Office of Sustainability Annual Report 2018

SIP students at the summer poster presentation

What a busy year it has been here at the UIC Office of Sustainability!  We’re constantly striving to reduce our footprint on the planet through educational programs, events, projects, and campus initiatives.  Though our office is small, we have a BIG impact.  Sustainability touches everything we do which means that every student, staff and faculty on campus can benefit and participate.

Read more below to see our impact and make sure to click the links to read even more about our programs, events, and projects!


faculty, staff, and students accept the North American Freezer Challenge award

In 2018, the UIC Office of Sustainability supported 36 student internships across 10 university departments.  These dedicated student interns attended 12 seminars and went on 8 field trips.  They shared their internship experience in 17 posters across 2 poster presentations (pictured top).

The Sustainability Fee funded 11 projects including 5 internships.

This year’s ISEIF Grant supported 1 intern and 15 events, including an Awards Ceremony for the laboratories that competed in the previous year’s North American Freezer Challenge (pictured left).


volunteers pose, shovels and gardening gloves in hand in front of the prairie garden

The Chancellors Committee on Sustainability and Energy (CCSE) met 9 times, with the Grounds subcommittee being especially busy. They updated the Tree Care Plan (with a special dedication to our friend and Grounds worker John Caruso), and compiled an extensive Stormwater Management Plan for the entire campus (giving mad props to our Grad Assitant Nick Haas!) Finally, the Grounds subcommittee also wrote UIC’s first Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan that will help pollinators and wildlife thrive on campus.


UIC students show off the new recycling posters

2018 saw the continuation of a number of projects including Little Prairie on the Campus, Tree Campus USA, and Smart Grid.  The Prairie is looking great, establishing quicker than we thought, thanks to help from a dedicated student intern and volunteer weeding and planting days from folks from UIC and FedEx.

In the summer, a team of undergraduate students known as the Recycling Reset Team (pictured left) reset the recycling bins and posters in over 100 UIC buildings! And for one of the days, staff from the Office of Advancement helped reset multiple buildings as a volunteer project. Have you noticed the new signs?


students show off 2 trays and 25 1-quart containers of donated food

New programs introduced include a signatory to the NWF Campus Pollinator Pledge, the Food Recovery Network (pictured right) which has diverted thousnads of pounds of perfectly good food from the landfill, the 1st UIC Bike Census carried out by an intern and UIC volunteers, a Commuter Survey Capstone Project by master’s student of Public Administration, and a survey of 1153 bike parking spaces.  This year we also created a new and fully accessible website, with the help of Public and Government Affairs of course!

And just installed are 4 Sustainable UIC signs around campus that promote the Carbon Neutral, Net Zero Water, and Biodiverse aspects of campus. Find them near Lincoln Hall, Parking Lot 1A, Stevenson Hall, and behind the School of Public Health and Psychiatric Institute.


students dig through piles of office suplies on the Lecture Center Plaza

Some of the most exciting and visible work we do is in our events.  This year the Campus Electronic Recycling Collection recovered 15 pallets and 12 tubs. For the first time outside, the Great Stuff Exchange distributed supplies to 702 students (pictured left).


tree planting volunteers pose by the Tree Campus USA banner

On Arbor Day we had 20 volunteers plant 2 trees made only possible through the donation of the College of Medicine Faculty (pictured right).  Students had the opportunity to participate in UIC Tree Walk Service Learning Project.


Kate Yoshida, Jose Hernandez and Cindy Klein-Banai stand next to their poster at the AASHE conference

We received grants that supported some of our most important work.  2018 grants include the ISEIF Grant, NFWF Little Prairie on the Campus Grant, and the NFWF Arthington Mall Grant.

The Office of Sustainability had a presence at 8 external conferences and gave 7 internal presentations to staff and students. Through the ISEIF grant, Office staff and students presented their work at a national sustainability conference (pictured left).


Kate Yoshida and Jose Hernandez

Of course we don’t do it for the awards, but it is nice to be recognized!  In 2018 UIC earned AASHE STARS Silver level and US Department of Education Green Ribbon Post-Secondary Award (pictured right).