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A cleaner, greener campus …

June 29, 2011

Vision 2020 logoThis is the first in a series of articles offering a brief overview of the Vision 2020 working group reports.

The Facilities and Environment Working Group is developing a plan to enhance the Northern Illinois University campus, challenge the NIU community to be even more environmentally friendly and help visitors and new students easily navigate the 800-acre campus.

The 15-member working group, comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni, outlines a detailed set of recommendations on how to achieve that goal in a report compiled as part of the Vision 2020 Initiative – NIU’s effort to become the most student-centered public research university in the Midwest by the year 2020.

That report (and five others) is online and available for review and comment so that the university community can help define the path to that goal.

Members of the Facilities and Environment Working Group benchmarked NIU on dozens of specific metrics to compare NIU to similar schools across the state and region, going into great depth. For instance, not only did they benchmark NIU spending per acre on upkeep of grounds, but they even looked at the number of flowers planted per acre. The group also conducted an extensive survey of faculty, staff and students to assess campus attitudes about the condition of the grounds and buildings.

When all of the data was gathered the group devised recommendations, suggesting a series of steps to:

  • Beautify campus grounds and entrances.
  • Improve signage that marks buildings and offers direction.
  • Expand campus recycling efforts and other green initiatives.
  • Increase WiFi coverage.
  • Reduce the deferred maintenance backlog.

Each recommendation includes: justification for why it is important; specific steps required to carry out the recommendation; organizational or policy changes that might be required; budgetary considerations; a list of planning documents that might help guide the effort; and a suggestion as to which organizations on campus should be charged with approving and implementing work toward attaining the goal.

“The recommendations set forth in this report, and the others, offer a clear path forward,” said NIU President John Peters. “What we are looking for now is feedback from the NIU communityas to which of these priorities should be treated as most important to help us set the course toward our future .”

The campus can share its thoughts on those issues by visiting the Vision 2020 website, where six of the seven reports (both full reports and executive summaries) are currently available for review and comment. Deadline for input is Friday, July 15.