Prairie Research Institute offers summer internships

In collaboration with the Graduate College’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), PRI is offering hands-on summer internships that will enable undergraduate students from populations underrepresented in graduate study at Illinois to explore careers in applied science. This opportunity is open to students at any U.S. undergraduate institution. 

During the eight-week summer program, interns will be immersed in hands-on field and lab projects led by scientists from INHS, ISWS, and ISTC. Interns will also participate in professional and career development activities and will learn about the pathway to graduate study.

Each summer intern will receive a $4,000 stipend, funds to cover travel to and from Urbana-Champaign, and on-campus housing and meals, plus supplies for workshops and symposiums.

There are opportunities in atmospheric science and climate; biology, ecology, and environmental science; sustainable energy; and water supply and safety. To see all of the internship options and to apply, visit https://go.illinois.edu/PRI-interns

The deadline to apply is Fri., March 3, 2023. 

Prairie Research Institute and The Grainger College of Engineering establish a joint initiative on sustainability engineering

By Tiffany Jolley (Prairie Research Institute) and Kim Gudeman (Grainger College of Engineering)

The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) and The Grainger College of Engineering are embarking on a new partnership to create a Joint Initiative on Sustainability Engineering beginning in Spring 2023. This collaboration will further the University of Illinois’ reputation as a nexus of engineering and science that fosters novel solutions for societal challenges, and will broadly include aspects of engineering, energy, health, and sustainability research.

“This partnership will open up new opportunities for research development on our campus and allow scientists from PRI and faculty from the GCOE to work together to find innovative solutions for important societal challenges. Students and postdoctoral researchers will greatly benefit from combining basic research with real-world problems,” said Praveen Kumar, Executive Director of PRI.

Together, PRI and Grainger Engineering aim to encompass joint research and development activity, sponsored funding, private sector partnerships, workforce development and training, and service to the State of Illinois and beyond. This partnership is expected to lead to growth in funding opportunities, and to support successful faculty, research staff, and student recruitment. 

“To make significant advancements in some of the most important challenges of our time, it will take a collaboration of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers working together to solve systems-level problems,” said Grainger Engineering Dean Rashid Bashir. “We are proud to partner with our colleagues across the university as we together pursue science that transforms our health and our world.”

PRI scientists and Grainger Engineering faculty who are doing research in the areas of engineering, energy, health, and sustainability, will jointly advise and mentor engineering graduate students and postdocs. Collaborating PRI scientists and Grainger Engineering faculty will serve as co-advisors of thesis/dissertation and research.

To achieve these goals, PRI and Grainger Engineering will work to create collaborative opportunities through shared research environments and facilities and jointly secure resources to enhance their national and international research and educational reputation, and share their successful collaborations.

This story first appeared on the PRI News Blog. Read the original story.

How universities deal with crocodiles or coyotes on campus

Read the full story in Discover.

College campuses can be wild places. But occasionally, the term can be applied pretty literally at institutions of higher learning — like when it refers to animals that find themselves in people-trafficked places. 

Whether it’s a wandering moose or roving packs of wild boar, some universities in the U.S. must work to ensure that humans are aware and respectful of wild animals. That way, they can hopefully avoid incidents where coeds and critters collide.  

“Where do I even start?” Recommendations for faculty diversifying syllabi in ecology, evolution, and the life sciences

Perrin-Stowe, T. I. N., Horner, M., Coon, J. J., Lynch, L. R., de Flamingh, A., Alexander, N. B., Golebie, E., Swartz, T. M., Bader, A. C., & Halsey, S. J. (2023). “Where do I even start?” Recommendations for faculty diversifying syllabi in ecology, evolution, and the life sciences. Ecology and Evolution, 13, e9719. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.9719 [open access]

Abstract: Diversifying curricula is of increasing interest in higher education, including in ecology and evolution and allied fields. Yet, many educators may not know where to start. Here we provide a framework for meeting standard curriculum goals while enacting anti-racist and anti-colonial syllabi that is grounded in the development of a sustainable network of educators. In addition to highlighting this professional learning process and sharing the list of resources our group has developed, we provide suggestions to help educators highlight contributions of minoritized groups, explore multiple ways of knowing, and perform critical assessments of foundational views of life and environmental science fields. We further discuss the key classroom dynamics that affect the success of such anti-racist and anti-colonial initiatives. The retention and success of minoritized students in ecology and evolution depends on whether we address injustices in our fields. Our hope is that our fellow educators will use this paper to catalyze their own efforts to diversify their courses.

2022 AASHE Sustainability Award winners announced

“The 2022 AASHE Sustainability Award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for progressing sustainability at their campus. They are raising the bar and evolving what sustainability in higher education looks like.”

AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recently announced the 12 winners for the 2022 AASHE Sustainability Awards. The winners represent sustainability leadership from across the globe–Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, Kenya, Switzerland, United States, and Wales. 

The awards provide global recognition to the individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement. With the help of volunteer judges from the community, the awards program raises the visibility of high-impact sustainability projects and collaborations, pioneering research, and student leadership, helping to disseminate innovations and inspire continued progress toward environmental, social, and economic health.

This year’s winners

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Dr. Robert D. Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice. Dr. Bullard currently serves as distinguished professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy and director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University. He served as dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University from 2011-2016 and before that was founding director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He publishes widely on sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, disasters, emergency response, and community resilience, smart growth, and regional equity. 

Racial Equity and Sustainability Collaborations Winner

Campus Sustainability Achievement Award Winners

Associate/2-year Institutions

Institutions with over 10,000 FTE Enrollment

Institutions with under 10,000 FTE Enrollment

  • California State University campuses at Chico, Monterey Bay, San Marcos, Stanislaus, Cal Poly Humboldt, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, as well as Strategic Energy Innovations, partnered on a multi-campus faculty learning community consisting of 62 faculty representing over 30 disciplines. At the time of submission, the CSU Faculty Learning Community in Teaching Climate Change and Resilience resulted in over 75 classes being redesigned to include greater engagement of climate change and resilience.

Campus Sustainability Research Award Winners

Undergraduate Research

Graduate Research

  • Anna Rose Ostrander and Jacob Thomas Namovich at the University of Michigan for “UM Scope 3 Purchased Goods & Services Emissions Footprinting”. This paper evaluates the emissions associated with purchasing of goods and services by the University of Michigan and recommends strategies to reduce these emissions.

Published Journal Article Related to Academics

Published Journal Article Related to Engagement

Published Journal Article Related to Operations

Published Journal Article Related to Planning & Administration

  • Davina Mann, Janelle Kwon, Shaan Naughton, Jasmine Chan, Victoria Hobbs and Gary Sacks at Deakin University; Sinead Boylan and Amanda Grech at University of Sydney; Karen Charlton at University of Wollongong; Jane Dancey at Monash University; Carolyn Dent at Flinders University; Sophie Lamond at University of Melbourne; and Sandra Murray at University of Tasmania for “Development of the University Food Environment Assessment (Uni-Food) Tool and Process to Benchmark the Healthiness, Equity, and Environmental Sustainability of University Food Environments”. This study develops and tests a tool and process to benchmark the healthiness, equity and environmental sustainability of food environments in tertiary education settings. The resulting tool–the University Food Environment Assessment (Uni-Food)–includes 68 indicators related to university systems and governance, campus facilities and environments, and food retail outlets. 

Student Sustainability Leadership Award Winner

About AASHE

AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit the AASHE website or follow AASHE on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Model Recycling Program Toolkit

The Model Recycling Program Toolkit is an interactive collection of EPA and other materials. Toolkit materials can help states, territories, local governments, tribes, schools, nonprofit organizations, companies, and public-private partnerships create effective programs for recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, reuse, repair, and waste reduction. Materials in the toolkit can help communities increase participation in recycling programs and reduce contamination in the recycling stream.

  • Case studies from communities who have created effective recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, reuse, and repair programs. 
  • Training materials on how to create educational messages and campaigns that drive behavior change. 
  • Examples of consumer education materials that states, tribes, and local government entities can adapt and use in recycling programs. 
  • Standardized terms with examples that may be used to describe materials that are accepted by residential recycling programs. 
  • A grantee evaluation guide to measure increased participation, reduced contamination, and change in volume of recyclables collected.

State releases $15M in funding for NIU sustainability center

Read the full story from Northern Illinois University.

It’s all systems go on NIU’s planned $23 million Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability (NICCS), as the State of Illinois has released the remainder of its funding set aside for the project.

Governor JB Pritzker announced yesterday the release of $37.3 million to launch facilities for five hubs of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), created to accelerate job creation and economic growth through groundbreaking education, research and discovery.

New U-M president Ono lays out climate change, diversity and staffing goals

Read the full story at Bridge Michigan.

The University of Michigan will invest $300 million into “high-performing” companies that demonstrate commitments to the environment, and participate in a Delta Air Lines alternative fuel program, new president Santa Ono announced Thursday morning at an annual leadership breakfast

‘The tipping point is coming’: Unprecedented exodus of young life scientists is shaking up academia

Read the full story at STAT.

Young life science researchers are leaving academia at unprecedented levels for lucrative jobs in the private sector. Many of them are entering graduate programs already knowing they don’t want to remain in academia long-term, making their time in the ivory tower a pit stop rather than a final destination.

See nature like (and with) a biologist in new online courses

Read the full story from Rice University.

Online learners can follow Rice University biologist and author Scott Solomon into the wild through an engaging new series of courses focused on ecology, evolution and biodiversity.