iSEE kicks off Campus Sustainability Week


Sabrina Yan

Tim Mies, director of the Illinois Energy Farm, provided University students and community friends a tour of the farm’s fuel grasses and gave a demonstration of the new biomass boiler on Monday, Oct. 23. The boiler will use grasses grown on campus to heat the farm’s research greenhouse during the winter.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

This past Friday, students turned off the lights in buildings around the Main Quad to kick off Campus Sustainability Week 2017. This first event, Illini Lights Out, promotes energy awareness and conservation.

Campus Sustainability Week is annual event hosted by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. According to their website, iSEE’s mission is “to become a global model of sustainability by creating effective, positive change.”

The goal of this specific week is to teach students who are already living a sustainable life to continue even more devotedly.

“It’s always possible to be more sustainable,” Micah Kenfield, sustainability programs adviser, wrote in an email. “(This week) is a great opportunity for us to focus on the efforts that our campus is doing to support sustainability efforts as part of a national movement run through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.”

In addition to Campus Sustainability Week, Kenfield said, “We’ve identified a number of key areas for us to grow over the coming years in our Climate Action Plan.” The Climate Action Plan is another iSEE program that is working to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

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Tim Mies, Director of Illinois Energy Farm, gave a tour of the farm and do a demonstration of the new biomass boiler on Monday. The boiler will be using grass grown at the University to heat the farm’s research greenhouse in the winter.

There will be a campus sustainability celebration at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on Wednesday, celebrating the achievements of the past year related to sustainability at Illinois. The celebration will include food, information booths and an award ceremony for Certified Green Offices and Facilities & Services’ Energy Conservation Incentive Program winners.

On Thursday, the Noyes Laboratory will host a screening of Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” that documents his fight against climate change following a live Q&A with Gore himself. 

To end the week, on Friday, an Eco Challenge food truck will be located near Grainger Engineering Library. Free food will be offered to those who engage with the renewable energy displays.

“While there’s always room for growth, the University of Illinois has shown an outstanding commitment to Sustainability, from the Chancellor’s office on down,” Kenfield said.

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