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  1. Check out the I-Pollinate citizen science research initiative

    I-Pollinate is a citizen science research initiative, through the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, designed to collect state-wide pollinator data. I-Pollinate enlists citizen scientists to participate in three research projects and collect data on monarch egg and caterpillar abundance, pollinator visitation to ornamental flowers, and state bee demographics. If you are interested in participating and want more information, visit the website site at

  2. Illini Lights Virtual Event!

    Associated Project(s): 

    Illini Lights Out Goes Home! 

    Since we can't participate in our usual ILO event by switching off thousands of bulbs to save energy and emissions on campus, we ask that ALL Illinois community members do their part for the Earth by shutting off unused lights and electronics — wherever you are! Commit to participate by clicking the link above.
    5:30-7 p.m. | Friday, March 27

  3. Arbor Day Celebration to be alternate format

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hello Tree Campus USA Committee,

    Thanks to those of us who were able to join the web-call this morning.  Here are brief notes about our discussion and next steps:

    • I shared that the Arbor Day Foundation has removed the requirement for a proclamation and celebration this year.  We discussed options and decided to still do something online for Arbor Day.
      • Andrew is going to talk with Mike Brunk about the process he had gone through for the proclamation, and let us know if he thinks we should proceed this time with trying to get a proclamation signed by the mayors and chancellor.
      • I am going to take the lead on identifying something that we can do online this spring.  Please send me any suggestions you have. Here are some we discussed this morning:
        • Jay suggested an infographic
        • Meredith suggested a connection to the Earth Month Bingo event that iSEE is hosting
        • I suggested sharing information about how to plant a tree
        • Kevin suggested including information about how to trim trees for private property
        • The Arbor Day Foundation sent the note below after our call, and they intend to provide some resources for ideas
    • Kevin and Ryan shared that their staff are not at work now, with the exception of a few employees watching the trees for safety purposes.

    Our next group meeting is April 27 at 9am, but we will be in touch during the next few weeks to finalize plans for April 24th.

    Thank you,

    Message from the Arbor Day Foundation:

  4. Spring 2020 collection cancelled

    Associated Project(s): 

    Due to concerns about volunteer safety, the stay-at-home order for Illinois, and anticipated continuation of the COVID-19 social distancing, we are officially cancelling the Dump and Run collection from University Housing this spring.  

    I am very sorry that this is the case, and I hope that all of you are safe and staying calm during this crisis.

    We intend to still hold our next group meeting on April 14 at 1pm, via telephone.  We will discuss options at that time for providing some of the benefits from the fall sale to our future incoming students.  We will also include an update from Shantanu about the preparatory work that can occur this spring and summer.

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions or concerns which we should also address during our next group meeting.

    Thank you and best wishes,

  5. Archived info - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    The University YMCA has coordinated a waste reduction program called "Dump and Run" since the early 2000's.  At student move-out, hundreds of volunteers help collect the reusable materials for resale after summer break.  Then the weekend before school starts, the YMCA's staff and volunteers sell the materials at a massive "garage sale" in the Stock Pavillion.  The University YMCA is a local non-profit, and they work with the International Student and Scholar Services department on campus, as well as University Housing.

  6. Earth Hour

    Associated Project(s): 

    On Saturday, March 28, between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. CDT, individuals, businesses, and organizations from around the world will switch off their lights for just one hour to conserve energy and show support for the planet. This excellent social distancing activity can be done in your own home while joining the global movement launched in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund. To participate in our campus-wide effort of solidarity for the earth, RSVP to ILLINOIS Earth Hour on Facebook or learn more at

  7. Trans010 Mode Switch Survey - Successful

    The Transportation SWATeam made the recommendation below, which was transmitted to iSEE and approved at an iSEE Management Meeting. Meredith Moore is in communication with Julie Cidell regarding moving forward with this initiative. 

    "The Transportation SWATeam kindly requests the creation of a survey which would question faculty and staff who travel out of town for conferences or other university-sponsored activities on their decided mode of transportation. This survey would be voluntary and facilitated by the Transportation SWATeam. An example of a question would be something like: 'In the past year, what has been the main reason for the travel you selected?'"

    See the submittal of Trans010 Mode Switch Survey here.

    See the recommendation for the Trans010 Mode Switch Survey here. 

  8. Ethics training update 3/19/2020

    A small task force has been meeting weekly to discuss the content and implementation of the sustainability component within the ethics training. 


    We are proposing to begin the training with four (or maybe three, if we drop one) questions along these lines, with the purpose being to get people’s attention and draw them in; each of these questions contains an interesting fact:


    1. Did you know that the U of I campus currently sends about 55,000 pounds of waste to the landfill each day?


    2. Did you know that some coffee (or other liquid) left in a cup can contaminate an entire bag of otherwise recyclable materials so that the entire bag is sent to the landfill? 


    3. Did you know that every ton of recycled paper saves about 17 trees, 7000 gallons of water, and the energy needed to power the average U.S. home for six months?


    4. Did you know that the U of I campus is committed to net zero emissions by 2050 (or earlier if possible)? (“net zero emissions” should be explained or other wording used)


    (Perhaps use this wording as we introduce the above questions: “some questions for you”)



    Next we provide information from the 2020 iCAP that bears on each of these questions and the fact it contains. (Perhaps use this wording as we introduce this information: “some details you may be interested to learn”) Start with a brief explanation of the scope and aims of the 2020 iCAP (2020 Illinois Climate Action Plan).


    Further information re #1: The 2020 iCAP commits our campus to a comprehensive Zero Waste Program/Plan by XXXX. This is the U.S. EPA definition of Zero Waste:  

    [Zero Waste means the] conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health. … Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.

    Zero Waste Campus means sending nothing to a landfill or incinerator.  Add something re how far we currently are from Zero Waste.


    Further information re #2: Perhaps include something here about the practice of checking all

    materials that are placed in recycling containers to make sure there is no contamination. Also some general info re recycling such as this: The 2020 iCAP commits our campus to having recycling bins everywhere they are needed across campus by SP21. (Confirm date in final draft of iCAP.)


    Further information re #3: The 2020 iCAP commits our campus to achieving this goal:


    By the end of SP21, applicable staff will have been educated on proper sustainability goal metrics, standards, and policies; at least 50% of purchases of products like office paper, cleaning products, computers, other electronics, and freight/package delivery services must be sustainable to meet campus standards by FY21, and 75% by FY25. (Note: this wording is from an early draft of the iCAP.)


    Perhaps this is a good place to include more information about the benefits of recycling and about what can currently be recycled on campus.


    Further information re #4:

    Explain here the iCAP target of zero GHG emissions. Explain what this means and some of its implications, using the wording from the 2020 iCAP. Use wording in “Targets” section of Energy SWATeam’s contribution to iCAP). Add something re how far we currently are from achieving zero GHG emissions.


    Next – and after enough information about current steps and goals has been provided - extend an invitation to reflect about what each of us on campus can do or are already doing; also how the campus can do better. (Another option discussed: move this invitation to the end of the training and combine it with the invitation to be involved.)


    Next:  A section on laws, policies, resources, information with lots of links.


    Last: invitation to people taking the training to be involved. 


  9. Archived info - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Earth Day – April 22, 2015 marked the 45th anniversary of the environmental movement. Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in Earth Day campaigns every year.  On our campus, we typically celebrate the entire week. Earth Week is a time to enact change and real movement toward consciousness about how our decisions affect our campus environment and the planet. Earth Week activities are coordinated by Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) and co-sponsored by iSEE. iSEE will continue to support Earth Day activities.


    As of March 18, 2020, iSEE is sponsoring a full Earth Month in response to COVID-19.  Thus, the Earth Week project is being moved to under the Earth Month project in the iCAP Portal. ~Morgan

  10. Covid-19 shut down of recycling sort line on campus


    Staying consistent with the guidelines issued by the CDC and University of Illinois effective Friday, March 20, 2020 at 3PM the sort line will be closed at the University of Illinois Waste Transfer Station until further notice Enumerated below are the changes effective 3/20/2020:

    • DSC staff has been notified and will not be sending their staff to the waste transfer station starting Monday, March 23, 2020.
    • No waste will be sent to the sort line. All collected mixed waste will be sent directly to the landfill.
    • Pre-sorted materials such as a paper and cardboard will be continued to be collected and processed on the floor as normal.
    • Pre-sorted materials such as bottles and cans will be stored in a roll-off container to be processed at a later time.
    • All staff that will continue to work during this time at the WTS must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Please note that there will be no change in waste and recycling collection schedules. Facilities and Services will continue to collect source separated trash and recycling from campus dumpster there will be no change in collection service. As there will be no material going to the sort line we do not anticipate an increase in material as most of campus is currently working remotely. Facilities and Services will be working with Area to monitor generation and evaluate if additional hauling service would be needed.


    We thank you for your support and understanding during these unprecedented times. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach me or my team directly.

  11. Meeting minutes from the March 16th meeting

    Please see attached the meeting minutes from the meeting on March 16th. Also attached are the slides from this meeting.

    Attended by: Yanfeng Ouyang, Shelly Zhang, Morgan White, Stacey DeLorenzo, Sarthak Prasad, Weichen Li, Rui Feng She, Barb Robbins, Paul Jensen, Gina Lee-Olukoya, Dementro Powell.

  12. Bike Month plans for 2020 cancelled

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi All,


    I think we have reached a working consensus: postpone the major events of CU Bike Month 2020 (Bike to Work Day, Bike to School Day, etc.). I think Urbana’s Market at the Square is going to different as well, especially in May.  So likely no Bike to Market, no Spring Bike Rodeos, etc.


    I think we can find ways to stay in contact with our participants from the last few years and encourage them that going out on bike rides could be a very healthy and life giving activity this spring. The links below are from a post today by another cycling advocate:


    I think the message that cycling can reduce stress is a positive message while we navigate this pandemic.

    We are in unprecedented times. Our thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this global health crisis, and we are humbled by those on the front lines who are working tirelessly to contain the coronavirus.



    We have time to look at the fall and think about how to schedule and balance our programs and energies.  So no need to do a lot of that at the moment.



    So, let’s ponder this decision to cancel the organized parts of CU Bike Month 2020 overnight and touch base again tomorrow in the early afternoon to finalize our decision, or consider an alternative.  Check with your colleagues, read the news, look at your calendars, and either Gabe or I will start a group email after lunch.



  13. Planning underway, amidst COVID-19 changes

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hello all,
    Shantanu and I have held a few planning meetings with Marc and Kasey from the YMCA for Dump & Run.  We’ve talked with F&S communicators and the staff who will be clearing out of the space we intend to use.  Shantanu has put together a draft communications plan, and he identified an improved collection container which we can purchase with the Student Sustainability Committee funds.  We also began planning for a community drop off location that would not be at the F&S building.
    On Friday, Bryan Johnson arranged a quick phone call with Shantanu, Bryan, me, and Joe Glass at Housing.  We discussed the changes in campus and the anticipated student behavior, related to living in the residence halls.  We talked about the potential for several students leaving at random dates throughout the remainder of the semester, and how we could potentially still collect materials.  We also talked about the possibility of needing to cancel entirely for this year.  Ultimately, that decision will need more clarity about who is here in May.  Because we will not know which students choose to come back to campus after spring break until at least March 23, we are going to have a follow up discussion on 3/25.  
    In the meantime, I am cancelling the meeting we had scheduled for tomorrow.  Our next group meeting will be on April 14 at 1pm, and it will be a Skype call.
    Thank you,

  14. Sustainability Webinar: PFAS in Biosolids and Wastewater

    Associated Project(s): 

    Ned Beecher - special projects manager with the North East Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA) - will discuss the fate of several representative contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) in biosolids and wastewater; summarize risk assessment and risk management strategies used to reduce potential concerns; and discusses PFAS as a family of CEC that is currently of high interest.

    March 19, 12–1 PM Elizabeth Meschewski • Illinois Sustainable Technology Center  This opportunity is available online.

    Sustainability Webinar: PFAS in Biosolids and Wastewater