UIC celebrates successful sustainability events

Andy Mitchell (left), assistant vice chancellor and director of sustainability, and Dave Taeyaerts, associate vice chancellor for planning, sustainability and project management, were among 30 volunteers who helped plant 46 trees on campus Sept. 16.
Photo credit: Josh Clark

During the month of September, the Office of Planning, Sustainability, and Project Management organized four campus events: the Campus Electronic Recycling Collection, UIC Tree Planting, Great Stuff Exchange, and Swap and Recycle Pop-Up. Hundreds of students, staff and faculty were able to attend and participate in the events, which were made possible through the support of UIC’s Eco Volunteers.

UIC’s annual Campus Electronic Recycling Collection  is an electronics recycling event where the UIC community is invited to drop off any unwanted electronics, including personal electronics. At separate events on the east and west sides of campus, the sustainability team collected over 15 pallets of electronics that would otherwise have gone to a landfill. Many electronics contain resource-intensive rare earth metals that make recycling critical.

Through a partnership with the Morton Arboretum and in honor of its centennial year celebration, 46 trees were planted near the intersection of Harrison and Leavitt streets Sept. 16. More than 30 people signed up to plant trees that both beautify UIC’s urban environment and contribute to the university’s sustainability efforts.

“UIC’s urban campus is an ideal location to expand Chicago’s tree canopy,” said Carly Provost-Rizor, superintendent of grounds and building maintenance. “New plantings provide a myriad of benefits, including reducing heat island effects, managing stormwater runoff and increasing species biodiversity. Each of these achievements is important to the university and surrounding communities.”

For 30 years, the sustainability team at UIC has hosted the Great Stuff Exchange. Throughout the year, the sustainability team collects new and gently used office supplies from campus departments and gives them away to UIC students, staff and faculty. This year’s event was held Sept. 21, and over 400 attendees learned something new about sustainability at UIC or obtained useful items for themselves.

In partnership with Reduce Waste Chicago and Eco & the Flamingo, UIC students and employees got a chance to participate in the Swap and Recycle Pop-Up Sept. 28. Participants were able to bring books and clean clothes in good condition for swapping as well as recycle items that cannot traditionally go in the regular recycling stream but can be sorted and recycled through specialty methods.

“When it comes to sustainability, we all have a role to play. These September events, though small in overall impact, give everyone at UIC a chance to take tangible action and put our university values into practice,” said Liz Bosarge, zero waste program director. “In addition, these campus events also help UIC become more sustainable and get closer to achieving its Zero Waste Climate Commitment.”

To learn more about sustainability at UIC, visit the sustainability website or email sustainability@uic.edu.


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