South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

Three Decades of Higher Education Excellence Through Collaboration


WCRSN final

Will County Regional Sustainability Network (WCRSN)

A South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC) Link and Leverage Initiative



In 2014, SMHEC launched a regional effort to “link” and “leverage” community resources to make the Chicago southland the “greenest region.” Communities within SMHEC’s boundaries began meeting regularly to share success, identify areas of opportunities and leverage resources. In 2016, our key stakeholders made the decision to create three distinct sub-regions, identified through community college boundaries, to begin and expand sustainability efforts.

  • The Will County/Joliet (Joliet Junior College) region has developed the Will County Regional Sustainability Network to connect people, communities and resources to make lasting improvements to Will County’s economy, ecology and social equity.
  • The Prairie State Region (Prairie State College) is hosting the Growing Sustainable Communities Together Conference in hopes to create their own network of like-minded individuals working to improve southern Cook County’s economy, ecology and social equity.
  • The Alsip/Worth (Moraine Valley Community College) group continues to “Go Green” through the newly established beautification committee and their annual community recycling and resource drive.

WCRSN Signing

On January 23, 2018, to demonstrate their collaborative commitment to sustainability and the communities they serve, Dr. Judy Mitchell of Joliet Junior College, Dr. David Livingston of Lewis University and Dr. Arvid Johnson of the University of St. Francis signed the Will County Regional Sustainability Network Compact, a formal commitment, to link and align existing sustainability efforts in and around the Will County region, to build and leverage relationships between all stakeholders, and to establish an infrastructure to support the activities of the network.



Featured from left to right: Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk, Joliet Junior College President Judy Mitchell, Lewis University President David Livingston, University of St. Francis President Arvid Johnson



Create a regional sustainability network that connects people, communities, and resources to make lasting improvements to Will County’s economy, ecology, and social equity



A region of sustainable communities that collaborates across sectors and demographics.



Principle Objectives

  1. Foster cross-community collaboration
  2. Provide a vehicle for building upon existing initiatives
  3. Support innovative and effective projects
  4. Facilitate the sharing of resources
  5. Promote successes, build excitement, and catalyze collaboration



WCRSN is a locally-run collaborative effort operating as a program under SMHEC and was established to engage the Will County Region in becoming more sustainable. More specifically, WCRSN is organized to further sustainability efforts of the public and private sectors in the Region to optimize the results that support the mission of the WCRSN. As a program of SMHEC, WCRSN will work closely with and support other SMHEC sustainability initiatives that share a common goal to make a bigger impact for a greener region.   



Greenest Region Compact

Municipalities in Will County are taking actions that are sustainable, though they may not realize it. The Greenest Region Compact (GRC) is a set of consensus sustainability goals that was built on the foundation of practical actions already being taken by municipalities, and enhanced by the work of communities leading in sustainability. Members of WCRSN are using the GRC strategically to form committees, host events and workshops, and make Will County a resilient community to live and work in.