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Annual Events & Conferences

In addition to its own iSEE Congress and Critical Conversations forums, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment helps sponsor and promote other annual conferences and events that bring sustainability, energy, and environmental issues to the forefront. Click below to expand details on upcoming events; for day-to-day schedules, visit the Illinois Sustainability Calendar.

Sustainability Week (October)

Sustainability Week 2018: Oct. 21-27

  • PLOGGING: noon-2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. “Plogging” is picking up plastic while you jog. To kick off Sustainability week, iSEE hosted a noncompetitive plogging fun run/walk, kicking off at the Oak Street Library in Champaign and going through a student residential area of campus. This event was part fitness, part environmental action, part community service — and definitely ALL FUN. Students took a bag along on a walk or run to collect trash and recyclables along the path.
  • TOUR OF ABBOTT POWER PLANT: 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23. Participants joined the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) for a free tour of Abbott Power Plant.
  • CAMPUS SUSTAINABILITY CELEBRATION: 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25. iSEE, Facilities & Services, and the campus at large celebrated the accomplishments we’ve made — including F&S’ annual Energy Conservation Incentive Program (ECIP) awards, updates from iSEE’s SWATeams on progress toward Illinois Climate Action Plan goals, tabling from grassroots organizations and clubs, and of course a nice cake and other tasty treats!
  • INVESTING 101 — SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE EDITION: 2-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. Sponsored by SSC, this event helped students and others break down investing basics to start earning passive income. The course added a socially responsible spin to personal investing so people can align their values with their financial aspirations.
  • ILLINI LIGHTS OUT: 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. Students gathered for their monthly trip turning out lights in buildings around the Main Quad — this time wearing their Halloween garb. By participating in iSEE’s Illini Lights Out, students yet again demonstrated a commitment to fighting climate change and saving our planet.


Highlights from Sustainability Week 2017

For Campus Sustainability Week 2017, we invited students, staff, and faculty to brainstorm one (or more!) habit they could begin to take a “Next Step” in their personal sustainability. We received more than 700 pledged actions. It’s not too late: You can still take a next step for the environment today >>>

At the Illini Lights Out event Oct. 20, more than 50 student volunteers turned off 4,972 light bulbs to save energy in campus buildings all weekend long. During the following week, we took a tour of a biomass boiler facility at the Illinois Energy Farm, “jumped for our lunch” at the Shell Synergy Truck, and watched “An Inconvenient Sequel,” taking a behind-the-scenes look at former Vice President Al Gore’s latest efforts to fuel a renewable energy revolution. (Thanks to the Student Sustainability Committee for bring the film to campus!)

iSEE hosted the second annual Campus Sustainability Celebration on Oct. 25 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. More than 100 students, staff, and faculty gathered to learn more about campus efforts toward sustainability and the grassroots organizations and clubs supporting them. Facilities and Services awarded nearly $170,000 to 2017 ECIP winners.

Thanks for making it a great week!


Highlights from Sustainability Week 2016

Sustainability Week 2016 was Oct. 24-28 and featured “BIN IT,” a campaign to encourage campus recycling. It won’t take a minute, just bin it!

Highlights of the week included the first annual Campus Sustainability Celebration on October 26, 2017 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center ballroom and a recycling contest for students, staff, and faculty to compete for prizes by recycling the most items. The “BIN IT” campaign website offered specifics on campus recycling procedure, and educational resources and cheat sheets for easier recycling on campus and at home. The campaign also featured videos of several familiar campus faces recycling. Check out the iSEE YouTube channel to watch them >>>


Earth Month (April)

On April 13, 2018, environmental activist and founder Bill McKibben gave a stirring talk to more than 175 Illinois students and faculty on how to build a better environmental movement.

Earth Month is a time to enact change and real movement toward consciousness about how our decisions affect our campus environment and good ol’ Mother Earth and is celebrated each year during the week of Earth Day, April 22. Whether you’re already a passionate environmentalist or just looking to have some April fun, it’s all about showing the Earth some serious love this week! Earth Month activities are coordinated by Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) and co-sponsored by iSEE.

In addition to SECS-organized events, iSEE coordinates with several academic and campus units to offer climate-related public lectures to go along with student activities: the Charles David Keeling Lecture; the Center for Advanced Studies’ MillerComm Lecture; the Department of Atmospheric Sciences’ Yoshi Ogura Lecture; and the University YMCA’s Friday Forum.

The Archives: See past years’ events

Illinois Water Day (April)

Illinois Water Day is part of the UN World Water Day, a global recognition of the importance of safe, clean and abundant water resources across the world.

Organized annually in April (starting in 2014) by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) Student Chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it aims to:

  • Improve the collective understanding of water resources aspects
  • Provide a space to discuss, reflect and raise awareness about water issues
  • Promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences across different society actors of the Urbana-Champaign community: students, faculty, researchers, organizations; and
  • Promote students’ research and foster networking.

For more information about Water Day 2018 (April 12) and previous years, visit the event website >>>

The 2017 event was co-sponsored by iSEE, the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), the University YMCA, and the Illinois Water Environment Association (IWEA).

Heartland Environmental & Resource Economics Workshop (Fall)

iSEE is a co-sponsor of this annual conference along with the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, and the College of ACES Office of Research. The eighth annual HERE conference was scheduled for Sept. 30-31, 2017, at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. More information on the conference website.