Keeping It Green at Oakton

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

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Celebrating Earth Day from Home

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! The theme of this year’s celebration is Climate Action. Oakton is supporting this theme with a Zoom presentation by Jeff Green from Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Join us on Wednesday, April 22 at 9:30am cst to learn more about the organization and their mission. Their message is twofold: They will begin with a review of the causes and effects of climate change and then move on to a discussion of a piece of legislation they believe is critical to addressing global warming. This is an excellent way for us to all become engaged, even in this period of isolation. Please email for the invitation link if you are interested in participating!

Even though this year’s celebration may look a little different, there are still many ways to celebrate Earth Day! If you are looking for other ways to engage, check out some of these options available to you:

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Grounds for Growing: Reducing Waste and Helping Others

People drink a LOT of coffee. We see our students and employees walking the halls daily with a cup…or three. But have you ever thought about what happens to all of those coffee grounds? It may not seem like a lot as you brew your coffee in small batches or buy it from your favorite coffee shop, but each cup adds up. It is estimated that six million tons of coffee grounds end up in the landfill each year. Coffee grounds are actually pretty nutrient rich and loaded with things like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate, so it is incredibly wasteful to toss them in the trash.

Wait, don’t those nutrients just end up in the earth anyway after they biodegrade in the landfill?


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Bird Collisions on Campus

A sample of birds that have died after a collision. Photo: Faculty member Bill Strond

The Problem

Every year, nearly 1 billion birds are estimated to die as a result of collision with buildings, particularly windows. Oakton’s campuses are not immune to this danger. Though the construction of our Lee Center brought the issue to direct attention for many, we have several collision points on campus. Migratory birds are especially prone to these collisions. They fly through our region in spring and fall, en route to breeding or over-wintering sites. Because they are often smaller and unfamiliar with the area, these birds can struggle with the addition of new buildings in their flyspaces.

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iLandscape–FREE student roundtables and career fair THIS Friday, January 31.

Friday, January 31, 2020
Student roundtable sessions, job boards, and career fair!

iLandscape welcomes all studious students, prepared pupils, unbelievable undergrads, and serious scholars. Students may attend any day of iLandscape at no cost but Student Career Day will be Friday, January 31, 2020. The complete educational program is available to students at a reduced fee. Any student looking to make the jump to becoming a green industry professional cannot miss this incredible day at iLandscape.

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UIC Summer Institute on Sustainability & Energy: Applications Due May 30

SISE 2020: Resiliency, July 9-22, 2020


Can we survive climate change catastrophe, and if so, how? Can we sustain our current quality of life? Is that even desirable? Can we do better? Should we focus on sustainability or resiliency? What can we do to find balance and stabilize our world by 2050? Find out more about our 2020 program.

This program is open to students who are interested in studying about our climate crisis, interacting with others from around the world, and engaging in thought-provoking conversations, while brainstorming solutions. It is free for attendees and lodging is provided.

About Resiliency

  • Can we survive climate change catastrophe, and if so, how? 
  • Can we sustain our current quality of life? Is that even desirable? Can we do better? 
  • Should we focus on sustainability or resiliency?
  • What can we do to find balance and stabilize our world by 2050?

In 2020, the Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) considers what it takes to be resilient in the face of climate change. It explores this generation’s greatest questions, the nature of resiliency and sustainability, and future opportunities through the research of local experts. SISE Fellows will engage with a new energy mapping initiative being develop by the American Energy Society and identify best-practices for activists and advocates committed to achieving climate justice by offsetting climate catastrophe.

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Winter Restoration Day 2019

Saturday, December 7, 8:30am- 12pm

8:30am-9am- Light Refreshments

9am-12pm- Buckthorn Removal

Meet in Parking Lot D

Help out with ecological restoration at the Des Plaines campus this Saturday!  Sustainability Club will host this event and provide light refreshments from 8:30-9, followed by buckthorn cutting from 9-12. Never done this before? No problem! You will learn and have fun as we work in partnership with volunteers from the Forest Preserves of Cook County to keep Oakton’s woods wild and beautiful.  We’ll meet in Parking Lot D and work in the woods alongside it to the east.  Work gloves, safety goggles, and tools provided.


Dress in layers, winter wear, and boots(preferred)/shoes suitable for muddy outdoor conditions. Synthetic fabric and especially “puffy” jackets should not be worn, especially as the outer layer.

Many hands make light work, and the more the merrier. Hope to see you there!

Open to all. Registration is encouraged, but not required. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and all participants must sign a waiver. Contact with questions.

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Power Up: Exploring Alternative Energy Careers, Thursday November 14, 2019

Join other teens and college students in learning more about the current state of alternative energy in our world, the career prospects now and in the future, and how you can best prepare yourself to be part of this shift. Contact today to get involved!

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