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.

U Utah Offers Organic, Fair Trade Coffee

The University of Utah recently began offering organic, fair trade coffee in the student union food court. Customers will have to pay 10 to 15 cents extra for the new coffee. The rest of the campus still offers non-organic, non-fair-trade coffee, but will consider making the switch after receiving student input.

Clinton Global Initiative U Receives $500,000 Grant from Wal-Mart

The Clinton Global Initiative University program recently received a $500,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation. Through a selection process by CGI U, the grant will be awarded to students or universities whose commitments integrate principles of sustainability. A total of $350,000 will go to two universities, and the remaining $150,000 will be granted to thirty-five students and student groups. The awards will be made in August 2008 to students and universities who have made demonstrable progress on their commitments.

Eastern Mennonite U Plots Campus Garden

Eastern Mennonite University (VA) recently broke ground for a campus garden. Students have already begun tilling and fertilizing the soil and hope that the garden will soon provide part of the produce for the campus. This summer, the garden will function as a pilot project, but students plan to expand the plot in the future.

Harvard Law School Launches New Public Service Initiative

Harvard University (MA) Law School recently announced that it will pay the third year of tuition for all future students who commit to work for a nonprofit organization or the government for five years following graduation. Students interested in participating in the initiative must demonstrate a commitment to public service during their time in law school. Students will earn eligibility credits by engaging in public service activities such as summer internships and relevant clinical programs, and once the student makes the commitment, they will receive a grant totaling the cost of their third year tuition. The program is scheduled to start this fall for incoming students; currently enrolled students will receive partial benefit. Officials say that the Harvard Public Service Initiative is the first of its kind in legal education.

Harvard Med., Claremont McKenna & Lafayette Expand Financial Aid

Harvard University (MA) Medical School recently announced that it will reduce the cost of a four year medical education by up to $50,000 for families with incomes of $120,000 or less. The new plan will eliminate before-tax retirement savings from the family income calculation. Likewise, Claremont McKenna College (CA) has announced that it will eliminate student loans from financial aid packages for all current and entering students effective fall 2008. The student loans will be replaced by grants. Lafayette College (PA) also recently announced that, starting in the fall of 2008, it will eliminate loans in need-based financial aid packages awarded to students from families with incomes of $50,000 or less and whose financial assets are typical of families with this annual income level. Beginning in the fall of 2009, Lafayette will limit loans to $2,500 per year for need-based financial-aid packages awarded to students from families whose incomes are between $50,000 and $100,000 and whose financial assets are typical of families with this annual income level. The new policy will apply to both new and returning Lafayette students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Humboldt State U to Install 2 Solar Projects

Humboldt State University’s (CA) student-initiated Humboldt Energy Independence Fund Committee has granted $100,000 for two pilot projects: a photovoltaic system for the roof of the Old Music Building and new equipment to complete a Solar Radiation Monitoring Station. The photovoltaic system was awarded $95,000 and will include two student contests in the fall to create an art display and interpretive signage explaining the installation’s benefits. The second project was awarded $5,000 toward completion of the SoRMS. Students have been working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to create a database for the solar radiation energy of California’s North Coast. Data collected by the project will be useful for determining solar array sizes, battery storage requirements and carbon dioxide emission offsets. The information will be accessible to anyone via the laboratory’s website. Both projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of the fall 2008 semester. The fund is financed by a self-imposed fee of $10 per student per semester.

Indiana U Increases Wages for Union Workers

The Indiana University Board of Trustees recently voted to increase union employee pay by 3.5 percent starting in the fall of 2008 as an effort to pay these workers a living wage. Employees who fall under a collective bargaining agreement will likely get a 3.5 percent increase, but the unions have a right to negotiate how that pool increase is distributed.

Juice Energy Highlights NCAA Tournament Schools' Green Initiatives

Juice Energy has created a list of green initiatives that are taking place at NCAA Tournament Team's colleges and universities. Categorized by NCAA conference, the webpage includes initiatives from every tournament participant.

Louisiana State U Converts Local Cooking Oil to Biodiesel

Louisiana State University recently started converting its cafeteria cooking oil into biodiesel. The campus will use cooking oil from an on-campus dining facility to make 50-gallon batches of biodiesel two times per week. The product will be used in tractors, heavy equipment, compost grinders, and trucks at one of the LSU AgCenter's Central Research Station. LSU plans to organize community workshops for those who want to learn how to make biodiesel using the same process.

San Diego State U Launches Green Building Construction Online Certif.

San Diego State University's (CA) College of Extended Studies recently announced a new online certificate program for Green Building Construction that will enable experienced, new, and potential construction industry personnel to learn about green, sustainable construction and design. Students who enroll in SDSU’s Professional Certificate in Green Building Construction online program will learn about environmentally sustainable construction management, learn how to combine environmental concerns with career knowledge, and expand their existing knowledge base to assist in preparation for the USGBC LEED accreditation exam. The program has been created for design professionals, contractors, sub-contractors, builders, planners, commissioners, facilities managers and stakeholders, and environmental engineers. The program begins in early April.

St. Ambrose U To Launch Campus-wide Recycling Program

St. Ambrose University (IA) recently announced its plans to launch a campus-wide recycling program in the fall of 2008. The initiative was made possible by $20,000 from the University and a $32,000 grant from the Scott County Regional Authority. The money will be used to purchase recycling bins and a baler for waste generated by dining services.

St. Louis CC Building Awarded LEED Gold

The St. Louis Community College (MO) Wildwood campus building was recently awarded LEED Gold certification. The 75,000 square foot facility features T-shaped windows that allow for more natural light, parking lot plug-ins for electric cars, an east-west solar orientation to fully capitalize on sunlight for heating, cooling, and natural light, a one-quarter-acre retention pond landscape with trees, bushes, and native prairie grass, and four cisterns that can capture up to 80,000 gallons of rainwater to be used for irrigation, waterless urinals, and drought-resistant landscaping. Officials say that STLCC's Wildwood campus is the largest community college facility in the U.S. to receive LEED Gold certification.

Texas Christian U Partners to Research Wind Power

Texas Christian University, the University of Oxford, and FPL Energy, LLC recently announced the formation of a partnership and research initiative to better understand the ecological and socio-economic impacts of wind power development. The five-year research effort includes three primary focus areas, including wind turbine impact on birds and bats, wind turbine ecological impacts, and socio-economic impacts of wind projects. The research will be coordinated by TCU’s Institute for Environmental Studies and Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and will be funded by FPL Energy. All of the field research necessary for the project will be conducted at FPL Energy’s wind farm locations across the U.S.

Turtle Mountain CC Installs Wind Turbine

Turtle Mountain Community College (ND) has begun the installation of a 600 kilowatt on-campus wind turbine. When the wind turbine runs at full capacity, it will provide 90 percent of TMCC's electricity usage. The turbine is scheduled to be complete and on the grid by late April 2008.

UC Berkeley Receives Undeveloped Land Donation

The University of California, Berkeley recently received an anonymous donation of the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, a 3,260-acre property east of San Jose. The property is one of California's most diverse ecosystems, is embedded within 180,000 acres of permanently protected wild lands and open space in the Mount Hamilton Range, and is protected by a conservation easement held by the Nature Conservancy. The new reserve will support research to discover why oak trees are failing to thrive or regenerate. Additionally, UC Berkeley plans to design an ecologically sustainable field station on the site which will include dormitories, classrooms, laboratories, and offices with solar photovoltaic modules, passive solar systems, and sustainable water management systems designed by UC Berkeley environmental design and engineering faculty and students.

U Florida Annual Report Features Sustainability

The University of Florida recently published its Annual Report. In addition to the audited financial statements for the University, this year's report incorporates UF's progress towards becoming a more sustainable university.

U Manitoba to Refurbish Historic Buildings

The University of Manitoba recently announced that 13 facilities and departments will be refurbished instead of building a new campus. Project Domino, starting this summer, will restore several historic buildings over a five-year period and plans to build only one new building, the Centre for Music, Art and Design.

Utah State U Donates Land for Organic Farm

Utah State University recently donated a 5-acre plot of its research land to be used for an on-campus organic farm. Students will help to prepare the field, and will also help make decisions on rotation rates and plots. Faculty coordinators of the project hope that the produce will be sold in an on-campus student famers market. The coordinators plan for the farm to become a self-sustaining project that will eventually make enough money to allow for a full-credit intern, research projects, and thesis projects.

Wilfrid Laurier U Switches to Cage-free Eggs

Wilfrid Laurier University (ON) Food Services recently switched to cage-free eggs. These cage-free eggs will be used for the 20 percent of foods that use whole shelled eggs at the University. WLU is hoping to make the change for liquid eggs as well.

Willamette U Housing to be Gender Neutral

Willamette University (OR) recently announced that, starting in the fall of 2008, it will offer gender neutral housing that will allow men and women to room together. The initiative is designed to meet the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students who may not be comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same sex. Participation will be voluntary and students outside of the LGBT community will be permitted to participate. Parents will not be informed when a student chooses to live in gender neutral housing. The pilot program is not intended for romantically involved straight or gay couples; the University retains the right to deny requests from couples.

2 Universities Receive 2008 National Transit Award

The Federal Transit Administration recently awarded 10 U.S. transit systems with the Success in Enhancing Ridership Award. Among the winners were the University of New Hampshire-Wildcat Transit and city of Macomb-Go West Transit, which is a partnership between Western Illinois University and the City of Macomb. The awards recognized transit providers who tried fresh approaches to boost their ridership between the years of 2005 and 2006. The two-year period allowed enough time to implement the new strategies and then measure the results. In addition to netting more passengers, the new techniques also had the potential to be successfully implemented by other transit systems. Wildcat Transit was cited for using better traveler information, nicer bus shelters with solar power lighting, and new biodiesel transit buses, which helped increase ridership by 21 percent. Macomb-Go West Transit was recognized for increasing their ridership by 22 percent by revising their fare structure, advertising, and partnering with Western Illinois University.

British Columbia University Presidents Sign Climate Action Statement

University presidents from across British Columbia have signed a Climate Change Statement of Action committing their institutions to a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The statement of action commits each university to initiate a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases by creating a planning body that includes students, staff, researchers, administrators and other partners. Within one year, each institution will have a complete inventory of greenhouse gas emissions on campus and within two years, targets will be set and strategies will be put in place to achieve the targets. All action plans, inventories, and progress reports will be made publicly available. BC’s university presidents will be inviting other post secondary institutions across British Columbia and Canada to join them in signing the Statement of Action.

Cabrini College Offers Fair Trade Bananas

Cabrini College (PA) recently began offering fair trade bananas. The initiative started as an idea from the Catholic Relief Services Ambassadors on campus. A fair trade banana-split party was held to celebrate the success of the initiative.

Carleton College Announces New Access Scholarship Program

Carleton College (MN) recently announced its new Access Scholarship program aimed at reducing or eliminating student loans for students from a family with an annual income of $75,000 or less, starting with the 2008-09 school year. The plan calls for a $4,000 scholarship for students from families making less than $40,000 annually, a $3,000 scholarship for students from families with annual incomes of $40,001-$60,000, and a $2,000 scholarship for students from families with yearly incomes of $60,001-$75,000.

Central Carolina CC Hires Green Building Program Coordinator

Central Carolina Community College (SC) recently hired Laura Lauffer as the College's first Green Building Program Coordinator. Lauffer has been brought on board to recruit highly qualified instructors, expand course offerings and apprenticeships for those who want careers in green construction and renewable energy, promote job creation, and increase the number of seminars on green building offered for consumers and homeowners.

Clinton Global Initiative U Holds Inaugural Meeting

The Clinton Global Initiative University, which works as part of the Clinton Global Initiative to mobilize college students and universities to address issues with practical and innovative solutions, recently held its first meeting at Tulane University (LA). Nearly 700 college students gathered on the campus of Tulane University, traveling from more than 250 colleges and universities and representing almost each state and every continent except Antarctica. While there, 600 students cleaned and prepared more than 10 blocks of the Lower 9th Ward that will welcome the first returning residents to the New Orleans area. The cleaning was part of Brad Pitt's Make it Right Project, which will construct 150 sustainable and affordable homes in the Lower 9th Ward.

Columbia U Expands Financial Aid

Columbia University (NY) recently announced that students from families with incomes below $60,000 attending Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science will no longer be expected to borrow or contribute any of their income or assets to tuition, room, board and other fees beginning in fall 2008. At the same time, Columbia will eliminate loans for all new and continuing students in the College and SEAS who are eligible for financial aid, regardless of family income, and replace them with University grants. Additionally, all aid recipients will be invited to apply for exemptions from summer and academic-year work expectations when they engage in community service or accept unpaid research or internship commitments.

Culinary Institute of America Eliminates Paper Cups

The Culinary Institute of America (NY) has removed paper cups and lids in all of its student and staff dining facilities. The college had been using between 15,000 and 18,000 disposable cups a week in its student dining facilities alone. The CIA is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to use travel mugs or to-go bottles on campus.

Drew U to Offer Environmental Studies and Sustainability Major

Drew University (NJ) recently received a $950,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an innovative academic major in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. The grant money will support two additional faculty members, new interdisciplinary courses, and a program of student internships and research experiences. Drew faculty members are working now to design the new major, which will incorporate internship experiences and coursework that is interdisciplinary and project-oriented. If approved by the College of Liberal Arts faculty this spring, it will be made available to students in the fall of 2008.

Eastern Illinois U to Purchase Electric Vehicles

Eastern Illinois University plans to replace about six of its gas-powered minivans with small electric vehicles. These electric vehicles can be recharged within one hour and can travel up to 30-40 miles at a time. The University has already purchased one six-seat electric vehicle for the campus.

Funding Cut for U New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program

Last year, the University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies program received a $207,000 grant from the state Legislature; this year, the University offered Sustainability Studies $15,000, an amount that will not be enough to sustain the program. The College of Arts and Sciences is currently looking for alternative funding. Approximately 80 students have enrolled in Sustainability Studies at UNM.

Indiana U Holds Web-enabled Energy & Water Conservation Competition

Indiana University recently began its first ever "IU Energy Challenge," a dormitory energy and water conservation competition. The four-week competition will encourage students living in 10 IU Bloomington dormitories to compete to reduce their energy and water consumption against a baseline of their dorm's average per capita electricity and water consumption over the past three years. The competition features a website where students can view their current energy and water usage and standings. The dormit

Lehigh U Enhances Financial Aid

Lehigh University (PA) recently announced its new plan to increase financial aid. As long as students are eligible for financial aid, the University plans to eliminate loans for students whose family’s calculated annual income is less than $50,000 and plans to limit loans to a maximum of $3,000 per year for students whose family’s calculated annual income is between $50,000 and $75,000. Additionally, work-study awards for students who are included in the loan elimination and reduction initiatives will be increased by 25 percent to $2,200 per year, thus offsetting the need for loans. Additional funds are also being made available to enroll a larger number of eligible, international students with demonstrated financial need.

Medical U of South Carolina Installs Geothermal System

The Medical University of South Carolina recently installed a geothermal system into the Anderson House, a campus administration building that houses the South Carolina College of Pharmacy's administration. The building is the first on campus to utilize a closed loop geothermal heat pump.

MIT Announces New Financial Aid Program

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently announced its financial aid program for the 2008-2009 academic year. Under the new plan, families earning less than $75,000 per year will have all tuition covered and will not be expected to take out loans to cover expenses beyond tuition. MIT will also no longer consider home equity for families with total annual income below $100,000 and typical assets. In addition to the financial aid plan, the Institute will also reduce the work-study expectation for all financial aid recipients by 10 percent.

Southwestern College, Winfield Creates Student Green Team

Southwestern College, Winfield (KS) is recruiting students for the Green Team, a four-year environmental program that will start in the fall of 2008. The eight or nine students selected will be eligible for up to $3,200 worth of scholarship funds. The Green Team's main responsibility will be to come up with innovative ideas on how to bring renewable energies to campus and to help reduce the campus carbon footprint. Green Team members will be permitted to major in any academic department, but will be required to take environmental and leadership courses. They will also work on projects that take place on campus and in the city of Winfield.

Students from Maryland Universities Design Mobile Teaching Labs

The Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority recently donated four dirty emissions transit buses to Biodiesel University, a nonprofit affiliated with the University of Maryland dedicated to providing hands-on renewable energy experiences and to inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology. The four buses will be recycled into mobile teaching laboratories and will travel to schools, colleges, and public events in the Washington, D.C. region and beyond. Students from regional colleges and universities, including the University of Maryland and the Maryland Institute College of Art, have been designing the mobile labs and their contents since late 2006 as part of a multi-institutional collaboration. The labs will educate visitors on the sustainability issues of food versus fuel, the carbon cycle, unintended economic consequences, pollution, and land and water use. Each lab will include a hands-on feedstock section, where visitors learn about dozens of renewable sources for biodiesel and compare the benefits and tradeoffs of each one.

Students Launch Cross-Canada Campus Sustainability Tour

Students across Canada recently joined together to launch the Generations Campaign and cross-Canada tour to send a message to federal policy makers that greater action is needed to combat climate change. The Canadian Federation of Students and the David Suzuki Foundation have teamed up to bring events to universities and colleges across the country. The Generations Campaign will bring keynote speakers to over 30 Canadian campuses this fall to discuss the importance of action in the fight against climate change. The tour will highlight ways in which students across the country are making a difference in their homes, campuses and local communities, and pressure the federal government to take action against climate change.

Tulane U Dining Services Goes Trayless

Tulane University (LA) Dining Services recently removed trays from its dining facilities on campus. The initiative is an effort to reduce food waste, to conserve water that would be used to wash the trays, and to conserve energy that would normally be used to prepare more food. Additionally, the campus dining facilities now offer fresh Louisiana produce and seafood, recycled-content paper napkins, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

U Kansas Architecture Students Design and Build Green Building

A University of Kansas architecture class recently designed and built a green building and transported it to Greensburg, Kansas, a community in western Kansas that was destroyed by a tornado last spring. The graduate students from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning built the structure as seven prefabricated modules that were hauled by truck to the Greensburg building site. The students will assemble the modules themselves, and hope to complete the structure by early May. When the building is complete, it will feature solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heating, thermal massing and other green systems. KU expects the building to achieve LEED certification.

USA Today Covers Increasing Student Awareness of Global Warming

USA Today recently published an article on the increasing number of students who are concerned about the effects of global warming. More and more students are participating in national events, such as Focus the Nation and Powershift, and creating their own campus initiatives aimed at reducing global warming and increasing knowledge about the problem.

Vassar College Expands Financial Aid Program

Vassar College (NY) recently announced that it will eliminate loans from the financial aid packages of students with calculated family incomes of up to $60,000. The college will replace those loans with additional Vassar scholarship grants. The policy will take place in the fall of 2008. The College will also return to a need-blind admissions policy, with admissions decisions being made without regard to the student's ability to pay.

Wright State U Hires Director of Sustainability

Wright State University (OH) recently hired Huntting W. Brown as the first Director of Sustainability. Brown's responsibilities include exploring collaborations with other organizations throughout the Miami Valley and, with faculty, staff, and student involvement, explore potential new initiatives. With degrees in anthropology-sociology, zoology and law, Brown has focused his life’s work on environmental issues. Following jobs with the State of Florida’s Department of Natural Resources and with utility companies operating in the mid-west, Brown brought his diverse background to Wright State’s Center for Groundwater Management in 1989.

Auburn U Partners with City to Produce Biodiesel

Auburn University (AL) recently partnered with the city of Gadsden and Gadsden Waterworks and Sewer Board to convert cooking oil into biodiesel fuel. Auburn University plans to document the cost and the conversion process in order to provide other cities with the information.

Business Officer Magazine Covers President's Climate Commitment

The National Association of College and University Business Officers' February Business Officer Magazine features an article urging college and university presidents to sign the American College and University President's Climate Commitment. The article includes ideas on how to fund the commitment, reduce the campus carbon footprint, and convince students, faculty, and staff to participate.