South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

Three Decades of Higher Education Excellence Through Collaboration

2013 Spring Student Sustainability Summit

Sustainability- Chad smiling on bargeOver 110 students attended this year's Student Sustainability Summit at Prairie State College, which featured Chad Pregracke, noted founder of Living Lands and Waters, as the keynote speaker.

Chad motivated the audience with his story: a young clammer who lived and worked on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities area. He established a now 70,000 volunteer strong non-profit to clean up American rivers when he saw how full of debris and garbage the river had become and found no public or private organization was willing to do it. His story of overcoming lack of resources and bias toward his age with a fervent passion for his cause resonated with the audience.

The breakout sessions included the following topics: 

  • Sustainability Shakedown: Big Word, Bigger Meaning - Rebecca Garcia, South Suburban College
  • GIS for Sustainable Recreational Planning at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie - Steven Buckley, Cody Kreisl and Jaclyn Wingate, University of St. Francis
  • Sustainability Around the Globe for Folks with Short Attention Spans - Students in the Intensive English Language Program, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Little School on the Prairie: Maintaining our Prairie Preserves - Ime Akpin and Taniya Scott, Prairie State College
  • Growing Food: It's About Community - Tiffany Mucci and Tori Murry, Joliet Junior College
  • Student Perspectives on Campus Sustainability Initiatives, Current and Future - Kiera Banks, Brian Boylan and Mohammed Gulan, DeVry University
  • The EPA's Campus Rainworks Challenge: University of St. Francis Community Garden - Ryan Kalinowski, University of St. Francis
  • What is a Genetically Modified Organism? - Christian Pukula, Moraine Valley Community College


Students feasted on a sustainable menu of gluten-free, organic, and locally-grown items.