Abstract: The earth’s abundant, yet finite, natural resources are supporting a rapidly growing population and increasingly complex society; yet there is an imbalance in the use of these resources that is inequitable within and between nations, and unsustainable for future generations. The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a unique hybrid of a diverse student body and high level of research, in the third largest city in the United States, which makes us uniquely positioned to advance sustainability. In 2008, UIC signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), formally committing to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The UIC Climate Action Plan (CAP) was approved in 2009 as a set of strategies to achieve those goals. In 2016, Chancellor Amiridis announced a more comprehensive set of goals through the UIC Climate Commitments of a Carbon Neutral Campus, Zero Waste Campus, Net Zero Water Campus, and a Biodiverse Campus. The UIC Climate Commitments also lay out actions UIC can take to integrate sustainability more broadly into research and teaching. The UIC Climate Commitments include both long-term “Aspirational Goals” that offer visionary solutions for the future, as well as “Short-Term Action Items” with specified objectives that are measurable, achievable, relevant, and ensure progress over the next five to ten years. The UIC Office of Sustainability (OS) in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services (VCAS) will measure progress toward these goals and actions and will also identify funding to implement them. The full draft CAIP https://uofi.box.com/s/itw47pqu9iu5kqs36rxuyqcvabmbma5b
Bio: Dr. Cynthia Klein-Banai has been serving as the Associate Chancellor for Sustainability at UIC since January 2008. The Office of Sustainability team promotes sustainability as part of campus culture and enhances UIC’s mission of student success, improving public health, and serving the communities of Chicago. The Office provides applied learning and research opportunities for students through internships, volunteer opportunities, and special projects. Working with students and faculty Dr. Klein-Banai has worked on projects that target the CAIP goals for the campus and integrate research into campus infrastructure projects. She seeks opportunities to work with faculty and industry to use UIC as a learning lab for sustainability. The Office of Sustainability has received and continues to seek funding for implementation of sustainability projects on campus.
Cynthia Klein-Banai has a Ph.D. in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS) from UIC. She has 27 years of experience in environmental compliance. She received her MS in Environmental Science from Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Master’s Thesis on pretreatment prior to desalination of seawater), and BA in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.