U California San Diego Wins Freezer Challenge
Over 200 labs representing 34 organizations across North America competed in the Freezer Challenge, which encouraged researchers to implement best practices in cold storage management. Labs received points for taking actions, such as properly maintaining freezers and refrigerators and discarding old samples. UC San Diego saved an estimated 500,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Honorable mention goes to the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Virginia. An individual lab at Harvard University won top honors by saving an estimated 13,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
U Texas Austin Removes Three Confederate Monuments
After protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent in mid-August, the university’s president said in a letter to the campus' community “that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism." After speaking with the campus community, the president decided to remove and relocate three Confederate statues on campus, indicating the statues "represent the subjugation of African Americans" and are not in alignment with the university's core values.
Texas A&M U Cancels Speaker Event Over Safety Concerns
After consultation with law enforcement, the university has cancelled an on-campus event scheduled for September by Preston Wiginton, a Texas-based white nationalist. Wiginton linked the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, with his planned protest, which raised concerns about the safety of the university's students, faculty, staff and the public.
Northwest Missouri State U and SUNY Oswego Win Sustainability Awards from AASCU
Northwest Missouri State University and the State University of New York Oswego won the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' (AASCU) Sustainability and Sustainable Development Award. The program honors member institutions for excellence and innovation in sustainability. Northwest Missouri State was cited for its Comprehensive Sustainability System, which has produced $15.4 million in energy savings, and SUNY Oswego's BikeShare and BusShare projects were highlighted.
Duke U Removes Robert E. Lee Statue
After recent vandalization of a statue of Robert E. Lee at the entrance to the university's chapel, Duke University president recently authorized its removal after conferring with students, faculty, staff and alumni. The statue will be preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future. The president also announced that a commission will be assembled to understand how best to memorialize individuals on campus and recommend principles drawn from Duke’s core values as a guide when questions arise.
AAC&U Selects Ten Institutions as Sites for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the ten institutions selected to serve as sites for the first Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers. The TRHT Campus Centers are part of a multi-year initiative to educate, prepare and inspire the next generation to advance justice and build equitable communities. Selected through a competitive process, the institutions are: Austin Community College; Brown University; Duke University; Hamline University; Millsaps College; Rutgers University-Newark; Spelman College; The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina; University of Hawai’i at Mānoa; and University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Luzerne County CC Enters $8M Energy Performance Savings Contract
The community college recently contracted with Ameresco to renew and upgrade its campus energy infrastructure and to institute energy efficiency measures. The nearly $8 million project is expected to save the college more than $576,000 annually in energy costs and operation and maintenance savings for the next 15 years. In addition, the college will earn $122,757 in energy rebates and incentives.
Winona State U Hires First Sustainability Director
Nathan Engstrom will be directly responsible for collecting and analyzing data, developing implementation strategies, overseeing and assessing progress towards established metrics and standards, and reporting to all constituent groups on campus. Engstrom, who previously served as regional sustainability coordinator at Northland College, has a master’s degree in sustainable design from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and environmental studies from Northland College.
U Philippines Baguio Implements Carless Wednesdays
(Philippines) In an effort to reduce the university's carbon footprint, the university began Carless Wednesdays, prohibiting the campus community and visitors from parking cars on university property each Wednesday.
Bournemouth U Initiates Employee Sustainability Program
After a six-month pilot of a behavior change program reduced energy consumption by 14.6 percent across four departments, the university is expanding the program to all staff members. The initiative works by engaging employees on a range of themes through an online platform and app. Employees are rewarded with points for reducing their environmental footprint and improving their well-being through measures such as cycling, car-sharing or using re-usable cups and bottles.
MIT Prepares to Upgrade Cogeneration Plant
The upgrade project will soon replace an aging 22 megawatt turbine with a new one and install a second 22 megawatt gas turbine. Each will be equipped with a heat recovery steam generator. In addition, the upgrade includes changing fuel use scenarios for five existing boilers to eliminate the use of No. 6 fuel oil on campus and equip them to use cleaner fuels. The plant will switch to using natural gas for all normal operations, relegating fuel oil to backup emergency use only. Both new turbines are projected to be in service by 2020.
Duke U, Unity College & U Texas Austin Win Top Honors for Dining Practices
The National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability in campus dining operations. The 2017 grand prize winner is Unity College, who also won top honors in the Waste Management category followed by Oregon State University and Georgia State University, respectively. The first, second and third place winners in Outreach and Education are respectively University of Texas at Austin, University of Massachusetts Amherst and College of Saint Benedict. In the Procurement Practices category, Duke University, University of Montana and Purdue University ranked first, second and third place respectively.
MIT Energy Initiative Announces $10.3M Collaboration
The $10.3 million, five-year collaboration with energy company Iberdrola aims to advance technologies and policies that will help transition to clean energy and fight climate change. The agreement includes $5 million in funding for a professorship at MIT dedicated to research and education in power systems engineering.
Rhode Island to Offer Free Community College
The state's lawmakers passed the state budget proposal recently, which included $2.8 million to fund the free tuition program for one year. Graduating high school seniors who maintain a 2.5 GPA and go to school full-time will be eligible, regardless of income. Rhode Island joins three other states – New York, Tennessee and Oregon – that have approved plans to make community college free.
U Notre Dame Establishes Endowment for Sustainability Minor
The Otterbeck Family Endowment for Excellence in Undergraduate Sustainability Studies was established in March. The first major program supported by the endowment this past semester was a course development grant, which was awarded to six faculty members to support the creation of new sustainability courses. Other goals include student research support, alumni mentoring and career guidance.
U Michigan Serves Campus Farm Produce
The university's campus farm was able to begin supplying its produce to on-campus dining halls after attaining its USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) food safety certification in June. This effort was in part made possible by the addition of a covered produce wash station built by volunteers and student farmers. Students volunteers work at the farm each week, engaging in hands-on learning about sustainable farming, the environment, equality and issues of justice surrounding food.
Emory U Class Revitalizes Pilot Green Roof
An abandoned rooftop garden was recently revamped through a class project and was funded by the university's Sustainability Incentives Fund grant through Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives. The original project in 2008 was part of a student-led pilot study exploring the benefits of vegetative roof coverings and had been largely unmaintained since.
AASHE Announces Sustainability Award Finalists
The AASHE Sustainability Awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. This year, there were 35 finalists chosen across 10 categories. Entries were judged on overall impact, innovation and other criteria specific to each category. Winners will be announced during a special ceremony on Oct. 15 at the 2017 AASHE Conference & Expo.
Mount Royal U & Simon Fraser U Designated as Changemaker Campuses
Ashoka U recognized the institutions for having embedded social innovation as a core value. Along with the Colombian Institute of Administration, a business school in Colombia, they join a network of 40 institutions across eight countries. MRU and SFU are the first Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses in Alberta and British Columbia, respectively.
Oakton CC Installs 25KW Solar Array
The roof-mounted photovoltaic system on the college's Skokie campus consists of approximately 80 solar panels. The Skokie campus is also home to a test system that is accessible for enrolled students and provides them with hands-on experience working with solar panels.
U Northampton Opens Biomass Energy Facility
(U.K.) The 6.5 million British pound ($8.4 million) facility uses woodchip biomass and gas to provide hot water and heating to buildings around the university's Waterside campus via a 1.6-kilometer district heating network.
U College London Pilots Paper Cup Recycling
(U.K.) The two month pilot is intended to determine the viability of rolling out a permanent paper cup recycling service. During the pilot, paper cups, including those used for coffee and soft drinks, will be collected separately and taken to a mill where the polymer plastic liner will be separated so all the paper fiber can be recovered and recycled.
Monroe CC Installs Green Roofs
The 22,000 square feet of newly installed green roof on the college's Downtown Campus is capable of capturing 13,000 gallons of rainwater during a single rain event. It will also decrease the urban heat island effect and reduce electricity usage needed to cool and heat the campus.
Eastern Kentucky U Creates Scholarship With Solar Savings
The Photons for the Future scholarship program uses the monetary savings generated by 25 solar panels on campus to provide $1,000 scholarships to students pursuing degrees in scientific fields. A donation helped pay for the solar panels and provide scholarship seed funding.
Santa Fe CC Receives $351K for Building Energy Automation & Microgrid Training Center
Awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the funding will support the purchase of critical equipment for the Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center, which provides specialized hands-on training in the fields of building automation and microgrid energy distribution systems. The college is leveraging an additional $326,000 in state appropriations and $111,661 in donated equipment and engineering expertise from industry partners to support the project.
Queen's University Receives $11M for Renewable Energy Research
(Ireland) The $10.9 million (9.3 million euros) funding will be used to create a "virtual center of competence" to support research into bio-energy and marine-based renewable energy sources. Working with a number of cross-border partners including the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University, and University of Highlands and Islands, the center will research wave and tidal power, ocean power, and energy produced through anaerobic digestion of food waste.
Australian Catholic U Raises AU$200M Through Sale of Sustainability Bonds
(Australia) The university has secured 200 million Australian dollars ($158.5 million) in investor funds earmarked for projects that deliver positive social and environmental outcomes. The funds will go toward teaching and research in areas including education and healthcare and green property projects that are in alignment with the International Capital Market Association’s Sustainability Bond Guidelines. The ACU Sustainability Bonds are the first sustainability bonds issued in Australia.
U Illinois Chicago Receives $450K to Help Chemistry Teachers Tackle Heavy Metals
UIC has received a nearly $450,000 National Science Foundation grant that will help high school chemistry students and teachers from seven Chicago public schools study and address urban heavy metal contamination in their communities. The project, called “The Poisoned Onion,” will support educators to teach chemistry within the context of heavy metal contamination in the soil and water of Chicago neighborhoods.
U Washington Utility Plant Receives Gold Designation From ISI
The new West Campus Utility Plant has received an Envision Gold award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). The ISI Envision system measures sustainable infrastructure in five categories: quality of life, leadership, natural world, resource allocation, and climate and risk. Sustainable elements of the plant include natural rain gardens and enhanced pedestrian infrastructure, measures to prevent pollutants from contaminating surface and groundwater, and increased energy efficiency.
Unity College Launches Sustainable MBA Degree
Launching January 2018, the college's new MBA degree program is a 14-month online program that seeks to educate students on how to make the business case for applicable sustainability innovations in industry.
California State U Receives $250K for Clean Tech Workshops
The university received a $250,000 grant from the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator's new Energize California initiative that will fund clean technology innovation workshops and events at five Los Angeles-area CSU campuses over the next five years. The workshops are intended to help students learn about resources and programs that could help them bring new clean energy technologies to the market.
U Notre Dame Announces Waste Diversion Plans for 2017 Football Season
For the first time, fans will be able to recycle bottles, cans and paper products inside the stadium via single-stream recycling receptacles. A game day food donation program has also been developed to decrease waste from the stadium while providing consumable food to local nonprofit agencies.
Dartmouth College Deploys Reusable To-Go Containers
After two years of research and assistance from the Dartmouth Office of Sustainability and Dartmouth Dining Services, a student helped launch the Green2Go food takeout program, which replaces the disposable to-go containers with reusable ones. The program involves a one-time payment of $4 for a reusable container. Used containers can be dropped off at any dining location on campus.
Thompson Rivers U Installs Sidewalk Made of Solar Panels
A professor from the university's Geography and Environmental Studies department and students helped install photovoltaic panels on a sidewalk in July. The solar sidewalk project is meant to demonstrate the role sidewalks and other everyday structures can play in generating energy.
George Brown College to Erect a 12-Story Carbon Neutral Building
The planned structure is designed to be a carbon-neutral, tall building made from wood that produces the same amount of energy or more than it uses. The college plans to create a Tall Wood Research Institute to share their experiences, ideas and research in low-carbon, mass timber construction.
Northwestern U Upgrades Lab Ventilation Systems
In an effort to conserve energy and maintain healthy, safe and comfortable labs, eight buildings now have an air quality monitoring system that saves energy by ensuring that lab ventilation systems run only as much as needed to maintain healthy air quality. Research and testing in one of the campus' buildings revealed that, with the new system, the number of air exchanges per hour could be reduced from nine to four, resulting in a cost savings of $117,000 per year.
U Illinois Chicago Students Plant Urban Garden
Aiming to address issues of sustainability and food security in low-income Chicago communities, the new urban garden was developed and implemented by two undergraduate students in the university's Human Development and Learning program. During the spring 2017 semester, the two students acquired access to the plot of land and earned funding from the university to partner with a local sustainable garden-to-table organization.
North Carolina State U Architecture Class Builds Facility for Campus-Grown Food
The student-designed and built facility will bolster productivity of the university's Agroecology Education Farm by offering a place to wash and store produce grown for university dining halls. The building includes integration of reused materials, such as a sink basin, cedar siding and three steel coolers that will be modified to function with brand-new cooling systems. The building will also include a rain garden, a small herb garden, a cistern to collect rainwater for irrigation and exterior landscaping with native plants.
Saint Mary's College California Utilizes Solar Trailers
The college now has six mobile solar generators that contribute to exterior lighting and electric vehicle charging. At no cost to the college, each solar generator consists of two solar panels, a backup biodiesel generator and battery storage.
Indiana U Purdue U Indianapolis Earns Bee Campus Designation
The university recently obtained Bee Campus USA certification for its activities designed to support pollinators. The designation was announced during the university's second year participating in Pollinator Count Week, a Keep Indianapolis Beautiful event that seeks to take inventory of pollinators and raise awareness of their role in the human food system.
MIT Announces Inaugural Incubator Fund Recipients
The school's Office of Sustainability announced the recipients of the first-ever Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund, with $200,000 awarded between four multi-departmental projects, all of which use the MIT campus as a test bed for research in sustainable operations, management and design. The four selected projects include water recapture at the power plant, modeling the environmental impact of buildings, evaluating the benefits of recycling laboratory gloves, and eliminating wasted energy in HVAC systems.
U Notre Dame Connects 145KW Solar Array to Grid
A new 144.72 kilowatt ground-mounted photovoltaic array is expected to generate approximately 194,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This would offset nearly one-third of the total electricity used by the 5.77 acre warehouse to which it is connected.
Loyola Marymount U Signs Principles for Responsible Investment Pledge
In an effort to promote and support ethical decision-making, the university recently announced its decision to sign onto the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, a set of guidelines for incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions.
Western Michigan U Receives LEED Gold for Residence Halls
The Western Heights housing complex includes energy-efficient HVAC and other mechanical systems, occupancy sensors for common areas and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Amenities within the new halls are strategically located in communal spaces to encourage students to have more interpersonal interactions with their peers.