Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Water

Photo

Being in a position where I had to make decisions and where people are counting on me to do my part has really made an impact on my professional development. – Student in STEP Water

ENVS 350A: STEP Water

STEP: Water engages students with learning opportunities presented by a multidisciplinary group of faculty and on-the-ground experts. Students study historical and current water resource issues at multiple scales. They design and implement projects on campus or in the community to help solve water-related challenges.

Spring 2017 STEP: Water Syllabus

Some lecture topics:

  • water sanitation,
  • issues in the Great Lakes,
  • water policy,
  • public health and water-related infectious diseases,
  • spiritual implications of water,
  • history of water infrastructure in Chicago,
  • water and agriculture,
  • water and ecosystems,
  • dam and dam removal,
  • water and climate change adaptation,
  • stormwater management, and
  • social justice and water access.

Readings:

Readings include scientific studies, government reports and book excerpts highlighting historical and contemporary challenges in water resource management.

Examples of labs, field trips and film discussions:

  • mapping water resources using GIS,
  • Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District,
  • Evanston Water Treatment Plant, and
  • stream quality assessment with Friends of the Chicago River.
Photo

Intellectually this course has taught me that all components of sustainability and of our ecosystem at large are vastly interconnected. – Student in STEP Water

Here are some examples of student projects. Students:

  • Developed an Aquaponics system for sustainable fish farming.
  • Piloted a living machine for waste nutrient removal.
  • Studied emerging contaminants in drinking water and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Studied irrigation and rainwater collection.
  • Studied water conservation on campus.
  • Studied stormwater management and sustainable landscaping.
  • Audited water fixtures in Loyola residence halls to identify which to upgrade to conserve water.
  • Created a stormwater educational video for use by an after school program.
  • Investigated microfiber plastic pollution in waterways and produced a white paper summarizing potential policy, manufacturing, and consumer-based solutions.

For more information, contact STEP Coordinator Tania Schusler.