The SEED Center

Civic Engagement for Students and Staff

Proactive Resources

CLICK HERE to learn from others and share what you’re doing by joining the Sustainability Learning at Colleges and Universities* listserv.

State legislation and policies tremendously effect higher education’s ability to further society’s sustainability efforts on campuses and in their regions. There are multiple opportunities to relate to today’s issues that will give students and the public the opportunity to help create real world solutions to our shared sustainability challenges.

As a pilot program in the state of Illinois, a policy workgroup was formed and projects identified to facilitate the growth of the green economy, integrate sustainability efforts into higher education and engage the public and students alike.

This program is available for national-level adoption and implementation.



Engage faculty, staff, students and the public to:

  1. Identify legislative or policy barriers related to sustainability,
  2. Work with state leaders to remove these barriers, and
  3. Assist in the development of future legislation and/or policies.

Share the letters and learning assignments below with Faculty, Student Life and student groups, and the President’s Governmental Relations staff as appropriate to your campus.

Materials to Use on Campus

One of the greatest learning experiences a student can have is getting involved in real world issues. Getting students involved in policy issues is a practical and rewarding way to introduce civic engagement and begin to create change agents for the future.

Pick one or more of the issues below as a civic engagement project on your campus.

Reducing Damaging Climate Change

Supplemental Information

Green MLS Listings: A Civic Engagement Project

Illinois Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS): A Civic Engagement Project

Background Information for Illinois

While the RPS project is specific to the state of Illinois, the action community is looking to replicate this project at a national level. You may consider using this state-specific example to: make recommendations for a standard in your state, while learning from the challenges Illinois has already faced; work to create a solution if  similar funding structures and challenges  currently exist in your state; or to encourage students promote the growth and development of renewable energy markets, locally.

The Illinois Policy and Legislative Workgroup: A local group with a National Focus

In response to changing policy and legislation and realizing the need for higher education institutions to be involved, the Green Universities and Colleges Sub-Committee, part of the Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council, launched a policy work group in October 2010.

The Illinois Policy and Legislative Workgroup is comprised of diverse and engaged group members representative of higher education throughout the state. Since its inception, the Workgroup has been working on defining and prioritizing a list of policy issues.

In 2011, collaborating with Dr. Debra Rowe, as part of the Action Community, the Action Committee began work to grow green jobs through policy and civic engagement.

With the assistance the Illinois Workgroup, the Action Committee is actively identifying and researching issues that can result in a healthier local economy, healthier humans due to higher air and water quality, and more jobs for our students, thereby making us more successful as colleges and universities.

*To join the Sustainable Learning at Colleges and Universities group you must login to Google or create a Google account. A Google account is necessary to gain access to the Education Action and Green Policies group. Check your spam settings to accept emails from

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