SIUE faculty members are engaged in research efforts to enhance sustainability initiatives on campus through the following:
- Invasive Species Control - The University provides one of the few natural areas in the region for enjoyment and research. Non-native invasive plant species are threatening this unique and valuable resource. The University has made a long-term commitment to controlling the invasives and restoring native species. Control efforts have been underway for several years, but a cohesive plan was lacking. In 2008-2009, a Biological Sciences faculty member began:
- Conducting and documenting a campus-wide inventory of invasive plant species;
- Recommending control methods based on best practice and field research;
- Developing a control plan and beginning more organized control efforts.
Dr. Kurt Schultz, completed an inventory and progress has been made in removing garlic mustard and several other invasives.
- Endangered Habitats - In Fall 2008, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) awarded funds to Richard Essner and Peter Minchin, both associate professors in the SIUE Department of Biological Sciences, for their project, “A Multivariate Habitat Model for the State Threatened Cerulean Warbler and Other Neotropical Migrant Songbirds in Southwestern Illinois.” The object of the study will include establishing 140 permanent vegetation plots on the SIUE campus and the adjacent Bohm Woods State Nature Reserve. Data is expected to be collected on the composition and structure of the forest community, looking at both woody and herbaceous plant species of the area. The study also includes a census of the area to generate baseline data for future efforts aimed at monitoring population trends within the designated area.
- Dr. Nic Guehlstorf (Political Science), a 2008 Urban Scholar, is researching Brownfields in Metro East and ways to effectively address them. As defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Brownfields are properties whose expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
- Laura Bernaix PhD and Cynthia A. Schmidt PhD, School of Nursing, have performed research in prenatal lead screening and prenatal blood lead levels within St. Clair County, for which they received a $10,000 grant from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) in 2003.
- Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA) and Mechanical Engineering student John Jachna is working with faculty mentor Dr. Serdar Celik on “The Application of Stirling Coolers to Refrigeration Systems.” He is studying modifications that will improve the energy efficiency of refrigerators.
- Civil engineering graduate student Adam Rossel is working on a carbon footprint study of the SIUE campus. A carbon footprint is one way of estimating the amount of a person’s or institution’s contribution to greenhouse gases. The study is based on SIUE’s use of electricity, natural gas and fuels for transportation. It will be expressed in pounds of CO2. On Jan. 22, 2009 Edwardsville Mayor Gary Niebur signed the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement, taking the pledge on the city's behalf to become a Cool City and reduce global warming. The City requested assistance from SIUE in preparing a carbon footprint, prompting Rossel’s involvement in the project.
- Ron Morlen, who is studying for his Professional Science Master’s, is working with Dr. Bill Retzlaff in a SAG-sponsored graduate assistantship to conduct an assessment of SIUE's use of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS®). STARS is an AASHE-affiliated transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. We want to thank Ron for his contributions to the website