Trinity College Dublin Students Pass Motion to End Single-Use Plastic Bags

(Ireland) The Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union passed a motion that seeks to replace single-use plastic items on campus with compostable alternatives.

Arizona State U Student Spearheads Lab-Glove Recycling Program

A junior majoring in sustainability and interning at Kimberly Clark, a paper company, started a lab glove recycling program in partnership with Kimberly Clark called RightCycle. Lab gloves are collected with special cardboard boxes, sent to recycling centers and processed into plastic pellets or nitrile powder, which can then be used to manufacture anything plastic.

Texas Tech U to Create Local Food Concentration

The department of Plant & Soil Science will establish a new undergraduate degree specialization in local food and wine production systems, the creation of which was a response to the continued growth of local-food sales.

U Edinburgh Invests Millions in Low Carbon Companies

(U.K.) The university recently moved $79.3 million (60 million pounds) of its investments into two funds that businesses that support a cleaner, more sustainable and climate-friendly future. One fund invests in companies that tackle a range of sustainability issues, including green products, low-carbon infrastructure, sustainable water, energy and food, while the second fund direct supports a global transition to low-carbon and renewable energy.

Campus Compact Announces Positive Engagement Grant Recipients

Campus Compact, a nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, recently announced 40 college and university recipients of grants from its Fund for Positive Engagement to bring people together across lines of difference.

My Green Lab Launches Environmental Label for Laboratory Products

My Green Lab recently announced the launch of ACT (accountability, consistency, transparency), an environmental impact factor label for laboratory products. The ACT label is designed to provide critical information on the environmental impact of laboratory products in an effort to increase transparency and assist customers in making sustainable choices in purchasing.

Smith College Establishes a $100K Student Managed Fossil Fuel-Free Fund

Smith College has provided $100,000 to the Smith College Investment Club to create and manage a new portfolio of fossil-fuel-free investments. Students will set criteria for what meets the standard of a fossil-fuel-free portfolio, and will make investment decisions. The new fund, which grew out of a recommendation from the Study Group on Climate Change, offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the growing field of impact investing.

Fort Lewis College Receives $355K to Further Food Security

The Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College, along with community partners, have been awarded a $355,000, three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture Local Food Promotion grant to launch a Durango Regional Food Recovery Hub. The initiative will address food insecurity, create secondary markets for farmers, and offer student learning opportunities.

Simon Fraser U Embeds Sustainability Into Commercial Contracts

The university is now selecting local contractors with sustainable practices over large corporate competitors as part of its commitment to sustainability, innovation, community and customer service.

U California Berkeley Partners to Improve Animal Welfare Through Purchasing

Cal Dining at the University of California Berkeley and Farm Forward recently announced the launch of the Leadership Circle, a program that leverages the buying power of institutions to change the way animals are raised for food. Members of the Leadership Circle commit to purchase only third-party certified, higher-welfare products in at least one product category within two years.

Radford U Building Earns LEED Gold

The university's College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building was constructed with materials containing 20 percent recycled content. Ninety-nine percent of the facility’s wood products are Forest Stewardship Council certified. Water usage in the building is reduced through low-flow toilets, sinks and showers, creating an annual savings of about 221,000 gallons per year, and exterior shading helps reduce solar heat gain, which reduce energy use and cost.

Southern Oregon U Launches Botanical Tour

The tour includes GPS coordinates for trees located across the university’s 175-acre campus, along with a printed tour brochure and a web-based tour. The tour serves to educate southern Oregon residents about the campus' biodiversity, inspire people to expand sustainability efforts and foster engagement with groups throughout the community.

U Colorado Boulder Receives LEED Gold on Three New Buildings

The Sustainability, Energy and Environment Laboratory, a hub for environmental and sustainability research, features a high-performance energy recovery system that captures waste exhaust from labs and utilizes it in the heating and cooling of the building. The East District Energy Plant features a rain gardens that captures all stormwater from the roof and a yellow roof to reduce light pollution. The Grounds and Recycling Operations Center building features include an 11-kilowatt rooftop solar array, exterior LED lighting and an electric-truck charging station.

AASHE Announces 2017 Sustainability Award Winners

Announced at the annual AASHE Conference & Expo, 10 awards were handed out to those that rose to the top in the juried program. The three award categories were Campus Sustainability Achievement, Student Sustainability Leadership and Campus Sustainability Research. There were 230 total entries in 2017.

Monash U to Become 100% Renewable Energy Powered

(Australia) The university is investing $135 million in a project called Net Zero in an effort to generate all of the energy used on its campuses from renewable resources. In addition, Monash has committed that it will be carbon neutral by 2030, meaning residual emissions from operations, such as plane travel, will be mitigated by purchasing certified and socially-conscious carbon offsets.

Loyola U & Portland CC Win Climate Leadership Award

Loyola was chosen as the winner in the category for four-year institutions. It has reduced carbon emissions per-square-foot by 38 percent from a 2008 baseline at two of its locations. Portland Community College, recipient in the two-year category, has reduced energy consumption per-square-foot by 65 percent since 2006. The 2017 Climate Leadership Award was given by the U.S. Green Building Council and Second Nature.

U Reading Reduces Vending Machine Waste

(U.K.) In an effort to prevent more than half a million plastic bottles from entering the landfill, new vending machines allow students to use a specially designed reusable bottle. The "Sustain It" bottle is a reusable bottle that contains a microchip that allows users to pre-pay for drinks that can be filled at the new vending machines.

Blackburn College to Meet 100% of Student Financial Need

The Blackburn Promise is a new program that meets the full amount of each individual student's financial need after they have paid their estimated family contribution as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Direct college costs covered by the Blackburn Promise financial aid package include tuition, fees, room and board.

EPA Announces Green Power Leadership Award Winners

The University of California and University of Tennessee, Knoxville won the Excellence in Green Power Use award, while Stanford University and University of Missouri won the Direct Project Engagement award. The Excellence in Green Power Use Award recognizes Green Power partners that use green power in amounts that exceed the minimum benchmark requirements or can demonstrate a distinct market impact through innovation, communications and stakeholder engagement. The Direct Project Engagement Award recognizes partners that use financing structures with on- and off-site projects to access renewable energy certificate-based green power.

St. Joseph College Maine Launches Local Food Institute With $4M in Funding

The Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation seeks to develop the state’s food and beverage industry and meet regional food security goals. The institute will encompass five enterprises: a food manufacturing incubator, a hydroponic farm, a traditional crop and livestock farm, an agri-tourism event center, and a complementary entrepreneurship development and education program offering certificates.

U Chicago Graduate Students Vote to Unionize

The university's graduate students voted to unionize with 1,103 voting "yes" to 479 voting "no". Voter turnout was 70.5 percent.

HEI Presidents Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Protecting Dreamers

Nearly 800 college and university presidents and chancellors signed onto the letter sent to U.S. Senate and House leaders, urging Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect Dreamers. Citing widespread public support, the letter argues that individuals covered under DACA have made valuable contributions to US economy and security and should continue to be able to do so.

U Utah Announces LEED Gold Certification on Athletics Building

The 102,000-square-foot basketball facility was completed with over 23 percent of recycled materials and resources selected from the Utah region, and a stormwater management plan that resulted in a 25 percent decrease in the volume of stormwater runoff. All interior and exterior light fixtures are LEDs, and the HVAC systems, building insulation and windows were selected to minimize energy waste, which has resulted in exceeding the LEED baseline energy performance rating by 38 percent.

Saint Joseph’s U & PRME to Develop Business Education Assessment Tool

In mid-October, Saint Joseph’s University’s Erivan K. Haub School of Business announced a partnership with the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative. Both organizations will develop a new data analytics tool, the PRME SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) Dashboard, to assess business schools’ success in delivering socially and environmentally sustainable management education. The tool will measure the participating business schools’ fulfillment of the SDGs based on its curriculum, academic research, community and global outreach, and campus integration of the goals.

Ohio State U to Cover Full Tuition for Qualified Students

In an effort to increase affordability for in-state students, the university will ensure that all in-state students who qualify for Pell Grants receive an aid package that covers the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees.

Penn State U Berks Chancellor Establishes Endowment for Ethics & Sustainability

Penn State Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk and his wife have established the Hillkirk Family Program Endowment for Ethics and Sustainability, which will provide ongoing support to increase awareness and education and to encourage action in the campus community and beyond, regarding issues related to ethics and sustainability. This endowment was funded with an initial gift of $25,000 and will provide resources for programs and initiatives to engage the campus community. The college has established a committee that will review funding requests, which can be initiated by faculty, staff and students.

Pennsylvania State U University Park Receives $262K for Graduate Studies of Pollinator Decline

The five-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will support three graduate fellows for three years each in the university's graduate training program in entomology and ecology aimed at helping to solve the multifaceted problem of pollinator decline.

U Maryland Celebrates 2 MW Solar Carport Installations

More than 7,000 solar panels now sit atop Regents Drive, Terrapin Trail and Mowatt Lane parking garages, with a combined capacity of 2 megawatts. The project was funded by a $250,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration and matched funding from the university's Facilities Management.

Smith College Trustees Approve Responsible Investment Recommendations

At its October meeting, the college's board of trustees adopted four strategic recommendations regarding climate change and the Smith endowment, which are designed to support the college’s commitment to environmental sustainability while also ensuring the continued health of the endowment.

North Carolina State U Introduces Professional Clothes Exchange

Through the Wolfpack Styled clothing reuse program, the university’s Career Development Center connects students with free professional clothes while also reducing textile waste. Student interns and volunteers organize and sort donations, which have come from faculty, staff, alumni and a local, alumni-owned consignment store.

Northern Arizona U Installs Tree Education Project

In an effort to educate the community about the value of urban trees, this time-limited installation included 23 "price tags" in Wheeler Park and NAU’s North Quad that describe the financial contributions of the trees as a result of their various ecosystem services and health benefits.

U Utah To Source Half Its Electricity Needs From Renewables

A new agreement will provide 20 megawatts of geothermal energy and 10 megawatts of solar energy to the university for the next 25 years, which is estimated to reduce the University of Utah's total carbon emissions by 25 percent.

U California Los Angeles Launches Bike Share Program

Developed in partnership with CycleHop, Bruin Bike Share will start with 130 bikes distributed at 18 hubs. Cyclists can rent the bikes for $7 an hour or purchase a plan that includes 90 minutes of daily riding time.

U Mississippi Launches Bike Share Program

The program, a collaboration between Ole Miss and Gotcha Bike, will start with 50 smart bikes with seven hub locations.

Michigan State U to Test Algae-Based Carbon Capture on Power Plant

With the support of a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, university researchers will test a novel technique for capturing power plant emissions while producing high-value chemicals and biofuels with algae. The test will take place at the T.B. Simon Power Plant on MSU’s campus.

College of the Desert Deploys Mobile Renewable Energy Unit

The unit is designed to generate, store and distribute power to critical operations. It will be used in sustainability education programs and as a recruiting tool with prospective students.

Five Colleges and Universities Receive 2017 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards

Guilford College, Keene State College, Northern Arizona University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh received the award from The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. The award celebrates institutions where the commitment to leadership extends into civic roles in the communities beyond their own campuses.

Florida State U Enters Into Energy Conservation Contract

The university is partnering with Cenergistic LLC to create a five-year energy conservation program that is projected to save the university $12 million in energy costs. As part of the agreement, Cenergistic will hire at least four university student interns each summer.

Florida State U Marching Band Eliminates Paper Flip Charts

Band members are using an attachment called “eFlip” to mount smartphones with marching materials onto their instruments. The move is expected to save 200,000 sheets of paper a year.

Northwestern U Releases Inaugural Sustainability Plan

The comprehensive plan details the next five years of environmental stewardship at Northwestern, laying the groundwork for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The plan establishes goals to reduce energy consumption in campus facilities by 20 percent by 2020 (from a 2010 baseline); transition the campus fleet to run exclusively on renewable energy by 2030; and divert at least 50 percent of waste generated on campus from landfills by 2020.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Begins Construction on 4.5MW Solar Farm

The 18.5-acre solar farm is expected to generate about a quarter of Cal Poly’s total power needs. It is being installed under a power purchase agreement with REC Solar, which will also provide funds for student and faculty involvement, help develop curriculum around the solar panels, and collaborate on applied research. Construction is expected to finish in late December.

Baker Center at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wins 2017 Livable Buildings Award

The Baker Center for Science and Mathematics received the award from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) for a sustainable design that includes operable windows, radiant heating/cooling in offices and conference rooms, chilled beams in laboratories, a green roof, active monitoring of laboratory air, and an atrium designed to take advantage of daylight and passive ventilation. The award - the only building industry honor that includes feedback from occupants in its selection criteria - recognizes buildings that demonstrate exceptional performance in occupant satisfaction, resource efficiency and overall design.

U Arkansas Pine Bluff Completes 321KW Solar Installation

The 321 kilowatt solar park is the largest public solar installation in Arkansas and is part of a $19.3 million energy performance contract that is expected to reduce the university’s energy consumption by 32 percent.

Loyola U Chicago and Portland CC Win Climate Leadership Awards

Awarded by Second Nature and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Climate Leadership Awards recognize advanced leadership in sustainability, climate change mitigation and resilience. Bristol Community College and Georgia Southern University received Honorable Mentions.

Pomona College Provides Students With Free Access to Reusable Menstrual Care Products

The college has partnered with Diva International Inc. to provide its students with free access to a reusable, eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads known as The Diva Cup.

SUNY Receives $800K Grant to Develop Sustainable Village in Haiti

With a nearly $800,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 10 State University of New York campuses and five not-for-profit organizations will be working together to establish a sustainable village and learning community on 40 acres of land in Akayè, Haiti.

U Maryland Releases Climate Action Plan 2.0

The updated climate action plan that outlines new strategies and priorities to help the university become carbon neutral by 2050 and integrate sustainability into educational and research efforts across campus.

Acadia U Becomes Fair Trade Campus

The university's new designation that recognizes its commitment to Fair Trade, an alternative approach to business based on partnerships between producers and consumers.

U Maryland Center for Environmental Science Breaks Ground on 2 MW Photovoltaic Array

The two-megawatt solar array, expected to go live in spring 2018, will power approximately 50 percent of the university's Horn Point Laboratory campus. A third party will install and operate the solar panels and sell the energy they generate to the university under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Northeastern U Dining Stops Using Trays and Plastic Bags

Thanks to student-led efforts, two sustainability-focused measures have been implemented: trayless dining halls and the elimination of single-use plastic bags in one of the residential dining facilities.