The Calumet Environmental Resource Center (CERC) is a unique resource library, meeting place and referral network where local community residents, government officials, nonprofit environmental organizations, and others can learn about and respond to pressing environmental issues in the Calumet Region.
CERC was established in 1991 through a joint effort of the Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center at Chicago State University, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Chicago Legal Clinic and is operated by the Neighborhood Assistance Center at CSU.
CERC works with numerous community organizations, businesses, and residents seeking to enhance economic development, protect the area's fragile environment, and monitor the health and safety of their communities.
CERC's extensive resource collection continues to grow daily and contains over 3,000 assorted reports, documents, maps, books, photographs and other resources that specifically focus on the Calumet region of southeastern Chicago, Cook County, and northwestern Indiana. As a comprehensive storehouse of government documents, industry profiles, and scientific research papers on past environmental pollution and current toxic hazards in the region, the center enables community groups and individuals to formulate effective strategies towards addressing local and regional environmental concerns.
Michael Siola is the research specialist in charge of the collection which is housed in the Williams Science Center - Room 208 at Chicago State University. The Center is open by appointment Monday through Friday. It is always best to call ahead so we may better coordinate your research activities.
You can come to CERC to:
- study hundreds of government documents, reports, and studies about the Calumet region
- examine historical maps and aerial photographs of Chicago and northwestern Indiana
- do a quick computer search of the documents housed in the CERC collection
- search the on-line catalogs of over 800 Illinois libraries via Illinet
- access toxic release information supplied by area business
- access numerous on-line databases that include updated information on water quality, pollution, toxic substances, contaminated sediments, zebra mussels, adverse health risks and the ecology of the region
- visit the websites and home pages of hundreds of environmental organizations worldwide
- consult with us on ways to better present information in map, GIS, or graphic form
- use interactive environmental education software
- learn more about using a Geographical Information System (GIS) for environmental issues
- meet and discuss environmental issues with representatives of local, state and federal government agencies, neighborhood organizations, and environmental activists
- train teachers about local environmental issues and develop curricula and lesson plans for classroom use in elementary and secondary schools