Dominican University will celebrate environmental consciousness in the neighborhood at its Green Block Party this weekend.
The event, to be held on July 20 on the university’s quad at 7900 W. Division St., will be a who’s who of green-friendly organizations around Oak Park, River Forest, Elmwood Park and Forest Park.
Vendors will include the Sugar Beet Co-op, a member-owned organic grocery story scheduled to open in Oak Park in early 2015; urban gardening advocates Root Riot; We Clean Green, a chemical-free cleaning business; and Green Line Wheels, a bike rental service.
Institutions like these share a common bond with Dominican, which takes on a number of its own initiatives that support the environment, said the university’s Director of Public Information Jessica Mackinnon.
“As a significant employer and resource for the wider community, we believe that it’s important to serve as a good role model for our faculty, staff, and alumni, many of whom live in Oak Park and River Forest, and our students,” Mackinnon said. “We hope that our commitment to sustainability has a ripple effect that goes beyond our walls.”
Eco-friendliness is not a new concept for the school, said Mackinnon, who pointed out that two of Dominican’s original buildings featured an underground cistern to capture and reuse rainwater.
“We’ve been ‘green’ since our beginning in the 1920s,” she said.
More recently, the school installed permeable pavers in its parking lot, and designed its Palmer Hall building using criteria laid out through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
The block party will also feature a farmer’s market with vendors from Elmwood’s local market, as well as an organic cooking demonstration by students in Dominican’s nutrition program. Other scheduled talks include discussions on weatherizing your home, cutting down on energy consumption, and composting. Working Bikes, a nonprofit that distributes refurbished bikes in Africa and Latin America, will be on hand to receive donations of used bikes.
In addition to workshops and art and crafts activities held throughout the day, children and adults alike will be treated to an evening screening of the environmentally-minded animated classic “FernGully: The Last Rainforest.”
Dominican’s Green Block Party is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Sunday and will wrap up as the film begins at 6 p.m. p.m. The event ends at 7:30.