water
      • Zero Waste
      • Education
      • Engagement
      • Resilience
    • 4:40 – 5 PM – Student groups (SSLC, SSC) – Jack Reicherts and Maiah Caise
      • Closing remarks by Jennifer Fraterrigo (on behalf of Madhu Khanna)
    • 5 – 6 PM – Celebration - refreshments, roundtable forum with each iCAP Team, student tabling session  
  13. 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!