Green Fee project aims to keep Campus Lake clean through recreational activities


Daily Egyptian file photo

By Amelia Blakely

Students will soon have a chance to improve the water in Campus Lake by kayaking, paddle boarding and participating in other recreational activities through the Sustainable Eco-Recreation project.

The project, funded by the student Green Fee, includes any water activity that aerates, cools down or creates turbulence in the lake, project leader Marjorie Brooks said.

Last year, the university drained the water from the lake to get rid of the toxic algae that had bloomed on its surface. Brooks, also a professor of zoology, said these recreational activities will help stop the algae from returning.


An informational meeting for the project will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Morris Library, rooms 752 and 754.

“We’re encouraging student teams to come together to develop innovative new ways of recreating on the lake,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the activities are a “win-win” because they contribute both to the health of Campus Lake and the health of those participating in them.

The project, which received $29,777 from the Green Fee, was one of 16 awarded money from the fund last spring. Students pay into the Green Fee along with their other tuition and fees.

Rachel Steiger, a graduate student studying zoology from Crown Point, Indiana, is in charge of advertising and outreach for project. She said she has been going around campus to speak to students about the upcoming project.

“Everyone is so excited,” said Steiger. “Once they realize they can have a hands-on part in it, they get real excited.”

Brooks says the algae blooms when high nutrient runoff combined with conditions of high temperatures and low oxygen.


Before the university drained the lake, Brooks said there were 50 years worth of partly decomposed algae in the water. Over 24,000 tons of the compost were removed, she said.

Now that the algae is gone, Brooks said they want to keep it that way.

“We’re ahead of the game, but we want to stay ahead of the game,” Brooks said.

Brooks said a senior engineering design class is working on solar-powered surface fountains that will create a maze for people to kayaking or paddle around. The fountains give off heat that leads to nutrient loss, she said.

Zoology students are also planting wetland vegetation to improve the lake, she said.

“It doesn’t have to be humans against nature,” said Brooks. “It can be humans with nature.”  

Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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