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.
Earth Month - April
Each year, we celebrate Earth Month as an extension of Earth Day, April 22. This is a time to enact change and inspire consciousness about how our decisions affect the campus environment and the Earth we share. 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!
iSEE coordinates with Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) as well as academic and campus units to offer climate-related public lectures and campus sustainability events.
Earth Month 2022 highlights are listed below; not to mention our monthlong Water Reduction Challenge (details on our Contests & Challenges webpage)!
- Illini Lights Out
Student volunteers turned off lights in campus building to reduce energy, emissions, and money over the weekend
5 p.m. | Friday, April 8 | Meet at Foreign Languages Building
- Earth Month Trivia
iSEE hosted this uniquely environmental version of Union Trivia Tuesdays!
7 p.m. | Tuesday, April 12 | Illini Union Courtyard Cafe
- Earth Week ‘TED Talk: Eco-Edition’
Jennifer Walling, Executive Director of Illinois Environmental Council, was the April TED Talk host online!
7-8 p.m. | Tuesday, April 19
SECS and iSEE led this reduce/reuse event for the benefit of the Earth! Participants were invited to drop off clothes in the days ahead of the Swap.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Wednesday, April 20 | Channing Murray Foundation, 1209 W. Oregon St., Urbana
Earth Week Clothing Swap
- MillerComm Lecture: Richard Lazarus
Harvard University Environmental Law Professor
“The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court”
4:30 p.m. | Wednesday, April 20 | Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
- Keeling Lecture: Gavin Schmidt
Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
“Success, Progress, and Challenges in Climate Modeling”
3:30 p.m. | Thursday, April 21
- iSEE Sustainability ‘Grammys’
Our awards — co-sponsored by the Illini Union Board and Student Sustainability Leadership Council — recognized Registered Student Organizations and other groups for their acts of sustainability in 2021-22!
6-7:30 p.m. | Thursday, April 21 | Siebel Center for Design
- Green Quad Day
SSLC and dozens of student environmental organizations, iSEE, and community organizations tabled on the Main Quad
11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Friday, April 22 (Earth Day!)
- Arbor Day Celebration & Tree Planting
Facilities & Services and iSEE celebrated Arbor Day with speeches and “tree-via” as a tree was planted on the west side of Mumford Hall
Noon-1 p.m. | Friday, April 29 | Sims Executive Room of the Funk ACES Library
- Earth Month Trash Pick-Up CANCELED!!
This event was originally scheduled for April 8, then April 29, but inclement weather caused cancellations.
- Illini Lights Out
Student volunteers turned off lights in campus building to reduce energy, emissions, and money over the weekend
5 p.m. | Friday, April 29 | Meet at Foreign Languages Building
For a full list of activities and student-sponsored events, click here to visit our calendar!
Sustainability Month - October
Sustainability Month 2021
A roundup of October events hosted or co-hosted by iSEE and highlights from the Student Sustainability Summit, hosted by the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and the Student Sustainability Leadership Council (SSLC) and co-hosted by other student organizations:
- ALL MONTH LONG — iSEE’s October Waste Challenge: Starting Oct. 4, challenge yourself and others to reduce waste and make better purchasing decisions! Read the details here >>>
- 10 a.m.-noon SATURDAYS, OCT. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 — Red Bison Arboretum Work Day: Help Red Bison with restoration efforts in the South Arboretum Woods. Activities include seed collection, controlled burns, invasive species removal, and more. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 4-5 p.m. MONDAY, OCT. 4 — AESB Tour: Join students and researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering for a tour of the Agricultural Engineering Science Building facilities and the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab (IBRL). Explore state-of-the-art water quality labs, fish tanks, and an indoor rain simulator! Hosted by Illini Urban Farmers as part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 7:30 p.m. MONDAY, OCT. 4 — Outdoor Adventure Club Trivia Night at Murphy’s Pub: Come out to make new friends and test your trivia knowledge on such topics as national parks, the Illinois Climate Action Plan, outer space, and more! Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 5 — SSLC’s Tuesday Talks at Bevier Cafe: Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) President Alec Van Patten will discuss the ongoing fight for U of I divestment from fossil fuels. Optional lunch costs about $10; food will be served beginning at 11:30, and the presentation will begin at noon. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 1 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 5 — Bevier Cafe and Greenhouse Tour: Join SSLC for a behind-the-scenes tour of Bevier and its greenhouses to learn about the sustainability features of this student-operated cafe. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 11:50 a.m. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 6 — Sustainable Student Farm Tour: Hop on a mini-bus at the Illini Union, where you will take a quick trip to the SSF to learn more about this volunteer- and student-run farm that uses eco-friendly practices to provide fresh produce. RSVP here; you will need to show your Safer Illinois App before loading the bus. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 11 a.m.-4 p.m. THURSDAYS, OCT. 7, 14, 21, and 28 — Sustainable Student Farm Stand: Tired of frozen pizza? Purchase fresh, organic produce from the SSF. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 8-11 p.m. THURSDAY, OCT. 7 — Movie Night on the Quad: Join SSLC and SSC on the Quad for a free viewing of Disney-Pixar’s “WALL-E.” Watch the affable robot’s adventures in a society post-environmental-disaster and wonder … is this where we’re headed? Cookies will be provided, courtesy of Bevier Cafe. Rain date is Oct. 14. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 11 a.m. MONDAY, OCT. 11 — Pilot Processing Plant Tour: Join SSLC for a tour of this Food Science and Human Nutrition plant and explore this facility’s role in providing sustainable food. The pizza sauce you had last night very well may have come from this plant. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 10 a.m.-4 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 12 — Green Quad Day: Meet both student- and community-led sustainability groups! This event will include RSOs like Red Bison and Illini Urban Farmers — but also Urbana-Champaign assets like Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) and Karma Trade. Additionally, check out some past projects that SSC has funded through the Illinois Green Fund! Rain date is Oct. 14. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 12 — SSLC’s Tuesday Talks at Bevier Cafe: Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor McKenzie Johnson will present “So you say I’m a socialist? Thinking about integrating justice and sustainability in a Trumpian world.” Optional lunch costs about $10; food will be served beginning at 11:30, and the presentation will begin at noon. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 1-2:30 p.m. FRIDAY, OCT. 15 — F&S Solar Open House on Topia: Join SSLC and Facilities & Services for this tour. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- COMING MONDAY, OCT. 18 — Campus Sustainability Training: iSEE will launch a new sustainability training video that provides information about how YOU can help our campus meet Illinois Climate Action Plan objectives. Link coming soon!
- 6-8 p.m. MONDAY, OCT. 18 — Stop Line 3 Teach-In & Letter Writing: Join Stop Line 3 CU to learn about the Line 3 oil pipeline and its environmental and social effects. Attendees can then write letters or postcards to their representatives to make their voices heard. Red Herring will cater; Location: CIF, rm1035. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- STARTING TUESDAY, OCT. 19 — iSEE Congress ‘Circular Food Systems’: iSEE is hosting a series of one-hour seminars, lectures, and panels on various aspects of more sustainable farming and food production. Found out more and register for each zoom webinar here >>>
- 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 19 — SSLC’s Tuesday Talks at Bevier Cafe: Speaker Aidan Brougham Cook. Optional lunch costs about $10; food will be served beginning at 11:30, and the presentation will begin at noon. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 6-7 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 19 — TED Talk ‘Eco Edition’: Join iSEE for our monthly event, in which SWATeam Clerk Alexa Smith, senior in Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences, will lead the discussion on what makes a sustainable, beneficial economy. Participants will view a prerecorded TED Talk by Kate Raworth, “A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow.” All are invited to participate in a guided discussion and roundtable. Zoom registration link >>>
- 1-4 p.m. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 20 — Campus Sustainability Celebration: iSEE, F&S, and student organizations are thrilled to invite you to this annual celebration and appreciation event at the NCSA Lobby/Atrium, 1205 W. Clark St., Urbana. It is a great opportunity to meet and network with your peer sustainability advocates and hear about exciting campus sustainability progress, awards, and projects. All are welcome! (NOTE: Those who cannot attend in person are welcome to watch NCSA’s livestream on YouTube >>>)
- 6:30-8 p.m. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 20 — SECS Career Panel (online): Six experts in various sustainability fields will discuss their work and answer questions on how they got their start. This event aims to help students to clarify prospective job paths, or learn more about what work in the field of sustainability looks like. Zoom link coming soon! Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 5:30-7 p.m. OCT. 22 — Illini Lights Out: All students are invited to participate in this popular event, turning off lights in campus buildings to help save energy and money — and reduce greenhouse gas emissions — for the weekend! View the ILO page for more details and the signup form >>>
- 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 26 — SSLC’s Tuesday Talks at Bevier Cafe: Speaker Jessica Brinkworth. Optional lunch costs about $10; food will be served beginning at 11:30, and the presentation will begin at noon. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 1 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 26 — Bevier Cafe and Greenhouse Tour: Join SSLC for a behind-the-scenes tour of Bevier and its greenhouses to learn about the sustainability features of this student-operated cafe. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 5-8 p.m. TUESDAY, OCT. 26 — SSLC Sustainability Research Symposium in CIF 4029: Undergrads, grads, and faculty across campus will discuss their groundbreaking research; it might help attendees also get involved with research. Free cookies courtesy of Bevier Cafe. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
- 5-6 p.m. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 27 — PRN Webinar on Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (online): Join Prairie Rivers Network and SSLC for a discussion of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sept. 15. CEJA is lauded as the country’s most just and equitable clean energy law, sets Illinois on a path to a 100% clean energy future by 2050, and prioritizes equitable opportunities in the new clean energy economy. Zoom link coming soon. Part of the Student Sustainability Summit >>>
Past Earth Month Events
The 2021 schedule:
- iSEE Congress Spring 2021: “The Future of Water”
Virtual noon-hour lectures | April 6, 14, 20, and 23
- Community Trash Pickup at Boneyard Creek (sponsored by iSEE and F&S)
3-5 p.m. | April 7 | Watch a video of the day’s action! >>>
- “Sustainability Rocks” on the Main Quad
11 a.m.-5 p.m. | April 8 | Watch a video of the event! >>>
- Virtual Careers in Sustainability Panel Discussion
Noon-1 p.m. | April 9
- The annual Charles David Keeling Lecture
4 p.m. | April 19
- Environmental Quad Day: Celebrate Earth Day on the Main Quad!
Stop by iSEE’s table from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 22
- iSEE TED Talk: Eco-Edition — Earth Month and Environmental Activism
View a preview video! >>>
7-8 p.m. | April 29 | Registration is required; please sign up >>>
- Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) Arbor Day Celebration
View a preview video of iSEE’s iCAP tree planting earlier in the week! >>>
Noon | April 30
Past Sustainability Month Events
Highlights from Sustainability Month 2020
- Campus Sustainability Celebration and iCAP 2020 Unveiling: iSEE, Facilities & Services, and campus officials hosted a celebration of campus sustainability progress during the past year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign — and a look ahead to our future plans. This includes Illinois Climate Action Plan 2020, which was unveiled and accompanied by remarks from Chancellor Robert J. Jones. View the YouTube video >>>
- iSEE’s October Waste Challenge: 100 campus community members participated in attempts to reduce their waste and make better purchasing decisions. Read the details here >>>
- Certified Green Programs: iSEE, which made some revamps to its Certified Green Office Program, also released a sustainability guide for certifying a sorority or fraternity as sustainable with its Certified Green Chapter Program Learn more here >>>
- Campus Sustainability Training: In partnership with the University of Illinois Ethics and Compliance Office and Video Services at Public Affairs, iSEE has launched a new sustainability training video. The training provides information about the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) 2020 as well as opportunities for the campus community to adopt zero-waste practices. More than 900 students, staff, faculty members, and local residents participated. All are still invited to watch the training and provide feedback!
Highlights from Sustainability Week 2019
In 2019, Sustainability Week was highlighted by the Campus Sustainability Celebration, in which the campus celebrated past accomplishments and kicked off the planning for the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) 2020 in earnest! Other events: tours of the Campus Recycling Center, the net-zero ReHome, and the Solar Farm; a “plarning” event to reuse plastic bags; a Quad tree walk; a celebration of the centennial birthday of the Red Oak Rain Garden trees; a film and panel discussion; dinner at the Sustainable Student Farm, and Illini Lights Out — iSEE’s monthly chance for students to turn off lights and reduce the energy consumption and environmental impact of our campus!
Highlights from Sustainability Week 2018
To kick off Campus Sustainability Week 2018, students were invited to participate in a new event called “Plogging” — picking up plastic while you jog. Attended by more than 30 people, the 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. In addition to other student- and department-led events, the week featured a tour of Abbott Power Plant, the annual Campus Sustainability Celebration (attended by more than 100 people). It concluded with an Illini Lights Out event in which students turned off lights in buildings around the Main Quad while in Halloween garb.
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.
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 >>>