Keeping It Green at Oakton

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


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Register NOW! Principles and Practice of Ecological Restoration

Here at Oakton, we are thrilled about our new Environmental Studies Concentration and the academic growth, hands-on experiences, and broadened horizons it will bring to our students and our campus. This spring, we are excited to share a brand new course: Principles and Practice of Ecological Restoration (Listed in the catalog as: Topics in Biology: Principles and Practice of Ecological Restoration – 11932 – BIO 290 – 001).

This immersive and hands-on course will educate students on the history and importance of ecological restoration practices and allow them to put classroom knowledge to the test with hands-on restoration projects on campus. This is excellent training for individuals who may be interested in careers related to ecology, restoration, natural resources, forestry, environmental science, or related work areas. However, it is also a great experience for anyone who cares about the natural world and wants to spend time learning about and protecting our local wild spaces.

Held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:20pm on our Des Plaines Campus, the 3-credit course runs March 21 through May 11. If you are not currently an Oakton student, but would like to sign up for this class, we invite you to apply for admission now!

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Banning the Bottle at Oakton

On November 1, 2016, Oakton Community College’s “ban the bottle” campaign became official. Bottled water will no longer be sold in our cafeterias, vending machines, or at catered events. This initiative, powered by students in an Honors course and carried on by Students for Social Justice, is a clear example of the broad impact our students can have on their surroundings when they work with dedication, passion, and research. To learn more about their role in making this initiative happen, please check out this Chicago Tribune article from April 2016.

The purpose of the initiative is to draw awareness to the social implications and environmental impacts of the bottling process. Among the many concerns:

  • Privatizing water sources drains wells and aquifers, hurting farmers, communities, and ecosystems.
  • Bottling companies are not subjected to the same regulatory and health testing as municipal water sources, so it is hard to determne the safety of the water.
  • Often, bottling companies are bottling filtered tap water and selling it back to you for 240 to over 10,000 times the cost.
  • Three liters of water are required to produce one liter of bottled water and only 27 percent of bottles are properly recycled, ending up in oceans and landfills instead.

To find out more, please visit www.banthebottle.net.

Refill your re-usable bottles with filtered water at our hydration stations in the cafeteria and other sites throughout campus. It is important to note that both Des Plaines and Skokie provide clean, safe drinking water which is subjected to intensive regulatory testing on an annual basis. Please check out their respective websites to download the most recent water quality reports.

Village of Skokie, Public Works Department, Water and Sewer Division

Des Plaines, Water System Division

As a proactive step in verifying health and safety of drinking water on campus, we worked with a contractor to sample our water fountains and fill stations. The results indicate high water quality on both campuses. Read the full water testing reportFollow up water testing was conducted for points that showed slightly elevated levels of copper, which were eliminated/reduced by flushing the system. It is now part of our regular maintenance schedule to flush to our fountains in order to maintain high water quality.

During the month of October, we also held a water taste test on both campuses to raise awareness of the ban and see if individuals really did have a preference for bottled water. We were pleased to discover that water from our filtered hydration stations on campus came in at the top!

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For questions and concerns, please contact greenteam@oakton.edu.


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Be the Change! With JoeyFineRhyme

On Wednesday, October 19, students and staff were inspired to BE THE CHANGE with stirring images, interactive musical interludes, and energy from bikes–thanks to JoeyFineRhyme.

The presentation was powered by our feet, by pedaling an energy bike connected to the sounds system. Joey shared with us some of the basics behind climate change, its causes, and its effects. He also covered our waste generation as a country and as a world, the way we manage it, and solutions for how we can help to stop these harmful trends in our behavior.

By connecting some of Oakton’s practices (like solar panels on the Lee Center, our new Environmental Studies Concentration, and our Bottled Water Ban) to these issues, he inspired each of us to BE THE CHANGE here on campus and in our personal lives.  Check out part of his performance here!

For more information on how you can get Joey to come to your organization, visit http://www.joeyfinerhyme.com.

 


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Reflection on Oakton/Sustainability Researcher Position

Written by Paul Slocum, (Former) Student Sustainability Researcher

We truly thank Paul for his time and service in this role. He helped us with a number of initiatives including: tracking our energy consumption and spending, Zero-Waste events and composting pilots, Earth Week event scheduling, supporting the College’s recent movement to “Ban the Bottle” this Fall and documenting the health of our natural areas on campus. We wish him the best of luck and he moves forward towards his Bachelor’s degree at Loyola! Below is are his reflections on his time as Oakton’s first Student Sustainability Researcher.

After nearly one year and five months, I have finished my tenure as a Student Sustainability Researcher at Oakton Community College. I was a student here for two full years, taking some of the most engaging, challenging, and eye-opening classes that I could have ever imagined. The academic success I’m currently enjoying, as I move on to Loyola University of Chicago, could only have been made possible by the multitude of dedicated, caring, thoughtful faculty and staff that call this place home. Yet, for some background, I began my college career quite a distance from this tranquil and serene environment known as the Des Plaines community at Oakton; a community I love now for every acre of its grand red and white oak trees, whom are older than civilizations, plants and animals which have existed here in biotic organizations since the beginning of time, a place where natural life, in its full flourishing, can be found anywhere.

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