U Edinburgh Divests Fossil Fuel Holdings
(U.K.) The university recently announced that it will sell its final $8.7 million (6.3 million British pounds) of fossil fuel holdings, making it completely free of all coal, oil and gas holdings. This announcement comes after its 2015 decision to divest from companies involved in coal and tar sands.
College William & Mary Installs Water Bottle Filling Stations
Under a new plan, W&M and the student group Take Back the Tap are working together to install water bottle filling stations in every high-traffic building on campus. New buildings and major renovations on campus now include a requirement for at least one bottle-filling station. Currently there are 52 filling stations on the W&M campus and three at W&M’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Harvard U Announces Fossil-Free Climate Action Plan
Recommendations from a climate change task force informed a new set of climate commitments that the university recently adopted - a long-term goal of being fossil fuel-free by 2050 and a short-term goal of climate neutrality by 2026.
U Helsinki Establishes Institute of Sustainability Science
(Finland) The newly formed Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science seeks to solve global sustainability issues by focusing primarily on the study of cities, the global south and Arctic areas, systems of sustainable consumption and production, and the theory and methods of sustainability science. Ten new professorships are being established in conjunction with the new institute, connecting nearly 200 researchers from six different faculties.
Northern Arizona U Initiates Collaboration to Benefit Pollinators
The Office of Sustainability manages the Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative, an initiative that promotes the creation, protection and registration of pollinator habitat across Northern Arizona. Two pollinator gardens have been installed–one on campus and one in the community. The program recently secured a grant that will pay wages to the part-time director and for the creation of a regional pollinator plan.
AASHE Publishes 2017 Annual Report
AASHE’s recently released annual report details accomplishments and progress throughout 2017, spotlighting STARS, educational and professional development opportunities, the AASHE Sustainability Awards, the 2017 conference and expo, resources, a membership profile and information about two news initiatives launched last year – a mentorship program and the AASHE Affiliates program.
North Carolina State U Launches Composting Program in Campus Apartments
Residents of a campus apartment complex now have access to kitchen composting courtesy of a compost collection program started by a student. So far, about 60 apartments are participating in the program, which requires residents to empty their containers in an outdoor composting dumpster. The material is then transported to a nearby composting facility for processing.
California State U Northridge Rolls Out Bike Rental Program
In mid-January, LimeBike delivered 400 bicycles to the campus that are now part of a rental program to provide an alternative mode of transportation to the campus community. There is no membership fee required, however the rental fee is 50 cents per half hour with no time limit. Solar-powered GPS units will allow the university to determine where bike lanes are most needed.
U Maryland Secures $18.3M for Energy Conservation Projects
The Maryland Clean Energy Center has allocated $18.3 million to the university for the development of an energy-efficiency project across eight buildings. The project includes LED lighting upgrades, water conservation measures and lab ventilation controls upgrades. The project will reduce campus-wide energy consumption by approximately six percent.
Northern Arizona U Pilots Reusable Containers
In an effort to reduce waste and recycling, the university implemented a program in January 2018 to gauge student interest in using reusable containers. Students pay a one-time fee of $5 for a container that can be used at several dining facilities. The NAU Green Fund spearheaded the campaign to get the container system on campus.
Duke U Partners With Delta Airlines on Carbon Offset Initiative
The university and Delta Airlines covered the cost of 1,000 trees that will be planted in Duke's hometown of Durham, North Carolina. The purchase, facilitated by Urban Offsets, simultaneously offsets carbon from all university business travel on Delta in 2017. The 1,000 trees are equal to 5,000 carbon credits and will be planted during the 2017-18 planting season in neighborhoods found to have insufficient tree cover, according to a 2016 survey by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
U Rhode Island Building Earns LEED Gold
The university’s newly certified Chemical and Forensic Sciences Center contains exhaust hoods and snorkels with sensors that activate them when teaching and learning laboratories are in use and power them down when they are idle, occupancy sensors for interior lighting, LED technology for exterior lights, and a rain garden.
Moraine Valley CC Achieves Arboretum Accreditation
The community college was recently acknowledged with Arboretum Accreditation-Level I status through the ArbNet program. The accreditation acknowledges the school's effort to have a healthy and robust tree canopy, while providing educational opportunities about the trees. Thus far, 1,322 trees in 77 distinct species have been mapped while efforts are still underway to identify and map more area.
Bemidji State U Unveils Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The new Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a student-driven initiative that promotes and reinforces fundamental values of civic engagement and leadership, and international and multicultural understanding in a space safe for all students, faculty and staff. Dr. Brian V. Xiong has been hired as the center’s coordinator.
University Deans Refuse Funding From Tobacco-Tied Anti-Smoking Group
Seventeen American and Canadian public health schools have signed a pledge saying they won't work with or accept money from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an anti-smoking group funded by Philip Morris International. Philip Morris International plans to contribute close to $1 billion to fund the organization, whose mission is to reduce illness and death from smoking. The statement claims both the tobacco industry and Philip Morris International have a long history of funding research in ways meant to purposely confuse the public and advance their own interests.
Queen’s U Belfast Opens Research Center for Renewable Energy
(U.K.) Working with a number of partners across Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland, the $12 million (9.7 million euros) research center for renewable energy projects will recruit 34 doctorate students across the marine and bio-energy disciplines to research the use of tidal and wave power generation.
Bucknell U Names New Director of Sustainability Center
The Bucknell Center for Sustainability and the Environment's new director is Peter Mark Jansson, a Bucknell professor of electrical and computer engineering. Being active in many of the university's sustainability initiatives, Jansson is a co-founder of the Institute for Leadership in Sustainable Technology, an interdisciplinary experiential-learning summer program in which student teams act as sustainability consultants in residential and commercial settings. He is also an adviser to the Renewable Energy Scholars. His research and teaching interests include solar energy engineering, smart electric grids, sustainable transportation, and problems related to energy and the environment.
U Wisconsin–Madison Increases Pay for Staff & Faculty by 4%
The university has announced that the 2017–2019 pay plan will be distributed to faculty and staff in phases, with the first two percent increase taking effect in July 2018 and the second two percent in January of 2019. Other recent compensation changes designed to benefit some of the university's lowest-paid workers included an increase in the living wage standard to $13.01 per hour beginning Dec. 24, 2017, and an increase in the differential pay for employees working night and weekend shifts.
Tsinghua U Earns LEED Gold on Schwarzman College
(China) The 200,000-square-foot building is connected to a RESET Certified air quality monitoring system, which uses a cloud-based tool to provide metrics regarding the performance of indoor air filtration. The system makes air quality data available to all building occupants.
U Virginia Building Achieves LEED Silver for Rotunda Renovation
The renovation of the university's Rotunda building, which took from 2012 to 2016, included upgraded, energy-efficient HVAC and plumbing systems, and conversion of all lights to LEDs. The paints, adhesives and sealants all included low volatile organic compounds and 95 percent of the materials that were removed from the historic building were recycled.
SUNY Announces Partnership to Support Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency Advancements
In her State of the University address earlier this year, SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson called for purchasing 100 percent of SUNY’s electricity from zero-carbon sources and deep energy retrofits at SUNY campuses, which represent 40 percent of state-owned buildings. To support this effort, she announced a partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to support eligible SUNY campuses to develop energy master plans and provide access to on-site energy managers who can identify areas for improvement and engage in strategic planning and feasibility studies.
North Carolina State U Installs Scoreboards Powered By The Sun
In November, University Recreation installed two solar-powered scoreboards in the Method Road Field Complex, where Wolfpack club and intramural sports teams host approximately 250 games and 500 practices each year. The solar kit’s batteries store energy so that the scoreboards can be used on cloudy days, as well as evenings. A grant from the university's Sustainability Fund helped fund the scoreboards, which will save an estimated $400 annually in avoided electricity costs.
Parkland College Approves 2MW Solar Energy Farm
The board of the community college approved a contract in mid-January to build a 2 megawatt solar energy field on campus. Under terms of the agreement, Parkland expects to save $25,000 to $30,000 annually on its electricity costs and would pay none of the upfront or operating costs of the system. The solar field would provide between 10 and 15 percent of Parkland's energy use.
EAUC Releases Sustainability in Education Report
(U.K.) The Sustainability in Education report, recently released by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and others, is based on research from a sample of 500 staff members from universities, colleges and students’ unions in the U.K. Some of the key findings include one in three respondents reported sustainability as a strategic priority for the institution they work at, up seven percent from 2016, yet one percent of respondents felt their institution was doing all it could to progress environmental and social responsibility.
U Iowa Adopts 'Climate for Change' Theme for Spring Semester
The Climate for Change theme aims to get students to think about the environmental problems they may face in the future. Throughout the semester, the university will offer events on destruction of natural resources, climate change, and food and water insecurity.
Brandeis U Receives $8.4M Gift for Social Justice Initiatives
A former rehabilitation doctor who visited Brandeis just once, but felt a strong connection to its social justice values, left the university an $8.4 million gift, which will provide financial aid for four to five students in the Sustainable International Development program and support research and program development in the Center for Global Development and Sustainability.
Raritan Valley CC Announces Carbon Neutrality
The community college has offset its Scope 1 emissions by acquiring carbon offsets, mostly from wind energy and some from landfill gas. Since 2014, the college has offset all Scope 2 emissions by purchasing renewable energy certificates.
Keele U Partners on Large-Scale Smart Energy Project
(U.K.) The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator will be a single, integrated electricity, gas and heat system that includes the digitalization of 24 substations and the installation over 1,500 smart meters, 500 home controllers and a five megawatt renewable integration package. Developed in partnership with Siemens, the project will provide analysis of energy consumption to enable demand management and allow businesses to access the university's infrastructure in order to develop and test renewable and smart energy technologies.
U New South Wales to Go 100% Solar
(Australia) A 15-year power purchase agreement will enable the university to achieve its goal of carbon neutral energy use by 2020.. Starting in 2019, the university will purchase up to 140,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough solar energy to meet 100 percent of its electricity use.
Florida State U to Procure Solar Energy
The university recently entered into a partnership with the City of Tallahassee to procure approximately 20 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy per year, which is about 10 percent of the energy consumption of FSU’s main campus.
U Colorado Boulder Installs Vertical, Aeroponic Greenhouse
The new greenhouse is equipped with 140 towers, each of which contains 44 plants that are watered through a tube in the middle. The harvested greens go from the towers to a washing station a few feet away then to the salad bar at Village Center dining hall.
U California Los Angeles Reduces Travel Emissions With Fee
A new university program reduces the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from university business-related air travel by assessing a carbon mitigation fee for these flights. A $9 fee will be applied to each domestic round-trip flight and a $25 fee to each international round-trip flight. Air travel mitigation fees will be placed into a fund, which will then be made available annually to the campus to finance university projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot program will run from January 2018 through December 2020.
Pennsylvania State U University Park Building Earns LEED Silver
Improvements to the university's Steidle Building included installation of two new HVAC systems with heating and cooling based on occupancy, LED lighting with occupancy sensors and ability to self-adjust based on natural light, dual-pane windows with added insulation between interior and exterior walls, new roof and insulation, and low-flow energy-efficient fume hoods. Lobby furniture was made from recycled materials and materials were sourced from within 500 miles of campus.
Princeton U Pilots Food Waste Biodigester
Beginning in February 2018, the university will pilot an in-vessel aerobic digester that will convert a portion of campus food waste into a soil amendment for university grounds, while serving as a living laboratory for multi-disciplinary investigations into all aspects of food waste conversion.
Humber College Receives Fair Trade Designation
The Canadian Fair Trade Network designation was granted to Humber’s south Etobicoke campus in mid-January for the college’s commitment to ensuring the availability of Fair Trade products, such as coffee, tea and chocolate in vending machines, the bookstore, and campus eateries and catering. Achieving the designation is part of the college’s five-year plan to make its campuses more sustainable.
Meal Exchange Releases Food Report Card for Ontario Universities
The Campus Food Report Card released by Meal Exchange measures the success of Ontario universities in providing locally-grown, sustainable, healthy and accessible food as rated by students, foodservice staff and campus administrators at 21 campuses across the province.
Northwestern U Earns LEED Platinum for School of Management Building
The university's new Kellogg School of Management building features a geothermal system, LED lighting throughout the facility and low-flow plumbing fixtures in restrooms and kitchens. Its landscaping is designed for efficient irrigation and contains plants that require minimal watering. The building's location offers occupants various forms of public transportation, and cyclists have access to bike racks, showers and changing rooms.
Blackfeet CC & U Montana Western Partner to Increase Indigenous Educators
A new partnership between the two schools, aided by a $1 million federal Office of Indian Education grant, seeks to design and implement a program that addresses the shortage of teachers serving Indigenous children on the Blackfeet Reservation. Through this grant, the schools have recruited Blackfeet faculty to design and deliver a Blackfeet culture-infused curriculum for Blackfeet teacher candidates who teach or will teach in area schools.
Warren Wilson College & Bard College Collaborate on Five-Year Undergraduate/Graduate Program
Warren Wilson College has partnered with Bard College’s graduate programs in Sustainability to help environmental studies students graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Through the new agreement, undergraduates can opt to dual enroll at both campuses. For the first three years, students study, work and serve at Warren Wilson College and then complete their education at Bard.
U Florida Publishes Guidebook for Integrating Cultural Resources into Disaster Planning
With support from the National Park Service, the Conservation Clinic at the university's Levin College of Law recently released a guidebook to help Florida state and local governments better integrate cultural resources into hazard planning. It describes current emergency management and preservation planning frameworks, provides examples of disaster planning practices, and presents new policy and planning recommendations.
U Virginia Creates Online Solar Energy Tracker Tool
Multiple work groups at the university collaborated to develop and launch an online tool that displays real-time data on its renewable energy portfolio, which includes energy production on 1,700 panels installed in 2017. The goal of the tool is to raise awareness of the university’s investment in solar energy production and the environmental savings resulting from these initiatives, and to support learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff.
North Carolina State U Uses Compostable Cups
Through a new partnership between the University Sustainability Office and Waste Reduction and Recycling, NC State Dining started using compostable cups in early January at two major dining locations on campus. This expands an existing compostable selection at the student union that includes napkins, to-go containers and single-use bamboo plates.
Hampshire College Uses 100% Solar Electricity
The residential college now has 100 percent of its electricity sourced from 15,000 photovoltaic arrays on two fields that have a capacity of 4.7 megawatts. The college is buying the electricity at a fixed rate for about half the rate the college had been paying. The project is estimated to save the college about $400,000 a year in electricity costs for up to 20 years, for total estimated savings of $8 million.
Michigan State U Completes 11 MW Solar Carport
As of December 21, five parking lots spanning 45 acres now have fully operational photovoltaic arrays over them totaling 11 megawatts of electricity. The arrays are expected to save the university $10 million over 25 years, and provide approximately five percent of its annual electricity needs.
U Puerto Rico Partners to Deliver Clean Water
The university recently partnered with two organizations to provide continuous, clean water and power to some of those affected by the hurricanes this fall. A solar-powered system will provide long-term benefits to the local people while being used as a teaching instrument for the engineering students at the university campus.
U Illinois Chicago Hospitals Pilot Providing Shelter for Homeless
The university has concluded a 2015 pilot program that provides housing for 26 emergency room “super utilizers”. Health care costs per patient housed dropped 18 percent on average each month. The University of Illinois Hospital will expand the program to house 25 additional homeless patients. At least three other Chicago hospitals are launching or recently launched similar programs.