Category: SIP Intern Blog

UIC Flames Don’t Burn Through Unnecessary Paper

BY: ALLISON IZGUERRA, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, 2017

The central sustainability issue behind my internship revolves around paper and reducing paper waste. I work under the recycling coordinator as an intern at UIC’s Office of Sustainability.

The most interesting element of my internship was mapping out a building on UIC’s campus called Facilities Management. I went around the building and printed out status report sheets from every single printer in every office, on two different floors throughout the entire building. These status report sheets will help me gather information on precisely how much paper is being printed. The focus of my project is to reduce paper waste, therefore mapping out this one building would give me an idea of how much each person prints in a typical office space. I had the opportunity to visit the building again after 30 days from my initial visit to gather the status reports. By making another visit, I would be able to capture in a 30-day window how much paper is being printed. The point of this mapping project was to show others how excessive the number of personal printers’ individuals have per office space is. Instead of using one main printer for an entire office space; many people use their own personal printers to print work or unrelated work material. Some of these printers do not have double sided printing and thus paper gets wasted.

There are solutions to excess printing: printing on both sides of the sheet, utilize email to send documents and memos instead of printing or faxing, and to always purchase paper with highest recycled content. My project makes UIC more sustainable because by analyzing printing patterns, I can use that data to show others the amount of paper that is being printed just from one building. It is a reminder to save paper and go digital. With less paper being used; less trees will be cut down, biodiversity is saved, more CO2 will be absorbed, and the effects of climate change will be mitigated.


Need More BAS (Building Automation Systems)

BY: RAHEEL JAFARANI, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, 2017

Interning for the Office of Sustainability makes me appreciate all the work that is done behind the scenes in each building at UIC. It gives me a different perspective as to how everything works and that we should not take all these resources for granted. My project focuses on automating the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems in the Science and Engineering Lab (SEL) building. The project is an important step in making UIC more sustainable because it utilizes more advanced technology to make the building more efficient and conserve energy.

After working on these buildings for a few weeks, I now realize how aggressively UIC is pursuing sustainability. Building Automation contributes to this by using improved equipment that reduces the environmental impact caused by the older systems. Projects like the Building Automations System are a pivotal step in fulfilling UIC’s climate commitment to become a Carbon Neutral Campus. It also makes the campus more sustainable by allowing energy conservation, efficiency, and a smaller footprint on the environment. The element I enjoy most during my internship is the combination of indoor and outdoor work. The work is split between working on a computer to monitor the equipment and then checking the equipment itself during building walk-throughs to make sure that it matches the software. This balance provides an exceptional learning environment and makes the overall experience very hands-on and rewarding. Interning for the Office of Sustainability has been an incredible experience thus far and I am beyond excited to continue learning more in the weeks ahead.


Summer 2017 Internship at Ameresco

BY: ZAHRA AHSAN, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, 2017

My internship during the Summer of 2017 is based at a company called Ameresco, a leading developer of renewable energy projects that offers comprehensive solutions for maximizing energy efficiency.  The organization has offices throughout the United States and some international locations.  I am assigned at the Engineering intern division in Oakbrook, Illinois and work with four other interns on various projects. Some activities include reading through contracts, and preparing documents with activities and time frames for team members. I am assigned to another project where I work with other interns to maintain a spreadsheet with counts of structures that would need to go through the LED retrofit process. Throughout my time in the internship, I have not only enriched my knowledge about renewable energies and sustainable processes, but also became acquainted with business-related activities. For example, I was able to read through contracts and proposed schedule to understand the scope and timeline of deliverables on several projects.  This allowed me to get a complete picture of each project, identify dependencies between activities, and understand strategies for implementing tasks to meet deadlines.

In order to reduce the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical experience, engineers and project managers at the company try to bring interns to sites of projects they work on when opportunities arise.  I joined teams to survey several sites where solar panels would be installed on roofs. These hands on activities help me to understand opportunities and constraints in practical setting and assist me in performing tasks more effectively.

I feel that the new information that I am learning will benefit me as I undertake new initiatives. I have learned the benefit of being aware of the bigger picture while working on a smaller component. In the case of renewable energy and energy efficient industries, I believe  it is important to develop a long term comprehensive plan that incorporates all components of an integrated system.  Since budgetary constraint is one of the major hurdles in system or process upgrade initiatives for many organizations, it is important to develop a picture of long term benefits to acquire funds. As I expand my understanding of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other initiatives through Ameresco and the Office of Sustainability, I become even more motivated to continue to share what I have learned with others and promote a healthier environment.

 


Natural Ideas for Chicago’s Water Challenges

BY: RUDOLPH REPA, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, 2017

When I was younger my parents and I would always be out in the garden. My favorite part of being outside on hot summer days was when I turned on the hose; the clear, cold, and comforting water was always a treat. Now that I look back on those moments, I realize how lucky we are in the Chicagoland area to have such an abundant natural resource.

Yet our clean and cheap water supply is at risk. Chicago’s infrastructure relies on a combined sewer & rainwater runoff system. So when there are large storm events, the excess rainwater-sewage mix gets dumped into the Chicago River. This can lead to pollution, disease, and lower quality of life for those along the waterways. Thus, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago awards grants to projects that can reduce Combined Sewer Overflows.

That’s where UIC’s commitment to a Net Zero Water Campus comes into play. Together with the Sustainability Office, our committee is looking at ways to better improve UIC’s water resources and drainage capabilities. While there are a variety of ideas that can move our project towards its goal, one of the simplest ways to capture stormwater runoff is through native plantings. Earlier this summer, the Sustainability Office toured the James Woodworth Prairie Reserve–an undisturbed natural prairie—in Glenview, IL. Not only was the natural ecosystem beautiful, but the prairie acted as a sponge which soaked up rain. It is this type of simple & elegant solution that will most help UIC and its commitment to a Net Zero Water Campus.

From installing cisterns to capture rainwater for use on UIC’s sports fields, to reducing the number of safety concerns surrounding standing, stagnant water on Campus; we in the committee are looking at new and innovative ways to combine green technology, native ecology, and smart engineering to not only improve UIC, but for Chicagoland as a whole.


Used Water – Collected Water = 0

BY:MOHAMMED HAMEED, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, 2017

The UIC campus is spread out over the city of Chicago covering 240 acres of land. This land receives about 250 million gallons of water through precipitation (rain/snow) every year. Now, imagine if we could capture that enormous amount of water by going into the sewers and reuse it within the campus. That is the goal I am trying to accomplish this summer along with my fellow interns at the Office of Sustainability. Our first goal is to reduce the consumption of water on campus. Currently, the campus consumes about 500 million gallons of water every year. Once we manage to reduce that amount so that it equates to the amount of water received through precipitation, we reach to a point which we can call Net Zero Water- where we utilize only the amount that we receive through precipitation. Apart from saving water, our project will also help mitigate flooding and storm water runoff by retaining water on-site. This will be done by building permeable structures in the form of gardens, walkways, and parking lots. Moreover, we also plan to explore opportunities to design underground cisterns and storage vessels which can hold water and reuse it for irrigation purposes. Our goals to conserve and reuse water also help us fulfil the UIC Climate Commitment of Net Zero Water and make our campus a more sustainable and greener place to study, live, and enjoy ourselves.

 

 


Redefining Sustainability

 

BY: MARGARET ALLEN, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, 2017

Participating in the Office of Sustainability Internship Program (SIP) allowed me to expand upon my own knowledge of environmental conservation and explore why and how sustainable choices are implemented, particularly in institutional settings.  With a modestly privileged childhood of playing outside, recycling regularly, and learning about water conservation, I saw environmental stewardship as the primary goal behind being sustainable.  In our first SIP seminar, multiple definitions of sustainability were presented;my personal favorite came from the UN’s Brundtland Report from 1987, which highlights meeting the world’s current developmental needs “without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” However, many other sustainability definitions include three purposes, not one: environmental, social, and financial.

The variety of discussions held within SIP seminars, field trips (like to Lakeshore Recycling Systems) and other UIC sustainable facilities planning meetings (for my internship, regarding implementing green infrastructure) has opened my eyes wider to what this “triple bottom line” means. Optimistically, social justice should follow naturally from environmental justice. Pessimistically, people in industry only care about their profit. Yet realistically, every solution should start by accounting for these three components to create change that is fair to all.  Additionally, achieving global sustainability will require substantial negotiations between cultures and nations to define what truly is “fair.” By adjusting my definition and approach to sustainability, I can ensure my future career’s work in civil and environmental engineering is more comprehensive, far-reaching, and sustainable.


On Wheels: My Summer as a Biking Intern

BY: CAROLINA GALLO-VILLALOBOS, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM SUMMER STUDENT, 2017

My job with this internship is to create biking safety and accessibility and you cannot do that unless you address the issues of equity, not just for UIC students and staff, but for everyone. As someone who is a community organizer, the accessibility for all is my primary goal as an intern. This is the reason why I decided to do Chicago Bike Week and provide UIC students, staff, and bikers that ride through the UIC’s Medical Campus information on biking safety and coffee with Cliff Bars. Having such a great turn out of people being interested on biking in UIC motivated me to work with my mentor for the summer Kate to have a roundtable discussion with at the Latino Cultural Center at UIC. Where we will be bringing in a Divvy representative to talk to a group of people, on how they plan to expand Divvy and make it more affordable for low income Black and Brown neighborhoods. Recently, “Divvy’s Unfair Share” was published in the Chicago Reader, by John Greenfield which talks about the how even though Divvy launched Divvy for Everyone, a program for families and individuals making less than $35,000 year, most of their members are white middle to upper class with college degrees. This comes to no surprise to me, especially since there is no Divvys in my neighborhood of Chicago Lawn. As a Divvy member, I would have to take the bus for 1 or 2 miles from my house to reach the nearest station. That is why for me it is beyond creating a biking culture at UIC through my internship. For me is about how we are making sure that biking culture is accessible and safe for all in not just at UIC, but in south side communities- like Englewood and mine Chicago Lawn.

Furthermore, being a biking intern has taught me the work that goes into to maintaining bike racks and adding bike racks for the university. Something that sounds simple, but requires a lot of organization, planning, and physical labor. This summer I learn to not just be a better and safer biker through biking around campus locating bike racks and keeping inventory of all abandoned bikes, locks, and bike rack maintenance. This process took a month and a half and was honestly one of the largest data projects I’ve done to date. Also, I realized how much I learned in Geographic Information Systems, GIS and how I can apply it to the work force. GIS skills that I am using to help update the bike rack map for the UIC. Working as an intern has prepare me to work in my field as a future urban planner and motivated me to get my masters in urban planning.


Restoring What Was Once Lost

BY: KATERINA FIEDLER, SUSTAINABILITY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM SUMMER STUDENT, 2017

The central sustainability issue behind my internship project is biodiversity. Biodiversity is one of UIC’s four Climate Commitments. There is lack of biodiversity throughout Chicago due to preference toward aesthetics rather than what is native but with my project I’m slowly changing that. With the help of a grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, UIC is able to restore 0.25 acres of prairie. Hundreds of species call a prairie their home along with an abundance of plants native to Illinois, Before I joined, the initial plants were already in, so my job is to maintain the area. This includes weeding, watering, and adding new plants. Through my project I’ve learned about the rarity of prairies and how difficult they are to restore.

I also visited the James Woodworth Prairie in Glenview, Illinois. The 5 acre plot of land began its restoration journey in 1966. It had never been developed and is a remnant of a time before settlement. Today,visitors can see what a full-fledged prairie looks like and how volunteers help maintain it. It is also owned by UIC which allows researchers to study the area. It will be about 3-5 years before UIC’s prairie is fully restored and I’m excited to see the final product. I’ll have graduated by then but I plan to come back and visit.

Along with the restoration of the prairie, I amhelping draft a Pollinator Protection Plan to support the recognition UIC received from BeeCampus USA. This plan correlates well with the prairie restoration because it will be an oasis for pollinators. I’m happy to put my writing skills to use and I enjoy every day I’m outside, in the sun, working to restore the prairie.


Volunteers help to recreate a prairie at UIC

by: Katerina Fiedler, Sustaianbility Internship Program Summer Student, 2017

When it comes to conservation, many people think about preserving forests or natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, but what about prairies? Prairies haven been threatened since the settlement of the west began in the United States. Farmers considered these indigenous plants to be weeds and used the rich soil for farming. The overuse of the land eventually led to catastrophic events such as the Dust Bowl. Now, there are better framing practices in place but what about the prairies? Restoration of this significant ecosystem has been taking place in many areas throughout the Midwest. One such restoration is happening on UIC’s west campus.

UIC received the Five Star and Urban Waters Restorations Grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The goals of this grant is to “develop nation-wide-community stewardship of local natural resources, preserving these resources for future generations and enhancing habitat for local wildlife.” On May 15, UIC used this grant to restore 0.25 acers of prairie behind the School of Public Health and Psychiatric Institute building at 1601 W Taylor St.

With the help of volunteers and a team from FedEx Cares, the area is on its way to becoming a fully restored prairie. “Every spring, FedEx delivers money and muscle in support of urban environmental sustainability projects in numerous cities in which team members live and work,” said Sabiena Foster, head of the FedEx Cares team. “We truly enjoyed the experience and hope to do it again.”

Prairie plants are vital to the Midwest for many reasons. They’re roots go deep, about 10 to 15 feet into the ground. This helps top soil from being blown away as well as water retention when larger storms enter the area. “This particular prairie garden”, says UIC CME graduate student Nick Haas, “should capture about 2,000 gallons of stormwater each year, even without amending the soil.”

The biodiversity of prairie plants also breaks up the monoculture aesthetic of a city such as Chicago. These plants support local insect and animal populations, providing a natural habitat for them to thrive in. “Urban areas like Chicago have seen multiple species of pollinators”, says Alan Molumby, UIC Biological Sciences professor and Bee Campus USA chair, “but it is our job to help attract additional pollinators by creating close-to-natural habitats.”

“The event was great as we had amazing volunteers from FedEx!”, said Amanda Madrigal, a volunteer. “I think the restored area will be great for student research and access to natural space, especially in an urbanized area like Chicago.” The restoration of this prairie will not only contribute to the grant’s goals but also aid achieving the goals of the UIC Climate Commitments. It will take about 3 to 5 years before the restoration is complete. If interested in seeing what a fully restored prairie looks like, head over the James Woodworth Prairie in Glenview, Illinois.

See more photos from the event on the UIC Office of Sustaianbility Facebook page.


Former SIP interns talk about their experience

 

35 former SIP interns talk about their role as a sustainability intern and what it meant to them. Their favorite part of the SIP program? Learning something new, the hands on experience, a look at the behind-the-scenes operations of the campus, the field trips, dumpster diving, experts presenting at the seminar, working with professionals, the mentors, meeting the other interns, and so much more!

Sustainability Internship Program

Student Name: Brian Tomkins

Major: Urban Planning and Public Affairs

Graduation Year: Senior

Internship Project: Bike Planning

Why are you interested in sustainability? I wanted to learn what keeps the world moving forward. When thinking about progress, the term “sustainability” comes to mind. However, the word sustainability has no true definition. Scholars around the world are in a constant debate on what sustainability means. To me, Sustainability is something that should be practiced by all people to keep the world moving forward. At the Office of Sustainability, I have been fortunate enough to learn different practices to keep the world moving forward.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? I have been responsible for proposing new bike lanes and bike racks on campus. I have conducted numerous field studies on campus and conducted a literature review to learn the most practical way to propose new bike lanes and bike racks. I have the task of then designing these proposals via different programs which has been challenging, but also rewarding. Also, I am an administrator on the “I BIKE UIC” Facebook page.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? Every day I learn something new. This internship is crosses different academic disciplines and educates me in ways I have never tried before. I couldn’t be happier to be in such an inclusive and productive atmosphere.

 
Student Name: Kushal Basnet

Major: Bio-Engineering

Graduation Year: Sophomore

Internship Project: Capital Programs

Why are you interested in sustainability? I believe that sustainability is an important topic because it has a huge impact on the welfare of the environment and the society. We must try to achieve the maximum amount of sustainability in all areas in-order to create a better future.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? I am mostly in charge of organizing all the projects files that come in though my office. I also keep track of and create data for on going projects.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program so far is being able to share my thoughts and seeing how they are related to other peoples thoughts in the seminars.

 
Name: Oleksandr Gorobets

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year: 2020

Internship Project: Sustainability in the Office for Capital Programs

Why are you interested in sustainability? It is important for our future if we plan on functioning as a society by the end of this century. It is in my best interest to get involved, and develop experience related to sustainability before I enter the industry.

What are your internship responsibilities?

  • Quality control in regards to the HVAC upgrades the university is receiving (inspecting equipment, temperatures, installations)
  • Helping with the scheduling, and the awareness of several side projects run by my supervisors.
  • Working with another employee to keep the number of pissed students and faculty affected by OCP projects to a minimum.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? Hands on experience working with HVAC systems and engineers.

Student Name: Ayesha Riaz

Major: Architecture

Graduation Year: 2016

Internship Project: Energy Initiative Media Intern

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested in Sustainability because it is something that does not exist in isolation, and that it is interdisciplinary. I’m interested in it because it demands more than one perspective and there isn’t a single field that can claim to be exempt from being a part of the solution because literally everything is affected by it.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? My internship responsibilities include collecting information and updating the Energy Initiative website, as well as maintaining the Energy Initiative blog and newsletter. I am currently conducting interviews to combine into a promotional video highlighting their annual Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE).

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program so far is the amount of exposure I have gotten to energy-related issues around UIC. It’s incredibly interesting to learn the logistics behind what actually powers the whole campus. Same with learning about where our recycled material goes and how complex the systems actually are.

Student Name: Allan Tucker

Major: Chemical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2016

Internship Project: Zero Waste

Why are you interested in sustainability? The many years of human influence on the Earth has negatively affected its ability to support life. It is necessary to protect our environment for ourselves and future generations.

What are some of your internship responsibilities?

• Identify major cardboard streams from UIC buildings and operations/units
• Observe dock activities- i.e. truck traffic and drop offs to compactors at selected loading docks
• Make suggestions on how to reduce to zero the amount of cardboard in the trash stream, and also how to reduce contamination of collected cardboard

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? Meeting other interns and doing waste audits where I was able to go dumpster diving.

See Allan’s presentation to the IEPA about cardboard waste reduction here!

Student Name: Perla Jiménez

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: Technical Support with Facilities Management

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability is necessary in all professional fields and all aspects of society in general. Going into mechanical engineering, I want to make sure I know what challenges, issues, resources, goals, and solutions already exist concerning sustainability.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? At my internship, I take on varying responsibilities. There are several architects and engineers in the office, and I assist them in any way I can. I’ve done miscellaneous paperwork, accompanied them to client meetings and site visits, worked on AutoCAD drawings, and performed heat and energy calculations, among other tasks.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I love having the opportunity to see the specific responsibilities that engineers have on a day to day basis. I feel that I have a better understanding of at least one possible field I could go into. If I had to pick a single event, I would say the trip to the recycling plants has been my favorite. I am very interested in the life cycle of consumer goods. Especially after the second plant, I feel that I have a solid understanding of the work and criteria involved in recycling various materials. I am interested in the design and development of products in such a way that reusing or recycling is the intention. I believe that goods can be designed so that extracting and re-purposing the materials is a simpler, less energy consuming process.

Student Name: Aracely A. Lara

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Graduation Year:

Internship Project: Food Recovery

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability allows me to be creative and opens the doors to incorporating engineering concepts to shaping the actions that have an impact in our environment. Preserving and maintaining the essence and beauty of our earth is something that strikes an inner passion for justice in being part of that change.

What are some of your internship responsibilities?

1. Reduce Food waste in all UIC- Dining Halls to help feed people.

2. Re-purpose food through composting

3. Initiating a new Food Recovery Network Chapter on-campus

4. Outreach to partnering agencies to donate food

5. Coordinate and design signage/flyers for volunteer recruitmentnate marketing tactics to spread food waste management awareness throughout campus

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far?

1. Having full lead in my project with lots of room to incorporate my ideas and turn them into action.

2. Having a great opportunity to start a new chapter on campus that will have a positive impact on our environment.

Student Name: Rawan Alkhateeb

Major: Neuroscience

Graduation Year: 2018

Internship Project: Ultra Low Temperature Freezers

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability is the one thing that will never harm the environment but will actually help humans make the world a better place to live. Sustainability will help our earth not only in the short run but most importantly in the long run.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? My internship responsibilities was to educate and help change energy usage at UIC slowly to the better. I helped spread awareness to the research facilities and lab principal investigators by going around to more than 80 labs and talking to them about the importance of taking care of their ULT freezers and how much energy they can save by doing small tasks such as dusting out their freezer filters and keeping the freezer clean.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program was the Wednesday seminars and the educational trips we took around UIC. It was a great way to teach us about different parts of sustainability and it kept me excited for more!

Student Name: Mandy Kaewken

Major: Earth and Environmental Sciences

Graduation Year: 2015

Internship Project: Green Laundry Intern

Why are you interested in sustainability? It’s hard for me to pick an aspect of sustainability that I am interested in because sustainability has so many intriguing components. I would say that the idea of living our lives without jeopardizing the future of the planet is probably the most fascinating thing about sustainability to me.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? I work with Campus Housing to implement a rental program where residents can rent drying racks out for a semester. It encourages air drying when doing laundry which reduces electricity consumption. I have to do research on the type of washers and dryers that are offered to our residents to find out how much electricity they use. I have to research and get quotes on drying racks to see which type of racks is the most feasible financially. I also have to come up with a promotional campaign for the drying rack rental program.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I like the opportunity to implement a program that would make UIC even more of a sustainable campus. I also really enjoy the presenters at our weekly seminar because they give me new perspectives on sustainability and it makes me feel that what I am doing in the SIP program is significant.

 Student Name: Emma LockmillerMajor: Communication

Graduation Year: 2015

Internship Project: Green Event Intern

Why are you interested in sustainability? I came into this internship not knowing much at all about sustainability. I am an individual who enjoys learning, so I was excited and nervous at the same time to jump into a project in a field that I wasn’t familiar with. Through the seminars and my internship project, I have retained a larger interest in sustainability.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? As a Green Event Intern, the main purpose of my internship is to create Green Guides for the University. There are many different guides that cater to student organizations, UIC departments, the student centers, and the UIC Forum. These guides list tips on how to put on a sustainable event at UIC through different categories.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I like learning from my mentor/boss Shelby Egan. She knows a lot about sustainability, how to be a professional, and how to work hard. It’s been great to see and learn how someone in this industry conducts their work. Shelby is also great at explaining things to me about sustainability that I didn’t know before.

Student Name: Raymond Truong

Major: Chemical Engineering

Graduation Year: Sophmore

Internship Project: Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Why are you interested in sustainability? I’m interested in sustainability because I want to help create a better balance between the demands of society and the resources around us. I’m interested in the impact of greenhouse gases on the Earth’s atmosphere and environment.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? Some of my internship responsibilities are recording the amount of electricity produced by the solar panels on top of DH and LH. I’m also responsible for recording the total electricity, high temperature water, and chilled water used in buildings on west and east side. Lastly, I’m currently responsible for doing a complete green house gas inventory for the UIC Rockford campus.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program so far is learning about UIC’s carbon footprint, and what things we’re doing to reduce some of our carbon emissions. I also like the weekly seminars a lot!

 Student Name: Jose J. Bahena Jr.Major: Electrical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: Housing Move-Out

Why are you interested in sustainability? My interest in sustainability involves taking responsibility in what happens to our environment. I believe that because we take resources from our environment that it is important we recycle and waste less of those resources for our planet does so much to help our growing population. Pollution varies from different outcomes such as: the burning of fossil fuels in creating greenhouse gasses and causing global warming and air pollution, water pollution by dumping waste and harmful chemicals that could poison us and species that live in that environment, and landfill waste that could deteriorate the land when similar waste is distributed as in water pollution. So not only recycle and waste less, but also search for other reliable power sources that won’t harm the environment. In this case, we need to do our part in keeping our environment, and planet, to be sustainable.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? My internship responsibilities involve obtaining qualitative data regarding move out waste issues and behavior, identify ways to reduce move-out/move-in waste and where materials will go after diversion, survey methods for housing waste collection in use by peer institutions, work with UIC Housing and Sustainability staff and others to adapt to UIC processes, and suggest initial goals for waste diversion.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program so far is designing possible recycling posters to help pay more attention to recycling and reduce waste with useful facts about recycling and UIC’s progress in recycling.

Name: Jackie Scesniak

Major: Civil Engineering

Year: 2018

Internship Project: Recycling Assistant

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested in sustainability because I truly do care for the environment. Through my major, Civil Engineering, I would like to take on the aspect of Environmental Engineering. This type of engineering focuses more on the water management and sustainable views of Civil Engineering. Therefore, I would like to deal with sustainability in my career.

What are your internship responsibilities? Some of my responsibilities are going on walk-throughs of different buildings, collecting the weekly trip sheets and putting that information into the shared drive, inputing food scraps data into the Re-Trac website, and giving access for the Free Store.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program so far are the seminars because I have learned so many different things by just attending a two hour seminar once a week.

Student Name: Diana Bernatek

Major: Chemical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: UIC Hospital Recycling

Why are you interested in sustainability? I think it’s important to help the UIC community to leave a smaller carbon footprint in the Chicagoland area because it helps us save some money, provides a great example for other schools, and overall makes the lives of UIC workers and students much more efficient and easy.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? Overall, the outtake of this internship should be an overall increase in recycling in the hospital. I’m working with a few people and we’re promoting recycling through brochures, flyers, signage, etc. I also plan on creating a campaign and training so that it becomes a hot topic and people think about their recycling habits more. Joe Iosbaker and I are also working on implementing more bins and totes into the hospital as well.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I’m constantly learning something new about the UIC community and environmental issues which is great because it lets me know that I will take away a lot from this internship. I’m also learning how to work with professionals and how the “real job world” works. Everyday I’m gaining experience from this internship and it will help me tremendously in the future.

 Name: Wasif AhmadMajor: Nursing

Year: 4

Internship Project: Recycling Rates

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested because performing acts of sustainability that preserves our natural resources and that decreases fossil fuel emission are necessary to ensure us maintaining a good standard of living in the future. We are emitting green house gases and using natural resources at a unsustainable rate and I want to learn how I can contribute to the sustainability cause as much as I can.

What are your internship responsibilities? I analyze and look at recycling data. We currently get reports from our recycling and trash vendors every month. I look at these spreadsheets and analyze trends in the rates. I also look at the recycling rates on a building level. My main goal of the internship is to find what has caused the recent decline in recycling rates and what can be done to alleviate this decline.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part is working in an intellectually stimulating environment. The internship provides a great opportunity to learn by providing such opportunities like the weekly seminars. I also enjoy the environment and meeting the other interns/workers.

 Name: Alec PiironenMajor: Earth and Environmental Sciences

Year: Senior

Internship Project: Recycling

Why are you interested in sustainability? Through my studies I have learned much about the Earth, most importantly our interdependence upon it. Societies worldwide have grown exponentially at Earth’s expense ultimately destroying it, sustainability (sustainable living) is a strong and promising solution. Sustainability allows us to grow and thrive in a healthy balance with our natural environment which many have come aware of. If we want to thrive, Earth must thrive with us and I want to make sure that happens. I want to protect the Earth.

What are your internship responsibilities? Within my internship, I’m responsible for raising awareness of the recycling practices and protocol taking place at UIC as well as a recent project I’ve been focusing on involving the redistribution of spare glassware leftover in abandoned research laboratories in order to reduce waste and expenses for researchers.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? The recycling internship has given me the opportunity to experience a field I’ve been interested in for years. It allows me to work with and meet new individuals such as researchers, experienced recycling professionals, and a diverse group of students allowing us to collaborate. It’s been stimulating, challenging, and a great opportunity overall.

 Student Name: Gianna CarrozzaMajor: Public Health

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: Smart Grid at UIC

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability became an important part of my life in an interesting way. I originally became a vegetarian of health reasons, but when I learned how much I reduced my ecological footprint just from cutting meat out from my diet, it soon became my number one reason for the switch. This led me to become interested in other ways to be sustainable in my life aside from diet. I am also interested in finding an overlap between sustainability and public health for my career.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? As a Smart Grid intern our responsibility is to inform the UIC community about technological updates being done to the electrical grid in Illinois. Information can range from how the grid works, what a smart meter is, the benefits of the meter, or different energy saving plans. A challenge we face in our internship is that many students aren’t paying their electrical bills and they might not care much about being sustainable or efficient. We are constantly coming up with new ideas like games or videos that engage students and show them the importance of learning about smart grid. Not only do we have to focus on students, but we also need to relate to UIC’s staff. It is important for us to make sure we have all of our bases covered and give information that everyone can find useful.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? So far I have really enjoyed the field trips we have taken. When most people throw out/ recycle things they aren’t sure what the next step is and maybe if they did they would care more about their decisions. Being able to see the work being put into sorting trash and being able to see the material recycled for UIC really helped to put some perspective behind the practice.

 Student Name: Min WuMajor: Public Administration

Graduation Year: 2016

Internship Project: Smart Grid at the Chinese American Service League

Why are you interested in sustainability? My parents work for an environmental friendly company and they taught me a lot about sustainable behaviors since I was a child. I am used to recycling and saving as much energy/water as I can.
I love nature: flowers, plants, animals, sky, sea, tress…They all make our world more beautiful and colorful. I want to protect them from being “ruined” by human activities. I also have a dream about green city.( Something like environmental friendly city.)
As I have grown up, I’ve come to know the resources (energy/water/mine…) we have in the world are very limit. However, people still consume a lot every day while also wasting a lot without noticing. It’s urgent for everyone engage in protecting our environment.
If we start to do environmental friendly actions little by little individually, we can make a big change in the future.
I am so thankful that I got the chance to be an sustainable intern in Office of sustainability. I am learning a lot about our environment and I want to keep learning and promoting sustainable ideas to people around the campus, the community, and even the world.

What are some of your internship responsibilities?

  • Help to educate and prepare workshops about Smart Grid in Chinese to the Chinese community in the Chinese American Service league (CASL) and answer their question about Smart Grid.
  • Promote sustainable ideas in UIC and get students involved in forming sustainable behaviors.
    Collaborate with CNH and ICA to learn sustainable solution for our community from each other.
  • Educate community in Summer Fair 2015 in Chinatown.
  • Bring what I learned from UIC to Chinese Americans and the UIC community to save more energy, which can make the earth more green and beautiful.
  • Meet with Project Mentor (Ben Lau-Manager, Housing & Financial Education Department-CASL) weekly.
  • Share experiences with SIP cohort.
  • Help promote sustainable ideas among Chinese community.
  • Being part of a team to help CASL promote sustainable ideas to Chinese American communities.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I like working with other students and professors and sharing ideas about sustainable solutions for UIC.
I enjoy designing and hosting student activities for a greener campus such as bike2campus, Caught Green handed, Eco-Jam etc., which I am very proud of.
” Proud to be UIC, Proud to be sustainable.”

 Student Name: Lee ZimmermanMajor: Computer Science

Graduation Year: 2016

Internship Project: Smart Grid at UIC

Why are you interested in sustainability? It is the only way we can secure a healthy future for mankind. I personally believe it is our moral and spiritual duty to properly care for our earth and the resources we are given.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? I have done many odd jobs for this internship including managing a table to spread the word about smart grid and sustainability, open a social media discussion on the topic of sustainability in business, and interview faculty, staff, and students at UIC about their sustainable practices in their lives. My major job has been getting UIC’s Energy Dashboard displayed on public monitors on East and West campus. This involves scouting around buildings finding the monitors, emailing/calling/talking in person to find out who manages those monitors, and then try to see if it’s possible to display the dashboard to then help spread the word that UIC has an Energy Dashboard that anyone can soon access themselves.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I would say the tours we go on would be my favorite part of the SIP program. The tours we’ve gone on gives us a more well-rounded view on the communities we have in the Chicago land area and sustainability in action, this also gave us good insight in what we are working for and how important it is.

Student Name: Jose Hernandez

Major: Electrical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2018

Internship Project: Smart Grid at the Center for New Horizons

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability is something that will take priority in coming years in all aspects of life. It is something that will be discussed in all sectors: government, technology, manufacturing, etc. It is something we all need to be interested in not something that we should choose to be interested in.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? Developing PowerPoints and handouts that are culturally relatable to my community (bronzeville), giving presentations and talking to individuals at community events, helping create a sustainable space which is an urban agricultural space located behind the CNH offices.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? Being able to see how sustainability in different areas of the city must be treated and taught differently. It showed me how difficult but doable education on a large scale may be.

 Student Name: Paula DebkowskaMajor: Electrical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: Smart Grid at UIC

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested in working with alternative energy in the future.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? The main purpose of Smart Gird internship was to educate UIC students, staff and faculty about benefits of smart meters.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I really enjoyed going to field trips. It was more hands on experience about sustainability.

 Student Name: Stephen TinneyMajor: Industrial Design

Graduation Year: 2015

Internship Project: Social Media

Why are you interested in sustainability? Always have been. It’s in my innermost being. I care about our planet and people. The path humanity is on is not a sustainable one and my inner desire is to create things to help everyone everywhere live in harmony.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? To update the O.S. website and stay current with Twitter and FB postings related to sustainability. Creating graphic design flyers, posters and invites.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far?

Field trips, and the people I work with.

 Student Name: David SchulzMajor: Chemical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2018

Internship Project: Stormwater Retention

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability is the way for the future if we still want a healthy earth to live on, so that’s why I am willing to learn about it. I just hope that the majority of society will take sustainability seriously before it’s too late.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? I am currently learning about some civil engineering concepts regarding water. The topics include like how water infiltrates into the soil or what soil is made of.
I sometimes do field measurements where an interferometer is set on the grass (or permeable pavers) and the amount of water drained is measured over a certain period of time.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? The weekly seminars that we have, I find them to be enlightening and fun.

Student Name: Emmanuel Dominguez

Major: Civil & Materials Engineering

Graduation Year: Fourth Year

Internship Project: Stormwater Management

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability as a new science interested me because our actions as humans in this world will shape the present and future generations.I believe that humans and the environment should live productively in harmony. From an engineering perspective, I hope to use everything that I know to help build more sustainable communities.

What are some of your internship responsibilities?

My internship responsibilities include:

1. Collect and analyze land cover data

2. Calculate stormwater runoff around the UIC area using the EPA Stormwater Calculator

3. Analyze data and do some hypothetical modeling for future sites of green infrastructure

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program so far have been the informative seminars we have every week. It is good to be educated on all aspects of sustainability. The seminars are a good way to learn more about important issues in sustainable development and to directly apply what we learn to our internship.

 Student Name: Nina PellizzariMajor: Earth and Environmental Science

Graduation Year: Junior

Internship Project: The Great Stuff Exchange

Why are you interested in sustainability? I think much can be learned from reducing the amount of “stuff” in our lives:
“I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust” -Thoreau

What are some of your internship responsibilities?

1. Improving the efficiency of the Great Stuff Exchange program

2. Collecting and managing the storage of used labware and office supplies

3. Creating and managing the GSX website

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? I think the SIP program’s educational offerings are terrific; the program’s comparable to an intimate, exemplary LAC education in sustainability.

 Name: Karima PatelMajor: Biology

Year: 2018

Internship Project: Tree Campus USA

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested in sustainability because I care about our earth. Environmental issues never get enough attention, and I feel that implementing sustainable ways of living into people’s everyday lives will help bring about a change.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? In my internship, I am responsible for measuring the growth of the trees on UIC’s west campus. I collect that data, and update the main database. I look at the overall trends of growth between native and non-native trees.

What is your favorite thing about the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the program are the weekly seminars, where I am able to learn so much from so many different professionals.

 Name: Neel ThakkarMajor: Biological Sciences

Year: December 2015

Internship Project: Tree Campus USA

Why are you interested in sustainability? Looking around and sensing the global climate change taking over the place ignited my interest in contributing to sustain environment. Gazing through down side of this change gave me inspiration to take a leadership role to educate others.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? Some of my internship responsibilities are to collect data about trees, tree Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) and tree height, using a baltimore stick and 10ft measure tape. Beside, We were working on a research project to educate high school prep student about tree’s value.

What is your favorite thing about the SIP program so far? My favorite part of internship was field work and research project.

Name: Hulliams Kamlem

Major: Public Health

Year: 2014

Internship Project: Tree Campus Care

Why are you interested in sustainability? Sustainability is a multidisciplinary field working toward ensuring the ability of current and future generations to enjoy healthy and safe living conditions. I see it as a noble mission and a way to gain knowledge about the environment.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? My internship responsibilities are:

1. Help maintain Tree Campus USA recognition

2. Update the campus tree inventory, accounting for removal of trees and new plantings

3. Maintain and organize the campus tree inventory in excel (keeping track of tree ID, species type, measuring of girths, location, etc. using GIS equipment)

4. Assist in the mapping of trees using ArcGIS 10.1

5. Assist in the update of the Campus Forestry Plan through data collection, writing, analysis of environmental, public health and financial benefits

6. Gain meaningful experience in sustainability related field work related to urban forests

What is your favorite thing about the SIP program so far? I have learned a lot by participating in the weekly seminar and exchanging with peers and experts on the field of sustainability science. The fieldtrips provided great insight on a range of topics from recycling to energy production. Finally, I really enjoyed the experience of working outdoor on a campus trees inventory.

 Name: Alyssa StraitsMajor: Bioengineering

Year: Sophmore

Internship Project: Tree Campus

Why are you interested in sustainability? I have been working with trees for the past few summers. Since we’ve been actively combating the effects of the Emerald Ash Borer throughout the United States by cutting down millions of trees, I’ve become very interested in sustaining the urban forest throughout the Chicagoland area.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? Taking an inventory of newly planted trees, including trees at the new grove & mile square health center. The inventory process includes taking down the DBH, height & crown spread of each tree while also noting species & assigning each tree a unique ID. After this, we enter all the data into the system, and we will later enter it into a software called I tree to see calculations such as carbon sequestration.

What is your favorite thing about the SIP program so far? My favorite part is getting to learn about my peers’ projects and going on various field trips to learn more ways to be sustainable beyond our own project. I also enjoy the opportunities that I’ve had to teach others the importance of having trees in an urban environment.

 Student Name: Kendra TateMajor: History

Graduation Year: 2015

Internship Project: UIC Children’s Center

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested in sustainability because I think it’s very important that people utilize every resource we can to fix the problems of droughts, over excessive garbage, and other issues that basically are harmful to the earth. These problems that are a threat to the earth are not discussed through the mainstream media as they should be which could be a reason as to why many people are ignorant of the issues. It’s important that young people, the next leaders of the future generation, teach and utilize our educational platforms to spread knowledge about the importance of sustainability and the many ways to solve the problems.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? My internship responsibilities included:

-Getting to know the children of the UIC Children’s Center
-Aiding teachers in helping in classrooms at snack time and outside during playtime
-Implementing activities and creating activity plans with materials such as paper, wood, and plastic for the children
-Creating and organizing a reusing station in the UIC Children’s Center storage room
-Working with fellow intern to create a plan and campaign for gaining support from other campus departments for the Funding Factory. This is a fundraiser where a department can send in used ink cartridges to get funds for the school.
-Working with fellow intern for the upkeep of the butterfly garden.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the SIP program so far was bonding with the children and doing art projects with them. Art is one of the most therapeutic and calming activities, which is why it is highly recommended in schools and hospitals across the nation and world. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the children how to create art through sustainability. These activities we did not only aided the children in cultivating their creativity skills, but it also taught them the importance of using recyclable items for artwork. I had such a wonderful time working with the children and teaching them even when there were very messy moments! 🙂

 Student Name: Jaden CruzMajor: Earth and Environmental Science

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: UIC Children’s Center

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested in sustainability because I believe it is our collective duty to preserve the world around us. I also desire to share knowledge about practices that will allow us to improve our practices while not harming the world around us.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? I educate the children of the Children’s Center about sustainability. My role in the classroom is similar to the full-time co-teachers. I also work out of the classroom to create connections across UIC to help the Center become more sustainable.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? So far, I enjoy working with the children the most. They are fun to work with they are willing to learn!

 Student Name: Matthew BriciuMajor: Electrical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: Utilities Department

Why are you interested in sustainability? I want to be able to leave a more sustainable planet for the future generations by learning how to live a more sustainable life myself.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? Labeling and photographing water, gas, electric, and steam meters with their corresponding buildings along the east and west sides of the campus. Creating organized spreadsheets of the data of the meters in order to calculate how much consumption of these resources our buildings use.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? Exploring the campus and learning about all the awesome underground tunnels we have under our feet at UIC.

 Student Name:Andrew PableMajor: Electrical Engineering

Graduation Year: Sophmore

Internship Project: Utilities Dept.

Why are you interested in sustainability? I have an interest in maximizing potential and being as efficient as possible when I design or work on any project, so it just makes sense to work in Sustainability.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? Inspecting utilities equipment, Creating reports explaining utility usage, Data acquisition

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? Learning how the campus functions, gets energy, and where that energy is being used.

 Student Name: Demetrios GalanosMajor: Chemical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2018

Internship Project: Water Assessment

Why are you interested in sustainability? I find sustainability interesting because it is a very important field to the future. The sooner problems are faced the easier they are to solve, whether it be issues concerning water, energy, pollution, etc. The current generation should be responsible for leaving the world in better or at the very least the same shape it was in when they received it so future generations also have the chance to enjoy it.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? The main responsibilities of my internship are to collect flow rates from different water appliances throughout campus that are used by high volumes of people. Through this data, UIC should have the chance to save water which is good for sustainability and also save money which is good for the University, so both parties benefit.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? My favorite part of the internship has been moving around campus. I have got to see many parts of campus I am unfamiliar with especially west campus, being that I am not a med student.

 Student Name: Shahwaar KhanMajor: Civil Engineering

Graduation Year: 2017

Internship Project: Water Assessment

Why are you interested in sustainability? I am interested in sustainability because it strives for environmental, social, and economic harmony. By getting involved in these three aspects of life, I am contributing to society and helping it to progress forward to a better state.

What are some of your internship responsibilities? My responsibilities during my internship were to measure and record the flow rates of water from faucets, toilets, and urinals. After collecting the data we (my group and I) were required to enter the data into an excel document so that it can calculate if the appliance is using too much water or not. Furthermore, we needed to aggregate all the collected information so it can be presentable to the board or someone that is interested.

What is your favorite part of the SIP program so far? The field trips were my favorite parts of the SIP program, by far.