The Sustainability unit within the Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management sets forth UIC’s sustainability goals.

Climate Action Implementation Plan

Infographic representation of the connection of the UIC Climate Commitments to selected CAIP strategies: Carbon Neutral Campus – offset air travel emissions, onsite solar generation, offsite renewable electricity, low-energy new buildings, electric and hybrid campus fleet, LED lighting upgrades, zero and low-emission commuting, teleconferencing to travel less, strategic energy management. Zero Waste Campus – outdoor recycling, 90% construction and demolition waste recycling, food waste collection. Net Zero Water Campus – water efficiency, native plant landscaping, stormwater capture for irrigation, permeable parking lots. Biodiverse Campus – campus-wide tree inventory, food gardens, bioswales and native plants. Teaching and Learning – sustainability programs, interdisciplinary research, educational signage.

Climate Action Implementation Plan (CAIP)

The Sustainability unit facilitates the execution of the CAIP and builds collaboration among campus units and develops justification, identifies funding sources and mechanisms in order to execute the plan.

The CAIP is a refined cost-effective portfolio of solutions to be implemented by 2028 and has a variety of additional strategic solutions that will be supported, developed, invested in, implemented, and reevaluated on a 5-year incremental basis through 2050.

The Chancellor's Committee On Sustainability and Energy

Chancellor's Committee on Sustainability and Energy includes the following subcommittees: Energy and Utilities, Grounds, Transportation, Sustainable Materials, and Education and Research.

Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy

The Sustainability unit guides the Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy (CCSE) to develop strategies to institutionalize the goals by intelligently informing how UIC understands its sustainability performance and invests in sustainability across campus to maximize overall impact.

The CCSE generates strategies, supports planning, and provides community input. Members also provide data, build consensus, and act as implementation partners.

Sustainability Services

Volunteers stand around a UIC logo made from discarded disposable beverage containers.

Sustainability offers signature services that focus on environmental sustainability with a goal of providing economic and social benefit to the campus community.

Recycling and Waste Management
UIC is committed to Zero Waste. Recycling is required by Illinois Law and is one of the easiest ways the campus can help the university be a good environmental steward. UIC must reduce the waste it produces by choosing materials wisely; reuse what is already generated by considering new roles for unwanted material; and recycle what must be thrown away, thus minimizing material bound for the landfill and increasing our landfill diversion rate to 90%.

Green Building and Campus Sustainability Standards
The University of Illinois at Chicago is committed to environmental sustainability in all aspects of its mission and will challenge itself to consistently perform all of its functions in the most sustainable ways. The sustainability plans, standards, or policies are written and vetted by the CCSE and is expected that every unit and department, as well as any non-university entity working on university property, should follow.

Sustainability Programs

Students at the sustainability internship program poster presentation

Sustainability offers signature programs that help the campus achieve its sustainability goals by providing expertise to campus units needing support.

Sustainability Fee
The UIC Sustainability Fee as a student-led initiative to improve the quality of campus operations, reduce UIC’s environmental impact, and generate awareness about environmental and sustainable issues by creating opportunities for students’ involvement. The $6 per semester Fee, administered by the Sustainability Fee Advisory Board, funds small, short-term projects, helps to subsidize larger, long-term projects, and funds student travel to campus sustainability-related conferences.

Tree Campus USA
UIC is among the few universities that participate in the Tree Campus USAprogram, which promotes effective tree management, campus community involvement, and nature connectivity among faculty members and students through forestry efforts. Tree Campus USA is a national program sponsored by Arbor Day Foundation that assists nationwide universities and colleges in establishing and sustaining campus forests. UIC is proud to be the University FOR Chicago and proud to help the City of Chicago live up to its motto, urbs in horto.

Sustainability Internship Program (SIP)
The Sustainability Internship Program offers hands-on learning experiences for UIC undergraduate students that advance the overall mission of greater social, economic, and environmental sustainability in the campus community. This unique, multi-year program provides an intellectual framework for students to apply classroom learning to project-based engagement.

Bike Friendly University
As an official Bike Friendly University, UIC is well connected to Chicago’s on-street bike network, and has bike parking at nearly every campus building.  Several Divvy stations on the UIC campus provide convenient transportation for getting around on campus or commuting from downtown train stations. UIC earned its BFU silver status in 2013.

Energy Conscious Campus
Producing renewable energy with on-site solar panels and geothermal wells, tracking energy consumption every 15 minutes with SMART meters, and retrofitting even the most complex university buildings, are a handful of ways that UIC reduces its energy waste one step at a time.

Bee Campus USA
The University of Illinois at Chicago is the first official Bee Campus USA in the state of Illinois! UIC earned the prestigious recognition from Bee City USA and the Xerces Society. The Bee Campus USA designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and birds, among thousands of other species.

EcoVolunteers
EcoVolunteers are Sustainability’s volunteer corps. EcoVolunteers help event goers properly sort their waste by helping them decide which bin to put their trash in. Events where EcoVolunteers are present increase recycling by over 75%! EcoVolunteers also help talk about UIC’s sustainable initiatives and spread the good word at events on campus.

EcoReps
EcoReps help facilitate communication from the CCSE and Sustainability to their respective units.  Each department designates a staff member to serve as an official ACCC liaison – an EcoRep – to Sustainability.

AASHE STARS
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance and is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). UIC earned Silver level recognition in 2018 and we strive to achieve Gold.