Environmental Sustainability Committee
Roosevelt University’s Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) was born from a series of unofficial meetings initiated in 2010 by Asst. Vice President of Campus Planning and Operations, Paul Matthews. Since its beginning, the committee has functioned on an open and voluntary basis, and includes student, faculty, staff, and alumni members from various realms of the university. The ESC allows the opportunity for interested individuals to participate in campus sustainability initiatives, as well as provides a forum in which to express their ideas and concerns. In this regard, the ESC was heavily involved in realizing the sustainable redevelopment of the Schaumburg Campus, which now boasts itself as an NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat, Monarch Waystation, Tree Campus USA, and Arboretum Accreditation 1. In 2014, committee meetings facilitated the drafting of RU’s 5-Year Strategic Sustainability Plan, and continues to execute and monitor progress of the plan’s major goals through aligned action groups of Climate & Energy, Education & Outreach, Waste & Natural Resources, and Economics & Governance.
Students have long been at the forefront of environmental activism at Roosevelt University. Well before RU began its recent sustainability initiatives in 2010, students formed the organization RU Green to promote environmental literacy on campus, engage students and the RU community in policy discussions of environmental issues, and plan campus activities and events to "green" Roosevelt's environment by holding clean-up days at both campuses and encouraging recycling efforts. RU Green has been a formally recognized student organization that is reorganizing itself for the 2016-17 year, and welcomes participation from all students at the university. Its mission of environmental education and service perfectly complement and will be vital to implementing RU's sustainability goals and vision.
Since 2010, Roosevelt has undergone a green metamorphosis across campuses and departments. Two LEED-certified buildings have been constructed, the Sustainability Studies program graduated its first class, much of Schaumburg’s campus has been converted to sustainable prairie, and more. Sustainability is woven into the fabric of Roosevelt University, and flourishes through these many contributions. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni take it one step further: they work together to bring the University’s sustainable vision and mission to life.
Below, you will find a preview of several individuals who are working to make this vision possible. Note, that this work is not limited to this small core group.
Paul J. Matthews
Assistant Vice President, Campus Planning & Operations
Paul J. Matthews is a key driver and leader in Environmental Sustainability at Roosevelt University. Serving on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council through 2011, Matthews currently is co-chair of the USGBC-IL Green Schools Higher Education subcommittee. Paul also helped develop RU’s 5-Year Strategic Sustainability Plan and leads the Climate & Energy action group of the Environmental Sustainability Committee.
Since arriving in 2010, Matthews completed three major capital projects: construction of the 32-story USGBC Gold Wabash “vertical” campus, USGBC Silver Goodman Center Field House, and renovation of College of Pharmacy which is featured in the American School & University (AS&U) Interiors Portfolio for outstanding design. Currently under Paul’s direction is a 22-acre sustainable landscape renovation at Roosevelt’s Schaumburg, including continued prairie restoration, pervious paving, rain gardens and a community vegetable garden. Paul is also contributing to the retro-commissioning of the Auditorium, Wabash and Goodman Center buildings—all of which will contribute to energy savings and a lowered carbon footprint.
Matthews holds a Master’s degree in Public Management from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Ohio State University. Commissioned as an officer in the USMC, Matthews served for twenty-four years, retiring in 1996 as a Major.
Michael A. Bryson
Director and co-founder Sustainability Studies Program
Professor of Humanities and Sustainability Studies
Michael A. Bryson is director and co-founder of Roosevelt’s Sustainability Studies program (est. 2010), the first of its kind in the Chicago region, and a Research Associate at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He is also a key leader of Roosevelt’s Sustainability Initiative. Bryson teaches a wide range of interdisciplinary courses and specializes in designing field study opportunities for his students. An active scholar, writer, and editor on subjects ranging from urban ecology environmental literature to sustainability education, Bryson has published the well-reviewed book, Visions of the Land: Science, Literature, and the American Environment from the Era of Exploration to the Age of Ecology (University of Virginia Press, 2002) as well as many other articles and essays. Michael helped develop RU’s 5-Year Strategic Sustainability Plan, is part of the Environmental Sustainability Committee and is the leader of the Education & Outreach action group.
Dr. Bryson received his BA in biology and English (1990) at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL; and his PhD in English (1995) at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (now Stony Brook University) on Long Island.
Chief Engineer, Chicago Campus, Campus Planning and Operations
Jeffrey DeBrizzio, Chief Engineer for Roosevelt’s downtown Chicago Campus, has been with the University since 2014. He and his team have worked very diligently on many sustainability-related projects at RU. Jeff has helped save energy by tying in devices and doing scheduling through the building automation system (BAS) and has also helped developed a curtailment project with EnerNOC that has resulted in over $64,000 in rebates to Roosevelt in 2015/16. Rebates from this program fund more energy reduction projects. Currently, Jeff is working on retro-commissioning of the Auditorium, Wabash and Goodman Center buildings, which will help the University create a plan that will decrease energy expenses and lower our carbon footprint.
Jeff contributes to RU’s Retrofit goal and is part of the Environmental Sustainability Climate & Energy action group. Jeff received his BS in Computer networking Management from DeVry University, and has a certificate in Stationary Engineering Degree from Triton College.
Chief Engineer, Schaumburg Campus, Campus Planning and Operations
Pedro Perez is Roosevelt’s Chief Engineer for the Schaumburg Campus, and has been with the University for 19 years. At the Schaumburg Campus, Pedro has contributed to various projects that have all targeted energy savings. Some of those projects include: replacement of incandescent light bulbs to compact bulbs, replacement of track lighting to LED, installing time clocks on equipment to help with energy savings, and more.
Current projects that Pedro is involved with include the replacement of the parking lot lights to LED, tying several pieces of cooling and heating equipment to the building automation system, and retrofitting several of the school lamps to LED. He can always be found keeping busy at the Schaumburg Campus, and has also contributed to the community garden via helping install and set the timer for the irrigation system. Pedro is part of Roosevelt’s Environmental Sustainability Committee and makes valuable contributions to the Climate & Energy action group.
Electrical Foreman, Campus Planning and Operations
Tom Sliwinski has been RU’s electric foreman since 2002. He has led quite a few energy savings projects for the University including installation of light sensors in the Auditorium and Gage buildings, installation of controls for motors and fan units at RU, the recycling of lamps, batteries, and light bulbs at the downtown Chicago Campus, and much more. A current project includes pursuing the implementation of more LED technology in our campus buildings. Tom is also helping with a project to retro-commission the Auditorium, Wabash and Goodman Center buildings.
All of the projects that Tom has led and participated in have resulted in savings for the University and, ultimately, a lower carbon footprint. These projects also play in to Tom’s role in helping Roosevelt achieve a 20% energy reduction by 2019 for the Auditorium Building as a part of the University’s commitment to Retrofit Chicago. Tom is part of the Environmental Sustainability Committee at RU, has helped develop RU’s 5-Year Strategic Sustainability Plan, and is the co-leader of the Climate & Energy action group.
Energy Management Student Associate
Brennan Morrow is RU’s Campus Planning and Operations’ Energy Management Student Associate. Working for the department since early spring 2015, Brennan switched from an operations position to one that is more focused on energy use and tracking in fall 2015. Most of Brennan’s work involves creating monthly utility energy reports for all of RU’s buildings, submitting rebates and tracking energy savings projects, submitting data to the USEPA Portfolio Manager, and helping RU work towards achieving a 20% energy reduction by 2019 for the Auditorium Building. Brennan is part of RU’s Economics & Governance action group and Environmental Sustainability Committee.
The energy position interests him because it is a bridge between the business side of firms and sustainability efforts: it demonstrates the common goals between business and sustainability; efficiency and cost reduction. Brennan received his Associate’s degree in Accounting from Harold Washington College in fall 2013, and his BSBA in Accounting at Roosevelt in spring 2016. Brennan hopes to work in Government or the non-profit sector.
Environmental Sustainability Intern, Chicago Campus
Tiffany Mucci is the Environmental Sustainability Intern for Roosevelt University’s Chicago Campus for the summer 2016 semester. She is working in Campus Planning and Operations, managing the Wabash Rooftop Garden, assisting in the development of a pilot compost program for the Auditorium Building, and writing for RU’s Green Campus social media and website.
Tiffany graduated from Roosevelt University in May 2016 with a BPS in Sustainability Studies. As a student, she served as Assistant Editor of the Sustainability Studies @ Roosevelt University Blog for the 2015-16 academic year, as well as a co-editor of Writing Urban Nature, an environmental humanities project of the Roosevelt Urban Sustainability Lab. This past winter and spring Tiffany interned at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, working with their ecological restoration team. Inspired by its history, mission, and biodiversity, she authored several essays about Midewin which are published on the SUST@RU Blog.
Environmental Sustainability Student Associate
Nicholas Waskowski is the Environmental Sustainability Student Associate at Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg Campus. He joined Roosevelt in the fall of 2015, to pursue a major in Sustainability Studies and started his current position in January 2016. Nick has been involved in several sustainability initiatives at the Schaumburg Campus including, but not limited to: planning and opening the Indoor Walking Course (I.W.C.), contributions to our Tree Care Plan, managing the Schaumburg community garden, monitoring the Prairie Walk and Edible Food Forest, certification of the Schaumburg campus as a Monarch Waystation, assisting in the plan for bee hive installation on campus, planning the Earth Month Extravaganza, participating in RU’s 2016 Arbor day tree planting celebration, the installation of a Medicinal Plant Garden, and more.
Nick is also a member of the Environmental Sustainability Committee’s Waste and Natural Resources action group and is assisting in the creation a campus wide compost plan that is spearheaded by the action group’s leaders, Maria Cancilla and Emily Rhea. Nick is also an avid amateur horticulturalist and naturalist. When he isn’t working with Campus Planning and Operations he is most likely hiking along the Des Plaines River looking for native flora and fauna.
STARS Intern, Fall 2015
Maria Cancilla is a Sustainability Studies major at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Campus. She was honored and excited to be work as a student intern with Campus Planning and Operations and the Sustainability Studies Program on the STARS Team. This team followed up on a course, “SUST 390: The Sustainable Campus”, that had its inaugural semester in spring of 2015. Students gathered data to be reported in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Both SUST 390 and the STARS reporting are crucial parts of RU’s 5-year Strategic Sustainability Plan. Maria also helped in the planning of RU’s 5-year Strategic Sustainability Plan.
Cancilla is also happy to be a contributing member of both the RU Environmental Sustainability Committee and the Waste and the Natural Resources action group, of which she is the co-leader. She likes volunteering at the RU Urban Rooftop Garden and, when not up on the roof, she can be found tiptoeing and twirling with her young dance students. Upon graduation, Cancilla hopes to shift her focus to teaching children about where their food comes from and how to grow their own sustainable food. By doing this, she hopes to inspire young people to improve our food systems of the future.
Mary Beth Radeck
Former Environmental Sustainability Student Associate
As a former Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, Mary Beth Radeck worked on important projects at both campuses. Mary Beth helped start and later managed the Schaumburg Campus Community Garden, has worked on the Wabash Rooftop Garden in Chicago, and spearheaded the development and facilitation of the 5-Year Strategic Sustainability Plan, developed in fall 2014 and approved in spring 2015.
Radeck, a current Sustainability Studies undergraduate, also has a Landscape Design certification from Northwestern University and 30 years’ experience as a marketing professional across all media and disciplines. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and consults with organizations on sustainability marketing through her company, mb:inc.