Category Archives: Education

Trash Mob – Portland State University [Video]

If you saw this plastic bottle on the ground next to a recycling container, would you stop and pick it up? PSU Recycles! conducted this recycling experiment on campus to see if someone would stop and do the right thing. Watch the video on YouTube.


UTSA and Microsoft establish sustainable energy research and development pact

Read the full story from the University of Texas San Antonio.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Microsoft Corp. (Microsoft) announced today a three-year agreement to research and develop sustainable technologies to make data centers more energy efficient and economically viable.

In addition to the research agreement, Microsoft made a $1 million gift to UTSA to support the university’s research and technology programs.


April: Energy

Read the full post from Yale Sustainability. Although the target audience is students at Yale University, there are suggestions here that are more universally applicable.


Harvard University’s Mail Just Got a Little Bit Greener

Read the full post at Harvard University Sustainability.

The recent conversion of a Harvard Mail Services truck to a hybrid electric vehicle has dramatically reduced fuel consumption. As a result, the eight-month pilot program has cut the vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 22 percent.  Now, in addition to delivering thousands of pieces of mail across the University, the van is also delivering a win for the environment.


How to hold your own personal BioBlitz

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

National Geographic’s BioBlitz 2014 was a roaring success, but you don’t have to wait until next year or travel out of your way to enjoy the fun of a BioBlitz. Here’s how to have a one-person blitz.

Webinar: How to Reduce Wasted Food: EPA’s Food Waste Reduction Tools for Food Services & Restaurants

May 15, 2014, noon-1:30 pm CDT
Register at

The Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment provides step-by-step instructions to conducting a one-time assessment of the food waste thrown in garbage bins. This instructional outreach material is useful for facilities new to food audits and for those who wish to better understand their current food waste management practices.

The toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging: A Guide for Food Services and Restaurants is designed to help food service establishments save money and reduce their environmental impact with suggested strategies, templates and case studies. Users first track the amount, type of, and reason for wasted food and packaging on paper. Entering the data into the Excel tool automatically creates graphs to help identify patterns and opportunities to reduce waste. The accompanying PDF guide provides intervention strategies and background information.

These free, new resources can be found at


Julie Schilf is an Environmental Scientist with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office where she is the regional coordinator for EPA’s WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge programs.  She will provide a summary of the instructional outreach materials on Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment.

Amanda Hong is a graduate fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 office working in Sustainable Materials Management and Pollution Prevention. She will provide a detailed overview of how to use the toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging.


3 pathways to a clean energy future

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In this final installment of our eLab Accelerator blog series (read part 1 and part 2), we are reviewing three teams who are focused on developing strategies to understand and achieve clean energy futures.

The increasing capability and affordability of renewables and distributed resources, the pressure to combat climate change, and the need for a more resilient electricity system are creating opportunities as well as challenges the likes of which our electricity system has never faced before. By working together, these teams recognize that successful solutions must address not only the technical but also the social and creative complexity facing the electricity system.


Webinar: Student Affairs Stories of Sustainability: Resources to Engage Students and Remove Silos

Thursday, April 17, 2014, noon-1 pm CDT
Register at

Just in time for Earth Day! Student Affairs Stories of Sustainability: Resources to Engage Students and Remove Silos – a FREE Webinar sponsored by the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC) and supported by AASHE. Learn about student affairs sustainability initiatives around the United States. Identify how to engage students and remove silos. Network with peers in sustainability and student affairs to share ideas and best practices.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Identify benefits of sustainability efforts on campus
    1. Student engagement
    2. Organizing for a better future
  2. Categorize silos hindering sustainability on campus
    1. Within Student Affairs
    2. Between Student Affairs and other divisions on campus
  3. Provide stories of sustainability initiatives on campus

    1. 1-2 stories in traditional student affairs division
    2. 1-2 stories that cross between divisional lines (illustrating collaboration)
  4. Share in peer-to-peer interaction in an open Q&A session
  5. Connect to association resources for sustainability efforts


  • Debra Rowe, PhD, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
  • Kaye Holman, PhD, HEASC Sustainability Fellow


  • Tim Broderick, Sustainability Coordinator in Housing and Dining Services, Colorado State University, Chair of the NASPA Sustainability Knowledge Community
  • Janice DeMonsi, Director of Recreation, Santa Clara University
  • Maureen McGonagle, MBA, Director of Campus Recreation, DePaul University, Former President of NIRSA
  • James Tweedy, PhD, Senior Associate Director of Residence Life & Housing, University of Delaware, Chair of the ACPA Sustainability Advisory Committee

2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp

The Prairie Research Institute, along with the five scientific Surveys, is pleased to announce the 2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp. This STEM experience is a week-long day camp where high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates have the opportunity to spend one day at each of the five divisions of the Institute working side-by-side with scientists to gain hands-on experience in geology, archaeology, sustainable technology, water science, and environmental/biological science. This year’s camp will be held July 21-25, 2014,and will feature driving a go-cart powered by biodiesel made from corn or plastic, water quality assessment, insect fossil study, ancient artifacts, and creating 3D geologic maps from core samples. This year’s camp will be limited to 24 students in the State of Illinois who are either a rising junior, senior, or recent high school graduate who are interested in learning more about science and engineering occupations. At $250 per participant, our camp is one of the least expensive camps at the University of Illinois.

Online applications are now being accepted on the camp website ( The application deadline is May 18, 2014.

The Prairie Research Institute is the home of the State Scientific Surveys (Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeology Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

If you have any questions related to the Institute’s camp, please contact Elizabeth Luber at 217-333-7403 or

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Posted by on April 9, 2014 in K-12


Three Tips on the Road to a Great Governor’s Award Application

Over on the ISTC Blog, John Mulrow gives organizations tips for writing a successful Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards application. The deadline to apply is May 22, 2014.


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