Keeping It Green at Oakton

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


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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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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!

jpeg-test-test-results

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


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Campus Sustainability Month!

Did you know that October was proclaimed Campus Sustainability Month by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)?  We want to remind our students and community that there is more to sustainability than just celebrating Earth Day. We should regularly reflect on the importance of the environment, our natural world, and the ways in which we interact with it.  Join Oakton students, employees, and community members in celebrating Sustainability these next two weeks on our campuses.

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NEW Environmental Studies Concentration at Oakton

Oakton Community College is excited to announce our NEW Environmental Studies Concentration. Registration for Fall 2016 is now open!

Join us Wednesday, April 20th in room 1604 of the Des Plaines Campus to hear more about this exciting opportunity!

The Environmental Studies Concentration is a nineteen (19) semester hour concentration designed to provide an interdisciplinary framework that promotes understanding of humanity’s impact on the natural environment and how the natural environment impacts human development; a critical appreciation of the importance of sustainability; and the central importance of integrating the work of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities for a holistic and meaningful understanding of any environmental issue or problem.

The disciplinary approaches of the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities are all essential to a full appreciation of the relationships between human systems and natural systems and any attempt to think critically and productively about how we can best meet our current environmental challenges.

The Environmental Studies Concentration prepares students for transfer into a variety of majors dealing with the environment, such as sustainability; environmental philosophy, law, and policy; environmental art and literature; environmental engineering and chemistry; conservation biology and natural resource management; and environmental journalism.

Most courses in the concentration meet the general education requirements and have IAI transfer codes. However, students should consult with the Environmental Studies Coordinator to ensure that they are taking the necessary courses in each general education area and are not taking more than one course with the same IAI number.

Students meeting the requirements for the Environmental Studies Concentration will have a notation added to their transcript indicating successful completion. In order to receive this designation, students must complete an Environmental Studies Concentration Completion form and meet with the Environmental Studies Coordinator.

Required Courses:

  • BIO106: Introduction to Environmental Science (4 credits)
  • PHL204: Environmental Ethics (3 credits)

 Of the remaining 12 credits:

  • at least three must come from a social science course with an ESC designation
  • at least three must come from a humanities course with an ESC designation (other than PHL204)
  • at least three must come from a natural or physical science course (other than BIO 106).
  • The last 3 credits can come from any class with an ESC designation.

To check available courses for Fall 2016, click here, select the term and then “Environmental Studies Concentration” in the Category section.

 

For more information, contact ESC co-coordinators, Paul Gulezian, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Marian Staats, Professor of English, at pgulezia@oakton.edu and mstaats@oakton.edu.