Inside Out

Project name: Inside out

Project time line: 1 year/continuous

Project Description: As students and teachers we spend a lot of time at university in class rooms but also in common spaces such as lounges and libraries. Although many of these common spaces have been renovated they still feel just as rigid and cold as the old brutalist buildings themselves. The solution I propose is to introduce more plants into the common spaces with wall potters and trellises. Indoor plants have any many benefits including cleaner air, stress reducing properties and increased productivity[1]. Having wall potters and terraces in the common spaces would bring a comforting environment to the stressful lives of hard studying students and teachers.

Preliminary Project Budget: $1200+




Carpools Welcome!

Lyft and Uber are the new modern carpool, but even on the app you have the option to take the ride by yourself without fellow commuters. So essentially, on the streets of the city, you have both taxis and “Uber taxis”. More cars on the roads could lead to longer commute times due to traffic, and even more air pollution. In 2013, it was estimated that over 85% of UIC students were commuters. If every commuting student brought their own car to school, that would be around 27, 500 vehicles competing for parking and congesting our streets.

Project Title: Discounted Parking for Carpools at UIC

Description: I am proposing discounted parking rates for students and faculty alike. As it stands today, those who park in the UIC lots are subject to pay between $4.50-13.00 depending on how long your stay at UIC is for the day. As an incentive, perhaps parking rates cut in half (or maybe less) would prompt members of the UIC community to pitch in to this fight against urban-based pollution. A similar initiative has already been implemented at the University of Chicago where even just two riders in one vehicle can be eligible for a specially-rated parking pass. Although, their reasoning behind this incentive is to simply reduce the amount of cars on campus. Hopefully, this can encourage commuters from near or far alike to evaluate their carbon footprint and participate in such solutions.

Timeline: Fall Semester (August-December) & Spring Semester (January-May) ; Breaks, holidays, and Summer Semester would be excluded

Proposed Budget: $6, 500 (if we choose to print physical parking passes)


Image result for carpooling saving the planet

(image taken from Pinterest)


“Rates & Fees”. University of Illinois at Chicago Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 2013,

“Carpooling”. The University of Chicago Safety & Security,

Gemma. “The many benefits of car-sharing and carpooling”. The Eco Guide, Accessed on 21 September 2017.

MyParkingPermit. MyParkingPermit, 2017,

“Is the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Really a Commuter School?” COMM2002013.wordpress, 23 April 2013,



Campus Housing: Modernized Laundry

After reviewing various sustainability initiatives that other academic institutions have implemented on their own campuses, I am now eager to apply some of those tactics right here at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). One main consideration that caught my eye was the idea of restructuring existing campus-living standards to be more inclusive of the environment. One way of doing that is by taking a fundamental aspect of our day-to-day lives and reconsidering the resources we use to get those chores done. With that being said, I propose the next generation of Campus Housing: Modernized Laundry Facilities.


Image Source: College Campus Laundry Solutions

Project Title: Campus Housing: Next-Level Laundry

Project Timeline: Updating 3 (of 15) Laundry Facilities per year for the next 5 years.

Project Description: Majority of existing campus facilities utilize the standard on/off light switch to power each individual room – and this is no different for any of the common, shared laundry spaces. Considering that many students only use the laundry facilities for a short period of time throughout their weeks, it does not make sense for these areas to be constantly lit. But, forgetfulness is still a matter of human nature and the chances of leaving the lights on within the rooms is high. Many people may not even realize that as they leave a laundry facility and forget to turn off the lights, that the lights may not be turned off for days. With that, I am proposing all Campus Housing Laundry Facilities be updated with motion-sensed light switches to regulate energy consumption in these spaces.

Another initiative would be replacing outdated washer/dryer machines and upgrading to front-loading systems. According to Tufts University’s Office of Sustainability, “Front-loading washing machines use: 40 to 60% less water, 30 to 50% less energy, and 50 to 70% less detergent than top-loaders” (Office of Sustainability, 1). With that, the University of Illinois at Chicago could save on both energy and water consumption, while students save on detergent prices. Being that students who live on-campus at UIC get free laundry services, energy-efficient/water-reducing machines would help combat excessive usage and make this sustainable effort more tangible.

Preliminary Project Budget:

  • ($$$) for updating electrical hardware components.
  • ($$$) for updated laundry/dryer machines.
  • ($$$) manual labor to put these changes into action.

Additional Information from Other Institutions & Sources for Blog Post:

  • Editor. “FSA Makes Campus Laundry Rooms More Sustainable.” Stony Brook University, 15 Apr. 2010,
  • “” Front-Loading Washing Machines – Office of Sustainability,
  • “OUR PHILOSOPHY IS BASED ON PARTNERSHIP.” College Campus Laundry Solutions | Laundry Room Equipment for Colleges and Universities,
  • Select a Laundry Room,
  • “Services.” Campus Housing,


A Good Three Dollars Worth

As we freshman enter this beautiful campus, we are overwhelmed by beauty and the vast new world UIC brings us. For the next four years many of us will call this home. A a place to live, learn and love. A place to grow. As we embark on a new journey, we also grow the campus itself. This is why I want to propose an underground garden. We all pay a sustainability fee of three dollars, minds well get our moneys worth!

Project Title: Walipini@UIC

Project Timeline: All year round!

Image result for walipini


Project Description: A walapini is an underground garden that produces veggies year round. It is a 6-8 foot deep hole, angling the sun, and the earth encloses it absorbing all sun rays, allowing the plants to grow. With this project we would be able to provide fresh fruits and veggies too all dining halls in UIC, and give vegans and vegetarians, and anyone who likes their veggies a nutritious way to eat.

Preliminary Budget: $300(Manual labor from US 130 class, and plastic sheeting, and plastic pipe)



Save Your Scraps!

Project Title: Campus Compost for the Heritage Garden

Project Timeline: Summer Semester- May through August during Heritage Garden Internship months

Project  Description: There will be eight compost bins set up at each of the eight garden locations around campus. The starting materials will be provided such as geobins, compost makers, and compost thermometers; additional materials can be provided by people on campus such as unwanted food scraps, wood chippings or grass clippings they see on the ground. The idea is to reduce food waste and encourage a clean campus while contributing to the healthy garden soil and the growth of the plants. Interns of the Heritage Garden will periodically water, layer, and aerate the compost piles every week or so throughout their summer internship. By fall semester, humus will be made and ready to use on the garden. Composting Guru

Preliminary Project Budget: $600

home-garden-compost-bin-364x400(Geobin Composting System)

BLOG 1 UIC Sustainability Fee Projects

Blog 1 UIC Sustainability Fee

My Urban Sustainability Impact: UIC Sustainability Fee

Since 2011, the UIC Sustainability Fee (formerly known as the Green Fee), a $3 per semester fee paid for by all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, provides a way to improve the quality of campus operations, reduce UIC’s environmental impact, and generate awareness about environmental and sustainable issues by creating opportunities for students’ involvement. The Sustainability Fee funds small, short-term projects, helps to subsidize larger, long-term projects on campus, and helps fund student travel to sustainability-related conferences. Review the Sustainability Fee website.


For additional information on previous projects: 2015-2016 UIC Sustainability Fee Report


Plastic Bag Tax

The City of Chicago has implemented a plastic bag tax in all grocery stores. Since February of this year, all grocery stores has been charging their customers $0.07 for each bag they use from them. The city will receive 5 cents and the retailers will get back 2 cents for each bag sold. In order to not to be taxed, customers would have to leave the store without one and carry their items out by hand or bring their own bags. This was bag tax ban was implemented in hopes of limiting the use of plastic bags that would usually just end up filling landfills and dumpsters. Is this tax working? Most people wont see this as an issue. Its a painless charge and people are willing to spend the extra few cents because its more convenient for them. The only other way I could think that would encourage others to bring their own bags is if we cut out all plastic bags completely. This isn’t the only tax the city has enforced. The water bottle tax is also in place for the same reasons, limit landfill waste.

Air Issues in Pilsen

Image result for air issues pilsen The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned about pollution in the Pilsen neighborhood area due to emission from by H Kramer & co. Their have been community concerns that the corporation has been violating the Clean Air Act and State Air pollution violations at firms brass smelting foundry in the Pilsen area.

To resolve this issue the EPA have required parametric monitoring to ensure that lead pollution control devices, pulse jet bag house filters, and High Efficiency Particulate Air  (HEPA) filters operate effectively. Ambient air monitors have been installed in the community although they are not required.

The use of parametric monitoring would be beneficial to communities in measuring the monthly ambient air quality in the community. This will help companies become mindful of the amount of emissions they put in the air, thus making them follow air quality regulations. This will also be beneficial to residents as they will know the air quality of the community they live in.

For future community issues the city government should first address the public through the media in letting the entire community know about the issues in their community. Next, the government should engage with that community about possible solutions to mitigate the problem. Lastly, they should resolve the issues in such away that doesn’t further harm the community or its surrounding environment.

The Paris Agreement

On October 5th, members of the UN met in Paris to discuss global warming and how we can hold our citizens accountable for fixing the environment they have taken advantage of. The first session of the Conference involving the Parties who agreed to the Paris Agreement took place in Marrakech, Morocco from 15-18 November 2016. Over 170 countries signed this agreement. According to the UNFCC , the agreements central focus is to strengthen the global recognition of the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen and expedite the ability of countries response to the impacts of climate change. “To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework”.

After the recent election, many countries are worried that the US will not stick to their agreement. President Trump, unfortunately, does not see these environmental issues as a priority of his presidency and this makes many feel hopeless.
Although, Many urban cities aim to use the treaty as inspiration to better their city into a more sustainable area. “Urban areas are at the center of converging global frameworks, not only the Paris Agreement on climate change but also the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September 2015, and the New Urban Agenda, adopted last month in Quito, Ecuador, at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – or Habitat III.” Other cities like those in Morroco and Ecuador are finding natural ways to develop their urban cities. If this movement continues to expand, with hopes that the US takes part, the Paris Treaty can really move the world towards sustainability.


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second left), UNFCCC”s Christiana Figueres (left), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and the president of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), and President François Hollande of France (right) celebrate the historic adoption of Paris Agreement. Photo: UNFCCC

Ten things you need to know about the Paris Treaty