Western U Receives $11.6M Grant for Energy Upgrades
The grant will go toward a retrofit to modify heating systems from steam to hot water in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce the use of natural gas. The change is expected to result in a 12 percent reduction in emissions from 2016 levels and an estimated cost savings of $1.5 million annually. The funding is from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program of the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
Arizona State U Hosts 'Day Without Cars' Event
As part of a coordinated effort to further sustainable transportation efforts, nearly 400 university students and staff members signed a pledge to take an alternate, non-single occupancy vehicle mode of transit to campus on March 27.
Ball State U Students Create SGA Green Council
The Student Government Association voted recently to add a green council to its senate. This council will bring together environmentally-focused student organizations to collaborate on improving campus sustainability.
Stetson U to Launch Minor in Sustainable Food Systems
Courses in the new minor will be taught by professors of public health, chemistry and other environmental sciences, as well as media and communication. The new minor can be paired with any undergraduate degree, and requires five courses and 20 credit hours. The new program is expected to launch fall 2018.
Stetson U Students Compile ESG Stock Index
Five university seniors in the Roland George Investments Program (RGIP) created a new index focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. In total, $300,000 was approved from the RGIP Growth Fund for investment in four of the six stocks comprising the index.
U Richmond Receives $75K Grant for Energy Management Plan
A $75,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will support the development of a comprehensive energy conservation management plan, including an energy audit to document energy usage and identify measures to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
U Dayton Hires Executive Director of Sustainability Institute
Ben McCall was selected to be the first executive director of the University of Dayton's Hanley Sustainability Institute. Currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, McCall helped develop a project to verify carbon credits from campus emission reductions, raising nearly $1.5 million for campus sustainability efforts. He also coordinated design of and fundraising for a biomass boiler system; advocated for the first wind energy power purchase agreement for the campus; and facilitated the initiation of a student-led program to convert used cooking oil from dining halls into biodiesel. His appointment begins in mid-August.
Cornell U Students Redesign Regional Bus Signage for Accessibility, Clarity
Students of the Cornell University Sustainability Design (CUSD) collaborated with the county-wide campus and regional bus system to redesign over 560 signs to incorporate responsive mobile phone text messaging to help riders understand routes and delays. The new signs are also compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Northwestern U Earns Energy Star Partner of the Year Award
The award recognizes Northwestern’s achievements in energy efficiency, including its efforts to accurately track energy usage data and measure progress in reducing consumption. Northwestern recently completed a comprehensive energy audit of all 222 campus buildings in Evanston and Chicago, representing more than 14.5 million square feet of space. Northwestern is the first university in more than a decade to receive the award and the fourth university ever to be recognized. Previous higher education winners include the University of Michigan (2004), University of Virginia (2001) and University of Missouri-Columbia (1997).
Acadia U to Eliminate Plastic Straws
At the request of students, Chartwells, Acadia’s food service provider, committed to eliminating plastic straws from retail and dining hall operations. ASU food and bar services have also reduced straws in operations as part of a campaign led by several students in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.
Utah State U Offers Bike Sharing
Through a partnership with Spin, a new bike-share program is now available to the campus and surrounding community. The program costs students and those within the USU community 50 cents for 30 minutes. Logan City will also be deploying up to 100 bikes soon.
Ithaca College Moves to 100% Renewable Electricity
Working toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral, 100 percent of the college’s electricity has been purchased from Green-e certified national wind farms since February 2018. The purchase will offset around 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, roughly 35 percent of IC’s total emissions.
Cape Fear CC Receives $16.5K Grant for Solar Energy Program
Of the $16,500, $9,000 will be used for student scholarships and certification tests, such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certification exam, while $7,500 will be used for ongoing training for instructors. The grant was dispersed by Cypress Creek Renewables.
Cranfield U to Complete Large Solar Array
(U.K.) Covering roughly four acres, a total of 3,508 solar panels will generate five percent of the annual electricity at the campus and also provide a new renewable energy research facility to be used by students attending energy courses.
Hobart & William Smith Colleges Announce Completion of 5 MW Solar System
With support from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the completed five-megawatt solar project consists of two solar arrays, each providing 2.5 megawatts of clean energy. Containing more than 15,000 solar panels, the system will provide enough power for approximately 50 percent of the campus’ electric needs and provide students with hands-on experience in clean energy learning.
Ball State U Students Conduct Solar Assessment of Community Brownfield Sites
A group of second year urban planning students in the university's College of Architecture and Planning studied the brownfield redevelopment programs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and then analyzed the solar potential of 19 Delaware County brownfields as well as the existing conditions of many sites. Nine students authored a summary report of the process and output of this immersive learning project.
Mount Holyoke College Seeks Carbon Neutrality by 2037
The college's board of trustees recently announced the 2037 carbon neutrality goal, which is also the institution’s bicentennial. To achieve carbon neutrality, the college aims to invest in energy efficiency and conservation, retrofit historic buildings and transition to carbon-neutral heating and electricity sources. The decision to pursue carbon neutrality came after nearly a year of analysis and research by the college's Sustainability Task Force.
North Carolina State U Gregg Museum Addition Earns LEED Gold
The building’s native and water efficient plants will reduce water use by 52 percent, a reflective roof will reduce heat absorption from the sun, and there are preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as visitors who carpool or vanpool.
U North Carolina Charlotte Connects With City by Light Rail
The 9.3-mile stretch of extended light rail tracks offers 11 new stations providing service to the university’s main and uptown campuses. The campus added sidewalks, crosswalks, and bus stations to support pedestrian traffic from stations. For the station on the edge of campus, the university funded a pedestrian bridge over a highway.
U Washington Installs Solar Fins for Shade & Power Generation
In an effort to reduce heat gain and use renewable energy in the university's Life Sciences Building, the building, which is still under construction, will feature vertical glass fins that include embedded photovoltaic cells along the south side of the building.
U Virginia Tests Compostable Bed Linens for Orientation
The university recently used compostable sheets and pillowcases for overnight freshman orientations. The material is made from plants and is chemical-free, hypoallergenic and USDA Certified Bio-Based. A local composting business that picks up the university's food scraps will also take the bedding and compost it, returning a portion of the resulting compost back to UVA for use in their campus garden.
St. Lawrence U Publishes Campus Sustainability Map
The intention of the new map application is to provide the university community with information and locations related to sustainability points of interest on the main campus. The map allows viewers to navigate different layers of sustainability on campus ranging from where to bring organic waste to locations with renewable energy to information about outdoor air quality.
U Hawai'i Maui College to Generate 100% of Energy Needs with Onsite Solar
A new solar photovoltaic system coupled with battery storage will be capable of eliminating the campus’ fossil fuel-based energy use when it becomes operational in 2019. The project is part of a partnership with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current that will also allow four UH community college campuses on Oʻahu to significantly reduce their fossil fuel consumption through the combination of solar shade canopies, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures.
U Bristol Strengthens Divestment Commitment
(U.K.) The University has pledged to divest completely from all investments in fossil fuel companies within two years. The new commitment builds on its previous commitment to end investment in companies that derive more than five percent of turnover from the extraction of thermal coal or oil and gas from tar sands.
UNESCO Designates Chair of Global Understanding for Sustainability at University of Jena
(Germany) The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has established a Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Over the next four years, the new chair will primarily encourage getting social sciences and humanities to become more involved in sustainability research. Social geographer Dr. Benno Werlen will hold the position.
College of the Holy Cross to Phase Out Knight Mascot and Imagery
Noting that the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties the college to religious wars and the violence of the Crusade, it will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. It will instead use the interlocking HC on a purple shield as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising.
U Florida Launches Center for Public Interest Communications
The center is dedicated to developing, translating and applying the science of strategic communication to drive social change. Among other things, the center will promote scholarship that can advance the practice of public interest communications and will create undergraduate and graduate curricula for adoption by other institutions. The university's College of Journalism and Communications has also launched the Journal for Public Interest Communications, an open-access academic journal devoted to this emerging field.
U California Los Angeles to Offer Bachelors Degree in Climate Science
Housed in UCLA's department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, the program will be among first undergraduate degree programs in climate science worldwide. The degree program will provide undergraduates with the scientific understanding they need to assess the effects of climate change, both from human activity and from natural climate variability. It also will provide students with the knowledge and tools they need to communicate on the subject with decision-makers in the public and private sectors.
U Virginia Launches 'Shut the Sash' Competition
In late 2017, the university launched its first “Shut the Sash” competition to encourage safer, more efficient working standards under chemical fume hoods. Competition participants earned points by answering educational questions, watching videos on sustainable research practices, and submitting before and after photos of fume hoods.
Cornell U Adopts New Standards for Healthy Dining
As part of the university's participation in the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, Cornell Dining is focusing on whole, minimally processed food and transparency in menu items. More than 50 changes have been made, such as: eliminating trans fats, MSG, and artificial food coloring; serving whole muscle meat with no soy protein fillers; and avoiding artificial additives in pepperoni, breakfast sausage, most deli meats and pizza.
U Colorado Boulder to Assist City With Climate Justice & Conservation Work
CU Boulder's Foundations for Leaders Organizing for Water and Sustainability (FLOWS) program will work with the city of Longmont on a pilot project to help train Longmont employees and community members on climate justice, and energy and water conservation work. With a $15,000 Boulder County sustainability grant, the project will involve program development, community engagement, staff and resident training, supplies, equipment and evaluation, in addition to providing workforce development opportunities for underrepresented communities.
Arizona State U Partners with MLB to Reduce Waste at Baseball Games
Major League Baseball and the university's School of Sustainability recently announced that a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students will analyze the waste stream and operations at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Students will test and implement zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks.
Radford U Receives LEED Gold on Three Residence Halls
The three residence halls feature low-flow toilets, sinks and showers, and occupancy sensors that turn off LED lighting when rooms are unoccupied. Each of the renovations incorporates rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo flooring in lobbies and lounges.
Eight Hong Kong Institutions Launch 'Skip the Straw' Initiative
(Hong Kong) The City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Education University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and The University of Hong Kong aim to reduce plastic waste by introducing regular awareness campaigns and no straw days or implementing a campus-wide ban of plastic straws.
Elon U Earns LEED Silver on Schar Hall & Steers Pavilion
Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion were designed to provide green space and pedestrian walkways to encourage the use of outdoor space. All of the plumbing fixtures are low-flow, and landscaping around the buildings is designed to minimize the need for irrigation. The buildings are about 32 percent more energy efficient than those that meet the standard building energy code, and the buildings’ water, natural gas and energy use can be observed through a real-time monitoring system. During construction, 95 percent of the waste was recycled or reused.
McGill U Bans Sale of Bottled Water on Campus
On the eve of World Water Day 2018, McGill has announced that it will phase out the sale of single-use bottled water over the coming year. By May 1, 2019, non-carbonated water will no longer be sold in retail and vending machine locations on the downtown and Macdonald campuses. The university also plans to work with event organizers to reduce the use of bottled water at McGill events.
Fordham U and SASB to Develop Sustainability Accounting Education Program
The university's Gabelli School of Business will partner with Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) to advance the field of sustainability accounting through education, research and public events. In addition to hosting SASB board meetings at Fordham, the university will host a speaker series, conduct academic research into current and emerging topics related to financially material sustainability issues, and develop and test education materials for students.
Cornell U Establishes Center for Health Equity
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell’s Ithaca campus have established a new center to better understand why health outcomes vary among demographic groups. Through partnerships with communities in New York City and central New York, the Cornell Center for Health Equity will study the potential causes of health care disparities, which include unequal health care access and quality, as well as social influences, among minority communities with the goal of achieving health equity for people locally, regionally and nationally.
U Dayton to Construct 1.26 MW Solar System
Meeting approximately two percent of campus-wide power consumption, the 1.26-megawatt photovoltaic system is expected to save the university roughly $300,000 in avoided energy costs over its 30-year lifespan. The university hopes to have the arrays online by early 2019.
College St. Scholastica Introduces 'Sustainability Studies and the Environment' Degree
The Sustainability Studies and the Environment bachelor of arts degree program that begins fall 2018 contains required courses in the fields of biology, chemistry, economics, the humanities, political science and philosophy. A minor will also be available. The program creation was inspired by Pope Francis’s first encyclical, Laudato Si’, from 2015, which says caring for the Earth is a moral imperative.
GUPES Announces 2017 Green Gown Awards Winners
The U.N. Environment Program and the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) recently announced Chiba University in Japan as this year’s GUPES Green Gown Awards Winner for its pioneering Student Committee-led achievement of international Environmental and Energy Management Systems certifications, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, respectively. A collective of five universities in Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich University of Teacher Education, Zurich University of the Arts, and Zurich University of Applied Sciences, won the Highly Commended Award for their Sustainability Week Zurich, a large student run sustainability project in Switzerland.
Durham U to Divest From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Following a year-long review of divestment options and the impact divestment would have on the university’s finances, the university’s highest governing body recently decided to withdraw financial investments from companies involved in fossil fuel extraction. These currently total less than $2.1 million (1.5 million British pounds).