Sustainability Fee


    In 2011, the Board of Trustees approved the UIC Sustainability Fee (formerly known as the Green Fee) as an initiative to improve the quality of campus operations, reduce UIC’s environmental impact, and generate awareness about environmental and sustainable issues by creating opportunities for students’ involvement.

    Paid for by all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, the Sustainability Fee is a $3 per semester fee.  The Sustainability Fee funds small, short-term projects, helps to subsidize larger, long-term projects on campus, offers discounted Divvy memberships for students, and helps funds student travel to sustainability-related conferences. Funding from this fee is administered by the Sustainability Fee Advisory Board (SFAB) comprised of undergraduate, graduate and professional students, faculty, and staff.

    Questions, comments, or need help thinking of a potential project?  Contact the board here.

  • Approximately $120,000  is available per academic year to fund proposals that aid in establishing a sustainable campus environment by expanding such areas as composting, landscaping, and transportation initiatives while also reducing waste and conserving resources.  Funding proposals must address the three pillars of sustainability – environmental protection, social equity, and economic benefit – and align with the goals of the UIC Climate Action Plan.

    Who can apply

    All UIC undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and registered student organizations are eligible to apply. If needed, the SFAB will help provide access to campus resources and personnel to approve projects. SFAB can also suggest other entities that may provide funding or assistance.

    Application process

    Applicants are required to submit a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a final proposal.  The Letter of Inquiry allows the committee to pre-screen proposals for appropriateness and feasibility. LOIs  should describe the project, its appropriateness and campus impact; furthermore, it should provide a rough estimate of the breakdown and total cost of the project, including expected completion and cost savings, if any.

    Although the LOI is open year round, the SFAB reviews LOIs in October and March; the deadline for the Spring 2015 is February 16th.  The SFAB will notify all applicants via email if they have been selected to submit a full proposal; this is due on April 6th, 2015.  The applicant will be required to meet with a SFAB member prior to submitting a final proposal.

    After the full proposal is submitted, grantees will be notified by the end of the semester. The committee reserves the right to issue a second call, directly invite one or more proposals of interest, and/or to hold funding for future years.

    Funding Criteria

    In addition to the quality and completeness of the proposal, the committee will evaluate projects based on the following criteria:

    High visibility and educational exposure on campus

    Promotion of renewable energy

    High incidence of student involvement or employment

    Long-term cost benefits

    Interdisciplinary collaboration and research

    Additional aspects of project that can add value:

    Direct energy and sustainability impact

    Budget effectiveness, cost sharing, and leverage of external funds

    Likelihood for success


    Education and outreach

  • The Sustainability Fee Advisory Board is a ten-person board comprised of students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional), staff, and faculty that meets bi-monthly during the academic year.

    The Board for 2014-2015:

    Mary Ashley, Professor of Biological Sciences

    Michael Ginsburg, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs *

    Nicolas Haas, Civil and Materials Engineering, Spring 2018

    Jonathan Khou

    David Klawitter, Civil Engineering, Spring 2015

    Cynthia Klein-Banai, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability *

    Vy Milunas, Director of Project Management

    Alec Piironen

    Rhea Rashad, Architecture, Spring 2016

    Cynthia Sanchez

    Thomas Theis, Director of The Institute for Environmental Science and Policy 

    * Ex Officio member



  • Click on project title for full proposal

    SSB Sustainable Renovation

    Student Names:

    David Klawitter and Joanne Moliski

    Project Description:


    SSB1 ssb2

    Project ATP

    Student Name:

    Mirza Ali

    Project Description:

    This project retrofitted elliptical machines in east and west recreation centers with ReRevTM technology that produces renewable electricity. This project retrofit a total of 10 existing Pre-Cor Model EFX 576i elliptical machines to make alternative energy in a safe, fun, carbon neutral, and healthy manner. Each machine was wired into an array which feeds the centralized inverter, and the kinetic motion produced by the user’s movement is converted into renewable energy and fed back into the power grid. An AC disconnect box was used to interface the inverter and the utility side power. A 30-minute workout will produce 50 watt hours of clean, carbon free electricity- enough to power a CFL light bulb for 2 hours. If each machine is in use for 2 hours/day on average, 730,000 kWh (730 kWh) will be produced each year from the machines.


    Bicycling for UIC

    Student Name:  

    Johnathon Chance

    Project Description:  

    Bicycle for UIC introduces two new biking assets to the campus. The first is a Bicycle Repair Station and the second is a Bicycle Tool-Kit. The tool-kits and the repair stations help anyone in the UIC community who is in need of quick dix or small repair; the repair stations can be found outside both of the Student Centers, while the toolkits can be checked out at the front desk of the Student Centers.

    toolkit 1 toolkit2

    Off-Grid Bus Shelter


    James Pena  and Maher Maymoun

    Project Description:

    The off-grid bus shelter project retrofitted an existing UIC bus shelter utilizing a transit shelter security light; the shelter in on the northeast intersection of Harrison and Morgan street. The retrofit consists of two thin film 100 W photo-voltaic modules mounted directly to the shelter roof; four 12V sealed gel cell batteries sufficient for four nights power usage; and four 2-watt high flux discrete LED lamps. T The shelter generates its own electricity, eliminating the need for energy generation from fossil fuel; approximately annual production is 229,200 watt hours per annum, or approximately 230 kWh. . This reduces carbon emissions and air pollution. This project increases awareness of environmental issues and promotes renewable energy to the UIC community. Above all, it improves public transportation for commuters by providing reliable lighting.

    solar panels


    Heritage Garden

    Student Organization:

    Students of Urban and Public Affairs (SUPPA) and Mexican Students de Aztlan (MeSA).

    Project Description:

    The UIC Heritage Garden and satellites are educational spaces that relate diversity to quality of life issues that benefit both people and nature. The satellite gardens use an integrated approach that links environmental and social concerns to promote social change. As stewards of these sites, the six Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change (Cultural Centers) are charged with making these a resource for the campus and neighboring communities through on and off-site cultural and horticultural programs, community outreach and engagement activities.  The overarching goal of the UIC Heritage Garden is to provide an experiential learning space where students in collaboration with faculty, staff, and community members can engage in hands-on horticultural activities while expanding their knowledge of sustainable practices that include culturally diverse and environmentally friendly traditions and values.  More information can be found here.

    Electronic Recycling

    electronic recycling

    Student Organization:

    Zeta Psi

    Project Description:

    On April 2nd, 2014, the Fraterynity Zeta Psi, in conjunction with ACCC, hosted a personal electronic recycling event open to the UIC community.  This day long event, held in Student Center East, collected over 1200 pounds of personal electronics that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.  This 1200 pounds of equipment include over 120 pounds of laptops, 68 pounds of computer monitors, and 310 pounds of televisions!


    Sprouting Inspiration

    Student Organization:

    Graduate School of Public Health

    Project Description:

    The goal of this project is to rejuvenate the landscaping and flower gardens in front of the School of Public health with low maintenance, sustainable, perennial plants, and trees.

  • Student and/or student group must be committed to see the proposal through until completion; this includes being a registered student at UIC for the duration of the project.  Students who are graduating the semester of application are not eligible.

    To be considered, projects must be implemented on the Chicago campus.  The one exception is in the case of proposals that involve purchasing renewable energy from off-campus locations.

    Funding will not be given to projects that are fundamentally for research purposes only.  Projects with a research component, however, will be fully considered.

    Funding is subject to any University restrictions including bidding process and site approval.

    All funding recommendations made by GFAB must be approved by the Office of Student Affairs and Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Administrative Services.

    If the proposal is approved for funding, the board is permitted to post the entire proposal on its website, and/or publicly disseminate any and all information pertaining to the proposal.

    Quarterly status reports and account statements detailing spending of awarded funds will be required until the completion of the project. Additionally, a comprehensive final report is required on project completion, a case study prepared for the NWF Campus Ecology Program (if appropriate), and a project presentation carried out (if appropriate).

    The entity carrying out the project is expected to acknowledge the board’s support in any public communications, and carry out activities, as appropriate, to publicize the project and the board’s support.

    All projects are expected to be completed within 1.5 years of acceptance. Exceptions are possible at the board’s discretion.

    Any changes in scope, timeline, or budget must be approved by the Sustainability Fee Advisory Board.

    Sustainability Fee funding can be withdrawn in cases of change of scope, inadequate progress, or lack of communication.