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students in action

Student Action

We want to engage talented, passionate people to discuss, work together, and help solve challenges in sustainability, energy, and environment on campus. No matter your area of study, you have lots of opportunities to get involved in the campus sustainability sphere.

iSEE students

Illinois Climate Action Plan

Our campus has a moral and ethical responsibility to lead, to set aggressive goals, to work to meet them, and to serve as a model for the community, state, and nation. The Illinois Climate Action Plan is our campus’s roadmap to a new, prosperous, and sustainable future for the University. It outlines strategies, initiatives, and targets toward meeting the stated goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

We need YOU!

To make our campus more sustainable, we will be constantly looking for the support of students to help us with our projects. Currently, iSEE is looking to engage students in:

Illini Lights Out

lightbulb-312459_640 An original effort started by the 2015-16 ECBS SWATeam, Illini Lights Out is a program to raise awareness of wasted energy from lights left on in unoccupied spaces campus buildings. Beginning November 2016, brigades of student volunteers are conducting monthly sweeps of buildings surrounding the Main Quad to turn off lights, close windows, and inventory the results. Grab a friend, and put your names on the volunteer list for an upcoming Illini Lights Out. Read all about the first event — 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 —on the Facebook event page.

Illini Lights Out events this academic year have received funding approval by the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC).

Contact the team at with any questions about the program.

Campus Styrofoam Recycling Internship

The newest recycling program on a the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus needs your help to grow! Each spring, summer, and fall semester, the Styrecycle student team will need high-energy interns. Duties will include recruiting new buildings and labs to participate, working with interested building managers to create a space for and advertise an in-building collection bin, and picking up Styrofoam from campus buildings and delivering it to the mass collection point.

The intern will be compensated with 1-4 course credit hours available through the ENVS 491: Sustainability Experiences course. Opportunity may exist to continue involvement into the fall semester.

To apply, send an email to expressing your interest and availability. If selected, you will be given details to register for ENVS 491.

SWATeam student positions

Campus Sustainability Interns:

Leave a legacy at Illinois as a student member of one of iSEE’s Sustainability Working Advisory Teams (SWATeams). These teams — each consisting of two faculty, two staff, and two students — examine broad themes of campus sustainability within the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) and recommend concrete steps the campus should take to meet its iCAP targets. The six SWATeams are:

  • Agriculture, Land Use, Food, & Sequestration
  • Energy Conservation & Building Standards
  • Energy Generation, Purchasing, & Distribution
  • Purchasing, Waste, & Recycling
  • Transportation
  • Water & Stormwater

Each year, iSEE seeks students to serve one-year terms on several different SWATeams beginning in the fall semester — though occasionally spots open midyear. Time commitment varies by team and by particular project, but should not exceed two to three hours a week. Passion for sustainability is the No. 1 criterion for candidates; experience in the fields related to a SWATeam topic are a plus.

This is a great opportunity to get experience working on real-world issues of sustainable operations! Contact Ximing Cai, iSEE Associate Director for Campus Sustainability, at if you’re interested in making Urbana-Champaign the most sustainable campus it can be.


SWATeam Clerks:

iSEE also seeks students to support the Sustainability Working Advisory Teams (SWATeams) with their day-to-day operations each semester.

SWATeam Clerks are responsible for scheduling meetings, preparing minutes, working with iSEE Staff Liaisons to post materials on the iCAP Portal website, assisting with the preparation of reports, performing data analysis or background research as needed, assisting with the preparation of formal recommendations and assisting with the development of scope for proposed sustainability studies.

The Clerk position is ideal for freshmen and sophomores with excellent written and oral communications and a desire to start earning relevant sustainability experience on campus.

Clerks may enroll in the ENVS 491 (“Sustainability Experience”) SWA Section to receive one course credit hour. View the class syllabus.

As a student in ENVS 491,interns are expected to spend an average of four hours per week per credit hour on SWATeam-related activities. The interns will meet with SWATeam Chairs at least once per week to review progress and identify activities they can engage in to support the team’s work. The Chair will also serve as your course adviser for ENVS 491.

To express interest in this opportunity, please send an email to Ximing Cai, iSEE Associate Director for Campus Sustainability, at

Student Organizations

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is home to more than 40,000 undergraduate students, many of whom are passionate about sustainability — as demonstrated by the numerous groups whose work revolves around sustaining our planet. Click below to explore the diverse interests of these student groups and learn how you can learn more about sustainability issues, making a difference, and having fun with Illinois sustainability student groups.

Don’t see your group on the list? We want to know! Please email us at with information about your organization.

Student Sustainability Committee

At Illinois, each student pays $14 in sustainability fees each semester, which translates into a pool of more than $1 million per year that is allocated annually to sustainable projects on campus. You could help decide how this money is used next! The fund is administered by the Student Sustainability Committee, 12 students appointed on a yearly basis and advised by faculty and staff members. Students can also be a part of the SSC’s working groups that review the projects in depth.

Visit SSC’s website >>>


Campus Bike Center

The Campus Bike Center encourages people to ride bicycles, repair the bikes themselves with up-cycled parts, and provide low-cost bicycles to the community — creating an immediate impact by turning waste into emission free transportation. Volunteering at the Center means either getting your hands dirty working on bikes or meeting new people as register workers/greeters or a mix of both.

Information about volunteering at the Center

University of Illinois Office of Volunteer Programs

The Office of Volunteer Programs (OVP) promotes service by encouraging students to donate their time and volunteer for the university and local communities. OVP pairs students with opportunities where they gain invaluable experience through public engagement.

Find a project or join the mailing list

Sustainable Student Farm

The Sustainable Student Farm is a production farm that supplies our residence halls with locally grown, low-input sustainable food and provides practical, hands on experience in small-scale sustainable agriculture. Volunteers are needed throughout the year as they are involved in all aspects of production cycles, including: seed-starting, transplanting, cultivation, high tunnel work, and harvesting.

Visit the Student Sustainable Farm Website

Dump & Run Sale

Volunteer with the community’s largest waste-diversion event of the year! Each year, more than six semi-trailers worth of furniture, clothing, and home goods are collected from Illinois students and Chambana residents and sold at the sale to support the programs of the University YMCA. Why not share our surplus, rather than trash it?

Get more info

More great places to volunteer:

The I.D.E.A. Store     |     Allerton Park     |     Champaign Park District     |     Urbana Park District