U Arkansas Plans Interdisciplinary Resiliency Center

An interdisciplinary Resiliency Center is being developed under the university's School of Architecture and Design. Still subject to approval from the university's board of trustees, the new center proposes to coordinate graduate-level education, undergraduate sustainability coursework, research, and outreach programs in sustainable food, water, community and landscape systems.

Georgetown U Approves New Socially Responsible Investing Policy

The new policy, approved by the university board of directors, further aligns the university’s investment strategy with its commitment to social justice, protection of human life and dignity, stewardship for the planet and promotion of the common good. The new policy was developed by the board working group on socially responsible investments, which was formed in 2015 following the board’s decision to divest from direct investments in companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy production.

EAUC Publishes Living Labs Research

The Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (U.K.) recently released new research on living labs. The research is broken into three reports: what living labs are and why they are important; making the case for living labs; and how living labs work.

Indiana U Purdue U Indianapolis Launches MS in Product Stewardship

Launching in fall 2017, the university's new Master of Science degree in product stewardship is designed to prepare students to address local, national and global issues relating to the environment, worker health and safety, and social accountability as they relate to the design, use and disposal of everyday products.

Indiana U to Offer Paid Parental Leave

Recently endorsed by the board of trustees, all university staff employees will receive six weeks of paid leave after a birth or adoption. The leave will be available to both mothers and fathers regardless of their marital or relationship status.

U Virginia Launches Environmental Resilience Institute

The new Environmental Resilience Institute aims to accelerate solutions to urgent social-environmental challenges, such as coastal flooding and storm impacts in coastal regions, and water security. The institute will be initially funded with a three-year, $2 million grant from the university, and spearheaded by the offices of the executive vice president and provost, and the vice president for research.

Portland CC Board Passes Divestment Resolution

The community college's board of directors passed a new resolution to divest college funds from socially irresponsible companies and investments, and fossil fuel-producing companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200. The movement to divest was started by student leaders in early 2016.

250 Institutions Commit to Climate Leadership

More than 250 colleges and universities have signed the We Are Still open letter to declare their intent to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. Private and public universities and community colleges, despite the lack of federal leadership, have agreed to pursue ambitious climate goals and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Senior college and university leaders are still welcome to sign on. AASHE is proud to support the leadership of these committed schools.

Three Michigan Universities Partner on Water Quality Research & Solutions

Michigan State, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University are partnering on a new program called IN-Water, Infrastructure Network for Water, in part due to aging water infrastructure as witnessed in the Flint, Michigan water crisis. The idea behind the program is to bring water leaders together to draw up a road map for how to help communities update their water systems.

U Michigan Launches Environmental Health Masters Degree Program

The university's School of Public Health has launched a new Masters of Public Health degree program called Environmental Health Promotion & Policy that will integrate the principles of environmental health sciences, with health policy and health promotion approaches to address and reduce environmental and occupational health risks.

Arizona State U Student Develops New LEED Pilot Credit

A 2016 alumnus who received a Masters in Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) did a capstone project suggesting a new USGBC Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Pilot Credit, which was recently accepted and published. The new LEED BD+C credit is Residential Energy Sub-Metering and Real-Time Usage Data.

Cornell U Partners on Climate and Jobs Initiative

A new partnership between Cornell University and Climate Jobs NY has led to the Clean Climate Careers initiative, a multi-pronged strategy to grow New York's emerging clean energy economy and prepare the workforce for the long-term careers associated with this industry. Focused on accelerating energy efficiency and renewable energy growth, the initiative aims to create 40,000 new, good-paying clean energy jobs by 2020.

Indiana U Adds Electric Vehicles to Fleet

The first all-electric cars were recently added to university fleet operations. Four 2017 Nissan Leafs will be used in various campus operations, including one that employees can rent for university business.

U Dayton Receives $500K in Energy Rebates

The university was recently awarded $500,000 in energy efficiency rebates from the local utility provider, which will seed the university's Green Revolving Fund and be used for sustainability projects on campus. The funding came from energy-efficient initiatives implemented during the last decade.

Middlebury Institute International Studies Becomes Fair Trade Certified

Over the course of this past academic year, students worked to complete the fair trade campaign for the graduate school. This process entailed increasing the number of fair trade products for sale on campus, integrating fair trade dialogues into the classroom, and creating a resolution about the school’s commitment to fair trade.

City of Boston Announces Tuition-Free College Program

Massachusetts' Republican governor and the Democratic Mayor of Boston recently launched a new college affordability program for high school graduates in the city. The aim is to allow eligible students to complete four-year degrees without paying tuition or mandatory fees. The program, open to 2017 high school graduates who live in the city, will cover students' tuition and fees.

SUNY New Paltz Earns Tree Campus USA Designation

The university has joined other U.S. colleges and universities that have met campus environment standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. A small group of students, faculty, staff and community members came together this year to work toward earning Tree Campus USA designation, an honor reserved for schools that meet five requirements focused on strategic and long-term plans to care for and manage trees on campus.

SUNY New Paltz Launches Sustainability Track for Business Management

SUNY New Paltz has launched a new line of business courses designed for students interested in applying sustainable practices to their future careers. The new sustainability track for management majors will provide opportunities for students to work with local companies on sustainability assessments to achieve cost savings and reduce environmental footprints.

U Idaho Research Building Receives LEED Gold

The university's new interdisciplinary research facility features include dedicated bicycle parking and electric vehicle charging spaces; metal paneling and automatic window shades that let in natural light while reducing glare and heat; and a 3,500-cubic-feet rainwater catchment system used to water trees, native grasses and plants.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Expands Energy Saving Campaign

With the support of a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee, a one-time, energy-saving initiative now happens monthly. Student volunteers walk through campus buildings to turn off lights that were left on at the end of the day. During seven scheduled walk-throughs during the 2016-17 school year, teams turned off more than 11,000 light fixtures, avoiding approximately $3,400 in energy costs.

U Wyoming Lighting Upgrade Creates Efficiency & Saves Money

Thanks to a proposal by a student pursuing a sustainability minor, the university is now taking advantage of cost avoidance by using energy-efficient LEDs in place of metal halide lighting. The lighting retrofit has an estimated payback of eight years.

San Diego State U Building Achieves LEED Silver

The university's newest residence hall features a lighting control system with occupancy sensors, photo-sensors for daylight harvesting and 100 percent LED lighting. The two towers also have an automated heating and cooling system and water-saving shower heads in the resident rooms.

U California Merced Launches Food Exchange & Engagement Program

To help address issues ranging from food waste to food insecurity and resource scarcity, the university recently launched CropMobster Merced County, an online food and agricultural exchange and community engagement program. CropMobster, an online platform introduced in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013, aims to bring together farmers, producers, hunger relief organizations and community members. Part of the program's funding comes from the UC Office of the President as part of its ongoing Global Food Initiative.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Residence Hall Earns LEED Gold

The residence hall opened in fall 2016 and features locally manufactured construction materials, products with recycled content, wood products certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council, roof mounted solar panels to provide renewable energy that offsets one percent of the energy costs, and landscaping that includes native and drought-tolerant plants to reduce dependency on potable water.

Wege Center for Sustainable Design Announces Winners of Wege Prize 2017

Wege Center for Sustainable Design, housed at the Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University, announced the winners of Wege Prize 2017, the fourth iteration of the annual design competition challenging transdisciplinary teams of college and university students to rethink and redesign the way economies work. Three multi-institutional teams were selected as winners out of the five finalist teams.

U Oregon Releases Videos From Summit on Ethical Investing

A recent symposium about ethical investing was organized by students, faculty, staff and the University of Oregon Foundation in early April 2017, largely in response to the student divestment campaign. The gathering tackled the question of how climate change is affecting businesses and investors. The sessions were recorded and can be viewed for free.

Harvard U to Retrofit Home as Model of Ultra-Efficiency & Affordability

The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities announced plans to retrofit its headquarters, a pre-1940s house, into an ultra-efficient, healthy, positive-energy structure. Called HouseZero Project, the prototype will be designed to require almost zero energy, rely on natural daylighting, and produce no carbon emissions. The center aims to show how any existing building can become a model of efficiency and cut emissions without requiring a huge investment.

Three Schools Win Green Cleaning Award

The 2017 Green Cleaning Awards, hosted by American School & University, recognized Western Michigan University as the grand prize winner, University of Michigan for the silver award, and Folsom Lake College as honorable mention. The juried competition highlights education institutions whose green cleaning programs go above and beyond using green products to protect health without harming the environment.

U Colorado Boulder Creates 'Social Justice Living Environment' in Dorm

In fall 2018, the Social Justice Living Environment will house communities for students who identify as black, LGBTQ and those passionate about diversity. The new program stemmed from student concerns following a campus climate survey revealing only a quarter of African-American undergraduates and less than half of undergraduates, in general, felt welcome on campus.

Webster U Publishes Interactive Eco-Map

In early May, the university published a campus map that highlights the spectrum of green infrastructure and resources on campus. The map allows viewers to navigate different layers, such as solar panels, bike racks or water bottle refill stations.

California State U Sacramento Becomes First Keep America Beautiful Collegiate Affiliate

Keep America Beautiful announced that Sacramento State is now its first collegiate affiliate and that it hopes the partnership will result in a model that can be adopted at colleges and universities across the nation. Through the partnership, students will have access to volunteer and internship opportunities. The university will be able to share data from student and faculty research, as well as tap additional resources such as grants, research and programmatic resources available through Keep America Beautiful.

Salisbury U to Build 544KW Solar Carport Project

The 543.9-kilowatt photovoltaic project will feature three solar canopies and five electric vehicle charging stations. The canopies will cover a parking lot and electricity from the system will be sent to the adjacent educational buildings. Standard Solar, the university's partner, will own, operate and maintain the system for 20 years, after which ownership will revert to the university.

U Birmingham Pilots Coffee Grounds Reuse Program

(U.K.) The 12-month pilot program aims to collect spent coffee grounds from catering outlets across campus that will be sent to a recycling company for processing into biofuels, such as fuel starter logs and pellets for industrial use.

Indiana U Pennsylvania Receives $44K Grant for Watershed Management

Several university faculty will use the new funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to work with area agencies and schools to develop a water quality and stormwater monitoring plan. In addition to providing watershed educational experiences, the project will generate baseline water quality data for 12–15 key watershed locations that will be utilized to make governmental and environmental policy decisions.

U Pennsylvania Wins 2017 Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Award

The University of Pennsylvania won the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council's (SPLC) 2017 Supplier Engagement Award for its collaboration with a local enterprise, Wash Cycle Laundry, to create local jobs, foster the growth of an innovative local business, and reduce the environmental impact of the university’s laundry services. In total, the SPLC recognized ten organizations and one individual for their leadership in the sustainable purchasing movement.

Pennsylvania State U Earns Tree Campus Designation

The university's new designation as a Tree Campus, a program of Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes its commitment to effective urban forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. The university currently has more than 17,000 trees in its canopy.

Tufts U Grad Students to Unionize

Graduate students in the university's School of Arts and Sciences voted 129-84 to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union.

Baylor U Building Receives LEED Gold

The new building, completed in 2015 and housing the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, features a solar-reflective roof, dimmable LED lighting, daylighting controls that allow individuals to adjust the level of lighting based on brightness throughout the day, natural lighting for all interior offices using glass walls and doors, use of low-emitting materials to reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants, and sustainable landscaping and irrigation systems that increase water efficiency and reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems.

Queen's U Belfast Announces Responsible Investment Policy

Following recent discussions with the Students’ Union, the university has updated its investment policy and will, with some caveats, seek to disinvest from companies involved in the extraction and production of fossil fuels by 2025. Additionally, the university is implementing a comprehensive Carbon Management Strategy that aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions.

U Hong Kong Expands Smart Meter Program

A student-focused carbon reduction and behavioral change pilot project included the installation of smart meters in select student rooms and a real-time data dashboard. The technology and science-based program will be scaled up this year to include 1,800 users from four residential colleges. Students in the college led the development of data-driven solutions that reduced electricity use by over 25 percent in the pilot project.

Wesleyan U Receives $4M Gift for College of the Environment

An alumnus and his wife recently donated $4 million to the university’s College of the Environment. The endowment will fund seminars, workshops and faculty-student research grants, internship learning opportunities for students with financial need who are pursuing studies related to environmental research, and an endowed scholarship for those who have demonstrated exceptional academic accomplishment and are pursuing the environmental studies linked major or the environmental studies certificate through the College of the Environment.

U Colorado Boulder Uses New Steam Process for Weed Control

Grounds personnel at the university are now using saturated steam to control weeds in landscape beds and natural areas. Using an Australian company's patented technology, Weedtechnics, the system helps the university reduce herbicide use and lost workdays due to the traditional weather-dependent weed control method of using chemicals, which can’t be applied when it’s too windy, too wet or too hot outside.

U Vermont Reaches Real Food Challenge Goal Three Years Early

In an April 17 announcement, members of the Real Food Challenge and UVM Dining confirmed the university is serving 21 percent "real food", three years ahead of its goal of 20 percent by 2020. It has established a new goal of 25 percent "real food" as determined by the Real Food Challenge by 2020.

Northern Arizona U Installs Solar Canopy

The new photovoltaic system will generate enough renewable energy to power up to 100 homes and will save an estimated $1 million in electricity costs during the 25-year life cycle of the solar panels. It is expected to produce 1.2 percent of the campus’ projected annual electric consumption.

Roxbury CC Completes Solar Canopy, Geothermal Wells & EV Stations

As part of a $20.1 million energy savings performance contract, 115 geothermal wells, six electric car charging stations and a solar canopy with approximately 3,000 solar panels representing nearly a megawatt of power were recently unveiled at the community college.

Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski U Launches MA in Sustainability Studies

(Poland) Beginning May 2017, students can enroll in the new Sustainability Studies Masters program, which aims to ensure that the graduates know how to deal with the complex sustainability issues. The curriculum is specially designed to enable students to experience interdisciplinary learning over various fields of the humanities and natural sciences.

U Adelaide Announces Multi-Million Dollar Sustainability Plan

(Australia) The university's new Campus Sustainability Plan earmarks 14.4 million Australian dollars ($10.7 million) over four years to sustainability, with more than AU$12.8 million dedicated to carbon emissions reduction projects at the university's three campuses. While the university's goal is net zero emissions by 2050, its interim 2020 goals include two megawatts of installed solar, a 15 percent improvement in energy performance and a 50 percent reduction in waste to landfill.

Strathmore U Connects 600KW Photovoltaic System

(Kenya) In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the university took advantage of a green line of financial support created by the French Government to installed a 600-kilowatt roof-top, grid connected photovoltaic system to meet its electricity needs. The system is designed so that extra power can be sold to the utility via a power purchase agreement.

UK Student Union Renews Efforts to Fight Climate Change

(U.K.) Delegates at National Union of Students National Conference voted in favor of a motion to renew the drive for student action against climate change. One of the two key resolutions in the motion is to support protests against the President Donald J. Trump's rollback of progress on climate change.

30 College Presidents Back Carbon Pricing Campaign

College and university presidents from over thirty U.S. higher education institutions have given their support to the Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative, a student-driven effort to endorse carbon pricing as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The letter calls on state and federal lawmakers to proactively work to enact a carbon price at the state and federal level. Signatures are still welcomed.