SPH alum honored as Chicago leader in sustainability
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Cynthia Klein-Banai, PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences ’10 and UIC’s assistant vice chancellor and director of sustainability, is among the 2022 Notable Leaders in Sustainability honored by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Profiles of the honorees can be found online and in the June 27 edition of the magazine. The recognition honors the top Chicago-area leaders in sustainability for their success and accomplishments during the last 18 months.
“I am honored to receive this award as a recognition of dedicating my career to making UIC a more sustainable campus,” Klein-Banai said. “I couldn’t have done this without the support of my great sustainability team, the Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy, my supervisors and especially UIC’s great students and faculty.”
Klein-Banai, who will retire Sept. 30 after 22 years at UIC, founded and has led the sustainability unit for the past 14 years, bringing sustainable initiatives to the forefront of campus culture.
Her sustainability planning achievements include the creation of the UIC Climate Commitments and the Climate Action Implementation Plan, which provides a framework for UIC to become a carbon neutral, zero waste, net zero water and biodiverse campus.
Other highlights of her work include leading UIC to achieve a 50% landfill diversion rate; expanding food scrap collection and food recovery on campus; forming a climate justice partnership with the Urban Growers Collective; developing the Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy, the Student Sustainability Fee and the Sustainability Internship Program; and receiving more than $1 million in grants for campus sustainability programs and infrastructure.
Under Klein-Banai’s leadership, UIC has been named a Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System Silver campus, a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, a Tree Campus USA for the past 11 years, and a Bicycle Friendly University, among other honors.
Klein-Banai also is co-creator of the Chicagoland Network for Sustainability in Higher Education and a board member of the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.