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  1. 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!
  2. Week 3 - Check in meeting

    In this meeting,  potential ideas for secured bicycle parking were discussed as ways to promote awareness among the campus community. A capstone proposal outlining the final objectives and deliverables was drafted and Sarthak helped support this discussion sharing an Excel sheet that has all of the goals, current status, and plans for the future of some mentioned ideas towards achieving the said objectives with challenges that are yet to be tackled. 

    This week, Aparna is going to try to get in touch with the transportation team from other universities that have achieved the Gold BFU status to gather some ideas specific to raising awareness about bike thefts. This would navigate the research better. 

    Aparna is also spending her initial time on the project learning about the Bike registration process and other initiatives that are already ongoing at UIUC to help understand the way forward. She also has access to the iCAP portal to update and document the weekly meetings to keep a track of the project progress.

  3. 10-17-22 Internal Meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    On October, UIUC sustainability representatives met and discussed the following:

    Attendance: Thurman Etchison, Daphne Hulse, Marty Kaufmann, Shreya Mahajan, Jennifer Fraterrigo, Meredith Moore, Bryan Johnson


    1. Circular Solutions Audit — thoughts?

    2. Surprise & Delight Activation Reward — thoughts?

    3. Updated the vision + roadmap document with next steps and roles.

      1. iSEE: connect athletics RSOs with sustainability RSOs (Meredith has done this — connected with SSLC).

    4. F&S (Shawn Patterson, Pete Varney, Shreya Mahajan, Daphne Hulse) will meet with Tom Divan, Assistant Athletic Director of State Farm Center Facilities, on 10-20 for a tour of the facility.

      1. Determine the number of entrances attendees will be able to walk through on game day.

      2. Determine the number of Coca-Cola dual bins we will need.

      3. Where might we place a RSO table for the activation reward?

      4. Other things to look out for?

        1. Quantifying what goes to landfill and recycling at past State Farm Center events

        2. Think about food and drink: what will and won’t be recyclable?


    • Operations and infrastructure-based Circular Solutions Audit
    • ISTC is more about buildings and recycling/waste product
    • Is it necessary? It sounded like the point of contact was already impressed by our WTS.
      • One opportunity is with organics recycling (compost). We don’t have hauling system or compost facility. It’s counterintuitive to transport waste far away. Maybe JT can help us with an analysis of this?
      • Determine with JT a clear process, fine-tune to our needs. Rather than the generic approach that was offered. A lot of the things he usually encounters is not what our problems are.
    • Zero Waste game:
      • Marty thinks that we should try to make sure that they are the forefront of recycling initiatives. Student-led. At the meeting, discuss how to get volunteers for the event.
      • Jen: clarify who is facilitating these discussion and working with who.
      • West Lobby or East Lobby? Confirm with Tom Divan which we will meet at.
      • Quantify what’s going in landfill and recycling at prior events at State Farm Center. That may help us generalize or estimate that process.
      • Determine if plastic cups (our souvenir cups) are recyclable. Think about the vendors and food for the recycling expectations



  4. October 14, 2022 Illini Lights Out Data

    Associated Project(s): 

    At last Friday's Illini Lights Out event, 5,042 light bulbs were shut off that otherwise would have been left on all weekend, saving $767.12 in energy costs. This also prevented 6.16 metric tons of CO2 equivalent from entering the atmosphere, the same as the greenhouse gas emissions from the average vehicle driving 15,300. That's a HUGE impact - this is the most lights shut off since I've become involved with the program in August 2021!


    There are two more Illini Lights Out events of the semester:

    • November 11
    • December 2

    Sign up for one or more of them at this link. Stay up to date with other sustainability-related events and news by signing up for the Institute of Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) newsletter here! iSEE is also hosting a campus trash pickup this Wednesday the 19th. Meet at Alma Mater at 4p m and bring your friends!


    Illini Lights Out addresses objectives 2.2 and 2.2.2 of the iCAP, or Illinois Climate Action Plan, to increase energy efficiency and reduce building-level energy. Find out about other iCAP objectives here and read the entire iCAP here.


    Illini Lights Out is a certified Green Event! Click this link to learn how to green-certify your own event.

  5. 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 

  6. 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

  7. Education iCAP Team October 2022 Meeting

    Education iCAP Team had its online October meeting on Monday, October 10th, from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM. The team worked on the Campus Sustainability Celebration slides, discussed a potential action idea on listing courses that focus on other aspects of sustainability than environment, and talked about inviting people from various departments to discuss Sustainability in Study Abroad Recommendation. Meeting minutes are attached. 


  8. 10-12-22 External Meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    On October 12, UIUC sustainability representatives met with Coca-Cola and discussed the following:

    Attendance: Nicole Tate, Jen Fraterrigo, J.T. Marburger, Shawn Patterson, Meredith Moore, Marty Kaufmann, David Guth, Liz Doeschot, Jake Slager

    Circular Solutions Audit, J.T. Marburger, key partner with Coca-Cola

    • Property Audit:

      • Analyze current property program.

      • Provide ways to enhance your recycling.

      • Provide optimal front of house set up to reduce contamination and increase recycling.

      • Certify material is being recycled.

    • Meredith: Climate Action Plan (iCAP), carbon neutrality by 2050 (overarching goal). Zero waste is one component we are especially focused on this year. Produce a lot of waste at a large institution. Initially asked Coke to reduce plastic by switching to aluminum. This migrated the conversation to engagement, behavior change efforts.
    • Daphne: focused on establishing strong recycling habits on campus (making sure people are recycling, and know what is recyclable) both for the upcoming zero waste events and campus generally.
    • Does UIUC have composting? Daphne: No, we have back-of-house composting in dining halls, but nothing comprehensive across campus. We are looking to pilot a composting program in a specific building on campus.
    • Circular Solutions will come to tour the campus to see our bins, operations, housekeeping, front and back of house.
      • Meredith: We do not hire an external party for our zero waste efforts, they are all university employees.
      • Shawn: We do our own in-house sorting, and then it is hauled to a vendor. Loose when we receive it, and then baled when we sell it. Area Disposal was purchased out by Green For Life, and they do our waste disposal hauling.
      • Have we looked at optimization of our trash? Shawn: 3-4 years ago we did route optimization. We added scales to front-load trucks to determine how much waste comes from buildings with front-load trucks.
    • Circular Solutions: is connected with manufacturers that are integrated with recycling. There may be local manufacturers that we can integrate UIUC recycling with.
    • Certified reporting with Circular Solutions tells you what mills the materials are going to. UIUC’s vendor currently doesn’t show the mill; our invoices are more general.
    • Circular Solutions: transportation is an important consideration (how far are we hauling our items and is it cost effective?) Can also provide composting resources. Compost will be the heaviest material to take care of, once we get there.
    • Sustainability funds:
      • Be Orange Go Green volunteer shirts, YAH Agency will have renderings for us next week.
        • Shirts coming out of the shared sustainability funds.
      • Circular Solutions will be covered by Coca-Cola (not our shared fund).

    Action items:

    • Coca-Cola needs a number from us for bins at State Farm Center.


  9. Week 2 update: Objectives for capstone

    Questions and doubts regarding the literature review done in the past week were discussed including a capstone report outline highlighting the main topics of research. More research work to follow in the coming week to help familiarize with the project's background. Aparna got contact information from the transportation department of UCLA and Arizona State University to discuss the project with their transportation team as the 2 universities have achieved the Gold BFU status and hoping to get a sense of direction or any leads on this. She is also in touch with Prof. Lindsay Braun who is her capstone advisor, and Briana Barr, Thomas Valencia, and Lily Wilcock from the City of Urbana who are working on similar projects.

    The idea was to bring more concepts and recommendations for a bike-friendly university to the table. We might also try to involve the Student Sustainability Committee, which uses a comprehensive evaluative process to fund a project that incorporates student involvement and an ability to spark change on campus. Aparna would help identify a cause as a part of the bike-friendly project which would also serve as a student-led project to apply for the SSC funding. An excel sheet that charts out the current status of the project were shared by Sarthak for better clarity, which also includes feedback from BFU to help plan for the future and achieve the desired goal.

    Three main objectives of the proposal would be -

    1. To get the BFU application drafted and ready to submit by the month of May
    2. Ideas for SSC funding for the Bike Friendly University Project
    3. Educate students and create a plan for bike thefts so that incoming students are aware of how to protect their bikes and encourage them to use this mode of transportation.

    An overall capstone proposal that outlines the said objectives and a work plan will be shared in the upcoming week. Access to the iCAP portal will be granted soon to chart out real-time updates and minutes of meetings.

  10. Resilience iCAP Team October 2022 Meeting

    The Resilience iCAP Team had its second monthly online meeting on Monday, October 10th from 11:00 - 12:00 PM. The team worked on the Campus Sustainability Celebration slides, got updates on Urban Biodiversity Master Plan, talked about sustainability and resilience challenges at Urbana and Savoy areas, and shared announcements on upcoming sustainability events! Meeting minutes are attached. 



  11. Transportation iCAP Meeting 10/10/2022

    The Transportation iCAP team met on October 20th 2022 to discuss the team's presentation for the upcoming sustainability celebration, review the list of priorities assigned to the team for the year, and discuss progress on fleet replacement plans and the potential for university-wide clean vehicle purchasing policies.

    Link to meeting recording:

  12. Energy iCAP Team Meeting 10/7/2022

    The energy iCAP team met on Friday, October 7th 2022 to review the team's presentation for the campus sustainability celebration, review the team's priorities for the year, and discuss options for advancing the proposed clean energy plan and increasing procurement of renewable energy through power purchasing agreements.

    Link to meeting recording:

  13. Weekly Update: Strong Towns, Bike Summit, Working Bikes

    All, Big week of events! On Tuesday, Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns is speaking at the Illinois Terminal and I’ll attend to see how our work as bike advocates and a non-profit can help bolster a strong and vibrant community. And Wednesday is the Illinois Bike Summit at the I-hotel. I’ll be there all day and reducing hours at the Bike Center to account for that. Accordingly, we’ll be open 4 – 6p on that day. I never fail to learn something at this yearly event and am happy to see it back here on campus.

    I’ll be counting/organizing bikes for donation as well this week. Hope to have the Donation Day set by end of the week and so we can begin rallying for some support/help. WB has already agreed to pay for Manolo’s!

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 51

    Sales: $1,214.50

    Memberships: 17 for $510
    Tire/tubes: 8 for $94


    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator