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Independent Student Projects (Ongoing)

Description

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 10, objective 2 is, "Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to obtain research and practical experience by participating in independent study projects on sustainability topics." Often students work on sustainability projects as part of a class, for a graduate degree, or as an independent study. Many students aren’t exposed to the broad and detailed aspects of practical implementation of sustainability principles through actual project implementation. An independent student project is a good opportunity for them to experience and explore sustainability through using the campus as a living learning laboratory.

Typically, a student will work with the project leader to define a scope of work for the student’s independent study, and have that scope approved by the project leader and the sustainability staff.  If the work is for course credit, then the student is expected to do approximately 4 hours per week for each credit hour.  ENVS 491 is managed by iSEE, and is the most common course rubric used for independent student projects related to the iCAP. Students can inquire about project opportunities by emailing sustainability@illinois.edu.  The email should include the student's educational field and interests, what particular area the student is interested in (recycling, energy, transportation, etc.), and whether course credit is desired.

Background

This is a list of projects that need students to work on.  It will be updated periodically by sustainability staff members, the last update was 9/16/21:

  • The campus MS4 stormwater permit currently has 49 Best Management Practices (BMPs) that have to be completed annually https://fs.illinois.edu/services/safety-and-compliance/about-the-program . One of the 49 BMPs is a Public Education and Outreach requirement to broadcast or publish one stormwater Public Service Announcement (PSA) on social media, radio, television and/or internet. We currently have a couple on our website and would like to keep it up to date with new materials whenever possible.  https://fs.illinois.edu/services/safety-and-compliance/about-the-program/events-and-outreach. Another opportunity is for a Public Participation and Involvement BMP to discuss and provide opportunity for public input on the Storm Water Program (permit BMPs), climate change and environmental justice topics. This could be met by webinars, PSAs, posters, etc. Contact is Betsy Liggett. ~ Morgan
  • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Huff Hall. ~ Meredith
  • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Armory. ~ Meredith
  • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Bevier Hall. ~ Meredith
  • CCNet Website: Work with the Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) leadership team to redesign and publish the CCNet website (old version is online at http://www.champaigncountynet.org/). There is a monthly brown bag sustainability networking event on the Third Thursday of each month, but the website hasn't been updated since 2016. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu. ~ Morgan
  • We are seeking a student volunteer who can do tree identification for a series of trees in the Arboretum, and work with the University Landscape Architect, Brent Lewis, and the Superintendent of Grounds, Ryan Welch, to compare the tree identification to the draft tree inventory. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu. ~ Morgan
  • Help iSEE develop a Sustainability Literacy Assessment. Contact Meredith Moore, mkm007 at illinois.edu. ~Meredith
  • Help iSEE work with Student Sustainability Committee grant to expand small scale campus composting. Contact Meredith Moore at mkm0078 at illinois.edu. ~ Meredith
  • This project is a collaboration with the Illinois State Section of the American Planning Association; we have been asked to create a community land use and revitalization plan for a small town in Kankakee County.  It is a rural community, predominantly people of color, originally settled by folks leaving the South during the Great Migration.  There are many layers to the story, but it is ultimately a story of environmental equity as The Nature Conservancy and Field Museum have been collaborating with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire land to create the Black Oak Savana nature preserve.  The majority of residents are opposed to this preserve, primarily because land has been purchased via tax sale and foreclosure, therefore taking land out of Black ownership.  This also further burdens remaining property owners because the nature preserve land becomes tax exempt, shifting the property taxes that are no longer paid on nature preserve property to a smaller and smaller portion of land owners.  

    Students interested in this project could assist with GIS analysis and help identify opportunities to balance environmental sustainability goals and land preservation with social and economic sustainability goals and to identify economic opportunities that accomplish all three.  Contact Lacey Rains Lowe at lacey.rains <at> champaignil.gov.

  • Expand on existing statistical analysis with ArcGIS and spreadsheets of potential race/income disparities in provision of street trees, sidewalks, urban heat, parks, bus stops, etc.  Data sets provided. Contact is Scott Tess at srtess <at> urbanaillinois.us.

  • LIVESTOCK FACILITY DECOMMISSIONING at the Imported Swine Research Laboratory - The push to expand the UI Research Park will require decommissioning of the waste lagoons associated with the Imported Swine Research Laboratory (ISRL). This presents an nice opportunity for a class to develop and design a decommissioning plan with associated costs and timeline. Colleen Ruhter is the point of contact, cruhter <at> illinois.edu.

If you have a project idea, please contact us at sustainability@illinois.edu, or submit it through the iCAP Portal Suggestions page.

 

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