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Shades of green: grad student develops 'green programming'

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Shashi Singh

Shashi Singh is UIC's "green programmer."

“Shades of Green,” a column on environmental issues related to the UIC community, appears monthly in UIC News.

Shashi Singh, a graduate student in computer science, joined the Office of Sustainability with the task of developing an online system to automate the recycling data collection, becoming UIC’s “green programmer.”

Shashi came to the U.S. from Uttarpradesh, India, in 2009. Her interest in sustainability came from learning about self-sustained villages in India, which help prevent small land owners from losing their land and migrating to urban slums.

“I would say my interest grew as I started working for the Office of Sustainability,” she says.

“My time there has changed my outlook towards work and studies. When I started at UIC, I wanted to work for a big organization, but now I think doing something innovative is more important than just working for a big company.”

In India, sustainability is often overpowered by the pressing issues of population growth and unemployment.

“I would say sustainability for us is more from a point of view of saving money. Trust me, sustainable efforts can really save a lot of money!

“I do not remember using paper towels in my home in India. We had sets of old rags that we used many times. We did composting and had a vegetable garden.”

Having a dense population makes it easier to do some things, such as providing public transportation, she says.

“I think India is concentrating on sustainable modes of transport. This is one thing India has really worked on.”

Shashi plans to use some of her work with the Office of Sustainability for her master’s project this summer, although there’s little precedent for green-themed computer programs. She will be working with Barbara Di Eugenio and Sol Shatz, faculty members in computer science.
Watch for the online visualization of the recycling data this fall.

Kate Yoshida is program coordinator in the Office of Sustainability.

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