Loyola University Chicago -Sustainability in the Classroom & the Campus

According to Loyola University Chicago’s Annual Report, “…we have taken Pope Francais’s 2015 encyclical  Laudato Si’ to heart. We are integral ecologists. Our fundamental science courses regularly work to develop innovative and interdisciplinary solutions to the planet’s environmental crisis. …Most importantly it is about educating the next generation of change-agents,” states Nancy Tuchman, PhD, Founding Dean, Institute of Environmental Sustainability.

Sustainability in the Classroom

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (ASHE) awarded Loyola a second-level gold accreditation through its STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) in February 2017.

Established in 2013, Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability’s (IES) started with 160 students and has grown to 350 students enrolled in the program in 2018. According to Shanna Yetman, Communications Coordinator at IES, on average 70 students graduate from the program each spring. Many of these students typically graduate with a Bachelors in Science in Environmental Science, with a specialization in Conservation and Restoration Ecology.

Practicing what they teach, Loyola’s IES Building is Leadership in Energy and


Loyola University Chicago’s Ecodome

Environmental Design (LEED) certified. Currently, Loyola houses 10 LEED-certified buildings. However, what sets the LEED Gold-certified IES Building apart from the others on campus is the 3,100 square food Ecodome, geothermal wells that heat and cool the building, the Searle Biodiesel lab lab that converts vegetable oil into biodiesel, and many other ecofriendly features. Edible items from the Ecodome and Winthrop Garden are sold at the local farmer’s market.

An organic cafe is also located in the IES Building and connected to the San Francisco Residence Hall, which is the “green dorm”. Students who live in this dorm take special courses on sustainability and pay close attention to their energy and water consumption. The building also home to a recently added Analytical Chemistry lab, where soil and water samples can be analyzed. Rain capture is also conducted at the San Francisco Residence Hall, where water that falls from the roof of the Hall is captured in a 3,000 gallon cistern and reused for greenhouse operations including irrigation and landscape and for flushing the toilets located directly off the Lounge.

Ninety-one geothermal wells, which reach 500 feet into the ground are located at the IES Building. These wells provide heating and cooling for the building and are the largest geothermal system in the City of Chicago and first in the state of Illinois. It is projected that this system will save the University 30 percent off heating and cooling costs.

Sustainability Study

Spring weather during finals week

Loyola University Chicago’s Information Commons

According to the 2017-2018 Academic Year Annual Report, Loyola ranked fifth on College Magazine‘s “Top 10 Most Eco-Friendly Colleges” list. Currently, Loyola offers 14 academic programs that directly address sustainability, including, minors, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. Also, there are more than 1,300 courses which address at least one of the university’s sustainability learning outcomes.

Loyola’s IES offers bachelor degree programs provide a concrete interdisciplinary base of knowledge, which students can then add a specific environmental concentration to their studies. Students can specialize in Environmental PolicyEnvironmental Studies or Environmental Science with students having the options of choosing concentrations in Food Systems & Sustainable AgricultureConservation & Restoration, or Environmental Health.



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