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18. September 2015 · Comments Off on A Letter from the Founder · Categories: Articles



Portrait of president and founder andrew van gorp in a forest.

By: Andrew Van Gorp 18 September, 2015. 


Your County is Receiving a Failing Gradethe article we posted in July, presented data from a study that Sustain DuPage carried out about DuPage County municipalities (towns, villages, cities, etc). To our measure, only a very small proportion of DuPage municipalities are succeeding, sustainability-wise. This is because a majority have yet to set up an Environmental “Commission” or “Committee,” (which are advisory structures within a local government). 

For those who don’t know, most local governments have a Board of Trustees who manage the municipality for the People. Up until very recently, Environmental Studies classes were not included in most college’s general education requirements. This means that up until now, very few people, including our local leaders, have an understanding of how the world works around them unless they have sought out degrees in such an environmental field or taught themselves through private study. (It’s encouraging to know that in many schools our future college-goers are increasingly required to obtain this understanding regardless of their degree).

Unfortunately, at present, most of our leaders do not have an understanding of these basic world functions. And so, recognizing this, many municipalities have established commissions to advise their Board on ways the policy they are enacting might be affecting our human environments on a local, regional, national, or international scale. 


I have been lucky enough to serve on the Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission for two years now. It has given me a great opportunity to utilize my major in Sustainable Community Development to help my community in a tangible way. I have been very involved and engaged with our sister city, Le Bouscat in France on their Agenda 21 initiative, which has been very fulfilling. I’ve been able to inform the Village about ways that it might improve, and I have also learned much from our diverse group  of commissioners with important environmental backgrounds: legal, marketing, fundraising, horticultural, construction, etc. (Yes, most backgrounds are environmental ones in my eyes, since all professions affect the environment in some way).

The Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission is not just a tremendous resource for the Board of Trustees, it’s a great way for community members to plug directly into their local governing structure and shape the future policy of their community. How else could a fresh-out-of-college millennial like me end up on the front page of a french magazine? I was empowered by the Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission.

The bad news is that only sixteen out of thirty eight DuPage municipalities have an Environmental Commission set up. That means 365 days a year, we have uninformed leaders making uninformed decisions. Of course we have reckless development and unsustainable policy everywhere we look!

Here’s how that looks for those of you who didn’t see the graphic before:


DuPage Commission Map


This is why our new Sustain DuPage Challenge is great.

I was inspired by Erika Harris’ article How Green Can You Go? and I will be participating!

My goal for Sustain DuPage, is to have thirty eight out of thirty eight municipalities with an Environmental Advisory Commission by 18 September, 2016.

In my previous article, I challenged the DuPage County Green Government Council to make this happen. But that’s not how the world changes. Erika taught us that the world changes when WE step up and change it.

I’m going to need your help on this. Every week on our Facebook page we will be posting 1) a municipality and 2) a number you can call to encourage your local government to establish an Environmental Advisory Commission. In this way, we can swamp local governments all at once with our concerns, so that our voices ring louder!

If you’re not from the municipality we post, we ask that you send that link on to your friends who are living in that community! Or, feel free to call your neighbor government anyway and say it’s important to you that their community follow the example of the rest of the municipalities who have already created a Commission.

Once we have a Commission in every municipality we can form a strong coalition that would provide county-wide expertise, begin pooling resources, create weighty momentum behind sustainability issues across the county, and share in much-needed encouragement from our communities.

Meme that says, "A chicken in every pot, an environmental commission in every municipality.

I’m so thankful for all of your enthusiasm, and I can’t wait to work with you on this to get this done!




Andrew Van Gorp, Founder


Before you start calling your local leaders- check out the work that many of your neighbors are accomplishing on the Commission websites below.

These are municipalities that have committed to having hard-working volunteers advise the Board of Trustees on their decision making process. THAT’S HUGE! This allows for Board members to learn of cost-saving, cutting-edge sustainable policy that could bring our County toward a safer future. 

Aurora: Sustainable Aurora

Batavia: Environmental Commission

Bensenville: Infrastructure & Environment Committee

Downers Grove: Environmental Concerns Commission

Glen Ellyn: Environmental Commission

Hanover Park: Environmental Committee

Hinsdale: Environment & Public Services Committee

Lemont: Environmental Advisory Commission

Lombard: Environmental Concerns Committee

Schaumburg: Environmental Committee

Villa Park: Environmental Concerns Commission

Warrenville: Environmental Advisory Commission

West Chicago: Environmental Commission

Westmont: Environmental Improvement Commission

Wheaton: Environmental Improvement Commission

Wood Dale: Clean Air Counts Committee

For reference, here is a list of the municipalities without an Environmental Advisory Commission in DuPage. These are municipalities that have not committed to having hard-working volunteers advise the Board of Trustees on their decision making. These are the municipalities that we must reach. We must let them know that we want them to form an Environmental Commission!

Addison: Rich Veenstra, 630.693.7510-

Bartlett: Kevin Wallace, 630.837.0800-

Bloomingdale: Franco Coladipietro, 630.671.5600-

Bolingbrook: Roger C. Claar, 630.212.2200-

Burr Ridge: Mickey Straub, 630.488.5890-

Carol Stream: Frank Saverino, 630.871.6250- (no email address provided)

Clarendon Hills: Len Austin, 630.286.5420-

Darien: Kathleen Moesle Weaver, 630.271.1619-

Elk Grove Village: Craig B. Johnson, (no phone number or email address provided)

Elmhurst: Steven M. Morely, 630.530.3010- (no email address provided)

Glendale Heights: Linda Jackson, 630.909.5302-

Itasca: Jeff Pruyn, 630.773.0835-

Lisle: Joseph Broda, (no phone number or email address provided)

Naperville: Steve Chirico, (no phone number or email address provided)

Oakbrook: Gopal G. Lalmalani, (no phone number or email address provided)

Oakbrook Terrace: Tony Ragucci, (no phone number or email address provided)

Roselle: Gayle A. Smolinski, 630.980.2000-

St. Charles: Raymond Rogina, 630.377.4445-

Wayne: Eileen Phipps, (no phone number or email address provided)

Willowbrook: Frank A. Trilla, 630.920.2234-

Winfield: Erik Spande, (no phone number provided)-

Wood Dale: Nunzio Pulice, 630.595.8545-

Woodridge: Gina Cunningham-Picek, 630.719.4706-

Sustain DuPage can’t operate without your support. Find out here all the ways you can involve yourself! 

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