Dartmouth College Introduces Paper Straws
Dartmouth Dining Services has transitioned from the use of standard plastic straws to red-and-white-striped biodegradable paper straws in an effort attain a higher certification level in the Green Restaurant Association program.
U Washington Postdoctoral Researchers Form Union
Postdoctoral researchers recently voted to form a union affiliated with United Auto Workers. More than 700 of the campus’ 1,100 postdocs participated in the election, with 89 percent of unchallenged ballots being cast in favor of unionization.
Chatham U Receives 2018 Best of Green Schools Award
Chatham University's Eden Hall earned the award in the Higher Education Institution category from the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network. The hall was cited for its self-sustaining aspects, which include protecting the watersheds, incorporating surrounding land and agricultural resources, and rehabilitating existing farmland.
Three Universities Win International Green Gown Awards
University of Tasmania (Australia) won in the Community category; Canterbury Christ Church University (U.K.) won in the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change category: and Chiba University (Japan) won the Student Engagement category. The awards recognize exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.
U California San Diego Receives 2018 Grid Edge Innovation Award
The university was recognized for providing a platform for companies to test new electric vehicle charging technologies with real customers. The university partners with 18 commercial EV charging companies to test a variety of technical configurations and models with the university's population of more than 400 EV commuters.
California State U Maritime Wins Collegiate Wind Competition
Claiming top honors in the U.S. Department of Energy's third biennial Collegiate Wind Competition, the CSU Maritime Academy beat out 11 other teams. The competition includes developing and delivering a business plan, siting a wind plant, and building and testing a wind turbine. The Pennsylvania State University came in second place and Kansas State University came in third.
Binghamton U Students Design & Build Solar Charging Station
Students from the university's Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments unveiled a solar-powered charging station in May. Designed as part of their senior capstone design project, the system consists of a single solar panel attached a 10-foot-tall pole. The panel rotates, allowing it to track the sun from morning until night, increasing the power generated.
Northwestern U & U Tennessee to Receive $3M for Bio-Energy Research
The U.S. Department of Energy has selected projects from the University of Tennessee and Northwestern University that will receive between $1 million to 2 million each. The research aims to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of biomass and increase the availability of competitively-priced renewable fuels and bio-based products, while increasing and diversifying the U.S.'s domestic energy sources. The funding is provided through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a joint program from the Energy Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Bentley U Arena Earns LEED Platinum
The recently opened, 76,000-square-foot arena features a 504 kilowatt solar array that will generate 40 percent of the building's annual electricity needs, natural light that decreases the amount of electricity needed to light the building’s interior, high-efficiency LED lighting with smart, motion-detecting controls, and waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and showers. Additionally, at least 50 percent of wood used in the building is sourced from forests with certified sustainable forestry practices, about 10 percent of construction and finish materials were locally sourced, and about 20 percent of construction and finish materials contain recycled content.
Lynn U Becomes Fair Trade Certified
The university recently announced its official designation as a Fair Trade University, having completed the requirements in less than three months. Lynn met five essential requirements, which included making Fair Trade products available on campus and passing a Fair Trade resolution.
Second Nature Unveils 'Marks of Distinction' Program
Marks of Distinction is a new initiative for the Climate Leadership Network that recognizes a select group of higher education institutions that set high-performance goals and that demonstrate and report progress towards those goals. More than 175 institutions in 39 states have received Marks of Distinction in 15 categories.
Penn State Behrend Partners for Biofuel Research Opportunities
A $1 million investment by Hero Bx, an Erie-based biodiesel company, will create research opportunities for students and faculty members in the School of Science. Students will work in a new, 1,500-square-foot chemistry lab with Hero Bx chemists and other researchers to reduce the sulfur in biodiesel feedstocks, which are processed for reuse as transportation fuels and heating oil. Subsequent studies will focus on increasing the efficiency of biodiesel in cold-temperature applications, including commercial aviation.
Maharishi U to Install 1.1 MW Photovoltaic Array With Storage
Construction is set to begin in June on a 1.1 megawatt solar array on university-owned land that will provide approximately one-third of the electricity used on campus. The five-acre field of solar panels will track the sun throughout the day. Excess energy will be stored in a battery bank for use during the night and during times of peak energy needs.
U Richmond to Enlist Goats for Invasive Species Removal
Part of a four-part eco-corridor project, the goats will be used for 12 weeks to help remove invasive species. The full project includes the removal of invasive species, stormwater management, stream restoration and the construction of a multi-use recreational trail.
Rice U Collaborates to Restore Native Habitat
The university's Arboretum Committee, an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology class, and several community partners collaborated to plant an urban prairie on campus that will help retain flood water, sequester carbon and sustain a variety of native species.
Northern Arizona U Collaborates With Flagstaff on Bike-Share Program
In conjunction with the City of Flagstaff, the university launched a new bicycle share program through Spin as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The city is testing the bike-share program fee-free for six months, which allows people to use one of 300 dockless bikes for 50 cents per hour.
American College Greece Launches Sustainable Events Guidelines
(Greece) The college's Center of Excellence for Sustainability recently launched the Sustainable Events Guidelines in an effort to help reduce the environmental and financial costs of events. The guidelines include key performance indicators that focus on policy, catering, energy, and materials and waste.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Announces Inaugural Campus as Lab Seed Funding
Launched in February 2018, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment's (iSEE) Campus as a Living Lab program is designed to link campus sustainability targets to national and global sustainability, energy and environment challenges. Inaugural funding is going to two research projects: a study to examine redirecting waste heat from industrial processes using a thermochemical battery, and testing a no-waste system for turning food scraps into biofuel while also treating wastewater and creating natural fertilizers. Funding covers startup costs for the researchers to prepare larger proposals for substantial external funding.
St. John's U Students Introduce Bike-Share Program
Two students introduced Johnnie Bennie Bikes to campus, which provides 12 bikes available for use between St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict. The bikes are available for six-hour stretches, 24/7. The university's Outdoor Leadership Center is in charge of the bikes.
DePauw U to Invest $12M in Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
In an effort to reduce the university’s carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency, the university will spend $12 million on new HVAC technology, upgraded heat and water delivery systems, LED lighting throughout campus, and solar panels. The changes, as indicated by the Campus Energy Master Plan, are estimated to save $750,000 annually in energy expenditures and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent.
Wesleyan U Offers Bike Sharing Service
In mid-April, the university placed 100 orange bikes on campus through a company called Spin, a bike sharing program that allows students to use the bikes for a small fee. The system works with an app that allows registered users to scan a QR code on any bike, which unlocks the bike for use. In the first seven days, nearly 1,000 individuals used the bikes for 2,082 total trips.
Southern Oregon U Implements Meatless Monday
In celebration of Earth Day, the university recently implemented quarterly Meatless Mondays in its main dining hall with hopes to expand the program on a monthly or weekly basis pending student feedback. The meatless proposal was headed by the Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS,) who helped with advertising the event and demonstrating the pros and cons of meat consumption.
U Nottingham Divests From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Any investments in coal and tars sands will be removed immediately and the university will completely divest its financial portfolio from fossil fuels within the next 12 months. Currently around 6 percent of the university’s $67.6 million (50 million British pounds) endowment fund is invested in the oil and gas sector.
EPA Announces Green Power Challenge Results
At the end of April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded the Green Power Challenge and recognized the Champion Green Power Conference, as well as the largest single green power users within each participating conference. At more than 496 million kilowatt-hours, the Big Ten Conference topped the list with the largest total amount of green power used among all conferences. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, belonging to the Southeastern Conference, was the single largest user of green power at 250 million kilowatt-hours.
U Maryland Students Develop Educational Recycling App
In an effort to reduce contamination in recycling and compost bins, three university students created an app, Recyclify, that teaches users how to properly separate their waste. The app provides users with a full list of recyclable and compostable items from each restaurant at the food court. It tracks students' recycling behavior and awards points that are redeemable for discounts at certain restaurants.
EPA Announces Campus RainWorks Challenge Winners
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received first place in the Demonstration Project Category for integrating a variety of green infrastructure practices into a campus parking lot, while the University of New Mexico received second place. The University of California, Berkeley earned first place in the Master Plan Category for its commitment and vision in stormwater management, while the University of Maryland, College Park earned second place. The University of Arizona received an honorable mention in both the Demonstration Project and Master Plan categories.
Orange Coast College Launches Apparel Sustainability Program
After receiving interest from students and suggestions from faculty to offer more classes in sustainability, faculty members worked up a curriculum that translates to an Apparel Industry Sustainability certificate program, which will begin fall 2018.
Northern Illinois U Rolls Out Bike-Share Program
A campus bike sharing option called VeoRide launched at the end of April that offers students a free month of service, followed by discounted rates for three months. Once the three-month period ends, the service will charge its regular rate of 50 cents per 15 minutes.
U Windsor to Receive $4.5M for Energy Efficiency
In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development has awarded the university $4.5 million for the replacement of eight aging air-handling units. The grant also includes funding for new LED lighting and roof insulation.
U Bath to Pay Voluntary Living Wage
(U.K.) The university is applying for formal accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation to reinforce its commitment to ensure salaries keep pace with the cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announces living wage rates in the first week of November each year and, once accredited, the university will be committed to implementing that rate.
Three US Legislators Introduce Climate Change Education Act
U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan recently introduced legislation that would create a grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aimed at promoting climate literacy. By supporting the application of the latest scientific and technological discoveries, it would promote formal and informal learning opportunities that emphasize actionable information. The grant program would also support professional development for teachers.
American U Launches Local Carbon Offset Program
The new program aims to offset the carbon emissions caused by students, faculty and staff members who commute to campus by planting and nurturing 650 trees throughout the nation’s capital. The initiative will also provide students with access to the urban forestry data from this program to inform their own field studies in urban planning and other related fields.
U Massachusetts Boston Releases Report on Climate Resilience Financing
In April 2018, the university's Sustainable Solutions Lab released a report, Financing Climate Resilience Report, that looks at different financial mechanisms for climate resilience. It provides recommendations for the city of Boston and the region on how to pay for climate adaptation investments and suggests that funding needs to be leveraged at the federal, state, municipal and district levels.
College William & Mary Issues Apology for Slavery & Discrimination History
The William & Mary Board of Visitors adopted a new resolution that includes an apology for the college’s history as it relates to exploiting slave labor and racial discrimination. Since 2009, the college has been investigating the college's role in perpetuating slavery and racial discrimination through a project called The Lemon Project. The project, named after a man who was once enslaved by the College of William & Mary, is a multifaceted and dynamic attempt to rectify wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by the college through action or inaction. A major effort that will soon formally get underway is a design competition for a memorial on the Historic Campus honoring the enslaved.
Energy Dept Announces Zero Energy Student Design Competition Results
Prairie View A&M University was deemed the grand winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a competition that challenges collegiate teams to apply sound building science principles to create cost-effective, market-ready designs for zero energy ready homes and schools.
American U Becomes Carbon Neutral
The university achieved carbon neutrality two years earlier than expected through a combination of on-site renewables, a renewable energy partnership in North Carolina, and carbon offsets. The university relies solely on renewable energy for its electricity.
Harvard U Graduate Assistants Vote for Union
Graduate students at Harvard University voted 1,931 to 1,523 to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The election, held earlier this month, was the second on the union issue, as a 2016 vote proved inconclusive.
U Maryland Pilots Compostable Paper Straws
During the month of April, the Maryland Dairy at the Stamp Student Union piloted using compostable paper straws. The pilot program was initiated by the general manager and supported by the student-led group Sustainable Ocean Alliance.
U Maryland Installs Wall of Plants in Library
In an effort to inspire creativity and support well-being, living plants now cover the surface of an interior wall at the university's McKeldin Library as part of a series of renovations to the library’s busy first floor. The bio-wall project was partially funded by students through the University Sustainability Fund.
U Louisville Launches Student Sustainability Fund & Philanthropy Program
The new fund allows finance students to participate in socially responsible investing by selecting funds, investing real dollars, managing the fund and voting their proxies. Then, social change students use the proceeds to fund local nonprofit or philanthropic projects either on or off campus. The inaugural beneficiary was a local non-profit organization dedicated to housing and mentoring youth who are in the state's custody and aging out of the foster care system.
Fleming College to Receive $12.1M for Sustainable Energy Projects
Thanks to funding from the provincial government, the college will get nearly $12,147,000 in infrastructure and research funding, a portion of which will be used to install a new geothermal heating and cooling system at its Sutherland Campus as well as rooftop solar and wind energy.
Loyola U Maryland Joins Beyond Benign Green Chemistry Program
Challenged to join the program by John Warner, Ph.D., founder of Beyond Benign, Loyola’s department of Chemistry recently signed up for Beyond Benign’s Green Chemistry Commitment program, which commits the department to incorporating green chemistry into the curriculum.
U Tennessee Replaces Paper Towels With Hand Dryers
A total of 1,034 hand dryers will be installed in restrooms of academic buildings across campus. Paper towels will remain in break rooms, kitchens and labs. This project aims to reduce waste and paper towels, which make up more campus waste than any other single item. Hand dryers will also result in less labor to clean and maintain restrooms, reduce transportation for deliveries of paper towels, save liners, a costly custodial supply item, and prevent litter and overflowing trash cans in restrooms.
Two U Notre Dame Buildings Earn LEED Gold
Undergraduate residences Flaherty Hall and Dunne Hall contain high-efficiency faucets, shower heads and toilets, and used regionally sourced building materials. During the construction of both residence halls, project managers eliminated and minimized waste as much as possible, and reused materials when feasible in the construction of the halls.
Keene State College Students Organize On-Campus Food Bank
When students from two campus organizations learned last semester that food insecurity is a problem for some Keene State students, they secured a location for a new pantry, the Hungry Owl, and launched a nonperishable-food drive. The space has a fully operational kitchen in which organizers hope to add services like cooking nights or providing recipes or assembling pre-made meals.
Colorado State U-Pueblo Building Receives LEED Platinum
More than 80 percent of the construction materials for the General Classroom Building were recycled on the job site and flooring, drywall and ceiling tiles in the building all include recycled content. Water-saving plumbing fixtures were installed and indoor water use was reduced by 38 percent compared to a similar building designed to code. The existing campus solar array provides approximately 15 percent of the building’s electricity.
UK's National Union of Students Awards $140K to Student Projects
(U.K.) The National Union of Students' (NUS) Student Eats Program recently awarded over $138,000 (100,000 British pounds) to projects at nine universities in an effort to help scale-up programs that help students to grow food and develop food-based social enterprises.
U North Carolina Asheville Offers Free Summer Courses
In an effort to help students reduce student debt, the university is now offering students who are one or two classes shy of junior or senior status (60 or 90 credits) free summer courses to encourage them to complete the 120 credits required to graduate in four years.
U Illinois Chicago Releases Climate Action Implementation Plan
The new Climate Action Implementation Plan includes seven strategies that integrate the university's goals for carbon neutrality, zero waste, net zero water, and creating a biodiverse university. The strategies cover energy, transportation, natural systems and ecosystem services, materials and waste, curriculum and engagement, and climate resiliency. The portfolio of solutions will be implemented over the next 10 years through 2028.