U Wisconsin-Madison Hires Sustainability Director
Melissa Nergard has been selected as the inaugural full-time director of Sustainability. Nergard comes to UW-Madison from Illinois State University where she served as director of Sustainability. In the near term, Nergard will focus on expanding and re-aligning the Office of Sustainability in order to advance the university’s sustainability efforts, as well as spearhead the university's AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) reporting and greenhouse gas data collection, benchmarking and reporting. Nergard holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from UW–Stevens Point and a master’s in history from Illinois State, and is scheduled to complete her Ph.D. in higher education administration in 2019, also from Illinois State.
U Edinburgh Charges for Disposable Cups
(U.K.) As of August 2018, all hot drink prices in university cafes will be lowered to show the price customers will pay if they bring their own reusable cup, while customers without cups will be charged a small fee to purchase a disposable cup. This reverses the previous pricing structure in which all hot drinks prices were for disposable cups, with customers who brought a reusable cup receiving a discount.
Georgia Southern U Dining Offers Farm-to-Table Program
Thanks to a new in-house partnership, the farm-to-table program will feature food from the university's aquaponics farm, the Foram Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center. The aquaponics system is located in an approximately 4100-square-foot greenhouse that supports student and faculty research in multiple departments.
U California President's Office Launches Million Light Bulb Challenge
The Million Light Bulb Challenge is a statewide effort to advance the purchase of 1 million high-quality, energy-efficient light bulbs for campus buildings and residences across the state. Under the program, all UC students, staff, faculty, retirees and alumni can purchase light bulbs at nearly half the price of online competitors.
Princeton U Introduces Car Sharing
The university's Transportation & Parking Services recently partnered with Enterprise CarShare in an effort to reduce campus traffic congestion while also meeting student needs for on-demand transportation. The new service offers an automated way for the campus community to rent a vehicle by the hour, the day or overnight.
Drake U Receives Two GBI Green Globes on Two Buildings
The university recently announced that it earned a rating of Two Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative (GBI) for the construction of its newest academic buildings, the Science Connector Building and Collier-Scripps Hall. The two buildings feature a white roof to promote indoor cooling, energy-efficient windows and lighting, increased amounts of insulation in the roof and walls, and low flow water fixtures. The sites include drought-tolerant landscaping and easy access to public transportation and rental bicycles.
St. Lawrence U Enters PPA for Solar Energy
Entering into a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), the university will purchase solar electricity from a 2.9-megawatt photovoltaic solar system located just outside of Watertown, New York. The system, which came online in mid-July, is expected to produce 18 percent of the university’s total annual electricity consumption.
Penn State U New Kensington Receives $75K for Community Engagement
The university was awarded $75,000 from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund for the creation of a community educational workshop that will host speakers and sessions related to sustainability and energy for community members and business owners. The workshop will also help identify local needs and gaps. Remaining funding will support revitalization efforts in the city of New Kensington.
Western Michigan U Receives LEED Gold on Dining Center
The university's Valley Dining Center includes an exterior living wall and green roof section, a rain garden that helps to keep 100 percent of stormwater on-site, landscaping designed to be drought tolerant and require little to no irrigation, energy-efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and water systems, a food pulper and water extraction system, and dishwashers with energy-recovery units that use the steam generated during operation to pre-heat the water for further operations.
U Manchester Joins Principles for Responsible Investment
(U.K.) In joining the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the university now works with its investment managers to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their selection criteria. A couple features of the policy are identifying and promoting low or zero-carbon investments where available without detrimental impact to investment risk and returns, divesting in shares in companies which do not respond positively to concerns about their practices or are deemed to be in breach of acceptable standards or ethical or environmental practice, and engaging more proactively with investment managers to ensure that the new policy is being put into practice.
U Cambridge Establishes Sustainability Fellowship Program
(U.K.) The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Program was recently launched by the the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to provide a platform for academic departments, Cambridge colleges, and the private sector to collaborate to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Three Universities Receive NACUBO Sustainability Awards
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) annual awards honor institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management. The three universities that received this honor for sustainability leadership are University of California, Los Angeles; University of Minnesota, Morris; and University of Texas at Arlington.
Columbia U Introduces Six Electric Buses to Fleet
The university is replacing the existing diesel-powered buses with six new electric buses to its campus shuttle network. In addition to improving air quality, the university also aims to reduce noise pollution. Transitioning to electric buses is expected to reduce shuttle greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent from the diesel-powered shuttle buses.
Tiffin U Begins Construction on 240 KW Photovoltaic Array
Construction of the 240-kilowatt solar electric system will begin in October, which will be mounted on the university's indoor practice arena. It is projected to supply approximately 26 percent of the annual electricity consumption of the building.
U Washington Reduces Plastic Waste With Bamboo Toothbrushes
Thanks to an undergraduate student, the university's School of Dentistry is now replacing some of the plastic toothbrushes handed out to patients with ones that have bamboo handles. The toothbrushes' handles are made from wild bamboo grown with no pesticides or fertilizer. The student secured grants to purchase the toothbrushes, which come from a company that donates part of its profits to a women's shelter in Seattle.
Penn State U University Park Releases Pollinator Video Game
A collaboration between the university's School of Visual Arts and the Center for Pollinator Research led to the creation of Pollinator Panic, an online strategy game that raises awareness of the issues around bee population decline. The game allows a player to assume the role of a field researcher who is working to restore a bee community.
Penn State U Receives $50K for Student Farm
The $50,000 from the university's Auxiliary & Business Services will be used to support paid student interns and an assistant farm manager at the university's Student Farm, which is in the third year of operation. Led by members of the Student Farm Club and housed within Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the Student Farm gives students from across the university hands-on experience in all facets of farming and running a business.
Marshall U Rolls Out Bike Loan Program
Starting fall 2018, students will be able to check out bicycles to ride around campus for free through a new Eco Bike Loan Program, which will have 30 bikes available for use by students, faculty and staff.
Lenoir-Rhyne U Introduces Sustainability Scholarship
Lenoir-Rhyne undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy that plan to pursue a Master of Science in Sustainability Studies at the university now have the opportunity to apply for the Bracewell/Trout Unlimited Conservation Education Scholarship. The expected award is $3,540 - $4,130 per year toward tuition and additional fees.
Southern Oregon U Opens to Community for Smoke & Fire Relief
In an effort to provide relief from the heat and smoke-filled air caused by dozens of climate-driven wildfires throughout the area, the university is now welcoming community members to several air-conditioned facilities across campus. The university has also opened its indoor track in the Student Recreation Center for community members to have a cool, clean place to exercise out of the smoke.
Bucknell U Diverts Food to Animals in Behavior Program
Since last fall, Bucknell University Dining has donated excess fruit and vegetable cuttings to its Animal Behavior Program, which is used to supplement the diets of the roughly 50 primates housed on campus. The donated food has allowed the Animal Behavior Program to cut its supplemental food budget in half.
Alabama State U to Build Teaching Garden
Thanks in part to funding by the the Mid-South Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc., the university has plans to install a teaching garden and entomology lab on campus this fall to introduce students to the plant sciences and sustainable agricultural practices.
SUNY Fredonia Designates Low-Mow Zones
The university recently designated 10 acres of meadows as low-mow zones, meaning the meadows will only be mowed once a year. In addition to generating less noise and pollution, the university expects to see a cost savings on labor, chemicals and equipment use.
MacEwan U Expands Bee Hive Collection
After a successful trial project to keep bees and sell their honey, the university increased the hive count from four to six. Over the two years of the project, the resident beekeeper has engaged 12 students and gives tours to the community at-large who are interested in urban food production.
U Bristol to Pilot Well-Being & Sustainability Program
(U.K.) The three-month Be the Change pilot program started in July 2018 and encourages the university’s 6,000 staff members to adopt well-being behaviors, such as volunteering, mindfulness and keeping active. It also promotes sustainable travel, energy and water conservation, and sustainable purchasing.
NACUFS Highlights Dining Sustainability Award Winners
The annual National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor member institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations. The overall winner was Harvard University, which also earned Silver in Waste Management. Boston College earned top honors in Outreach and Education, Carleton University earned first place in Waste Management, and the University of Rochester earned top place in Procurement Practices.
U South Florida St. Petersburg Receives LEED Platinum for Lab
The university’s Warehouse Laboratory, which houses biology, chemistry and physics labs, was an old Greyhound bus service station whose entire shell, walls and floor were kept during a recent renovation. It features a 40-kilowatt solar carport, a new roof, an energy-efficient heating and air system, and enhanced insulation.
7 Universities Receive Energy Dept Funding for Solar-Thermal Desalination Research
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $21 million for 14 projects, of which $11.4 million went to seven universities. The projects will focus on reducing the cost of solar-thermal desalination and helping the technology to reach new markets, including to areas that are not connected to the electric grid. The seven schools selected and funding allocated were Columbia University ($1 million); Oregon State University ($2 million); University of California, Los Angeles ($2 million); University of California Merced ($1.1 million); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($1.6 million); University of North Dakota ($2 million); and Rice University ($1.7 million).
ISCN Announces 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award Winners
The International Sustainable Campus Network announced the 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award winners. The University of Copenhagen (Denmark) won the Building and Innovative Infrastructure Award; Stanford University won the Campus Planning and Management Systems Award; the Free University of Berlin (Germany) received the Innovative Collaboration Award; and the University of Cyprus (Cyprus) earned the Student Leadership Award. These awards recognize universities for exceptional sustainability efforts in campus planning, integration with academics, student leadership, and exemplary building projects.
U Idaho Launches Bike-Share Program
Starting in August, the university will launch a dockless bike-share program for the fall semester using Spin bicycles. Students and staff can rent the bicycles using a smartphone app. The bikes' baskets contain a solar panel that powers the bike lock battery and GPS.
Duke U Bans Disposable Plastics
All 34 dining locations on the university’s campus are now required to no longer carry single-use plastic carryout bags, plastic hot and cold beverage cups, plastic straws, and plastic utensils. In recent years, Duke Dining has also eliminated its use of bleached paper products and Styrofoam. Dining venues will now use paper bags and utensils, and straws and drinkware made from a Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plant-based substance with properties similar to traditional, oil-based plastics.
U Alabama Birmingham Installs 16 EV Charging Stations
Employees at the university now have access to 16 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at four campus locations. Employees can refuel their electric vehicles at the stations free of charge. Later this summer, there will be two additional chargers available to employees, bringing the total to 18.
Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'
During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.
Oregon State U Faculty & Students Endorse 'Warning to Humanity' Article
The university's Faculty Senate and Associated Students passed a joint resolution last month endorsing “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice", an article published in the journal Bioscience that documents changes in environmental factors over the last 25 years. While the article says that progress has been made in addressing some environmental issues, it suggests that humanity is continuing to risk its future. The article has been co-signed by more than 20,000 scientists from 184 countries.
U College Cork Divests From Projects With Environmental Impact
(Ireland) The new pledge announces the university's divestment from all projects with adverse environmental consequences and is intended to ensure that the university accounts for a diverse range of environmental, social and governance concerns in its financial decision-making. In conjunction with this decision, the university has joined the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
Nelson Mandela U to Construct Large Solar Farm
(South Africa) The university's South Campus will soon be producing just over 10 percent of its electricity needs thanks to a large solar array that will produce 1,740 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. The university has given a solar company a piece of land upon which they will install and maintain the plant for 10 years, selling the energy back to the university. At the 10-year mark, the university will take over ownership of the power plant and will no longer have to buy the electricity produced. The solar farm will contain a combination of single-axis and double-axis trackers.
U Manchester Wins 2018 'Sustainable Business Award' for Food Services
(U.K.) The university's hospitality and events team was recently awarded with the Cateys' Sustainable Business Award, organized by The Caterer. The Cateys are a U.K. hospitality and catering award program that showcases innovative brands and trail-blazing people from across hotels, restaurants, foodservice and pubs and bars.
Loughborough U Divests From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Following conversations with both students and staff members of the university, the university will no longer invest funds in fossil fuel companies and will withdraw all current investments in such organizations within three years.
Queens' College Initiates Divest/Invest Strategy
(U.K.) The college will shift its investments in fossil fuel companies within the roughly $114 million (86 million British pounds) endowment into environmental, social and governance-screened (ESG) companies.
Monash U to Purchase Wind Energy & RECs
(Australia) In an effort to help meet its target of achieving net zero emissions by 2030, the university recently signed an agreement from the Murra Warra Wind Farm in Western Victoria, Australia, to buy the rights to both electricity and renewable energy certificates. This long-term power purchase agreement is part of the first stage of the 226 megawatt Murra Warra Wind Farm, which is currently under construction and expected to be fully operational in 2019.
Three Higher Ed Institutions Sign Agreement to Develop Wind Energy Curriculum
Bristol Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently signed a memorandum of understanding to share resources and collaborate on the development of curriculum and programs centered on the offshore wind energy sector. The goal of the Connect4Wind agreement is to create a sustainable offshore wind industry that compliments the existing and historic fishing and industrial uses of the port. It also aims to develop a better understanding of the workforce requirements of existing models of offshore wind and deepen the understanding as a new industry sector with an appropriate supply chain model.
Nova Scotia CC Team Builds Mobile, Solar-Powered Microgrid
The college's Applied Energy Research team has developed a microgrid that uses solar panels and a system of converters and deep-cycle batteries that can store and produce up to 48 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Part of the aim of the research is to build a reliable microgrid that can be deployed to remote areas without conventional power sources, temporary hospitals in disaster zones, and to run small electric cars.
Global Alliance Releases SDGs Report
At the U.N.’s High Level Political Forum in New York earlier this July, a partnership of universities, colleges and sustainability networks called the Global Alliance released a report examining the global contribution of higher education to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The findings highlight the opportunities and challenges in embedding the SDGs in higher education, as well as higher education's commitment to increase its contributions to the SDGs. The report also shows the aspiration of students to learn more about the SDGs and the changing focus of young people as they start to prioritize social justice and environmental ethics.
U Denver Pilots New Shuttle
Building on the momentum of providing sustainable transportation options to students and staff, the university is piloting a new, subsidized shuttle service. The new service will provide rides along two designated routes around the perimeter of campus, with stops that include the university's light rail station, the new administrative building and four other locations around campus.
U Glasgow Initiates Deposit System for Bottles & Cans
(Scotland) A newly installed machine accepts the campus community's recyclable bottles in exchange for a deposit. For every bottle that is accepted, a donation to a charity that raises funds for the university's cancer research is made.
Arizona State U Launches 'Carbon Project'
The ASU Carbon Project is a program that purchases carbon offset credits and supports local projects that mitigate carbon. To partially fund the carbon-reduction initiatives, the university enacted a mandatory price on carbon for all ASU-sponsored air travel at a current rate of $8 per round-trip flight. The ASU Carbon Project will begin to use these funds for carbon offset credits in 2025.