Recycling, sustainability highlighted at Roosevelt University

by Corinne Chin and Will Grunewald

Nov 15, 2012

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Corinne Chin / MEDILL

RU Green president Troy Withers prepares for the America Recycles Day event at Roosevelt University.

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Corinne Chin / MEDILL

Roosevelt University recently started an electronics recycling program, explained Troy Withers.

Roosevelt University showed off its commitment to environmental sustainability Thursday at an event that featured the school’s recycling initiatives and its association with green startup Ghabit.The university has committed to recycling 50 percent of waste generated at the Chicago campus, sustainability director Tom Shelton said. Since opening its new gold LEED-certified Wabash Building in August and receiving a state recycling grant, the school has increased the amount of waste diverted away from landfills to 43 percent from about 16 percent, Shelton said.An important part of that improvement is engaging the student body, said Troy Withers, president of RU Green, the student-run environmental group.Withers emphasizes understanding the “whys” more than the “hows” of recycling. “You can get into the technicalities of ‘recycling ones and twos and plastic bags go here,’” he said. But “we pride ourselves on really putting the motivation into sustainability.”

“You can’t have sustainability without consciousness, awareness and understanding of what sustainability means,” he said.

At the Thursday event, which marked America Recycles Day, volunteers for startup firm Ghabit – a contraction of Green Habit – sold bracelets to fund tree planting at Roosevelt’s Schaumburg campus. Since the beginning of the week, they raised enough money to plant 22 new trees.

Roosevelt’s partnership with Chicago-based Ghabit fits into the larger goal of making the school greener. Ghabit rewards people for green behavior through a system based on a free smartphone app. After downloading the app, users can scan the barcodes on images of “Ghaby,” a green penguin, found around town above recycling cans, at green restaurants, or in stairwells. By scanning, users accumulate points towards rewards. The idea is to reinforce green behaviors such as recycling.

“It’s easy. You get rewarded for things you do anyway,” said Anthony Arzola, a student working at the Ghabit booth.

Company founder Milesh Jain, 35, said the idea “came from my own frustrations about how difficult it was to go green.” He wants to “inspire people to go green in a fun way.”

Ghaby stickers are mostly found in the central area of Chicago, especially the West and South Loop, but Jain plans to expand the program throughout the city.

Jain was able to start the project after winning a small-business plan competition at Loyola University, where he earned his MBA.

He had previously worked as a consultant and a CTA project director, but said, “I decided it was about time to give back.”

Recycling, sustainability highlighted at Roosevelt University.

The Harvest: Celebrating RU’s Sustainable Sucesses

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In honor of Roosevelt University’s recent recognition as 2012′s Greenest Institution by the Alliance for a Greener South Loop and to highlight the development of our vegetative green roofs, RU Green and the Black Student Union hosted The Harvest this past Thursday.  The Harvest was a rousing hip-hop and spoken word performance event, featuring DJ Cavem Moetavation from Denver, CO. 

DJ Cavem is a world renowned MC, DJ, activist, Green for All fellow, and sustainability instructor who uses the powerful art form of hip-hop to communicate our collective need to live more sustainably.  Alongside local artists Elyahreev Immortal, Lah Tere, and Phenom, DJ Cavem rocked the house with eco hip-hop anthems, encouraging the audience, swelling to 200 students and guests, to eat organic, compost, and recycle. 

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Originally posted on Sustainability Studies @ Roosevelt University:

Celebrate Sustainability with Cavem Moetavation @ Roosevelt U. RU Green and The Black Student Union of RU present “The OG, Original Gardener of Hip Hop, Cavem Moetavation,” who will perform on Thursday, Nov. 29th, at 7:30pm in the Wabash Building (2nd floor dining center).

Also featuring performances by Elyahreev Immortal, Phenom, and more; and interspersed by messages from the Chicago’s foremost eco-activists! FREE!!!

Join us as we celebrate Roosevelt University award as the Greenest Campus in the Loop and highlight the development of our vegetative green roofs, along with our other sustainability efforts.

A Salute to the Indigenous
A Celebration of Green
A Tribute to Life!

Location: Roosevelt University’s New Vertical Green Campus, 425 S. Wabash (Wabash and Congress), 2nd Fl. Dining Room. Details here on Facebook.

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Ghabit Rewards Green Habits

Sign up for Ghabit with Facebook or Twitter, or download the App for iPhone or Android and start rewarding your Green Habits! Roosevelt will be posting Ghabit signs on campus, so keep an eye out for Ghaby the Green Penguin!

Roosevelt Wins 2012 Greenest Institution

Roosevelt University has just been awarded the 2012 Greenest Institution Award by the Alliance for a Greener South Loop. Come join us on November 29th!

Wabash Building Project Receives Gold LEED Certification

Roosevelt University received some exciting news this week. The Wabash Building has been certified at the Gold level in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in Washington, D.C.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building program.
It provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The Gold certification, announced this week by the USGBC, recognizes the University’s strong commitment to the environment and its leadership in sustainability from start to finish in construction of the new Wabash Building.

Our building project was awarded Gold – the second highest certification level possible – based on its many energy-efficient and green-design features. Some of these include: efficient heating and cooling systems; efficient water usage with low-flow pumping systems; rooftop gardens; use of natural lighting and lighting-control system; significant reduction in electrical load through the use of renewable energy credits; reuse of 95 percent of all construction waste that would have wound up in landfills; renewable and recycled flooring throughout the building; use of Forest Stewardship Council-certified sustainable wood products; improved indoor air quality through use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints; a tri-sorter recycling chute system; an exterior glass pattern deterring bird collisions; green building signage; pulper and composting systems; indoor bicycle storage area; and innovative use of a small and unique urban land site.

The Wabash Building becomes the 11th publicly-identified Gold LEED-certified higher-education project in Illinois and the 284th to receive Gold certification in North America. With this certification, the new vertical campus is also the tallest Gold higher-education structure in the world. In honor of the distinction, we will be receiving a plaque from the USGBC, which will be unveiled at a special Wabash Building ceremony, details of which will be announced soon.

Conservation@Work

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In the past the Conservation Foundation has helped over 700 residents transform their landscape into a more eco-friendly style. Realizing that we can all contribute to environmental impacts whether at home, work, or play, the foundation is moving forward with a new program: Conservation@Work. For Roosevelt University’s commitment to native plants, natural beauty, the prevention of soil erosion, and water conservation the Schaumburg campus has been awarded the first ever Conservation@Work recognition. Plans are to display the plaque in a place where everyone can view it and share in this accomplished.

To learn more about the Conservation Foundation, please visit their website at http://www.theconservationfoundation.org/

Apple chooses design over recyclability. Will anyone notice?

rugreencampus:

How’s your environmental conscience?

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Last month Apple (s aapl) asked that the standards group EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), which is responsible for rating the recyclability of electronics products drop it from its rankings. The group, which is funded by the EPA, complied. It means that 39 Macs, MacBooks and monitors that were previously EPEAT certified as causing minimal environmental damage and promoting maximum recyclability, no longer have the group’s stamp of approval. In making this move, Apple is signaling that it won’t let future design decisions be governed by those seeking to uphold environmental standards.

The head of EPEAT, CEO Robert Frisbee, told the Wall Street Journalabout Apple’s decision that’s sure to rile the environmentally conscious:

“They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” Frisbee said. The company did not elaborate, Frisbee said. “They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured…

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Plastic-Eating Fungi Found in the Amazon May Solve World’s Waste Problem

Plastic-Eating Fungi Found in the Amazon May Solve World’s Waste Problem.

 

According to some Yale University lead research in the Amazon rainforest, some plastic-devouring fungi have been exposed. What does this mean to the way our nation produces plastic? We may not know until further research and testing is done on the fungi Pestalotiopsis microspora. This fungi degrades polyurethane (the material in plastic). Check out the rest in the link. This could be huge news for waste landfills worldwide.

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