Take a look at what's new and get involved.
NEW! Become Green Office Certified!
Think your office has what it takes? Take the challenge and become green office certified at Harper College. Offices of all sizes are eligible for the program. Download and complete the checklist below to start taking part in office efficiencies, cost savings and environmentally friendly practices.
Green Office Program:
Program Introduction - Learn everything you need to know about the Green Office Program including goals, why to participate and how to get started.
Green Office Checklist - Download and complete this fillable checklist to become Green Office Certified
Participation Pledge - Download and complete this participation pledge to define your office and involve your office members
Green Office Program Guide + Tips - A Complete guide to all of the items on the checklist. The guide offers explinations and tips on how to accomplish each item.
Do You Have A Farmer?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a system of local food distribution. Members of the community partner with a farmer and purchase shares in return for regular deliveries of fresh food throughout the growing season. Harper College is exploring the possibility of being a CSA drop off site to bring fresh food deliveries right to campus. Sign up and become part of the local food movement to enjoy the freshest, healthiest food, support the local economy and promote a healthy environment. Learn more by following the links below.
Waste-Free Move Guide:
Moving? Cleaning out? Reorganizing? Help Harper go green and make your move waste free. Check out Harper's new waste-free moving tips and see how you can reuse and recycle those unwanted items.
Small Changes = Big Impact: Harper's First Zero Waste Event
Zero Waste means maximizing recycling and reuse, minimizing waste and reducing consumption to be mindful of how we are using (and not wasting) our resources. At April's student Coffeehouse Concert event, featuring The Voice artist Angie Keilhauer and three student performers, Harper College accomplished just that. The event attracted over 350 participants and boasted a waste diversion rate of 70%! That means 70% of the total waste generated at the event was saved from entering the landfill through either recycling or composting. That’s a huge improvement from the 8% waste diversion rate of the Coffeehouse Concert in March.
On April 6 the Student Activities Board (SAB) in partnership with campus sustainability, Sodexo, Facilities Management, the Environmental Club and local non-profit Mindful Waste hosted the College’s first Zero Waste Event. The goal of this event was to divert as much waste from entering the landfill as possible while educating campus users about what it means to be waste free. The Student Activities Board worked with Sodexo and Facilities Management to make changes throughout all stages of the event starting with how the event was planned and set up to sorting and weighing waste at the event’s conclusion. “There wasn’t anything that was overlooked to accomplish our goal of a completely green event.” - SAB member Ryan Buckel.
The waste diversion goal was accomplished by first, eliminating waste at its source, and second, by using a single waste sorting station. All trash cans were removed from the event area and replaced with one centralized waste station that included compost, recycling, trash to landfill and a liquid waste bucket. When participants had waste to dispose of they visited the waste station and volunteers at the station helped participants sort waste.
SAB added giveaways to this event to further engage students and the Harper Community in living a green lifestyle. The students gave away free travel coffee mugs to eliminate the need for disposable cups at the event and in the future. The students also worked with Sodexo to gather coffee grounds from food services, dried them out with the help of Facilities Management and packaged them with seed packets into another giveaway. Through this project the group successfully saved a days’ worth of coffee grounds from going into the landfill and instead provided attendees with a fertilizer kit to be used in their home gardens. “Filling biodegradable bags with used coffee beans to give to the Harper students as fertilizers was such a fun learning experience for how to help save our Earth.” –SAB Member Alex Moyer
SAB member Jake
Boshhold claims: “Our Zero waste coffeehouse was a massive success! We had our largest turnout yet.” Thanks to the collaboration of so many departments on campus, student involvement and great musical entertainment, all had a great time putting together this event on campus. The group looks forward to continuing this trend and seeing how else waste can be reduced on campus.
“We are extremely proud to say we were Harper’s first ever waste free event, and I think it showed us that a little effort goes a long way. If we made changes like this for every Harper event we could really impact our community in a positive way.” –SAB member Amanda Torres
Can you spot the differences in these before and after photos?Many changes were made at this event to create a Zero Waste atmosphere.
Zero -Waste Changes:
- Eliminated Styrofoam Coffee Cups
SAB gave away free reusable coffee mugs to all attendees, saving 400 Styrofoam cups from entering the waste stream.
- Insulated Coffee Containers
Using insulated beverage containers eliminated the use of sterno gas fuel and containers.
- Bulk Condiments
Coffee creamer and sugar were provided in bulk to eliminate the waste produced from individually wrapped creamer and sugar packets. Non-recyclable plastic coffee stirrers were eliminated and replaced with compostable wooden stirrers.
- Reusable Serving Trays and Utensils
Disposable serving trays and utensils were replaced with reusable serving trays and utensils.
- Paper Table Covers
The non-recyclable plastic table covers were replaced with paper that was cut up at the conclusion of the event and donated to the tutoring center to be used as scratch paper. The environmental club contributed environmental facts to be written on each table to educate and inspire.
- Mindful Waste
Local non-profit Mindful Waste joined SAB at the event and set up a vermiculture (worm-composting!) display and a display showing how long items take to biodegrade in a landfill. Mindful Waste was a great partner and helped educate participants about waste, where it goes and how to reduce it.
View more event photos HERE
GYOG (Grow Your Own Garden)
Students from Harper's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa have partnered with local nonprofit Little City to create a vegetable garden that will serve the Little City community. Volunteers from the honor society prepped and planted at the garden to prepare the space for the growing season and will continue to work throughout the summer and fall months to see the garden through to harvest.
The members of Phi Theta Kappa were excited about this opportunity for a community partnership. The students, along with their advisor, Katie Hollis, came up with the idea to start a community garden and after discovering the resources available at Little City, decided to jump on board and help to establish the new garden together. One of Harper’s student volunteers, Hanan Aquil, states: “It’s a beautiful cause. . . . [It’s] great to know that the residents of Little City will be able to utilize this fresh produce for their own food!”
The students worked to create a 6600 square foot garden designed with accessibility in mind. The volunteers laid wide walking paths to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. The garden also utilizes six raised beds. There is a wide variety of plants growing in the garden, including tomato, pepper, squash, onions, carrots, gourds, pumpkins, radishes, celery, beets, collard greens, sweet corn, kale, watermelon, cucumber, green beans, cantaloupe and sunflowers. Phi Theta Kappa also generously donated an irrigation system for the garden with club funds.
The garden has become a great learning opportunity for the members of Phi Theta Kappa and also the residents of Little City, who also help to care for the garden. The Little City horticulture students have been involved in the garden from the beginning stages and were involved in selecting the crops and planting the plants from seeds and they continue to provide daily maintenance.
Little City Horticulturist Deatra Sams and coworker Jenda Woods have been great mentors to the student volunteers, teaching them about the responsibilities of maintaining a garden, the process of gardening organically and the benefits of local foods. The students have learned many valuable skills they can bring into their future lives. The garden at Little City also serves as a learning environment for other programs at Harper including continuing education classes and InZone sessions, where students in these programs are able to get hands-on gardening experience.
Last year's president of Harper's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Nicole Wagner, who was a major advocate for starting this project expresses her excitement: “I’m thrilled to be a part of this project. . . . It’s rewarding witnessing our team work together while weeding and helping care for the plants [and] realizing that our efforts in planting the seeds and cultivating the soil from the beginning make a difference.” While she has finished up her time with Harper College, she is excited to pass the torch to the next leaders and is looking forward to seeing the garden flourish. Sustainability at Harper College is excited about this partnership and is looking forward to expanding it in the coming years.
Going Green with Harper's Sustainability Coordinator
Going green comes with responsibility. It means a shift in mentality, daily habits, and it means making a personal commitment. But it also means a healthy planet and body and it means saving money! For many, change is hard, but the good news is: green changes can be simple. Just by making a few small changes to your daily routine, you can help make a big difference in reducing our environmental impact (and you will also begin to notice some other side effects, such as health benefits and money savings!). All it takes is that one extra step to throw your plastics in the recycle bin, or remembering to bring a refillable water bottle to cut down on waste and your grocery bill. Once you decide to make the commitment and you start to see the benefits, environmental, economic and health, going green will become a no-brainer. Find out ways you can start living (and saving) green today!
Going Green on Campus
- Join the Environmental Club
- Mondays, 3:30 p.m., Room Z204
- View photos of Harper's Earth Week activities on the Harper Flickr page.
- Recycle. College Recycle Chart .PDF
- View Green Living Tips from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Green your office by following these Green Office Tips .PDF
- Find an alternative to driving. Bike to Harper on bike paths in Palatine, Schaumburg, or outlying areas. Take a bus or find a RideShare through PACE.
- Get updates on green practices during Harper's campus construction.
- Follow the Harper College Green Committee on Facebook
- Share your ideas! Email Amy Bandman.