Columbia U Releases First Sustainability Plan
The university's inaugural Sustainability Plan, released for Earth Day 2017, is its first formalized document bringing together sustainability efforts. It is the result of a 16-month focused collaboration with students, faculty, administrators and scientists working across departments to create a three-year, operations-focused roadmap to a more sustainable campus. The plan’s overarching goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent in the next three years through focusing on energy use and conservation, transportation and waste management.
Harvard U Awards Inaugural Campus Sustainability Innovative Fund Grants
The new fund supports projects that use the campus or the neighboring community as a test bed for envisioning and piloting innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. The projects align with one of the five topics in the university-wide Sustainability Plan: emissions and energy, campus operations, nature and ecosystems, health and well-being, and culture and learning.
U California Launches Climate Change Video Series
In a partnership with Vox, the university launched Climate Lab, a six-episode video series exploring global climate change and the university's work to mitigate its effects. Hosted by a conservation scientist and UCLA visiting researcher, the series showcases ways people can harness known and emerging technologies to address the complex problem of climate change. The first episode has been released, with five additional ones premiering over the next five weeks.
U Virginia Launches Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network
The University of Virginia, along with Brown University, Colorado College, Colorado State University, Dickinson College, Eastern Mennonite University, Marine Biological Laboratory and the University of New Hampshire, has launched the Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network, a group of higher education institutions that are measuring and attempting to reduce their output of reactive nitrogen. The Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network is working with the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute to build the nitrogen footprint tool into the Campus Carbon Calculator.
U Virginia Dedicates 126KW Solar Array
Since mid-February, 324 panels on Clemons Library's roof have been producing what will amount to about 199,600 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This will account for about 15 percent of the library’s annual electricity usage.
North Carolina State U Coliseum Achieves LEED Silver
Following a 16-month renovation, the building now features a new energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system, exterior replacement windows that better insulate the building and save energy, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, native and adaptive species of outdoor plants that require little to no irrigation, and infrastructure for alternative transportation, including bike racks, pedestrian paths and a bus stop served by six different campus bus routes.
Cornell U Announces Bike Share Program
Partnering with Zagster to launch an updated and expanded bike share program, Big Red Bikes Bike Share, the new program features 32 cruiser bikes available at five locations around campus for riders to check out for on-demand, local trips.
SUNY ESF Becomes Pollinator-Friendly Campus
The Center for Food Safety recently congratulated the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry for agreeing to avoid the use of bee-toxic pesticides. This recognition comes from the BEE Protective Campaign, a program led by Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides, which aims to protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides that have severe impacts on bee populations.
Ohio State U Student Uses Grant Funding to Give Away LED Bulbs
After hearing Dominic Frongillo, Student Summit keynote speaker at AASHE 2016 in Baltimore, speak about the impact that young people can have in their community, a third-year student used a $4,500 grant to begin the Light Up with LED program this semester. The Light Up with LED program allows students to bring in up to five non-LED light bulbs in exchange for five LED light bulbs.
Rutgers U Approves $74.5M for Energy Facility Upgrades
The school's Board of Governors approved a $74.5 million upgrade to the university’s cogeneration plants, one built in 1995 and the other in 1987, to generate more electricity while producing fewer emissions. Between the two facilities, six turbines will be replaced and a total of $5.86 million per year will be avoided.
Nottingham U Building Achieves BREEAM Outstanding & LEED Platinum Designations
(U.K.): The university's new GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry building, partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline, features minimal energy use, utilization of natural ventilation, wind catchers, a water leak detection system and sustainable drainage systems to deliver energy and water reductions. A green roof featuring drought-tolerant native species is also installed. Excess energy generated by the building during its lifespan will offset all the carbon associated with its construction, allowing it to reach carbon-neutral status.
Louisiana State U Opens Sustainability Living Laboratory
The university's new BASF Sustainable Living Laboratory selects researchers to reside in the laboratory based on, in part, whether or not their research is designed to meet sustainable solutions as defined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of the lab is to promote problem-based teaching and research focused on sustainable solutions that meet global challenges.
American U Grad Students Vote to Unionize
Graduate student workers at the university recently voted 212 to 40 in favor of forming a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. Some 761 students were eligible to vote.
Energy Department Announces 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition Participants
The 12 collegiate teams selected to participate in the third Collegiate Wind Competition are California State University Maritime Academy; California State University, Chico; Iowa State University; James Madison University; Kansas State University; Northern Arizona University; The Pennsylvania State University, University Park; Seattle University; Texas Tech University; Universidad del Turabo (Puerto Rico); University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Virginia Tech University. This competition, led by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, challenges undergraduate students to design and build a model wind turbine, develop a business plan to market the products, and test the turbines against a set of rigorous performance criteria.
Loyola Marymount U & Rhode Island School of Design Win RecycleMania
With a recycling rate of more than 83.9 percent, Loyola Marymount University is the top school in the Diversion category, while the Rhode Island School of Design is first in the Per Capita Classic category. RecycleMania is an annual waste reduction and recycling competition among colleges and universities, managed by Keep America Beautiful.
U Virginia to Publish Greenhouse Gas Action Plan
The soon-to-be released Greenhouse Gas Action Plan seeks to shift energy generation and distribution to renewable energy sources, employ conservation measures in existing buildings, increase energy efficiency in labs, employ sustainable building standards in new construction and major renovations, improve efficiencies in transportation and promote awareness of individual actions.
U Connecticut Dining Halls Attain Green Restaurant Certification
All eight residential dining units at the university were recently certified as “Green Restaurants” by the Green Restaurant Association, a designation given to facilities that meet several standards in conserving energy and water, reducing food waste, and reducing and recycling waste
Bradley U Installs Solar Power on Residential Building
Earlier this month, the Hillel House on campus became the first building on the university's campus to begin using solar panels as its primary source of energy. The system is projected to provide approximately 90 percent of the house's annual electricity.
Rhode Island College Partners to Reduce Energy Consumption
The college selected Ameresco to renew and upgrade campus energy infrastructure and to institute energy efficiency and water conservation measures at the college. The $5 million Energy Savings Performance Contract project is expected to save the college more than $340,000 in avoided energy costs annually for the next 15 years.
Knox College to Complete a Solar Array
A new photovoltaic array will supply electricity to a old house that was converted into a classroom and multi-purpose room. The building was selected as a location for the project because of the roof’s orientation, its visibility from ground level and because it could become an energy neutral or near-energy neutral building with the panels. The project was initiated by students and will be funded through the Student Sustainability Fund.
Ohio State U Approves Energy Plan That Includes $1B Partnership
The university's board of trustees recently approved the Comprehensive Energy Management Project, a public-private partnership with ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure valued at $1.165 billion, which aims to modernize the university’s 485-building Columbus campus, support academics in specific areas requested by students, faculty and staff, and establish a major center for energy research and technology commercialization.
Columbia U Partners with HBCUs in Scholarship Program
In an effort to combat the lack of diversity in the professional workforce, beginning summer 2017, Columbia University will admit two students from each of the top 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as ranked by The Wall Street Journal, through a university scholarship program with a $100,000 value. The chosen students can earn a one-year master’s degree, receive access to industry mentors, career coaches and Columbia’s alumni network, followed by a paid summer internship and the possibility of a job offer from one of the program’s 11 Fortune 500 partners.
Clarion U Designates All-Gender Restrooms
Anyone wanting privacy can now choose from several facilities across campus after the university selected 11 buildings with one-stall restrooms and converted them to all-gender facilities. The restroom facilities needed only locks and signage, making the cost to convert minimal.
Southeast Missouri State U Opens Food Pantry
The new Redhawk Food Pantry provides non-perishable food items, hygiene products and school supplies to university students and employees in need. The food pantry provides supplemental support for members of the campus community who struggle with food insecurity, encourages an educational understanding of food insecurity, and provides a space for students to volunteer with their peers.
U Maryland Approves Carbon Neutral Air Travel Initiative
The university president recently approved a strategy to offset the greenhouse gases caused by university-related student, faculty and staff air travel, which have increased 52 percent over the past decade and now account for 20 percent of the university's carbon footprint. The goal is to completely and permanently eliminate the university air travel carbon footprint, likely through the purchase of carbon offsets at a cost of approximately $5 for each domestic trip.
North Carolina State U Pilots Cotton Textile Composting
After reading a blog detailing cotton composting at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, a student in the university's College of Textiles launched a pilot program to collect cotton waste and compost that waste at the university’s Compost Learning Lab. The aim of the project is to figure out what works, doesn’t work and whether there’s future opportunity to implement a permanent cotton compost program.
U North Texas Taps Green Fund for RECs & Renewable Energy Education Campaign
A class submitted a request to the university's We Mean Green Fund that resulted in funding to purchase 107-megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) and for an educational campaign focused on increasing renewable energy use that includes an educational website and classrooms and student organizations visits.
Ball State U Class Installs Photovoltaic System
In fall 2017, a $2,000 grant allowed an immersive learning class to install a solar panel system that powers a display case where students can charge their phones and learn more about solar energy via a television screen.
U California & Mexico Partner to Allocate $10M to Energy Efficiency Research Projects
Building on a memorandum of understanding signed by the university and Mexico, Mexico officially launched a request for proposals that will award up to $10 million (200 million pesos) to support energy efficiency research projects in Mexico, led by Mexican research institutions in collaboration with University of California researchers. The request for proposals aims to further advance shared goals of increasing energy efficiency in buildings and cities by investing in demonstration projects and microgrids.
EAUC Announces International Green Gown Award Winners
The International Green Gown Awards, administered by the Environmental Association of Colleges and Universities (EAUC), announced the 2017 winners, who were selected by an international panel of judges. The University of the West of England, Bristol (U.K.) won the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change category; Fiji National University, (Fiji) won in the Community category; and University of West of England, Bristol and University of Bristol (U.K.) won in the Student Engagement category. Winners of the regional Green Gown Awards competed internationally for top international honors.
Simon Fraser U to Train Researchers in Clean Technology
The university was selected to lead a program that will train researchers from low- and middle-income countries to research innovative solutions to global issues, such as food and water security, and solar energy and waste-heat technologies. The goal is to cultivate collaborations that can drive innovative research on a local and international level, while developing scholars to become leaders in their field.
Harvard U and U Pennsylvania Students Stage Divestment Protests
Student protesters at both universities recently held sit-ins asking administrators to divest from fossil fuels. Harvard students are demanding that school officials divest its endowment from the coal industry, while Penn students are seeking immediate divestment from coal and tar sands, and full divestment from fossil fuel corporations within six months. In previous responses to student divestment advocates, officials at both schools have indicated that while they share the students’ concerns about climate change, they disagree on the strategy and will not be divesting money from the fossil industry.
Green America Challenges Schools to Save One Million Trees
The nonprofit Green America’s Better Paper Project launched One Million Trees recently in an effort to encourage higher education institutions to publish alumni magazines on recycled paper in order to save trees and reduce landfill waste. Green America estimates that if all colleges used 100 percent recycled paper for their alumni publications, this could have annual savings up to one million trees and enough water to fill over 700 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Santa Fe CC Faculty Vote to Unionize
A recent vote yielded a 93 percent to seven percent ratio in favor of unionizing, which means that 50 full-time faculty at the college will now be represented by an American Association of University Professors chapter. The collective bargaining agreement will establish clear policies for faculty employment, and it will create a set of standards that holds everyone accountable.
U Kentucky Program Pays Employees to Use Transportation Alternatives
The university's Transportation Services has launched a pilot program to give $200 each to up to 200 qualified employees who agree to forgo bringing a motor vehicle to campus for one year. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of motor vehicles on campus and create a more pedestrian friendly community.
North Carolina State U Installs Solar Bus Stop Station
The university recently installed a solar canopy at one of its bus stations that allows riders to charge their electronic devices while waiting. The bus stop location as an optimal site for solar due to its popularity and lack of solar obstruction.
U Wisconsin-Stevens Point Introduces Educational Sustainability Doctoral Program
The new doctoral program in Educational Sustainability is designed to challenge students to educate for sustainability, by understanding and responding to problems in economic, ecological and social justice contexts. Sustainability learning and leadership theories are used to enable graduates to transform educational systems and foster citizen engagement.
U Massachusetts Amherst Opens Net-Zero-Energy Building
The new 16,800-square-foot building houses 35 offices and four conference rooms and was designed to produce as much energy as it consumes, aided by daylighting, ground-source heating and cooling, and photovoltaic energy. It will use about one-fifth the energy of the average office building in that region's climate.
St. John's U Receives Fair Trade Designation
Meeting the requirements set forth by Fair Trade Campaigns, a grassroots movement mobilizing campuses to embed Fair Trade practices and principles into policy, the university recently earned the designation after three years of working toward that end.
U Toledo Installs Solar Charging Tables
The campus community can now use outdoor, clean-power charging stations, which were funded and installed after a second-year student wrote a proposal to the UT Student Green Fund for exterior tables with solar panel umbrellas.
Leuphana U Completes Zero Emissions Building
(Germany): Topped with a green roof and powered by renewable energy, the light-filled building will operate at zero emissions. It also includes a gray water system. The building exceeds the standard that sets energy requirements for new buildings in Germany.
U Wyoming Launches Waste Reduction Initiative Aimed at Athletic Events
The Conservation Cowboys, an initiative that aims to reduce waste and resource use at athletics facilities and events, was recently piloted at an athletic event that resulted in the diversion of 266 pounds of the total 659 pounds of waste materials. A total of 35 volunteers from eight student organizations and four operational and academic units volunteered in the event.
Arizona State U Earns 'Best of Green Schools' Honor
The university was recently awarded the 2017 Best of Green Schools award from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S Green Building Council, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network. The award highlighted the university's variety of programs for middle and high school students and the university’s two sustainability education programs targeted toward K-12 teachers.