Green Campus Initiatives

  • Reuse It Corner
    Box of three ringed binders.
    • The Re-Use-It corner in the Sustainability Center continues accept unwanted/surplus office supplies to be recycled or repurposed. November 1, 2019 marked the first anniversary of the Re-Use It Corner. In that year, staff and faculty have found uses for over 7,000 items, saving the College approximately $15,000 if these items were purchased new. Lists of what is available are posted in the E-News weekly. The Sustainability Center is grateful to all the staff and faculty who have donated items to make this a success.
    • The items are stored in a designated area within the Sustainability Center. MCC students, staff and faculty are welcome to make an appointment via email
  • Composting on Campus
    • Recycling binsThe MCC Composts initiative kicked off April 1, 2019 with three new waste/recycling/compost stations and remodeled tray return area to accommodate the three waste streams: recycling, compost, and landfill. Posters, signage, table tents, and social media were used to educate students and staff about the benefits of composting. The stations were staffed for the first two weeks in April 2019 to assist and educate students and staff about the changes. MCC has entered into a contract with Prairieland Disposal company to take collected items to Midwest Organics in Lake Barrington.
    • MCC Sustainability Center staff and Student Environmental Club participated in a waste audit on April 5, 2019 on the patio outside the commons to create baseline data for the effort. All the waste from the kitchen, Café, and commons were collected from the day before, brought to the patio and sorted into the three streams. At the end of the day it was sorted to 163 pounds of material that can be composted; 87 pounds of recycling and 28 pounds to the landfill. Over 85 percent of MCC’s kitchen waste can be recycled or composted.
    • The project was initially funded by an MCC mini grant as well as a general donation from the Marchi Family Fund.
    • Recycling binsThe Sustainability Center and the Student Environmental Action Club partnered with MCC’s Café to offer reusable and compostable items for on-campus parties or events during the 2019 holiday season. Also provided were waste collection stations including collection bags for compostable waste (paper napkins, paper plates, food scraps). Sustainability Center staff and club members provided pick up and drop off, set up, and signage for proper disposal including paper straws, water dispensers and compostable coffee stirs. Thanks to the following departments/areas that chose to have less of an impact, but still had fun: Registration, C Building, Math & Science Department; Social Science and Public Service Division; Business and Human Resources Departments; Leadership Council; and Advising Department. In total 399 plates, 365 napkins, and 375 utensils were composted or reused and not sent to the landfill.
  • Student Environmental Action Club
    Student Environmental Action Club display
    • Members of the Student Environmental Action Club continue to be active on campus and in the community: restoration days at Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC), Sterns’ Fen and Wolf Oak woods; Green Drinks; Monarch Family Fun Fair; McHenry County Water Forum; It’s Our River Day; various climate strike events around the area; October 2019 County Recycling Drive; Green Living Expo; Conservation Congress; movie nights with the Defenders and the Land Conservancy.
    • Follow the Student Environment Action Club on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Green Living Expo

    The annual Green Living Expo was held at MCC on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Over 850 visitors enjoyed over 110 vendors, exhibits, organizations, and artists for the event. The Expo had many new vendors including several solar energy companies, organics teas, eco promotional products and a hemp products company. A display on flameless cremation provided information on alternative green burials.

    Many MCC employees and students participated, including Sheri Doyle, Director of the Center for Agrarian Learning; an informative display from Horticulture Department’s Mandy Hood and Jamie Niemeyer; Rich Tobias, adjunct instructor, horticulture, gave several tours of the greenhouse and new high tunnels; MCC automotive instructor, Joe McGinley, brought the MCC hybrid truck along with eight electric and hybrid vehicles from the Fox Valley Electric Car Club, and private owners. Many of the participating vendors identified as MCC alumni.

    Additional event highlights:

    • Event attendees talked staff from the Shedd Aquarium.
    • The McHenry County Department of Health conducted a paint recycling event during the morning of the Expo. Over 130 cars recycled approximately 1,743.5 gallons of paint.
    • The Northern IL Beekeepers Association and the Midwest Native Bee Alliance, Terra Vitae Farm, and River Ranch Farm were all part of the day and shared unique information.

    The Sustainability Center team would like to thank the following for contributing to a successful event: Campus Police/Safety; conference and event services; MCC’s Office of Marketing and Public Relations; Registration; Advising; Student Activities; Physical Facilities; Athletics; Duplication Center; President Gabbard; and the MCC Board of Trustees. Special thanks to all of the faculty and staff who promoted the event, as well as volunteers from Phi Theta Kappa, the Student Environmental Action Club, the MCC Sustainability Committee, and the Expo Planning Committee.

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification Celebration
    • MCC hosted more than 80 guests for the unveiling of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) plaque. Patty Lloyd, ex-officio board chair, Illinois Green Alliance, was the guest speaker to present the gold certification plaque with President Clint Gabbard. Dominick Demonica, principal at Demonica Kemper Architects, detailed features in the building and Kim Hankins, director of sustainability, spoke about MCC sustainability initiatives. Following a low-waste reception, Kate Kramer, geology instructor, and Marla Garrison, biology instructor, led tours of the building.
    • The College achieved LEED Gold status by acquiring points in six categories including Water Efficiency; Energy & Atmosphere; and, Innovation in Design. In the Indoor Environmental Quality category, MCC achieved 13 out of a possible 15 points by using low emitting VOC materials, daylight sensors and locating windows in 96 percent of the occupied spaces.
  • Carbon Footprint study (ongoing)

    Beginning in the spring of 2018 as an undergraduate research project, MCC student Anthony Parlogen analyzed the available campus carbon footprint tools. The Sustainability Indicator Management & Analysis Platform (SIMAP), was selected and initial data collection efforts were identified.

    In the spring of 2019, MCC student Rachel Ambrose joined the project team and lead the transportation data collection effort also completing the requirements for the undergraduate research program.

    In spring of 2020, MCC student and Sustainability Center assistant Noah Hunter began the large and time consuming task of collecting and entering in all the food data as well as bringing the previous data up to date. The study is complete and currently undergoing a data review by the SIMAP staff at the University of New Hampshire. Plans are underway for research and reporting of 2020 campus carbon emissions. Check back for updates.


  • MCC Café

    The MCC Café has earned a Level 3 Green Restaurant Certification from the Green Restaurant Association!

    The Green Restaurant Association’s (GRA) standards reflect 25 years of research in the field of restaurants and the environment. The purpose of the GRA standards is to provide a transparent way to measure each restaurant’s environmental accomplishments, while providing a pathway for the next steps each restaurant can take towards increased environmental sustainability.

    GRA certification is made up of over 500 environmental standards, with each standard earning a restaurant a certain number of GreenPoints™ towards becoming a Certified Green Restaurant®. The GRA has assessed the relative environmental impacts of each step to determine the number of GreenPoints™ each step earns. The standards are classified into seven categories:

      • Water Efficiency
      • Waste Reduction and Recycling
      • Sustainable Durable Goods & Building Materials
      • Sustainable Food
      • Energy
      • Reusables & Environmentally Preferable Disposables
      • Chemical and Pollution Reduction

    MCC’s Food Services Department was assessed through 46 steps and earned enough points to meet the standard for three green stars (the highest rating possible for this category). MCC is the first community college food service program in the country to receive a Green Restaurant Certification and only the second business in McHenry County to receive this certification. The Office of Sustainability was proud to partner with Chef Sandra Johnston and her staff through this process to further implement sustainable initiatives on campus.

    For more information on the green Restaurant certification process, visit the Green Restaurant Association website at

    For more information about additional sustainability efforts at McHenry County College, please visit

  • On-Demand Bicycles
    • Program not available at this time due to COVID-19 Pandemic
  • 2021-2022 MCC Sustainability Committee Members
    • Kim Hankins, Chair
    • Christine Fischer, Facilities Department
    • Sandra Johnston, Director of Food Services
    • Leslie Krebs, Advisor
    • Kate Kramer, Earth Science Instructor
    • Sarah Sullivan, History Instructor
    • Garrett Beier, Chair of Horticulture Department
    • Colin Jaeger, Biology Instructor
    • Emily Zack, Farm Practicum Director
    • Jake Schmidt, Grounds