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.
- Posted Feb 21, 2008
- Other News
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.
Stevens IT Launches Green Engineering Minor
The Charles V. Schaefer Jr. School of Engineering and Science at the Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) recently launched a Green Engineering minor. The minor consists of six courses and provides a two-course core in sustainable engineering and sustainable energy.
UC Berkeley Hires Director of Sustainability
The University of California, Berkeley recently hired Lisa McNeilly as the campus's first Director of Sustainability. McNeilly is charged with creating and managing a campus Office of Sustainability and supporting the efforts of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability, the Cal Climate Action Partnership, the Berkeley Environmental Alumni Network, and the Berkeley Green Campus Program. The position will report to the Vice Chancellor for Administration.
U Central Florida Energy Competition Offers Scholarships
A University of Central Florida energy saving competition will offer free food, gift certificates, and scholarships to the winners of the second-annual Energy Conservation Competition. The competition is a month-long campaign that challenges each residence hall to reduce its energy consumption by the greatest percentage compared to the average of the previous three years. During the first year of the program, residence hall students reduced their energy use by 8% overall, which amounted to $12,000 in electric bills. A $6,000 Student Government Association scholarships will be divided by UCF officials for the winners. The competition lasts until the end of February 2008.
UC Irvine Contracts for 1.2MW Solar Array
The University of California, Irvine recently contracted with UPC Solar to install a 1.2 megawatt solar panel array on campus. Under the 20-year contract, UPC Solar will design, install, own and maintain 6,500 solar panels to be placed on 11 campus buildings. UCI will then purchase the power from UPC, especially during peak demand periods when the cost of electricity is high. Kiosks located strategically around the campus will monitor the system and provide ready information to passersby about how much energy is being generated.
U Colorado Boulder Students to Purchase Local Offsets
University of Colorado at Boulder students have switched from purchasing wind energy credits to purchasing all locally-generated offsets to mitigate a portion of campus carbon emissions. The offsets are being purchased through Colorado Governor Bill Ritter's "Colorado Carbon Fund" program. The $50,000 of student funding will support Colorado projects that fight climate change while increasing economic prosperity, assisting local communities and creating service learning opportunities for students.
UI Chicago Hires Interim Assoc. Chancellor for Sustainability
The University of Illinois at Chicago recently hired Cynthia Klein-Banai as the interim Associate Chancellor for Sustainability. Klein-Banai plans to consider student fees to support green projects, to set up a campus-wide committee that will work to initiate sustainability programs into many areas of campus life, and to complete a transportation survey on how people get to and around campus. She has also applied for a grant to expand UIC's recycling program.
U Maine Farmington Receives 2 LEED Building Certifications
Two recently constructed buildings at the University of Maine at Farmington were awarded LEED certification. The Education Center was awarded LEED Silver and was designed to serve as an ecological teaching tool for UMF students, K-12 students, practicing teachers and the region. Green components of the building include 42 geothermal wells, a high-performance thermal envelope, and window glazing to decrease heat loss in the winter and reduce cool air loss in the summer. Additional green features include the use of construction materials with recycled content, interior materials and furnishings that do not emit indoor pollutants and a sustainable landscape design. The Frances Allen Black Hall, a residence hall on campus, received LEED Certified status. The hall qualified for this distinction based on a number of green features including, developing the building site with the least amount of environmental impact, using over 10 percent recycled construction materials and nearly 35 percent locally available construction materials, and increasing thermal efficiency by approximately 25% by using continuous rigid insulation on the building's exterior.
U New Mexico Partners with Car Share Program
The University of New Mexico Department of Parking and Transportation Services recently announced an agreement with Zipcar, a national car-sharing service, to provide vehicles to students, staff, faculty and members of the Albuquerque community who are members of Zipcar. Five vehicles will be located throughout campus and will be available at hourly and daily rates.
U Saskatchewan Completes GHG Inventory
The University of Saskatchewan recently completed its greenhouse gas inventory, which was initiated to establish a baseline total for campus GHG emissions. The survey found that the University's 2006 CO2 emissions amounted to 198,000 tons, which is up 4.5% since 1990. The report also found that, at 80% of the total, purchased electricity was the largest source of GHGs.
U Southern California Forms Sustainability Steering Committee
The University of Southern California recently created a 12 member Sustainability Steering Committee. The group is made up of students, faculty, administrators, and staff from all areas of the institution and is charged with maintaining current environmental initiatives and defining economic, social, and environmental opportunities for the campus.
UT Architecture College Pledges Carbon Neutrality by 2010
The College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has committed to make its own building as well as all its studio projects more environmentally friendly. By a unanimous vote of the faculty, the college has adopted a plan to achieve a carbon-neutral design community and include the elimination or reduction of the need for fossil fuel as a central tenet in its design education. This plan is part of the 2010 Imperative, a challenge issued to colleges of design across the U.S. to incorporate environmental principles by 2010. Strategies involving waterless plumbing fixtures and occupancy sensors for lights already are being implemented. Future plans include the purchase of carbon offsets and potential LEED Existing Building certification.
U Vermont to Form Commission and Office of Sustainability
The University of Vermont recently announced that it will form a Commission on Sustainability and open an Office of Sustainability. The Commission will make strategic recommendations about policies and activities requiring significant operational changes or allocation of financial and other resources within the University. Its first charge will be to create a Climate Neutrality Working Group that will develop a plan within two years for reaching climate neutrality at UVM. The Office of Sustainability will support the Commission's development of an overall environmental sustainability strategy, track performance indicators and best practices, oversee the selection and implementation of the best ideas for reducing environmental impacts, and educate and involved the campus and Vermont community.
1100 Campuses Focus the Nation on Global Warming Solutions
On Jan. 31, 2008, more than 1100 colleges and universities across the US participated in Focus the Nation, a major educational initiative on global warming solutions. The event, which also had the participation of several hundred high schools, faith organizations and civic groups, is believed to be the largest teach-in in U.S. history. Many institutions help open forums on climate change with participation from faculty, elected officials, and other guests. Faculty members from a wide range of disciplines also incorporated climate change into their lectures. The final component of Focus the Nation is the 'Choose Your Future' vote, in which all students, faculty and community participants are encouraged to vote on what they think are the top five climate change solutions from a list of 15 that is available on the event's website. Voting ends in mid February.
Brown U Announces GHG Emissions Reduction Plan
Brown University (RI) has announced a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 42% below 2007 levels for all existing buildings by 2020. Brown also promised to reduce energy consumption up to 50% for all newly constructed and acquired facilities. The university plans to achieve these goals through initiatives such as switching the fuel that powers the central heating plan to cleaner natural gas when available, implementing new lighting technologies, improving the energy efficiencies of buildings, increasing co-generation of electricity, and using renewable energy sources where appropriate.