Dalhousie U Hires Sustainability Office Director

Dalhousie University (NS) recently hired Rochelle Owen as the Director of the Office of Sustainability. Her first tasks will be to develop a strategic plan for the office and to help draft a university-wide sustainability policy. Other duties include supporting, implementing, maintaining, and communicating campus-wide sustainability programs. Owens plans to focus on water use, electricity use, and eliminating paper coffee cups. She also plans to create a sustainability advisory board for the campus that will include faculty, students, and staff.

Farmingdale State C Purchases 6 Electric Vehicles

Farmingdale State College (NY) recently purchased six all electric vehicles to be used by the physical plant staff. The College plans to replace their older fleet vehicles with electric automobiles later this year and hopes to test an electric truck as well.

Furman U Receives Sustainability Grant

Furman University (SC) recently received a $250,000 grant to support environmental sustainability initiatives and stewardship. The grant will provide scholarship aid for students engaged in environmental projects on campus and in the community through a student fellowship program. The Fellows will be charged with promoting sustainable practices on campus, with includes the production of biodiesel fuel, the development of the organic garden, and the creation and maintenance of environmentally friendly living spaces. In addition to the fellowships, the grant will also go towards the completion of Cliffs Cottage, the new Southern Living Showcase Home on campus that will model green design, renewable energy, and sustainable products, processes and materials. The grant was awarded by The Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

Indiana U Holds Recycling Bin Design Contest

The Indiana University Task Force for Sustainability is holding a contest for the best recycling bin design. The project is intended to raise awareness about the importance of student participation in a successful campus-wide recycling system. The top 10 winning designers will get the chance to paint their artwork on one of the recycling bins to be displayed throughout campus. The decorated bins will serve as the first-ever outdoor recycling receptacles.

Indiana U Offers Grad Concentration in Sustainable Development

The Indiana University School for Public and Environmental Affairs recently announced that students in the Master of Public Affairs degree program can now pursue an academic concentration in sustainable development. To complete the concentration, students must take eighteen credit hours in courses such as sustainable development, natural resource management, urban or economic development, data analysis, applied ecology, and international environmental policy. SPEA faculty approved the proposal last fall, and campus officials gave final approval last week.

Lewis & Clark College to Install Solar Panels

Lewis & Clark College (OR) recently reached an agreement with Honeywell International to supply the campus sports facility with solar power. Under the agreement, Honeywell will install solar panels on the roof of the Pamplin Sports Center and sell to the college the electricity produced by the panels. Lewis and Clark officials say that the power purchase agreement is the first of its kind for a college or university in Oregon. The panels are expected to generate more than 97,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, produce enough power to meet approximately 15% of the electricity needs for the sports center, and cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 1.8 million pounds over the course of the 20-year agreement. Lewis and Clark expects the solar installation to be completed by August 2008.

Macalester C Holds Green Light Bulb Contest

Macalester College (MN) recently held "The Light Bulb Switchout," a competition between freshman and upperclassmen to see who could replace the most four-foot florescent bulbs with higher efficiency bulbs. The 2,200 newly installed light bulbs are estimated to save the College up to $30,000 per year. The first-year students won the competition, switching 1,300 bulbs in one building. The old light bulbs were recycled by a local recycling company.

Macalester C Subsidizes Bus Passes

Macalester College (MN) is offering a 50% discount on bus passes to faculty, students, and staff. The goal of the initiative is to encourage the Macalester community to use public transportation in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition Launches Energy Campaign

The Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition recently announced the launch of the Energy Future Campaign at a press conference at the state capitol. During the event, the MSSC dropped off Valentine's Day cards to the Michigan Legislature in support of the Energy Future Campaign. The cards, along with the online cards sent by youth through cleanenergylove.com, called for a renewable energy standard of at least 25% by 2025 and an energy efficiency standard that would require 2% annual energy efficiency increases in this state between now and 2015, with a commitment to the renegotiation of a stronger standard after 2015. The letters also asked for a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Michigan and Integrated Resource Planning, which would require state regulators to consider demand-side options like energy efficiency programs as well as supply-side options in their efforts to meet Michigan's needs for energy, equity, and the environment.

Middlebury C Switches to 100% Recycled Paper

Middlebury College (VT) recently adopted a policy to switch from 30 to 100 percent recycled content and chlorine free paper in all printers, copiers, and outsourced publications. The policy encourages the use of Forest Stewardship Council certified paper and calls for the highest percentage of recycled content suitable for jobs that cannot be printed on 100% PCW-PCF paper. The increase in cost is estimated to be $100 per month.

Occidental C Offers Green Alternative to Dry Cleaning

The Occidental College (CA) Urban and Environmental Policy Institute recently began a program that offers an on-campus professional environmentally friendly wet cleaning service. Wet cleaning is an alternative to dry cleaning that uses energy efficient computer controlled washers and dryers, nontoxic biodegradable detergents, and finishing equipment to safely clean garments that have a dry clean label. To kick off the green cleaning service, Occidental will be hosting a fashion show featuring green designers and an informational session about alternatives to toxic dry cleaning. The program is offered by the UEPI's Pollution Prevention Center and a local clothes cleaning service, Sunny Brite Natural Cleaners.

Pomona C Buildings Receive LEED Gold

The Lincoln and Edmunds buildings at Pomona College (CA) recently received LEED Gold certification. The buildings feature waterless urinals, high-efficiency lighting, water-efficient landscaping, partial bamboo flooring, and a photovoltaic system that provides 22.4% of the buildings' power.

Stanford U Eliminates Student Loans

Stanford University (CA) recently announced a new undergraduate financial aid program that will eliminate the need for student loans. Under the new program, parents with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer pay tuition. Parents with incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to pay tuition or contribute to the costs of room, board and other expenses. Students will still be expected to contribute their earnings from work during the summer and academic year. The plan will go into effect in fall 2008.

U College of the Fraser Valley Opens Green Building

The University College of the Fraser Valley (BC) recently opened the Trades and Technology Centre, a building that was built within the shell of an existing building using large portions of recycled material. The building also features energy-efficient electrical and mechanical systems.

U Puget Sound Offers Free Bus Passes

The University of Puget Sound's (WA) Transportation Task Force recently announced that it is distributing 75 free bus passes to members of the campus community in an effort to promote alternative transportation methods. The passes are available from February to April for three local bus lines. In exchange for the passes, commuters will share their bus-riding adventures via a blog for the duration of the program. The program is the result of a funding from the University's Sustainability Advisory Committee to purchase bus passes for faculty, staff, or students. One local transit operator, Pierce Transit, donated a matching number of passes to expand the program.

U.S. House Passes Higher Education Sustainability Act

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, HR 4137, which includes all the provisions of the Higher Education Sustainability Act with a few minor amendments. The final higher education act will now be addressed in the conference between the House and the Senate. So far, Senators Kennedy, Dodd, Bingaman and Kerry have co-sponsored Senator Murray's Senate version of HESA, and are looking for more support. These Senators are asking for colleges and universities to contact their senators about the importance of HESA.

U System Maryland Launches Sustainability Initiative

The University System of Maryland has launched a new initiative to promote environmental stewardship and sustainable practices across the system's universities, research institutions, and regional higher education centers. Goals of the initiative include reducing energy consumption system-wide by 15 percent and greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, conducting audits of greenhouse gas emission for all USM institutions and using best practices to reduce these emissions, and developing a system-wide strategy for campus sustainability and energy efficiency, including green building guidelines and sustainability benchmarks for all new construction and major facility renovations. The chancellor's Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Initiative will focus on developing policies, practices, and programs to support these goals.

U Washington Begins Doctoral Biofuels Program

The University of Washington recently began its new doctoral program in sustainable energy that focuses on biofuel technologies. Students in the program will work on the engineering challenges of sustainable energy. The program is sponsored by the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training award, which funds six interdisciplinary doctoral students for five years and requires the school to recruit students from Native American communities.

U Washington Expands Biofuel Program

The University of Washington Motor Pool is switching from B5 to B20 fuel, which includes 20 percent biodiesel. The University plans to use B90 fuel in the future. The change is part of the Green Fleet Initiative, a program which aims to reduce the institution's environmental footprint.

Wellesley College Increases Financial Aid

Wellesley College (MA) recently announced a new initiative in its financial aid policies which will replace loans with grants for students from families who have calculated annual incomes below $60,000 and will reduce loans by one-third for those with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000. Under the new plan, eligible students from families with higher incomes will continue to benefit from Wellesley’s low loan packages, which will continue to cap the four-year maximum debt at $12,825. The new initiative will increase Wellesley’s spending on financial aid to about $40 million per year, 80 percent of which comes directly from its endowment.

Yale U Develops Sustainable Event Guidelines

Yale University (CT) has developed Sustainable Event Guidelines for campus events. The guidelines provide sustainable energy, waste, transportation, materials and food strategies to help reduce the environmental footprint of the occasion. Events will be awarded a bronze, silver, or gold sustainability rating depending on how many of the guidelines to which they adhere. The program was launched in an effort to make sustainability part of the campus culture, and was created by the Yale Sustainability Office, the Yale Sustainable Food Project, Yale Recycling, and Yale Catering.

19 New Campuses Sign Presidents Climate Commitment

19 new institutions have signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment since the last update in AASHE Bulletin. In doing so, these campuses have committed to develop comprehensive plans for achieving climate neutrality. The new signatories are: James L. Oblinger of North Carolina State University, Geoffrey Gamble of Montana State University, Richard I. Gouse of New England Institute of Technology (RI), Gretchen M. Bataille of University of North Texas, Brian C. Mitchell of Bucknell University (PA), Robert Weisbuch of Drew University (NJ), Michael J. Graham of Xavier University (OH), Charles M. Edmondson of Alfred University (NY), David S. Wolk of Castleton State College (VT), Chui L. Tsang of Santa Monica College (CA), P. George Benson of College of Charleston (SC), Maria Klawe of Harvey Mudd College (CA), Benjamin B. Dunlap of Wofford College (SC), David J. Ramsay of University of Maryland at Baltimore, Jennie C. Hunter-Cevera of University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, James Collins of Loras College (IA), Sean A. Fanelli of Nassau Community College (NY), Patricia C. Donohue of Mercer County Community College (NJ), and Joseph T. Barwick of Carteret Community College (NC). 492 college and university presidents and chancellors have now signed the Commitment.

Ball State U Awarded for Use of Biofuels on Campus

Ball State University (IN) recently received the Stakeholder Achievement Award for its use of biodiesel and ethanol in campus shuttles, trucks, and cars, which began in 2003. BSU's 78 diesel-powered shuttles and trucks run on soybean-based biodiesel, while 57 flex-fuel cars run on E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The award was presented by the Central Indiana Clean Cities Alliance.

College of the Sequoias to Open Organic Dairy Plant

College of the Sequoias (CA) recently leased a local dairy processing plant in order to provide hands-on experience for students studying organic dairy certification. The plant will allow for up to 30 student positions and will produce 150 organic milk products. Some of these products will be offered in COS campus dining halls. COS expects the plant to be open in early March.

CSU Chico Cafes Go Green

Two cafes at California State University, Chico are switching to fair trade, organic coffee beans and 100% biodegradable coffee cups. The two coffee shops, Creekside Café and Common Grounds, are also hoping to feature compost trash cans as well.

Gallaudet U Offers Car Share Program

Gallaudet University (DC) recently started a car share program for its campus. The program, which will be available to community members as well, is a result of a request made by the Green Gallaudet student organization and was implemented by the executive director of business and support services. The car share program will be run by Zipcar.

George Washington U Launches Affordability Program

The George Washington University (DC) Board of Trustees recently approved a five-year plan to address affordability and costs for undergraduates. The program includes moderating tuition increases, improving fund-raising efforts for student-aid, providing additional funding for institutional grants to incoming freshman, lowering the average student debt burden upon graduation, and continuing its fixed-tuition guaranteed financial aid program. Under the plan, GWU will provide $118 million in institutional financial assistance for undergraduates in 2008-2009, offer 50% tuition discounts for siblings, and reduce average student debt to $20,000.

Georgia Colleges Offer Local Produce

Several institutions from Georgia have recently switched to local produce in their dining halls. Wesleyan College recently signed an agreement to receive southeast regional produce whenever possible. This could result to as much as 85% locally grown fruits and vegetables offered during the summer months. Mercer University, Macon State College, and Central Georgia Technical College offer local produce as well.

Green Labs Recognized by R&D Magazine

R & D Magazine recently published an article highlighting green design as a trend in laboratory designs over the past year. Three quarters of entrants in the 2007 Lab of the Year competition mentioned green design in their applications, indicating that many submitters now believe a project must display at least some sustainable strategies to have a chance at winning an award. The article gave examples from laboratories at Arizona State University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Geneseo, the University of Washington, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Louisiana State U Expands Bike Share Program

The Louisiana State University Environmental Conservation Organization recently added 20 bikes to the campus bike-share program called Gold Bike, which started in 2007 with a fleet of 8 bicycles. All bikes used in the initiative are second-hand and painted gold to keep the bikes from being stolen.

Mount St. Mary's U Dedicates Green Building

Mount St. Mary's University (MD) recently dedicated Bicentennial Hall, a green residence hall that celebrates the University's 200th year. Completed in January, the building features passive solar energy systems, geothermal heating and cooling, and recycled carpet tiles.

Northern Arizona U Pledges Support of Local Renewable Energy

Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College, and several other large electrical power users in northern Arizona have signed a Power Purchasing Plan Memorandum of Understanding pledging their intent to pay a small premium for renewable energy to support the development of green generation facilities in the region. NAU has pledged to purchase 5 percent of its power from renewable sources. Participants, known as the Northern Arizona Renewable Energy Purchasing Group, include NAU, Coconino Community College, the city of Flagstaff, Coconino County, Flagstaff Medical Center, Flagstaff Unified School District, Foresight Wind Energy, Hozho International, Nestle Purina Co., Xanterra Parks and Resorts and Arizona Public Service.

Ripon College to Give Free Bikes to First Year Students

Ripon College (WI) recently announced that it will give a free bike, helmet, and bike lock to the first 200 incoming freshman who agree to leave their cars at home for the first year. Student must sign an honor code in order to receive the $400 worth of equipment. The program, called the Ripon Velorution Project, was created to address problems such as fuel consumption, pollution, traffic congestion and parking limitations on campus. The project was made possible by college donors, trustees, alumni, a local lock company, and a local bicycle corporation.

Senator Sanders Discusses Campus Sustainability

AASHE recently posted an interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about the campus sustainability related provisions that he introduced into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In the interview, Sanders talks about how the legislation will offer $1 million and $500,000 grants for renewable energy projects and innovative energy sustainability projects respectively to higher education institutions. The programs has been authorized and is awaiting appropriation.

Stanford U Reduces Computer Energy Consumption

Stanford University's (CA) Information Technology Services Department recently released the Stanford Power Management Tool, a supplement to software that provides security updates for Windows computers called BigFix. The tool is free downloadable mechanism that reduces energy use through hibernation, sleep, and inactivity settings. BigFix offers four different levels of green settings and is available to students, faculty, and staff. The institution predicts that the device could save up to $400,000 of electricity. Users of the download could receive a $15 rebate from Pacific Gas & Electric.

U British Columbia Chemical Xchg. Program Reduces Lab Waste

The University of British Columbia hosts a Chemical Exchange Database in which scientists on campus can obtain excess research chemicals from other UBC laboratories. Since most chemicals can only be ordered in bulk, the database allows scientists to post both opened and unopened chemicals for others to use at no charge since the University has already paid for them. The database, launched in 2004, processed 300 exchanges (1,500 kilograms in chemicals) last year alone and has helped to save an estimated $74,500 in disposal and purchasing costs. The initiative is the result of an effort made by the Sustainability Office, the Department of Health Safety and Environment, and the Health Research Resource Office.

U Calgary to Offer Car Share Program

The University of Calgary recently announced that it will soon implement a car share program on campus. The program is a result of a partnership between UC and the Calgary Alternative Transportation Co-operative, a local car-share company.

U Minnesota Morris to Offer Environmental Studies Major

The University of Minnesota, Morris will offer a major in Environmental Studies starting in the fall of 2008. The program will include courses such as Environmental Problems and Policy, Environmental Biology, and an environmentally based English class. The new interdisciplinary major will also include a required internship or research experience with a local or regional agency with which UMM is already associated.

U Southern Indiana to Begin Recycling Program

The University of Southern Indiana will implement a recycling program in campus housing. The program will feature six recycling stations and is expected to start in mid February. The program is the result of a grant provided by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

U Texas Arlington Launches Sustainability Website

The University of Texas at Arlington recently launched a new sustainability website. The site has been designed to provide readers with information on the most recent sustainability projects and environmental events on and off campus and features a list of sustainability resources related to the UTA campus.

AASHE Announces Campus Sustainability Rating System Pilots

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recently announced the launch of its pilot rating system for sustainability in higher education. Over ninety college and universities will test the self-assessment tool, called STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System). Over the course of 2008, they will provide feedback to AASHE and inform STARS version 1.0, planned for release in spring 2009. The 90-plus participating campuses were selected to represent a wide range of institutional types, sizes, and geography. They include public and private schools, and community colleges and research universities. 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 continuous improvement toward sustainability; facilitate information sharing about sustainability practices and performance in higher education; and build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.

Birmingham U Installs Solar-Powered Parking Meter

Binghamton University (NY) recently installed a solar-powered multi-space parking meter system. The system is made up of a single meter that serves 33 spaces and features solar panels and a rechargeable battery.

Contra Costa CC District Installs Largest Campus Solar Array

The Contra Costa Community College District (CA) recently announced the completion of the first phase of its solar power project. The project includes a 3.2 megawatt solar photovoltaic system, high-efficiency lighting and energy management systems, high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, and high-voltage electrical system replacements at 2 of the 3 colleges. The development is said to be the largest solar power installation ever constructed for an institution of higher learning in North America.

Holy Cross Announces Financial Aid Initiative

The College of the Holy Cross (MA) recently announced that, beginning with the 2008-09 academic year, Worcester residents who are admitted to the college and who come from families with incomes below $50,000 will receive four years of free tuition. The new initiative was catalyzed by established alumni-funded scholarship programs that benefit Worcester students.

Inside Higher Ed Begins Getting to Green Blog

Inside Higher Ed recently started a new blog, entitled "Getting to Green," that will to discuss topics related to greening the higher education. The start of the blog coincided with Focus the Nation.

JMU Announces Joint Masters in Sustainable Resource Mgmt

James Madison University (VA) and the University of Malta recently announced the new Joint International Masters Program in Sustainable Environmental Resources Management. Graduates will receive two degrees: the M.Sc. In Sustainable Environmental Resources Management from UM (an EU degree) and the M.S. in Integrated Science and Technology from JMU. The curriculum will be taught entirely in Malta with each school teaching half of the courses. The program incorporates a suite of courses that cover the appropriate analytical tools, presents the policy and legal framework, and uses a collection of case study courses. The program will begin in September of 2008.

Macalester C Senior Gift to Fund Sustainability on Campus

The Macalester College (MN) Senior Class Gift Committee recently announced that the 2008 senior gift will fund sustainability initiatives on campus. The 10 seniors on the committee sent out a survey to their class to gauge what type of contribution the class would like to make and, based on the results, decided to fund campus sustainability projects. The class will attempt to raise $38,000 for the fund. Sustainability Coordinator Suzanne Hansen will ultimately decide how the money is used.

Northwestern U Increases Financial Aid

Northwestern University (IL) recently announced that it will replace loans with grants for its 450 neediest undergraduates. When choosing who will qualify for the grant, Northwestern will consider family income as well as other financial pressures such as extensive medical expenses and multiple sibling families. The University will also cap the amount of federal loans undergraduates can take out over four years to $20,000.

San Diego State Students Start Recycling Program

A student group at San Diego State University (CA) recently started a recycling program on campus. Success Enabled Pilots, a leadership and academic organization, volunteered to pick up sorted recycling from bins placed outside residence halls, Greek houses and residences within one mile of campus. Bins have also been placed at a nearby apartment complex to serve as a community collection location. Additionally, the group plans to hand out energy-efficient light bulbs to those who use the service.

Schools Reduce Waste with Trayless Policies

Inside Higher Ed recently published an article on how colleges and universities are implementing no-tray policies in dining halls in order to reduce waste and save water. In experiments at Alfred University (NY), students found that a no-tray policy would reduce food and beverage waste by 30-50%. Customers with disabilities or those who need extra assistance are permitted to use trays.