21 North Carolina Campuses Awarded State Energy Efficiency Grants

15 University of North Carolina campuses and six community colleges were recently awarded the state's first Energy Efficiency Reserve Fund grants to implement power-saving projects. The governor made the announcement at the 5th Annual North Carolina Sustainable Energy Conference. The grants are administered by the State Energy Office.

Central Piedmont CC Establishes Center for Sustainability

Central Piedmont Community College (NC) has established a Center for Sustainability to respond to the need for sustainability training. The Center will offer courses, workshops, and seminars, and plans to collaborate with various agencies to accomplish its goals. The Center for Sustainability aims to increase community awareness of the importance of living and working in an ecologically responsible manner, to conduct continuing education training and seminars for the general public which focus on teaching people how to live in an environmentally friendly manner, and to increase the presence and perspective of environmental sustainability into CPCC curriculum programs.

Duquesne University Purchases RECs

Duquesne University (PA) recently purchased 8,020,000 kW of Renewable Energy Credits. This purchase is equivalent to 100 percent of the University's purchased electricity.

Green Mountain College Course Wins VT Env. Excellence Award

The Green Mountain College (VT) Course, "Food, Agriculture, and Community Development in the Northeast," has received the Vermont Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention. The course explored how food choices affect the community. The class visited roughly one dozen area farms and hosted several national food and agricultural experts as guest speakers. As a final project, the class created sustainable purchasing guidelines for an on-campus dining hall.

Johns Hopkins Invests in Faculty Diversity

Johns Hopkins University (MD) will provide at least $5 million over the next five years in matching funds for departments seeking to improve faculty diversity, which will include hiring and retaining outstanding women and underrepresented minority scholars. The Mosaic Initiative, as the pilot program will be called, will be funded initially at a minimum of $1 million per year, to be increased as the project generates external support.

Lock Haven U of PA Clearfield Breaks Ground on Green Building

The Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Clearfield campus recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new academic building. Plans for the building features design elements that permit high standards of energy efficiency and the use of local building materials. The University plans to use 50 to 75 percent recycled building materials and incorporate other components that are environmentally friendly. The University hopes to receive LEED Silver certification for the new building.

MIT Buildings To Undergo Energy Conservation Improvements

Several Massachusetts Institute of Technology buildings will undergo a variety of basic energy conservation improvements in the next few months. Pilot projects include retrofitting light bulbs and fixtures, adding and adjusting motion sensors, monitoring buildings to gauge energy use, and automating fume hood controls. The projects have been made possible by $500,000 in seed funding from the Executive Vice President, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Facilities. Additionally, students in a recent Sloan School of Management course partnered with the Department of Facilities to identify an additional $14 million of potential investments with a three-year return. These include a major revamping of the heating system in one building to include heat recovery; continuous building commissioning that assesses and optimizes building energy systems in real time; and strategic maintenance to improve energy efficiency in existing ventilation systems.

MIT Establishes Center to Reduce Cost of Solar Energy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently announced its partnership with Fraunhofer, a German research organization, to establish a research center in Massachusetts focused on significantly reducing the cost of solar energy over the next five years. The MIT-Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems aims to develop progressive technologies and materials for designing and producing better solar modules. Located adjacent to the MIT campus, the center will be active in other areas of sustainable energy research as well, including developing new technologies to substantially reduce the energy consumption of new and retrofitted structures.

MIT Science Building Awarded LEED Silver

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex recently received LEED Silver certification. The building features gray-water recycling for toilets, heat recovery on the exhaust air stream, and interior finishes that impose a minimal impact on indoor air quality.

NWF 'Chill Out' Contest Winners Announced

The National Wildlife Federation has announced the winners of its 2008 Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming national competition. The program honors U.S. schools that are show leadership in addressing global warming and do so in a creative manner. Butte College (CA) was named the Grand Prize winner for employing energy efficiency measures in all campus facilities. Butte also runs the largest community college transportation system in California, recycles more than 75 percent of its operations waste stream, and has a solar array that generates for 28% of the campus' electricity use. Other campus winners include the University of Missouri in the Energy Efficiency category, University of Montana, Missoula in the Transportation category, and Cascadia Community College (WA) and University of Washington in the "Habitat Restoration, Waste Reduction, Educational Awareness and More" category. Berea College (KY) and Daemen College (NY) were the YouTube Video Winners.

Portland State U Greenhouses Awarded LEED Silver

The Portland State University (OR) Biology Research Greenhouses have received LEED Silver certification. Sustainability features include: on-site treatment of all runoff from the roof before it enters the city's stormwater system; flow-through planters populated with native plants that are watered with rainwater; a driveway that is made of permeable pavers; and a covered patio that is enclosed by bamboo fencing. Inside the greenhouses, the lumber used for cabinets and counters is Forest Stewardship Council certified. The certification is for Phase 1 of a two-phase project of ten modular interconnected greenhouses.

Princeton U Installs Water-saving Toilets in Dorms

Princeton University (NJ) recently installed water-saving toilets in two residence halls on campus. The new dual-flush toilets allow users to push the flush handle one way to use less water for liquid waste and another way to release more water for solid waste. Facilities Management installed water-saving shower heads as well.

Purdue U Launches Student Aid Campaign

Purdue University (IN) recently announced that it is starting a $304 million fundraising campaign for student scholarships. The programs being funded include Purdue Promise, which will provide scholarships to students whose families make less than $40,000 per year; the Purdue Marquis Scholarship Program, which will provide for students whose families make $40,000 to $70,000 per year and qualify for little or no state and federal aid; Presidential and Trustee Scholarships, which will be awarded to the highest-achieving students in an effort to recruit and retain them at Purdue, and more. All programs are expected to start in fall 2009.

RecycleMania Winners Announced

RecycleMania wrapped up its 2008 competition with 58.6 million pounds of recyclables and organics recovered from 400 colleges and universities across the U.S. For the 2008 competition, schools were divided into two divisions, those participating across their entire campus (Whole Campus Division) and those competing with only a subsection (Partial Campus Division). Within each division, schools chose to participate in any of eight categories. Schools that participate in both the Per Capita Classic, which recognizes the institution with the largest amount of recyclables per person, and the Waste Minimization competition, which recognizes the institution with the lowest amount of waste per person, can earn the title of RecycleMania Grand Champion. This year, Kalamazoo College (MI) achieved a recycling rate of 58.93 percent and was crowned the RecycleMania Grand Champion in the Whole Campus Division for excelling in source reduction, waste prevention and recycling. In the Partial Campus Division, California State University, San Marcos claimed the Grand Champion first place for the fourth year in a row, recycling 75.69% of its waste stream. North Lake College (TX), Northwest State Community College (OH), Stanford University (CA), Rutgers University (NJ), Stephens College (MO), Oregon State University, Mills College (CA), Rhode Island School of Design, and United States Coast Guard Academy (CT) were also awarded first place in specific categories.

U British Columbia Students Market Energy Conservation

A University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business team of students recently won a competition to create a marketing plan using new technologies and other innovative practices to help universities and colleges reduce energy consumption. The group of students surveyed nearly 100 students and found that 70 percent of students are unaware that leaving an appliance such as an unused cell phone charger plugged into the wall consumes energy, and 60 percent of students were unaware of the benefits of energy-efficient compact florescent light bulbs. The team's marketing plan included developing an application that posts daily conservation tips on Facebook and on UBC’s Web Course Tools website, where students download assignments and other class content. They also recommended selling CFLs and other energy-efficient household items in booths in UBC’s Student Union Building, and hosting an energy conservation competition in the residence halls.

U Delaware Offers Renewable Energy Undergraduate Internships

The University of Delaware Department of Chemical Engineering and the Center for Catalytic Science and Technology will administer a three-year, $300,000 National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates grant, which will enable 10 exemplary students per year in chemical engineering to work with UD researchers on such projects as designing new fuel cells and engineering novel nanomaterial coatings to reduce the drag on ships in water. Under the mentorship of faculty advisers, students selected for the program will not only conduct research, but also learn how to present their findings in scientific seminars and poster sessions.

U Miami Switches to Local Produce & Antibiotic-Free Pork

University of Miami's (FL) on-campus dining halls recently began purchasing locally-grown tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, oranges and antibiotic-free pork. The University has also switched to cage-free whole eggs, and is currently exploring its options to start composting within the next year. The changes are part of Green U, a program designed to minimize the university's environmental impact.

U Michigan Launches Carpool Program

The University of Michigan recently launched GreenRide, a Web-based, geographic information system ride-matching application. GreenRide helps a potential carpooler or vanpooler find ride-sharing partners by searching for other UM staff who live close by or on the commute route and who have similar work schedules. Participants will get a map of the general area showing potential ride matches near them and along their commute route, and it calculates potential fuel savings for the carpool or vanpool. Additionally, effective July 1, the University's Carpool Program will allow fellow carpoolers to split the cost of one parking permit using payroll deduction. For a fee, carpoolers will be able to request a reserved parking space. New University carpoolers will get a 10-percent reduction in the shared parking permit fee for the first six months of the program and they will be entered in weekly drawings for $25 gas card prizes.

U Minnesota Video on Campus Composting Efforts

The University of Minnesota Dining Services Green Team has posted a video on their recent effort to teach students how to compost in the dining halls on campus. The initiative produced more than 80 tons of compost during the fall semester. The video also explains how the composted material from the dining halls is mixed with animal waste in a manure facility, and is then returned to the UM fields as fertilizer. The video also tells about a recent initiative to hand out compact florescent light bulbs on campus.

U New Hampshire Launches Sustainability Blog

The University of New Hampshire Office of Sustainability recently launched a new blog, entitled "Discover(ing) Sustainability." The goal of the blog is to share UNH's commitment to being a sustainable learning community while helping readers discover how sustainability connects us all. Currently authored by several University Office of Sustainability and communications staff at UNH, Discover(ing) Sustainability will seek voices from around the university, including students, researchers, and administrator

U Southern Mississippi Announces Plan to Go Green

The University of Southern Mississippi recently announced a plan to reduce the impact on the environment through updating building designs on campus and completing an assessment to improve operations with the campus Physical Plant. USM also recently held its first Sustainability Committee meeting, in which 23 members were in attendance. The University also plans to create an Office of Sustainability on campus in the future.

AASHE Releases Draft of Campus Sustainability Rating System

AASHE has released the next draft of its rating system for sustainability in higher education called STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System). The release of STARS version 0.5 opens a public comment period that will last until May 9, 2008. STARS is designed to: help gauge the progress of colleges and universities toward sustainability in all sectors, from governance and operations to academics and community engagement; enable meaningful comparisons across institutions as well as benchmarking within institutions; create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability; facilitate information sharing about sustainability practices and performance in higher education; and build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community. Over 90 colleges and universities are pilot testing STARS. They will provide feedback to AASHE throughout 2008 and inform the development of STARS version 1.0, planned for release in spring 2009.

Arizona State U Offers 'Edible Campus' Internships

Arizona State University recently began offering a plant biology internship, "The Edible Campus," which charges interns with harvesting ASU's fruit and nut trees, maintaining their individual organic garden plots, and marketing the harvested products. The internship program, which meets regularly as a class, aims to connect students to their campus landscape and help students understand the reasoning behind composting and eating locally.

Borough of Manhattan CC Increases Energy Efficiency

The Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York and the Green Buildings Collaborative of state agencies recently announced a joint effort to help increase green and energy efficiency measures at a BMCC’s building in Lower Manhattan. The effort includes a feasibility assessment for potential green and energy efficiency upgrades to the 450,000-square foot, eight-story building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as its facade. It also provides assistance in exploring potential alternative energy generation such as solar panel arrays and wind turbines.

Cornell U Hires Sustainability Professor

Cornell University (NY) recently hired Jefferson Tester Ph.D. as the first Croll Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems in the College of Engineering. Tester is expected to play a leadership role in the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, which is bringing together experts in education and research from across campus to work toward common sustainability goals.

Eckerd College Switches to Reusable To-Go Containers

Eckerd College (FL) recently switched to using the EcoClamshell, a reusable to-go cafeteria container made out of a dishwasher-safe plastic material. Students can sign up for an EcoClamshell in the cafeteria during any meal. The student's account is charged five dollars, covering the student's four years at Eckerd, unless the container is lost or destroyed. The student checks out an EcoClamshell, fills it with food and exits the cafeteria. Upon returning to the cafeteria, the student checks the container back in and places it on the dishwasher conveyor, where it is sanitized and put out for reuse. The initiative is the result of a $32,000 grant from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation.

Georgia Tech Receives National Recycling Award

The Georgia Institute of Technology recently received the 2008 American Forest and Paper Association College and University Recycling Award. AF&PA chose to recognize Georgia Tech for their innovative and creative recycling program. Since the recycling program began at Georgia Tech in 1996, recycling has been successfully integrated into virtually all components of campus life. Last year, the school recovered more than 376 tons of paper products for recycling. AF&PA’s awards program recognizes outstanding school, business, and community recycling efforts.

Presidio School Partners to Advance Sustainability in the Curriculum

The Presidio School of Management (CA) recently formed a partnership with ClimateCHECK, a firm that provides greenhouse gas management services and solutions. The partnership, which integrates environmental, social, and financial sustainability in all Presidio courses, will enable ClimateCHECK to better train the next generation of environmental and business leaders on issues surrounding climate change and the management of greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the agreement, ClimateCHECK will provide learning opportunities to students through internships and Presidio’s project oriented learning program, which will offer students the chance to work with the company on climate change-related projects as part of their coursework.

Suffolk U Wins City of Boston Green Business Award

Suffolk University (MA) was recently selected as the recipient of the City of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino Green Business Award. The award recognizes businesses located in the city of Boston that demonstrate extraordinary environmental practices in the areas of water conservation, wastewater management, solid waste reduction, alternative transit, energy conservation, on-site renewable energy production, and the purchase of renewable energy credits. Suffolk was named the winner of the category for Academic, Cultural, and Healthcare Institutions.

U California Merced Building Receives LEED Gold

The University of California, Merced Classroom and Office Building has received LEED Gold certification. The building, which is one of the primary classroom buildings, is the third on campus to receive LEED Gold certification.

U Connecticut 5K Race Benefits Campus Green Fund

The University of Connecticut recently held the third annual EcoHusky5000, a 5 kilometer race that benefits UConn's Green Campus Fund. Students and the public paid $5 and $15 respectively to enter the race, and Willimantic Waste Paper Co. promised to make a matching donation of up to $2,000. The event also served to collect old sneakers to donate to EcoHusky's sneaker recycling project. All participants received free water bottles made out of recycled materials.

UC San Diego To Install 7.4 MW of Renewable Energy

The University of California, San Diego recently announced plans to build a 1 MW photovoltaic array on campus, to purchase up to 3 MW of electric power produced by Southern California wind farms, and to produce 2.4 MW from fuel cells powered by methane captured from a sewage treatment plant. The University also hopes to install an additional 1 MW photovoltaic array within the next year. The arrays will be built atop campus buildings and parking structures. Once complete, the 7.4 MW of renewable energy are expected to meet 10 - 15 percent of the campus's annual electrical needs. The projects are part of UCSD's effort to become the "Greenest University in the Nation.","1

U.S. Colleges Receive Energy Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor recently awarded President’s Community-Based Job Training Grants to Morrisville State College (NY), Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, Western Iowa Tech Community College, Rend Lake College (IL), Central Piedmont Community College (NC), Columbia Gorge Community College (OR), and Navarro College (TX) for projects such as creating a renewable energy training center and other programs that are intended to serve as a workforce and economic development catalysts in each region. The grant initiative is designed to improve the ability of colleges to provide their regions’ workers with the skills needed to enter growing industries in their hometowns.

UT Arlington Volunteers Install Campus Green Roof

The University of Texas at Arlington recently installed a 1000 square feet experimental green roof with the help of volunteers. The project included the installation of the roofing systems, irrigation, plants and about 30,000 pounds of soil.

U Wisconsin Superior Breaks Ground for Green Student Center

The University of Wisconsin Superior recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new student center building which will feature energy efficient design, a green roof, and rainwater collection. The University hopes that the building will achieve LEED certification. The building will house student dining services, the campus bookstore, offices for student organizations and university staff, an art gallery, meeting areas and lounges. It is expected to be complete by August 2009.

3 University Leaders Testify in Senate to Limit GHG Emissions

University of California at Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, University of Minnesota at Morris Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson, and Yale University (CT) President Richard C. Levin recently testified at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing, "Examining Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions at U.S. Colleges and Universities." Each university leader discussed the important role of colleges and universities in battling climate change and the necessity for the federal gove

AASHE Staff Blog about the Smart & Sustainable Campuses Conf.

The 2008 Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference was held last week at the University of Maryland. AASHE staff members were on hand to blog about the majority of the sessions. Topics include campus sustainability rating systems, why your campus needs an office of sustainability, channeling student power, vision planning for campus sustainability and more. The Chronicle of Higher Ed and the National Wildlife Federation also blogged about the conference.

Arizona State U Implements Green Purchasing Policy

Arizona State University recently implemented a green purchasing policy which states that all companies that want to do business with ASU must pass a stringent test of their environmental practices. Vendors who wish to sell products to ASU first must fill out an 11-point “Green Profile Questionnaire,” which includes such questions as, “What policies are in place to monitor and manage your supply chain regarding environmental issues?”, “Does your company have a Green Transportation Plan?” and “Has your company ever been cited for non-compliance of an environmental or safety issue?” The policy also requires that all bidders, proposers and contracts use recycled paper and double-sided copying for all documents they create in doing business with ASU. Additionally, all packaging materials have to meet at least one, but preferably all, of the following criteria: made from recycled materials, be recyclable or reusable, be non-toxic or biodegradable. ASU also has committed to buying only wood materials that have Forest Stewardship Council certification, or are previously used products (or bamboo products such as bamboo mop handles); to re-use every scrap of stone and brick possible; and to buy carpet only from distributors who have an ASU-approved carpet recycling plan.

Bowdoin College to Purchase Local Renewable Energy Credits

Bowdoin College (ME) recently announced that UPC Wind will provide the College with renewable energy certificates from its Mars Hill wind project in northern Maine. Bowdoin is currently offsetting approximately 70 percent of its campus electricity use with voluntary renewable energy certificates produced in Maine. These voluntary REC purchases complement the green power already provided pursuant to Maine's Renewable Portfolio Standard law. So far in 2008, 31 percent of Bowdoin's electricity comes from qualifying renewable sources, bringing Bowdoin's total to 100 percent green electricity. Bowdoin is focusing on switching to lower carbon fuels and increased energy efficiency, but plans to purchase RECs in the mean time.

Burlington College Joins Energy Efficiency Project

Burlington College (VT) recently joined an energy-efficiency project composed of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges. The goals of the Burlington College part of the project are to retrofit existing older buildings on campus to significantly improve energy efficiency, and to carry out a site analysis and design of a new LEED-certified building. The college also plans to replace its four boilers with two Energy Star-rated boilers, three 50-gallon hot water tanks with a 200-gallon gas hot water tank, 104 fluorescent light fixtures with more energy-efficient models, and 70 of the 102 windows on campus buildings. The school said it will also carry out an architectural study on constructing a LEED-certified, climate-specific and site-specific building using energy-efficient construction materials. The study will explore incorporating passive solar and wind energy, as well as natural day-lighting.

Campuses Participate in Fossil Fools Day

Campuses from the U.S. and Canada participated in Fossil Fools Day events on April 1. Fossil Fools Day, organized by the Energy Action Coalition, brings together thousands of young people from around the world for a global day of action demonstrating the youth commitment to stop climate change. The University of Kentucky, Wilfrid Laurier University (ON), Clark University (MA), and others participated in the day of action through events such as raising a mock wind turbine on top of a pile of coal, blockading a Shell Gas Station, and hosting a wind turbine versus coal plant boxing match.

Colorado State U Hires VP for Energy & the Environment

Colorado State University Research Foundation has hired Ron Sega as the Vice President for Energy, Environment, and Applied Research. Sega will also serve as CSU President Larry Edward Penley's special advisor on energy and the environment and the chairman of the advisory committee on Sustainability and the Environment.

CSU President Calls for Increased Sustainability Research

Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley recently published an article in Inside Higher Ed that discusses the leadership role higher education institutions need to take in advancing sustainability research and solutions. He argues that research universities have an obligation and an opportunity to use their resources to educate green collar workers and create ground-breaking climate change solutions. Penley believes that universities should focus less on installing greener goods and creating climate change awareness, and focus more on preparing students for the up and coming green economy, advancing green research, and inputting new technologies into the free market. Once this research enters the marketplace, he says, it can create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve health and living conditions worldwide, and stimulate the economy.

Johns Hopkins U Approves Funding for Green Initiatives

Johns Hopkins University (MD) recently approved the Sustainable Hopkins Infrastructure Program, a program created to provide a way for students, faculty, and staff to secure funding for green projects on campus. JHU plans to form a committee of campus members that will review project proposals based on compliance to certain criteria, which have yet to be finalized. Once a project is approved, it will be handed off to the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration where funds will be allocated. SHIP is not a revolving loan fund, and the money does not come from a predetermined fund; instead, money will be taken from excess funds, which will be determined on a case by case basis.

Loyalist College Starts Recycling Program

Loyalist College (ON) recently launched a recycling program. As an incentive, on the opening day of the program, environmentally-friendly prizes were given to students who recycled or chose to do something green for the day.

Oberlin College Announces New Financial Aid Initiative

Oberlin College (OH) recently announced the Oberlin Access Initiative, which promises to eliminate the annual loan requirements for those members of the incoming class of 2012 who are eligible to receive federally funded Pell Grants. In addition, the new policy will extend to all current, Pell-eligible students returning to Oberlin next fall.

Ohio State U Adopts New Recycled Paper Policy

Ohio State University recently adopted a new policy that increases the use of recycled content paper on campus. The new policy aims to ensure that copy paper used on campus contains at least 30 percent recycled materials. Officials say that the new initiative will help the university protect more than 8,000 trees and save enough energy to power 62 homes.

San Diego State U Students Vote for Green Fee

San Diego State University (CA) Students recently voted to increase the current mandatory Student Body Association Fee to fund, among other initiatives, new green program and facility upgrades. 64.6 percent of students voted for a $20 increase per semester. 8.66 percent of the total student body voted.

U British Columbia Building Received LEED Gold

The National Research Council Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation, located on the campus of the University of British Columbia, has been awarded LEED Gold certification. The building features a ground source heat pump to provide natural-source heating and cooling, a 5KW solid oxide fuel cell system powered by natural gas and a photovoltaic array to capture energy from sunlight. UBC officials anticipate a 34 percent energy usage savings, which amounts to an annual reduction of 184 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The centre also promotes alternative transportation options through easy access to public transportation, bicycle storage stalls, and shower facilities. There is also a hydrogen refueling station and parking spaces for car or van-pools.

U Buffalo Dining Begins Local Food Program

University at Buffalo (NY) Campus Dining and Shops recently began the new Local Food Program, which aims to bring more locally produced food products on campus. The new program will offer local produce, syrups, sauces, cheese, honey, meats, pasta and baked goods, and is a result of a partnership with Pride of New York.