Environmental Sustainability Committee urges students to participate, RU Green remains unregistered student org.
By Kevinisha Walker
What started three years ago as the Landscape Redevelopment Advisory Group, mainly at Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg Campus, has now become the Environmental Sustainability Committee.
The committee represents the university’s “core value of social justice,” said Paul Matthews, assistant vice president of Campus Planning and Operations and chairman of the committee.
As the committee welcomes eight new members, it also hopes for student participation, according to Mathews.
“We’re replacing several members, but at the same time we’re expanding the number of people who are on the committee,” Matthews said.
Currently, there are 21 committee members.
New committee members include Diana Zak Beaton, assistant to the chair in the psychology department; John Damascus, senior laboratory manager in the College of Arts and Sciences; Sofia Dermisi, Pasquinelli professional of real estate in the College of Business; Susan J. Johnston, administration clerk in Advising and Assessment on the Schaumburg Campus; Sean Kelly, assistant vice president of Infrastructure; Ruth Moser, adjunct instructor of Environmental Science; Noe Villagomez, Jr., food & beverage manager in the Auditorium Theater; Thea Wilson, Department of Biological, Chemical and Physical Sciences.
As stated on the committee’s blog, “These new members will help [the university] advance its sustainable land use and water management, support green transportation options and continue green building guidelines.”
Kelly said he joined because he has a personal interest in sustainability efforts.
“I joined the committee because I work in the Technology Infrastructure area of IT and Green IT, which are aspects that I work with on a regular basis,” Kelly said. “I want to contribute to Roosevelt’s efforts and learn more about other areas of sustainability and the role I can play.”
Matthews also said that the committee monitors the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact, which was signed off by President Charles Middleton.
According to greenillinois.gov— a site that advocates for sustainability on the campuses of Illinois’ colleges and universities— “The Illinois Sustainability Compact outlines environmental goals that colleges and universities, both public and private, may adopt on their campus.”
Going along with the compact, Matthews said the committee is responsible for assuring that the Roosevelt community reduces its carbon footprint at both campuses.
“We want to make sure that we become good stewards of all our facilities, have excellent indoor air quality and sustainable landscapes,” Matthews said.
Energy management is also a priority for the sustainability committee.
Some classrooms have motion-sensor light switches for energy preservation, and dorm rooms have ventilation for allergen reduction.
With all that the committee is responsible for overseeing, it has yet to receive participation from students.
“We have faculty members from most of the university’s academic departments, but we want more student participation,” Matthews said.
He added that he wants students to create a student organization dedicated to environmental sustainability.
Matthews said that there used to be a student organization called RU Green, but it was not registered under this year’s list of registered student organizations.
In addition to making sure that the university is environmentally sustainable, students are also needed to help tag trees at the university’s Schaumburg Campus.
The university is working toward getting an arboretum—a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants partially intended for scientific study— in Schaumburg.
“They’ll learn what trees are and what types of trees there are,” Matthews said.
The committee also offers two paid internships in the summer to students interested in sustainable aspects.
For more information about those internships or about joining the committee, students should send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.