Keeping It Green at Oakton

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


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Eclipse 2017: Check it out on campus!

On Monday, August 21, 2017 we will have the awesome opportunity to observe a solar eclipse. What an amazing way to celebrate the first day of classes for Fall semester! Though our area is not in the path of totality (where the moon completely covers the sun), we will be able to see about 86% coverage.  If you plan to be on campus that day, please join us in viewing this awe-inspiring sight.

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(image copyright bigstockphoto.com/Solarseven)

In our area, the eclipse will begin around 11:53am and end around 2:41 pm with maximum coverage around 1:19pm. Members of Oakton faculty and staff will be available with approved safety solar eclipse glasses** on both campuses from 12:45pm through 2:00pm.

Des Plaines Campus: Walkway between the Lee Center and the Enrollment Center entrance of the main building.

Skokie Campus: Near the flagpole on the Mulford side of the building.

We hope you’ll join us for this amazing experience! If you cannot make it, you can check out a live stream of the eclipse from Astronomy Magazine here. And you’ll also be able to note a drop in our energy generation from our solar panels on campus!

**Please remember that looking directly at the sun even when it is is 86% covered is NOT safe and you could suffer long-term vision damage if you do not take proper precautions. Only use ISO 12312-2 certified glasses from reputable vendors for viewing the eclipse or utilize indirect methods such as pinhole viewers to observe the changing shadows instead. Pinhole viewers, regular sunglasses, or film are not suitable for direct viewing of the sun! This short video from the American Astrological Society (AAS) is super helpful for understanding the eclipse and associated safety precautions. **


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New Solar Array on Skokie’s Campus and Opportunity to Learn about Solar Energy!

When President Joianne Smith signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge in December 2015, Oakton Community College joined over 200 higher education institutions committed to climate action.  One of Oakton’s commitments as part of that pledge was recently realized with the addition of a 25kW photovoltaic array at its Skokie campus.  Installation of the roof-mounted system, consisting of approximately 80 solar panels, was completed on June 20.

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Since the system has been operational, it has generated 5.27MWh of energy, enough to power more than 15,000 light bulbs for one day. This helps to prevent roughly 3,700 kilograms of carbon dioxide being released into the environment, equivalent to planting 201 trees. Incorporating renewable energy is one important way of reducing the college’s impact on the environment, but it is also something that is of high value to our students, who regularly tell us this is an area they hope the college continues to pursue.

For students interested in learning more about the technology involved in arrays like this one, Oakton is offering a Fundamentals of Solar Energy Systems course (ELT 154) on Wednesday evenings this Fall. Registration for this course is open until September 6, 2017. In addition to the new solar array, the Skokie campus is home to a test system that is easily accessible for enrolled students and provides them with hands-on experience working with solar panels. This course can be used to meet requirements for the Environmental Studies Concentration.

Live data from the solar array will soon be incorporated into the college’s existing Energy Dashboard which can be found on Oakton’s website. For now though, the data can be found here: https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/site/public?name=Oakton Community College Skokie Campus#/dashboard

We hope you’ll check it out!

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Electric Vehicle Charging at Oakton!

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We are thrilled to announce Oakton’s first electric vehicle charging station has been installed on the Des Plaines campus.  Located in Lot D near our LEED Gold certified Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center, this dual Chargepoint system will allow students, employees, and community members a convenient way to refuel their electric vehicles when they visit campus.  Electric vehicle purchases are growing globally and in the U.S. and Oakton is excited to support the push towards greener transportation. Within the first hour of use, we already had drivers waiting to utilize the system!

 

 

(Above: Chargepoint dual charging station, two electric vehicles charging; Below: Professor David Arieti shows off his Chargepoint card while fueling up his electric vehicle.)

There are many benefits to driving electric vehicles. Here are a few from the U.S. Department of Energy:

  1. Energy Security–With 24% of petroleum coming from outside of the country, use of electric vehicles can reduce our dependence on imported petroleum and increase energy security.
  2. Fuel Economy–The efficient nature of electric vehicle motors mean drivers can get more miles per kWh than the equivalent mpg with gas.
  3. Infrastructure Availability–Because electric vehicles can be charged in a number of places like home or work, there is flexibility to fill up when and where it is convenient. There are currently over 35,000 Chargepoint stations alone!
  4. Costs–Although initial costs for buying electric vehicles are still relatively high, tax incentives at the federal level and in various states can help close the gap. The saving on gas and repairs though are huge!
  5. Emissions–Because they are not using gasoline and burning fossil fuels, the vehicles themselves emit no (in the case of electric vehicles) or very low (in the case of plug-in hybrid vehicles) harmful emissions. The best way to reduce association emissions though is when the electricity is coming from a renewable source like solar or wind.

And of course, driving electric means an overall reduction in greenhouse gases for transportation, even after considering the entire life cycle of the vehicle. (Read a great discussion of that assessment from the Union of Concerned Scientists here.) The charging station is one of the many ways Oakton is thinking about our environmental impact and taking action on climate. We hope you will visit soon!

For more details about the station itself and other green parking on options at Oakton, visit: http://www.oakton.edu/about/strategic/sustainability/green_parking.php


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Green Parking on Campus

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As noted in our Sustainability Guidelines, Oakton is committed to climate action, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting sustainable transportation. Beginning late summer 2017, students, employees, and community members who visit our Des Plaines campus will have more options for green parking. Keep your eyes out for new signage in some of these areas!

Electric Vehicle Charging
A Chargepoint Level 2 dual charging station is currently being installed on the Des Plaines campus at the south side of Parking Lot D (close to the Lee Center). Drivers of electric vehicles may park in one of the two designated spots while they are charging. Out of respect for other EV drivers, we ask that you move your vehicle to a different space when your charge is complete.

Once activated, Oakton station will be visible on all PlugShare maps.

Low-Emitting and Fuel Efficient Vehicle Parking
A row of reserved spots for low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicle parking is located on the East side of the Lee Center on Des Plaines campus, in Parking Lot D. A second set of three spots will be available to employees only in Parking Lot C after July 1st (parking is currently reserved for the ECE Center).

Not sure if your vehicle is considered fuel efficient? Electric or hybrid vehicles and motorcycles are a quick yes! For other, gas-powered vehicles, find your car’s Green Rating using the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) guide. If your vehicle scores a 40 or higher, you are encouraged to park in these locations!


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Creating Justice 2017

Being sustainable is about more than protecting the natural environment–it also involves protecting and caring for people and the communities we live in. Join us on Earth Day, April 22 for our annual Creating Justice symposium. Please feel free to share this pdf widely. The event is open to the community, though registration is requested.

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Earth Week 2017 Events at Oakton Announced!!

Join us for our annual Earth Week Events at Oakton Community College, April 17-22. Feel free to share this pdf version and post (with permission) wherever you see fit! Thank you for helping us to spread the word on these amazing events to learn, engage with others, and make a difference at Oakton and in your communities!

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Internship Fair at Oakton, January 25

Internships are among the most important predictors of career success, allowing students to gain professional experience, build their résumés and explore careers. With that in mind, Oakton Community College is hosting a Jan. 25 spring internship information session and fair at the college’s Skokie campus, Room P103, 7701 N. Lincoln Avenue.

“Internships provide real-world work experiences that can open doors to future employment,” says Internship Coordinator Shannon McKenzie. “I invite students to bring their résumés and meet representatives from our partner businesses to learn about internship opportunities.”

Oakton’s internship program is seeking to fill approximately 75 internship positions with local companies in a variety of fields, including accounting, business, sales, marketing, information technology, manufacturing, graphic design, communications and politics/government. Most positions include compensation between $9-12 per hour.

Oakton’s free internship events take place Wednesday, Jan. 25, in Skokie. The day includes the following events:

• Information Session (11:30 a.m. – noon): Learn about the Oakton internship program, including benefits to students, eligibility requirements, application instructions and résumé and cover letter tips.
• Internship Fair (Noon – 1:30 p.m.): Meet representatives from several of Oakton’s partner businesses to learn about internship opportunities.

Attendance at the fair and information session is not required for students to apply to the internship program or to be considered for any potential internship position. For more information, including a listing of available internships, visit the Oakton website, www.oakton.edu/internships, or contact the internship office at internships@oakton.edu or 847-376-7165.