Groups and Projects

Campus Sustainability

The Campus Sustainability group collaborated with Bon Appetit to organize the University’s first “Weigh the Waste” event in two major dining halls. By collecting all recyclable and compostable waste from the lunch period and weighing the total at the end of the service, the group measured and exposed the magnitude of food wasted every day in the dining halls. The group also designed and posted informative recycling signage in the student-run campus cafés.

Cascade Teaching

The Cascade Teaching group partnered with Cascade, a national student organization that hosts classes for local high school students, to design and execute an environment-specific educational program. A class focused on the fundamentals of climate change research, agriculture, and sustainable energy was taught over the course of five weeks.

Community Service

The Community Service group established connections and executed PSI-wide projects with a number of local, service-related organizations. In the Winter Quarter, a dozen PSI members traveled to the Plant, an urban farm and eco-business incubator, to learn more about their closed circular economy and sustainable practices. The Service group also raised $200 through a fundraiser for Growing Home, a nonprofit that provides employment and training to people with employment barriers while producing fresh fruits and vegetables to Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods. Additionally, the Service group organized PSI’s involvement in UChicago’s Day of Service, which focused on community gardening, and Earth Fest, both of which happened in April of 2017.

Food Recovery

The Food Recovery group successfully laid the groundwork for a food recovery system that donates leftover food from on-campus events to a local homeless shelter. To develop a framework for starting a UChicago chapter, the group first visited the Loyola branch of the Food Recovery Network. A few members of the group also underwent the ServSafe Food Handler assessment and began connecting with other student groups to facilitate future food recovery. In particular, the group established a lasting partnership with the Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), which hosts multiple events with food provided throughout the quarter.

Green Careers Panel

The Green Careers Panel group coordinated PSI’s second annual careers panel for the student body, which was held in January of 2017 at International House. Three speakers from the fields of sustainability consulting, government policy, and environmental conservation discussed their career paths and experience with over 40 students.

Green Career Trek

This was the pilot year for the Green Careers Trek group, a project focused on organizing a career trek for students interested in jobs related to sustainability and the environment. The trek consisted of a day-long excursion to downtown Chicago in February of 2017. Site visits were conducted to Verde Sustainable Solutions, L3C, the National Resources Defense Council, and the University of Chicago Urban Labs. Many thanks to University of Chicago Career Advancement Office for their collaboration on making the trek possible!

Green RSO Packet

The Green RSO Packet group devised a RSO Sustainability Training Guide to convey best practices on recycling, resource use, catering, and large-scale event planning. The group collaborated with other organizations on campus in the process, including the Office of the Provost and UChicago Graphics Arts.

Hyde Park Business

The Hyde Park Business group initiated development of its Hyde Park Green Business Partnership Certification Program, aimed at recognizing and improving sustainability within local businesses throughout Hyde Park. This collaboration provides resources and expertise to aid owners in implementing green practices and achieve certification status. The program is currently being designed and planned.