RU Students! Apply Now for Funding thru the Office of Student Research

To my RU students and advisees — the new Office of Student Research is currently accepting proposals (due Nov. 15) for student research projects for Spring 2019. See below for details, and check out the OSR website for more info. Contact me via email if you have an idea and want to brainstorm. This is a phenomenal opportunity to get funding do a scholarly, campus- or community-based, and/or creative project and, in the process, build your professional résumé!

The Office of Student Research offers financial and academic support to help students interested in developing and executing research and mission-related creative and scholarly projects. OSR initiatives support students at each stage of the research process, from connecting with mentors and securing funding, to gaining research skills, to sharing results with the Roosevelt University community and beyond. The OSR also provides professional development, graduate school preparation resources, and information on nationally competitive summer programs and fellowships.

Fellowships – The OSR provides several types of fellowship awards to support students engaged in research and mission-related scholarship projects:

Early Research and Scholarship Fellowships ($1,000)
Available to all Roosevelt University students, especially first- and second-year undergraduate students, to begin research and creative scholarship early in their studies.

To learn more about eligibility, the application process, and expectations download the complete pdf guide

Advanced Research and Scholarship Fellowships ($2,000)
Available to all Roosevelt University students, especially third- and fourth-year undergraduate students and recent transfer students, to conduct advanced research and complete creative scholarship. Several fellowships are reserved for graduate students who wish to conduct research early in their studies, although fellowships will be approved for thesis completion.

To learn more about eligibility, the application process, and expectations download the complete pdf guide

Community-based Research Fellowships (Based on funding/project)
Available to all Roosevelt University students who wish to conduct applied, collaborative, community-based research. Students awarded these fellowships will join existing university-community collaborative projects, working as part of a team.

**OSR fellowships are not the only Roosevelt program providing research funding. Honors students should explore research opportunities in the Honors Program. Contact the McNair Scholars Program to learn if you are eligible to participate in this federally-funded program offering research, mentorship, and graduate school preparation resources.

Research and Scholarship Supply Funds – Students awarded a Research and Scholarship Fellowship will receive a stipend. The stipend is intended to provide the student adequate time to complete the project. Students and mentors can apply separately for up to $300-$400 in a research budget.

Research and Scholarship Travel Funds – The OSR provides resources and travel funding for students presenting their work at discipline-based, regional, and/or national conferences. If you need travel money to conduct your research, please consider this when developing your budget.

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Service Opportunity in Biodiversity: WeDigBio @ the Field Museum

Scientists from Field Museum and around the world need your help! Join us in transcribing scientific label data from our collections and from field notes books using online and computer tools. Activities may also include hands-on curation with specimens. This event will be held daily from this Thur 10/18 thru Sun 10/21, 2018 and is based at Field Museum.

* * To register please click here. * *

You will be part of a global effort to digitize centuries of data about life on Earth. Organisms may include ferns, fungi, mosses, insects, and mammals. Participants will have an opportunity to meet Field Museum scientists and join in behind-the-scenes tours or talks about the significance of the scientific collections!

WeDigBio is ideally for teens aged 15+ and adults. Refreshments will be available, but you should feel free to bring lunch. Space is limited; please register in advance.


  • For those attending on-site activities, free admission to the museum will be available after the event.
  • Each day there is one session, including registration, the event and tours. Registration will open at 9:30am and the event will be held from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
  • Free behind-the-scene tours after the event!
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Office of Student Research Provides Funding for Students

Deadline for Applications: 15 Nov 2018 / More information at

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To Kick Off Campus Sustainability Month, Join the October EcoChallenge!

This year, Roosevelt University is participating in the October EcoChallenge, a 21-day sustainability engagement program. The challenge takes place October 3 – October 24, 2018 and involves universities, businesses, schools, all competing internally and with each other. Participants track and share their progress online in a robust platform and earn points for taking action. The combination of collective action, camaraderie, and friendly competition makes change a little easier — and a lot more fun.


EcoChallenge provides tools and inspiration to turn intention into action, and gives participants a fun and social way to think about and act on proven solutions that make a difference for you, your community, and the planet. Over 100 actions within nine Challenge categories provide participants with diverse options to take action. You can also Create Your Own challenge.


The Environmental Sustainability Committee and RU Green invite YOU to join the EcoChallenge before October 3rd.  To join, you just need an email address to create an account. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Choose Login in the top right of the page and register
  3. Go to the Teams page and search ‘Roosevelt University’
  4. Join the team
  5. Choose your EcoChallenge Actions!

At the end of the EcoChallenge, we can tally up our individual and collective scores and see what we’ve accomplished! This will be our first year participating in the EcoChallenge, so help us build some momentum by signing up now!

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Eden Place Nature Center’s Farm to Table Fundraiser: Tomorrow 4-8pm

This year’s inaugural event will feature organic and fresh food from Eden Place and local area farms. Enjoy a four-course meal prepared by three of Chicago’s best restaurants, live music and a host of special guess attendees. Enjoy Delicious Cuisine Creations from Majani Restaurant, Roe’s Gratitude, Sweet Blooms, and Eden Place Farms.

Tickets still available online! Event will be at the Nature Center, with street parking on the north end. See event info on Facebook here.

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Planning for Environmental Justice: Kim Wasserman @RooseveltU, Wed 9/26

Lineup of “Just By Nature” environmental activism & justice events at Roosevelt University, Fall 2018. All events held in the Sullivan Room of the historic Auditorium Building @RU. For more info, contact Prof. Bethany Barratt (


Posted in Chicago, Education, Events, Politics, Pollution, Roosevelt, Social justice, Students, Sustainability, Urban ecology, Waste & Recycling | Comments Off on Planning for Environmental Justice: Kim Wasserman @RooseveltU, Wed 9/26

Welcome to the Fall 2018 Semester @RooseveltU

Key text for SUST 350 this fall

As we wrap up Week 1 of the Fall 2018 semester, I want to extend a welcome to new students in the sociology, sustainability studies, and community development & action programs here @RooseveltU, as well as a “welcome back” to our continuing students. It was great meeting my students in SUST 240 Waste (Wed 2-4:30pm in WB 1215) and SUST 350 Service & Sustainability (Tues 12-13pm @EdenPlace Nature Center and online), and I’m looking forward to a great semester of learning together!

I also want to recognize some of our student leaders this 2018-19 year in our Department of Sociology, Sustainability, & Community Development:

  • Michelle Giles, senior SUST major, is President of the student organization RU Green and one of our Rooftop Garden stewards
  • Matt Harlovic, another senior SUST major, is Vice President of RU Green and chief steward of our Rooftop Garden as part of his SUST 395 Internship work this fall
  • Brenda Hershey and Shay Odimayo, both graduate students in the MACDA program, are the Graduate Assistants for our department in the College of Arts & Sciences

Students, please check back here to get in touch, find my office hours, or tap into my class/writing/research resources. I also recommend subscribing to the sustainability blogs and social media listed on the right, so you can stay up to date on all things sustainable here at Roosevelt. My SUST 240 and 350 classes will be contributing posts to the SUST at RU, RU Green Campus, and Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future blogs this semester.

Finally, I look forward to seeing you at the various College of Arts & Sciences events planned for the fall, as well as the landmark American Dream Reconsidered Conference here at RU the week of September 10-14. That will be an exciting week, capped off by our annual Day of Service on Friday 9/14! SUST students, faculty, and alumni will be running a volunteer workday on our 5th-floor Rooftop Garden.


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Talking (and Sampling) Water at Sherman Park in Chicago

One of the stone bridges over the lagoon at Sherman Park, Chicago IL (source: YoChicago)

This past Tuesday I had the good fortune to go to the Sherman Park branch library of the Chicago Public Library system in order to do an hour-long program on water and sustainability for neighborhood teens. The librarian who invited me, Faith Rice, encouraged me to be as “hands-on” as possible instead of just lecturing, which suited me just fine — so I brought my surface water testing kit, turbidity tube, bucket, and assorted supplies in the hope that we could leave the library and do some sampling of the lovely, meandering lagoon of historic Sherman Park on Chicago’s South Side.

As I made the drive from Roosevelt in the Loop down to Garfield Avenue, it began to rain. Perfect, I thought, for an afternoon dedicated to talking about water — but the downside was that the rain caused some of the teens who walk or ride their bikes to the library to go home early before our 4pm session. Nevertheless, when I arrived I was welcomed by Faith’s  colleague, Lala, who got me set up in the lovely old library’s classroom and assured me we could step outside to the park and get a bucket of water for testing.

Aerial view of Sherman Park in Chicago (source: Google Earth)

I ended up ditching my planned slide presentation and just having a free-ranging conversation about water with three kids: Destiny, a high school senior; Tiara, an 8th-grader; and Lawrence, another 8th-grader. Despite not knowing me from Adam, they were very talkative and willing to share their knowledge about the water cycle, as I asked them to say what comes to mind when they hear the word “water.” We soon trekked outside with Lala to the nearby edge of the park’s lagoon, where we gathered a bucketful of water to do three trials with our turbidity tube outside in the intermittant drizzle. (Average reading was 9cm or 120NTU, which indicates a high level of turbidity — something obvious just from looking at the murky water.)

We took another bucketful of water back into the library’s classroom to do a few more quick tests before the kids needed to leave by 5pm. As we re-entered, we caught the attention of the security guard, who betrayed her interest in our somewhat noisy (and wet) experiments — so I invited her and an adult patron to join us. They let the kids do all the work, but we also chatted about their ideas and assumptions about the quality of water in the lagoon as well as the ongoing issue of lead contamination of Chicago’s drinking water.

The kids measured the temperature of the water (26 degrees C, a bit high for most aquatic life, but indicative of our near-shore sampling and the hot summer in Chicago); pH (8.9, fairly alkaline but still within an acceptable range); and nitrate (0-0.1ppm, a relatively low level of a nutrient that can cause harmful algal blooms). While we didn’t have time to conduct more comprehensive tests, the kids were able to assess the current water quality of the lagoon as “so-so” — OK in some respects, not so good in others — which pretty much jibes with most of my water quality sampling results on the Chicago River the last several years with my Roosevelt University students.

Beyond those quantitative assessments, though, what impressed me about the afternoon’s adventure was the importance of parklands and water bodies here in the vast urban landscape of Chicago. Just as the Sherman Park branch library is an oasis of education, literacy, and community programming (for kids and adults alike), so too are the meadows, woods, and lagoon of Sherman Park itself a vital natural resource for the neighborhood’s residents. Getting one’s feet a little muddy at the banks of the lagoon taking water samples drives that point home in a tangible (and fun) way.


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Exploring Urban Nature in Chicago (May 2018)

Just finished up five days of exploring the urban and suburban environment of the Chicago region with my intrepid squad of @RooseveltU students in our one-week-intensive Sustainability Studies 360 course, Writing Urban Nature. Here they are at the North Park Village Nature Center on Chicago’s NW Side, one of the many sites we visited this week in Chicago, Schaumburg, and Will County.

From Chicago’s lakefront to its North Side parklands and trails; from South Branch of the Chicago River to the wetlands and woodlands of the NW suburbs; from heritage farms to prairie restoration sites — we visited a wide diversity of places in which to analyze the ever-shifting relations between the natural and built environments in this place that has come to be called “Chicago Wilderness.”

Pictured from L to R here are Austyn (oboe major), Tom (psychology), Alicia (sustainability studies), Grace (wildlife biology), and Denise (biology). Notably, Grace joined our group as a student-at-large from Western State CO University, enrolling in this environmental humanities class via the Resilience Studies Consortium of US colleges and universities. The students now are working on creative non-fiction essays as part of our Writing Urban Nature online project, est. 2015.

Posted in Chicago, Classes, Education, Field Trips, Humanities, Roosevelt, Students, Sustainability, Urban nature | Comments Off on Exploring Urban Nature in Chicago (May 2018)

SUST 360 Writing Urban Nature: One-Week Experiential Learning Course this May

Registration Information

  • SUST 360-01 Writing Urban Nature — CRN 31243 / Pre-req: ENG 102 with a grade of C- or better

Meets May 21-25 from 9:30am to 5pm at RU’s Chicago Campus. Required pre-session on May 9 from 4-6pm, room TBA — videoconferencing also will be provided through Zoom for the pre-session. Some additional work online required. Final writing assignment due June 1st.

See detailed course preview here!

Posted in Chicago, Classes, Education, Faculty, Field Trips, Humanities, Roosevelt, Students, Sustainability, Urban nature | Comments Off on SUST 360 Writing Urban Nature: One-Week Experiential Learning Course this May