The annual “Come Clean, Go Green” contest winners were presented awards for their winning proposals to encourage sustainability at Lewis University. Dr. Simone Muench, director of the contest and associate professor of English, presented the awards March 26. First place recipients received $1,000; second place $500; and third place $250.
The contest seeks proposals from students, faculty, and staff that will have a positive impact on the environment and be able to be implemented on the Lewis University campus.
The first place project, “Zero Waste Transesterification of Fryer Grease into Biodiesel as an Alternative Fuel Source” was submitted by chemical physics major Jeromy Rech, and chemistry majors Lisa Janes and Sarah Parker. The project proposed using biodiesel fuel in facilities vehicles on campus which could be produced from leftover fryer grease generated by the cafeteria.
According to the proposal, “Biodiesel made using spent fryer grease from Lewis University cafeterias, like Charlie’s Place and the Flyer’s Den, can be used to power Lewis University’s maintenance vehicles and lawn equipment. The net savings from this switch will save over 525 percent per every gallon converted in the laboratory, as well as burn cleaner, saving the environment. Furthermore, the byproduct of the reaction can be turned into soap for little to no money, saving an additional $300 every single semester in cleaning costs to the science laboratories. Conversion of grease to biodiesel and soap is both environmentally and financially advantageous to Lewis University.”
The second place project was submitted by business administration major, Carlos Rojas Avila, who presented an “Eco-Plan 2013.” The plan offered three options that could save money and be environmentally friendly. Option One would be to use wind turbines to generate electricity; Option Two would be the installation of additional motion sensors on campus to turn lights off and on; and Option Three would be the conservation of water using a toilet cistern with a hand basin.
Two of the third place proposals considered the recycling of food waste to produce compost which would benefit the campus, and reduce the amount of food going to landfills which burns off as methane gas in the air we breathe. Robert McGowan, a finance and economics major, submitted the proposal “Food Waste Management” and Deidre McCormick, a biology major, submitted “Vermicomposting.”
Also tying for third place was a proposal submitted by student Jodi Steinberg, a public relations major, and Enactus, a student organization, on “The Great Water Exchange.” The goal of the proposal was to eliminate the purchase of bottled water by installing ice water dispensers in the cafeterias.
All entries were blindly judged by Dr. Jerry Kavouras, director of Environmental Science and associate professor of biology, Brother Thomas Dupré, FSC, associate professor of mathematics, Ken Osmun, group president for Wight Construction, Dr. Teresa Bixby, assistant professor of chemistry, Dr. Jennifer Consilio, associate professor of English, Donald Castello, associate vice president for Facilities, and Steven Zlatic, director of University Ministry.
Also during the awards ceremony, Brian Schultes, Sodexo's Director of Facilities Management at Clarke University in Dubuque, shared Sodexo’s “Better Tomorrow Plan” and sustainability commitments. He also provided examples of ways to engage and implement best practices on campus.
Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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