Keeping It Green at Oakton

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


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Earth Week 2019, Session Descriptions

Visit here for a calendar of events.

Bird Walk: Paul Gulezian, assistant biology professor (Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.) Walk the grounds of the Des Plaines campus and discover what birds are living near us or visiting for the season. Binoculars and field guides will be provided.

Wildling Kin: Chicago’s More-than-Human Worlds:Gavin Van Horn, Director, Cultures of Conservation at the Center for Humans and Nature Stories provide a bridge between the sciences and the humanities, offering a critical means of communicating and reflecting upon urban wildlife issues. Join Gavin Van Horn, the author of The Way of Coyote: Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds (University of Chicago Press, 2018), in exploring the importance of story as a means to knowing the city and its nonhuman denizens. Van Horn will highlight his recently published book as well as the “City Creatures” project, which he leads for the Center for Humans and Nature. Comprised of an interdisciplinary collective of authors and artists, this project utilizes the power of art, poetry, and personal narrative to draw attention to urban animals and our shared urban habitats. Van Horn will draw examples from the City Creatures Blog; the edited volume City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness (University of Chicago Press, 2015); and The Way of Coyote to illustrate the ways in which stories can deepen appreciation for the ways in which our lives are entangled with urban wildlife. Funding provided by a grant from the Oakton Educational Foundation to the Environmental Studies Concentration.

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Oakton’s Earth Week 2019 Events Announced!

Event Descriptions can be found here.

**Please note, an earlier version of this calendar showed that Creating Justice Symposium would be held on Saturday, April 27. The actual date is April 20. More details will be posted here when available.**


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Print Wise–Changes to Student Printing Spring 2019

“Save a Tree for ME!”

In 2017 Oakton users printed more than 2.7 million pages.That’s equivalent to cutting down 325 trees or a forest the size of 6.5football fields!

To reduce paper waste in computer labs, print jobs are now sent to a release station before printing.  Since the start of Fall semester, these stations have already reduced over 36,086 sheets from being printed (the equivalent of 4.33trees!).

 Coming next semester,Spring 2019: To conserve resources, and reduce wasteful printing, Oakton will provide each student with$20 a semester in their print account (equivalent to 400 black and white sheets). Based on our data, this means that over 90% of students will still print for free on campus! If students wish to print more, they can add funds to their account at $.05/black and white sheet. Color and specialty printing will be priced at a higher rate.

Since this effort will involve a period of adjustment, the IT Department and Sustainability Center are requesting your input. If you have any questions or suggestions please join us at one of these information forums:

Des Plaines Campus: December 5, 10:30-11:30am in Room 1606

Skokie Campus: December 6, 10:30-11:30am in Room P103

Or reach out to greenteam@oakton.edu. Thank you for your help in supporting our green initiatives!


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Cash Prizes for Creativity!! Environmental Studies Concentration Poster Contest, Entries Due March 9

We are excited to announce a call for entries for the first Environmental Studies Concentration poster contest! What better way to capture student interest in this program than to have a poster designed by students?! Cash prizes will be awarded to the artists with the top three designs, with a grand prize of $250! Some information is below, but check out the Poster for full details. All entries are due March 9! Please spread the word to interested students.

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Seasonal Jobs with Friends of the Forest Preserve, Cook County!

Below are links to three different positions within the Friends of the Forest Preserve Conservation Corps.  They are looking to hire a Crew Manager and Assistant Crew Manager for their BRAND NEW North Branch crew.  They will also have 4 open 2018 Crew Member positions on that crew, as well as, some open 2018 Crew Member positions on all of the other crews.  Please share these positions with anyone that you think would be a good fit in one of these roles.  These are incredible opportunities to get out in nature, learn more about restoration, develop leadership skills, and mentor others during the process!
New this year: They are offering $1000 bonus to any 2018 Crew Member that stays for the entire length of the program year and finishes the year with a positive review.  How cool is that?   
Click on the titles below for full job postings and application details.

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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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