Moraine Valley CC Achieves Arboretum Accreditation
The community college was recently acknowledged with Arboretum Accreditation-Level I status through the ArbNet program. The accreditation acknowledges the school's effort to have a healthy and robust tree canopy, while providing educational opportunities about the trees. Thus far, 1,322 trees in 77 distinct species have been mapped while efforts are still underway to identify and map more area.
Bemidji State U Unveils Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The new Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a student-driven initiative that promotes and reinforces fundamental values of civic engagement and leadership, and international and multicultural understanding in a space safe for all students, faculty and staff. Dr. Brian V. Xiong has been hired as the center’s coordinator.
University Deans Refuse Funding From Tobacco-Tied Anti-Smoking Group
Seventeen American and Canadian public health schools have signed a pledge saying they won't work with or accept money from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an anti-smoking group funded by Philip Morris International. Philip Morris International plans to contribute close to $1 billion to fund the organization, whose mission is to reduce illness and death from smoking. The statement claims both the tobacco industry and Philip Morris International have a long history of funding research in ways meant to purposely confuse the public and advance their own interests.
Queen’s U Belfast Opens Research Center for Renewable Energy
(U.K.) Working with a number of partners across Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland, the $12 million (9.7 million euros) research center for renewable energy projects will recruit 34 doctorate students across the marine and bio-energy disciplines to research the use of tidal and wave power generation.
Bucknell U Names New Director of Sustainability Center
The Bucknell Center for Sustainability and the Environment's new director is Peter Mark Jansson, a Bucknell professor of electrical and computer engineering. Being active in many of the university's sustainability initiatives, Jansson is a co-founder of the Institute for Leadership in Sustainable Technology, an interdisciplinary experiential-learning summer program in which student teams act as sustainability consultants in residential and commercial settings. He is also an adviser to the Renewable Energy Scholars. His research and teaching interests include solar energy engineering, smart electric grids, sustainable transportation, and problems related to energy and the environment.
U Wisconsin–Madison Increases Pay for Staff & Faculty by 4%
The university has announced that the 2017–2019 pay plan will be distributed to faculty and staff in phases, with the first two percent increase taking effect in July 2018 and the second two percent in January of 2019. Other recent compensation changes designed to benefit some of the university's lowest-paid workers included an increase in the living wage standard to $13.01 per hour beginning Dec. 24, 2017, and an increase in the differential pay for employees working night and weekend shifts.
Tsinghua U Earns LEED Gold on Schwarzman College
(China) The 200,000-square-foot building is connected to a RESET Certified air quality monitoring system, which uses a cloud-based tool to provide metrics regarding the performance of indoor air filtration. The system makes air quality data available to all building occupants.
U Virginia Building Achieves LEED Silver for Rotunda Renovation
The renovation of the university's Rotunda building, which took from 2012 to 2016, included upgraded, energy-efficient HVAC and plumbing systems, and conversion of all lights to LEDs. The paints, adhesives and sealants all included low volatile organic compounds and 95 percent of the materials that were removed from the historic building were recycled.
SUNY Announces Partnership to Support Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency Advancements
In her State of the University address earlier this year, SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson called for purchasing 100 percent of SUNY’s electricity from zero-carbon sources and deep energy retrofits at SUNY campuses, which represent 40 percent of state-owned buildings. To support this effort, she announced a partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to support eligible SUNY campuses to develop energy master plans and provide access to on-site energy managers who can identify areas for improvement and engage in strategic planning and feasibility studies.
North Carolina State U Installs Scoreboards Powered By The Sun
In November, University Recreation installed two solar-powered scoreboards in the Method Road Field Complex, where Wolfpack club and intramural sports teams host approximately 250 games and 500 practices each year. The solar kit’s batteries store energy so that the scoreboards can be used on cloudy days, as well as evenings. A grant from the university's Sustainability Fund helped fund the scoreboards, which will save an estimated $400 annually in avoided electricity costs.
Parkland College Approves 2MW Solar Energy Farm
The board of the community college approved a contract in mid-January to build a 2 megawatt solar energy field on campus. Under terms of the agreement, Parkland expects to save $25,000 to $30,000 annually on its electricity costs and would pay none of the upfront or operating costs of the system. The solar field would provide between 10 and 15 percent of Parkland's energy use.
EAUC Releases Sustainability in Education Report
(U.K.) The Sustainability in Education report, recently released by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and others, is based on research from a sample of 500 staff members from universities, colleges and students’ unions in the U.K. Some of the key findings include one in three respondents reported sustainability as a strategic priority for the institution they work at, up seven percent from 2016, yet one percent of respondents felt their institution was doing all it could to progress environmental and social responsibility.
U Iowa Adopts 'Climate for Change' Theme for Spring Semester
The Climate for Change theme aims to get students to think about the environmental problems they may face in the future. Throughout the semester, the university will offer events on destruction of natural resources, climate change, and food and water insecurity.
Brandeis U Receives $8.4M Gift for Social Justice Initiatives
A former rehabilitation doctor who visited Brandeis just once, but felt a strong connection to its social justice values, left the university an $8.4 million gift, which will provide financial aid for four to five students in the Sustainable International Development program and support research and program development in the Center for Global Development and Sustainability.
Raritan Valley CC Announces Carbon Neutrality
The community college has offset its Scope 1 emissions by acquiring carbon offsets, mostly from wind energy and some from landfill gas. Since 2014, the college has offset all Scope 2 emissions by purchasing renewable energy certificates.
Keele U Partners on Large-Scale Smart Energy Project
(U.K.) The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator will be a single, integrated electricity, gas and heat system that includes the digitalization of 24 substations and the installation over 1,500 smart meters, 500 home controllers and a five megawatt renewable integration package. Developed in partnership with Siemens, the project will provide analysis of energy consumption to enable demand management and allow businesses to access the university's infrastructure in order to develop and test renewable and smart energy technologies.
U New South Wales to Go 100% Solar
(Australia) A 15-year power purchase agreement will enable the university to achieve its goal of carbon neutral energy use by 2020.. Starting in 2019, the university will purchase up to 140,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough solar energy to meet 100 percent of its electricity use.
Florida State U to Procure Solar Energy
The university recently entered into a partnership with the City of Tallahassee to procure approximately 20 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy per year, which is about 10 percent of the energy consumption of FSU’s main campus.
U Colorado Boulder Installs Vertical, Aeroponic Greenhouse
The new greenhouse is equipped with 140 towers, each of which contains 44 plants that are watered through a tube in the middle. The harvested greens go from the towers to a washing station a few feet away then to the salad bar at Village Center dining hall.
U California Los Angeles Reduces Travel Emissions With Fee
A new university program reduces the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from university business-related air travel by assessing a carbon mitigation fee for these flights. A $9 fee will be applied to each domestic round-trip flight and a $25 fee to each international round-trip flight. Air travel mitigation fees will be placed into a fund, which will then be made available annually to the campus to finance university projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot program will run from January 2018 through December 2020.
Pennsylvania State U University Park Building Earns LEED Silver
Improvements to the university's Steidle Building included installation of two new HVAC systems with heating and cooling based on occupancy, LED lighting with occupancy sensors and ability to self-adjust based on natural light, dual-pane windows with added insulation between interior and exterior walls, new roof and insulation, and low-flow energy-efficient fume hoods. Lobby furniture was made from recycled materials and materials were sourced from within 500 miles of campus.
Princeton U Pilots Food Waste Biodigester
Beginning in February 2018, the university will pilot an in-vessel aerobic digester that will convert a portion of campus food waste into a soil amendment for university grounds, while serving as a living laboratory for multi-disciplinary investigations into all aspects of food waste conversion.
Humber College Receives Fair Trade Designation
The Canadian Fair Trade Network designation was granted to Humber’s south Etobicoke campus in mid-January for the college’s commitment to ensuring the availability of Fair Trade products, such as coffee, tea and chocolate in vending machines, the bookstore, and campus eateries and catering. Achieving the designation is part of the college’s five-year plan to make its campuses more sustainable.
Meal Exchange Releases Food Report Card for Ontario Universities
The Campus Food Report Card released by Meal Exchange measures the success of Ontario universities in providing locally-grown, sustainable, healthy and accessible food as rated by students, foodservice staff and campus administrators at 21 campuses across the province.
Northwestern U Earns LEED Platinum for School of Management Building
The university's new Kellogg School of Management building features a geothermal system, LED lighting throughout the facility and low-flow plumbing fixtures in restrooms and kitchens. Its landscaping is designed for efficient irrigation and contains plants that require minimal watering. The building's location offers occupants various forms of public transportation, and cyclists have access to bike racks, showers and changing rooms.
Blackfeet CC & U Montana Western Partner to Increase Indigenous Educators
A new partnership between the two schools, aided by a $1 million federal Office of Indian Education grant, seeks to design and implement a program that addresses the shortage of teachers serving Indigenous children on the Blackfeet Reservation. Through this grant, the schools have recruited Blackfeet faculty to design and deliver a Blackfeet culture-infused curriculum for Blackfeet teacher candidates who teach or will teach in area schools.
Warren Wilson College & Bard College Collaborate on Five-Year Undergraduate/Graduate Program
Warren Wilson College has partnered with Bard College’s graduate programs in Sustainability to help environmental studies students graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Through the new agreement, undergraduates can opt to dual enroll at both campuses. For the first three years, students study, work and serve at Warren Wilson College and then complete their education at Bard.
U Florida Publishes Guidebook for Integrating Cultural Resources into Disaster Planning
With support from the National Park Service, the Conservation Clinic at the university's Levin College of Law recently released a guidebook to help Florida state and local governments better integrate cultural resources into hazard planning. It describes current emergency management and preservation planning frameworks, provides examples of disaster planning practices, and presents new policy and planning recommendations.
U Virginia Creates Online Solar Energy Tracker Tool
Multiple work groups at the university collaborated to develop and launch an online tool that displays real-time data on its renewable energy portfolio, which includes energy production on 1,700 panels installed in 2017. The goal of the tool is to raise awareness of the university’s investment in solar energy production and the environmental savings resulting from these initiatives, and to support learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff.
North Carolina State U Uses Compostable Cups
Through a new partnership between the University Sustainability Office and Waste Reduction and Recycling, NC State Dining started using compostable cups in early January at two major dining locations on campus. This expands an existing compostable selection at the student union that includes napkins, to-go containers and single-use bamboo plates.
Hampshire College Uses 100% Solar Electricity
The residential college now has 100 percent of its electricity sourced from 15,000 photovoltaic arrays on two fields that have a capacity of 4.7 megawatts. The college is buying the electricity at a fixed rate for about half the rate the college had been paying. The project is estimated to save the college about $400,000 a year in electricity costs for up to 20 years, for total estimated savings of $8 million.
Michigan State U Completes 11 MW Solar Carport
As of December 21, five parking lots spanning 45 acres now have fully operational photovoltaic arrays over them totaling 11 megawatts of electricity. The arrays are expected to save the university $10 million over 25 years, and provide approximately five percent of its annual electricity needs.
U Puerto Rico Partners to Deliver Clean Water
The university recently partnered with two organizations to provide continuous, clean water and power to some of those affected by the hurricanes this fall. A solar-powered system will provide long-term benefits to the local people while being used as a teaching instrument for the engineering students at the university campus.
U Illinois Chicago Hospitals Pilot Providing Shelter for Homeless
The university has concluded a 2015 pilot program that provides housing for 26 emergency room “super utilizers”. Health care costs per patient housed dropped 18 percent on average each month. The University of Illinois Hospital will expand the program to house 25 additional homeless patients. At least three other Chicago hospitals are launching or recently launched similar programs.
Emory U Students Create Educational Waste Diversion Videos
Multiple two-minute videos were created by Emory students that educate viewers about the importance of landfill waste diversion, including the social and environmental impacts of landfills. The videos were submitted on behalf of a video competition as part of the university's zero waste commitment, which aims to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025.
Maharishi U Students Build Electric Vehicle Charging Station for Campus Use
Eleven students in a recent course on energy and sustainability built a charging station for electric cars that is attached to its Sustainable Living Center grid. The station uses some of the excess energy from the wind turbine and solar panels that power the building. The charging station, which is free for anyone to use, was set up for about $600.
Emory U Creates Zero Waste Policy
In an effort to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025, the university recently formalized its commitment by publishing a new waste management policy that engages the entire campus in the push to enhance recycling efforts. The new policy calls for adding additional collection stations, making existing stations more efficient and creating a new team to assist with removal of compost and recycling at campus stations.
Broward College Adjuncts Form Union
Adjunct faculty members at the college in Florida recently voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The new unit has approximately 1,700 eligible members, and some 92 percent of those who voted approved of the union bid.
U California Davis Building Earns BREEAM Certification & LEED O+M Gold
The Plant and Environmental Sciences Building, completed in 2001, comprises 140,394 square feet, about 80 percent of which is lab space. A lab retrofit project in 2014 resulted in 36 percent energy savings from temperature setbacks and reduced ventilation rates during occupied hours. Other green features include occupancy-based lighting and heating-ventilation-air conditioning control for spaces and fume hoods, low-flow fixtures and Energy Star-rated computers. The university is using the building as a test case for comparing the LEED and BREEAM rating systems.
U Minnesota Replaces Old Heating Plant With Co-Gen Plant
A decommissioned 104-year-old heating plant on the university's Twin Cities campus has been resurrected as a 22.8 megawatt combustion turbine and heat recovery co-generation system that will generate electric power and steam. The university expects the system will reduce its net carbon footprint by 10 to 13 percent.
U Alberta Releases Sustainable Purchasing Guide for Promotional Products
The new guide aims to assist procurers of promotional products in embracing sustainability criteria and principles into their purchasing processes. It contains best practices, a directory of suppliers, and a worksheet to determine the most sustainable choice among three different suppliers.
Western Washington U Releases Sustainability Action Plan
The new plan, which was drafted with campus-wide input including three public input sessions, will serve as the university’s roadmap for protecting local and global ecology, upholding social equity, creating economic vitality, and maintaining human health.
U Washington Creates Sustainability Engagement Games
A group at the university held the Sustainability Game Jam, an event that brought together dozens of students, faculty and staff over a weekend to create game prototypes that communicate concepts around sustainability. It was funded by a Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) grant.
College William & Mary Facilities Management Receives CIMS Sustainability Certification
In late October, ISSA, a trade association for the cleaning industry, awarded William and Mary's Facilities Management the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS)-Green Building Certification, which means that Facilities Management administration and a staff of 165 custodians offer environmentally friendly cleaning across the campus' 170 buildings.
Johns Hopkins U to Divest Holdings in Major Coal Producers
Following a recent vote of its board of trustees, the university will divest from its separately managed holdings in thermal coal recently. The board's vote directs the university to stop buying the stocks and bonds of companies that produce coal for electric power as a major part of their business, and to sell from its endowment or other investments any securities it directly owns from those companies, on a schedule that minimizes financial loss.
Rutgers U Raises Pay to $11 Per Hour for Student Workers
The minimum wage for student workers will go from $8.44 an hour to $11 an hour, starting Jan. 1, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a letter to students. The 30 percent raise affects more than 13,000 students who work in dining halls, libraries, offices and other facilities on the New Brunswick-Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses.
U Virginia to Facilitate Governor's Environmental Justice Panel
Representatives from UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation will serve as facilitators for the 15-member Environmental Justice Advisory Council, established by Virginia Govenor Terry McAuliffe in October. The mission of the council is to ensure that environmental policies around major issues like air quality or sea-level rise serve the interest of every Virginian, and that no area or group bears a disproportionate share of the burden.
Boston U Approves Climate Action Plan
The Boston University board of trustees recently approved a Climate Action Plan that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions across both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus and fund broad infrastructure improvements in preparation for flooding or heat surges in the coming decades. The plan calls for capital improvements estimated to cost about $141 million over 10 years and the reduction of carbon emissions on the campuses to zero by 2040.