Public Act 97-241 Higher Education Green Jobs and Technology Act

 The Illinois Board of Higher Education is required to annually publicize on their Internet websites information concerning efforts made by State universities and community colleges to promote the green technology industry, including the development of new academic degrees and certificate programs, courses of instruction, and initiatives made by these State universities and community colleges to align green jobs programs with employer needs.  (Public Act 97-241, effective 8/4/2011)


Governors State University has a deep commitment toward preparing our students, traditionally underserved and marginalized in public higher education, for the jobs of tomorrow in a global economy while contributing to the ongoing stewardship of the environment at an affordable tuition rate.  That commitment is not just in our degree programs and course offerings, but modeled in the efforts of the students, faculty, and staff of Governors State University to look for sustainable and environmental solutions and programming that creates and promotes green initiatives and in the long-term saves money for the university and the state of Illinois.

Degree Offerings

At the undergraduate level, the Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry programs prepare a student with the latest technology and teaching methods for careers in the life and physical sciences as well as the field of environmental science and sustainability.  These degree programs are available to direct-entry and transfer-entry students, including those through our nationally recognized Dual Degree Program which provides a pipeline for students from study at the community college to green and sustainable jobs after completion of a bachelor’s degree.  Undergraduate students also have the opportunity to elect minors in Biology and Chemistry

At the graduate level, our Master of Science in Biology includes coursework in Environmental Biology, Management and Policy.  Students may choose either the Ecology or Environmental Management and Policy concentrations that comprise the remainder of their required and selective courses.  The Ecology concentration emphasizes applied ecological research and is designed for students interested in designing and conducting work in ecological research and data acquisition, entering a doctoral degree program, or teaching at the college level. The Environmental Management and Policy concentration emphasizes application of sound principles in natural resource management, environmental policy and planning to natural resource policy and management decisions.  For both concentrations, students may choose to complete a research thesis, research project, meta-analysis project or a professional internship with a public land management or regulatory agency, a private consulting firm or biotech company.

Graduates may obtain employment in biological and related fields or pursue advanced degrees.  Several graduates work as naturalists and natural resource managers at county, state and national parks.  Other employment opportunities include work in the public or private sector in environmental consulting, habitat assessment, environmental policy or as laboratory scientists.  The curriculum also serves certified secondary school biology teachers who wish to develop an environmental focus.  Governors State University is uniquely located where urban and rural areas meet, allowing students to explore a diverse range of complex environments.  Internships are available with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Forest Preserve District of Will County, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Brookfield Zoo, and the Argonne National Laboratory, among many other locations. 

Courses that are available to degree-seeking students and those who are not seeking a degree plan but wish to augment their existing knowledge and skills to be better prepared for employment in green industries are listed below.  More information on courses and programs can be found in the university academic catalog.

ANTH-1100 (Cultural Anthropology)

ANTH-4100 (Urban Anthropology)

ANTH-4610 (Ethnographic Research Methods)

ANSO-3099 (Junior Seminar in Anthropology and Sociology)

ANSO-3300 (Ecology, Environment and Culture)

ANSO-4300 (Food, Culture and Society)

BIOL-1200/1201 (Environmental Biology, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-2104/2109 (Biological Science Foundations II, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-3322/3323 (Ecology, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-4140/4141/4142/4143/4144/4145/4146/4147/4148/4149/4150 (Natural History Topics in Biology)

BIOL-4144 (Natural History of Raptor)

BIOL-4522/4523 (Ornithology, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-4555/4556 (Mammalogy, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-4560/4561 (Plant Systematics, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-4580 (Behavioral Ecology)

BIOL-4700/4701 (Conservation Genetics, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-6210/6211 (Natural Resource Management, Lecture/Laboratory)

BIOL-6220 (Contemporary Issues in Environmental Law and Policy)

BIOL-6230 (Cultural Ecology and Environmental Policy)

BIOL-6657 (Ecological Methods: Populations)

BIOL-6660 (Ecological Methods: Communities)

BIOL-8860 (Ecosystem Ecology)

CHEM-1111/1112 (Chemical Science Foundations, Lecture/Laboratory)

CHEM-1141/1142/1143/1144 (General Chemistry I and II, Lecture/Laboratory)

CHEM-4155 (Chemical Literature)

CHEM-5145/5146 (Environmental Chemistry, Lecture/Laboratory)

ENGL-4483 (Literature of the Environment)

PADM-8400 (Seminar in Public and Strategic Planning)

SOC-1100 (Introduction to Sociology)

SOC-3200 (Social Inequalities)

SOC-3500 (Population Studies)

SOC-4400 (Social Movements)

Modeling Sustainability and Environmental Advocacy as a University

In addition to our degree offerings, Governors State University offers programming based around environmental issues, takes efforts to protect the local and global environment through good stewardship of our planet and looks for efficiencies through sustainable practice.  More information on university sustainability measures can be found below and at our university sustainability website.

Large-scale programming on campus

  • GSU is a signatory to the America College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, showcasing our promise toward reducing our carbon footprint.
  • GSU employs a full-time Environmental Health and Safety officer.
  • Annual participation as a campus in Earth Week celebrations.
  • Partner with local park districts, corporations, and cities (e.g., City of Chicago Heights; Solvay, University Park; Chicago Heights; Forest Preserve District of Will County; Forest Preserve District of DuPage County; Gratiot Lake Conservancy) for litter clean-up on Earth Day.
  • Campus Clean-up of the Thorn Creek watershed.
  • GSU’s Sustainable Garden in which faculty, staff and students rent a lot for gardening.
  • Vet Tech in which small appliances are repaired by Veterans who receive training.  The appliances are then reused or recycled.
  • Hydration stations across campus, energy-efficient lighting with vacancy/occupancy controls, multiple scene light controls in classrooms for reduced lighting levels, night light control system to monitor and control current fixtures and future installations.
  • DDC controls for local AHU and HVAC systems.
  • GSU recently established an arboretum as a member of ArbNet, an accredited organization committed to professional standards in planting and conserving trees worldwide.

Campus sustainability practices 

  • Use of beet juice instead of road salt in the winter to combat ice on all paved surfaces and sidewalks.
  • Make use of a 64-panel solar-thermal system, offsetting the cost of hot water heating for its shower rooms and 168,000-gallon swimming pool and displacing approximately 40 therms of natural gas daily.
  • Recycling lamps and batteries which eliminates more than 150 CFL lamps, 160 HID lamps, 230 non-PCB Ballast, 120 2’ Linear lamps, 180 3’ Linear lamps, 1,000 4’ Linear lamps and 1,200 alkaline batteries.
  • Use of lighted path with 3,000-foot solar power.
  • Emphasize use of native plants for pollinators on 8-acre prairie restoration.
  • Commissioned new sculpture that integrates prairie plant, art, and birding.
  • Preserved 125-acre for teaching, research, and sustainability of biodiversity.
  • Use of sustainable, ecology integrated fruit production for food insecurities.

Campus environmental stewardship practices

  • Recycling is available in every department and classroom.
  • Use of bio-friendly cleaning products throughout the university by the Housekeeping Department.
  • Large-scale organic farming on university-owned farmland and the use of a Conservation Agriculture plan.
  • Installation of permeable pavers in the parking lot to promote effective drainage.
  • Installation of bio-swales.
  • Roller-brushing snow off surfaces to limit use of melting products.

Below are highlights of the university’s Energy Performance Contract:

  • Campus energy audit
  • Implementing Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) across campus
  • Heating, Cooling, Air Handling controls
  • Lighting and motion sensors to limit unnecessary lighting
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,000 metric tons annually
  • Generate annual guaranteed energy savings


To review the current and past reports for Governors State University and other institutions, please click on the link below:

 Report on Efforts by State Universities to Promote the Green Technology Industry

For questions regarding the compliance with Public Act 97-241 or questions regarding submitted data, please contact the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at oir@govst.edu.