Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.32
Liaison Andy Mitchell
Submission Date July 16, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Illinois Chicago
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Cynthia Klein-Banai
Associate Chancellor for Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
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Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
Flames Wash Cold

A brief description of the campaign:
In Fall of 2019, the #FlamesWashCold campaign was launched to encourage UIC students living in campus residence halls to wash their clothes using cold water. Stickers directing students to select “cold wash” were placed on each washing machine in each of the residence halls, and posters providing more information on the benefits of cold-water washing were placed in each of the laundry rooms. Of UIC’s 33,000 students, 4,500 live in the residence halls.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:
A pre-campaign survey was distributed to approximately 600 students, which tested their current laundry habits, as well as their beliefs about cold water washing. As predicted, most students understood that cold water washing was more eco-friendly, but believed that cold water doesn’t clean clothes as well. According to data collected from 300 students post-campaign, one-third of students reported changing their habits to washing using cold water. While kWh savings were not recorded, this campaign targeted students (60 percent of whom are first-year students) during a period of life where many new habits are being formed. While the benefit to the university is minimal, the eco-conscious habits formed during this stage can carry on through the rest of their lives.

Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Plastic-Free UIC (Earth Month 2020)

A brief description of the campaign (2nd campaign):
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management planned and executed a campus-wide awareness campaign to inspire action among students and faculty, but mostly staff. Upon compiling and coding programming suggestions from UIC students, faculty, and staff, as well as taking into account the already well-developed public consciousness of plastic waste issues, the Earth Day Executive Planning Committee developed the “Plastic-Free UIC” campaign for Earth Day 2020. Plastic-Free UIC sought to leverage Earth Day to push UIC closer to achieving its Zero Waste Climate Commitment by inviting the UIC community to participate in a clean-up, sign up to draft a zero-waste policy for their department, and wear red on Earth Day to “sound the alarm” on the climate crisis. This campaign’s calls to action most closely coincide with strategy 5.1.1 of UIC’s Climate Action Implementation Plan, which calls for the development of unit-level zero waste policies, drafted and implemented by those within the departments. Through a campus-wide email on Earth Day (despite the pandemic), the chancellor noted the importance of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and shared a video we produced and uploaded to YouTube. We then invited everyone to join the virtual "Clean Up" and documented trash outside our neighborhoods in lieu of an on-campus cleanup. We encouraged the community to participate in the Plastic-Free UIC Discussion after viewing the film "The Story of Plastic" to continue the conversation, How should UIC move to become plastic-free? Lastly, we initiated an implementation of a Zero Waste Departmental Policy by encouraging staff to start by implementing a Zero Waste policy in their department.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Participation 12 zero-waste policy sign-ups (6 staff, 6 students) Over 200 views of the film, The Story of Stuff 79 participants in the virtual Earth Day discussion Over 2,000 pieces of litter documented on the Litterati app 61 virtual clean-up participants On Instagram, our engagement rate, which is the number of people who interact with our post out of all the people who saw it, jumped up 40%, from 10.4% percent before to 14.6% after. On Facebook, our engagement rate increased by 22%. Across all platforms, the Plastic-Free UIC campaign was shared a grand total of 131 times (68 shares of our own content, and 63 posts from independent accounts using our photos, hashtags, and messaging). Our Earth Day video was viewed approximately 1,470 times.

A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns:
Freezer challenge For the fourth year in a row, UIC participated in the International Freezer Challenge, a sustainability challenge created by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. The Freezer Challenge encourages lab professionals to conserve energy, specifically with their cold storage and ULT freezers, through actions like defrosting, throwing away old samples, and sharing freezer space with colleagues. To solicit participation from labs across campus, promotional materials were distributed including posters, emails, and graphics for public monitors. In-person promotion was also done, by walking through lab buildings and finding interested parties, as well as partnering with the Environmental Health and Safety Office to share information during lab safety trainings. After reaching a total of 29 labs through the strategies mentioned above, 18 labs signed up and 8 submitted scoresheets upon the completion of the challenge. While sign up and participation numbers would have been higher without the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were still 12 labs that had never participated in the challenge before that signed up for this year’s competition.

Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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