Lewis University teaches students about impact airline industry has on climate

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sustainability is a core part of the mission and curriculum at Lewis University. Professors tell the I-Team this generation of students demands it. Research being done at the university could help speed up the reduction of aviation's overall carbon footprint.

Aviation students at Lewis University in south suburban Romeoville are learning more than simply how to fly.

"It's pretty much just addressing what the facts are. This is what the aviation industry contributes to climate change. This is the carbon footprint of the aviation industry. This is what the scientists tell us in regards to climate change, and what the targets need to be. And these are the ways that we can minimize the impact of the industry," said Dr. Christopher White, Dean of the College of Aviation, Science and Technology at Lewis University. "These are factors that you have to take into consideration as a training institution. What we try to do is simply share with the students what all the information is, make them aware of what their responsibilities will be, and then try to create opportunities for them to contribute to a solution."

Students in other disciplines are working on how to help make flying more efficient.

"That's probably where Lewis would have the most impact is helping students understand that we need to be as efficient as possible and interdisciplinary is going to be the way to go. So, as the dean of a college that includes not just aviation but also computer science and environmental sciences, biology, chemistry and physics. It's all about working collaboratively as a team," said White.

Professor Ryan Phillips says small changes can produce big results when 700 students are aware of the effect flying has on the environment.

"We stress things like efficiency of our operation. Anything we can do to burn less fuel to get out to the runway is critical, right? So, when we're doing our engine run ups, we're planning how to get to the run up area and how not to waste time. Keep yourself organized in the cockpit, so you don't have to sit there as long running a checklist," said Phillips, who is Chair and Professor of Aviation & Transportation at Lewis.
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