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5 UIUC Sustainability Efforts You Should Know About

November 2, 2021

Sustainability has become an especially prevalent topic recently, and there are many different ways to implement sustainable practices in a campus environment. Here locally, UIUC looks to become a model for other campuses when it comes to sustainability implementation. UIUC has gone above and beyond with many initiatives that will benefit the community greatly.

The hub of sustainability for UIUC campus is the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, & Environment, iSEE. This institute has implemented a multitude of programs, and looks to continue growing throughout the community. In this blog, we will look at 5 sustainable projects that are currently taking place on campus, or plan to be in effect within the next year.

Green Certification

iSEE aims to promote sustainability throughout campus and the local community, and one of the ways they do this is with their “Green Certification” program. This program allows residents to have their event, office, Greek chapter, RSO, or lab, green certified. By implementing elective sustainable actions, and organization is then certified, and able to promote that accolade via signage. iSEE also keeps a list of all certified organizations and promotes them on their website.

Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP)

This plan aims to establish UIUC as a model for environmental stewardship. In 2020, the most recent update established 56 SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) objectives organized into eight critical areas: Energy, Transportation, Land & Water, Zero Waste, Education, Engagement, Resilience, and Implementation. The goal is to reach carbon neutrality or net-zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050.

Environmental Leadership Program (ELP)

UIUC wants to instill a sense of environmental stewardship into the students on campus as well. This program will put a focus on undergrad students and teaching them about environmental policies & corporate sustainability. The enrolled students will then present any new policy ideas to legislative staff and decision makers in Champaign Urbana. This program will launch in Spring of 2022, so make sure you enroll if you’re wanting to learn more!

Campus Sustainability Contests/Challenges

Sustainability isn’t something that is just for large corporations or organizations, and that’s why iSEE creates sustainability challenges. These challenges are aimed at the residents and provides a great way to participate in sustainability. October’s challenge is a waste reduction challenge in which you keep track of your points based on your amount of waste per day. This inspires small, but meaningful actions in many residents in the community, hopefully that continue after the challenge ends.

Illini Lights Out (ILO)

This program focuses on conserving light energy and uses a group of passionate volunteers to accomplish their goal. Every couple of weeks, the ILO volunteer group takes a tour around campus, counting the lights that have been left on, and turning them off to conserve that energy. Back in 2016, the first installation of ILO turned of 1,500 lights in 40 minutes. Now, through September 2021, 155,727 lightbulbs have been turned off by volunteers and $27,640 has been saved in electric bills. Sign up to volunteer and you can help increase these numbers by even more!

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Image via UIUC Sustainability

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