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Roosevelt's Schaumburg Campus receives first-ever Conservation at Work award

Posted: 09/04/2012
Roosevelt University has received an inaugural Conservation at Work Award from the region’s Conservation Foundation for an environmentally friendly and sustainable landscape at the Schaumburg Campus, which is considered to be a model for environmental excellence in the workplace.

Dedicated to preserving open space, protecting watersheds and promoting environmental stewardship, the Naperville-based not-for-profit land trust has recognized the University for its implementation of a sustainable landscape plan that includes 8.5 acres of native plantings.

“The University has taken a huge step in the right direction to become a green campus and model for sustainability,” said Jim Kleinwachter (pictured above at left), land protection specialist for the Conservation Foundation, which seeks to improve environmental quality throughout Northeastern Illinois.
 
Recognizing the University for its efforts in reducing storm water runoff, lowering maintenance costs and improving habitats for wildlife, Kleinwachter and the Foundation awarded the University Conservation at Work certification on Thursday, Aug. 30 during a ceremony at the Schaumburg Campus.

“We are pleased to be recognized for our work in improving the environment and the sustainability of the Schaumburg Campus, which offers a major for our students in Sustainability Studies  and which also lives what it teaches by practicing sustainability on the campus,” said Schaumburg Campus Provost Douglas Knerr (pictured above at right).

Knerr and a team of faculty, staff and students developed a Sustainability Master Plan for the Schaumburg Campus in 2010. Since its approval, the University has: removed resource-intensive turf grass on the north and west sides of the campus, installing prairie grass and native wildflowers in its place; installed  landscape beds of native plants, including in parking islands; planted white swamp oak trees, which are native to the region in various locations; put in butterfly and rain gardens and a permeable paver walkway in the inner courtyard; and started a community garden where many  members of the Roosevelt community have planted and are harvesting flowers and vegetables.

“These improvements are attracting a natural habitat of birds, butterflies and small animals. The soil on campus also is getting better and water conservation is being improved with less run off to adjacent areas thanks to our efforts,” said Paul Matthews, assistant vice president for planning and operations at Roosevelt, who has directed master-plan activities.

Project contractor Bill Bedrossian, owner of Bedrock Earthscapes in Wheaton, said the sustainability initiative was one of the largest of its kind at a work site in the Northwest suburbs, which is why he proposed that the Conservation Foundation recognize it. Previously, the foundation had recognized only Conservation at Home projects.

“The Schaumburg Campus initiative is a model for the Northwest suburban workplace and it emphasizes the vision of Roosevelt University in implementing a sustainable environment in a setting where sustainability is also taught,” said Bedrossian.
The University and Conservation Foundation have pledged to work together in the future to further education in the region on sustainable suburban environments and to partner in advancing sustainable practices at work and at home, according to Knerr.