AASHE & ACTS Partner to Bring STARS to Australasia
A new partnership between AASHE and Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) provides a framework for a cohort of ACTS members to conduct a STARS assessment. Anticipated to begin in early 2019, the pilot initiative is for ACTS members that have dedicated a staff member to support the cohort. Qualifying ACTS members will receive a substantial discount from AASHE to use STARS.
Salem State U Arts Building Achieves LEED Gold
The Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts demonstrates a 28 percent energy cost reduction and achieves a 32 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to a baseline building. More than 75 percent of the existing building structures were reused. The entire project site was redesigned to improve building accessibility and public entry.
Salem State U to Install 387 KW Solar Electric With $193K Grant
As part of a $5 million solar grant program launched earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Salem State is receiving the first award of $193,500 for three photovoltaic systems totaling 387 kilowatts. Estimated to save the university $28,500 in annual electricity costs, the installations are projected to generate 439,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity through a 20-year third-party power purchase agreement with no upfront costs.
Salem State U Receives $100K Grant for Open Textbook Resources
To reduce the impact of textbook costs on students and make college more affordable in general, a new grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund will fund a range of professional development opportunities to engage 25 percent of faculty in Open Educational Resources (OER) use and development, achieve $500,000 in textbook cost savings, and develop a community of OER innovators among faculty.
Western Carolina U Students Develop Campus Tree App
Students from natural resources and conservation management classes, environmental science, computer information systems and graphic design, with the guidance of faculty and the assistance of an alumnus, have collaborated to produce a smartphone app called WCUTrees. The app allows users to view and identify nearly every tree on WCU’s developed campus. Users can search for them by name or by using the interactive map. The app also provides information on each species of tree.
Georgia Tech Pilots Using Wastewater to Grow Vegetables
A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant totaling $5 million over five years will enable the university to pilot a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the campus sewer system. The overall goal is to show that using the nutrients and water resources from domestic wastewater in an urban controlled environment agriculture system is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable and can easily be replicated in other cities.
Keele U Opens 'Institute for Sustainable Futures'
(U.K.) Based around six themes each mapped to the SDGs, the new institute will bring together academics, students and other stakeholders to identity sustainability challenges and work together on solutions.
Virginia Commonwealth U Plants Trees in Local Community for Carbon Offset Credits
A project to plant dozens of trees this month in Richmond's Carver area will make the neighborhood a greener and more walkable community, while offsetting the carbon footprint of the university as the trees grow. The Carver Tree Project has brought together resources from VCU, nonprofits and state agencies to plant and maintain 75 trees in the neighborhood. VCU will claim carbon offset credits for the new trees under a peer-reviewed program developed at Duke University.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Launches Green Office Program
The new Green Office SLEUTH (Student-Led Energy-Use Treasure Hunts) program is a joint project of the university's Sustainability Office and the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center. Selected students will work with campus offices to find ways to reduce energy use and adopt good recycling techniques. At the end of the program, students receive $500 and a certificate at the completion of the assignment.
Crowder College Building Earns LEED Platinum
The newly certified building houses the college's Roy Blunt Center for Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology. It features motion sensor lights, solar panels that supply about 60 percent of the building's electrical needs, and an occupancy sensor for the heating and cooling system. To increase the efficiency of the solar electric panels, a series of water pipes underneath the solar panels pulls away heat, and then the heated water is dumped into a geothermal well to use later for heating and cooling. Another aspect of the building that helped it achieve Platinum certification is that Crowder solar and wind energy students maintain all of the building's equipment as part of their classes.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Opens Free Store
The Cougar Cupboard is a new initiative that stocks food and important hygiene products free of charge for students. Patrons of the cupboard receive enough food for each family member residing in their household to eat for approximately three days.
U Queensland Diverts Cardboard From Landfill By Reusing for Horse Bedding
(Australia) Used cardboard boxes are now turned into bedding material for horses and foals at the university's VETS Equine Specialist Hospital. Using cardboard allows the university to save approximately $80,000 (100,000 Australian dollars) annually in bedding costs. The initiative was originally developed by the 2017 cohort of Agribusiness students as part of an integrated learning project to make the university’s Gatton campus more sustainable. The project is now sourcing additional cardboard waste from local supermarkets.
St. Thomas Aquinas College Earns Fair Trade Designation
The college recently announced its official designation as a Fair Trade College as part of the national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage college and university students in issues of global poverty. This student-led initiative at the college began as a small independent study and grew into a collaborative team of students, faculty and administrators that worked to meet the campus certification requirements through further incorporating Fair Trade principles into our curriculum and serving fair trade products at campus dining facilities.
Purdue U Studies Best Practices for E-Scooters on Campus
In the coming weeks, 40 scooters will be distributed across Purdue's campus to begin the initial four-week research project to study how e-scooters can best be incorporated into an urban environment. While the research results are intended to be used by civil engineering and city planners worldwide, Purdue will be using the information for future decisions about whether to allow scooters on campus and how they should be used.
U Manitoba Launches Single-Use Cup Reduction Campaign
Following a waste audit that resulted in a public disposable cup display to raise awareness for how many cups are used, the Office of Sustainability launched a Choose to Refuse Single-Use Cups campaign in an effort to reduce the nearly 1.2 million disposable coffee cups used in an academic year.
Pennsylvania State U Gets Nearly $4M Grant for Community Wellness Program
Penn State College of Medicine has received a nearly $4 million grant to promote healthy lifestyles and improve nutrition for Hispanic people living in nearby Berks and Lebanon counties. Awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s REACH project, the grant will help establish healthy nutrition standards, provide healthier food access at community venues and increase electronic benefit transfer acceptance. It will also help create a bilingual hospital-based breastfeeding program.
U Notre Dame Installs 2-Acre Green Roof
Home to the Fighting Irish Athletics Department, the building now has a 79,096-square-foot vegetative rooftop. The layout consists of 25 plant species, including 22 varieties of sedum. A rooftop irrigation system also was installed.
U Notre Dame to Close Coal Plant One Year Early
Last month, the senior director of Utilities and Maintenance said the campus power plant will cease burning coal sometime in 2019, one year ahead of the initially predicted deadline in 2020. This recent decision is a direct result of the Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, a multi-pronged plan for a more sustainable campus. The strategy, created by a standing committee of faculty, administrators, undergraduates, graduate students and campus staff, is organized into six areas of focus: energy and emissions; water; building and construction; waste; procurement, licensing and food sourcing; and education, research and community outreach.
U Wisconsin-Platteville Receives $270K for Sustainable Ag Research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded $270,000 to the university to continue collaboratively exploring best practices for sustainable agriculture. Plots of land at a local enterprise will be used to evaluate alternative cropping practices and their effect on improved production and sustainability before potentially upscaling the methods. The project intends to take a comprehensive approach to integrating the research with education and outreach components, which will help ensure its value to the local farming community.
U Texas Dallas Begins Post-Consumer Composting
In addition to pre-consumer food waste from meal preparation, now students in one dining hall will be able to scrape everything from their plates, including food waste and napkins, into composting bins before placing their plates, cups and utensils in the dish return area. The university will use an outside contractor for composting. The transition was aided by prior changes including eliminating trays, straws and plastic foam cups.
Case Western Reserve U Students Compile Business Innovation Case Studies
The university's Weatherhead School of Management recently announced a student learning initiative co-sponsored by the city called Aim2FlourishNEO. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as their lens, students research and identify a business innovation and interview a business about it. Students then publish case studies to the Aim2FlourishNEO site that are also shared at an annual forum.
Real Food Challenge Initiates 'Uprooted & Rising' Campaign
The Real Food Challenge recently launched Uprooted and Rising, a movement that seeks to end higher education’s support for "Big Food" corporations and white supremacy in the food system and to direct the energy of students' towards food sovereignty. Uprooted & Rising aims to create a culture shift through public action, digital organizing and creative storytelling that uplifts and centers the ideas and experiences of those who have been marginalized in the food system.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Earns Bee Campus USA Certification
Making the world safer for pollinators through extensive habitat improvements, awareness efforts, and engagement strategies earned the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recognition as a certified Bee Campus USA. The Bee Campus USA program is designed to amass the strengths of educational campuses across the country for the benefit of native bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, beetles and flies that 90 percent of the world's wild plant species rely on for pollination.
UCLA Wins National Athletic Sustainability Award
The University of California, Los Angeles was the winner of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USG Corporation Sustainability Award for its work on the Wasserman Football Center. The award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions across all divisions, honoring athletics directors and their universities for incorporating sustainable practices and materials into their athletics facilities. Bentley University and Georgia State University were finalists, receiving $10,000 each in USG product while UCLA received $40,000 in USG product.
McGill U Provides Staff With Resources to Incorporate Sustainability
The McGill Office of Sustainability has released two new resources that encourage staff to make sustainability a part of their everyday work life. One resource is for new employees while the other outlines many different ways to engage with sustainability practices, programs and initiatives on campus.
U Rochester, RIT & Suffolk County CC to Receive $1M Each for Clean Energy Projects
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that New York State will award nearly $1 million each to the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Suffolk County Community College as part of the Energy to Lead Competition. The competition challenges New York colleges and universities across the state to develop plans for local clean energy projects on campus and in their communities.
Maharishi U Management Receives $200K Grant to Conduct Solar Array Comparisons
In addition to providing a third of the electricity on campus, the university’s new 1.1 megawatt solar array will be compared to another solar array in Iowa. Funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the $200,000 grant will enable evaluation of return on investment, operation and maintenance issues, battery performance, and effectiveness of solar tracking. A state-level committee will evaluate the findings of this research project and consider how to widely apply the lessons learned.
San Francisco State U Receives Funding to Offer Bike-Share Memberships for Free
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority board approved a $56,000 grant to provide free bike share memberships for university students for two years. Lyft will contribute funding to continue the program beyond the two-year pilot phase. Each year, the grant will provide free bike sharing to 400 Pell Grant-eligible students, and for 150 non-Pell Grant-eligible students. About 300 single month passes will also be provided to other students.
U Virginia Launches Food Justice Initiative
Named after the former Virginia first lady, the First Lady’s Food Lab is a meeting space and kitchen in a former barn that will support food justice initiatives at the university and in the Charlottesville area. The Charlottesville City Council recently voted to support the initiative with $65,000.
U Virginia Connects 17 MW Solar Facility
The 17 megawatt UVA Hollyfield Solar facility was connected last month. The university and Darden School of Business are purchasing the entire output of electricity produced at the 160-acre solar facility for the next 25 years from Dominion Energy. The project is expected to produce 12 percent of the university’s electric demand. The Darden School is assuming responsibility for about 25 percent of the electricity production, which enables the school to achieve its long-term zero-carbon goal.
Stony Brook U Professor Earns Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award
Alex Orlov, Ph.D., associate professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a faculty member of the Consortium for Inter-Disciplinary Environmental Research and the Advanced Energy Center at Stony Brook University, will receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineering’s Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award for "outstanding contributions to sustainability education". He is being recognized for new approaches to teaching sustainability practices to undergraduate and graduate engineering students. The annual award comes with a $1,000 cash prize.
U Arizona Receives Over $1M for Graduate Program Pipeline for Minority Students
A $1.075 million grant from the National Science Foundation allows the the university to continue helping underrepresented students through the Bridge to the Doctorate Program. The program combines financial assistance with opportunities for professional development, such as coaching on scientific writing and assistance with applications for federal fellowships.
Anglia Ruskin U Pilots Behavior Change Program
(U.K.) Called ARUgreen, the new program uses gamification to encourage members to engage in a range of actions themed by key sustainability priorities: energy saving, sustainable travel, waste reduction, responsible purchasing, and health and well-being. Members are rewarded with points and compete with their colleagues to win monthly voucher prizes. The program will be piloted for six months and cover 700 employees initially of ARU’s total 18,000 employees.
U Texas Dallas Implements Post-Consumer Composting
Building on its pre-consumer food composting program, the university recently set up its dining hall so that students can scrape their plate, including napkins, into a collection bin. Aiding the reduction of food waste, the dining hall does not use trays, eliminated straws and foam cups, and works with a student chapter of Food Recovery Network to collect leftovers from campus dining locations for those struggling to avoid hunger.
U Colorado Boulder Helps B Lab Map Its Work to the SDGs
The new partnership between university's Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility and B Lab will map the 1,000 indicators of the B Impact Assessment to the targets underlying the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the more than 1,500 indicators featured in the SDG Compass.
Mississippi State U Opens Community Garden
A ribbon cutting ceremony took place in mid-October for the MSU Community Garden. The garden includes eight accessible planters and 19 large raised planters. The garden also features two autonomous farming robots, or “Farmbots,” operated by the Students for Sustainable Campus organization and two 2,000-gallon cisterns that hold rain water and condensation from a nearby air conditioning unit. Compost for use in the garden is collected from dining halls and Campus Landscape.
Marshall U Offers Bike Share Program
Called Rolling Thunder, a fleet of 30 new white bikes will allow Marshall students and staff to access bikes for free for the first two hours and $5-per-hour after the first two hours.
U Calgary Begins Sustainable Office Program
Intended for all students, faculty and staff who work in an office, the Sustainable Offices Program is a certification program offering tools and resources that help connect everyday decisions to the university's larger sustainability goals. The program launched with two badge areas: waste and meetings. Additional badges will be rolled out in 2019.
Tufts U to Offer Master’s Degree in Sustainability
Tufts has announced a new graduate program offered by the department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning that will begin in fall 2019. Students can pursue a sustainability solutions approach or a natural systems emphasis, or craft a program that includes elements of both. The thirty-six-credit program is designed for full-time completion in twelve months, although students may also pursue the program part-time.
U Nebraska Enters 5-Year Partnership to Save Energy
Recommended by a university-wide committee and approved by the Board of Regents in June, a new five-year partnership with an energy-efficiency company aims to find energy savings across the university's campuses through technology- and behavior-based strategies. Each month during the partnership, the university will pay the company 50 percent of total energy savings realized during that month that resulted from the firm’s recommendations.
Stanford U Launches Sustainable Finance Research Program
The university’s Precourt Institute for Energy is launching a new research program, supported by Bank of America, that will fund research to develop finance and policy tools for financing sustainable infrastructure. The program, called the Sustainable Finance Initiative, seeks to accomplish this by engaging public and private financial institutions, companies and governments with Stanford researchers in economics, law, business and computer science to create solutions that support the transition to a climate-resilient global economy.
U New Hampshire Opens Aquaponic Greenhouse Facility
Under construction for two years, the new aquaponics research facility at the university's Kingman Research Farm will allow scientists to evaluate hydroponic plants grown in a recirculating aquaculture system with nutrients from the food fed to fish. Using three identical greenhouses, researchers aim to develop an economically sustainable aquaculture production system design.
Princeton Review Releases Guide to 399 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review's 2018 Guide to 399 Green Colleges 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 Top 50 Green Colleges list. In related news, STARS ratings have now been added to campus profiles on Princeton Review website. The rating is displayed in the Sustainability section of the Campus Life tab.
Monash U to Deploy Microgrid With Storage
(Australia) Building upon the university’s $135 million commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030, the university is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to build a microgrid that will control a minimum of 1 megawatts of solar panels, 20 buildings, electric vehicle charging stations and 1 megawatt-hour of energy storage. The goal is to demonstrate how a 100 percent renewable electricity system can operate reliably and the value it can provide to consumers and the broader energy network.
Chartwells Higher Education Announces Its Commitment to Sourcing Fair Trade Products
Chartwells Higher Education, in conjunction with Fair Trade Campaigns, recently announced its commitment to sourcing Fair Trade products at all 280 Chartwells locations across the U.S. As part of this commitment, Chartwells Higher Education began offering Fair Trade Certified food and beverage items such as coffee and tea, chocolate, energy bars, sugar and bananas in each of its dining operations this fall.
Trinity College Formalizes Composting Program
Expanding the former, student-led program, the college will begin working with an outside contractor in November to collect food scraps eight times per month. Implementation of this expanded program puts the college's dining hall closer toward its goal of getting Green Restaurant certified.