April 24, 2014

SIU earns ‘Green College’ recognition again

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and green initiatives is again gaining national attention. 

“The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition,” features SIU.  It marks the second straight year -- and the third time in five years -- the university has earned a place in the guide published by “The Princeton Review” in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Center for Green Schools. 

“We place an emphasis on sustainability and appreciate the recognition that our efforts receive,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said.  “The responsibility to leave our campus in better shape for those who follow is one that our students, faculty and staff take very seriously.” 

The university’s profile notes there are many ways to be involved with sustainability efforts on campus. 

The guide notes the university earned silver ranking on its first Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) assessment, and is a signatory of both the Illinois Sustainable Universities Compact and Talloires Declaration.  The university also operates a vermicomposting facility, aerated static pile compost facility, and the Transportation Education Center earned silver certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  

The report also notes that the university’s Sustainability Council, which includes student representatives, has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in Green Fee grants in just a few short years.  Other sustainability strengths recognized include the “Going Green Living Learning Community” for students in University Housing, sustainability-related courses in more than 40 academic areas and 24 percent waste-diversion rate. 

“It’s an honor to be included again in the Guide to Green Colleges,” Kris Schachel, SIU sustainability coordinator, said.  “It helps SIU stand out to young people who are deciding where to pursue their education, and the recognition is gratifying for those of us working to increase the profile of sustainability on campus.  Being listed in the Princeton Review’s publication helps us tell our story.” 

Schachel recently earned individual recognition from the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council, as she was “Caught Green Handed.”  She was one of just two university employees Illinois recognized for her efforts to promote sustainability in state government.  

The council praised Schachel for launching the inaugural “Give & Go” residence hall move-out program last year.  The endeavor encouraged students who were moving out of the halls at the end of the year to donate clothes, shoes, purses, bags, unopened food, electronics and cleaning products for distribution through charitable community organizations rather than discarding them.  

The university is celebrating Earth Day this week with special activities and announced the newest “Green Fund Award recipients.  Eleven projects will receive a total of nearly $120,000 in funding. 

The SIU Board of Trustees instituted the $10 per-semester student fee in 2009 as the result of a student-led initiative, and this week’s awards are the 10th funding cycle.  These awards bring the total to 110 projects funded to the tune of more than $1.5 million.  

Projects receiving funding this spring, along with a brief description of each, are: 

  • Glass Blowing Studio upgrades:  $60,000 to update ventilation and energy efficiency at the facility to meet current health and safety standards.
  • Plant and Service Operations graduate research assistantship:  $19,560 to support a graduate research assistantship to assist Physical Plant Engineering Services staff in the analysis and implementation of energy-efficiency projects on campus.
  • Student Center recycling:  $13,385 to install additional recycling containers at the Student Center. 
  • Theater lighting:  $7,000 to purchase LED moving light fixtures to reduce energy consumption during events at the McLeod Theatre and the Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theatre.
  • Bicycle maintenance repair stations:  $4,696 to create bicycle maintenance repair stations on campus.
  • Big belly solar project:  $4,381 to buy a solar-powered, self-compacting waste station for the Student Center.  The waste station senses when it is full.
  • Sustainable showers:  $4,350 to install eight sustainable shower stalls, featuring low-flow shower heads and timers, in the Student Recreation Center locker rooms to help conserve water and promote sustainability.
  • Elkay hydration stations:  $3,200 to install two Elkay water hydration stations near the University Museum and near the College of Liberal Arts advisement office in Faner Hall.  Environmental studies and geography students will organize a water-related education each semester as well.
  • Sustainable preschool: $1,368 to purchase items to enhance sustainable development education for children at the SIU Child Development Laboratories.
  • Sustainable displays:  $1,120 to purchase multiple two-tiered sign standards and other environmentally friendly sign holders for the Student Center to eliminate the waste use of foam board and other materials.
  • Green wall:  $811.43 to create a moveable wall of greenery and plants in the Student Recreation Center to bring in fresh air and enhance aesthetics.

For more information about sustainability at SIU, visit www.sustainability.siu.edu, email sustainability@siu.edu or call 618/453-2846.