Fall 2016 Blog Assignments

Blog Assignment 1

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.

Identify one (1) new potential Sustainability Fee project idea and develop a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) blog.

Review the entire Sustainability Fee website, including the application process & funding criteria, rules and restrictions, and previously funded projects. The blog assignment must include the following requirements of the Sustainability Fee LOI application: 1) Project Title, 2) Project Timeline, 3) Project Description, and 4) Preliminary Project Budget. Do not include your first name, last name or netid when posting the blog.

BLOGS Due 10 PM on 09/11

COMMENTING ON BLOG #1 due by 10 PM 9/16

  1. Provide comments on two (2) blog posts written by your classmates on potential project ideas in which you would be interested in participating and submitting an actual LOI (perhaps together as a group.)
  2. Provide comments on two (2) other blog posts to provide valuable feedback and information, which helps develop a real LOI for that classmate’s potential project idea.


2015-2016 UIC Sustainability Fee Report


Blog Assignment 2

Urban Sustainability, Energy & Public Health

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons


Environmental impact is one factor that contributes to public health issues, especially in urban areas, where there are large concentrations of people. Chicago, a large metropolitan area, has its own set of public health concerns that goes beyond its city limits and even crosses state lines.


Identify a specific public health concern as it relates to energy and urban sustainability in the Chicago area and suggest an informed, sustainable solution to alleviate/mitigate the problem.

Think about the following questions and address at least two of them:

1) What would be the best course of action and who would be affected?

2) Why would this plan be beneficial and how would it relate to urban sustainability?

3) How should a city government prioritize in order to address health-related and environmental/energy bottlenecks?


BLOGS Due 6 PM on 10/07

COMMENTING ON BLOG 2 due by 6 PM 10/14



Blog Assignment 3

Science, Innovation & Technology for Urban Sustainability

Science, innovation and technology are important components of urban sustainability. They can provide solutions from the high-technology end to retrofitting, biomimicry, and more basic, inexpensive and readily-available technologies and planning approaches. Information and communication technologies (ICTs), and urban science and data can play key roles to solve urban challenges without expensive infrastructure requirements.

Identify an urban innovation project in any city in the world.

Think about the following questions and address one of them: 1) What role does this urban innovation project have for the city’s sustainable development goals? 2) What are the project’s sustainability outcomes and what methods/plans are they implementing to make the project a success? (Use valid examples to support your claim.) or 3) How does the project address all 5 factors for sustainable development (environment, economics, social equity, energy and health)?

BLOGS Due 6 PM on 11/04

COMMENTING ON BLOG 3 due by 6 PM 11/11




Blog Assignment 4

Environmental Policy/Regulations for Urban Sustainability

NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans

NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans

Environmental Policy has been a rising sector in laws and regulation. On a federal level, the EPA is responsible for dealing with environmental policy and U.S. regulations regarding the environment. On a state and regional level, regulations become more specific to cater to that area’s specific needs.

Identify an environmental/sustainable policy or regulation in Chicago.

Think about the following questions and address at least two of them: 1) What is its purpose and what issues prompted the rule to be put into effect in the first place? 2) Has the history or implementation of the regulation changed over time? 3) Has it been productive? If yes, in what ways? If not, what can be done to encourage people to abide by these regulations? 4) How do urban and national politics intersect around environmental issues?

BLOGS Due 6 PM on 11/18

COMMENTING ON BLOG 3 due by 6 PM 11/26





3 thoughts on “Fall 2016 Blog Assignments

  1. ijarad3

    Project Title:
    Carpool to Campus

    Project Timeline:
    Throughout both Spring and Fall Semesters
    Get in touch with students who live within driving distance of each other
    Create a space where car pooling students can park going to and from campus

    Project Description:

    Here at UIC, it is well known that the students here are generally made up of commuters who travel daily to and from school. Some drive, some take public transportation, and others bike or walk, etc. The purpose of this project is to focus on those who drive to school every day, and to consolidate and limit the amounts of waste and pollution released into the air by reducing the amount of vehicles on the road. Vehicle traffic has been deemed as “one of the greatest challenges facing cities all over the world”. One small and simple way to combat this problem, with students headed in the same direction anyways, would be for them to go together, especially if both use a car as the main method of commuting.

    Preliminary Project Budget:

    Costs would depend on gas prices and the cost of maintaining the particular car. However, carpooling would save gas and also provide an opportunity for individuals to also split the costs of gas between however many people are in the car.



  2. Imagine a world where humanity is at war with nature. With a fast growing population the needs of the human species may seemingly outweigh the needs of all other life on earth. The fact of the matter is no one was ready for this, so everyone is at fault. Unfortunately at our current rate we are barreling towards towards this harsh barren future. This day is quickly approaching, mostly because “changes in human population densities and land cover that are so rapid that we lag behind in understanding the process and its consequences”(Henrik). We can no longer throw money at problems or give fish to the starving. It is time for us to teach our students, alumni, and community members, not how to fish but how to plant. I am proposing we use a combination of the urban sustainability fee and community recycling power in order to erect a vision which i’d like to call… The UIC hanging gardens. As close as we are to the west side of Chicago it is important we set premier examples of how people can help themselves. In areas of high poverty, crime and food deserts “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys” (Finley,2013). We need to improve the quality of life around our school and the best way to do this is with “a unifying language that cuts across age and income and culture that will help people themselves find a new way of living, see spaces around them differently, think about the resources they use differently, interact differently” (Warhurst, 2012)

    The time is now to exemplify the virtues of ambition and strong communal values. I propose the UIC sustainability fee funds a massive project to purchase 2 liters of soda to repurpose them as planters and starts by hanging them on all the insides walls of the quad. With organizations cycling through volunteer shifts we can surely grow hundreds of pounds of food while simultaneously inviting the community to grow our project at their own will. No matter what we do to increase sustainability and healthy food production, and by extension sustenance, “the traditional paradigm of planning for a predictable future is not only insufficient, but it may, in some ways, also be destructive” (Henrik).

    This project will increase the sense of community in and around our school as well as provide students and neighbors alike to grow their own food while meeting promising ambitious people like themselves and allowing for extensive networks of people who care enough to build imperial relationships. I’d like to believe that this will inspire all great institutions, organizations and businesses’ to do the same

    The initial cost for this project would be between 1000$ and 1300$. We could buy an initial 250 bottles at about 2$ each and then purchasing nutritious soil (300$), rope (150$), and inexpensive hanging materials (250$). As our project blooms more and more people will have a sense of longing to be a part of that community and at critical mass the project would bring our most ambitious green thumbs. This will save students money by allowing them to grow their own food. As one urban farmer Ron Finley once said “ Growing your own food is like printing your own money.” (Finley, 2013)

    The projected timeframe for this project would be one farming cycle at a time. With returning volunteers, community members, and gardeners i believe it could grow into something much bigger than our campus. With time it could be funded by every person who is interested so long as we provide them the venue to do so.


    Henrik Ernstson, Sander E. van der Leeuw, Charles L. Redman, Douglas J. Meffert, George Davis, Christine Alfsen, Thomas Elmqvis. “Urban Transitions: On Urban Resilience and Human-Dominated Ecosystems”. AMBIO.28 Sep 2009.https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/urban-resilence-and-human-dominated-ecosystems_ernston-et-al.pdf. Sep 11 2016.

    Finley.Ron (Feb.2013)[ A guerilla gardner in south central L.A].https://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la?language=en

    Warhurst.Pam (May.2012) [How we can eat our landscapes].


  3. UIC Boxed Water Initiative:

    Project Description:

    The processes involved in the consumption and manufacturing of bottled (plastic) water have proven to have very adverse affects on the environment, that is why the boxed water initiative could play a simple, yet major role in overhauling the campuses efficiency when it comes to sustainability efforts in regards to water consumption.

    Project Timeline:

    – 6 months to One Year – to overhaul UIC’s beverage/food contracts with current water distributors to switch to the Boxed Water Initiative. This would include finding ways to delineate and manage reasonable pricing and distribution throughout the campus.
    – By the Fall 2017 term, all UIC food/beverage vendors would either be in the process or switched over to the Boxed Water vendor.
    – This initiative would/could align with other campus wide movements around using reusable water bottles and more sustainable efforts when drinking water.

    Project Budget: Estimated $1,000 dollars. The cost per box is slightly higher than per bottle of water so in order to make the purchasing of boxed water campus wide, efforts to decrease the price/cost point would need to be pursued (An uptick in cost would be assumed). In addition, the UIC Boxed Water initiative could work in accordance with the Retree project to plant trees around UIC’s campus; this would be done through UIC students posting their use of the Boxed Water brand and for every mention via social media the Retree Project would work with the University to replant trees across the campus. In theory not only would UIC rid itself of excessive water bottle waste, but it could promote further green efforts through partnering with the Retree Project.



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