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Projects Updates for Campus Sustainability Month

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  1. Plastic Reduction Challenge Final Results


    Once again, congratulations on completing the Plastic Reduction Challenge. We are proud of you for taking the steps to become more conscious of your waste and dedicating your time to reflect on and change these habits. 

    As a group, we decreased our average plastic waste by over 200%! Our Week 4 point total for the group was 7.7 points, a positive score reflecting many, many positive actions in addition to plastic avoidance. One participant decreased their waste by more than 400%, while others had positive point totals throughout the entire challenge. These accomplishments, among others, are incredibly impressive!

    If you submitted a Google form anytime throughout the challenge, please keep an eye on your inbox for a certificate of completion for the Plastic Reduction Challenge. As mentioned many times throughout the challenge, we hope you consider checking out the Waste Reduction @ Illinois Facebook group to stay connected with fellow participants, start a discussion, hear about the latest sustainability opportunities at U of I and beyond, and share tips for living sustainably going forward.

    This morning, we used a random name generator to choose three winners of the challenge. As a reminder, you received one entry for every week you participated in the challenge. The winners are Olivia Cloat, Janet Jarvis, and Susan Krusemark! Winners, we will contact you on how to receive your prize! Congratulations to you three and, of course, to all participants! We hope you enjoyed your time during the challenge! We sure did!

    Again, we offer our congratulations to each of you for completing this challenge. We know it was time-intensive and not always easy, but it was certainly worth it. Being an environmental hero does not have to be changing the world with a single action. You are an environmental hero by reducing your own environmental footprint and helping others do the same. Write to your politicians, store managers, or leaders, and encourage them to prioritize sustainability. Show that there is a demand for these initiatives. Building a culture of sustainability on our campus and in our world starts with you!

    Looking for a place to start (or should we say continue this great momentum)?

    • Join the Zero-Waste iCAP Team or another iCAP team of your interest.

    • If you ever find yourself using plastic, sign the Use The Bin pledge to vow you’ll always recycle. 

    • Celebrate America Recycles Day by joining the TED Talk Discussion on November 15th. Register here!

    As always, please reach out to us with any questions, comments, or feedback, and stay tuned for more exciting events in the future. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    Take care!

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaeder, iSEE Sustainability Interns

  2. Post-Challenge Sunday Email - Plastic Reduction Challenge

    Good afternoon,

    Congratulations on completing the Plastic Reduction Challenge!! You should be incredibly proud of yourself for your dedication this past month. We hope this challenge revealed some of your personal waste habits and prompted you to think about actions you can incorporate into your lives (and encourage others, too!) to decrease your personal environmental footprint. Please don’t forget to share what you learned this past month with friends, family, and peers. Keep up the momentum!

    If you have not already, be sure to submit your Week 4 Google Form by Monday, 10/31. As mentioned last week, we will reach out to you one last time on Thursday with some exciting announcements: the raffle winners and statistics on how we did as a group reducing our plastic waste over the past month.

    We hope you continue to keep in touch with us and reach out with any questions or comments; we always love talking about sustainability and would be thrilled to discuss with you further! 

    Thank you, happy almost Halloween, and talk to you on Thursday.

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns 

  3. TED Talk: Eco-Edition Series - Campus Sustainability Month 10/26/22

    The October - Campus Sustainability Month TED Talk: Eco-Edition Series event was held on 10/26/22. Lucy Nifong led a thought-provoking and inspiring discussion around the topic of “climate action needs new frontline leadership.” For those that could not make it, I attached her PowerPoint presentation and hope you take the time to watch the TED Talk by Ozawa Bineshi Albert. After our conversations this evening, I feel motivated to keep writing our legislators and lead by example. We all have the power to make a difference! Be sure to check out Lucy’s Op-Ed: Students Must Get out the Vote So We Can Break the “Midterm Curse”!

    Our next TED Talk: Eco-Edition series event will be held on Nov. 15 at 7 PM in celebration of America Recycles Day. Sign up here and I look forward to seeing you there!


  4. Week 4 Check In - Plastic Reduction Challenge

    Good morning!

    We are feeling bittersweet that this is our last week of the Plastic Reduction Challenge. We are so grateful and impressed by each and every one of you for your participation and focus throughout this month’s challenge. There are 184 of you registered for the challenge; together, we make up an amazing community of individuals on our way to living a life with less plastic!

    Our final tip of the challenge is a guide on how to live sustainably beyond the challenge. In a few days, you will no longer have to tally your plastic items or receive emails every week to hold you accountable, reminding you to keep up the hard work. The attached guide contains tips for moving forward. We encourage you to reflect on your own. Did you discover something interesting or helpful? Did you try something new? As always, we’d love to hear and we also hope you share this knowledge with friends, family, and the Waste Reduction @ Illinois Facebook group if you choose.

    As this month-long challenge is coming to an end, we are sure you are all wondering what comes next. We will check in again on Sunday reminding everyone to submit their Week 4 Google Form. After the forms are submitted, we will raffle off three sustainability packs using a random name generator. Your name will be entered one time for each week you participated in the challenge and submitted a form, so be sure to get in your last form this weekend! Next Thursday, 11/3, we will reveal the winners and also include statistics on how we did as a group throughout the challenge.

    We will talk to you again on Sunday - finish strong and have a great rest of the week!

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns

  5. Trash Cleanup 10/19/22 - Data

    The trash pickup on 10/19/22 was a great success, with beautiful weather and a lot of fun, too! We had more than 70 people volunteer, a record turn out. We picked up enough trash to fill an entire dumpster. Most groups helped track and characterize the waste, too. The categories and data are attached.

  6. Trash Cleanup 10/19/22 - Email to participants


    Thank you for attending the Campus Trash Pickup on 10/19! You were among more than 70 volunteers who helped make campus cleaner that day, a record turnout! Additionally, the data you collected about the kind of waste you found helps us characterize University of Illinois’ waste stream, so we can know what outreach we need to carry out in order to decrease waste and litter on campus.

    In just an hour and a half, we collected enough waste to fill an entire dumpster (we had to put overflow trash in blue receptacles, too)! Data highlights include more than 300 plastic straws, cups, and utensils; 225 beverage cans, 35 plastic bags, and countless cigarette butts. This is amazing!

    At the event, many of you had ideas about future trash pickups, such as adding an educational component before or after the event, and more. If you have any ideas and would like help or to collaborate, do not hesitate to reach out to this email! We can’t do this without your help!

    We took a lot of awesome photos from this event, as well. Check out this Box Folder for pictures.

    Looking for more ways to be involved in sustainability?

    Thanks again for joining us during Campus Sustainability Month’s trash clean up. Please let us know if you have any questions or ideas for future events.

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett, iSEE Sustainability Intern

  7. Week 4 - Plastic Reduction Challenge


    Welcome to the final week of the Plastic Reduction Challenge! We cannot believe how quickly October is flying by and we are so grateful for your dedication to the process of tracking and reducing your plastic waste. You have one week left to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and try something new to decrease your waste! If you find that you have managed to either recycle or reuse items in your daily life, why not try something new by helping someone else or sharing a few tips with us! If you have not already, please submit your Week 3 Google Form by Monday.

    This Thursday, we will send the final tip of the challenge: how to go forward and live sustainably, even when the Plastic Reduction Challenge ends. You did not do all of this hard work to revert back to using disposable items. Now, it is time to use what you have learned and help others in their own path to waste minimalism. We encourage you to start thinking about what tips you will incorporate into your daily lives, what you still plan to work on and work toward, and everything you have learned this past month. Until then, enjoy your final week. As a group, let’s try to generate the most amount of points yet!

    Here is the Week 4 Google Form. Please submit the form by Halloween (Monday, October 31). We look forward to checking in on Thursday with information about the end of the challenge, including the prize raffle.

    Remember to reach out with questions, comments, or stories about your challenge experience. Do you have any feedback for us? Is there anything you particularly enjoyed or would like to see changed? We would love to hear.

    Have a great week and finish strong!

  8. Week 3 Check In - Plastic Reduction Challenge

    Good morning!

    It’s Thursday so you know what that means… time for our weekly check-in! You are almost done with Week 3 of the Plastic Reduction Challenge. There is just over one week left until the end of the challenge. We are sad to realize this, too. We love communicating with you and building our community of sustainability enthusiasts. How have you improved since Week 1? What more do you have to learn?

    During Week 2, we raised our group average to 12.75 points! This number is outstanding! Not only did our group improve from Week 1, but this number reflects largely positive actions by the entire group. This number is equivalent to refusing plastic (+8 points) and picking up litter (+5 points), while also throwing away no plastic. Wow!

    This week, let’s focus on avoiding plastic in the home: the kitchen, the laundry, and the bathroom, specifically. Have you noticed how heavily food products are packaged? Do you know that dryer sheets and cleaning products contribute to plastic waste? The attached weekly tip includes ways to avoid plastic while making and storing food, cleaning, and doing laundry. This week’s tip is a particularly good one to share with friends, roommates, and family members, as well!

    Please remember to submit your  Week 3 Google Form by Monday, October 24. Feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns at any time. 

    Late to the challenge? No worries! Check out the Box Folder for any materials you may have missed.

    Enjoy the rest of your week and we will talk to you again on Sunday.


    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns 


  9. 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  
  10. 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!
  11. Week 3 - Plastic Reduction Challenge


    We hope every Illini had a safe, fun homecoming weekend and that everyone is excited about yet another Illini football win! You are officially halfway through the Plastic Reduction Challenge! How does it feel? Meticulously tracking your plastic use for two weeks now calls for celebration. This halfway point is a great time to reflect on what you have learned so far, what resources and new lifestyle changes you have gained, and what it is you’d still like to work on in the remaining two weeks. Please remember to submit your Week 2 Google Form no later than tomorrow, October 17th. 

    This week, in addition to refusing, repurposing, and recycling plastic, we encourage each of you to dedicate time to challenge yourself to commit to a new, environmentally-conscious action. Whether it be having a discussion with a roommate about consumerism or switching to reusable grocery bags, positive point opportunities are a great way to help the environment even further and spread awareness of the detrimental effects of plastic (while, of course, gaining points toward your point total, too).

    Be sure to check out the iSEE Campus Sustainability Month Calendar for opportunities to earn positive points this month. Upcoming this week is the Campus Sustainability Celebration on 10/17 and the Campus Trash Pickup on 10/19!

    Here is the Week 3 Google Form. Please submit this by Monday, October 24. We will check in with you again on Thursday with another weekly tip. As a reminder, at any time throughout the challenge (especially if you have recently joined!), you can revisit emails or resources that have been distributed to the group at this Box Folder. The folder can also be found by scrolling down to “More Information” on the iSEE Plastic Reduction Challenge webpage).

    Keep up the great work, and have a fantastic week!

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns 

  12. Week 2 Check In - Plastic Reduction Challenge

    Good morning, everyone!

    You are almost halfway through the Plastic Reduction Challenge - wow! With over 185 of us participating, in just two weeks we have already created positive change in our communities and world. Think of all the plastic waste we have avoided and the waste we will continue to reduce over the next two weeks!

    We loved hearing about your experiences during Week 1 and have been very impressed with your insightful comments, thoughtful questions, and creative ways you’ve earned positive points. Many of you have great goals for this week, such as remembering your reusable grocery bag, having a conversation with a friend or peer, and even having an overall positive weekly score. 

    Last week, our group average was 2.75 points! This is extremely impressive. This positive number reflects plastic avoidance and many, many positive actions to outweigh plastic consumption. Let’s keep it up and try to get an even higher average for Week 2!

    This week, we have compiled tips on how to avoid plastics when you’re on-the-go. We feel that avoiding plastics when you’re out and about is one of the more challenging elements of plastic reduction due to how integrated plastics are in “to-go” nature. Plastic bags, take-out containers, straws, cups, forks - oh my! This was particularly difficult during COVID-19 when most restaurants did not allow customers to bring their own reusables. As of now, most restaurants have shifted back to their normal policies, so we urge you to plan ahead when you know you’ll be eating out or gone from your home for a large part of the day. Not sure if your reusables are allowed? Just ask - communication is key, and it shows that people want to do the right thing when it comes to plastic reduction. Check out the attached Week 2 Tip Guide for more details and ideas on how to earn positive points this week.

    Please remember to submit the Week 2 Google Form by Monday, October 17th. As usual, please reach out with questions or comments, and be sure to utilize the Waste Reduction @ Illinois Facebook group to learn how peers are reducing plastic consumption this month.

    We look forward to chatting with you on Sunday. Have a great Illinois Homecoming weekend!


    Thank you!


    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns

  13. Week 2 - Plastic Reduction Challenge


    We hope you are having a great weekend, especially after an Illini win! Congratulations on completing Week 1 of the Plastic Reduction Challenge! How does it feel? Did anything in particular surprise you during Week 1? We have already learned a lot about our daily habits and are excited to get started on Week 2. Hopefully, each week we will decrease our waste total, both as individuals and as a group. If you have not already, please remember to submit your Week 1 Google Form by Monday morning.

    Did you know there are over 175 people participating in this challenge? Wow! Thank you to you all for taking the first steps in being more conscious of your waste. Together, we can make a significant change! 

    Going into this new week, we encourage you to reflect on Week 1 and perhaps set some new goals for Week 2. Maybe that means keeping a reusable bottle on hand, setting out grocery bags before leaving for the store, or requesting take out with no cutlery, straws, or napkins. Discover a sustainability-themed documentary or read an interesting article, and consider sharing it with others in the Waste Reduction @ Illinois Facebook group or other people in your circle. Whatever you choose to focus on, keep up the amazing work!

    Looking for ways to earn positive points for positive actions this week? Be sure to check out the iSEE Clothing Swap on 10/11, Green Quad Day on 10/13, and Illini Lights Out on 10/14.

    Here is the Week 2 Google Form, and attached is a copy of the points system and optional grid for your convenience. Please submit your Week 2 Form by Monday, October 17th. 

    As always, we invite you to email us with any feedback, questions, comments, or to let us know how the challenge is going for you. 

    We are looking forward to reaching out to you all on Thursday with another weekly tip and statistics from Week 1.

    Have a great week!

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Coordinator

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns

    Late to the challenge? No worries! Check out the Box Folder for any materials you may have missed.

  14. Week 1 Check In - Plastic Reduction Challenge


    Good morning!

    You are several days into Week 1 of the Plastic Reduction Challenge. How’s it going? We would love to hear what you have learned, what you are struggling with, or any creative ways you have earned points back for environmentally friendly actions thus far. Feel free to share your feedback with us through email or with the Waste Reduction @ Illinois Facebook Group.

    If you’re like us, you are probably surprised with the amount of plastic you use and how integrated plastic is into almost every aspect of life. Becoming conscious of this waste is a great first step to reduce it, so be proud of that! 

    Every Thursday of this challenge, we will send an email checking in with a tip to help reduce your plastic waste for the week. This week, we are introducing The Seven R’s of Sustainability: the lesser known, more up-to-date version of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The Seven R’s highlight the importance of refusing plastic before you repurpose, reuse, and recycle, among other things. While the other R’s are great, the best way to decrease the plastic in our landfills and oceans is to refuse them altogether. Did you know that black plastic cannot be recycled? This is a very common item, especially when ordering take-out or to-go items. Check out the attached tip guide with more information and a few ideas on how to earn back points for waste-conscious actions this week.

    Lastly, we would like to clarify how to score points for actions you do often. For example, if you pick up litter every day, please count that action once a week (+5 for the entire week); however, if you use Clorox, face, or makeup wipes every day, please count -2 points for each day. We will then have a more accurate score for the week and can better compile the data from the entire group at the challenge’s end.

    Please remember to submit the Week 1 Google Form no later than Monday morning on October 10th. Please reach out to us with any questions, feedback, or concerns, and remind friends it is not too late to sign up for the challenge! Don’t worry, though - once you submit the Week 1 Google Form, you will have extra chances for prizes.

    Late to the challenge? No worries! Check out the Box Folder for any materials you may have missed.

    Thank you, and keep up the great work!

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns

  15. Week 1 Kickoff - Plastic Reduction Challenge

    Happy October, and welcome to the 3rd Annual Campus Waste Challenge! Whether this is your third year participating in this challenge or first, we are so glad you’re here. To each of you, thank you for taking the first step toward decreasing your individual waste stream by challenging yourself to be more conscious of what you throw away every day.

    This year, the Campus Waste Challenge will focus on plastic reduction. The Plastic Reduction Challenge lasts four weeks, from Monday, October 3rd to Sunday, October 30th. Each day, keep track of the plastic you throw away (not reuse or recycle) using the predetermined point system (attached). The goal of the challenge is to earn as any points as possible each week. Every time you throw away a plastic item, points are subtracted from your weekly total. Environmentally friendly actions can earn you points back and are also listed on the points system. 

    At the end of each week, please submit your weekly point total using the Google Form. We have created a grid (attached) as an option to keep track of your weekly waste, but you may choose any method that works for you, such as your phone or a piece of scratch paper. This week, submit the Week 1 Google Form by Monday, 10/10 at 9:00 AM.

    Additionally, every Thursday of the challenge we will send a check-in email with resources to help you. Remember, refuse plastics when you can, and make sure to repurpose and recycle those you must take. Hopefully, throughout this challenge, you develop a personal habit of waste consciousness. All participants will be entered into a raffle for sustainability packs. You will earn an entry for each week you submit a Google Form.

    We encourage you to engage with fellow participants on UIUC’s Sustainability forum: Waste Reduction @ Illinois Facebook. In this Facebook group we welcome you to post questions, tips, and resources to support each other during this challenge!

    Please respond to this email if you have further questions and reach out to us at any time throughout the month. We would love to hear from you! We are very excited to kick off this fun, impactful challenge with you all. Remember to recommend friends, family, and colleagues to join the challenge, as well. It is never too late. 

    If you’re looking for other ways to celebrate Campus Sustainability Month this October, check out the iSEE Calendar for a month filled with engaging activities!

    Thank you and have fun! We will talk to you again on Thursday with the first weekly tip.

    Meredith Moore, iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager

    Emily Dickett and Jenna Schaefer, iSEE Sustainability Interns

  16. Are you up to the challenge? Plastic Reduction Challenge - Fall 2022

    So much plastic is thrown away each year that putting it all together creates enough material to circle the Earth four times. Ouch. More than 99 percent of plastics come from chemicals derived from fossil fuels (petrochemicals), and only about 9 percent of plastic is recycled for reuse. Approximately 500,000 straws are thrown away each day in the United States alone. It is estimated that the average person in the United States generates 185 pounds of plastic each year. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Nearly 600 million pounds of plastic fill our oceans, draining from our fresh bodies of water — which we contribute to here in the Midwest!

    These are frightening statistics! How much of what is listed above do you think comes from single-use plastics, or items that individuals use and throw away every day? Luckily, you came across this challenge! YOU have the power to change these statistics for the better and not be a contributor to the landfills! 

    For the third year, iSEE is hosting a Waste Challenge during Campus Sustainability Month. This year, we are focusing on plastic reduction. Please fill out this form to participate in the Plastic Reduction Challenge. For the challenge, track your waste each day starting October 3 and ending October 30 to understand your daily habits and participate with a fun community! We have made it as easy as possible to track and report what you are throwing away. This challenge will help you learn more about daily waste and provide resources to help during the month and beyond!

    Additional instructions will be sent prior to the challenge, and don’t forget that we are here to help throughout the process. For each week that you participate throughout the month, your name will be entered into raffles for sustainability prize packs! We look forward to your participation this October and don’t forget to invite your friends. Have any questions, comments, or concerns? Reach out to

  17. Join the Plastic Free Challenge this October!

    Join the Plastic Free Challenge!

    Take part in our zero waste journey! Participate in the Plastic Free Challenge during Campus Sustainability Month this October. From October 3–30, we provide the resources and point system to help you track your plastic use each week and find sustainable alternatives. Take part and earn the chance to win a sustainability prize pack. It’s easy to make a positive impact! Sign up for the challenge.

    October 3–30 • Map

    Meredith Moore • Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment

    baseline_wifi_black_18dp.png This opportunity is available online.

  18. 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

  19. Waste Reduction Challenge Wrap-up

    Good morning! First, we would like to congratulate you on completing the second annual Waste Reduction Challenge. You should be extremely proud of yourself for your dedication to tracking waste, whether it was all four weeks or just one. We hope this challenge opened your eyes to the amount of waste we generate and that you use what you learned going forward in your everyday life.

    As promised, later this week we will send an email with raffle winners and statistics on how we did as a group in reducing our waste. To stay connected with fellow participants and be reminded of all things sustainability with U of I, sign up for the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment newsletter. Also, join the Waste Reduction @ Illinois Facebook group! The group has over 100 members and is the place to communicate and share ideas with fellow sustainability rockstars.

    In addition to the Facebook group, check out these links to participate in sustainability activities and continue learning more:

    ·        Sign the "Use the Bin Pledge" - pledging to always use the recycling bin!

    ·        If you are on the Illinois campus, check out our Greener Campus Certification opportunities (for offices, events, and Greek chapters)

    ·        Watch the new (brief) sustainability training video - and take the survey afterward!

    ·        Read the iCAP 2020

    ·        If you missed any of the information throughout the challenge, here is a folder with all of the links and guides.

    ·        Monday, November 15 is America Recycles Day! How will you celebrate? We'd love to see you at the monthly iSEE TED Talk: Eco-Edition series from 6 - 7 PM on Zoom. Sign up here.

    Again, big congratulations on completing this month-long challenge. Attached is a guide with tips on going forward from here. This is just a starting point! Continue trying to live as sustainably as possible and set a positive example for your friends and family members. Remember, "we don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly" (Anne-Marie Bonneau).

    If you have not already done so, please submit your Week 4 Google Form and grid as soon as possible. As always, please feel free to continue to reach out to us with any questions, comments, or feedback. We look forward to interacting with you on the Facebook page, via email, and at future events!

    Have a great week and thanks again!

    Emily (iSEE Sustainability Intern) and Meredith (iSEE Sustainability Programs Manager)