Colorado State U Commits to 100% Renewable Energy
The university president recently signed a pledge committing the university to be powered from 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, after more than 4,300 students, faculty and staff had signed a petition encouraging the university to consider the pledge. The university says that the decision to invest in renewable energy is due to the projected increase in energy prices over the next 20 years.
U California, Irvine Converts Bus Fleet to All Electric
The student-funded and -operated Anteater Express shuttle service is acquiring 20 all-electric buses to the tune of $15 million. The buses will roll onto campus for the 2017-18 academic year, joining a hydrogen electric bus, to provide more than 2 million pollution-free rides annually. Undergraduates voted to pay up to $40 per quarter to the Associated Students of UCI to cover the bus purchase.
U Connecticut Announces New Sustainability Plan
The university's new 2020 Vision For Campus Sustainability & Climate Leadership Plan was announced by the president in late January. Initiated shortly after a university cohort attended COP21 in Paris, France, in 2015, the plan includes the following categories: energy and buildings, waste reduction and diversion, outreach and engagement, water resources, food and dining, grounds, open space and conservation areas, purchasing and transportation. Each category has one or two goals and a few measurements to achieve those goals.
Red Deer College to Receive $4.75M to Boost Energy Infrastructure & Training
Under the a Canadian federal government investment fund, the college will receive more than $4.75 million for two projects, and it will match the funding, for a total investment of $9.5 million that it is allocating toward upgrades to the campus, and training and research opportunities focused on alternative energy production processes.
Princeton U Art Museum Purchases Solar Powered Vehicles
The art museum recently purchased solar panels to power two low speed vehicles for staff use. Inspired by the upcoming 2018 exhibition, Nature's Nation: American Art and Environment, the project was funded out of a university sustainability fund, High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund, a mechanism that provides money for campus sustainability projects, with an emphasis on measurable outcomes and culture change.
Concordia U Introduces First Sustainability Plan
The university board of governors recently green lighted a new campus-wide policy that it hopes will serve as a catalyst to facilitate innovative, interdisciplinary and interdepartmental sustainability initiatives. The policy consists of 12 guiding principles that will be integrated into the fabric of the university through a Sustainability Advisory Committee.
U Melbourne Unveils Four-Year Sustainability Plan
(Australia): The university’s first institution-wide Sustainability Plan 2017-2020 indicates the university will become carbon neutral before 2030, achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2021 and will now report annually on the institution’s sustainability impact and performance. The plan also calls for the establishment of a sustainable investment framework for evaluating and managing material climate change risk, and will set out the criteria for divestment from and investment in listed equities.
Pierce College Opens Food Pantry for Students in Need
The new pantry contains free, non-perishable food items. With student government acting as steward of this new program, the pantry serves a need for students who are dealing with food scarcity, students who have forgotten money on a particular day or for students who find themselves on campus after the cafeteria has closed.
Cornell U Connects Three New Solar Arrays
The three new solar-electric arrays will help the university reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1,830 metric tons and, combined with two previously installed solar projects, will provide around seven percent of the university's electricity needs.
The New School & North Carolina State U Students Win Cradle to Cradle Competition
A pocket knife designed with Autodesk Fusion 360 by students of The New School won Best Use of Fusion 360 and a prescription medicine bottle that reduces medical waste designed by a student at North Carolina State University won Best Student Project in the fourth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge, presented by Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The design challenge encourages the design community to envision solutions for the circular economy, inspired by cradle to cradle product design principles.
Syracuse U Allocates Inaugural $50K Campus as Lab Funding
Six faculty and student projects will receive grants totaling $50,000 through the new Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability (CALS) funding program. The call for proposals sought projects that address climate disruption and offer opportunities for communication and outreach to the campus and wider community. Some of the projects include a lab to research and test ways to connect electric vehicles to the Smart Grid and a climate disruption virtual reality simulator.
AASHE Publishes 2016 Annual Report
The new report details AASHE’s accomplishments and progress throughout 2016, spotlighting STARS, education and professional development, AASHE Sustainability Awards, the annual conference & expo, resources and publications, and membership. New to the report this year is a Member Spotlight section, an initiative that celebrates AASHE-member successes.
SUNY New Paltz Awards $1.4M Toward Energy Projects
The university's energy management coordinator organized awards totaling more than $1.4 million for four energy projects: a solar energy storage system, thermal blankets to wrap heating piping in the mechanical rooms of buildings across campus to conserve energy and reduce heat loss, LED lighting upgrades and implement a summer demand response program.
Wilfrid Laurier U Gets Fair Trade Designation
University staff spent the past year developing a fair trade steering committee, making changes to product availability and working with retail managers and vendors. Under the designation, all food outlets operated by university and its Students’ Union in Brantford and Waterloo will serve fair trade certified coffee, and fair trade certified options for tea and chocolate bars.
Carlow U to Research Gun Violence & Offer Scholarship to Victims
Educating for Justice is a new three-year university focus on gun violence. The initiative will examine several issues related to gun violence, including access to guns, and other contributing factors, such as lack of education, poverty and mental health. As part of the initiative, Carlow is using donor funds to create need-based scholarships for students who have been victims of gun violence.
U Illinois Farm to Install Biomass Boiler
The greenhouse at the university will soon have a new biomass boiler from Germany that will replace the greenhouse's current propane gas fuel, resulting in fewer carbon-dioxide emissions. The boiler will use perennial grasses grown on the farm.
Two U Rhode Island Buildings Achieve LEED Gold
Hillside Hall includes photovoltaic panels for electricity, green roofing, radiant heat, recycled building materials and no-touch water fountains. The renovation to the Fitness and Wellness Center includes the use of bamboo flooring and hydration stations.
U California Riverside Launches Bike Share Program
The bike share program, hosted by Zagster, allows university community members to access its bikes through the download of its mobile application. Rental of a bike is free for the first two hours, with the remainder of rental time costing $1 per hour, with a $6 per day maximum.
Oregon State U Board Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Responding to calls from students and faculty concerned about global warming, the university's board of trustees voted recently to dump the university’s investments in the fossil fuel industry. The decision means the state treasurer will begin selling off about $6.7 million in securities issued by fossil fuel companies, which represent less than 2 percent of the $516 million currently held in the fund.
Royal Roads U Allocates $21.5M Toward Environmental & Cultural Center
With $21.5 million from private and public funding, the new Center for Environmental Science and International Partnership will be founded. As part of the project, a now century-old building will receive energy efficiency upgrades while a new building featuring an environmental science teaching lab and teaching spaces for on-campus undergraduate programs will be constructed. The new center will include a student commons to promote international and intercultural understanding.
U South Carolina Business School Building Achieves LEED Platinum
The new building includes an outdoor terrace and roof garden space, storm water capture for reuse and irrigation, drinking fountains with bottle filling ability, and a hybrid HVAC system that uses under-floor air, active chilled beams and variable air volume systems, all designed to reduce the amount of power needed to move air for heating and cooling.
Montana State Residential Building Scores LEED Gold
The new freshmen dormitory features solar pre-heated water for domestic uses, low-flow faucets and shower heads, covered bicycle storage facilities and the use of beetle-kill pine wood boards throughout the building.
Johns Hopkins U Building Gets LEED Platinum
The Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories was designed to use 40 percent less energy than similar lab buildings. Its designs include highly efficient heating and cooling systems, occupancy sensors that control lights and HVAC, low-flow water fixtures and lab technologies designed to conserve energy and water.
Central CC Partners With Utility on 1.7MW Wind Turbine
The college partnered with Bluestem Energy Solutions and the City of Hastings, Nebraska, to complete a 1.7-megawatt wind turbine on the college's Hastings campus. The wind turbine is owned and operated by Bluestem, although the college will claim a portion of the environmental attributes generated by the project. The turbine is slated to be part of the college's alternative energy program in fall 2017.
Students Nationwide March for Fossil Fuel Divestment
Hundreds of students across the country staged a walk-out in an effort to show that President Donald J. Trump's climate denial does not have their consent. The demonstration was a call to academic administrators to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy.
GreenMetric Releases 2016 Ranking
The GreenMetric World University Ranking from the University of Indonesia released its sustainability ranking for 516 universities participating from 74 countries. The results are computed from information provided by universities online. The information is organized under six main categories: Green Statistics, Energy and Climate Change, Waste Management, Water Usage, Transportation and Education.
Higher Education Institutions of Scotland Join Electronics Watch
(Scotland) All 44 universities and colleges in Scotland have become full affiliate members of Electronics Watch, an independent monitoring organization working to improve labor standards in the global electronics industry through socially responsible public purchasing.
U Pittsburgh Bookstore Implements BYO Bag Initiative
Over the past two years, several different student groups at the university have taken steps to make plastic bags disappear, encouraging campus buildings and vendors to use reusable bags instead. Now customers at the university bookstore can buy a reusable bag for 99 cents, pay 25 cents for a plastic bag or forego a bag all together and carry their purchases.
U Florida Launches Public Water Quality Website
The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences launched a new website to teach Florida residents how to preserve and protect the state’s quality of water. The site is targeted at different roles of people regarding how to be more efficient with their water usage. Topics include water use in agriculture involving irrigation and fertilizers, water use in nature, like aquifers and wetlands, and how homeowners and builders use water in urban settings.
Green Mountain College Offers Sustainability Scholarship to High Schoolers
High school seniors who want to pursue an interest and eventually a career in sustainability can apply for the college's new First in Sustainability Scholarship, a $200,000 award that seeks to bring attention to the college's sustainable mission and encourage a wider array of students to apply to the college. The scholarship will fully cover the winner's four-year tuition, room, board and fees.
CFP Championship Game Makes Strides to Reduce Impact
Playoff Green Project was an initiative to make the January 2017 College Football Playoff Championship game, held in Tampa, Florida, more sustainable by seeking to reduce food waste through donations, reduce solid waste by recycling and purchase renewable energy certificates.
Northland College Aims to be Regional Food Hub
Working toward providing 80 percent locally grown food by 2020, the college is currently constructing a Food Systems Center, which will include a food-processing lab, composting system, demonstration gardens, a high tunnel greenhouse, an orchard and academic programming.
Brandeis U to Purchase Electricity from 1.3MW Solar System
In a 20-year power purchase agreement, the university will purchase all electricity that comes from a 1.27-megawatt photovoltaic array, set to come online in spring 2017. Through the utility billing mechanism known as virtual net metering, Brandeis will receive credits on its utility bill for every kilowatt-hour produced by the system. The system is expected to reduce the university's energy bill by $2 million over 20 years.
Arizona State U Enters PPA on 40MW Photovoltaic Plant
The university, along with PayPal, recently entered into a power purchase agreement with Arizona Public Service Company to purchase electricity from a grid-tied, 40-acre, 40-megawatt solar-electric system. Trackers were installed on the system that allow the panels to follow the sun in order to maximize output.
Three Georgia Universities Address State Water Crisis
Open to students at Emory, University of Georgia and Georgia State University, the recently concluded Sustainability Case Competition asked participants to create a five-year plan to mitigate Georgia's water crisis, taking water conservation, distribution, resilience and impact on community stakeholders into account. The winning team has chance to work with the Department of Watershed Management on implementing their five-year plan, and all participants have the opportunity to intern.
U Kentucky Allocates $200K Toward Six Sustainability Projects
As part of the Sustainability Challenge Grant Program, six projects that further campus sustainability are sustainability education in the first year experience, introduction of an interdisciplinary research program for undergraduate students, development of a sustainable, community food system that includes training students how to cook, and creating a tree ambassador program that raises awareness for the benefits of urban trees.
U Albany Renovation Receives LEED Gold
Mohawk Tower, a 24-story residential high rise originally built in 1972, was recently renovated to include upgraded windows and awnings, energy-efficient lighting, dual-flush toilets and metered faucets, and the use of Forest Stewardship Council certified wood and low-volatile organic compound construction materials, such as adhesives and paints.
Emory U Installs 1MW Cogeneration System
In October 2016, the university installed a one-megawatt combined heat-and-power (CHP) generator that will retrieve otherwise wasted heat, allowing the system to use the same amount of natural gas fuel input but produce more electricity. Emory's goal is to produce 10 percent of energy on campus by 2025.
U Arkansas Little Rock Increases Higher Ed Accessibility Via Partnership
The university partnered with Little Rock School District on a new partnership, Trojan Pathway, that aims to make higher education more affordable and accessible. Through the partnership, students in the classes of 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and their parents can sign a non-binding agreement that guarantees the student a spot at the university as long as the student satisfies admissions criteria, submits a complete application and makes acceptable financial arrangements.
AASHE Welcomes Board and Advisory Council Members
In the fall of 2016, AASHE held governance elections that resulted in the appointment of two new board members, Ann Erhardt, director of energy programs and director of sustainability at Michigan State University, and Cynthia Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability at University of Illinois at Chicago. Forty-five new Advisory Council members were selected.
U Georgia Moves to Clean Polluted Campus Lake
The university has announced a plan to clean a polluted campus lake, whose waters have been off limits to the public since a 2002 algae bloom vividly showed off the lake’s high pollution load. The university has contracted with design firms to restore the lake, with final design plans ready around March. Construction is set to begin fall 2017.
Maryland Gov. Announces $7.5M for U Maryland 'Green Energy Institute'
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced his environmental agenda for the coming legislative session that included allocation of $7.5 million to the University of Maryland to create a green energy research center. The mission of the Green Energy Institute will be to develop and attract private investment and commercialize clean energy innovations and deployment solutions in Maryland.
Husson U Students Receive Grant to Study Stormwater Runoff
The three students were awarded $1,500 from Maine Campus Compact to study stormwater runoff. Working on the project with the faculty member and chair of the campus sustainability committee, the students will be using the award to design a rain garden on Husson’s Bangor, Maine campus.
Black Hills State U to Install Four Solar Energy Arrays
In an effort to normalize what it pays for electricity and to further its environmental efforts, the university is moving forward with four photovoltaic arrays that are projected to provide approximately 17 percent of its annual electricity consumption. The university currently pays 3 cents per kilowatt-hour to Western Area Power Administration. Six months out of the year, BHSU exceeds its allocation from WAPA and then buys power from Black Hills Energy at a rate of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. The solar power will replace the power bought from Black Hills Energy.
National Institute Solar Energy Launches Realtime Monitoring
(India) The National Institute of Solar Energy recently completed the installation of a monitoring system that will help keep track of energy consumption as well as efficiency of power generating units. The school meets all its energy requirements through solar power and produces surplus that it can send back to the grid.
Fairfield U Releases Inaugural Sustainability Plan
The university's first Campus Sustainability Plan includes actions to enhance education and student engagement, manage energy use and other university resources, and build new facilities to increase sustainability all over campus.
Michigan State U Receives $2M for Community Partnerships
The university's Office of K-12 Outreach will use a $2.1 million grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to work with the city of Flint, Michigan. The funding will be used in Flint Community Schools on four strategies that include training the district's managers on the effective use of data and strengthening community relations.
The Chronicle Features the 'Sustainable Campus Index'
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently covered AASHE's 2016 Sustainable Campus Index, an impact report that spotlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type. The report used data from AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).