Loyola University Chicago
As a school with an iconic lakefront campus, Loyola University Chicago is dedicated to smart water management and protection of the region’s most precious resource: its neighbor, Lake Michigan. The Institute of Environmental Sustainability is advancing Loyola’s work to create a more sustainable university community by educating students, staff, and faculty about ways to conserve natural resources and build conservation practices into daily behaviors. Permanent signs have been installed throughout the campus and a comprehensive sustainability website has been developed to raise awareness about the University’s landscape and water management strategies, and to inspire the students and community to take action towards a sustainable future.
The signage uses clear language and colorful graphics to explain the concepts, highlight design features, and identify actions to help protect and restore the campus’ natural hydrology. The signage supports the Institute’s six Environmental Focus Areas: transportation, energy, food, waste, water, and biodiversity. The information provided is further explained on the website with additional resources.
The graphics visually explain the benefits of the stormwater management and sustainable landscape design strategies that are not as readily apparent as other green initiatives on campus. Loyola has installed permeable pavers, drought-tolerant landscaping, rainwater collection cisterns, and living rooftops that all seek to reduce and divert stormwater runoff that otherwise would enter sewer systems, requiring energy-intensive cleaning and purification processes. The cisterns connect to Lake Michigan and return over 13 million gallons of water annually to the Great Lakes watershed.
Overall campus maps highlight the location of green roofs; gardens; permeable paving; and the extensive network of pipes, underground cisterns, and water purification systems. These were digitally translated into an interactive campus map on the Institute’s website. By providing the information through multiple media platforms, the sustainability campaign expands beyond the campus community and has the ability to reach alumni, industry leaders, and the public at large.
The Institute utilized a new technique employing designer-developed analytical diagrams and illustrative schematics to communicate how landscape design and green infrastructure works to achieve the University’s specific sustainability goals. The website and signage demonstrate the Institute’s commitment to the advancement of societal understanding and appreciation of the environment in an urban setting.