Keeping It Green at Oakton

Your source for the most current sustainability news from Oakton Community College

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Doris Duke Conservation Scholars–Apply by February 8th

The School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan has launched a new program to introduce greater diversity into the environmental conservation workforce. The program is funded by a generous grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program (DDCSP) teaches an approach to conservation in which diversity and inclusion are integral. The first cohort of Doris Duke Conservation Scholars – to be named in April 2016 – will comprise 20 undergraduate students chosen through a nation-wide competition.
The multi-year program provides participants with an immersive learning experience on and around the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as in other parts of the state. The curriculum incorporates minority history, culture, and experiences into students’ understanding of conservation practices.
Participants will complete eight weeks of lab research at SNRE’s facilities in June/July 2016, as well as an eight-week internship at an area environmental organization the following year. Each scholarship provides for travel expenses, room and board, a $4,000 stipend, and a $250 discretionary supplement per summer.
Successful applicants must demonstrate a passion for conservation, nature, and the environment, and must desire a career aligned with that passion. By February 8, 2016, applicants must complete an online application form and three essay questions, and secure two letters of recommendation.
For more information about the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, please contact Dr. Dorceta E. Taylor ( Information is also available at

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Part-time Restoration Technician Position–Apply Now!

The Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy has a part time (16 hrs/week) Restoration Technician position open at our Indian Boundary Prairies Preserve in Markham, IL.  If you can take a moment to consider your contacts and networks and forward the information below to help us reach a wider audience, that would be much appreciated.


For details, visit The Nature Conservancy’s career page.  Note, to search for the specific posting number.


  1. Restoration Technician – Posting #43720

The Restoration Technician performs and participates in nature preserve operations, maintenance and management.

Must have:  High School diploma and six months related experience.


Please refer candidates to the career page .


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Student Conservation Association–Full Time Coordinator Position


Job Description:

America’s #1 conservation service organization seeks a Partnership Development Coordinator at our Chicago office. The Student Conservation Association (SCA), a national force of conservation volunteers, has an exciting opportunity in our Program Department.

Primary Responsibilities:
Serves as initial point of contact for SCA partners and interns by providing knowledge, solutions and guidance. Identifies and cultivates new partners. Ensures quality responsiveness and seamless constituent experiences through interdepartmental communication and collaboration. This position ensures quality and consistency in member and partner support and retention while implementing Innovation Engineering (IE) guiding principles.

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Solar Academy Dates for 2016

This is a great chance to build on skills and make yourself more marketable with training in renewable energy and solar installation!

Solar Training Academy Announced for 2016!

Four locations; Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Normal, IL, Dubuque, IA

63 hours of training from January to May one weekend per month.

Course Description: The MREA’s Solar Training Academy is a series of weekend classes that walks students through the PV design and installation process. The format of the Solar Training Academy will be MREA’s class progression that will include Basic Photovoltaics, PV Site Assessor, Intermediate PV, PV Design Lab and PV Sales and Finance.

Classes will be held one weekend each month beginning in January and concluding in early May. Topics of this training will cover PV equipment selection, utility intertied and battery based systems, batteries, mechanical and electrical integration, PV design,PV residential site assessment, National Electric Code, system commissioning, and solar financials. Participation in the Solar Training Academy will also include opportunities to meet with professionals in the solar industry.

MN, IA, IL focus is on the design process, how to competently design a code compliant system. These classes do have hands-on components, but do not install a system. Milwaukee focus is the installation process. This class will decommission and reinstall a solar electric system on our training roof in Milwaukee.

Training follows the MREA class progression and includes opportunities to meet with professionals in the solar industry; Basic PV 101, PV Site Assessor PV 201, Intermediate PV 205, PV Design and Installation Lab or PV Design Lab PV 301 and PV Sales and Finance PV 203. At the conclusion of training students will qualify to sit for the NABCEP Entry Level Exam, and if the complete work outside of class MREA PV Site Assessor Exam and MREA PV Design and Sales Exam.


  • $2,200 Member
  • $2,250 non-member

Prerequisites: None

Contact Clay Sterling,, 715-592-6595 ext. 110

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Waste at Oakton Community College-Part Two in a Three Part Series by Paul Slocum–Sustainability Research Student Worker

Waste at Oakton Community College

(Part Three in a Three Part Series by Paul Slocum–Sustainability Research Student Worker)

A growing concern within our own institution is a current lack of systems to efficiently divert Oakton’s various wastes from the landfill. Hauling costs and landfill fees—services provided to us by Waste Management— continually inflate as Oakton’s student body grows and our volume of waste increases. The most harmful form of Oakton’s refuse may be food scraps, as they become a significant source of methane when rotting in the landfill. In fact, according to the EPA- methane is: “A potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide”. The essential problem defining Oakton’s food diversion issues, and on a broader scale the United States, is that we throw too much food away. Uneaten food that ends up in landfills throughout the country “accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions” (Natural Resources Defense Council). Further, roughly 40% of all foods sold for consumption in the United States goes uneaten and ends up as trash (NRDC). Oakton’s Skokie and Des Plaines Campuses both have food service centers, and together they end up landfilling 22 tons of just food scraps every year. This figure is based on an audit done by Patrick Engineering Co. over the course of 2014-15 which accurately estimated Oakton’s volume of wastes in several different categories. These extra hauling costs and landfill fees derived from the 22 tons of food scraps Oakton throws out annually are expenses that could completely be avoided. The reason why we are still paying for Waste Management landfill our foodwaste is simply because Oakton currently does not have any systems in place to deal with it.

This is why in Oakton’s Sustainability Department employees are now working towards developing programs to implement at Oakton’s campuses targeting food waste directly. Various options are being explored– including composting systems, renewable silverware/dishware providers, and educational tools to make students aware of what to do with their lunch leftovers.