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Projects Updates for Bevier Café’s - Aquaponics System Demonstration Unit

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  1. 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 sslc-chair@mx-illinois.edu

  2. Archived Info - Previous Project Description

    This project creates an aquaponics system that will work as a demonstrative unit on campus to spread sustainability awareness and illustrate the effectiveness of aquaponics in a small area. The goal of aquaponics is to create a closed ecosystem in which both plants and fish benefit and grow. Aquaponics has the potential to produce large quantities of both vegetables and fish with minimal inputs and nearly no negative outputs. The project teams' desire is to establish a base system from which the possibility to expand exists. This project is student-led and contains an educational element on aquaponics. This proposal is linked to the student sustainability course GCL 127.

  3. Whats new?

    Last year was spent trying to optimize the use of freshwater shrimp in the system.  After a less the satisfactory yield we are reintroducing Tilapia into the aquaponics system in the Turner Hall greenhouses.  The produce side of the system provides fresh baby greens and serves as a propagation station for the indoor herb garden. 
    To date there are 149 customers enrolled in the reusable to-go program.  Those customers have diverted waste from the landfill a total of 2847 times by ordering their take-out using our Chews to Reuse program. 
    We recently installed a herb washing station in the kitchen and hope to expand the our herb production to offer retail packaged herbs.  We currently grow 80-90% of our herbs hyper-locally using the LED lighting just outside our kitchen.
  4. Aquaponics Funding Letter

    This project creates an aquaponics system that will work as a demonstrative unit on campus to spread sustainability awareness and illustrate the effectiveness of aquaponics in a small area. The goal of aquaponics is to create a closed ecosystem in which both plants and fish benefit and grow. Aquaponics has the potential to produce large quantities of both vegetables and fish with minimal inputs and nearly no negative outputs. The project teams’s desire is to establish a base system from which the possibility to expand exists. This project is student led and contain an educational element on aquaponics. This proposal is linked with the student sustainability course GCL 127.

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