Auburn U Implements Water Restrictions Due to Drought

Due to extreme drought conditions, the university has reduced landscaping irrigation across campus, and will reduce irrigation on athletic and recreation fields at season's end, and has discontinued vehicle washing and pressure washing of paved surfaces except for health and safety concerns, and rescheduled routine cooling tower preventative maintenance at chilled water plants.

St. Olaf College Soon to be Carbon Neutral

The college will soon be 100 percent carbon neutral after the completion of five, one-megawatt solar electric farms on college-owned land. In addition to the solar installations, the college operates a utility-scale wind turbine and purchases wind energy from a utility. The college uses over 17,000 megawatt-hours of energy.

Higher Education Leaders Sign Letter in Support of DACA

As of Nov. 21, 2016, more than 180 college and university presidents from public and private institutions across the U.S. have signed statement supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The statement includes the benefit of this program on communities and the economy and asks that the program not only be upheld but expanded. Signatures are still being accepted.

California State U, Northridge Breaks Ground on Sustainability Center

Construction began in September on a new Associated Students Sustainability Center, a multi-functional space serving as an expanded collections station for campus recyclables, the administrative hub of the Associated Students' sustainability programs and services and the administrative offices of the Institute for Sustainability. The building will include photovoltaic and solar hot water panels, a gray-water collection system and composting toilets.

Portland State U Wins National Award for Community Engagement

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has named the university the winner of the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award in recognition of its 27-year partnership with Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which have gained national and international recognition for their long-term partnership that engages faculty and students in education, research and service.

Simon Fraser U to Construct Green Building to House Sustainable Programs

The expansion of the university's Surrey campus will include a 161,000-square-foot building to house the proposed Energy Systems and Environmental Engineering Program, an interdisciplinary engineering stream that will support the clean tech and sustainable energy sector. The building's design, targeted for LEED Gold, will include electric vehicle charging stations and shared heat from the city's district energy system.

Tufts U Launches Climate Policy Lab

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts announced the launch of its Climate Policy Lab, a research and policy center working to evaluate current climate policies, utilizing empirical, informed research to make concrete recommendations to policymakers around the world. As part of the launch, the lab announced a new partnership with the United Nations Development Program that will support the development of national and local adaptation plans, and the design and implementation of climate change policies.

Portland State U Partners with Community on Clean Air

The university’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions recently joined with Neighbors for Clean Air and Lewis & Clark Law School’s Northwest Environmental Defense Center on a new partnership, BREATHE Oregon, that will provide scientific data, legal analysis and community outreach so residents and policy makers have the information they need to make decisions that improve air quality in Portland and throughout Oregon. The partnership was awarded $250,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust.

Unity College Begins Online MS with Sustainability Concentrations

As part of a distance education initiative, the college now offers an online master's of Professional Science degree in two tracks: Sustainability Science and Sustainable Natural Resource Management. The programs give training in core environmental science, sustainability topics and management skills.

Duke U Students Challenge Proposed Natural Gas Plant

A proposed 21-megawatt, combined heat-and-power (CHP) project that the university and Duke Energy have claimed as a clean and energy-efficient alternative for the university is facing growing opposition. Opponents worry the project will expand the use of fossil fuels, and some complain the university has not involved students, faculty and the local community.

U South Queensland to Install 1.9MW Solar Electric Array

Helping to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and electricity costs, the 1.9-megawatt photovoltaic system will offset approximately 20 percent of the university's total carbon emissions.

U Texas El Paso Introduces Eco-Takeout Program

The student-driven Eco-Takeouts program is an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic foam by replacing disposable takeout boxes with reusable containers at different eateries throughout campus. Participants in the Eco-Takeouts program are issued a token, which can then be taken to a participating dining location on campus in exchange for an to-go container. Once the participant is done with the container, they can exchange it for a new token and repeat the process.

Campbell U Joins Campus Kitchens Project

The university is the 56th school to join the Campus Kitchens Project’s national network of kitchens that reclaims unused food from local campus vendors and transforms it into a healthy meal for those experiencing food insecurity.

Raritan Valley CC Earns Bee Campus USA Designation

In recognition of its commitment to raise awareness and enhance a habitat for pollinators, the community college has been certified as a Bee Campus USA affiliate. It is first college in New Jersey, and the 15th in the country, to receive this designation.

Weber State U Unveils 2MW Solar System

The approximately two-megawatt solar-electric system is expected to provide 100 percent of the Davis campus electrical needs. The system was financed, designed, installed and will be maintained by SolarCity and covers nearly seven acres of land.

Energy Dept. Names Finalists in Student Design Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition recently released the 50 teams competing in the next competition, which represent 44 collegiate institutions from four countries. The Race to Zero is an annual competition designed to advance and enhance building science curriculum in universities. Student teams are asked to design high-performance homes that are so energy-efficient that renewable power can offset most or all the annual energy consumption.

Architectural Record Covers Campus Sustainable Development

In the November 2016 issue, Architectural Record centered around design and development of the built environment on campuses across the U.S, with a spotlight on three schools. The issue highlighted Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus, a full-cycle water reclamation, net-­positive energy production and zero-waste operations campus, Hampshire College's R.W. Kern Center, a building constructed to meet the Living Building Challenge guidelines, and Cornell University’s 352-unit, 26-story tower high-rise designed to Passive House standards (set to open 2017).

North Carolina State U Energy Competition Yields $12K in Avoided Utility Costs

Throughout October, a student-led energy and water challenge between 1,100 residents of three dorms resulted in $12,000 of avoided energy and water costs. The three residence halls are nearly identical in size and each have their own utility meters, which made for an ideal competition.

Wesleyan U Celebrates Installation of 750KW Photovoltaic Array

Projected to provide approximately five percent of the university's annual energy consumption, the completed 750-kilowatt solar-electric system will work in collaboration with two existing natural gas co-generation facilities to expand the reach of its microgrid.

Ball State U Shaves 20 Years Off Carbon Neutrality Date

In consultation with the institution's Sustainability Working Group, the interim president endorsed moving the carbon neutrality date up from 2050 to 2030, which was made possible, in part, from the installation of a ground-source heating and cooling system and working with Chevrolet and the Climate Neutral Business Network to sell carbon reduction credits on the voluntary carbon market to fund further advancements.

Princeton Review Releases Guide to 361 Green Colleges

The Princeton Review's Guide to 361 Green Colleges: 2016 Edition is a free guide that profiles universities and colleges with commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives and activities. The edition includes a list of the Top 50 Green Colleges.

Marist College Dining Becomes REAL Certified

The college's Dining Services by Sodexo recently received the United States Healthful Food Council's certification for Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL). To become REAL Certified, operators must satisfy prerequisites and earn sufficient points in the areas of nutrition, preparation and sourcing, and demonstrate going above and beyond in dining services.

Dickinson College Installs Beehives

Roughly ten thousand bees were recently brought to campus by way of the campus' beekeeping cooperative, The Hive. The two beehives, which are behind a fence to prevent passers-by from walking too closely, will remain dormant through winter and come alive in the spring after the queen lays an estimated 50,000 eggs.

Pennsylvania State U Offers Degree in Energy & Sustainability Policy

The new bachelor of science degree in energy and sustainability policy is a 120-credit program offered online by university's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences through its World Campus. The program aims to prepare students to work with a variety of organizations in the field of energy policy.

Cleveland State U Becomes EPA 'Green Power Partner'

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently designated the university as a Green Power Partner for its efforts to enhance renewable and clean energy use on campus. The campus purchases nearly 18 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy certificates annually, which is 30 percent of its overall electricity use.

North Carolina State U Student Creates Campus Pollinator Garden

Thanks to a partnership between a graduate student and the university’s Grounds Management department, a large pollinator-friendly garden is both managing stormwater and providing habitat on campus. The project was funded through the NC State Sustainability Fund, a student sustainability fee of $1.50 per semester.

Harvard U Strike Ends With New Labor Contract

In a 583 to 1 vote in favor of a new five-year labor contract, dining hall workers will return to work after a strike that began on Oct. 5, demanding a pay increase for 750 employees to cover the increasing cost of insurance. Now all of Harvard's workers will earn a minimum of $35,000 per year,. As part of the bargaining agreement with the help of their union, the dining hall employees will be moved into a new health care plan, but the school will pay the increased costs.

AASHE Announces Board of Directors Slate and Election

The slate of candidates for the 2016 AASHE Board of Directors election is now open for voting. Thirteen applications were received, of which two will be chosen by majority vote. Each member organization is eligible to vote for up to two candidates for the Board of Directors. Voting takes place by the primary contact for each AASHE member institution/organization.

Alfred State College Celebrates Opening of Sustainable Manufacturing Training Center

The college's new Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center, a $5 million, 16,000-square-foot facility, will help the college continue to produce more job-ready graduates training for in-demand jobs while learning sustainable practices in advanced manufacturing through more efficient processes.

Energy Department Recognizes U California, Berkeley Energy Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge program recognized the university for its Energy Management Initiative, an approach to linking energy costs to building occupants in its Jacobs Hall facility, an interdisciplinary learning hub. After just five months in operation, the building expects energy savings of 65 percent, or $41,000 dollars. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the Department of Energy aims to achieve the goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030 while motivating leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments.

U Washington to Receive $210M for Its 'Population Health Initiative'

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced its $210 million gift to the university's Population Health Initiative, which aims to bring together the research and resources of the university and its partners to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world. The gift will fund construction of a new building to house the Department of Global Health, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and portions of the School of Public Health, all of which are currently spread across Seattle.

McGill U Creates Advisory Council on Sustainability

The new Advisory Council on Sustainability, co-chaired by senior academic members, is charged with making recommendations on the implementation and evolution of the university's sustainability strategy and related plans, policies, and performance indicators. Consisting of 17 individuals, including administrators, staff, students and external members, the council will meet for the first time in early November 2016.

Randolph College Building Receives LEED Silver Certification

The 108-year-old residence hall now includes a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, high efficiency faucets and toilets, access to public transportation, low-emitting materials and energy efficient light controls.

Amherst College Sets Up Green Revolving Fund with $2M Gift from Alumnus

The college recently joined the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, an initiative of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, after Prince Albert Grimaldi ’81 of Monaco gifted $2 million toward the establishment of a fund to support operational and facilities environmental initiatives. The overarching purpose of the green revolving fund is to aid the college in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing the resources to implement energy conservation measures.

Cleveland State U Partners to Conduct Energy Audits in Community

The university partnered with the State of Ohio to conduct free energy audits of area buildings that help identify simple fixes and low-cost recommendations that could conserve energy and reduce operating costs. The initiative was made possible through a grant that the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering received through the Ohio Lean Building Program, which is managed by the University of Dayton.

Prescott College Runs Solely on Renewable Sources for Electricity

The college's Sustainability Office announced that with the financial support of the student sustainability fee the college now sources 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Southern Oregon U Class Explores Sustainability Through Art

A class on art as activism encourages students to learn about art, race, ethnicity and ability, while examining both the ecological and cultural components of sustainability. Their task is to listen for what’s needed from a community, for example, a domestic violence shelter, then respond with a creative action.

North Carolina State U Reaches State-Mandated Energy & Water Goal

Despite a more than 50 percent increase in campus square footage, the university reduced campus energy use by 33 percent and water use by 50 percent per gross square-foot, as indicated by a piece of legislation that became law in 2007. The legislation calls for a 30 percent reduction in energy use per gross square foot from the 2003 baseline and a 50 percent reduction in water use per gross square foot from the 2002 baseline.

U Iowa to Launch Water Sustainability Graduate Program with $3M Grant

The university has received a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship grant that will be used to develop a Sustainable Water Development graduate program. With a planned launch of fall 2017, the program will train about 50 master's and doctoral students to address water, food and energy challenges facing resource-limited communities.

Pontifical Catholic U Valparaíso Wins Inaugural $100K 'Ray of Hope' Prize

A team from the university's Ceres Regional Center for Fruit and Vegetable Innovation in Chile has won the first-ever $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, an international design competition and accelerator program that crowdsources nature-inspired solutions to big sustainability challenges, such as climate change, food system issues, water management and alternative energy. The team's winning concept provides a new way to protect seedlings and restore soils back to health.

Southern Illinois U Gives Food Assistance to Hungry Students

Having opened in fall 2016, an estimated 300 students have already visited the new food pantry. Visits are limited to once per month and the amount visitors can take depends on the number of people in their family. Managed by a graduate student studying social work, the food pantry is sustained by donations.

Yale to Release New 2025 Sustainability Plan

The university announced that it will soon release the new university sustainability plan, Yale Sustainability Plan 2025, that aims to connect the broader Yale community under one long-term Yale Sustainability Vision. Expanding the scope of the previous two plans, the Yale Sustainability Plan 2025 is the result of broad stakeholder engagement across the university community.

Yale U Audits Curriculum for Overlap with U.N. SDGs

The Yale Office of Sustainability started auditing faculty scholarship to see how teaching and research aligns with the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a goal of identifying pathways for collaboration between disciplines. Preliminary results show that every department has at least one faculty member whose scholarship relates to the SDGs.

Pennsylvania State U Brandywine Opens Food Pantry Service

After a student-initiated investigation revealed that peers needed food assistance, the CUB-Board was born, providing food and necessities such as soap, detergent and paper towels for students in need. Students can claim up to seven bags of groceries per month or, if they have a one-time need for lunch or a snack, they can come to the CUB-Board without a full application.

National Union of Students Receives UNESCO Prize

(U.K.) Chosen by an international jury from a total of 120 nominations, the National Union of Students U.K. from the United Kingdom will receive $50,000 from the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development, funded by the Government of Japan. The National Union of Students U.K. won for its Green Impact initiative, a 10-year-old effort that helps students’ unions improve their sustainability practices.

U Buffalo Receives Green Power Partner of the Year Award

The university was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for procuring more than 212 million kilowatt-hours of wind-sourced renewable energy, making it one of the largest purchasers of green power of any New York State agency, along with on-site solar installations. The U.S. EPA's Green Power Leadership Awards recognize Green Power Partners for achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Occidental College Institute Reports on U California Employee Food Insecurity

Occidental College’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, in collaboration with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 2010, sent a survey to more than 13,600 clerical, administrative and support employees at the University of California System with a response rate of 21 percent over a two-week period revealed that 70 percent struggle to put adequate food on the table and are considered food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition. The survey was developed by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics of the USDA. Another finding indicates the level of food insecurity among these UC employees is one-and-a-half times higher than the level of food insecurity among UC students.

Minneapolis College Art & Design Faculty Vote to Form Union

Two years after a national union began organizing in the state, nearly two-thirds of college's faculty voted for the union, which will represent about 100 full- and part-time instructors, according to the Service Employees International Union, which sponsored the organizing effort.

MIT Announces 44MW Renewable Energy Purchase

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation have formed an alliance to purchase electricity from a large, new solar power installation through an agreement that will enable the construction of a roughly 650-acre, 60-megawatt photovoltaic power plant on farmland in North Carolina. MIT’s purchase of energy (44-megawatts) from this facility’s 255,000 solar panels is equivalent to 40 percent of the school’s current electricity use.

AASHE Announces Top Performers in 2016 Sustainable Campus Index

AASHE’s newly released 2016 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Additionally, the report highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from over 60 institutions.