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Sustainability Logo

The Benedictine tradition is outlined by ten hallmarks.  One of these hallmarks is Stewardship, especially of Creation, so faculty, staff, and students at the Lisle campus are working to implement sustainability in many physical ways. Below are the many ways the BenU community is living up to that hallmark every day. Feel free to email us at sustainability@ben.edu to reach the Stewardship & Sustainability Committee. 

Earth Week 2020: Click here for details about BenU's celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

 


Environmental Bright Spots on the Lisle Campus

Great blue heron by slough
Lake St. Benedict
In the 1930s, BenU students made a 7-acre lake on campus. Efforts have been made since 2008 to remove invasive species such as phragmites, garlic mustard, and buckthorn. As a result, native wildflowers are flourishing.

Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum exhibits
Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum
BenU has been home to the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum since 1971. They host events for local K-12 eucators and offer 55 Discovery Boxes available for check-out to classrooms on topics including natural history, wildlife and their habitats, human cultures, and renewable energy.

Sustainability Logo

Sustainability & Stewardship Committee
The Sustainability & Stewardship Committee has been evolving since 2003. Its members include a variety of BenU faculty and staff members from various colleges and departments. Members meet to share and discuss various sustainability efforts on campus.

BenU SEEDs logo
Student Environmental Club
Students for Ecological & Environmental Development (SEEDs) is a student club focusing on making the BenU campus environmental-friendly and educating community members.  Their motto is, "planting a seed today for a greener tomorrow."  There has been an active environmental club on campus since 2004.

BenU Community Garden

Community Garden

In 2006, BenU began an organic community garden.  Students, faculty, and staff enjoy working in the soil and reaping the benefits as each crop ripens. "Pull a weed, pick a tomato!"


Hybrid Parking
Since 2010, there have been several parking spots reserved for hybrid vehicles around campus.  This is to encourage and reward the purchase of more sustainable vehicles.

BenBikes
Ben Bikes
Bicycles are available for check out from Krasa 020.  Availability is dependent on weather and season. Community members can check them out for free to cycle to nearby stores. This program has been in place since 2011.

Composting
Composting
In 2013, as part of an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) FSCRAP grant, BenU installed a composting system with stations in the cafeteria and major building on campus, diverting approximately 100,000 pounds of food waste from landfills per year.

Water Bottle Filling Station
Water Bottle Refilling Stations
Since 2014 the BenU Lisle campus has enjoyed several Water Bottle Refilling Stations, a popular feature petitioned for by students. Each fountain includes a numeric count of how many water bottles have been saved. As of spring of 2018, 111,276 water bottles had been saved.

 

Rain Gardens
Rain Gardens for Stormwater Management
Since 2014, BenU’s Lisle campus has had a system of rain gardens to minimize flooding and support native plant species. Our quad area has four rain gardens, and there are two additional gardens in other areas of campus.

Healthy Lawns sign
Healthy Lawns Policy
A Healthy Lawns policy was adopted in 2014. This means that except for athletic and practice fields, pesticides are no longer used on the Lisle campus, which protects both local waterways and human health.

Goodwin Hall
Goodwin Hall
Goodwin Hall on BenU’s Lisle campus was constructed in 2015 and was built with many green features, including native, low-impact landscaping, low-flush toilets, and water bottle refill stations.


Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Since the parking garage was built in 2015, there have been several charging stations for electric vehicles.  This is to encourage and reward the purchase of more sustainable vehicles.


JSNM Naturalist Club
This JSNM Naturalists Club was formed in 2015 to "inspire a love of knowledge and nature" through its support of the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum events.  They also fund raise for local environmental non-profit organizations.


People for Animal Welfare (PAW) Club
The People for Animal Welfare (PAW) Club was formed in 2016 to engage the hearts, hands, and minds of the BenU community to compassionately and responsible create a more humane world for animals.

Windmill
Windmill
BenU installed a donated 15' windmill in 2018. This $80,000 windmill is providing electricity to the campus parking garage.  A second turbine has been refurbished by engineering students and will be used for educational purposes.

 
Adopt a Stream
BenU has adopted a stream that runs through Hitchcock Woods Forest Preserve located very near campus.  The BenU SEEDs club has conducted cleanups twice each academic year since 2010 and earned a sign on College Ave in spring of 2019.


Bat Houses
In Fall of 2019, BenU installed two bat houses on its campus to support local bats. The bat houses were the result of an Arthur J. Schmidt Future Leaders project done by two students.


Solar Panels
In Fall 2019, Department of Physics faculty began working with students to upgrade the equipment associated with the small-scale solar panel system near BenU's greenhouse.

proposal

Stormwater Management Study

BenU hopes to employ a civil engineering firm to work with students to assess  stormwater management systems and submit a plan prioritizing environmental sustainability and  establishing criteria for the protection of water quantity and quality, habitat, and native biota.

proposal
Organic Garden/Orchard/Vineyard
BenU was founded by the monks of the adjacent St. Procopius Abbey. When the Abbey was transferred from Chicago to Lisle in 1914 to manage the schools, the Beneditine monks grew their own food and made their own wine. Today, a garden, an orchard, and a vineyard still exist. BenU hopes to convert their processes to organic farming.