News Archive

Fall 2015

Office of Sustainability Year in Review

Highlighted projects and initiatives resulting from the Office’s collaboration and research activities are presented here. This list is a brief overview of just a handful of initiatives the Office of Sustainability tackled this year.


Office of Sustainability offers programs and policies to reduce UChicago’s environmental footprint

Office of Sustainability offers programs and policies to reduce UChicago’s environmental footprint


Summer 2015

Plastic bag ban begins August 1

Plastic Bag ban goes into effect beginning August 1, 2015. 


Fresh off the Press: Office of Sustainability Streamlines Website Homepage

Fresh off the Press: Office of Sustainability streamlines website homepage


Facilities Services’ Barry O’Quinn Tops 2015 Bike Commuter Challenge

Barry O'Quinn rode almost 400 miles in order to become the top Chicago rider for the Bike Commuter Challenge. Click above to learn more about his experience.


The University of Chicago joins the 2015 Bike Commuter Challenge

The University of Chicago is joining once again in a competition between more than 650 businesses and organizations in order to boost awarenes of the health and environmental benefits of bicycling. Click above to learn more!


Spring 2015

Spring-Clean and be Green: E-Waste Collection Drive

Do you live in housing? The Office of Sustainability is bringing E-waste recycling to the dormitories!


University’s commitment to curb GHG emissions takes center stage at Earth Fest 2015

Come to the seventh annual EarthFest and learn about the work being done at the Office of Sustainability while trying out some hands-on experiments!


E-Waste Recycling

The Office of Sustainability and IT Services have coordinated our recycling efforts to make E-waste recycling easier than ever! Click above to find out how you can recycle your E-waste.


Bike2Campus Week 2015: Get on two wheels!

Twelve Chicago Universities are coming together for a friendly bike competition this week. Click above to find out how you can compete and win prizes, including a year-long Divvy membership!


Consider the Vegetable: Pledge the VEG

Your diet can help to reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions - so this week, Pledge the VEG!


Winter 2015

One Earth Film Festival

University of Chicago partners in film festival to raise awareness of climate challenges and opportunities for action.


Green Valentine’s Day

Do you want to enjoy your Valentine's Day without damaging the environment? The Office of Sustainability explains how.


Fall 2014

Go Green Over Winter Break

The Office of Sustainability wants to wish you happy, sustainable holidays - so we brought you some tips to help make your celebrations more green this year!


2014 Winter Break Power Down

Winter Break is almost upon us, which means you finally have the opportunity to relax. Have you made sure your electronics do, too?


Recycles Winter Hibernation

As of December 1, the Recycles fleet will be hibernating for the winter. The bikes will reappear when the weather outside is less frightful and more bike-delightful. 


Mike Stopka joins Facilities Services as director of sustainability unit

The Office of Sustainability is pleased to welcome Mike Stopka to the team as its new Director.


Spring 2014

Shred-A-Thon 2014

The Office of Sustainability partnered with Fourth Ward Ald. William Burns to bring e-waste recycling to the center stage.


Flatware: Reusable or Disposable?

How does the sustainability-minded student choose their utensils at gatherings? Freddy explains how.


Bike Commuter Challenge

The University of Chicago joined in a competition between more than 650 businesses and organizations in order to boost awarenes of the health and environmental benefits of bicycling. Click above to learn more!


Sixth annual Earth Fest spotlights local food

The sixth annual EarthFest brought together the University community to showcase the work of both students and local businesses in going green and promoting sustainability.


Bike2Campus Week: Ride, Record, Reward

Ten Chicago-area schools are coming together for a friendly cycling competition. Click above to see how you can track your trips and get rewarded for your bike-toting ways. The grand prize is a  four year Divvy membership!


Ask Ignacio: Cars vs. Motorcycles

It's nearly spring- but maybe you should think twice before you choose your motorcycle over your car. Ignacio tells all.


recycles program resumes Monday, April 7

Time to dust off that helmet and hit the bike lanes- recycles is back for Spring and ready to hit the ground cycling.


Consider the Vegetable: Veg Week 2014

Did you sign the pledge? Find out what was trending during VegWeek 2014.  Hint: it wasn't meat.


Winter 2014

It’s VegWeek 2014!

Bill Clinton. Mike Tyson. Betty White. Christian Bale. Carrie Underwood. They’re all famous, and none of them eat meat. This week, we invite you to join their ranks. That’s right ladies and gentlemen - it’s #UChicagoVegWeek 2014!


Staying Green While Dining Out

You’ve taken the Veg Pledge and you’re feeling pretty confident in your grocery store choices. But… how do you know if the food you order in a restaurant is environmentally preferable? 


March of the Fun Food Facts

How much carbon does it take to grow a carrot? How much water is embedded in a burger? Sustainability staffer Christy Perera takes a look at the impacts of the foods we eat.


Ask Ignacio: Green Chicago River

How on Earth do they turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day each year? Ignacio let's us know what's up - and whether we should be concerned.


And the Nominees for “Best Spring Events” Are…

This cold snap has been rough - time to warm up with some cocoa and the Office of Sustainability spring events calendar! We’ve taken full advantage of these long, cold days to plan a fabulous line up of events. We must have done it on an empty stomach, because we are ALL about food this year.


Spotlight: Program on the Global Environment

Believe it or not, it’s just about time to select Spring Quarter classes, and as usual, incredible options abound for UChicago students. Click through to see what PGE has to offer!


Meet Maalik: recycles’ Jack-of-All-Trades

Maalik Gardner joined the University of Chicago as an intern with the Office of Sustainability in 2012. Click to read about his journey from bike messenger to intern to recycles guru!


Ask Ignacio: Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year again. Beloved by some, loathed by others. Ignacio helps us keep it sustainable this Valentine’s Day!


Introducing: Your 2014 SAGE Committees

We are proud to announce that this year's SAGE Ambassador Committees: Local Food, RSO Roundtable, and Earth Fest 2014! Click to learn more.


Ask Ignacio: Sustainable Resolutions

A new year means resolutions. Ignacio shows you how to boost your karma by remembering the three "Rs" - in their proper order!


Fall 2013

Winter Power Down

The mercury is dipping and the snow is falling - it may not be December 21st yet, but winter is upon us! The Winter Power Down is a campus-wide initiative to reduce unnecessary energy consumption during University breaks. So before you zip that suitcase, click to learn more about reducing your energy use while you're away.


New Staff in the Office of Sustainability

We’ve added a new member to the Sustainability crew — meet Berkley Rothmeier, our new Engagement Coordinator!


Ask Ignacio: Coats

Down and synthetics and wool  - oh my! Ignacio walks us through the environmental impacts of our winter wear - and the choices we can make to reduce them.


Sustainability gets a new home on 53rd Street

We've gone even greener and moved into the LEED Gold certified Harper Court building!


Ask Ignacio: Coffee

Maybe you love your morning cup of joe- but what is it doing to the planet? Ignacio tells how you can make the best java choices.


Become a SAGE Czar!

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a SAGE Czar!! Become the sustainability super hero in your Residential House.


Office of Sustainability Rolls Out New SAGE Certification

Think your office is green? Can you certify that? Now you can!


Sustainability Gets an Online Makeover

Introducing our new website! Check it out today.


Ask Ignacio: Ivy

Ask and you shall receive. This month Ignacio calms your worries about vines on campus. Are they dangerous or harmless?


Spring 2013

Bike to Work Week 2013: Get on two wheels!

Get pumped to ride your bike to work! Chicago's Bike Commuter Challenge is June 8-14.


The Natural Choice for Hair

Octavia Hooks, a recent graduate of the Graham School Leadership in Sustainability Management program and hair salon owner, is on a mission to promote and provide natural hair care services to her local community.


Ask Ignacio: The Strings that Bind

Are natural fibers like cotton actually more sustainable than synthetic fibers like polyester?


Earth Week 2013: THE CLIMATE GAMES

You've been selected as a tribute in this year's Climate Games! Climate is our theme for this year's Earth Week activities.


E-waste Collection: Coming Soon to a Bin Near You!

Come one, come all to free electronics recycling


Great Adventures to the Recycling Plant

What gets recycled? The truth about what goes into blue bins.


Ask Ignacio: The Future of Food

How will climate change affect what we eat?


Uncle Sony wants YOU to get your Office, Undergraduate House, or Lab SAGE Certified

The Office of Sustainability has created a certification suite to recognize your efforts.


Ask Ignacio: Something Noteworthy

Taking notes? Laptop or paper - what is more sustainable?


Spring Back into Biking

Only YOU can prevent bike accidents.


Winter 2013

Ask Ignacio: Greenwash

What does 'Green' really mean on a product?


Trees Rejoice as UChicago Reduces Paper Waste

Financial Services plans to reduce production of payroll documents.


Consider the Vegetable: A Pledge to Go Veg

SAGE Dining committee hosts Vegweek.


Ask Ignacio: Spring Break Edition

Going somewhere for Spring Break?


Setting our eyes on the local food prize

Research study to explore local food possibilities


UChicago Dining: Reducing our carbon footprint one meal swipe at a time

Dining halls feature composting and other projects.


Ask Ignacio: Valentine’s Edition

Can love kill? Dun dun dun...


Navigating the Winter Wonderland on Two Wheels

Stay safe on the icy roads - tips from Maalik, our resident bike mechanic.


Trash or Treasure: University of Chicago conducts a comprehensive waste audit

UChicago's first waste audit reveals that nearly half of our waste is misplaced.


It’s never too Cold for Veggie Tales

Bears may hibernate in winter, but veggies don't.


Campus e-waste collection: great success!

The University came together to collect almost 16,000 pounds of e-waste!


recycles: Breaking for Winter and Returning in Spring!

recycles bike share is hibernating for the Winter.


Ask Ignacio: Natural vs. Plastic Trees

Which type of tree is better for Earth?


Fall 2012

E-waste Recycling: Coming to a box near you!

University-wide e-waste collection coming the week of Nov 12-16


SAGE Ambassadors are pumped up and ready for green action!

Back on campus and back in action, SAGE ambassadors are making a lean, green UChicago.


Office of Sustainability attends Higher Ed Conference in LA

The AASHE conference in LA provided great opportunities for the office to learn, network, and share its successes.


Ask Ignacio: Water Bottle Amnesia

What's better: reusing a disposable bottle vs. buying a reuseable bottle?


Meet the New Sustainability Team!

Learn more about the winning team behind the scenes of sustainability on campus.


Ask Ignacio: Is Organic Food Really Worth It?

Stanford study says, organic food is not more nutritious. Ignacio says, "SO?"


FS’s Grounds Crew Volunteers at Local Farm

Members of Facilities Services' Grounds Crew visited Washington Park's Perry Street Farm and helped  till soil with U of C alum and entrepaneur, Ken Dunn.


Spring 2012

511th Convocation to feature Lake Michigan’s finest

Sustainable drinking water options will help to reduce bottled water purchases by 85% since 2010. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottle to fill at the water stations, which will be located  throughout the Main Quad.


Third annual recycling event collects over 36,000 pounds of e-waste

Hundreds of University and community members brought e-waste to the event, from computers and vacuums to DVD players and cell phones.


Second Annual SAGE Social celebrates sustainability successes

SAGE Social honors sustainability supporters from across campus and recognizes the integration of sustainability into the University's values.


Van Jones urges students not to “overthink” activism

At a special session with UChicago student groups, Jones advised student activists and shared anecdotes from his own experience.


UChicago gears up for third annual Bike to Work Week and joins National Bike Challenge

This free event encourages employees to bike part or all of the way to work at least once during the week of June 9 - 15. UChicago participants will compete for a variety of prizes, including a one-year membership to Zipcar!


UChicago featured in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges”

Published each year, the guide profiles institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in four areas—their academic offerings, campus facilities, student activities, and career preparation.


Sun shines for Earth Fest 2012

More than 300 students, staff, and community members celebrated the annual festival with a photo booth, food trucks, a flash mob, and more!


Earth Week 2012: Recreate

One man's trash is another man's treasure. What will you recreate during Earth Week this year?


Free campus-wide recycling collection May 14-18

Do you have an old TV sitting in your basement, a box of old cell phones, or some broken computer speakers? Bring these and many other items to one of our campus drop-off locations May 14–18, or our free recycling event on Friday, May 18th. Last year, we recycled over 43,000 pounds!


Sustainability gains foothold on campus

The Office of Sustainability makes great strides towards reducing the environmental impact of campus operations with support from partners.


Winter 2012

University encourages more sustainable drinking options

New water supplier supports University-wide effort to address environmental impacts of water consumption.


University publishes inaugural greenhouse gas inventory

The full report provides a comprehensive review of the results of the University's first greenhouse gas emissions inventory.


On the Grounds in the winter

University Grounds Crew uses sustainable products to keep paths clear of snow and ice, protecting plants and people.


Students green Chicago restaurants in new environmental economics course

Through rigorous research, review, and analysis, students create a green certification for the Chicago Green Restaurant Coalition.


Revamped Sustainability Council gets to work

The Council discusses the strategic sustainability plan, their vision for the recently revamped advisory body, and projects they would like to work on this year, particularly climate planning.


Fall 2011

Campus collection sites overflow with e-waste

University staff, faculty, and students recycled over 16,000 pounds of e-waste during the University's weeklong e-waste recycling collection in November.


2011 Winter Break Power Down

For the third consecutive year, UChicago powers down electronics during Winter Break to reduce unnecessary energy consumption.


University honored for Grounds Management

UChicago recognized for grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, including demonstrated sustainable practices and methods.


Free campus-wide e-waste recycling November 7th - 11th

Do you have old calculators or computer cords stashed in your desk drawer, an old refrigerator, or some broken computer speakers? Bring these and many other items to our campus recycling collection taking place November 7th-11th. Drop off locations include Ratner Athletics Center, Regenstein Library, and Social Service Administration.


New role for Sustainability Council, new opportunities to get involved

Council's role expands to include advising the Office of Sustainability on strategic initiatives, programs, and policies.


Summer 2011

23 UChicago teams compete in Bike to Work Week

Entering its second year of operation, the UChicago bike share program expands fleet and opens program to alumni.UChicago saw a 77% increase in department participation from last year.


Spring 2011

E-waste recycling event sets record

University and community members recycled over 43,000 pounds of electronic waste at May event.


SAGE spreads culture of sustainability

First annual SAGE Social celebrates campus sustainability champions and recognizes the growing culture of sustainability on campus.


Don’t trash that! Donate reusable items during move out

Moving out of the House System? Through Friday, June 10th, simply drop off unwanted items in your dorm and they'll be donated to the Salvation Army.


Bike to Work Week 2011

Challenge your department to participate in Bike to Work Week, June 11th -17th!


New life for an old building

A case study of the Young Memorial Building renovation project: How a seven-month long project breathed new life into an old building, making it a happier, healthier, and more sustainable place to work.


Free campus-wide e-waste recycling event May 13th

Do you have an old TV sitting in your basement, a box of old cell phones, or some broken computer speakers? Bring these and many other items to our free recycling event on Friday, May 13th in the Kimbark Gravel Lot (located between 60th and 61st on Kimbark Ave.) between 8am – 1pm. Last year, we recycled over 20,000 pounds!


Earth Week 2011: Children of the Corn

This year's theme was Food: You are what you eat. Do you know what you are? Playing off the horror flick "Children of the Corn," we highlighted the prevalence of corn in our food.


UChicago honored for bicycle friendliness

The University receives Honorable Mention in the first-ever Bicycle Friendly University designation.


Winter 2011

House System simplifies recycling

When students return from Winter Break, they will be greeted with a new-and-improved recycling system in the House System. Beginning January 2, 2011, all recyclable items may be deposited into any recycling container on campus or in the dorms.


Fall 2010

University approves Sustainable Building Policy

Effective immediately, the University policy requires that all new campus and medical center buildings over $5 million be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.


Students launch composting pilot in Cobb Café

Julie Huang ’12 and Claire Feinberg ’12 have used money awarded to them by the Uncommon Fund to a very trashy end. The two friends are committed to bringing composting practices, already in the residential dining halls, to the student body.


From trees to furniture

A case study of how trees from the Mansueto Library construction site were put to purposeful re-uses in the Regenstein.


Office of Sustainability unveils upgraded newsletter

The Office of Sustainability has upgraded its monthly newsletter in an effort to provide more information in an easy-to-read format. With our newsletter’s bright new look, the Office has expanded options that will enable recipients to specify the types of sustainability communications that they would like to receive.


recycles reaches first anniversary

Marking its first anniversary, recycles got a brand new website, a new bike share location, and improved bike maintenance thanks to a new intern from Blackstone Bicycle Works.


recycles re-registration required

All recycles users will be required to re-register for the program with their CNetID beginning Monday, September 20th. Re-registration takes less than two minutes; please note that you will be unable to check out a bike until you have re-registered.


Summer 2010

University departments compete in Bike to Work Week

A total of 13 teams from the University of Chicago participated in this year’s Bike to Work Week, the most of any university. Despite the sporadic thunder storms and humid temperatures during the week of June 12 - 18, over 100 employees cycled to work at least once during the week.


Spring 2010

Earth Week 2010 is coming!

Taking inspiration from the Asian carp invasion, water is the focus of this year’s Earth Week festivities. We hope that the events will foster awareness of water and personal actions, as well as probe policy questions while providing background from a humanities perspective.


UChicago featured in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges”

The University of Chicago is one of the country’s most environmentally-responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The nationally-known education services company selected the University of Chicago for inclusion in a unique resource it has created for college applicants - “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges.”


Free campus-wide recycling event May 7th

Do you have an old TV sitting in your basement that you’ve been waiting to get rid of? Or perhaps some broken computer speakers that you didn’t know how to dispose of? Bring these and many other hard-to-recycle items to our free recycling event on Friday, May 7th, 8am-2pm in the Pierce Parking lot (located at E 55th St and S Greenwood Ave).


Winter 2010

Hammond Project to turn waste into wealth

Buying a share in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to receive fresh produce while supporting local farmers.


Financing Farm to Fork Conference: March 11th

The March 11th conference sponsored by the Booth School of Business aims to grow the sustainable and local foods movement by encouraging investment in farm and food production, processing, and distribution businesses.


UChicago alums assist disaster relief in Haiti

EarthSpark is working to mobilize over 20,000 solar lamps to be distributed by on-the-ground relief organizations in Haiti.


Sustainability Council holds Indoor Gardening and Sprouting workshop

Julia Govis, Master Gardener and International Organic Farm Inspector, demonstrated last week how our University could be a little greener even in the depths of Winter.


U.N. Copenhagen Climate Change Conference: report-back from Harris School student Kyle Gracey

Having attended the U.N. Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December, Kyle Gracey – a dual master’s student in The Harris School of Public Policy Studies and the Physical Sciences Division– reports back on the experience and offers his perspective of the conference’s outcomes.