Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
U Illinois Chicago

The word “nerd” has been applied to those of a particularly scholarly or bookish disposition.  (Generally, it’s not used in a complimentary fashion.   It’s also been the name of a candy – but that’s another story altogether.)  Perhaps ‘nerd-i-ness’ will get a better reputation from it being the appellation of a new item:  the Nano-Electro-Robotic Device (NERD) – a robotic germ!  It’s a different slant, and it comes from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“The research is the latest entry in the first generation of bio-electromechanical devices designed to combine living organism with nonliving technology to conduct research and solve a variety of different problems by using miniature machines too small for the naked eye to see.”


Graphene dot germ

Here, the spore reacts actively to humidity; and the reaction is translated to an electronic response from the interfaced graphene quantum dots. (Credit: Berry Research Laboratory at UIC)

Robotic germ equipped with


graphene quantum dots


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Did you ever deal with ‘toothy’ stuff… Braces?  Fillings?  Crowns?  Implants?  Root canal?   A trip to the dentist is usually not looked forward to with  much enthusiasm – more like trepidation.  But – did you ever stop to think about the effects of our oral hygiene on the rest of the planet?  Maybe Mother Earth is as frightened of the sound of a dentist’s drill as humans are – and possibly with good reason!

Dental Recycling International (DRI) announced that it has partnered with the Rwanda Dental Association. DRI provides education on and technology for dental waste recycling throughout the world, and will help the association to reduce the amount of mercury from dental amalgam entering the local environment.  Take a look at related articles found linked at the bottom of the posting.  There’s a great piece on amalgam alternatives, with credits to U Illinois, too.

And check out Dental Recycling International (DRI) while you’re at it!





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July 25th, 2014

Take a cue from a beloved American childhood story – - “The Little Engine That Could” used the power of positive thinking to achieve her goal and climb the seemingly insurmountable hill that stronger trains than she had failed to scale.  Like the little train, globally we should all be reciting her mantra of “I think I can, I think I can, …” – and we will!

100% Of Dutch Electric Trains Could Run On Renewable Energy BY 2018

See articles on this topic in other publications from around the world (…and maybe find a way to combine your passion for transportation and a paying position within one of the companies/consortiums they mention?)


And, if youLittle Engine‘ve never read this charming book, click on the pic for a quick literature lesson  (nice work Professor Plotnick, University of Illinois at Chicago!!)



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Students Consulting for Non-Profits (SCNO) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has been a partner with Students for a Smarter Planet for the 2013-2014 school year. SCNO is a national organization of undergraduate student-led consultant groups that provide pro-bono consulting to local non-profits. The SCNO at UIC chapter was formed in the fall of 2012. SCNO projects typically include various business aspects such as marketing, fundraising, organizational strategy, and finance.

SCNO at UIC first partnered with Students for a Smarter Planet to support a financial analysis and strategy plan for a small non-profit based in Chicago called Community Building Tutors (CBT). CBT provides free after-school tutoring and programming to Chicago Public School students and focuses on positive character development and social-emotional learning. The organization was founded in 2004 and relies primarily on donations to cover its operating expenses. Due to this, its funding has been cyclical over time and maintaining stable operations has been a challenge for the organization.

Thus, a team of SCNO at UIC consultants worked with CBT to complete an analysis of its budgets since its inception in 2004 as well as financial projections for the next 5-10 years. CBT has plans to expand throughout the Midwest and nation within the next 5-10 years in order to have a greater impact on urban students. In doing so, it’s imperative for CBT to know the level of funding required to fuel this growth. The final scope of the project included an analysis of CBT’s past operations, financial projections for expansion, and overall recommendations in terms of securing funding and expanding the organization strategically.

In addition to the CBT project, Students for a Smarter Planet also supported an additional three projects with different non-profits in the fall semester and is currently supporting three new projects this semester. This semester’s projects will be wrapping up within the next few weeks, stay tuned for updates on those!

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September 12th, 2013

Katie Bauer and her club at UIC “ Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations (SCNO)” have won an award for this fall to work on “Financing for the Future” with Community Building Tutors (CBT).  They will help the non-profit create a 5 year plan for their business goals.  Congratulations – we look forward to hearing about it here.

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