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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.

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 and campus sustainability events to go along with student activities.

The 2020 schedule >>>

The Archives: See past years’ events

Sustainability Week (October)


Sustainability Week 2019: Oct. 21-25

A look at what happened on campus:

  • Recycling Center Tour, 9-10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 21, Waste Transfer Station, 10 St. Mary’s Road, Champaign — A tour to observe where our recycling goes after we place it in the trash can!
  • Plarn with the Sustainable Living Learning Community, 5-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, Illini Union Room 407, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana — The Sustainability LLC’s first Plarning Event of the semester (reusing plastic bags)
  • Illini Quad Tree Walk, 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, Alma Mater Statue, 1409 W. Green St., Urbana — Students, faculty, and community members toured the Quad to learn about our amazing trees and admire their fall colors!
  • Seminar from Jason Knouft: “Sensitivity of Freshwater Systems to Changes in Climate and Land Use,” 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1005 Forbes Natural History Building, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign — The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS, a Division of the Prairie Research Institute) seminar was on the importance of freshwater ecosystems and their susceptibility to human-induced changes.
  • ReHome Tour, 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, 3606 Race St., Urbana. This tour of ReHome offered information about net-zero living!
  • Film and Panel Discussion: “What Lies Upstream,” 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, McKinley Foundation, 809 S. Fifth St., Champaign — Food, film, and a discussion about the 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia.
  • Campus Sustainability Celebration, 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, Levis Faculty Center Room 300, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana —A celebration of green initiatives on campus and a discussion of plans for the 2020 Illinois Climate Action Plan!
  • Solar Farm Open House, 9-10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, Solar Farm 1.0, First Street and Windsor Road, Champaign — A visit to the 21-acre Solar Farm allowed participants to touch panels, take pictures, and imagine a world full of clean energy.
  • Red Oak Rain Garden Celebration, 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, Between Allen Hall and McKinley Health Center, Urbana  A celebration of the opening and the 100th(ish) birthdays of the RORG’s trees.
  • Dinner at the Sustainable Student Farm, 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, West Windsor Road and South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana — Fresh food and sustainable agriculture at the SSF.
  • Illini Lights Out, 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, Foreign Language Building Lobby, 707 S. Matthews Ave., Urbana — 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 >>>