Welcome to the USF Sustainability website. Here you will find several resources that outline USF’s commitment to maintaining and fostering a green campus, tips for living a sustainable lifestyle, and the resources that are available here on campus.
As an expression of our Catholic Franciscan Identity, the University of St. Francis community demonstrates respect for all creation by being responsible and ethical stewards of God’s resources, meeting current needs without sacrificing the survival, health and success of future generations and by advocating on behalf of the underserved in our world. Affirming our commitment to ensure all of God’s creation is used and sustained in manners that safeguard the health and survival of God’s gifts, the University will:
USF recently became a member of Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). It is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. To further its mission of empowering higher education to lead the sustainability transformation, AASHE provides resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model sustainability in all areas, from governance and operations to education and research.
In the pursuit of sustainable development, the university is also committed to adapting and reusing buildings. Bypassing the sometimes wasteful process of demolition and reconstruction alone makes adaptive reuse an attractive option for the future.
Thank you for committing to minimize resource use in our shared workplaces! With your help, we can live out our Catholic Franciscan value of caring for creation by using less materials, producing less waste, and ensuring the well-being of all in our community, especially the undeserved population. The USF Sustainability Committee recognizes the efforts of staff and faculty in their commitment to a sustainable future. The Community Sustainability Promise program offers all interested individuals an opportunity to partner in the stewardship of creation.
Student Sustainability Promise
The Sustainability Committee is working towards having 100% of the on-campus undergraduate students sign the sustainability promise. As of October 2018, 296 current students (21.4% of the undergraduate population) have signed the promise. This is up from October 2017 when 165 students (13.4%) had signed the promise.
Click to sign the:
USF’s students have an important role in keeping the campus green as well. In this Student Handbook, written by the USF student body, several suggestions for conservation can be found. All are easy to integrate into busy schedules and cost very little.
We encourage the USF community to make all events as sustainable as possible. In the 2015-2016 academic year, the Student Government Association (SGA) passed legislation requiring every club to host at least one green event per year. In order for the event to be counted as a “green event” a handful of requirements from a list of possibilities must be met. These requirements include publicizing the event digitally and via word of mouth rather than by fliers, utilizing reusable water bottles instead of single-use bottles, or holding the event in an area with low energy expenditure (such as outdoors or only using some of the lights in a room). In the 2018-2019 school year SGA began offering additional funds to any club event that was approved as a green event.
Council of Environmental Awareness
The Council of Environmental Awareness (CEA) is a student-run club whose purpose is to provide students the opportunity to participate in university and environment-related activities. CEA gets students involved in making changes to protect the environment and be more sustainable. Activities and projects include measuring waste in the Terrace Café, doing a river cleanup at Rock Run Rookery, a camping trip at Channahon State Park, day trips to Starved Rock State Park, hosting an event where students get to make their own sustainable earrings, and growing plants to sell at Bluestem Earth Festival. During Green Week, CEA hosts a series of events including DIY bird feeders, a plarn party, a “101 Ways to Go Green” raffle, and an animal showing by Big Run Wolf Ranch.
A team of students from Enactus, a University of St. Francis club, recently developed a process to take donated food from Sodexo, the on campus food service, and donating it to Daybreak, a homeless shelter, in the Joliet area on a weekly basis. This was developed as an Eco Leader project through the Sustainability Committee. The project was presented it at the SHMEC Student Sustainability Forum in April of 2019. They also presented this project at a 2019 Enactus conference and received an award for their work.
CEA Sold Honey at the Sodexo Farmers Market: CEA sold honey from the USF beehive on September 19th, 2019 from 11 am-1 pm outside the president’s room. Each bottle is going for $8. They hope to raise money to purchase sustainability kits for students the project will run only off money raised from the beehives to be self-sustaining. More honey selling dates will be available soon!
Involvement Fair Success: USF sustainability was present at the Student Government Association bi-annual Involvement Fair September 4th 2019 11 am-1 pm in the Quad. They had free shower timers available for anyone who signed the student sustainability promise and information about their committee meeting dates. Overall 42 students signed the pledge and were entered to win a solar-powered phone charger. They will continue to have pledge signing opportunities and prizes in the future so be on the lookout for those dates. Congrats to Katie Wozniak, Lydia Hill, Darian Love for being the most recent winners of a sustainable battery pack!
Will County Residents
Visit willcountygreen.com for a comprehensive listing of Will County recycling guidelines, drop-off and recycling event locations, and more!
Will County Electronics Recycling
There are four Will County drop-off options for electronics. All drop-off centers restrict vehicles to two TVs each. A valid ID or current USF student ID is required for proof of residency. Visit willcountygreen.com for additional information:
How Colleges and Their Students Are Boosting Sustainability
LetsGoSolar.com has created a new guide that makes going green on campus fun. Click here for a quick quiz and clever tips that will help students find new ways to help the environment.
The University of St. Francis takes pride in the landscaping around campus, especially when it comes to the plants. The landscaping not only fills campus with color, it also supports the local bee and butterfly population. Read below for information on the various plants around campus. The University of St. Francis Office of Sustainability also developed a campus map indicating what types of plants can be found around campus, which can be viewed at the bottom of this webpage.
Security Entrance (Taylor Street): Autumn Joy Sedum and catmint welcome visitors walking into the security entrance of Tower Hall along Taylor Street. These perennial plants provide beautiful colors that change depending on the season. Autumn Joy Sedum starts off as pink but then changes into a copper color in the fall. The Autumn Joy Sedum also attracts butterflies, adding to the beauty of these flowers.
Donovan Hall: Hydrangea is planted on both sides of the stairway leading into the south side of Donovan Hall. These perennial plants provide a variety of color that will provide long-lasting color all season.
Welcome Center: Visitors to the University’s Welcome Center and motorist traveling down route 30 are welcomed by the colorful landscaping around Parking Lot E. Black-eyed Susan provides a nice balance of yellow within the purple from the purple coneflower and catmint. These beautiful perennials keep the same great color coming back year after year. In the middle of the parking lot is a retention pond which is home to dwarf cattail.
Maintenance: At the southwest corner of the maintenance area there is a variety of plants including catmint, cleome, phlox and zinnia. Cleome is in bloom nearly all summer and fall until the first frost, and is easily able to withstand the summer heat in direct sunlight.
Bee and Butterfly Garden: The bee and butterfly garden was expanded at the beginning of the 2018 season, doubling the size of it. The garden has the most diverse plant population, all of which were selected to support the local bee and butterfly populations. Black-eyed Susan, butterfly weed, cleome, milkweed, coreopsis, flowering lilac tree, geranium, hollyhock, knockout roses, lavender liatris, pink petunias, purple coneflower, rose of Sharon, sunflower, yarrow, and zinnia are just some of the plants that can be found in this area. In May 2018, this garden was certified as a Monarch Waystation, meaning the University of St. Francis has taken appropriate steps to support the rapidly declining population of monarch butterflies and have created a habitat for them to survive in.
Grotto: As the USF community and visitors walk pass by the grotto on the Quad, they will be surrounded by colorful landscaping. A variety of annuals and perennials including cleome, marigold, new guinea impatiens, phlox and wax begonia provide a wide assortment of colors.
Greenhouse: Students in the natural sciences department planted a variety of perennials by the greenhouse several years ago that provide a nice welcome while entering St. Albert Hall and the Green house. These plants include ironweed, Ohio spiderwort, bee balm, purple coneflower, evening primrose, rattlesnake master and partridge pea.
Science Hall: Although flowers have not yet been planted around the science hall, a number of trees and bushes were planted in Spring 2018 including autumn brilliance serviceberry, bur oak, dwarf Korean lilac, eastern redbud, hydrangea, Kentucky coffeetree, royal raindrops crab, and swamp white oak. In all, over 20 trees were planted around the new LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Science Hall.
A few years ago, a beautiful and sustainable parking lot was installed in front of the Motherhouse Welcome Center.
In the spring 2018 semester, University of St. Francis continued to show a strong desire to bring the topic of sustainability even closer to its student body by opening the LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Science Hall. The science hall was designed to meet LEED Gold standards and features nine laboratories used by science majors. It is quickly becoming the university’s beacon for the promotion of sustainability and environmental architectural advances.
The second floor features a 125-square-foot green roof, giving students opportunities to learn about and experiment with growing different plants. The green roof serves as insulation for the building, while also collecting rain water. The roof includes a patio area that serves as a social space for students as well as a space for formal receptions and meetings.
Additional sustainable features of the building include low-e and fritted windows, low flow water fixtures, motion occupancy sensors, and all LED lighting.
One way that everyone can help USF become a more sustainable campus is by recycling. Recycling bins are located in every classroom, throughout the hallways, in the residence halls, an in every gathering/meeting room. Although our recycling collection companies collect single-stream recycling, in fall 2018 the Office of Campus Sustainability pushed the USF community to start sorting their recycling. This came as a direct result of China no longer accepting recycling from the U.S. With this ban in place, recycling companies have become stricter with their regulations. By separating recycling at the collection points, it reduces the amount of contamination entering the bin. If the bin is contaminated, it must be thrown away.
The paper recycling bins are for mixed paper, junk mail, magazines, and small flattened cardboard boxes. Oversize cardboard boxes should be flattened and placed next to the bin. When placing items into this bin, make sure they are clean and dry. Items that should not be recycled include paper towels, pizza boxes, food to-go containers, paper cups, and bathroom tissue. Remember, if in doubt, throw it out.
Can & Bottle Recycling
The can and bottle recycling bins are for steel, tin, and aluminum cans and plastic bottles (#1-5 & 7). All items should be clean and dry of any liquids and food. By dumping liquids or foods into this bin, all the contents will have to be disposed of in the trash. Glass jars can only be recycled on the main campus. DO NOT place the following items into the can and bottle recycling bins: #6 plastic, Styrofoam, plastic food containers, and plastic films or wraps. Remember, if in doubt, throw it out.
Although not collected in bins around campus, the maintenance department will recycle many other items including ink and toner cartridges of all sizes, any type of battery, fluorescent and CFL light bulbs, and scrap metal. To recycle these materials, students and employees should take them to the maintenance garage located along Plainfield Road next to the Motherhouse. Resident students wishing to recycle electronic items are welcome to utilize the Will Country Green drop off events. All the resident student needs to do is show their USF student ID card to prove student status.
Do You Know What Your Community Recycles?
Although similar from town-to-town, your curb-side recycling program might accept different materials from a neighboring town, depending on the company providing the service. Click below to view recycling guidelines in local curbside programs:
Recycle these… Glass and Plastic Bottles | Aluminum and Tin Cans | Cardboard Boxes (must be broken down) | White and Colored Paper | Books (hard and soft covered books) | Magazines and Junk Mail Envelopes | Brochures & Pamphlets | Coated Paper (shiny) | Computer Printouts | Carbonless Receipts | Post-It Notes | Manuals with Glue Bindings | File Folders (with metal hangers) | File Folders (with plastic tabs) | Wire & Plastic Spirals | Staples, Paper Clips and Clamps | Rechargeable and Non-Rechargeable Batteries |
Computer Batteries | Cell Phones | Calculators | Clothing, Shoes, Textiles, Linens, Fabrics etc. | MP3 Players | Cameras | Ink/Laser Printer Cartridges
Candy Wrappers | Carbon Paper | Carpet or Cloth | Glass (if not a bottle or jar) | Food soiled cardboard | Food or any Organic Waste |
Liquids | Plastic Bags and Saran Wrap | Plastics (if they’re not a bottle) | Plates or Dishes | Styrofoam | Used Paper Cups and Paper Plates |
Used Paper Towels | Used Tissues | Waxed Cardboard (milk) | Waxed Paper | Wet or Soiled paper | Window Glass