September 11, 2012

Sustainability efforts expand on campus

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Sustainability is more than just a word at Southern Illinois University Carbondale -- it is a commitment.

In addition to a variety of new “green” plans, activities and initiatives, sustainability is the 2012-2013 theme for University College at SIU Carbondale, along with a focal point of a current student idea competition.

The University’s Sustainability Council launched a Sustainable Saluki Pledge Drive late in the spring semester and this fall, it is encouraging everyone to take the pledge and make a commitment to sustainable living.  This week, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day through Friday, Sept. 14, a special table at the Student Center is set up for people to sign the pledge and pick up a free, reusable water bottle.

The prepared pledge states, “I pledge to join SIU Carbondale’s sustainability efforts by developing personal habits that foster social, economic and environmental health.  I choose to use the knowledge and experience I gain at SIU to improve sustainability in the communities where I live, learn and work.”  People may also create a personalized sustainability pledge.

Students also have an opportunity to be more involved in campus sustainability efforts through the council, which has an open seat.  The nine-member council is split evenly between students, faculty and staff.  The group makes sustainability recommendations and oversees Sustainability Council Project Awards.  The student-initiated and funded Green Fee finances  sustainability projects on campus.

Applications for the open student-designated seat will be accepted until the seat is filled.  Doctoral students may apply, but any student who will graduate in December is ineligible.  For an application, email

Current committee members are:

•  Makayla Bonney (chair), graduate student in geography and environmental resources

•  Sterling Jackson, sophomore in civil engineering

•  Craig Anz, associate professor of architecture

•  Steve Belletire, professor of art and design

•  Matthew Therrell, assistant professor geography and environmental resources

•  William “Chef Bill” Connors, University Housing

•  Justin Harrell, engineer with Plant and Service Operations

•  Corné Prozesky, associate director with Recreational Sports and Services

Kris Schachel, campus sustainability coordinator, works closely with the council and serves in a non-voting, advisory role. Several new sustainability initiatives are premiering on campus this semester, she said.

The Sustainable Saluki Salon is a free, weekly networking meeting to learn more about sustainability activities, share ideas and get involved.  Meetings are from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. each Thursday when classes are in session at the Center for Environmental Health and Safety, 1325 Radio Drive, Carbondale.  Sessions will feature videos, snacks and more.

Fun in the Field Fridays takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. every Friday in September and October at the Local Organic Garden Initiative (LOGIC) on Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale.  The group welcomes volunteers to help and learn about topics including organic agriculture, vermicomposting, permaculture, no-till, fruit, vegetable harvest, and other elements of sustainable food production.  Students manage the garden and produce grown there goes to University Housing dining hall tables. Support comes from the Green Fee. 

All SIU Carbondale students can discover, weed, dig, and meet others who share an interest in sustainability.  Students may also earn  service learning or community service hours for their work in the garden. 

An upcoming project later this fall will bring renowned environmental designer Laurent Corradi to campus to help in the design and creation of a new green wall installation at the Agriculture Building.  Karen Midden, professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems, will supervise this Green Fee-funded student project. 

There are many ongoing “green” activities across campus including extensive recycling efforts, composting, vermicomposting, trayless dining at residence halls, biodiesel production, motor oil reuse and much more. 

The University’s sustainability website, features an assortment of information on ongoing sustainability and green projects across campus, and information on how people can become involved.

For more information about sustainability at SIU Carbondale, contact Schachel at 618/453-2846 or by email at

Sustainability is also the 2012-2013 theme for University College at SIU Carbondale.  Among the special activities and promotions this year is offering, by appointment, green tours that highlight the University’s numerous and expanding sustainability efforts.

“Sustainability in Your Community” is the theme of this fall’s Saluki Idea Competition, a student idea contest in conjunction with the Technology and Innovation Expo on Oct. 19.  More information about the competition and expo is available at