Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.85
Liaison Geory Kurtzhals
Submission Date Jan. 10, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Hala Jaber
Graduate Assistance
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Sustainable Eco-Recreation

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

During the 2017/2018 academic year, we established the Sustainable Eco-Recreation Project at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. This project is an innovative form of lake management aimed at promoting good water quality while providing novel forms of outdoor recreation. Specifically, student teams are inventing forms of recreation that aerate, cool, or manage nutrients to make lake waters healthier and more resistant to cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs). The program officially began in late August 2017 at which time one of Zoology department professors (Dr. Brooks) hired a graduate student charged with documenting the biological impact of recreation on CyanoHABs as well as two human dimensions of the research, namely perceptions of natural resources among lake users and professional career skills among student teams engaged in this unique form of experiential education.

The Design Phase of the Sustainable Eco-Recreation Project began with a Kick-Off event in September 2017 for all students interested as well as for engineering students in the Senior Engineering Design Course (ECE 495). Three student teams formed to invent in-lake solar fountains (engineering students), pedal-powered fountains on stationary bicycles, and wetlands designed to receive water from the stationary bicycles. The “solar-fountain team” as well as the “bicycle team” completed their design phase during the Fall 2017 semester. The wetland group developed a landscape design for their wetland and tested ammonia loss in a laboratory wetland.

During the Prototype Phase across the Spring 2018 semester, the solar-fountain team progressed from fabrication of the prototype to indoor testing at the Student Recreation Center pool. As well as testing the fountains, they learned the distinction between observed versus estimated buoyancy during the pool tests. The results informed their design of deployment anchors. The bicycle group designed and tested a 3-D-printed water pump using recycled plastic. They concluded that it lacked adequate force. While they learned a great deal about 3-D printed designs of water pumps, for their initial prototype, they connected a commercial pump to a recycled exercise bicycle from the Department of Recreational Sports and Services. Their inflow hose is specially designed sinking hose recycled from an old project in the Brooks Laboratory. The wetland group conducted laboratory tests during the spring 2017. In a 40-liter aquarium, they created a laboratory wetland filled with water plants from Campus Lake and observed a 50% decrease in ammonia concentration when flow increased to a lazy 1 liter per hour (D. Mandell, undergraduate, personal comm.).
For the positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation, the Sustainable Eco-Recreation project has touched the lives of many students and members of the community. Approximately 50 people attended the Design Open House held in December 2017. Depending on the semester, during the 2017-2018 academic year, Dr. Brooks facilitated 15 to 19 students directly involved in the bicycle or wetlands teams. In addition, Dr. Brooks, Dr. Fran Harackiewicz, and Dr. James Mathias co-advised a research team of 6 students in Senior Engineering Design (ECE 495). As of Fall Semester 2018, 17 engineering students are actively designing projects. Six Limnology course students worked to restore and increase the biodiversity of a wetland. Beginning in Spring 2019, an intensive study of the genetics and potential for biological control of CyanoHABs began and continued into Fall 2019. This laboratory investigation has already produced promising results. It was coupled with another in-lake study of the benefits of solar fountains on suppressing harmful algae during summer 2019. Designs of solar- and pedal-powered fountains are undergoing final design modifications for deployment in Summer 2019.

Relative to the interdisciplinary aspect of this program, it involves students, staff, and faculty from the departments of Architecture, Biology, Center for Environmental Health and Safely, Engineering, Geography and Environmental Resources, Industrial Design, Microbiology, Physical Plant, Recreational Sports and Services, and Zoology. Collaboration and internal team building are important aspects of student learning. Students’ current activities include: • Campus Lake Eco-Rec Interest Group on Office 365 • Bicycle Design Students’ closed Facebook page

More info:

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Info provided above highlights a variety of data sources.

Project contact: Dr. Marjorie Brooks, Associate Professor
Office: 355E, Life Science II
Phone: 618-453-4121
Email: mlbrooks@siu.edu

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.