Hillel Commits to Sustainability Initiatives

The center adopted the Hazon Seal of Sustainability, which demonstrates Jewish organizations’ dedication to green practices.

By Sophie Roth-Duquet

After beginning to compost last year, UChicago Hillel will expand its sustainability efforts this year by participating in a new sustainability program. The Hazon Seal of Sustainability demonstrates the commitment of Jewish organizations to environmentally-friendly practices.

According to Rachel Potter, a Hillel representative, Hillel pledged a “commitment to becoming a greener building on campus and to fostering a community that cares about reducing our environmental impact,” when they joined the program on January 16.

As part of their Hazon Seal participation, Hillel is committing to three sustainability programs.

First, they will implement a program that reduces food waste by using compostable dishes and cutlery, in addition to partnering with Phoenix Sustainability Initiative (PSI) to donate leftover food to needy shelters throughout Chicago. PSI is a student group that seeks to identify and actualize environmentally sustainable practices and policies on and around campus.

Next, Hillel will raise building efficiency by improving the building’s insulation and installing a new lighting system.

Lastly, Hillel will adopt a two-pronged educational program. Weekly newsletters will now include an excerpt discussing how the Torah portion of the week relates to themes of sustainability. In addition, Hillel will host an educational "Green Shabbat" with guest speakers to talk about the connection between Judaism and sustainability.

Any student can join Hillel’s new green team to help implement the three sustainability programs.

Representatives said Hillel has received a lot of positive feedback from its members, many of whom have said they wish more organizations on campus would implement similar sustainability programs.