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Bradley Hilltopics

Summer 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 3  


Promoting green living

Photography by JB Spector / Museum of Science and Industry

When it comes to green living, LISA DONNELLY MINER ’98 walks the walk. At work, one of her many duties is to promote “Chicago’s greenest house.” At home, she and husband ANDY MINER ’98 do all they can to live a green lifestyle.

A dozen years ago at Bradley, Miner switched from a nursing major to public relations for two reasons: She had discovered a love for communications. And the science was killing her.

Lo and behold:

In 2001, Miner married Andy, her college sweetheart, a scientist who comes from a family of scientists.

In 2003, she began work at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago where she is now director of public relations, charged with promoting the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere.

And in 2008, she gave birth to Colin Donnelly Miner who eats organically grown food and sleeps on organic cotton sheets in a Darien house that his parents are committed to making more like the museum’s Smart Home — built, of course, with ideas developed by scientists.

Smart Home inside

Smart Home inside

Rooftop gardens and a solar roof are features of the Smart House at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Furnishings and surfaces made from recycled materials or renewable resources also are featured inside the modular structure. Above, LISA DONNELLY MINER ’98 and ANDY MINER ’98, with their son Colin, try to live “green” in their suburban home. She is the museum’s public relations director.


The Smart Home: Green + Wired is an eco-friendly, three-story home with the latest in earth-friendly technology that was viewed by 100,000 tourists and Chicagoans in 2008. A revised version of the city’s “greenest home” opened for tours in mid-March and will be on display until January 3, 2010. The Smart Home is in the “backyard” of the museum on Lake Shore Drive.

Building materials in the house are either recycled or from a renewable resource. The modular home features recycled glass countertops and tile; an ethanol portable fireplace; occupancy sensors that turn off lights, TV, and music when no one is in the room; a tabletop composter; a shower meter that tells how much water you used and when it’s time to get out; and an eco-friendly nursery that features a bamboo crib and changing table. Audio from the baby’s room follows the parents wherever they go in the house.

The green roof absorbs rainwater and helps maintain a cool temperature in the summer, as well as insulate in the winter.

Other green measures have been taken, too, like decorating with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, and using low-flow showerheads to diminish water usage — earth-friendly moves that the Miners have already employed in their own home.

“Little did I know that science surrounds you in everything you do,” said Miner outside the Smart Home on a sunny Earth Day this past April. “It is fascinating. There are incredible expectations placed on our staff to say ‘here’s a different way to look at science again,’ to break that image of science as only men in white lab coats.”

Miner, a member of Gamma Phi Beta who grew up in Evergreen Park, graduated Bradley as a communications/public relations major, served an internship in the office of Congressman RAY LAHOOD ’71, then went on to work for Hill & Knowlton communications consulting firm in downtown Chicago. Her husband Andy earned his degree in molecular biology and is the lab manager in the Cytogenetics Lab at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His job is to look at blood, amniotic fluid, and bone marrow to diagnose abnormalities within chromosomes.

Of her work at the museum, Miner says: “Never a dull moment. Never a dull meeting. Never enough hours to do what you want to do in a day.”

“I can’t believe I get paid to do this,” she said.

“Bradley really did prepare me with great opportunities and gave me the ability to juggle many tasks at once,” Miner said, assigning credit to Dr. Ron Koperski. “I have never seen any students more prepared for a job in PR than the students from Bradley. You must have real experience when you walk out those college doors.”

Years before setting foot on the Bradley campus, Miner fondly remembers taking her first class field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry as a child. Funny. Now as a grown-up, science for Lisa Miner has become a real pleasure — and a way of life.

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Student recyclers target e-waste


Advertising major LEAH MORAN ’10 needed a topic for a persuasive speech in her freshman speech class, so a friend let her borrow a book on recycling electronics. Moran’s speech was persuasive indeed — she persuaded herself to do something about e-waste.

As Moran researched electronics recycling, she discovered that Bradley students didn’t have anywhere to conveniently recycle their old or broken technology. “There are [electronics] recycling bins on campus for faculty, but students don’t have access to them,” said Moran.

People dropped off computers, TVs, toasters, hair straighteners, computer mice, and microwaves.

Moran founded the Student Green Electronics Campaign, an organization that encourages students to recycle electronics instead of letting them end up in a landfill. The organization, which grew from six members to 20 in its first year, held the second annual Spring Cleaning Electronics Drop-off on May 9. Moran estimates that 5,500 pounds of electronics were donated at the drive, more than doubling last year’s amount.

MAUREEN HORCHER ’09 dropped off an old printer at the drive. “I don’t think people are aware enough of the harm of electronics,” she said. Horcher told the girls on her floor about the drive and encouraged them to drop off their items as well.

The drive is held the last Saturday of spring semester. Retro-Tech Electronics, a Peoria-based recycling company run by MICHAEL HODGE ’00, takes the unwanted products, reuses the parts that are still good, and recycles the parts that can’t be salvaged.

The most common items dropped off this year were computers. “A lot of people had old ones just lying around their house,” said JEN PALAHNIUK ’10, a social work major and an officer for the Student Green Electronics Campaign. Moran and Palahniuk agreed that the most interesting item dropped off was an industrial-sized microwave.

For now, the members of the Student Green Electronics Campaign spend the school year focusing on their spring event. In the future, however, they hope to hold drives periodically throughout the year, and to gain student access to faculty-only electronics recycling bins.