U Illinois Chicago Reduces GHGs from Waste
By selecting a new, in-state, waste vendor that bakes rather than incinerates the waste to recycle organic compounds and metals, the university is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with its hazardous waste.
U Michigan Hosts Zero Waste Event for 5,500 New Students
In an effort to convey a culture of sustainability, more than 5,500 freshmen attended the zero waste picnic sponsored in part by the Office of Sustainability. The event used only recyclable or compostable items, including food, napkins, plates, silverware, compostable plastics and featured the use of a mobile hydration station.
U Calgary Expands Campus Recycling Program
Beginning in fall of 2016, the university will convert all paper & cardboard recycling bins to accept all recyclables, including paper, cardboard, plastics, tin and foil. This expansion to the university's waste reduction and recycling program aligns with a new City of Calgary bylaw requiring all businesses and organizations to recycle a broader list of materials.
Elon U Installs Solar-Powered Unbrellas
The newly installed umbrellas include three weather-proof ports that can charge as many as three devices simultaneously and an LED display indicating how much solar energy is currently stored for charging needs. The umbrellas can also be used at night for six to 16 hours
U Calgary Building Achieves LEED Gold
The university's High Density Library features rainwater and snowmelt capture from the roof and landscaped areas in a stormwater pond that's used then treated through a constructed wetland, high-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems, a light-colored roof membrane to reduce heat absorption and for most staff, a direct line of sight to windows to contribute to a healthy workplace.
U Calgary to Launch Certificate in Sustainability Studies
Expected to launch in 2017, the embedded certificate requires that students take a combination of core courses that explore sustainability in all dimensions and choose elective hours from a listing of over 350 sustainability-focused and -related courses.
Salisbury U Begins New Bike Sharing Service
The new alternative transportation service has been launched with a fleet of 100 bicycles, each individually named after a musician or band, such as Katy Perry or Grateful Dead. The program charges $1 per hour with no distance restrictions. However, when bicycles are returned to the university campus, they must be locked to a sanctioned bike rack.
Seattle U Adjuncts Vote in Favor of Unionizing
The final vote count was 73 to 63 in favor of forming a bargaining unit with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), with some votes from those who teach courses with religious content and specific roles in maintaining the university’s religious educational environment being excluded.
Ohio U Building Earns LEED Silver
The building features a focus on water use reduction, the optimization of the building’s energy performance and indoor environmental quality.
Iona College Completes Green Roof Installation
The result of approximately two years of planning resulted in planters set up on the college's student union roof filled with varietals of Sedums, which are plants well suited to rooftop gardens. The planters are supposed to absorb heat and ease the thermal load of the building.
U North Dakota Launches Social Justice Living Learning Community
The new social justice living learning community is designed for students interested in learning more about and practicing principles of social justice, including issues of equality and diversity involved in promoting a more inclusive and just society and those interested in bringing about positive social change.
Arizona State U & Johnson County CC Win 2016 Climate Leadership Awards
The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, in partnership with Second Nature, recently announced that Arizona State University and Johnson County Community College have been recognized for their innovative and advanced leadership in sustainability, climate change mitigation and resilience. Honorable mentions include Huston-Tillotson University, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Santa Fe Community College and Southern Oregon University.
Sierra Magazine Releases 2016 Cool Schools List
Open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the U.S., the guide is produced for prospective and current students, administrators and alumni to compare higher education institutions' environmental commitments. The scoring key is a reflection of Sierra Club's broader priorities and awards more weight in the areas of campus energy use, transportation and fossil fuel divestment.
INSIGHT Into Diversity Recognizes 82 Institutions for Diversity
The INSIGHT Into Diversity recently announced the 2016 recipients of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.
U Washington to Install Three Solar System Test Projects
Three residence halls will be the recipients of photovoltaic arrays to support research on how solar energy can be combined with other demand-side resources, resources such as battery systems. Seattle City Light's Green Up program is contributing $225,000, which enabled the university to compete for the Washington State Department of Commerce Solar Grant Program that is providing $225,000 in matching funds.
Georgetown U President Responds to Its History of Slavery
After a new report was published by the university's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which cites the school's involvement in the institution of slavery when it sold 272 enslaved people in 1838, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced that it will issue an apology, give the descendent community the same admissions process considerations as the Georgetown community, develop a public memorial to the enslaved, and establish a new Institute for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies. In addition, two campus buildings will be renamed.
Princeton Review Announces 'Green College Honor Roll'
The recently released annual results tally 640 four-year institutions based on a measure of the school's performance as an environmentally aware and prepared institution, including these indicators: a campus quality of life, preparation of students for employment in the clean-energy economy, citizenship in a world now defined by environmental concerns and opportunities, and environmentally responsible policies.
U Washington Partners Students with Local Governments
In the year-long partnership with the City of Auburn, students and professors will work on 15-20 projects that seek to advance the city’s goals for livability and sustainability. Called the Livable City Year program, the initiative is a cross-university collaboration that connects local governments with university classes to address community-identified areas of need.
North Central College Signs Billion Dollar Challenge
The challenge encourages colleges and universities to invest a combined total of $1 billion in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency and other sustainability project improvements. North Central created its own green revolving fund, the Cardinal Sustainability Fund, in 2014, as a means to provide funding for energy efficiency projects that reduce energy consumption on campus. The money saved gets reinvested in future sustainability projects.
Vassar College Endorses 2016 Climate Action Plan
The 2016 Climate Action Plan outlines a path of action for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, including construction of a small-scale hydro facility and a large-scale photovoltaic system within the next two years. To date, the college has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent from 2005 levels.
North Carolina State U Expands Composting in Football Stadium
Building on the success of a compost program piloted last football season, waste stations will be located on the concourse level and staffed by student and community volunteers, who will help fans sort waste into composting, landfill or recycling bins. For the first time inside the stadium, workers who clean up after the game will separate recyclable and compostable materials from landfill items.
Saint Mary's College Adopts Sustainable Purchasing Policy
Adopted summer 2016, the new sustainable purchasing policy supports products and companies that exhibit pro-environmental and social practices. Stakeholder workshops were held with staff to discuss the context of how a purchasing policy will work on campus and outline important next steps towards its implementation.
Furman U Plans to Build 743KW Photovoltaic Array
The 743-kilowatt solar electric system with a cost of $1.7 million was recently approved by the university board of trustees. While Duke Energy is providing a rebate of nearly $1 million, the university expects an eight-year return on its investment. The university has a stated carbon neutrality goal of 2026.
U Utah Building Achieves LEED Platinum
The one-year old building features a 65 percent reduction in energy costs through structural design and passive solar orientation, solar power generation, natural light, recycling and re-using grey water to flush toilets, and a focus on energy efficiency.
Butler U Building Supports LEED Gold
A $34 million renovation of the university's Hinkle Fieldhouse includes new roof with a white cap sheet that reflects sunlight, bicycle storage and changing rooms, low-flow water fixtures and a two-year contract to purchase at least 35 percent of the building’s electricity from renewable sources.
U Southern Mississippi Announces New School of Ocean Science and Technology
The new marine science center, housed within the College of Science and Technology, brings together marine-related research and education programs under a single administrative unit and coordinates operating budgets and facilities. The goals of the new center are to increase productivity of Southern Miss’ marine-related research, education and economic development enterprises through enhanced coordination of research and education programs, improved opportunities for external funding and increased focus on community and industry relations.
Colorado Mountain College Pilots Textbook Rental Program
Lessening the financial hardship for some, a new partnership with textbook rental company Rafter Inc. allows students to pay a flat fee of $286 for the semester with a guarantee of receiving all required textbooks and course materials in time for when school starts. The National Association of College Stores estimates that the average college student spends $655 on textbooks each year.
Western Michigan U Partners on 1MW Solar Farm
The 1-megawatt photovoltaic farm in partnership with Consumer's Energy covering 8.5 acres will supply clean energy to the grid while allowing the engineering students the ability to study that data from the system.
U California Purchases Electricity from 60MW Solar Installation
A key step in reaching the university system's goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, electricity produced by a recently completed, 60-megawatt (MW) solar farm will be purchased by the university, with nearly one-quarter going to UC Davis. The 60MW represents approximately 14 percent of the system's total usage and the university notes that an additional 20MW solar installation is set to come online by mid-2017.
U Arizona Holds First Salvage Sale
In an effort to reduce the landfill waste, the Office of Sustainability and Residence Life coordinated an end-of-year move-out campaign to capture unwanted materials and recently held a sale of those items that collected over $9,000. Of the materials that were obtained at the end of the year, some of the items were donated to local charities, such as a women's resource center, a veteran center and homeless shelter.
Three Universities Win National Transportation Award
The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) announced Texas A&M University and University of California Los Angeles as the finalists in the Marketing & Outreach Awards; and University of California Irvine won the Commuting Options Awards for biking. The awards provide the opportunity to acknowledge the work of leading organizations and individuals in the transportation demand management industry.
NLRB Rules to Allow Graduate Students at Private Universities to Unionize
In a 3-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in mid-August that graduate students employed by private universities are entitled to collective bargaining under National Labor Relations Act. The decision to overturn a prior ruling that denied unionization asserts graduate student assistants can be both employees and students.
Inside HigherEd Covers Tiny Living Spaces for Students
The recent article looks at the College of Wooster and the College of Charleston, which have designed student housing that embraces the concept of tiny living, offering relatively few square-feet per student, while at the same time offering large community spaces to bring students together.
Energy Action Coalition Becomes the Power Shift Network
After the Energy Action Coalition's newly hired (2015) executive director, Lydia Avila, completed a listening tour with stakeholders, it was decided that along with a name change, the Power Shift Network will decentralize itself into "a national network of climate, clean energy, and social justice organizations, including student-led groups, who, together, mobilize the collective power of young people to mitigate climate change and create a just, clean energy future and resilient, thriving communities for all", Avila says.
Three Universities Participate in Voluntary Carbon Offset Market
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ball State University and Southern Oregon University sold credits produced through carbon-reducing activities to help finance and further their carbon neutrality work on campus. Made possible by Second Nature's Carbon Credit and Purchasing Program, the sale to BP Target Neutral generated over $1 million.
U Nebraska-Lincoln Starts Composting in Student Union
The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska's Environmental Sustainability Committee has worked with administrators, food vendors and a new Lincoln-based company to establish the composting program, which will be established in three phases. The first phase includes pre-consumer food waste, while additional phases will feature promotion and education, and expansion that includes all compostable waste from the Student Union.
Loyola U Students Support Composting at National Festival
In an effort to minimize its environmental impact, Lollapalooza hired 46 Loyola students to guide festival-goers to compost food scraps, recycle appropriate materials and use refillable bottles instead of one-time use containers. The four-day festival included over 400,000 attendees.
Hope College Adds 330 LED Lights to Fieldhouse
Replacing 540 compact fluorescent fixtures with 330 LED ones and dimmers was $200,000 and has been estimated to cut the college's power use by 80-kilowatts per month. The college will receive $16,000 in energy-efficiency rebates.
U British Columbia Publishes 'Carbon Neutral Action Report'
The newly released report summarizes the school's emissions profile, actions to reduce emissions, total offsets and ongoing and future strategies for continued emissions reductions. Highlights include greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 30 percent below 2007 levels despite a 16 percent increase in floor space and 22 percent increase in student enrollment. Reductions were primarily due to a steam to hot water conversion project (District Energy), displacement of natural gas through the Bio-energy Research and Demonstration Facility and optimizing academic building performance.
Business Officers Discuss Sustainability
Business leaders gathered recently after the NACUBO annual meeting to explore how to preserve the core mission and values while ensuring a more sustainable future. The content and discussion was focused on building integrated strategies for affordability, diversity and sustainability for higher education to fulfill its critical role in meeting society's needs.
Eastern Mennonite U & Partners Launch Climate Center
The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions launched in August with a $1 million donation. Led by the university, the center will focus on connecting with a national and global network of like-minded organizations, researching best practices and innovation. Goshen College is a founding partner institution.
Orange Coast College to Fund Scholarship with Cup Recycling Revenue
Starting this fall, the college will use the revenue generated from selling used paper cups toward a new scholarship for an environmental or scientific studies student. This decision coincides with purchasing a new type of paper cup that is manufactured to be more easily recyclable.
2016 American Solar Challenge Announces Results
The 2016 American Solar Challenge, an eight-day, 1,975-mile road course traveling through nine national parks in seven states, provides student teams with an opportunity to demonstrate their solar-powered vehicles in real world driving conditions and test the reliability of all onboard systems. Twelve teams competed with trophies awarded to the top three finishers: University of Michigan, Dunwoody College of Technology and University of Toronto.