U Virginia Completes Nitrogen & Carbon Footprint Food Labeling Study
Students in the Nitrogen Working Group, which is part of the university’s Environmental Stewardship Subcommittee, came up with a pilot project to give a sustainability rating label to foods sold in the Clark Café. To calculate the footprint of a product, its weight was multiplied by impact factors for carbon, nitrogen and water pollution caused and used.
Harvard U Hosts Student Sustainability Leadership Symposium
On November 8, a group of four Harvard Resource Efficiency Program members joined 141 other college students involved in sustainability from 16 colleges and universities as far away as New Jersey and Vermont to learn, discuss and explore best practices. Commons themes that arose throughout the day included diversity and personal definitions of sustainability.
Furman U Develops Online Sustainability Science and Full Cost Analysis Course
In keeping with its mission to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching in support of sustainability, the university recently launched the free, open-source, online learning module for undergraduate and introductory graduate-level course that explores problem-solving with systems thinking to account for the economic, societal and environmental costs of a problem.
200+ Universities Sign 'American Campuses Act on Climate' Pledge
Ahead of the Conference on Climate Change, 218 U.S. universities and colleges signed a pledge to demonstrate their support for strong climate action by world leaders in Paris next month. This announcement came at a White House Summit with higher education representatives, the U.S. EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality to voice their important role in climate solutions.
Rice U Holds Food Waste Reduction Competition
In an effort to have a positive effect on the impacts of food waste, the Zero Waste Campaign's first Food Waste Reduction Competition led to a 23.3 percent reduction in waste at one of the university's restaurants. The Zero Waste Campaign began as a collaboration between four student groups, including one class.
AASHE 10-Year Anniversary Celebrates Campus Sustainability
In this celebratory 10-year anniversary video of the campus sustainability movement, Meghan Fay Zahniser, AASHE's executive director along with Judy Walton, AASHE's founding executive director, Leith Sharp of Harvard University, Debra Rowe of U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainability Development and Fahmida Ahmed at Stanford University share thoughts about their vision for the future.
NY Times: 'A New Way to Improve College Enrollment'
The recent article highlights Long Beach, Calif., efforts to increase admissions and graduation rates for the poor and underprivileged. The city is a predominantly immigrant city where public schools, the local community college and state university have collaborated on a program to guarantee high school graduates a tuition-free year of higher education if they meet the academic requirements.
U Oregon Pilots Bulk Solar Purchasing for Employees and Community
The university's Sustainability Office partnered with Northwest SEED to work with local solar panel installers to negotiate a group rate and develop a streamlined design and installation process resulting in discounted rates to university employees and community members.
Michigan State U Launches Green Event Certification Program
In an effort to reduce waste from on-campus events, the university's sustainability office initiated the new Spartan Green Event Certification that uses an online form to evaluate several areas. Events that adequately meet the criteria receive a certificate and a seal for marketing purposes.
U Florida Hosts Social Justice Summit
After research indicated that campus isn't always welcoming to diverse populations, the inaugural summit featured workshops about race relations, sexuality, gender identity and disability in an attempt to bring diverse groups together for a conversation about social justice.
U Maryland Students Send Strong Statement on Fossil Fuel Investments
On Nov. 4, the Student Government Association passed a bill urging the university system chancellor to freeze expansion of all investments in fossil fuel companies, form a task force to assess methods of fossil fuel divestment, sell off those investments within five years, and reinvest in clean renewable energy companies.
Cornell U Parking Garage Attains Sustainability Designation
Certified by the Green Parking Council and one of seven such structures in the U.S., the building's features include the operation of environmental controls in this mostly enclosed parking garage. Exhaust air from the building above moves through the garage to moderate the temperature and flushe out carbon monoxide generated by cars in the garage. EV charging stations and LED lights included.
Penn State Powers Fleet EVs with Solar Energy
After purchasing electric vehicles for campus workers, the university invested in photovoltaic panels to charge the EVs as opposed to grid power, which is predominantly fueled by coal. Students from various majors volunteers to help with installation of the system.
U California Announces 10 Scalable Climate Change Solutions
Out of the recently held UC Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit, the university system's Climate Solutions Group released a report outlining 10 solutions for addressing the challenges of climate change. Called Bending the Curve, the executive summary outlines some details about the solutions although the full report is slated for release in spring 2016 after peer review.
U California Names Faculty Climate Action Champions
As the university steps up efforts to eliminate its carbon footprint, it has named Faculty Climate Action Champions at each campus to work with students on projects aimed at building community engagement and awareness, and helping the university achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. The recognition comes with a $25,000 award, to be used for a project during the academic year.
U Washington Receives Accolades for Transportation Leadership
The Intelligent Transportation Services of America, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the governor's administration recently honored the university for advancing the use of electric vehicles (EVs) on campus through adding 14 EVs this year with an expected total of 42 by June 2016. Five parking lots have six permanent charging stations, including nine temporary stations.
Swarthmore College Hires New Sustainability Director
Aurora Winslade will join the college in December 2015 from Hawai'i Energy where she designs and manages programs to shift the market toward increased energy efficiency. Previously Winslade launched the sustainability office at the University of Hawai'i and was the inaugural sustainability director at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
U California Santa Cruz Students Receive Global Food Initiative Fellowships
Four university students that recently received a $4,000 UC Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellowships for the 2015–2016 academic year will be involved in one of the ongoing university GFI projects, which include efforts to address food equity and improve food security for students on UC campuses, and to increase opportunities for experiential learning at the campus’s farm and gardens.
Duke U Dining Brings Sustainable Seafood to Campus
Now Marine Stewardship Council-certified, the university sources food from suppliers that are also certified in the MSC Chain of Custody, which ensures that seafood can be traced back to a certified fishery and is confirmed by random DNA testing of seafood samples. MSC is an international non-profit organization that safeguards seafood supplies to help create a more sustainable seafood market.
Michigan State U Student Group Increases Campus Sustainability Awareness
The student group Sustainable Spartans actively engage in spreading achievements in campus sustainability and, by way of research, develop practical solutions that can be implemented across campus. Recent projects include a solar-powered picnic table and a festival celebrating the campus' organic farm. Future projects include rain barrels and improving local food options.
U Tennessee Knoxville Demolitions Coal Smoke Stack
The 310-foot smoke stack, built in 1965, will be taken down this month after a state funded project was completed this summer that provides steam from natural gas. The university stopped burning coal in March 2015 in an effort to implement healthier methods for providing heat to campus, save money and contribute to the beautification of campus and the surrounding community.
Union College Updates Motto to Include Women
The college's motto, from nearly when it was founded (1795) until now, excluded women by reading, "Under the laws of Minerva we all become brothers". However, the college's board recently approved a change to add "and sisters" to the end of the motto. The original college seal is also slated for change to reflect the new motto.
Duke U Initiates Program Geared at First-Generation Students
In order to make accessibility for first-generation students and those from under-resourced high schools easier, the new Washington Duke Scholars Program enhanced financial aid and a comprehensive suite of academic and social programs for students who arrive at Duke with less experience with advanced coursework and networking opportunities than is common among many incoming Duke students.
U.S. EPA Releases Top 30 List of Green Power Users
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Top 30 College & University list includes the largest green power users of higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined clean-power use of these organizations amounts to nearly 2 billion-kilowatt-hours of power annually, which is equivalent to the electricity use of more than 187,000 average American homes annually.
Yale U Launches $50M Faculty Diversity Initiative
A new five-year, $50 million initiative was recently announced that seeks to build on the diversity of the university's faculty by recruiting faculty that enrich diversity, improving faculty development offerings, providing tools and resources to future generations of faculty, and including university-wide participation to support each school's diversity efforts.
Duke U Hall Receives LEED Platinum
The new home of the university's Nicholas School of the Environment features photovoltaic technology that supplies nine percent of the building's total energy needs, solar thermal panels for domestic hot water, a vegetated roof, 100 percent FSC-certified wood for interior, water recycling systems and 95 percent of construction waste was recycled.
Drexler U Reveals New Tools to Prevent Suicide
Attempting to support students' mental health, the university unveiled MindKare, a kiosk that allows students to quickly and anonymously get feedback about whether they have a problem and resources that can help. Many students have admitted a fear of being seen as crazy or stupid, and this new, confidential tool gives them the safety and knowledge to investigate on their own.
Wall Street Journal 'Pizza Box Composting Gets College Try'
The WSJ recently discussed the successes and difficulties of recycling pizza boxes. Highlighting North Carolina State University for its innovative Pizza Box Composting Project that allows the university to divert the boxes from the landfill by using them as fertilizer.
U Southern Mississippi Removes State Flag
The university raised the American flag in lieu of the state one because it houses the Confederate flag in one corner. Mississippi officials are being urged to redesign the state flag.
AASHE, Second Nature, NWF & USGBC Make Joint Statement
Last week Julian Keniry from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Jaime Van Mourik from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Tim Carter of Second Nature and Meghan Fay Zahniser with AASHE came together at the AASHE 2015 Conference & Expo to unveil a shared vision between the organizations to advance sustainability by working more closely together to benefit higher education institutions.
Stratford U Announces Move to Become a Public Benefit Corporation
The university, a for-profit, Virginia-based institution with national accreditation, announced last week a legal change to the company's charter, which allows it to focus more on activities that do not generate profit including actions aimed at benefiting the public.
U Alberta Introduces New Program for Food Vendors
The new program called Green Spaces offers certification to food vendors that help the university divert 1,500 tons of organic material annually and reduce waste overall. Some actions vendors can take to receive certification include sending composting kitchen scraps, sorting recycling and waste appropriately and eliminating polystyrene takeout containers.
Bicycle Friendly University Recognizes 49 Institutions
The League of American Bicyclists announced a new round of designations that recognize campuses making bicycling an integral part of the college experience. There are now 127 Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFU) in 42 states. Colorado State University, Portland State University, Stanford University and University of Minnesota claim Platinum status, BFU's highest distinction.
Saint Mary's College California Students Live as Migrants
Students recently engaged in an immersion program on local food production systems in Salinas, California that required them to live off food stamps and with assigned families. The program hosted discussions on food justice, fair trade and the ecology of food production.
Ohio University Meets Sustainability Goal Four Years Early
President Roderick J. McDavis announced that the university will purchase 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources beginning December 2015. The university’s Sustainability Plan calls for 20 percent of energy sources to come from renewable energy by the year 2020, although new purchasing guidelines allows the goal to be realized four years earlier than planned.
North Carolina State U Saves Nearly $1K Per Day in Energy
Thanks to a new, summertime initiative that consolidates events and classes into a fewer campus buildings, the university was able to reduce air conditioning levels in unoccupied buildings avoiding nearly $1,000 per day in energy costs. Called the Summer Energy Savings Initiative, 23 classroom buildings were utilized to monitor and control HVAC operations.
U Illinois Chicago Students Measure Building Energy Use
Trying to get students and employees involved in the university's energy conservation efforts, dashboards on display in nine campus buildings indicate the building's energy use by using the university's mascot, Sparky D. Dragon. University Office of Sustainability student interns helped launch the dashboard project in summer 2015.
Duke U Library Receives LEED Gold
The university's Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, dedicated recently following a 2-year restoration/renovation, used more than 20 percent pre- and post-consumer recycled content in materials and recycled more than 75 percent of construction waste. Low-VOC finishes, carpets, and sealants contribute to the building’s indoor air quality. The original building was preserved.
Elizabethtown College to Install 2.6MW Solar Array
In partnership with Radnor, Pennsylvania-based renewable energy developer, the 2.6-megawatt DC ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system will create an educational living-learning laboratory right on campus. The college was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to build the project and enhance the sustainability efforts on campus.
U Mississippi Removes State Flag with Confederate Symbol
After months of protests on campus, last week several campus bodies all passed measures requesting the university remove the state flag. The flag will be stored in the university's archives, along with the resolutions that call for its removal. The state is currently debating changing the flag's design.
Stanford U Forms New Student Working Group
Beginning in fall 2015, the university created the new Student Sustainability Working Group to support the culture of student innovation and collaboration, and ensure a cohesive approach to university sustainability. Each month the group brings students and staff together to share updates, solicit project feedback and brainstorm partnership opportunities.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College Partners for Tree Planting Event
The college and Trees Atlanta teamed up to plant 30 trees across one of its campuses in an effort to make the college a more environmentally-friendly and beautiful place for the campus community. Planted species include hornbeam, ginkgo, crape myrtle, cypress, linden, oak and blackgum trees.
Armstrong State U Receives $100K for Soilless Farming Research
The Foram Group Charitable Foundation recently presented a $100,000 check to fund the creation of Armstrong State University’s Aquaponics Research Center, whose mission is to conduct cutting-edge research and to develop technologies and best practices that improve the sustainability and profitability of soilless farming techniques.
SUNY Oswego Building Earns LEED Gold
Opened in fall 2013, the 230,000-square-foot building features a geothermal-well installation, windows and shades that optimize daylight and energy savings, a vertical wind turbine and rooftop solar panels that tie in to the building, water bottle filling stations, small roof gardens and four stormwater retention basins.
Northern Arizona U Hosts Green Football Game
In partnership with the Office of Sustainability and Campus Dining, NAU Athletics educated tailgaters about recycling with student volunteers, procured compostable materials to distribute food and ran informative messages during the game that promoted campus-wide programs. To reduce glass, the university held a Green Wine Contest in which they determine the best wine that comes in a box or can.