Sustainability at ID

by New Idiom


Before moving to Chicago, I had heard that it was one of the greenest cities in the country. I was excited to be a part of a city making great strides in the green movement, such as having the most green roof space. This created some confusion for me when I discovered that my apartment building did not recycle. However, I was even more surprised to discover that here at ID we don’t recycle.The last two places I have lived have been rather “green.”

ID recycling bin

Not only was recycling was not just commonplace throughout both cities, but not recycling could result in fines. Therefore recycling had become second nature to me, so I assumed that it would also be the norm in Chicago. In fact, I was in school for a week before I realized that this was not the case. It seemed silly to think the school would not recycle. I saw blue recycling bins throughout our building and the school prides itself in offering classes in sustainability. It came as a huge shock to learn those blue bins were for regular trash. Why would we not do a simple thing like recycle?

I am still searching for the answers to this question. I do know that ID’s poor recycling policy goes hand-in-hand with the city of Chicago’s ineffective recycling program. I can’t fix the city’s poor programming, nor alter their priorities, but I am hopeful to try and help create a more sustainable environment here at ID.

I have learned that IIT has been making large strides to improve its environmental impact, which gives me hope for our part of the University. Both IIT’s Stuart School of Business and Kent School of Law recently started recycling programs at their campus, and last fall IIT instituted a recycling program on the main campus. Here at ID we face different challenges, but as the whole university begins to take responsibility for its impact on the environment, I think our ability to change increases.

There is a large part of our student body that has expressed interest in recycling and other sustainable behaviors. A few of us have met together to work on ways to improve ID in these areas. Specifically, we are researching and looking for ways to address the recycling issue as well as provide ways for students to reduce consumption and help create a more sustainable campus. These are now listed on the IDwiki on the sustainability page. Some tips include:

  • Bringing in your own travel mug: Not only will you stop your cup from going into the landfill, but Starbucks will take ten cents off your coffee and give a bigger discount on a second refill.
  • Use the other side of the paper: You can do this on your own, or use the paper boxes we have put by all the printers. Just remember that we still don’t recycle. It’s only for reuse, like printing on the opposite side.

Although this may seem to be an uphill task, I feel that there is a lot of support and that people here at ID want to be more sustainable. It will just take time to form. We would like to again reinforce the fact that every small bit of help and support counts. We are aware that everyone has busy schedules and that time is a premium; but if anyone can offer even small inputs like adding new ideas to the ID Wiki page, offering ideas for workshops/ people for talks, we would be glad to hear from you.