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Sustainability at PSC

 

Sustainability at PSC

 

Overview

 

The students, faculty, staff and administration of Prairie State College are committed to improving and protecting the environment while promoting fiscal and social responsibility. We seek to educate students to understand the pressures facing the local and global environment and to increase their awareness of the importance of the “green economy.” We will also provide the skills and knowledge they will need to address the social and environmental issues that are important to our community and to support public policies that will contribute to an excellent quality of life both now and in the future.


Sustainability Strategy

The sustainability efforts of PSC are guided by its Sustainability Strategy which is outlined by the Priority Areas below.

Education

 

The aim of this priority area is to integrate content from all of the other priority areas into classrooms and other college programs for students, staff, faculty and the greater community.

Students learning about electric vehicles.

Energy

 

Energy refers to the use of energy in all of its forms by and for the college and its community.

Graph showcasing MAC Center power usage.

Social Responsibility

 

This area encompasses the social footprint of the college (including topics of food security, personal well-being, representation in governance, social equality, etc.).

Students learning about electric vehicles.

Material Flows

 

Material flows refer to the paths that different materials (paper, food, water, products, etc.) take in their interaction with campus operations, including where they come from and what happens to them after they leave the college.

Sustainability being taught in a classroom setting.

Emissions & Effluents

 

This priority area addresses the non-solid waste products (including greenhouse gas emissions) of the college or those produced on the college’s behalf.

Zero Emission Vehicle

Biodiversity

 

Biodiversity - or the variety and abundance of life in a given area - is a priority of the college to allow PSC’s campus to operate as a habitat for living organisms.

Students learning about the diverse environment on the college's grounds.

Recognition and Membership

 

PSC is an active Lead Member of the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN), and a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Center, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

In addition to these state and national organizations, PSC also has regular representation on the Sustainability Committee of the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC), the Prairie State Regional Sustainability Network (PSRSN), and the Chicago Southland Green Committee.

AASHE Logo
IGEN Illinois Green Economy Network Logo
Prairie State Regional Sustainability Network Logo
South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium Logo
AASHE Logo
AASHE Logo

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions


What can I recycle on campus?

Paper must be clean and dry to be recyclable (no soiled pizza boxes, for example)

  • everyday printer paper
  • newspapers
  • brochures
  • magazine
  • cardboard boxes
  • milk cartons
  • poster board

Plastic must be free of any food residue to be acceptable in our recycling

  • water/soda bottles
  • take-out containers (free of food and debris)
  • yogurt containers

Metals are some of the easiest to recycle but should also be rinsed out before disposing

  • aluminum cans
  • food cans

What's the best way for me to get involved in sustainability on campus?

If you're a student, join the Student Sustainability Club!

If you're a staff or faculty member, the best way to get involved may be to get in touch with the Sustainability Committee.

Where can I recycle/dispose of electronics, expired medicine, paints, etc.?

 

This helpful guide can help you find nearby recycling/disposal options for many odd waste streams. Also, look out for collection events that are often sent out in the Sustainability Update newsletter.

Are there resources available for efficiency projects at PSC?

Yes! Prairie State College has a Revolving Sustainability Fund (also known as a Green Revolving Fund) which can internally finance projects with both (1) positive financial returns on investment and (2) other (non-monetary) resource savings. For more information check out the RSF here.

I have an idea for a sustainability-related campus project. What should I do?

You can get in touch with PSC’s Sustainability Coordinator!

Can I charge my electric vehicle (EV) on campus? If so, how?

Yes! The college offers free EV charging to the PSC community via three level-2 charge ports on the west side of the Tech wing of the Main Building. Each of these ports can add up to 25 miles of range to an EV per hour of charging. To start a charging session, you’ll need to set up a free account with ChargePoint. Then you can use your smartphone or ChargePoint card to start a session.

 

Revolving Sustainability Fund

 

Fundamental to sustainability are long-term thinking and planning for the future. But in a world where putting out daily fires can be an all-consuming distraction, more immediate needs often take precedence over progress towards a sustainable future.

Green Revolving Funds are one way that some institutions encourage long-term thinking and continuous improvement. PSC’s Revolving Sustainability Fund was seeded in 2019 with $10,000 to help source and enable sustainability-related project ideas from the on-campus community. Anyone on campus (including students, faculty, and staff) are encouraged to submit project ideas!

How it works:

 

Revolving Sustainability Graphic

Project Eligibility:

Projects must meet two key criteria:

    1. A positive financial return on investment (i.e. the project will pay for itself over time)
    2. A positive sustainability impact (reduced waste, water use, energy use, emissions, etc.)

Example:

PSC’s Biology Department noticed that the typical single-use whiteboard markers used in class ran out of ink quickly and weren’t recyclable or reusable. They proposed an RSF project to purchase reusable/refillable whiteboard markers for the department.The Sustainability Committee approved the project, and the markers and refill ink were purchased. The new markers are fully recyclable, and they can be refilled with ink and reused for many years. This project eliminates the waste of hundreds of markers used by the department each year and also reduces marker costs since it is cheaper to purchase ink than a whole new marker.

How to apply:

If you have an idea for a potential RSF project, get in touch with PSC’s Sustainability Coordinator

If your project is already well-developed, you can fill out this form to formally apply for RSF funding. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but are reviewed and approved in two batches each year. The deadline for the fall batch is September 30. The deadline for the spring batch is February 28 (or 29).