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Private: Getting Dirty For a Good Cause

October 18, 2011 author:
Students Collecting Trash, 31st Street Beach Chicago

Students Collecting Trash at 31st Street Beach, Chicago

On Friday Oct 14, students, faculty, and staff teamed up to clean the 31st Street Beach in Chicago as part of the IIT Engineering Theme: Water.


At the day of service, the team combed the beach for litter and tested water samples for bacteria and contaminants. Testing for bacteria takes two days of incubation and strong attention to detail to avoid contaminating the samples. With the help of three student team leaders, Associate Professor Paul Anderson (CAEE) documented the process.

More Photos

The Water volunteers will also report the results as part of a national data collection effort with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. According to the Alliance, the Great Lakes contain nearly 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, providing drinking water to more than 40 million people. Threats to the Great Lakes range from pollution and invasive species to wasteful water use and global warming.


The IIT Engineering Theme Water is taking a hands-on approach to all of these issues, helping IIT students gain experience and work to solve the problems at the same time. If you missed this chance to volunteer, the Engineering Themes will host another beach cleanup in the spring. Here are a few highlights from the day:

Found most at the beach: Styrofoam, glass bottles, cigarette butts, plastic bags, and fast food wrappers.

Total litter removed: more than 50lbs.

Quote of the day: “It’s good to see IIT helping the environment and the community,” Chris Schaffer, mechanical and aerospace engineering undergrad.

Bacteria Test Results:
Students, faculty and staff collected three water samples from three different areas of the Lake Michigan 31st Street Beach in Chicago. The samples were analyzed using test kits provided by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. After two days of proper monitoring and incubation by Associate Professor Anderson, we are happy to report that no bacteria were present.

Volunteers in alphabetical order:

Beach Clean-up Volunteers

Beach Clean-up Volunteers

Students: Drini Ahmeti, Raymond Amurao, Erik Bango, Yige Bima, Ehren Cheng, Travan Cooman, Maria Cortes, Andrew De Neiu, Magdalen Dyslin, Brandon Johnson, Elizabeth Mauban, Colin McQuone, Cynthia Mendes, Sukrit Mishra, Antonette Moore, Van Anh Nguyen, Chad Parker, Medha Parulekar, Kartik Saraf, Chris Schaffer, Sarah Varan, Jingyi Wei, Yuhui Zhao

Faculty: PaulĀ  Anderson, John Kallend

Staff: Bonnie Dow, Amy Henson, Chrissy Jacobs, Darnita Murphy, Jean O’Keefe, Michael Sauer, Lisa Stok

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