Keeping It Green at Oakton

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


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Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center IS OPEN!

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We are thrilled to announce that the new Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center is open for students! Despite the weather, the new building creates a warm and welcoming space for students and faculty.

This video walk through showcases the lovely spaces, but the addition of furniture, artwork and (of course) PEOPLE makes it so much more vibrant. The Lee Center is now home to classrooms for our Science and Health courses and includes biology, chemistry and physics labs, faculty offices, student lounge areas and a state of the art simulation hospital. Keep an eye out in spring as we install our educational displays that highlight many of the great sustainability features of this building (for which we are expecting LEED Gold Level certification!). Some of the features include:

  • Radiant heating using a closed looped system,
  • Light meters and occupancy sensors which help to control how much artificial light is being used,
  • Energy wheel system in our lab spaces that reduce the need for standard HVAC equipment,
  • Construction and décor made from repurposed and recycled materials,
  • Locally sourced building materials,
  • High-efficiency elevator
  • Outdoor classroom,
  • Native landscaping featuring prairie plants which will provide usable habitat for local wildlife,
  • Bioswales in our specially designed and newly resurfaced parking lot to help manage stormwater runoff and…
  • A 23.6 kW photovoltaic array to produce solar power for the building. The array has been producing power in the building for several months. Its real-time energy production and the building’s energy usage can be viewed at any time via our Dashboard.

We cannot wait for you to visit, enjoy the natural light and beautiful views of the Des Plaines campus…and take a class or two!


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Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)–Internships Available

The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) is headquartered in downtown Chicago, with staff across many Midwestern states. Their multi-disciplinary staff consists of public interest attorneys, policy analysts, MBAs, communications specialists, grassroots organizers, and support staff. To meet ELPC’s top-rate staff, go to http://www.ELPC.org/staff. For more information on ELPC’s impact in the Midwest, go to http://www.ELPC.org/impact. – See more at: http://elpc.org/jobs/#sthash.3UQYfEEf.dpuf

Current listings include:

  • Media Relations Manager
  • Field Organizer Fellowship
  • Development Officer
  • IT Associate
  • Associate Attorney/Public Interest Environmental Law Fellow

Internships are available in:

  • Sustainable Business
  • Legal
  • Communications
  • Science and Policy

View full details HERE.


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STEM Challenge Opportunity! Cash Prizes!

From the Illinois Green Economy Network:

The National Science Foundation just announced a Community College Innovation challenge, for teams of community college students led by a faculty mentor and joined by an industry representative. The teams have to identify a real-world problem and propose an original, innovative solution, via a brief proposal and a 90-second video. Solutions must be STEM-based and fall within one of the following themes: Big Data, Infrastructure Security, Sustainability (including water, food, energy, environment), Broadening Participation in STEM, Improving STEM Education. Teams may apply online (website linked below) from September 15 through January 15, 2015.

Ten teams will be selected to take part in a competitive Innovation Boot Camp, with their travel expenses paid and $500 granted toward further refining their idea. First, second, and third place teams will be selected from this Boot Camp. Student members of the first place team will be awarded cash prizes of $3,000 each, $2,000 each will go to the student members of the second place team, and $1,000 each to the student members of the third place team.

This is an exciting opportunity for our students! Please share!

More information on the themes, the Challenge, and on how to apply can be found on the challenge website: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/communitycollege/