National Union of Students Receives UNESCO Prize
(U.K.) Chosen by an international jury from a total of 120 nominations, the National Union of Students U.K. from the United Kingdom will receive $50,000 from the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development, funded by the Government of Japan. The National Union of Students U.K. won for its Green Impact initiative, a 10-year-old effort that helps students’ unions improve their sustainability practices.
U Buffalo Receives Green Power Partner of the Year Award
The university was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for procuring more than 212 million kilowatt-hours of wind-sourced renewable energy, making it one of the largest purchasers of green power of any New York State agency, along with on-site solar installations. The U.S. EPA's Green Power Leadership Awards recognize Green Power Partners for achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Occidental College Institute Reports on U California Employee Food Insecurity
Occidental College’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, in collaboration with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 2010, sent a survey to more than 13,600 clerical, administrative and support employees at the University of California System with a response rate of 21 percent over a two-week period revealed that 70 percent struggle to put adequate food on the table and are considered food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition. The survey was developed by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics of the USDA. Another finding indicates the level of food insecurity among these UC employees is one-and-a-half times higher than the level of food insecurity among UC students.
Minneapolis College Art & Design Faculty Vote to Form Union
Two years after a national union began organizing in the state, nearly two-thirds of college's faculty voted for the union, which will represent about 100 full- and part-time instructors, according to the Service Employees International Union, which sponsored the organizing effort.
MIT Announces 44MW Renewable Energy Purchase
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation have formed an alliance to purchase electricity from a large, new solar power installation through an agreement that will enable the construction of a roughly 650-acre, 60-megawatt photovoltaic power plant on farmland in North Carolina. MIT’s purchase of energy (44-megawatts) from this facility’s 255,000 solar panels is equivalent to 40 percent of the school’s current electricity use.
AASHE Announces Top Performers in 2016 Sustainable Campus Index
AASHE’s newly released 2016 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Additionally, the report highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from over 60 institutions.
Smith College Signs 'Real Food Challenge'
The college signed onto the Real Food Challenge in October 2016, pledging 20 percent of the food provided on campus will meet sustainability and fairness standards set by the Real Food Challenge organization by 2020. Students, whom the college's president credits for leading the effort to get Smith to join the Real Food Challenge, have been working for three years to research food practices and raise awareness of sustainable food issues on campus.
U South Carolina & Clemson U Students Engage with Industry to Reduce Manufacturing Waste
A new partnership with Michelin North America will select up to 12 students from each school to take two courses that will prepare students to research sustainability and come up with a plan to reduce the amount of waste in tire manufacturing. Students will visit Michelin headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, a few times throughout the semester to work alongside Michelin employees.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Announces Three Zeros Initiative
The university's new Three Zeros Initiative strives to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality, water neutrality and zero waste by addressing individual behaviors, teaching and how the campus can model new, innovative approaches while having a global impact. Three Zeros stemmed from the new Sustainability Plan, which is the university's framework for examining campus-wide sustainability efforts and identifying ways to integrate them into teaching, research and engagement activities.
Rice U Dining Halls Receive Sustainable Restaurant Certification
All six of the university's undergraduate dining halls were recently named Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. The Green Restaurant Association evaluates restaurants and awards points in seven sustainability categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable durable goods and building materials, sustainable food, energy, reusables and environmentally preferable disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction.
Northwestern U Students Form New Social Justice Group
Student Action NU, a new undergraduate-led organization, is meant to serve as a space for students who want to organize around social justice issues with an intersectional perspective, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and climate injustice issues.
IUPUI & Butler U Win Sustainable Campus Competition
A joint project between Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Butler University won $50,000 from Kimberly-Clark Professional* in the Sustainable Campus Competition. The funds will go toward a large-scale, commercial composting collection initiative as a means to catalyze a city-wide composting collection program. Their plan will begin with both universities sharing the cost of having a trash hauler cart away the food waste from dining halls at both campuses. The hope is to eventually bring other Indianapolis organizations on board to share and ultimately lower the cost of hauling.
Ohio Northern U Begins Construction on 2MW Solar Array
Projected to meet approximately 10 percent of the university electricity demand, the two-megawatt photovoltaic system is expected to be complete in 2016. Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, the university will purchase electricity directly from the array without needing to invest capital in construction and maintenance.
Oregon State U-Cascades Offers Car Sharing
A new partnership with Zipcar now allows campus and surrounding community members to check out one of two vehicles on a daily or hourly basis. This additional transportation option for students and employees is an alternative to bringing a car to campus.
Texas A&M U Completes Glowing-Paint Bike Lane
Initiated by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Texas A&M Transportation Services after conducting a campus bike study that concluded in 2015, one of the campus' busiest intersections now has photo-luminescent paint to illuminate the bicycle lane to ensure safety amongst cyclists, motorists, vehicles and pedestrians as well as amplify protection and mobility. The solar-powered paint will store energy during the daytime and emit the light at night.
U Iowa Residence Hall Receives LEED Gold
The newly constructed building uses water-efficient landscaping and plumbing fixtures, was built to allow 75 percent of spaces to have an outdoor view, contains 22 percent local materials and recycled 51 percent of construction waste.
Champlain College Students Investigate Corporate Social Responsibility
During the spring 2016, the college held an event that allowed students to explore Ben & Jerry’s social responsibility policy by creating an ice cream that would benefit a charity, non-profit or other sustainable organization that had a social mission. The challenge also served as a way for business faculty to collaborate while designing an activity to educate students on business practices.
Harvard U Partners on Building Materials Tool
The university is the first founding partner from the higher education community to sign on to Portico, a web-based application designed to simplify the analysis, selection and specification of building products that meet health and transparency objectives. Harvard’s Office for Sustainability and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment will partner with Healthy Building Network and Google to foster opportunities for faculty and students to use the data available to generate new research and support existing initiatives on healthy buildings that are already underway at the university.
U South Carolina Introduces Global Studies Degree
The new Bachelor of Arts degree program in Global Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that aims to familiarize students with the complex historical and contemporary relationships that link together people and places. By focusing on themes related to globalization, aim of the degree is to foster in students a critical, global outlook that will allow them to engage with pressing global questions and to thrive in an interconnected world.
U California Develops Climate Change Curriculum for Non-Science Majors
Through a series of curriculum workshops held across the university system, over 200 professors in fields ranging from music to Swahili have developed new materials for existing courses that incorporate climate change and sustainability into their subject areas. The new program is part of the university’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative.
Pacific-12 Announces College Sports Sustainability Summit
In an effort to influence conferences and universities around the country on the importance of sustainability, the Pacific-12 Conference will host the first conference-wide college sports sustainability summit in June 2017 in Sacramento, California, as part of the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit. This event will convene sustainability officers from across the conference to design new collective initiatives and share best practices to transform college sports into a platform for environmental progress. This announcement was made on the inaugural Green Sports Day.
AASHE Reveals Seven Sustainability Award Winners
Cedar Valley College, Furman University and University of Manitoba were proclaimed Campus Sustainability Achievement Award winners; Erica Davis from University of Tennessee at Knoxville earned the Student Sustainability Leadership Award; an undergraduate group from the University of Houston and a graduate group from the University of Michigan each won the Student Sustainability Research Award; and Tina Lynn Evans from Colorado Mountain College received top place in the Sustainability Research Award. The AASHE Sustainability Awards program provides a vehicle for the higher education community to celebrate outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.
Cornell U Releases Report on Carbon-Reducing Solutions
Released in September 2016, Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035 - Analysis of Solutions is a set of recommendations for that will inform decision-making to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. The report focuses on solutions to reducing energy demands and providing low carbon energy supply, such as ensuring all students graduate with a basic understanding of climate literacy and pursuing energy solutions in partnership with local and regional entities.
Harvard U Funds Climate Solutions Course and Research Project
The multi-year Climate Solutions Living Lab course and research project is designed to bring together students from across the university in interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Harvard and beyond. The strategies are intended to be scalable for potential adoption by other similarly situated institutions that want to reduce their emissions and improve public health in and around their buildings.
Cleveland State U Appoints New Director of Sustainability
Jennifer McMillin will manage the university’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions and waste, enhance alternative energy use and increase overall environmental quality on campus. McMillin will also lead multiple education and training initiatives designed to enhance sustainability among students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community. McMillin comes to CSU from the Australian National University where she led the development of the university’s internationally-recognized student and staff sustainability outreach program.
Keene State College Heats with Waste Vegetable Oil
In a Campus Sustainability Month announcement, Keene stated it is using 100 percent purified waste vegetable oil to heat approximately 36 percent of campus. During August 2016, the college met the demand for heat and hot water using this fuel, which is helping the college reduce carbon emissions.
Rice U Sets New Waste Diversion Goal
After a study conducted by the student interns during the summer of 2016, the university ordered $3,000 worth of recycling bins and announced a new recycling goal that aims to divert 40 percent of all waste to recycling by the year 2020. Recycling rates were last measured at around 28 percent of total waste in 2015.
Yale U Reduces Waste Burden
Building on its momentum to reduce waste from end-of-year move-out and potentially reduce expenses of a first-time move to campus, suite common rooms that have traditionally been bare are now furnished with a combination of a sofa, chair, coffee table and/or computer table.
U California Berkeley Enters $4M Partnership with Brita
The 10-year, $4 million partnership beginning in the 2016-17 academic year bolsters the university's Refills not Landfills program, an effort to encourage students and the campus community to drink from reusable containers. The partnership includes distribution of Brita products, monetary support to departments and an on-campus Brita filter-recycling program.
Union College Installs EV Charging Stations
Two electric vehicle charging stations are now available to students, faculty and staff for use in four-hour blocks. A Planning and Priorities grant, awarded each year for projects that support the college’s strategic plan, will pay for the stations and will cover electricity use during the first year.
U Alabama Birmingham Installs Solar Electric System
The 100-panel system sits atop the UAB Campus Recreation Center and will be utilized for coursework and research by students and faculty, including by the university's U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon team.
Rhode Island Sets Goal to Save Students $5M on Textbooks
Responding to concerns about the rising cost of textbooks being a barrier to a degree, Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced a new challenge that seeks to save college students $5 million over the next five years by transitioning to openly licensed textbooks. The announcement was made at Rhode Island College, which launched a pilot program that has already saved students $100,000 by replacing the traditional textbook for all sections of its Biology 108 with an openly licensed text.
NCAA Encourages Divisions to Sign Diversity Pledge
The NCAA’s diversity and inclusion pledge, gaining approval from the NCAA's board of governors in August 2016, is now available online for presidents and chancellors to affirm their commitment to ethnic, racial and gender diversity in the hiring process for athletics. Colleges, universities and athletics conferences that commit to the pledge will be recognized in a public listing on the NCAA’s website. This comes after a 2014-15 NCAA employment survey shows slow progress toward addressing diversity initiatives.
Dalhousie U Adopts Sustainable Food Plan
The newly released framework from the university's Food Services and Office of Sustainability supports and adheres to the vision and principles identified in the Dalhousie University Sustainability Plan. The plan is primarily focused on but not limited to the food procurement, preparation, kitchen operation and end use, for which there are 11 goals spanning these four areas.
California State U, Northridge & Stockton U Receive Nat'l Sustainability Award
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) recently awarded the Sustainability and Sustainable Development Award to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and Stockton University. AASCU cited CSUN for incorporating sustainability into planning and administration, facilities and operations, education and curriculum, student government and life, research and innovation, and Stockton University was attributed on behalf of their natural-environment living laboratories and having sustainability as one of four pillars in its strategic plan.
Pennsylvania State U Contracts with Ride-Sharing Service
A service of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Zimride is now being offered to the campus community. Zimride, an online ride-matching service that connects drivers and passengers heading to the same area, helps reduce vehicle emissions, traffic congestion and fuel consumption while splitting transportation costs.
U Montana Professor Receives Award for Civic Engagement
Robin Saha, associate professor of Environmental Studies, has been selected by Campus Compact as the recipient of the 2016 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, which recognizes faculty for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal partnerships, building institutional commitments to engagement and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. The focus of Saha's scholarship is environmental justice and health policy, emphasizing advocacy for marginalized communities. Four finalists were also named: David Berle (University of Georgia), Christopher Janson (University of North Florida), Ellen Percy Kraly (Colgate University) and Susan Needham (California State University, Dominguez Hills).
Nine Community Colleges Win Green Genome Award from AACC
Cedar Valley College, Chesapeake College, College of Lake County, Guam Community College, Johnson County Community College, Lewis & Clark Community College, Lincoln Land Community College, Northeast Community College and Northeast Texas Community College are recipients of the 2016 Green Genome Awards for exemplary efforts to promote sustainability education, practices, programs and training. The winning colleges will each receive $10,000. The Green Genome Awards are part of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and its Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Center.
Sacred Heart U Earns REAL Certification
The university earned the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) certification from United States Healthful Food Council for its foodservice providers' commitment to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
Ten Universities Tackle Gender Inequality
The inaugural HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report highlights the progress of 10 global universities that signed a gender equality pledge. Launched in 2015, the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 is an initiative that convenes 10 university presidents as well as heads of state and CEOs to fast-track gender equality. The group of 10 universities span across eight countries on five continents.
Boston U to Avoid Investments in Carbon-Intensive Fuels
The university's board of trustees recently approved a Climate Action Plan that includes avoiding investments in companies that extract coal and tar sands oil. Additionally, the board calls for the university's endowment investment office to include managers with expertise in renewable energy and technology.
U Southern California Student Center Hires Wellness Dog
The Student Health Center within the university's Office for Wellness and Health Promotion hired its first, full-time wellness dog trained to work with a multitude of people on a regular basis. Research suggests that positive interactions with dogs can create a sense of calm and well-being, and can help remove barriers for students around accessing resources at the student center.
State College Florida Manatee-Sarasota Faculty Vote to Unionize
A recent vote of more than 90 percent of the faculty revealed 75 to 24 were in favor of joining a union affiliated with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The vote comes a year after the college’s board of trustees voted to eliminate its rolling contract system, which means now even long-serving faculty members are on one-year contracts.
Smith College Invests $8.5M of Endowment in Sustainability
In her annual welcome letter, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney announced the college will invest $8.5 million of its endowment in a private equity fund focused on energy efficiency and sustainable manufacturing processes. McCartney's welcome letter also mentions a commitment to a just and inclusive campus and highlights a few key events during the upcoming year to build a campus of inclusion.
Suffolk CC Joins Community Car-Free Day
The community college and Suffolk County jointly hosted a Car Free Day Long Island Summit. The event, which SCCC President Shaun McKay kicked off, included discussion about sustainable transportation options available to the community in an effort to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions, which is 30 percent according to a regional sustainability plan.
U Louisville Trustees Approve Sustainability Major
Announced in September 2016, a new Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability will be designed to prepare students for careers in sustainability-related areas such as the environment, energy, climate change, public policy, transportation and urban and regional planning.
Kimberly-Clark Professional* Announces Sustainable Campus Competition LIVE! Finalists
Selected from over 220 entries, Oberlin College, University of Washington and a joint submission from Butler University and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis have been named as finalists in the Sustainable Campus Competition LIVE! contest, which includes a $50,000 grand prize from Kimberly-Clark Professional*. The finalists will present their projects before a panel of judges on Oct. 10 at the 2016 AASHE Conference & Expo, where the grand prize winner will be announced.