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Projects Updates for Build Resilience with Our Local Community

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  1. Draft Report - Local Carbon Offset Program

    DRAFT White Paper: "Recommendations for Initiating a Local Carbon Offsets Pilot Program for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign"

    Submitted by Stacy Gloss on May 9, 2022

    Conclusions & Recommendations reported below:

    The University of Illinois iCAP calls for reducing emissions from unavoidable travel by purchasing carbon offsets and creating a local carbon offset program.  Program planning and oversight can be achieved with the formation of a committee on carbon offsets and local offsets. Concurrently, the chancellors office should delegate where a carbon-off-set account would be housed – the account needs to be set up to receive and administer funds for competitive projects.

    The most that the iCAP Resilience Committee could do is submit a recommendation to the iWG to convene a campus working group for a local offset program directed by the Chancellor’s office and/or central Sustainability Council; and direct the set-up of an account to receive and administer funds.  Sustainability professionals hired at the University of Illinois could administer the program with oversight from the carbon offsets working group/committee.

    Edits or comments to this paper should be submitted to sgloss@illinois.edu for review by the iCAP Resilience committee.

  2. Carbon Offset Technology Review Project

    iSEE Carbon Offset Program: Technology Research and Options
    Authors: Jane Williams, Rachel Pu, Fina Healy, Natalia Ptaszek, and Angela Andrada

    Students from the ABE469 Capstone Course taught by professor Ann Witmer met over the course of the Spring 2022 semester to research renewable energy technologies and carbon sink projects appropriate for campus and communtiy in our surrounding county-vicinity. The purpose is to provide technology options for the Local Carbon Offset Program described in the iCAP objectives.  A local carbon offset program would be designed to offset staff & faculty travel, and the offset funds generated can be used in local projects that reduce or sequester carbon on campus and in the community. The technologies reviewed by the student engineering team include:

    • solar photovoltaics
    • biodigestor
    • planting trees
    • prairie restoration
    • geothermal heating and cooling

    The final deliverables report and presentation are attached.

  3. Weekly Resiliency Team Meeting

    Stacy Gloss and Meredith Moore met on 4/27 to discuss the following:

    1. DFA Student project on E-waste recycling poster was added to portal on 4/27/2022.
    2. Environmental Justice Next Steps by August 2022:
      1. Make 1 – 2 page fact sheet about EJ Planning
      2. Define plan for outreach this summer
      3. Implement the plan
    3. Capstone project on carbon offsets
      1. Obtain final deliverables on carbon offset project to include in iCAP portal
    4. Sustainability Clinic (Leading on Sustainability Issues)
      1. Socializing sustainability clinic to faculty; identify potentially interested faculty
    5. Community Conversations on Sustainability (Leading on Sustainability Issues)
      1. This is a newish idea that Meredith will socialize to iSEE and others and we can start working on it this summer. 
  4. Cell Phone and Electronic Waste

    A team of Design for America students worked on a year-long project diving into cell phone and electronic waste. The attached poster is the culmination of their work across the '21/'22 school year. We wish the DFA student team luck in all their future endeavors.

    DFA Team: Koshal Raghavarapu, Ananya Barman, Pooja Tetali, & Aashi Tyagi

  5. Illinois Green Infrastructure Inventory Update 5/9/2022

    Stacy Gloss attended the Urban Stormwater Working Group meeting on 4/19/22 led by Lisa Merrifield.

    Agenda item 1) An Illinois Green Infrastructure Inventory Update was provided.

    Key points:

    • Tracking Best Management Practices:  need to know: where, what, how much, and when
    • Detailed information allows for comparison between practices
    • Practices include projects like:  vegetated filter strips, grass swale, infiltration devices, permeable pavement, porous pavement, wetland detention, dry detention, settling basin, bio-swale, grass swale, wet pond, constructed wetland, green roof, weekly street sweeping, native landscaping, stormwater tree, sand filters, settling basin, WQ inlets, wet ponds, infiltration devices, concrete grid  pavement, sand filter/infiltration basin, oil/grit separator etc. Also new construction and retrofit.
    • Next steps: testing data-sets with NCSA

    Agenda item 2) meeting participants described their work and current projects.

    Update: May 9, 2022

    Stacy Gloss and Eliana Brown will attend the September MS4 meeting to describe projects related to capturing green infrastructure project locations and project information to share best practices with the local community. Campus maintains data about about green infrastructure projects on campus. A pilot project is underway to share green infrastructure project data with communities across Illinois.  Eliana Brown is involved in this effort and NCSA is developing a database platform for information sharing.

    Stacy Gloss will attend the next MS4 meeting in June also.

  6. Weekly Resiliency Team Meeting

    Present: Meredith Moore, Morgan White, and Stacy Gloss

    Gloss reported on the following:

    • Green Infrastructure Mapping: Lisa Merrifield met with Illinois EPA and partners at the end of March to discuss the mapping project. Meetings will be held with NCSA soon about feasibility and next steps.
    • Gloss notified Lisa Merrifield that she is available to help with Biodiversity Plan
    • DFA advising on-going. Their upcoming presentation is April 27 on E-waste in Siebel Center for Design
    • Final report from Ann Witmer's capstone course is expected: A student consulting team is developing a report on renewable energy technologies that can be adopted through a campus local-offset program
    • Gloss and Moore will present  to GEEB on April 26 on environmental justice

    Discussed:

    • SSC semesterly reporting requirement for NGICP training is due July 1; Gloss will email campus NGICP participants.
    • Sustainability Clinic recommendation meeting next steps;
    • Working to understand Extension's role in environmental concerns / environmental justice.  White, Gloss, and Moore will work to meet with Shibu Kar as an introduction between the Resilience Team and Extension on iCAP resilience goals, environmental justice planning, and support for programs like a sustainability clinic

    Tasks (Gloss):

    • Help with agenda for next resilience team meeting & update the gantt chart for meeting resilience goals
    • Attend next Land & Water team meeting if available (related to potential campus master plan for rainwater management & relationship to/with community coordinated rainwater master plan)
    • Attend the iWG meeting as resilience team rep for Environmental Justice iCAP recommendation

     

  7. Design for America - E-Waste Project Update

    Present: Staff - Stacy Gloss & Meredith Moore and Students - Koshal Raghavarapu, Anisha Narain, Ananya Barman, & Pooja Tetali

    The DFA student team provided a progress update on research about cell-phone e-waste. The student team has met with several recycling experts in the community and has focused on three areas - personal responsibility, importance of being able to repair products, and manufacturing responsibility for electronic waste. We will have one more planning meeting together and then the students will give their final presentation about the project on April 27. A poster with infographics may be developed.

  8. The Landscape Recycling Center tests for...

    The Landscape Recycling Center tests for temperature, oxygen, and moisture monthly.  They test for ph, metals, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and infectious bacteria in finished compost product annually.  As food scrap makes its way through the process and we continue to test the final product, we will be able to observe any changes to these parameters.

     

  9. Sustainability and Green Job Certifications

    Sustainability & Green Job Certification examples have now been included on the Institute for Energy, Sustainability, and the Environment (iSEE) Education Portal website.  Scroll down on the page to find and review Professional Certification Programs.  This list can be used to inspire and provide insight into green careers. Green Job Certification Topics include: 

    Buildings & Energy

    Environmentalism & Advocacy

    Climate Change and Sustainability Professionals, Business, Reporting

    Water

    Outdoors, Gardening, Wildlife, Natural Resources

    A downloadable Excel file titled "Job Certifications" provides additional detail about these certifications and these careers.

  10. Career Services Meeting

    Stacy Gloss and Meredith Moore met with Amanda Cox and Samantha Potempa from University Career Services to discuss how to connect students to Green Jobs and Green Job Certifications.  Career Services staff described the services provided for students. Career Services across campus are distributed between the Colleges and students can meet with the central Career Services group or academic & career advisors in the College of their major. Career Services can provide presentations to both classrooms and RSO student groups. Trained peer career advisors can give presentations on interviewing, resume writing, Linked-in profiles and personal statements. A Career Services Council meets on a quarterly basis to discuss current issues and affairs. iSEE can have a representative join the Career Services Council. 

    Additional resources for students include:

  11. Resilience Work Meeting 11/18/21

    Stacy Gloss, Meredith Moore, Morgan White, and Scott Tess met to discuss Resilience Team work. 

    We discussed:

    • NGICP presentation scheduled for December 10 with presentations by Heidi Leuzler and Eliana Brown
    • NGICP SSC Step II Application to be submitted 11/19/21
    • Carbon Offset Program development. Discussed that "local" for this objective means within boundaries of Champaign County.  Next questions to answer are: Why, What, How for developing a local carbon offset program.
  12. Meeting to discuss Carbon Offsets

    11/17/2021

    Present: Morgan White, Meredith More, Eric Green, Tony Mancuso, Stacy Gloss

    Gloss provided an overview of the local carbon offset objective as described in the iCAP. There was discussion that there are two sides to the issue. 1. The funding mechanism. 2. What projects are funded by off-setting faculty & staff travel impacts?

    The team was asked to review the carbon offset programs by the University of California System and Duke University as two different models. The first is a campus-system internal model where funds are used to develop projects on campuses throughout the system. A university-system advisory board receives applications for projects and approves the projects that meet program requirements.  The Duke carbon offset initiative involves a portfolio of offsets including a methane capture waste-to-energy at an industrial farm,  urban tree planting program, avoided conversion, wetland restoration, and a pilot program for residential energy efficiency piloted in 2012 --- these programs happen off-campus.

    We agreed that there is an economies-of-scale issue with local off-sets to overcome. For local-community-based projects, the cost per off-set is going to be higher than aggregating funds into one industrial scale project or program. An carbon-off-set company, for example, might contact a city and offer $1.00 per tree for off-sets, but it costs over $400 to install and maintain a tree.  (A program like this appears to generate a very small added value to the paid organization.)

    U of I campus renewable energy & energy efficiency projects can be tracked by the campus energy office. For community off-sets, an agency (university or otherwise) would need to set up a mechanism to collect and distribute funds for community-based projects, perhaps through a non-for-profit interface. Projects can include urban tree-planting, renewable energy, energy efficiency, prairie restoration etc. 3rd party verification is needed.

    As a next step, this team and others must define "local" in "local offset program" in order to meet this objective in the iCAP. Is the program going to be internal to campus, or include the local community as recipients of funds community projects?

    This team must also interpret what the iCAP is saying to off-set. 

    • Annual business air-travel by faculty & staff? 
    • Vehicle miles driven by faculty & staff on University business?
    • All electricity & heat generated by carbon sources for the University of Illinois?

    These questions are fundamental to designing and implementing a local-carbon-offset program.  

  13. Green Certifications Meeting

    11/17/2021

    Present: Tony Mancuso, Meredith Moore, Eric Green, & Stacy Gloss

    A meeting was held to discuss student engagement, green jobs, and career planning.

    Agenda items included: 

    1) Possible potential for interviewing iSEE Fellows Minor Grads about their current careers - involving the communications department.

    2) Possible idea for introducing a mentoring program. The idea is to have iSEE fellows grads who are settled into careers serve as mentors for undergraduate fellows in the minor. A program like this would need to have more intentional development and administrative support.

    3) Getting green jobs certifications information onto the iSEE website under the Education Portal https://sustainability.illinois.edu/education/student-resources/.

    Stacy & Tony will work on this.

  14. Key Steps Supporting Vision Zero in 2021-2022

    During the falls semester Stacy Gloss met with campus and community stakeholders to discuss Vision Zero in our community. The attached report provides recommendations for campus to update and modify Transportation policies, support and advocate for community traffic safety efforts, provide leadership and support to local transportation departments, expand and create new student engagement and project opportunities, and develop a relationship with the Vision Zero network.

  15. Design for America Meeting

    Meeting 10/29/2021

    Present:  Anisha, Ananya, Pooja and Stacy Gloss

    The project idea that the students would like to pursue is Making connections between pollution and people – focused on smart phones, tablets, computer e-waste generated by students. The student group may consider various technologies in their project: laptops, gaming consoles, wearable tech.

    They will research:

    • Material Sourcing  / ethical sourcing  (What are major parts/tech of smart phone and how they are produced? Conditions? Environmental Impact?)
    • Manufacturing / Ethical production
    • Transportation
    • Sales
    • Purchasing frequency/habits/thoughts: What do students think about environmental impact of technology when purchasing technology?
    • End-of-product-life (what happens to products after their use?) – What do people think happens? What really happens?
    • Other considerations: data centers

    Project members may reach out to people in the community who are already knowledgeable about recycling to such as:

    For the next meeting the DFA group should be prepared with the specific research questions they want to answer by conducting this research and their thoughts on research methods --- these questions should inform their approach for the project and related initiative they will want to develop. They will also review the Zero Waste  iCAP portal page for resources. https://icap.sustainability.illinois.edu/themes/zero-waste

    Research Methods:

    Question:  Are there any special considerations (for example IRB) for DFA students to create a survey for campus on how often students purchase / throw away / recycle smart phones? Are there any processes that need to be followed within ISEE to do this research?

    Other questions:

    Is there a recycling coordinator on campus that has any data about e-waste on campus?

    Potential things to consider

    The group will think about how they want to visualize their project for impact. Students also are open to the audience at this point – could include campus and off-campus audience. Off campus audience members could be the Champaign County Climate Coalition.  Interactive presentation could be set up in a community location like a library. The students could present their project to an iSEE committee – like Zero Waste and Resilience.

  16. Coordinated Rainwater Management Brainstorming Meeting

    10/25/2021 11:00 am

    Present: Brent Lewis, Betsy Liggett, Lisa Merrifield, Stacy Gloss

    Updates from Stacy:

    • Resilience team identified a next step on the iCAP objective review slides: “Resilience team to recommend campus to initiate an engineered rainwater master plan”
    • NGICP training for 4 F&S staff submitted to SSC as step-1 application
    • Stacy attended the GI conference Oct 20

    Updates from Lisa and Betsy:

    • Extension receiving funds to create state-wide GI reporting platform, working with NCSA
    • Lisa is hiring an Academic Hourly intern to work through summer 2022 for the biodiversity plan - this work is complementary to coordinated rainwater management plans and so this staff person may be able to work on planning objectives for coordinated rainwater management plans.
    • Lisa is recruiting someone with planning / engineering background to work on GI or biodiversity this summer.

    Coordinated Rainwater Plan

    We discussed the fit for Extension to be involved in coordinating rainwater management plans for our urbanized areas and campus. We brainstormed ideas on how coordination can take place, who should be involved, and started thinking about special topics to address.

    Green Infrastructure Mapping

    Work together with Extension and NCSA on the GI platform for Illinois. This work is starting soon.

    Next Steps

    • Follow up and plan to meet in December or January.   
    • Define rainwater management plan 
    • Define objectives for a rainwater management plan
    • Describe process for achieving those objectives
    • Attend planning meetings with Extension on GI platform & mapping

     

  17. Resilience Work Meeting

    Resilience Work Group Meeting 10/21/2021

    Present: Morgan White, Meredith Moore, Stacy Gloss

    Project Management:

    Stacy will start keeping track of resilience projects in an excel Gantt chart to be able to show high-level progress. Project progress will be tracked as “not begun, just starting, in progress, finishing up, done”

    Stacy showed changes she made to the Resilience box.com folder by adding Objective folders.

    Project Updates: 

    We discussed Vision Zero. Morgan asked Stacy to contact CCRPC, Champaign and Savoy planners for their perspectives on Vision Zero. Stacy presented draft recommendations for the next steps Vision Zero white paper. We discussed these early recommendations and path for sharing the white paper with the iCAP team and with Gina for editing.

    Stacy briefly shared progress on getting an understanding of how the 2010 and 2015 iCAPs intended to create a local offsets program.  

    We discussed an update to the DFA student project.  

     

  18. Weekly Resilience Meeting

    Resilience Meeting Notes 10/15/2021 for meeting between Stacy Gloss, Meredith Moore, and Morgan White

    1. We discussed ideas for the Design for America RSO project on Environmental Justice.  Stacy will set up a meeting with D for A RSO students to discuss potential project topics and request a 1/2 page - 1 page project idea back to us for approval/revisions. The project might cover an environmental justice topic and be worked on from now through May. We will request that the complete project be designed to be presented in the late Spring, and the results go beyond educational/informational and lead to an initiative of some kind.
    2. Stacy provided a progress update on Resilience iCAP objectives.
      1. Green Certifications Inventory. Stacy will present this for comment at the next resilience ICAP meeting
      2. NGICP exploration
        1. Stacy will submit SSC proposal to support a pilot program for F&S staff to receive NGICP training at Parkland. The project will evaluate the benefits and decide whether to adopt having more or all campus grounds workers take the training later.
        2. Stacy will request Heidi and Eliana present at a (future proposed) joint meeting of the land/water use and resilience committee about the NGICP program and benefits
      3. Coordinated rainwater planning
        1. Morgan said that she recently had a conversation with a director at Sanitary District who asked for campus to become more involved with watershed management through a watershed working group, which is different than MS4 compliance.  
        2. Morgan also requested that Stacy involve Eliana Brown more in coordinated rainwater planning for future meetings
        3. Stacy will attend the stormwater management organization’s conference on Oct. 20.
      4. Sustainability leadership topics – plan for Stacy to present these at next resilience ICAP meeting
      5. Vision Zero Discussion
        1. Stacy will submit a white paper on next steps for Vision Zero on Campus late next week.
        2. Stacy and Sarthak will meet with a professor who supports / advocates for Vision Zero next week. 
        3. We discussed who would need to be involved for approval and planning of a Traffic Garden, Stacy will report back to Sarthak on this subject.

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