Sustainability Days

Attend events. Do activities. Post your experience. Win prizes.

September 14-18 will mark the UIC’s eighth annual Sustainability Days, five days of activities to help the campus learn how to conserve resources and build a more sustainable community. Each day focuses on a different theme of sustainability featuring an exciting event and awesome activities. For a chance to win prizes, play our social media photo contest. See official rules all the way at the bottom of this page.

September 14: RECYCLE

Campus Electronic Recycling Collection (CERC)

Lot south of Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S Halsted

The Office of Sustainability will help you recycle your department’s old electronics. Simply fill out the OBFS paperwork, bring them to us, and say “sayonara, broken electronics”!

An event so popular, we are repeating it on September 21 near Student Center West. See here for details.


Sign the Recycling Pledge
Did you know UIC’s recycling rate is over 45% (more than 2x the rate in 2008)? Take the pledge to help make Recycling at UIC an even bigger success!  To be entered for prizes just post your pledge to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!
Use the Pepsico Recycling Machine
Points for prizes can be earned while helping veterans by using the PepsiCo bottle recycling Dream Machine located next to Dunkin Donuts on the second floor of Student Center East. Visit here to find out more. To be entered for prizes just post a photo of what you recycle at the DreamMachine to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!
Recycle a bottle or can in the outdoor Big Bellies
The Big Belly solar compactor recycling bins are placed in outdoor areas near the Lecture Center Plaza. These Big Bellies help UIC reduce our carbon footprint because they have sensors that tell us when they are full- so we only have to send the garbage/ recycling truck when necessary. They also compact the refuse to make pick-ups very infrequent. (This was funded by the UIC Sustainability Fee!) So go ahead and throw your glass, metals, and plastics in it! (Not #6).
To be entered for prizes just post a photo of what you recycle at the Big Bellies to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!

September 15: Eat Local

Farmers Market

11:30AM – 2:30PM
Lecture Center Plaza (AKA the “Quad”)

Get your week’s fresh produce, meats, cheeses, breads, pastries and more from farmers and vendors located in the Chicago region.

Heritage Garden Tour & Free Tasting


Latino Cultural Center, Lecture Center B2

The Heritage Garden interns will show you what’s good and growing at UIC. After the tour, they will have veggies and herbs for you to take home!


Heritage Garden Recipe Contest
Come up with a great recipe with herbs and vegetables from the Heritage Garden and post your recipe and photo to social media and be featured on the Heritage Garden recipe webpage!  Make sure to tag SustainbleUIC in your post! (Do NOT take plants from the Heritage Garden, please. The awesome HG interns will actually give you some plants if you come on the tour!)
Eat at the All-You-Care-To-Eat Cafes
UIC’s All-You-Care-To-Eat dining facilities (East Café – SCE or Dining Hall – JST) boasts many sustainable features such as using antibiotic-free dairy, sustainable seafood, and cage-free eggs, among others.  Our dining facilities are the few places on campus where composting happens.  Last year, UIC collected and composted over 120 tons of food scraps! Composting is better for the environment because instead of rotting away in the landfill, producing methane, a powerful green house gas and contributor to climate change, the organic food materials decompose quickly into useable fertilizer!

To be entered for prizes, just post a photo of you eating at any of UIC’s All-You-Care-To-Eat dining facilities to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!

September 16: Reuse


Great Stuff Exchange

10AM – 2PM

SCE West Concourse

Bring reusable-but-unwanted office supplies to the Exchange, or stop by to pick up items for free!  Open to all.  See the great stuff exchange page for rules and more details.

UIC Beach Cleanup and Party

3PM – 4:30PM

12th St. Beach

Help cleanup the closest beach to UIC, meet leaders in Chicago’s water movement, and have fun in the sun at a beach party. Help clean up all the trash that could’ve easily been reused. (Count how many disposable coffee mugs, or straws, or plastic water bottle you see- it’s scary!)


Bring your reusable mug and get FREE COFFEE

Beginning at 10am on September 16, bring your reusable coffee mug to the Great Stuff Exchange and we will give you a voucher for a FREE 12oz COFFEE at Cafe Descartes in Student Center East. We reward you for doing your part in reducing waste! There is a limited number of vouchers. We will begin to give them away at 10AM until supplies last. You must show your I-card in order to get the free coffee coupon.

To be entered for prizes, just post your drink at Cafe Descartes with your reusable mug to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!

Fill your water bottle at a refill station
There are many places on campus that offer filtered water bottle refilling stations, eliminating the need for 1-time use plastic bottles of water. These bottle fillers provide a rapid fill of water and saves money spent on plastic water bottles, saves the environment from plastic bottle pollution and saves energy to produce plastic disposable bottles.

To be entered for prizes just post the number of water bottles saved at the refill station to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays! See the Green Map for locations.

Go grocery shopping with reusable bags
Recently, Chicago banned the use of plastic bags at major retail stores. Why? because plastic bags are a huge environmental disaster and pollute our water ways. How many times have you got to the check out and they put it in a plastic bag before you even pay for it! We associate grocery bags as something easy to bring, but how about when you go shopping at the mall? Keep a foldable bag in your purse–they are small and compact. and you can to put all those fabulous deals in it instead of adding to your collection of tote bags that are piled up in your closet.

To be entered for prizes just post the number of plastic bags you saved by bringing your own bag and where you went. You can post to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays! 

September 17: Conserve Energy


Smart Grid Activities

Noon – 1PM

Lecture Center Plaza

UIC Smart Grid interns will play “Eco Pong” on the quad to test your knowledge of energy conservation and the smart meter!

UIC Urban Forum

9AM – 5PM

UIC Forum

Energy Networks: How do we Power a City?  Featuring Howard Learner, President and Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center; Cynthia Klein-Banai, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability, University of Illinois at Chicago; Said Al-Hallaj, Chairman/CEO, AllCell Technologies; and John Flavin, Executive Director, Chicago Innovation Exchange. 2:30PM


Use energy conservation Lights Off stickers
As part of the multi-year Unplug! campaign to reduce energy consumption on campus, email to order stickers for your  office, department, or residence hall. Please provide your name, department, campus address and mail code.  Stickers will be delivered via campus mail. Stickers should ONLY be placed above or below light switch cover plates. Please let us know how many stickers you would like. To be entered for prizes just post a photo of you putting on the stickers to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!
Find the Energy Dashboard
Find a display on campus showing UIC’s Energy Dashboard. To be entered for prizes just post a photo of the dashboard and how much energy that building is currently using to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!
Exercise with the ReRev machine
At the Student Recreation Facility, you will find work-out equipment that is not powered by coal, or nuclear, or even wind or solar. It’s powered by YOU! Rerev says, “Kinetic energy from your workout is converted to DC (Direct Current) and sent to the ReRev System which turns the DC current into AC (Alternating Current), the form of electricity used by homes and businesses. The electricity can then be used to power the building!”To be entered for prizes just post how much energy you generated to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!
Spread the word about a smart meter
As opposed to the old meters, the new smart meters have a digital reader that makes it easier for data to be collected. Prior to the smart meter installation, workers went around and made an estimate on the meter’s reading and the consumer was charged based on the estimate. At the end of the year based on how accurate that reading was the customer received a refund for being overcharged or he/she was required to pay the difference of what the meter reader didn’t catch. With this new technology the usage is sent directly to the utility companies, like ComEd, once a day with a wireless radio. This means customers are getting charged the correct amount and workers don’t need to go around reading meters. However, if workers ever need to go check meters in person the digital meter makes it clearer to read.

To be entered for prizes, post a smart meter info nugget to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using @SustainableUIC and #SustainabilityDays!


September 18: Walk, Pedal, Ride

PARK(ing) Day

11AM – 4PM

Parking Lot J, Taylor & Paulina Streets

PARK(ing) Day is an annual, worldwide event that inspires city dwellers everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good.  Come enjoy a temporary public park made from transformed UIC parking lot spaces, complete with outdoor yoga at noon and bike maintenance checks form 11a-2p.

College of Cycling Bike Ride

details coming soon!


Bike 2 Campus
Ride your bike ANYWHERE on September 18 and log your trip with a helmet selfie! (“Helmet Selfie”? yup. That’s a picture of you with your bike helmet!)
Bike Safety Quiz
Take the Bike Safety Quiz at and post a screen shot of your GOLD-LEVEL certificate to social media (or email it to us at You can take is as a cyclist or motorist!
yoU-Lock It video
Watch our Bike Locking Video on youtube and leave a comment with one bike safety nugget of information you learned from the video. Make sure to use #SustainabilityDays!


Social Media Photo Contest

Did you know these used to be banners that hung around the quad and streets surrounding UIC? We can't use them anymore, so instead of throwing them away, we turned them into bags!

Did you know these used to be banners that hung around the quad and streets surrounding UIC? We can’t use them anymore, so instead of throwing them away, we turned them into bags!

For a chance to win a UIC upcycled banner bag and other awesome prizes, simply follow these steps:

1) Go to as many events and participate in as many activities listed above as you can. The more you participate in, the greater your chance to win!

2) Prove that you were at the event by posting a selfie tagging SustainableUIC and using #SustainabilityDays. Make sure to like/ follow us on Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram to be noticed! Each time you post that you were at an event gets you 5 raffle tickets!

3) Do each activity. Don’t worry if you can’t do it on that day- you can do the activities when you have time this week. Each time you post an activity on social media, you get 1 raffle ticket.

4) Multiple random winners will be chosen beginning September 21.

Please check our photo disclaimer.