Duke U Bans Disposable Plastics
In July, all 34 dining locations on the university’s campus are required to no longer carry single-use plastic carryout bags, plastic hot and cold beverage cups, plastic straws, and plastic utensils. In recent years, Duke Dining has also eliminated its use of bleached paper products and Styrofoam.
U Alabama Birmingham Installs 16 EV Charging Stations
Employees at the university now have access to 16 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at four campus locations. Employees can refuel their electric vehicles at the stations free of charge. Later this summer, there will be two additional chargers available to employees, bringing the total to 18.
Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'
During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.
Oregon State U Faculty & Students Endorse 'Warning to Humanity' Article
The university's Faculty Senate and Associated Students passed a joint resolution last month endorsing “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice", an article that was published in the journal Bioscience that documents changes in environmental factors over the last 25 years. While the article says that progress has been made in addressing some environmental issues, it also suggests that humanity is continuing to risk its future. The article has been co-signed by more than 20,000 scientists from 184 countries.
U College Cork Divests From Projects With Environmental Impact
(Ireland) The new pledge announces the university's divestment from all projects with adverse environmental consequences and is intended to ensure that the university accounts for a diverse range of environmental, social and governance concerns in its financial decision-making. In conjunction with this decision, the university has joined the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
Nelson Mandela U to Construct Large Solar Farm
(South Africa) The university's South Campus will soon be producing just over 10 percent of its electricity needs thanks to a large solar array that will produce 1,740 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. The university has given a solar company a piece of land upon which they will install and maintain the plant for 10 years, selling the energy back to the university. At the 10-year mark, the university will take over ownership of the power plant and will no longer have to buy the electricity produced. The solar farm will contain a combination of single-axis and double-axis trackers.
U Manchester Wins 2018 'Sustainable Business Award' for Food Services
(U.K.) The university's hospitality and events team was recently awarded with the Cateys' Sustainable Business Award, organized by The Caterer. The Cateys are a U.K. hospitality and catering award program that showcases innovative brands and trail-blazing people from across hotels, restaurants, foodservice and pubs and bars.
Loughborough U Divests From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Following conversations with both students and staff members of the university, the university will no longer invest funds in fossil fuel companies and will withdraw all current investments in such organizations within three years.
Queens' College Initiates Divest/Invest Strategy
(U.K.) The college will shift its investments in fossil fuel companies within the roughly $114 million (86 million British pounds) endowment into environmental, social and governance-screened (ESG) companies.
Monash U to Purchase Wind Energy & RECs
(Australia) In an effort to help meet its target of achieving net zero emissions by 2030, the university recently signed an agreement from the Murra Warra Wind Farm in Western Victoria, Australia, to buy the rights to both electricity and renewable energy certificates. This long-term power purchase agreement is part of the first stage of the 226 megawatt Murra Warra Wind Farm, which is currently under construction and expected to be fully operational in 2019.
Three Higher Ed Institutions Sign Agreement to Develop Wind Energy Curriculum
Bristol Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently signed a memorandum of understanding to share resources and collaborate on the development of curriculum and programs centered on the offshore wind energy sector. The goal of the Connect4Wind agreement is to create a sustainable offshore wind industry that compliments the existing and historic fishing and industrial uses of the port. It also aims to develop a better understanding of the workforce requirements of existing models of offshore wind and deepen the understanding as a new industry sector with an appropriate supply chain model.
Nova Scotia CC Team Builds Mobile, Solar-Powered Microgrid
The college's Applied Energy Research team has developed a microgrid that uses solar panels and a system of converters and deep-cycle batteries that can store and produce up to 48 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Part of the aim of the research is to build a reliable microgrid that can be deployed to remote areas without conventional power sources, temporary hospitals in disaster zones, and to run small electric cars.
Global Alliance Releases SDGs Report
At the U.N.’s High Level Political Forum in New York earlier this July, a partnership of universities, colleges and sustainability networks called the Global Alliance released a report examining the global contribution of higher education to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The findings highlight the opportunities and challenges in embedding the SDGs in higher education, as well as higher education's commitment to increase its contributions to the SDGs. The report also shows the aspiration of students to learn more about the SDGs and the changing focus of young people as they start to prioritize social justice and environmental ethics.
U Denver Pilots New Shuttle
Building on the momentum of providing sustainable transportation options to students and staff, the university is piloting a new, subsidized shuttle service. The new service will provide rides along two designated routes around the perimeter of campus, with stops that include the university's light rail station, the new administrative building and four other locations around campus.
U Glasgow Initiates Deposit System for Bottles & Cans
(Scotland) A newly installed machine accepts the campus community's recyclable bottles in exchange for a deposit. For every bottle that is accepted, a donation to a charity that raises funds for the university's cancer research is made.
Arizona State U Launches 'Carbon Project'
The ASU Carbon Project is a program that purchases carbon offset credits and supports local projects that mitigate carbon. To partially fund the carbon-reduction initiatives, the university enacted a mandatory price on carbon for all ASU-sponsored air travel at a current rate of $8 per round-trip flight. The ASU Carbon Project will begin to use these funds for carbon offset credits in 2025.
Energy Dept Announces Winners of Cleantech University Prize
A team at California Institute of Technology took first place in the Energy Department's Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP), while Northwestern University clinched second place and the University of Houston claimed third place. A Building Technologies Prize was awarded to a team at Princeton University, and the Department of Defense sponsored an Operational Energy Prize, which went to a team from University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Cleantech UP business plan competitions provide aspiring student entrepreneurs with the mentorship, business development skills and training, and investor feedback they need to turn their clean energy ideas into businesses offering real-world solutions.
U Winnipeg Begins Using Biomass
The university’s new biomass heating system runs on locally sourced wood pellets that are fed into two 100 kilowatt boilers. The system is expected to produce approximately 2.5 percent of the university's energy needs.
Harvard U Adopts Sustainable IT Standards
The new standards focus on actionable recommendations that schools and departments can adopt in three core areas – waste, energy and practice – aimed at reducing the environmental impact of technology. The Sustainable IT Standards were created by the Green IT Working Group that comprises IT, operations and facilities professionals, in collaboration with the Office for Sustainability and Harvard University Information Technology.
U Central Florida Joins Coastal Sustainability Consortium
As part of its ongoing efforts to help develop sustainable, resilient and economically successful coastal communities while ensuring the ecological security of coastal ecosystems, the university’s National Center for Integrated Coastal Research recently became a member of the Blue Community Consortium. The consortium has developed a certification process based on global sustainable tourism criteria that emphasizes coastal-habitat protection, restoration and enhancement.
Northeast Schools Partner to Launch Sustainable Energy Training Consortium
Antioch University New England, Greenfield Community College, Keene State College, and the School for International Training started the Ecovation Hub Education and Training Consortium to bring broader sustainable economy knowledge and opportunities to the tri-state area of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The consortium introduced its first course this summer at Keene State College, which was a two-week program in sustainable building practices.
US EPA Releases Top 30 List of Green Power Users
The Environmental Protection Agency's Top 30 College & University list highlights the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined green power use of these organizations amounts to more than 3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Nine of the top 30 institutions are meeting 100 percent (or more) of their electricity demand with green power.
U Minnesota Duluth Adds 40 KW Solar System to Residential Apartments
After three years of planning by a student organization called the Solar University Network (SUN) Delegation, the university connected a 40 kilowatt solar electric system to the Aspen Building, part of its Oakland Apartment Complex. The installation was funded by a student service fee, the university's green revolving fund and UMD's Housing and Residence Life. The system is expected to reduce electricity costs by about $3,500 per year.
2018 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Announces Winners
California State University at Long Beach, Cornell University, Georgia Tech, Tung Hai University (Taiwan), and the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) were recently named institutional winners of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a competition that asks innovators to create nature-inspired inventions that reverse, mitigate or adapt to climate change. Over 60 teams from 16 countries entered the challenge. Finalist teams receive cash prizes and an invitation to the 2018-19 Biomimicry Launchpad.
Emory U WaterHub Receives Innovation Award
Given to the university for its wastewater reclamation and reuse system, the 2018 IDEA Innovation Award is an annual competition by the International District Energy Association (IDEA) intended to recognize energy and water savings. To date, using an ecological treatment process to clean wastewater, Emory's WaterHub has displaced over 160 million gallons of municipally supplied potable water with reclaimed water. It also provides opportunities for research and education.
Centre College to Offer Social Justice Minor
Starting in the fall of 2018, the interdisciplinary minor in social justice would require 19 credit hours in courses that discuss areas of methods, intersectionality and political economy, in addition to a number of electives covering topics of race, gender, wealth, poverty and environment. Currently, there are 11 students registered for the social justice minor, along with one student who has designed the model as a major.
Shepherd U & U West Indies Receive $100K Grant Each Install Solar Array on Library
The $100,000 grants, awarded on behalf of EBSCO's 2018 solar grant program, will offset the cost of installing solar panels at the two schools' libraries. Solar energy on Shepherd University's library will be the first building on campus to use net metering to offset an academic building's energy consumption, while the installation at the University of the West Indies will help the school reduce electricity supplied from conventional sources.
Madison College to Connect Solar Electric System
The installation of 5,250 photovoltaic (PV) panels at Madison College's Truax campus is expected to be complete by September and could save the college $200,000 per year in electricity costs. Students enrolled in related fields such as electrical apprentice, electronics, electrical engineering, industrial maintenance and architecture will also benefit from having access to the PV installation.
Georgia College Students to Upgrade Electric Golf Cart Fleet
This summer, three Georgia College students, along with two high school students, will use a $7,700 grant from the Office of Sustainability to increase the efficiency of solar electric powered golf carts on campus. They will also locate spots on campus where the carts can be parked to get the most solar energy.
U Nottingham Partners With Volvo on Energy Storage Research
(U.K.) The new partnership with Volvo Trucks aims to convert diesel engines due for scrap into renewable power storage units that can charge electric bus and truck fleets. The project idea is to re-task the engines to become machines that compress and expand air to store and release energy, called Compressed Air Energy Storage.
Humboldt State U & Santa Rosa Junior College to Receive $5M Each for Microgrids
The California Energy Commission recently announced that Humboldt State's Sponsored Programs Foundation will receive $5 million for a multi-customer, front-of-the-meter microgrid with renewable energy generation owned by a community choice aggregation and the microgrid circuit owned by an investor-owned utility. Santa Rosa Junior College campus will receive $5 million from the energy commission for a renewable energy microgrid demonstration project, which will meet 40 percent of the electricity needs at the campus and allow the campus to provide emergency services during power outages.
Kalamazoo College Environmental Center to Receive $250K Grant
A $250,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to the college's Center for Environmental Stewardship will be used to increase sustainability and environmental stewardship across its curriculum, expand the college’s capacity for responsible resource management and sustainable development, and increase the effectiveness of college’s arboretum as a learning lab for the campus and community.
Indiana U Partners With City on Bike-Share Program
The city of Bloomington and the university have partnered to launch a dockless bike sharing service, operated by company Zagster, which aims to give residents, students and visitors an affordable and sustainable on-demand transportation option. With an initial base of 150 bicycles, the program will offer rides at $1 per half-hour, with monthly subscriptions available for unlimited 60-minute trips.
Stetson U to Install Solar Array With Inaugural Green Fund
Launched in 2017, the university's student green fee will be used to fund a solar array, planned for connection in August 2018. Aside from the $30,000 raised through the 2017-2018 green fund, the Student Government Association and the university each has agreed to match that amount. Avoided costs have been estimated at $17,000 annually.
61 Catholic Universities Sign 'Catholic Climate Declaration'
The declaration affirms the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement by renewing Catholic support for continuing U.S. actions to address climate change. In addition to the 61 higher education signers, 37 dioceses, close to 200 religious communities, and more than 100 parishes and more than a dozen Catholic health care organizations signed on. The signing announcement coincided with the third anniversary of Laudato Sí, Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment and human ecology.
U Brighton Begins Using Liquid Air to Store Energy
(U.K.) Called Liquid Air Energy Storage, the technology works by storing air as a liquid in above-ground tanks and, when electricity is required, the liquid air is brought to ambient temperature where it regasifies and turns a turbine. The 5-megawatt plant is a result of a two-year partnership project to develop understanding of high grade power storage and influence design guidelines for future plants.
U Louisville Launches Institute to Study Human-Environment Interrelationship
With a $5M gift, the university will establish the Envirome Institute at the School of Medicine, dedicated to researching environmental determinants of health. Specifically the institute will study environmental factors that influence heart disease, better known as environmental cardiology. The institute will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a new approach to the study of health.
Lumina Foundation Awards Race & Social Justice Equity Grants Totaling $1.6M
In response to what it sees as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on U.S. campuses, the Lumina Foundation recently announced that 19 colleges and universities will receive one-time grants—ranging from $25,000 to $50,000—totaling $625,000 from its Fund for Racial Justice and Equity. The University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center will also be supported by a $1 million grant to help improve and assess campus climate nationally.
U California San Diego Researcher Wins International Prize for Climate Science
The 2018 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development, issued by a Taiwanese foundation, has been awarded to climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and former NASA climate scientist and advocate James Hansen. The two scientists will split a $1.33 million prize. Ramanathan, who joined Scripps in 1990, has pioneered research on sources of planetary greenhouse warming. In recent years, he has turned his focus to areas beyond research, engaging civic and spiritual leaders to frame climate change in social justice terms.
U Utah to Receive Up to $140M for Geothermal R&D
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that the University of Utah will receive up to $140 million in continued funding over the next five years for geothermal research and development at a new field laboratory called FORGE, the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy. The new FORGE site is dedicated to research on enhanced geothermal systems, i.e., manmade geothermal reservoirs, which could be deployed in areas across the U.S. that don't have traditional geothermal resources.
Harvard U Pens Letter Opposing New EPA Rule
University President Drew Gilpin Faust wrote a letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s administrator, opposing "Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science," a proposed rule that would restrict the kinds of scientific studies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can use when it develops policies. The letter argues that the proposed rule would significantly limit the EPA's ability to consider best available science and erode public trust in the EPA's work.
McGill U Hosts Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQ Students
In an effort to support equal rights and foster an inclusive atmosphere, the university recently held its first-ever lavender graduation ceremony, which honors students from the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign has a list of 166 American universities that offer lavender graduation ceremonies for their LGBTQ students.
U Iowa to Provide Professional Clothing to Students
Launching in fall 2018, the Clothing Closet at Iowa will be a clothing bank that gives students an affordable option for buying new or used professional clothing. In addition to supporting students who are unable to afford professional clothes, it will also divert textile waste from landfills and promote reusing and recycling clothing.
Nazareth College Adjuncts Form Union
In an effort to improve their working conditions, adjuncts who taught in the 2017-2018 academic year recently voted 3-to-1 in favor of unionizing through Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Appalachian State U Students Build Outdoor, Off-Grid Classroom
Students enrolled in the Integrative Design Experience Laboratory (IDEXlab) recently completed building a sheltered workspace located at the university’s Small Wind Research and Demonstration Site. Called the mobiLANDING, the energy-independent workspace showcases sustainable building practices and facilitates research.