Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.25
Liaison Meredith Moore
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Meredith Moore
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

UIUC has dozens of student groups focused on sustainability. Several examples include:

Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) - recommends allocation of student green fees.
Students for Environmental Concerns (SECs)- Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) is the oldest and largest environmental organization at the University of Illinois, dedicated to environmental activism and justice.
Red Bison - prairie restoration
VermiCUlture - focuses on vermicomposting and composting engagement
Enactus - social entrepreneurship
USGBC - green building
Green Observer - student environmental newspaper
Environmental Law Society - sustainability-focused environmental policy group
ActGreen - ActGreen is a green business organization composed of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students, professors, and administrators.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The farm serves as a production farm to supply our residence halls with locally grown, low-input sustainable food. In addition, the farm acts as a living laboratory to connect students, community members, and the state at large with regional, small-scale food systems. We plan to broaden our focus to include the research, education, and outreach missions of the university.

Currently, the farm operates between 45-48 weeks per year, occupying 3 acres for outdoor field production and nearly 10,000 square feet of year round high tunnel production. Every attempt is made to integrate educational aspects into all activities on the farm.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Illinois BioDiesel Initiative - The Illinois Biodiesel Initiative’s mission is to lower the emissions of the university by recycling waste vegetable oil into useful products, and to promote renewable, alternative energy sources to the greater community. Our team strives to make the Illinois Biodiesel Initiative a model for university and community biodiesel production. Beginning in Spring 2006 as a local project within Engineers Without Borders, IBI has grown to be one of their largest projects incorporating students from a wide variety of majors within engineering and otherwise. Together, the group works to meet the needs of the initiative which includes but is not limited to the following: used vegetable oil pick-up from the dining halls, biodiesel production, quality testing, biodiesel integration, soap production from the by-product glycerin, project management, budgeting and accounting, publicity and outreach to other communities and universities. The group sells the final product to the Facilities and Services Garage and Carpool where it is blended with regular diesel for us in the campus fleet.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have imposed a self-imposed sustainability fee which accumulates about $1,000,000 annually.
The Student Sustainability Committee is a funding board comprised of ten voting student members, five ex officio non-voting staff members, and six non-voting faculty members. At least three SSC student members are graduate students. SSC is responsible for allocating funds generated by two student fees--Sustainable Campus Environment and Cleaner Energy Technologies. SSC proposes funding recommendations to the Director of the Office of Sustainability for final approval.

Students are appointed by the Illinois Student Senate and serve a one-year term. Faculty and staff ex officio members are appointed by the Director of the Office of Sustainability and serve a one-year term.

Administrative support is split between direct advising by a coordinator employed by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, and financial support from the Division of Student Affairs.

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

Each fall semester the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment sponsors Campus Sustainability Month, and each spring semester supports Earth Month. These events focus on sustainability-themed challenges, seminars, workshops, engagement events, and fun activities.

The Congress is an assembly of the leading national and international scientists, researchers, educators, and activists from different disciplines. These experts present the latest scientific research and community action on grand world challenges of sustainability, energy generation and conservation, and the environment. Attendees gain an understanding of the latest knowledge in these areas — and the directions for future research, actions and policy frameworks that could contribute to long-term breakthroughs.

iSEE Congress provides a forum to not only discuss global challenges, but also to highlight an agenda for actionable research. By bringing local, national, and international experts — from academia, industry, governments, and NGOs — together for these discussions, iSEE is fostering new research collaborations across disciplines and across continents.

iSEE also hosts Critical Conversations: an intellectual forum for discovering solutions. It will be a “safe space” for those with very different points of view to explore commonalities. The forum will be coupled at the outset with advanced communications strategies, engaging social and traditional media to get the word out.

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

The Student Sustainability Summit was a month-long program during Campus Sustainability Month. It was led by students and featured a variety of events and programs that engaged environmental/social justice groups and the campus cultural houses.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Campus Recreation and the Kinesiology department offer several outdoor programs that follow Leave no Trace principles, like hiking, backpacking, and kayaking.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment campaigned around "zero waste", focusing on wasteful behavior change.

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall - Sustainability Living Learning Community.

iSEE developed a series of sustainability best practices videos, designed to outline how the campus community can help support our Climate Action Plan goals and live sustainably: https://sustainability.illinois.edu/campus-sustainability/sustainability-training-videos/

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment routinely employs students to help with projects. Students focus on the iCAP teams, Greener Campus Programs, engagement opportunities, and research activities.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment hosts month-long challenges in October and April (Waste Reduction Challenge and Plastic Free Challenge respectively) to engage campus faculty, staff, and students, as well as community members. This is designed to be an accessible and inclusive opportunity to involve everyone to participate in learning about sustainable behavior and lifestyles.

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.