Cornell U & Ithaca College Announce Water Restrictions Due to Drought

As a result of a prolonged period of low rainfall, Cornell announced that in order to supply water to maintain its mission-critical operations, the community must work together to decrease overall water use on campus by at least 30 percent as soon as possible. In the same vein, Ithaca College is taking proactive steps to reduce water usage, and asking members of the campus community to consider ways they can lessen individual water consumption.

Indiana U-Owned Hotel Diverts 6K Pounds of Soap

After seeing a presentation on Clean the World, an organization dedicated to making hygiene products accessible to people worldwide, the university-owned hotel was able to divert nearly two years worth of leftover soap and shampoos, totaling over 6,500 pounds, to the organization.

Pennsylvania State U Institutes Civic Engagement Program

The university's new Scholarship, Sustainability and Civic Engagement Program had 11 students pilot the program in the 2015-16 academic year, which included two semesters of classwork and summer fieldwork. The students worked with various cities across the state to find creative and innovative solutions to various issues, from food access to urban development. The program made a three year commitment to the cities, whereby future groups of students will build upon the work that began this year.

Appalachian State U Becomes 'Workers Rights Consortium' Affiliate

As a result of one student's efforts to transform the university's purchasing practices of logo apparel, the new partnership means that Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) investigates working conditions at factories producing clothing and other products bearing the university's name and logo. Collegiate affiliates of the WRC have a manufacturing Code of Conduct that addresses, among other things, workers' wages and rights, and workplace safety and health.

Michigan State U Implements Campus-Wide Tobacco Ban

The campus-wide ban on the use of tobacco products, to begin mid-August, is part of an ongoing effort to ensure the community can enjoy the healthiest campus possible, which includes not only immediate physical health of humans, but the health of waterways. Cigarette butts release pollutants into the ecosystem as they break down.

U West England to Construct Large Solar Array

(U.K.) To support the nation's decarbonization agenda, increase energy security and enhance local renewable energy capacity, the solar electric system is expected to supply 400-megawatt-hours of electricity, roughly half of the electricity used by the building upon which it will be constructed.

Miami U's New President Uses Bicycle for Main Transportation

The new president is an avid cyclist, having ridden across the country on a bicycle, and uses this alternative means of transportation as a way to connect with the campus community.

Swarthmore College Assists in Community Solar Array

A satellite ministry of Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia is now using photovoltaic energy thanks to a collective of North Philadelphia residents and Swarthmore College students and faculty, who obtained funding for the project through a series of grants and crowdfunding. Funding is also being used for an apprenticeship program for young people in the community to learn about renewable energy.

U New Mexico Hosts Electric Vehicle Outreach Event

After electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were installed on campus, the university hosted a Ride and Drive event, an electric and hybrid car show consisting of car manufacturers BMW, Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet. The goal of the event was to promote alternative transportation and raise awareness of the EV charging stations on campus.

U Texas El Paso Earns GBCI Sustainability Award

Achieving Green Business Certification Inc.'s SITES Silver Award for achievement in sustainability, the university recently transformed its 11-acre, campus center into a large grass oval surrounded by multi-textured walking paths, shade trees, drought-resistant shrubs, concrete benches, water fountains, rock-strewn arroyos and a 130-seat amphitheater. SITES is a rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes.

Norfolk State U $5M NSF Grant to Support Underrepresented Minority Students

The five-year, $5 million National Science Foundation grant through the university's Center for Renewable Energy and Advanced Materials will be used for investigating and developing advanced materials and devices for renewable energy. Additional aspects of the research include introducing underrepresented minority students to energy engineering through training and outreach activities.

Hampshire College Anticipates 100 Percent Solar Electricity Use

The college's partner, SolarCity, has applied for permits to construct two grid-tied solar arrays, totaling a 4.7-megawatt capacity that will cover approximately 19 acres, and a 500-kilowatt-hour Tesla battery-storage system to support each of the two systems. Under the project's power purchase agreement, the solar arrays will be built and operated by SolarCity, and the college will purchase the electricity from SolarCity at a fixed rate that is lower than the rate the college now pays for electricity.

Michigan State U Researchers Examine Building Demolition Process

To address the cycle of urban construction that leads to demolition of abandoned buildings, a university researcher is conducting a feasibility study to examine more sustainable options for managing abandoned properties. Rather than opting for demolition, where most materials are sent to the landfill, structures would be deconstructed for reuse and diverted from the landfill in an attempt to see if a different process could have both environmental and economic value to consumers.

North Carolina State U Pilots Zero Waste Workplace Program

In an effort to increase the waste diversion percentage from 50 to 65, the pilot Zero Waste Workplace program, coordinated by the university’s Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling, uses composting stations, desk-side mini waste bins, and self-service recycling and landfill sorting stations in one the campus' administrative buildings, which houses University Housekeeping and the University Sustainability Office.

Williams College Partners on Capped Landfill Solar Array

Supporting the college's climate change response plan, Williams College and the Town of Williamstown have signed an agreement to invest approximately $6 million to complete construction of a 1.9-megawatt solar array on the town's capped landfill. Williams will provide the initial $6 million investment to construct the project while seeking a tax equity partner that would co-own the solar array and provide $2 million toward the project during the final stages of construction.

Southwestern Illinois College to Obtain $500K for Solar Energy

A $500,000 grant from the U.S. Steel and American Bottom Conservancy trust fund will go toward a proposed 154-kilowatt photovoltaic array to reduce the college’s carbon footprint and provide an educational resource for students and the community.

College of the Atlantic Opens Community Energy Center

The college's new Community Energy Center builds on existing sustainability and renewable energy efforts and aims to work with residents, organizations and business owners to research, develop and implement innovative projects that enable people and business owners to reap the financial and social benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels. The first project will provide 30 or more local farms and businesses with solar energy assessments and in-depth information on funding mechanisms.

Pennsylvania State U Sees Significant Reduction in Paper Use

By sharing helpful tips with students and faculty, students reduced paper usage by 44 percent and faculty by 10 percent in the 2015-16 academic year. A Paper Reduction Committee ran promotional campaigns on ways to reduce printing as well as promoted tips such as encouraging students to print double-sided, using the multiple pages per sheet printer function, and promoting use of an electronic document sharing solution.

Roosevelt U Houses New Apiary for 60,000 Bees

Installed on July 15, two hives containing more than 60,000 honey bees are expected to contribute to healthy growth and sustainability of the campus’ prairie and community garden. The new bee apiary is being tended by a beekeeper from a social enterprise Chicago company called Sweet Beginnings, LLC, which has been providing ex-offenders with job opportunities in raising bees and collecting and selling honey since 2005.

U Maryland Eastern Shore Receives $1M to Boost Green Workforce

Delmarva Power announced a pledge of $1 million to help the university launch the Green Collar Initiative, a series of energy conservation projects that include crafting a sustainable curriculum using research, development and training assistance targeting rural businesspeople, especially those in agribusiness.

Western Washington U Begins Sustainable Cities Partnership

Applying its academic expertise to strengthen communities beyond the campus, the new Sustainable Cities Partnership with the city of Edmonds will focus student energy and ideas on a variety city issues oriented toward sustainability.

Pennsylvania State U Offers Car Sharing

Through Enterprise CarShare, students, faculty and staff now have the ability to check out a vehicle for personal use as an alternative to car ownership.

U Colorado Boulder Athletics Restores 11M Gallons Water to Colorado River

In an effort to balance the 12 million gallons of water CU Athletics uses, its Water for the West campaign has restored 11 million gallons of water back to the Colorado River Basin by committing to restore 1,000 gallons for each person that pledges to eat less meat, buy less stuff, recycle more and generally use less water. Water for the West is part of a nationwide campaign called Change the Course that's restored over 5 billion gallons of water to depleted rivers.

NY Times Covers Food Banks on College Campuses

The recently published piece from the NY Times indicates that more than 300 food pantries have been created at colleges across the country "to address a problem the Agriculture Department calls "food insecurity" on campus". The article mentions a stigma associated with food insecurity on college campuses and cites various stories of students who face hunger.

U Massachusetts Accepts $1M to Support Resiliency Plan

Recognized for its multi-campus, hazard mitigation plan, the university recently won a $1 million grant from the state that will be used to purchase emergency generators in preparation and response to natural threats.

U Massachusetts Amherst Partners on $16M Solar Project

With no upfront cost to itself through third-party financing and ownership with Brightergy, the university will be installing 5.5-megawatts of photovoltaic technology projected to cut costs by $6.2 million. The university will purchase all the electricity from the installation at a reduced rate. Brightergy is also providing educational funds for learning labs and internships.

California State U Fullerton Announces Start of 4MW Solar Project

At the 15th Annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC), the university announced that construction is underway on a four-megawatt solar power system at three university parking areas. The university will purchase and own the renewable energy credits and power generated by the system under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Princeton U Professor Receives EPA Green Chemistry Award

Paul Chirik, Princeton University’s Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry and associate director for external partnerships at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, received a 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Chirik was recognized for discovering a new class of catalysts that are used to produce silicones that could dramatically reduce the mining of ore and reduce costs, greenhouse-gas emissions and waste.

Energy Department Funds $2.1M Solar Training Program

The Solar Training Network that includes the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) aims to improve access to solar training, resources and careers, and seeks to increase the quality and diversity of the solar workforce and establish national training standards. The $2.1 million program is led by The Solar Foundation and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Scientific Organizations Write Congress Regarding Climate Change

The June letter to U.S. policymakers, representing 31 scientific organizations, reaffirmed human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources and human health. The letter provides objective, authoritative information to policymakers.

Emory U Releases Sustainability Vision & Plan

The new plan, building off the university's strategic plan that calls for sustainability to be a guiding principle, outlines four action areas. Broadly, they are to support culture change, expand the sustainability network, model sustainability in landscape, buildings and operations, and create strategic, public partnerships that build resilient communities.

U California San Diego Installs Student-Developed Solar Charging Station

The student-engineered project is a spot for students to unwind and charge electronic devices from solar energy. Inspired by a trip to Costa Rica, the site features a 1.5 kilowatt solar tree and two benches. The benches have electrical ports for charging multiple devices and a LED light fixture.

Bristol CC Opens LEED Platinum Building

The 46,000 square foot, John J. Sbrega Health and Science building is a zero net energy classroom and science lab, and features a photovoltaic system along with an air source-ground source heating and cooling system, which combined allows the building to move away from fossil fuel usage. Other sustainable building elements include solar hot water production, efficient LED lighting and filtered, ductless fume hoods.

Utah State U Building Attains LEED Gold

The new building at the university's Brigham City campus joins nine others at USU with LEED Gold status and features fixtures designed to use approximately 46 percent less water than traditional fixtures, energy efficiency and 44 percent of the building’s materials were extracted, harvested or manufactured within 500 miles.

Northeastern U to Invest $25M in Environmental Sustainability

The uni­ver­sity recently announced it will direct $25 mil­lion of its endow­ment, cur­rently valued at approx­i­mately $700 mil­lion, to invest­ments with a focus on sus­tain­ability, including clean energy, renew­ables, green building, and sus­tain­able water and agri­cul­ture. Imple­men­ta­tion will take place over five years.

North Carolina State U Tests Battery-Powered Lawn Equipment

New electric weed and hedge trimmers, leaf blowers and a lawn mower are now part of a pilot program to evaluate the equipment’s productivity, safety and cost-effectiveness. Air quality and noise reduction benefits are the driving motivators for the product testing.

Michigan State U Joins 'Workplace Charging Challenge'

In an effort to help reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions while also providing a valuable benefit to students, employees and visitors, the university recently joined the national partnership program, Workplace Charging Challenge through the U.S. Department of Energy, that aims to increase the number of employers offering workplace vehicle charging to 500 by 2018.

Michigan State U Hosts Bicycle Friendly America Conference

As a silver-level Bicycle Friendly University, the university held the conference to share best practices for making bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all members of the campus community.

U California Merced Installs Hydrogel Into Soil

In an effort to conserve water and maintain an attractive landscape, the university uses a hydrogel system, which acts as a water and nutrient reservoir, allowing water to be released slowly into the soil and roots.

'Community College Innovation Challenge' Names 2016 Winners

The 2016 Community College Innovation Challenge, a team competition calling for innovative, research-based solutions for food, energy and water, named Forsyth Technical Community College as first place, and Normandale Community College and Virginia Western Community College as tied for second. The competition was hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.

U Central Florida Seeks Sustainability Guidance from Walt Disney Co.

Serving millions of guests a year and employing over 70,000 individuals, the Walt Disney Company spoke with the university about how to reduce a large environmental footprint.

Arizona State U Receives Athletics Sustainability Honor

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USG Corporation named the university as the winner of the 2016 USG NACDA Sustainability Award. Runners up were the University of Louisville and South Dakota State University. The USG NACDA Sustainability Award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions across all divisions, honoring athletics directors and their universities for incorporating sustainable practices and materials into their athletics facilities.

U California Davis Accommodates 20K Bicycles

A newly released video showcases the university's efforts to maintain a Platinum level Bicycle-Friendly designation from the League of American Bicyclists, given that on any given weekday in the spring or fall semester, the campus may have 20,000 bikes on it, says David Takemoto-Weerts, university bicycle program coordinator.

Northern Arizona U Wins Two Awards for High-Efficiency Lighting

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Interior Lighting Campaign awarded the university top honors in two categories: Best Use of Lighting Controls in a Single Building and Exemplary Higher Education Sector Site. Overall, the 2016 Interior Lighting Campaign recognized 13 organizations for exemplary performance in their application of high-efficiency lighting systems.

North Carolina State U Creates Pollinator-Friendly Areas

Horticulture professor Dennis Werner, in collaboration with Grounds Management, spent a year planning and preparing the sites to become meadows of pollinator-friendly plants. In spring 2016, Werner, horticulture students and Grounds Management installed more than 600 plants.

U Saskatchewan Plants Rooftop Garden

The urban garden project currently underway is part of the university's Department of Plant Sciences, through which a class on urban food production is offered. The food is sold to Culinary Services, who supplies food waste back to the university's compost that is used in the garden to create a closed loop.

APPA Names 2016 Sustainability Award Winners

APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities, better known as simply APPA, recently named its award recipients for its Sustainability Award. They are Colorado State University, Elon University, George Washington University, Ohio University, Portland Community College, Spelman College, University of Michigan and University of Virginia. APPA's Sustainability Award in facilities management is designed to recognize and advance sustainability excellence in educational facilities.

U Texas Austin & Huston-Tillotson U Win College Sports Sustainability Contest

The University of Texas at Austin and Huston-Tillotson University were announced as the two inaugural winners of the College Sports Sustainability Makeover Contest at the Green Sports Alliance Summit. Designed to highlight college athletics' ability to influence fan sustainability behavior and boost college sports sustainability, the winners will receive a prize package valued at $50,000.

Brown U Launches Donor Sustainability Fund

With the help of students, the university recently launched the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund that gives donors who wish to support the university a sustainability-focused giving option structured to invest in companies that meet high standards of environmental, social and governance practices.

Emory U Awards Inaugural Green Labs & Offices Grants

The university’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives announced the recipients of its inaugural Green Labs at Emory and Green Offices at Emory Incentives Fund programs that use small grants to fund innovative, timely and impactful projects led by students, faculty and staff to foster sustainability-related knowledge and habits in laboratories and workspaces.