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Projects Updates for iCAP 2020: Illinois Climate Action Plan

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  1. EPA Waste Management Webinar Presentation

    Meredith Moore (iSEE) and Sydney Trimble (F&S) presented at the EPA Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy Webinar: University Best Practices in Waste Stream Management on 4-28-22. The presentation is attached. 

    Click here for more information.

    "This webinar session will highlight best practices in university materials and waste stream management, including reduce, reuse, and recycle principles. Participants will learn about the excellent waste reduction programs at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Colorado State University, and The Ohio State University. Our speakers will share proven practices that help colleges and universities minimize waste generation and promote materials reuse. Attendees will also learn about ongoing university case studies and projects involving waste characterization as well as other programs assisting campuses in achieving sustainability goals."

  2. 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 https://icap.sustainability.illinois.edu/project/topical-icap-teams.

     

  3. 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. 

     

  4. 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

  5. Sustainability components added to campus tour script

    The following sustainability topics will be added to the new student campus tours!

    • Student Sustainability Committee (SSC): each year a group of graduate and undergraduate students vote on the funding for projects that have an environmental impact on campus, SSC allocates about $1.5 million annually towards these projects, the funds come from students fees, one of the largest green funds in American higher education today, have allocated $15.55 million towards funding 316 projects since 2008
    • Composting: National Soybean Research Center has a compost tumbler, the first publicly accessible compost drop-off on campus with plans to expand 
    • Environmental Quad Day: environmental RSOs and sustainability groups showcase their green initiatives and participation opportunities
    • Recycling: single-use mask recycling locations on campus; approximately 50 collection boxes available on campus to recycle single-use face coverings
    • Climate Commitments: UIUC has committed to achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible and has a Climate Action Plan (2020) to outline the campus sustainability plan to advance and achieve our goals 
  6. Sustainability Sub-Council Meeting 11/10/21

    The Sustainability Sub-Council met on November 10, 2021 in preparation of the Sustainability Council meeting. The primary agenda items included: 

    • iCAP 2020 process reminder
    • Energy007 Comprehensive Energy Planning Document 
    • LW002 and Rainwater Funding Issues
    • Sustainability priorities and next steps

    The slide deck is attached with meeting minutes to follow.

  7. This Week in Research

    What do giant grasses, micro grids, deep wells, and hydrogen-powered buses all have in common? They are all part of a clean energy future that is being imagined, created, and tested here at UIUC. The breadth of our energy research portfolio, across all of the campus and the broader C-U community, is truly impressive. Here are just a few examples:

    Solar Farm 2.0 will soon be home to a newly awarded, $10M project led by Madhu Khanna to optimize the design of "Agrivoltaics," or fields with both crops and solar panels to maintain crop production, produce renewable energy, and increase farm profitability. A few miles to the east, the Energy Farm boasts extensive test plots to study how to grow and use plants as biofuel. The farm is using a biomass boiler to replace propane as the fuel source for its main research greenhouse. The Energy Farm is also home to one of dozens of geothermal wells on campus that are helping scientists like Yu-Feng Lin develop better geothermal systems, while on the north side of campus, the new Campus Instructional Facility is heated and cooled with a state-of-the art geothermal system. Nuclear power is expected to play an important role in meeting our campus ICAP goals, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted a hearing last week to seek input on our plans to site a next-generation, micronuclear reactor near the Abbott Power Plant. Integrating renewable energy sources into the power grid presents unique challenges, and Illinois power system researchers, including Alejandro Domínguez-García, are working to develop microgrid technology to address issues of reliability and resilience. Meanwhile, researchers such as Petros Sofronis are working on a bold new vision for national leadership in the emerging hydrogen economy. (It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the CUMTD just launched two hydrogen-powered, zero-emission buses—the first in the state!) 

    There is only one way I can wrap up a message about our campus energy research: The future looks bright, indeed!

    Sincerely,

    Susan

  8. 2021 Campus Sustainability Celebration!

    All are invited to the 2021 Campus Sustainability Celebration and appreciation event! Meet and network with your peer sustainability advocates and hear about exciting campus sustainability progress! Since the event is in person, please be prepared to wear a mask and show your Safer Illinois app or equivalent status. If you can't make it in person, watch the livestream on YouTube! >>>

    October 20, 1–4 pm • National Center for Supercomputing Applications lobby, 1205 W. Clark St., Urbana

    Julie Wurth • Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment

    2021 Campus Sustainability Celebration!

  9. iWG Meeting Minutes 9-22-21

    Attached are the meeting minutes from 9-22-21. The agenda focused on iWG iCAP 2020 priorities, Council/Sub-council updates, ZW004 and LW002 next steps, an overview of campus sustainability month, and updates from the student groups. 

    Attached Files: 
  10. iCAP Team and iCAP Working Group Kickoff

    We had a great iCAP Team and iCAP Working Group Kickoff on 9/16/21! During the event, we heard from iSEE Interim Director, Dr. Madhu Khanna, went through the team rosters, iCAP Procedures, iCAP 2020 and progress made thus far, and lastly summarized other resources that sustainability advocates should be aware of. 

    The iCAP Teams and iCAP Working Group are instrumental in helping campus advance and achieve our sustainability goals and we look forward to a great year!

    The presentation is attached and the recording is found here

  11. iCAP Team Charge Letters

  12. iWG/iCAP Team Social Hour - 4/5/21

    Hello iCAP Teams and happy spring! We are excited to invite you to the next iCAP Team/iWG social hour on Monday, April 5 from 4 – 5pm. The format will look a little different this time. We will be meeting on a cool platform called “Topia”, which will be more conducive for small group discussions.  

    Here is the link for our “iCAP 2020” platform: https://topia.io/icap-world

     Topia will not work on a tablet or phone, and it needs to be on a Chrome browser. Please take a few minutes and click the link above before the event, and let us know if you have any issues. The hour will consist of:

    4:00-4:10 – Welcome and learn about the Topia website

    4:10-4:35 – Breakout groups, visiting the different topical areas based on your interest (not specifically based on your team assignment)

    4:35-4:45 – Come back to the center (central park) and a representative from each group will provide a brief update on what the group talked about  4:45-4:50 – Highlight one of the iCAP projects

    4:50-5:00pm – Q&A, Conclusion

    Let us know if you have any questions. We are so excited to try this out with you in a few weeks. See you then!

    Meredith, Morgan, and Ximing

  13. Environmental Justice Plan Brainstorming Meeting 4-1-21

    The Environmental Justice Plan working group met on 4-1-21 to brainstorm the next steps of the process. The next steps for the group are to review and provide feedback on the "public input form" draft (attached). This will then be circulated around various organizations within the campus and community to ensure that the appropriate questions are asked, in the right way, and involving the right people. The group will continue to review the resilience and environmental justice indicators to refine which indices we should focus on.

    The meeting recording is found here. 

  14. Sustainability Sub-Council Meeting 3-18-21

    The first Sustainability Sub-Council meeting occurred on 3-18-21 and discussed the iCAP process and procedures, Solar Farm 3.0, Energy Performance Contracts, and Land Management Practices. The meeting minutes and presentation are attached. The meeting recording is found here.

  15. Sustainability Career Panel 4/9/21

    Interested in careers in sustainability? Join us to hear a panel discussion from industry professionals and learn how the field is changing and how to pursue sustainable careers.

    Panelists will include representatives from:

    Eco Logic
    Prairie Rivers Network
    Urbana Park District
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    Please register at:
    https://go.illinois.edu/SustainabilityCareersPanel

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