Virginia State U Opens Food Pantry

Thanks to a partnership with the grocery chain Food Lion, a new campus food pantry gives students with limited funds a variety of healthy foods in an effort to reduce hunger and food insecurity. This new initiative also aims to increase graduation rates by helping to meet students' basic needs.

Delaware State U Dedicates Renewable Energy Education Center

The new center will help increase access to clean energy and advance the state’s goal to get 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The center will work to establish the state’s baseline of renewable energy literacy and usage, improve the infrastructure and capacity of renewable energy education, research and extension, and offer certificate programs and credentialing services in renewable energy.

U Nebraska Medical Center Sets 2030 Carbon Neutrality Goal

Over the next 13 years, a new set of goals calls for the university and its partner, Nebraska Medicine, to become carbon neutral, with all the energy they use coming from renewable resources produced either on or off campus. The goals also call for reducing waste to zero and using less water than what falls on the main campus during an average year, about 104 million gallons.

U British Columbia Starts $10M Sustainability Investment Fund

Donors now have the option to give to the university's new Sustainable Future Fund, a fund for low-carbon emission and high environmental, social and governance equity funds. Seeded with $10 million, the fund was launched as a result of a responsible investment policy for its endowment, approved by the university's board of governors in 2015.

U Laval Announces Commitment to Divest from Fossil Fuels

The university announced its plans to form a responsible investment advisory committee for the purpose of switching its endowment fund investments in fossil energy to other types of investments, such as renewable energy.

U Reading Sets New Carbon Reduction Goal

(U.K.) After hitting a 35 percent reduction from a 2008-09 baseline, the university announced a new carbon reduction goal–45 percent by the 2020-21 academic year. To date, more than 4 million pounds ($4.9 million) has been invested into projects to improve energy performance, the savings from which will be reinvested back into sustainability initiatives. In addition, plans are already underway to reduce water consumption by 10 percent.

North Carolina State U Helps Ease Financial Burden of Textbooks

In an effort to ease the financial burden on students, the Alt Textbook Project is a competitive grant process that supports faculty to adopt, adapt or create free and open alternatives to textbooks.

Student Governments Advocate Fee Waivers for Underrepresented Students

The Undergraduate Council of Students president at Brown University introduced the No Apologies Initiative, calling for universities to waive application fees for first-generation and low-income applicants by fall 2017. Signatories include presidents of undergraduate student governments and leaders of first-generation and low-income student groups from 10 peer universities, including the seven other Ivy League schools, and Stanford University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Texas A&M U Begins Labeling Compostable Material

After discovering that some to-go containers were compostable but looked like non-compostable ones, a bill was passed by the Student Government Association to include labels on compostable packaging to better inform students of a whether a container is compostable or landfill.

Capilano U Gets Fair Trade Campus Designation

Canadian Fair Trade Campus recently honored the university with the designation after it's dining services provider, Chartwells, and the university’s food and beverage services group committed to a wide range of ethically-sourced food and beverage offerings and an educational component that highlights the impact that responsible buying has on producers and their communities.

U Connecticut Students Support Sustainability Gen Ed Requirement

A subcommittee in the Undergraduate Student Government submitted a sustainability requirement currently under review by the University Senate’s General Education Oversight Committee. A student environmental group currently has a petition with 1,100 student signatures supporting a sustainability general education requirement.

U Toronto Cafeteria Workers Strike for Fair Wages

Cafeteria workers employed with Aramark at the university's Scarborough Campus launched an open-ended strike recently, an escalation in their fight to end what they describe as 'poverty-wage jobs' on the university campus. These workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 75, have been bargaining a new collective agreement for several months.

Big Tent Consortium Issues Travel Ban Call to Action

The Big Tent Consortium, a global network of universities and their community partners, have issued a call to action to its members to oppose the Jan. 27 U.S. travel ban, join with other worldwide protests, and create spaces for dialogue within universities and communities everywhere to combat alleged growing Islamophobia and exclusionary trends around the world.

Auburn U Introduces Aquaponics-Grown Food

The aquaponics project, a collaborative effort among a local fishery and two university units, gives students a hands-on educational experience while providing Campus Dining with locally grown food. A 1,600-acre, local fishery is used to raise tilapia, and the discharge water is used to used to supply nutrients to plants like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes as part of the project.

U Alberta Launches Free MOOC on Indigenous Canadian Histories

The faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta recently announced Indigenous Canada, a massive open online course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. The non-credit version is available online for free on Coursera to anyone, anywhere in the world.

SUNY New Paltz Launches Sustainability Faculty Learning Community

Members of the new Sustainability Faculty Learning Community held a January retreat to explore ideas and partnerships that could expand experiential learning opportunities around sustainability. Some projects discussed included a math course that analyzes research on climate, weather and the environment, and collaborations between an environmental organization and students in engineering and marketing to develop, implement and promote new campaigns.

Hope College Building Receives LEED Silver

The building is co-located near public transportation, and uses light-colored concrete to reflect light, and stormwater retention and filtering. By weight, the materials used in construction have 32 percent recycled content, and by cost, more than 55 percent came from within 500 miles.

California State U Monterey Bay Staff Install Solar Electric

Eleven faculty and staff homeowners of campus housing worked with Campus Planning and Development to install solar-electric systems on their roof that went live at the end of January.

City College San Francisco to Offer Free Education

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced at a press conference recently that, starting fall 2017, community college will be tuition-free for all San Francisco residents through the City College of San Francisco. Approved via a voter proposition in November 2016, the plan allows any student who has lived in San Francisco for at least one year, regardless of income, to attend community college for free.

North Carolina State U Students Test Paper Towel Composting Solution

A team of psychology students researched, designed and tested a system to compost an estimated 34,000 pounds of annual paper towel waste from the university’s student union building. The team’s challenge was to create a simple system that captured users’ attention in order to eliminate contamination and maximize landfill diversion.

Indiana U-Purdue U Building Earns LEED Gold

The building is located close to bike lanes and bus routes, and includes parking areas for carpoolers and high-efficiency vehicles, and a stormwater-detention system for runoff. The building features water-efficient technology, daylighting and sunshades to reduce heat gain and glare. The university is sourcing 70 percent of it's power from Indianapolis Power and Light's Green Power Option, a program offering renewable energy procurement.

2,344 California State U & U California Professors Sign Climate Letter to Trump

More than 2,300 California professors have signed an open letter to President Trump urging him not to drop the U.S. out of the Paris accords on climate change, and to continue to support work on the issue.

Social Science Groups Express Concern Regarding Dakota Access Pipeline

The American Anthropological Association and the American Psychological Association have expressed concerns about President Donald Trump's revival of the Dakota Access Pipeline project due to the impact on Native Americans and the environment.

Higher Education Leaders Issue Statements on Immigration Ban

Many higher education leaders issued statements recently in response to the Trump administration's executive order to ban immigrants and nonimmigrant visitors from seven countries, which are majority Muslim, from entering the U.S. They criticized the ban for the disruption it caused to students and scholars and for confusion around the order and its implementation and, in many cases, expressed moral outrage.

U Iowa Appoints Interim Sustainability Director

Sara Maples, currently Research Support & Sustainability Manager at the Tippie College of Business, has been appointed to serve as interim director of the Office of Sustainability on a part-time basis. She initiated a competition that encourages students to develop sustainable business models that must include accounting for societal costs and benefits. She also recently completed the college’s sustainability report, in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (G4) standards.

Wheaton College Announces Scholarships for Refugees

The college recently announced the Wheaton Refugee Scholarship to be awarded for student refugees fleeing conflict in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen—the seven nations named in President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

Business School Professors Endorse Article to President Urging Leadership on Climate

After President Donald Trump announced that he will work to roll back environmental laws and regulations, two business professors, one from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the other from Harvard Business School, wrote an article urging President Donald Trump to reconsider the impacts of undoing environmental regulation citing both economic and health benefits to U.S. citizens and businesses.

Loyola U Chicago Wins 2016 Climate Leadership Award

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Solution Generation recognized the university for its commitment to addressing climate change and making climate impacts on natural and social systems a key aspect of social justice. In the past year, Loyola released the university’s climate action plan with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. As Chicago’s Jesuit, Catholic university, Loyola is addressing the climate through three main strategies: its campus, its curriculum and its community engagement.

California State U East Bay Building Achieves LEED Platinum

The Student and Faculty Support Center building houses 300 faculty and 200-400 students per day and includes energy efficiency through building design and operation, a 147-kilowatt solar electric system, a bio-retention stormwater management and is located close to public transportation.

U Alberta Creates Multi-Faith Space

The new Multi-Faith Prayer and Meditation Space offers spiritual peace and quiet for students of various faiths, offering more opportunity to rest, recharge and get to know people of other religions.

U Louisville Taps Campus Maple Trees for Syrup

A biology class successfully tapped campus maple trees to offer a workshop to the campus and surrounding community about how to make syrup from urban maple trees. The initiative attempts to teach students that they don't have to be science majors to do science.

U California Divests $475M from Wells Fargo Contracts

Following continued advocacy from the Afrikan Black Coalition, a Black student union, the university has discontinued $475 million worth of contracts with Wells Fargo citing amoral practices and unfair treatment of black and brown people as the reason. The decision comes on the heels of several cities and states terminating relationships with Wells Fargo.

Colgate U Installs Geothermal Exchange System

This summer, the university installed a ground source heating and cooling system to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2019. The $150,000 project will pay for itself in seven years and is anticipated to save the university more than $650,000 over the course of its lifetime.

Two Utah Schools Partner with City to Serve Community

After Weber State University began writing a Civic Action Plan, it decided to involve its community in this process. The plan developed into the Ogden Civic Action Alliance, which came to include six anchor institutions: Weber State University, Ogden-Weber Technical College, the City of Ogden and three other institutions. The Ogden Civic Action Alliance increases the ability of these anchor institutions to respond to the needs of Ogden City, such as housing, education and health.

Colorado State U Commits to 100% Renewable Energy

The university president recently signed a pledge committing the university to be powered from 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, after more than 4,300 students, faculty and staff had signed a petition encouraging the university to consider the pledge. The university says that the decision to invest in renewable energy is due to the projected increase in energy prices over the next 20 years.

U California, Irvine Converts Bus Fleet to All Electric

The student-funded and -operated Anteater Express shuttle service is acquiring 20 all-electric buses to the tune of $15 million. The buses will roll onto campus for the 2017-18 academic year, joining a hydrogen electric bus, to provide more than 2 million pollution-free rides annually. Undergraduates voted to pay up to $40 per quarter to the Associated Students of UCI to cover the bus purchase.

U Connecticut Announces New Sustainability Plan

The university's new 2020 Vision For Campus Sustainability & Climate Leadership Plan was announced by the president in late January. Initiated shortly after a university cohort attended COP21 in Paris, France, in 2015, the plan includes the following categories: energy and buildings, waste reduction and diversion, outreach and engagement, water resources, food and dining, grounds, open space and conservation areas, purchasing and transportation. Each category has one or two goals and a few measurements to achieve those goals.

Red Deer College to Receive $4.75M to Boost Energy Infrastructure & Training

Under the a Canadian federal government investment fund, the college will receive more than $4.75 million for two projects, and it will match the funding, for a total investment of $9.5 million that it is allocating toward upgrades to the campus, and training and research opportunities focused on alternative energy production processes.

Princeton U Art Museum Purchases Solar Powered Vehicles

The art museum recently purchased solar panels to power two low speed vehicles for staff use. Inspired by the upcoming 2018 exhibition, Nature's Nation: American Art and Environment, the project was funded out of a university sustainability fund, High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund, a mechanism that provides money for campus sustainability projects, with an emphasis on measurable outcomes and culture change.

Concordia U Introduces First Sustainability Plan

The university board of governors recently green lighted a new campus-wide policy that it hopes will serve as a catalyst to facilitate innovative, interdisciplinary and interdepartmental sustainability initiatives. The policy consists of 12 guiding principles that will be integrated into the fabric of the university through a Sustainability Advisory Committee.

U Melbourne Unveils Four-Year Sustainability Plan

(Australia): The university’s first institution-wide Sustainability Plan 2017-2020 indicates the university will become carbon neutral before 2030, achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2021 and will now report annually on the institution’s sustainability impact and performance. The plan also calls for the establishment of a sustainable investment framework for evaluating and managing material climate change risk, and will set out the criteria for divestment from and investment in listed equities.

Pierce College Opens Food Pantry for Students in Need

The new pantry contains free, non-perishable food items. With student government acting as steward of this new program, the pantry serves a need for students who are dealing with food scarcity, students who have forgotten money on a particular day or for students who find themselves on campus after the cafeteria has closed.

Cornell U Connects Three New Solar Arrays

The three new solar-electric arrays will help the university reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1,830 metric tons and, combined with two previously installed solar projects, will provide around seven percent of the university's electricity needs.

The New School & North Carolina State U Students Win Cradle to Cradle Competition

A pocket knife designed with Autodesk Fusion 360 by students of The New School won Best Use of Fusion 360 and a prescription medicine bottle that reduces medical waste designed by a student at North Carolina State University won Best Student Project in the fourth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge, presented by Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The design challenge encourages the design community to envision solutions for the circular economy, inspired by cradle to cradle product design principles.

Syracuse U Allocates Inaugural $50K Campus as Lab Funding

Six faculty and student projects will receive grants totaling $50,000 through the new Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability (CALS) funding program. The call for proposals sought projects that address climate disruption and offer opportunities for communication and outreach to the campus and wider community. Some of the projects include a lab to research and test ways to connect electric vehicles to the Smart Grid and a climate disruption virtual reality simulator.

AASHE Publishes 2016 Annual Report

The new report details AASHE’s accomplishments and progress throughout 2016, spotlighting STARS, education and professional development, AASHE Sustainability Awards, the annual conference & expo, resources and publications, and membership. New to the report this year is a Member Spotlight section, an initiative that celebrates AASHE-member successes.

SUNY New Paltz Awards $1.4M Toward Energy Projects

The university's energy management coordinator organized awards totaling more than $1.4 million for four energy projects: a solar energy storage system, thermal blankets to wrap heating piping in the mechanical rooms of buildings across campus to conserve energy and reduce heat loss, LED lighting upgrades and implement a summer demand response program.

Wilfrid Laurier U Gets Fair Trade Designation

University staff spent the past year developing a fair trade steering committee, making changes to product availability and working with retail managers and vendors. Under the designation, all food outlets operated by university and its Students’ Union in Brantford and Waterloo will serve fair trade certified coffee, and fair trade certified options for tea and chocolate bars.

Carlow U to Research Gun Violence & Offer Scholarship to Victims

Educating for Justice is a new three-year university focus on gun violence. The initiative will examine several issues related to gun violence, including access to guns, and other contributing factors, such as lack of education, poverty and mental health. As part of the initiative, Carlow is using donor funds to create need-based scholarships for students who have been victims of gun violence.

U Illinois Farm to Install Biomass Boiler

The greenhouse at the university will soon have a new biomass boiler from Germany that will replace the greenhouse's current propane gas fuel, resulting in fewer carbon-dioxide emissions. The boiler will use perennial grasses grown on the farm.