South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

Three Decades of Higher Education Excellence Through Collaboration

Link & Leverage Event Oct2015

SMHEC Collaborates with Metropolitan Mayors' Caucus on Link & Leverage

Sustainability consortium to further efforts with mayors’ caucus at event held at Moraine Valley


Breakout sessions mapped next steps  
  Individual municipalities received recognition for their sustainability efforts
Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin gives the Keynote Presentation  

 As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” And for the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC), that’s key to this groups’ sustainability initiatives and efforts to make this region the most resilient in Metropolitan Chicago. To further their collaboration, they held a wildly successful event, and first of a new series, called Link and Leverage Forum on Thursday, Oct. 22, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., on the main campus at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills.

            SMHEC is a collective of higher education institutions, including Moraine Valley, from research and community colleges to for- and not-for-profits in Chicago’s south and southwest suburban area working with their communities to foster new and enhanced educational services and programs. Some of the group’s accomplishments include conducting a semester-long online class for 13 faculty on incorporating sustainability into their curriculum, holding a yearly Student Sustainability Summit, organizing summer tours at sustainably innovative and cutting-edge organizations, and for the last four years managing the collective purchase of electricity with a portion of savings going to additional renewable energy for each campus.

            In working to further create a healthy and livable environment, the consortium has reached out through more events to partner with diverse community groups. SMHEC most recently partnered with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a membership group of mayors from 273 cities and villages in northeastern Illinois to congregate and collaborate on common issues. Both assemblies are working to align environmental issues, resources and actions at the local, regional and national level to achieve meaningful and measureable sustainability. To that end, they are collaborating on the Greenest Region Compact 2 (GRC-2), a sustainability plan. Each successive event will focus on one of nine green/sustainable topics within that framework.

“Moraine Valley and our partner SMHEC institutions have been leading sustainability initiatives on our campuses for years. We felt it was time to make a more concerted and collective effort to work with our communities to help drive the sustainable and resilient growth of our region. The goal is simple: Provide a platform to link existing resources within our communities and leverage them to make the south and southwest suburbs of Chicago the greenest region,” said Stephenie Presseller, Moraine Valley sustainability manager. “It’s exciting work. It’s the right thing to do if we want to thrive in the future.”

            Attendees included south and southwest Chicago mayors and managers, municipal workers, not-for-profit organization staff, community and economic development staff, health care representatives, and environmental activists.


Links to Event Documents:

Event Program

GRC-2 Documents:

GRC2 Framework

GRC2 Document

GRC2 Strategic Plan

Follow Up Documents

Breakout Session Notes 

Breakout Session Post-Its

Summarized Evaluations


Edith Makra, Metropolitan Mayors' Caucus

     GRC2 Website

Mayor McLaughlin, Village of Orland Park

    Orland Park website

Ways To Connect

Linking with Macademia

LinkedIn Group