Today, SSC celebrates our community’s efforts towards making the University of Illinois more sustainable. U of I was featured in the Campus Engagement section of the 2017 Sustainable Campus Index. The 2017 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from colleges and universities that submitted a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report in the 12 months prior to July 1, 2017.

Fresh Press, a student-run initiative on campus, was mentioned in the Campus Engagement section of the Index. Fresh Press is an interdisciplinary faculty and research studio that explores options for sustainable paper production. Fresh Press aspires to develop entrepreneurial markets for paper product originating from locally produced agri-fiber and indigenous plant material. They conduct research that develops models, methods and applications to integrate agri-fiber paper as a viable alternative to wood pulp paper. The idea is to attain self-sufficiency, which would make Fresh Press the model for small-scale sustainable paper making. This could later be applied to industrial practices as well. This project was partially funded by the SSC in 2012-13, giving them a total of about $68,000. This money was used to establish experimental indigenous fiber plots, develop small-scale energy interdependence, equipment for rainwater filtration, and complete their existing pavilion with an equipment storage shed.

Olivia Yu, treasurer for the Student Sustainability was extremely proud of this achievement. She said “Fresh Press has been a highly successful SSC funded project, and has become not only a sustainable company environmentally, but a sustainable business model as well.  It is rewarding to see an SSC funded project achieve a mention in the AASHE Sustainable Campus Index, which reaches a great community of like-minded people working towards sustainability as a forefront in higher education.”

We are thrilled to have one of our projects recognized this way, and hope for continued successes for all past, current and future projects!