Overall Rating Bronze - expired
Overall Score 40.54
Liaison Rebecca Quesnell
Submission Date Dec. 18, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Roosevelt University
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Maria Cancilla
STARS Intern
Physical Resources
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Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

RUrbanPioneers Community Garden at the Schaumburg Campus is a 30-plot community garden that allows participants (from the RU community and the local Schaumburg community) to grow food for themselves and their families, or to share with local food banks. The garden educates participants on the benefits of natural composting, drip irrigation, and the productivity of container and keyhole gardening. Four-years strong, the garden plots are evenly divided between Schaumburg community members of all ages, including a Girl Scout Troop, RU faculty and staff, and RU students.

Supporting young people in the community:

RU partners with Bright Horizons Schaumburg Early Childhood Education Center – offering planting opportunities in RUrbanPioneers Community Garden, where the preschoolers can learn about where their food comes from and have fun outside in the sun and soil. Every year for Arbor Day, the preschoolers get to plant trees on campus, which helps them learn about the importance of trees in Schaumburg’s suburban landscape and helps contribute to and sustain RU’s certified Arboretum and Tree Campus USA. Once the Schaumburg campus prairie is in full bloom, the children get to have adventures on the prairie walk.

RU partners with Fermilab in Batavia, IL in a native prairie plant seed-sharing program, then partners again with local (Schaumburg) Boy Scout Troop #392 to distribute the seeds in the Schaumburg native prairie and butterfly gardens. These partnerships keep Illinois native species growing in the suburbs of Chicago and provide educational and service opportunities for the troop. Troop #392 also assists (in-process in 2015) in identifying all campus trees, which are marked to educate visitors along the prairie walk.

RU partners with Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History in a number of ways: Field Museum Scientist, Dr. Julian Kerbis Peterhans and Research Associate, Dr. Norbert Cordiero teach at RU (Biodiversity, Seminar in Natural Sciences, Environmental Biology and Conservation Biology). RU students serve as interns to the Field Museum on research projects such as Microplants in the department of Botany. RU is also partnering with, Carter O'Brien, the Field Museum’s Sustainability Manager, who created a Sustainability Internship for Summer 2015 (served by an RU Sustainability Studies major).

Host Institution for the Great Lakes Bioneers environmental conference in 2013, with the theme: Celebrating Community Resilience. Featuring speakers and facilitators nationally recognized for their environmental work, the three-day event was attended by environmental activists from across the nation and supported by RU staff as well as Sustainability Studies faculty and majors.

Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) Green Town Sustainability Conference – RU is a member of the planning committee and provided faculty and student speakers for conferences. SGA is a catalyst for local community solutions to global environmental issues. RU is also a founding member of Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC), which grew out of SGA and is recognized as a Gold Partner by the IFSC.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

RU is an engaged and active member of the Chicagoland Network for Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE). The goal of this committee is to cultivate a focus on sustainability in Chicagoland universities. RU has collaborated on several sustainability initiatives born out of this group and its subcommittees, such as:

- DIVVY bike-share program discounts for students, faculty and staff;

- Bike2campus.com – a friendly biking competition held during Earth Week (started in 2014, then moved to fall in 2015), with events and workshops to celebrate and educate student/faculty/staff bicycle enthusiasts;

- Local Food Assessment Report – defining what “local food” means to Chicago area universities and their vendors.

Friends of the Chicago River:
RU partners with Friends of the Chicago River on many river sustainability projects.

A “Blueways to Green” environmental education grant made it possible for faculty and students from the RU SUST Program’s “Water” courses to get involved with the Chicago River Student Congress in 2012-2013 – held at Chicago public high schools and aimed at increasing minority participation in environmental/scientific majors and careers.

Friends of the Chicago River also makes internships available to RU Sustainability majors. The most exciting part of this partnership is the many canoe trips RU students have enjoyed on the Chicago River hosted and instructed by the knowledgeable staff and volunteers of Friends of the Chicago River.



Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

Roosevelt University is fully committed to the following linked initiatives:

- The Chicago Area Higher Education Retrofit Project
- Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative (CBI)

According to the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s office, “Chicago residents, businesses and governments spend more than $3 billion per year on energy costs, and building energy use represents 71 percent of Chicago’s total greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions, making energy efficiency a critical economic and environmental opportunity.” On March 28, 2014, RU’s president signed a contract with the mayor’s office that commits the university to a 20% energy reduction in five years for the historical, landmarked Auditorium building at 430 South Michigan Avenue.

By signing a contract with the Mayor’s office and joining forces with ten other higher education institutions, Roosevelt University is committed to reducing GHG emissions on its campus, but is also acting as an ambassador for sustainable energy use, sharing reduction efforts with the entire Chicago Community. From the Alliance to Retrofit Chicago Higher Education (ARCH), June 18, 2014 press release: “By joining CBI, these schools have pledged to retrofit over 3.7 million square feet. When this work is done, collectively, the buildings will save over $1.2 million a year, have created up to 30 jobs and have a carbon impact equivalent to taking more than 1,900 cars off the road.”



A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

Through RU’s study abroad program, Biology 369: Conservation Biology—Tropical Africa, is a field-based course that is largely carried out in Amani Nature Reserve, Tanzania. Dr. Norbert Cordeiro has partnered with Dr. Henry Ndangalasi (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) since 1998.

Students meet with and are instructed by Tanzanian stakeholders, such as Amani Parish Community and Kihime Africa, both of whom comprise local village elders and youth that are working to protect their environment and develop community programs for their improved livelihood. Students engage in forest restoration of abandoned agricultural fields, and obtain hands-on experiences in solution-based outputs where multi-disciplinary teams are involved.


The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

In addition to the many formal partnerships Roosevelt University cultivates, RU uses its green spaces in Schaumburg, USGBC LEED-certified buildings in Chicago, and sustainable practices throughout its campuses to engage, educate and inspire community groups. Groups with as many as 120 people have toured the USGBC LEED Gold-certified Wabash building.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.