GreenTown: The Future of Community | Creating Healthy, Sustainable Communities

Campus as Community Change Agent

Campus as Community Change Agent: Higher Education’s Role in Advancing Sustainability in the Chicagoland Region

During a half-day forum, participants will learn about what colleges and universities are doing to advance sustainability throughout the Chicagoland region through academics, community development and infrastructure.  As higher education works to train the next generation of sustainability leaders, learn how they are making real change in communities where they are committed and provide feedback on what more can be done.

Target Audience: Sustainability directors, facilities and landscape managers, food and nutrition service directors, community outreach staff, building engineers, capital planning staff, sustainability/planning/business department faculty, and students at Chicago area, Illinois and Midwest colleges and universities.


  1. Engage a broad spectrum of university/college staff, faculty and students in sharing and learning about best practices, programs and initiatives that are driving sustainability change on campus and in the community.
  2. Create learning for colleges and university staff, faculty and students around the challenges and opportunities related to engaging the broader community in sustainability.
  3. Provide networking opportunities for staff, faculty and students across colleges and universities.


Workshop Sessions

Keynote Speaker: Norman Christopher, Director of Sustainability, Grand Valley State University

Campus as Transportation Hub                                                                                

1.       Bike 2 Campus

Representatives of the Chicago Network of Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE) hosted the first Chicago Bike2Campus Week, a five-day alternative transit challenge, geared toward Chicagoland university and college students. This presentation will discuss the collaboration between institutions, sponsors, small businesses, community organizations, and of course, students.

  • John Wawrzaszek, Facilitator, Sustainability Manager, Columbia College,
  • Kate Yoshida, Program Coordinator (Office of Sustainability), University of Illinois at Chicago,
  • Julie Cahaillane, Manager of Sustainability and Resource Management, Northwestern University
  • Elena Maans, Sustainability Coordinator, Dominican University
  • Diana Stavropolis, intern in the Office of Sustainability, University of Illinois at Chicago, BS in Architecture (2013)

2.       Campus Transportation Planning

This session will address how campuses are vital in facilitating change to transportation planning in the surrounding community. Representatives from Chicagoland institutions and community partners will discuss areas of collaboration where the campus plays a vital role in developing transit solutions.

  • Lindsay Bayley, Facilitator, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Engaging the Evanston Community in the Classroom –  Catherine Hurley, City of Evanston Sustainability Program Coordinator
  • A multimodal transportation plan for UIC -  Lindsay Bayley, CMAP
  • Transit Pooling – Adrian Fisher, Sustainability Coordinator, Triton College


Campus Planning and Sustainable Landscapes                                  

1.       Sustainable Landscaping Initiatives

Learn about efforts underway to support sustainable landscapes on and around university campuses.

  • Nathan Wright, Facilitator, Triton College
  • Bird-Safe Campus – Reuben Keller, Loyola University Chicago and Judy Pollock, Audubon Chicago Region
  • TreeCampus USA – Rory Klick, College of Lake County

2.       Transformative Sustainability: the University as Living Laboratory for Connecting Students to the Community

Roosevelt University demonstrates how one green vision can transform suburban sprawl and “grayspace” to a bio-diverse community with far-reaching impacts for the Great Lakes region.

  • Paul Matthews, Roosevelt University
  • MaryBeth Radeck, Roosevelt University
  • Michael Bryson, Roosevelt University


Energy Management and Green Business Partnerships                                

1.       Making Connection: collaboration and learnings from the Higher Education Retrofit Project

The session will explore how diverse institutions can work together to share best practices, better leverage knowledge and resources, and expand their sustainability programs.

  • Joel Freehling, Facilitator, CB&I,
  • Representatives from Chicagoarea Universities working on energy efficiency initiatives

2.       Loyola’s Sustainable Student Enterprises

This discussion will feature staff and students that run sustainability-focused businesses embedded in the Loyola campus including biodiesel production, ChainLinks Bike Shop, Felice’s Pizza and the Flats, a boutique hotel.

  • Zach Waickman, Biodiesel Lab Manager, Loyola University Chicago
  • Sean Connolly, Assistant Director Loyola Limited


Community Engagement and Outreach                                                                

2.       Building Bridges: NU’s Community Outreach

This session will provide examples of NU students engaging and collaborating with the local community around; food systems, hunger relief, and prairie restoration.

  • Rebecca Parmet, Program Coordinator, Campus Kitchens, Northwestern University
  • Tiffany Leighton Ozmina, Chairwoman and Founder, NU Food Talks, Northwestern University
  • Madeline Miller, Co-President of SEED (Students for Environmental and Ecological Development), Northwestern University
  • Rob Whittier, Director of the Office of Sustainability, Northwestern University


 Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods                        

1.       Healthy Homes Initiative

A interdisciplinary group of Loyola faculty and staff have been supporting Cook County’s public health department in addressing toxins in our homes and our communities.

  • David Treering, GIS Specialist, Loyola University Chicago
  • Phil Nyden, Director, Center for Urban Research and Learning, Loyola University Chicago
  • Katherine Kaufka-Walts, Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago

2.       Healthy Food, Healthy People

A selection of faculty and staff from UIC are working to improve health outcomes and eliminating disparities in the Chicago community through increasing access to healthy foods, nutrition education and policy change.

  • Bill Kling, Clinical Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health
  • Anastasia McGee, Director, Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion, Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
  • Sheila Castillo, Associate Director, Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center and Principal Investigator, Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED@Chicago)
  • Angela Odoms-Young, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Nutrition, College of Applied Health Sciences

3.       CNSHE Food Procurement Report and Case Studies

The Chicagoland Network for Sustainability in Higher Education will be presenting a new publication, which is the culmination of 18 months of work to identify the opportunities for area colleges and universities to support a more sustainable food system through dining services.

  • Ilsa Flanagan, Facilitator, Former Director of Sustainability, University of Chicago
  • Ignacio Tagtachian, Sustainability Manager, University of Chicago Sustainability Department
  • Leah Spiker, Aramark Representative at University of Chicago
  • Juliana Goodlaw-Morris, Manager for Midwest Region of Campus Ecology Program, National Wildlife Federation

4.         Campus Gardens and Markets

Across Chicagoland, institutions are taking advantage of both the growing and selling aspects of urban farming in traditional and innovative ways. This panel will have examples of three different institutional partnerships that provide the communities around them with healthy and sustainable food while enhancing the student sustainability experience.

  • Rodger Cooley, Facilitator, IIT
  • Meredith Conn, Nutrition Faculty, Dominican University’s Elmwood Park Farmer’s Market
  • Emmanuel Pratt, Executive Director of Sweet Water Foundation, Aquaponics Center at Chicago State University
  • Gina Lettiere, Sustainability Specialist, Loyola Farmers Market