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.
Texas A&M U to Open Teaching Garden
The garden is scheduled to open in mid-June and includes 21 themed garden "rooms" for teaching and research in food production and landscape management. Future phases include outdoor venues for performing arts, films, celebrations and social events. Other planned gardens include one for children, a rose garden and a feed-the-world themed courtyard.
Knox College Art Building Earns LEED Gold
The college's Whitcomb Art Center features energy-efficient and operable windows on 40 percent of the building's walls, helping to reduce energy use as well as provide high-quality lighting for students and faculty. More than 80 percent of the construction waste was recycled. The building reused historic building materials from the college's Alumni Hall, which was recently renovated. The site features two rain gardens that channel stormwater runoff into the ground rather than the municipal sewer system. Grounds include native prairie plants designed to help reduce unwanted plants from growing.
Four Institutions Collaborate on Social Infrastructure Development
Founding partners of the new B.C Collaborative for Social Infrastructure are Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Northern British Columbia and Vancouver Island University. The collaboration will focus on sustainable campus and community building, indigenous entrepreneurship and social finance, social procurement, and library outreach and community scholar programs. The four institutions will share practices and policies to encourage progress and to determine how initiatives can be scaled-up and enhanced. The institutions plan to create a community of practice that can be shared with other post-secondary institutions across Canada.
Northwestern U Partners With WWF
The university and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining joint collaborative strategies for advancing sustainability solutions and research areas including: sustainable materials, green infrastructure planning, water science and flood management, plastic waste solutions, climate change impact and adaptation analysis, environmental communications, and training for policymakers, advocates and students.
Thompson Rivers U Launches E-Bike Program
The university is rolling out an electronic bike option as an alternative to cycling on its hilly terrain. Employees who choose to purchase an e-bike through the university will receive a discounted rate with the option to pay it back through a payroll deduction.
Bucknell U Residential Buildings Earn LEED Silver
Part of a residential area on campus, two new LEED certified buildings feature room occupancy sensors and low-flow water fixtures. Covered bike racks are available to students, and landscaping around them includes native plant species. Sustainability is also incorporated into student life through frequent sustainability-related educational programming.
U Queensland to Construct 64 MW Photovoltaic Array
(Australia) The 64-megawatt, $125 million solar farm will offset the university's annual electricity needs when its completed in 2020. It will provide research, teaching and engagement opportunities in addition to its environmental and financial benefits. The university will take ownership of the project from renewable energy developer once construction starts, and will own and operate the plant over its expected life.
Stellenbosch U Introduces Diploma in Sustainable Development
(South Africa) Introduced in January this year, this first-ever undergraduate program in Sustainable Development at the university is offered by the School of Public Leadership in collaboration with its Sustainability Institute. The workplace-based diploma aims to give students an opportunity to work on sustainability challenges, gaining skills and experiences perhaps not otherwise available to them.
U Pittsburgh Hires First Sustainability Director
As part of the university’s newly formalized sustainability plan, Aurora Sharrard will leave her post as executive director of the Green Building Alliance on July 1 to become the university’s first-ever director of Sustainability. Among the projects she helped to develop and oversee while at the Green Building Alliance were the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, a coalition between local government, residents, higher education institutions and businesses to address the city’s climate change goals.
Moraine Valley CC Welcomes Bees to Campus
Partnering with a local beekeeper to install an apiary in its Nature Study Area on campus, the university hopes the new bee hives will enhance their land conservation and restoration efforts and provide new living lab opportunities for different faculty groups on campus.
U Virginia Hosts Event Series On Waste Minimization in Labs
This spring, the university’s Green Labs program launched a three part event series focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling in research-intensive spaces. Part one was a webinar on lab minimalism that covered the benefits of environmentally preferred purchasing and sharing lab equipment. Part two was a swap that allowed labs to donate and claim unused and surplus material. Lastly, the university is piloting a lab recycling program focused on diverting lab plastics.
Central College Attains Bee Campus USA Certification
Recently certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, the college committed to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds and bats. Efforts that led to certification included constructing a bee hotel, planning a series of bee education events, developing policies restricting toxins for pest management and installing signs highlighting pollinator-friendly habitats on campus.
U Northern Colorado Receives Grant for Solar Array
A $500,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will enable the university to purchase and install a solar electric system on the roof of Parsons Hall. The system will produce about 4.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity with estimated savings of $176,500 over the expected 20-year life of the system.
U Maryland Joins National Program Supporting Monarch Butterfly Populations
The university's Golf Course has joined a national program called Monarchs in the Rough, which provides milkweed seeds in an effort to help save the declining monarch butterfly population. In May, just under an acre of land between the golf course's first and 18th holes was cleared and milkweed seeds were planted.
U Michigan Students Unveil Straw-Bale House at Campus Farm
A University of Michigan green building class recently unveiled an off-grid straw-bale house. The team of about 20 students built the house using sustainable building techniques and installed a 1.5 kilowatt solar electric array attached to eight golf cart batteries.
Indiana State U Rolls Out Bike Share Option
For Earth Day, the Office of Sustainability launched a new bike share pilot program with Spin by placing 100 bikes across campus. Bikes can be used for $0.50 every half-hour or unlimited 30-minute rides for $14 per month.
Arizona State U Partners With Lyft
Under a new agreement between the university and Lyft, ASU will replace a shuttle line with free Lyft rides to relevant individuals and will install marked ride-share pick-up and drop-off points on every campus. All ASU students, faculty and staff all will receive a one-time $15 credit on Lyft rides.
Penn State U University Park Reduces Plastic Bag Use
A new program called EcoCoin aiming to reduce the number of plastic bags used at the Penn State Bookstore give customers the option to take a plastic bag or receive an EcoCoin. Customers can then place the EcoCoin into one of three boxes, each one representing a student philanthropy organization engaged in social impact for sustainable development. Each EcoCoin represents a 5-cent donation. On top of the total amount collected through EcoCoins, the Penn State Bookstore will contribute $500 per semester to each organization.
U Virginia Students Pledge a Balloon-Free Graduation
A new pledge from the Office for Sustainability and Green Greeks is challenging the long-standing tradition of graduates letting balloons go during their graduation ceremony. The balloon-free pledge was introduced for the first time this year as a mental reminder to students to consider the consequences of using balloons. Instead of balloons, other more environmentally-friendly methods of celebration were suggested for graduation by the Green Greeks, such as bubble blowers or garden spinners.
Yale U Building Earns LEED Gold
Yale's Edward P. Evans Hall, housing the university's School of Management, features high-performance windows, interior and exterior solar shading, rooftop solar panels, a reflective white roof, additional insulation, LED and daylight-controlled lighting, carbon dioxide sensors that adjust circulation of fresh air as needed for the number of people in each space, and high-efficiency shower heads, urinals, and toilets. Potable water is not used for irrigation. Evans Hall provides covered parking for 104 bicycles and seven electric vehicle charging stations.
U Michigan Grants Target Sustainability Challenges in Puerto Rico & Michigan
The Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan has awarded more than $200,000 to support three sustainability-related research projects in Puerto Rico and Michigan. The projects vary in scale and address energy and food system resilience in Puerto Rico, stormwater management on tribal lands in Michigan, and plans for a green energy village in Detroit’s Eastern Market.
Maharishi U Student Farm Launches CSA
Students studying regenerative organic agriculture started a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and are providing 20 memberships to community members. For $320, CSA members will receive a weekly box of fresh vegetables during the 16-week growing season.
SUNY New Paltz Creates Two Faculty Sustainability Funds
The two new funds are the Campus Auxiliary Services Sustainability Endowment Fund, and the Campus Auxiliary Services Sustainability Expendable Fund. The overall purpose of both funds is to empower New Paltz faculty members to develop course curricula that include sustainable lessons and activities that draw on the rich agricultural resources and infrastructure of the Hudson Valley.
North Carolina State U Installs Bee Hotels
New bee hotels on campus are providing vital habitat for North Carolina’s native bees, thanks to Jonathan and Sara June Giacomini, two N.C. State students who designed and built them for the campus community. Funding was provided by a grant from the NC State Sustainability Fund.
U Utah Building Earns LEED Gold
The building that houses the university's Department of Mechanical Engineering features a 34.2 kilowatt solar electric array, an energy-efficient air conditioning and heating system, energy-efficient elevators, and a new pedestrian walkway. The university's Revolving Loan Fund helped to offset the cost of making these changes to the building.
Education Dept. Announces 2018 Green Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Education's 2018 Green Ribbon Schools program selected six postsecondary institutions, 46 schools, and six districts as honorees. They are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
Emory U Opens Biking & Pedestrian Trail
Developed through a partnership with Emory and the Path Foundation and opened on Earth Day, a new, 12-foot wide, paved bicycle and pedestrian trail opened that will eventually link Emory’s Clairmont Campus to a scenic, off-road trail system. The new trail replaces a previous section of narrow sidewalk.
Emory U Students Propose SDG 7 Solutions
21 student teams recently proposed solutions for implementing Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy at the municipal scale as part of the Emory Sustainability Case Competition. The case competition is an annual academic challenge that seeks innovative and practical solutions to a real-world energy issues for the United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise (UN RCE) Greater Atlanta on Education for Sustainable Development and the city of Atlanta.
Seattle Colleges Hires Associate Vice Presidents for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
For the first time in the history of Seattle Colleges, all colleges have established campus diversity officers for equity, diversity and inclusion. These positions will report directly to their respective college presidents. Each position will be tasked to work collaboratively across the district and to help establish and monitor the equity and inclusion goals in the Seattle Colleges strategic plan. D’Andre Fisher is at North Seattle College; Betsy Hasegawa is at South Seattle College; and Valerie Hunt is at Seattle Central College.
South Seattle College Hall Earns LEED Gold
Cascade Hall is 58,000 square feet of classroom and lab space serving 140 students. It features LED lighting throughout, a 72 kilowatt photovoltaic system, occupancy sensors, low flow toilets and other water efficiency technology, and rain gardens. During construction, more than 95 percent of construction and demolition waste was diverted from the landfill.
U Connecticut Expands Park Built on Landfill
The Hillside Environmental Education Park opened in 2008, following the remediation and closure of the former UComm landfill, which dates back at least 50 years. The park was recently expanded with the addition of land, trails, and more than a dozen trailhead and interpretive signs. The park is now 165 acres and includes three miles of trails through uplands, wetlands, meadows and woodlands.
Two Researchers Win Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
The 2018 first prize winner of the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is Prajwal Rajbhandari, president of the Research Institute for Biosciences & Biotechnology in Nepal for his research into using guava leaves to combat food spoilage. The second prize was awarded to Dr. Alessio Adamiano, a researcher for the Italian National Research Council at the Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramic Materials, for his research into converting fish bones into phosphorous and reused as fertilizer.
Texas A&M International U to Save $15M Through Energy Efficiency Project
The university recently announced it has started construction on a $9.7 million, comprehensive campus-wide energy-efficiency project that will streamline facility operations and encourage sustainable behavior. The energy savings performance contract guarantees nearly $15 million in energy savings over the life of the project. Savings will come from improving the university’s irrigation system, interior and exterior LED lighting upgrades with occupancy sensors and automated dimming controls, and utility meter upgrades with user-friendly energy dashboards. Construction is underway and expected to be complete by fall 2019.
Auburn U to Launch a Sustainable Biomaterials & Packaging Bachelor’s Degree
In an effort to meet the demand for packaging professionals with diverse expertise in using forest products sustainably, the university’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences will launch a new sustainable biomaterials and packaging degree this fall to prepare students for careers in bio-based industries.
U Plymouth Wins Award for Greening Nursing Field
(U.K.) A team from the University of Plymouth received a Guardian University Award for the development and implementation of the NurSusToolkit, a teaching and learning resource for sustainability in nursing education that seeks to reduce the National Health Service's environmental impact.
Dartmouth College Introduces Paper Straws
Dartmouth Dining Services has transitioned from the use of standard plastic straws to red-and-white-striped biodegradable paper straws in an effort attain a higher certification level in the Green Restaurant Association program.
U Washington Postdoctoral Researchers Form Union
Postdoctoral researchers recently voted to form a union affiliated with United Auto Workers. More than 700 of the campus’ 1,100 postdocs participated in the election, with 89 percent of unchallenged ballots being cast in favor of unionization.
Chatham U Receives 2018 Best of Green Schools Award
Chatham University's Eden Hall earned the award in the Higher Education Institution category from the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network. The hall was cited for its self-sustaining aspects, which include protecting the watersheds, incorporating surrounding land and agricultural resources, and rehabilitating existing farmland.
Three Universities Win International Green Gown Awards
University of Tasmania (Australia) won in the Community category; Canterbury Christ Church University (U.K.) won in the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change category: and Chiba University (Japan) won the Student Engagement category. The awards recognize exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.
U California San Diego Receives 2018 Grid Edge Innovation Award
The university was recognized for providing a platform for companies to test new electric vehicle charging technologies with real customers. The university partners with 18 commercial EV charging companies to test a variety of technical configurations and models with the university's population of more than 400 EV commuters.