U Massachusetts Amherst Receives LEED Gold on Historic Building

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, the Old Chapel building incorporates an array of green building strategies to maintain the integrity of the original design and materials, including use of existing wood and masonry, and energy modeling to find the correct balance of masonry wall insulation, energy-efficient glazing and stained glass restoration so that energy goals were in concert with historic restoration efforts. The building is designed to exceed code energy performance by 21 percent and to reduce potable water use by 34 percent.

Colorado College Opens Net-Zero Library

Adding 25,000 square feet, the $45 million renovation also made the building net-zero energy. A geothermal energy field, 115-kilowatt rooftop solar array, 400-kilowatt off-site solar array, green rooftop garden, and 130-kilowatt combined heat and power system contribute to the net-zero energy library. The net-zero energy library recently received a 2017 Innovation Awards from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

Campus Pride Releases Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly List

Campus Pride chose the 25 campuses from 16 states based on their overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive benchmark measures. The Campus Pride Index, which currently includes 300+ campuses, is a national benchmarking tool that self-assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices.

College Marin Switches to 100% Renewable Energy

As of mid-August, all electricity accounts at the college were switched to a 100 percent renewable energy program through a California not-for-profit, public electricity provider. Now the college’s power bills will reflect zero emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity.

Binghamton U Commits to Advance Workplace Diversity & Inclusion

By signing on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion commitment, Binghamton pledges to take action to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, and where employees feel encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion. The more than 290 signatories will convene at a summit in November to discuss longer-term growth strategies that will advance the agenda.

Binghamton U Opens Sustainable Building

Features of the new building, which house the departments of chemistry and physics, include photovoltaic panels on the roof to produce electricity, hydronic radiant heating in the floor, controlled LED lighting, individual space monitoring to reduce air flows and energy use, and water-cooled equipment wherever possible to conserve energy.

Georgetown U Reaches Labor Rights Agreement With Nike

As part of a renewed contract, Georgetown now requires Nike, Inc to provide the Worker Rights Consortium, a labor rights group, access to supplier factories and ensure supply partners comply with new labor standards. The university's contract expired at the end of 2016 following concerns from students and members of the on-campus workers’ rights group Georgetown Solidarity Committee.

U Brighton Completes 150KW Photovoltaic Array

(U.K.) Two systems with a combined capacity of just under 150 kilowatts have now been installed at no cost to the university. A third party energy cooperative is leasing university roof space for 20 years. The university will pay the cooperative for the electricity generated by the panels, which will cost approximately one third less than grid electricity. At the end of the lease, the university will take ownership of the panels at no cost and will benefit from the free electricity they generate.

North Carolina State U Pilots Bike Sharing Service

In mid-August, the university's transportation department started a pilot program with LimeBike, a bike-share service that will provide campus with 300 public bikes available for short-term rental.

Indiana U Launches $300M Grand Challenges Program

The university's Grand Challenge program announced the new Prepared for Environmental Change initiative. The new multi-million dollar initiative seeks to gather an interdisciplinary team of researchers that will engage government, business, nonprofit and community leaders to implement actionable solutions to the impacts of environmental change.

U North Carolina Charlotte Launches Bike Sharing System

In an effort to reduce pollution and traffic congestion, last month the university launched Charlotte Wheels, which provides 10 stations and 100 bicycles for checkout. The system offers two different pricing options.

Simon Fraser U Earns LEED Gold on Chemistry Building Renovation

The recently renovated building has new systems for water efficiency, optimized energy performance and waste management. Other achievements during the renovation included diverting at least 75 percent of construction waste from the landfill and installing new laboratory fume hoods that exhaust 50 percent less air when users close the sash.

Harvard U Achieves LEED Gold on Renovation

The housing renovation aimed to deliver a healthier interior for residents. The project team worked with manufacturers to ensure selected flooring material was produced without any added antimicrobials and all furniture and furnishings are free of chemical flame retardants. Wellness efforts focused on controlling noise pollution and enhancing access to natural light. Energy conservation measures implemented in the renovation include high-performing LEDs, high-efficiency washer and dryers, and natural ventilation strategies.

NY Announces $3 Million Clean Energy Competition for Colleges & Universities

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently launched Energy to Lead 2017, a $3 million challenge to New York colleges and universities to implement clean energy solutions that aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy bills and improve resiliency. Open to two- or four-year public or private colleges or universities, funding awards will range from $250,000 to $1 million per project.

Pennsylvania State U University Park to Launch Bike Sharing Program

The university's Transportation Services and Zagster, Inc., have announced the launch of a new bike-share program that will open with 85 bikes across 17 stations for members to use for on-demand, local trips. The program will offers memberships for students, faculty and staff, and community members, as well as single-use rides for non-members.

U Nebraska Kearney to Invest $11M in Solar Energy

The university is expected to meet 25 percent of its electrical energy through a new $11 million, 25-year contract for solar energy from a nearby 5.8-megawatt array that is expected to be completed in February 2018. The university anticipates saving more than $250,000 over the next 25 years of the contract.

U California Berkeley Historic Building Receives LEED Silver

The residence hall, a registered historic building, now performs 20 percent above the California Energy Commissions Title 24 energy efficiency standards.

Harvard U Achieves LEED Gold on Residence Hall Renovation

The newly renovated building features furniture and furnishings free of harmful chemical flame retardants and energy conservation measures including high-performing LED lighting, high-efficiency washer and dryers, and natural ventilation strategies.

Virginia Private Colleges Receive Solar Energy Funding

The Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) has been awarded more than $807,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to help 16 member colleges develop comprehensive plans for implementing solar power on their campuses. The three-year program is designed to help the colleges navigate the legal, regulatory and technical challenges associated with installing solar systems, leverage group purchasing power, and create a learning network accessible by other organizations considering solar power.

U British Columbia Students Design & Install Pollinator Homes

Working with biologists, zoologists and local planners, students in the UBC school of architecture and landscape architecture (SALA) designed, built and installed three pollinator homes for bees and bats. The project will provide the opportunity for students to study sharing spaces with species in urban environments.

APPA Sustainability Awards Given to Five Schools

APPA, previously known as the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, honored the following schools with its 2017 Sustainability Award: Arizona State University, The Ohio State University, San Mateo County Community College District, University of British Columbia, and University of Washington Bothell. The Sustainability Award is designed to recognize and advance sustainability in educational facilities.

North Carolina State U Adopts Sustainability Strategic Plan

After more than 18 months of cross-campus planning, input and analysis, the NC State Sustainability Council has completed development of the university's next five-year Sustainability Strategic Plan, guiding sustainability efforts through 2022.

Princeton Review Releases 2018 Green Honor Roll

The 2018 Green Honor Roll spotlights 24 schools that received the highest score in the Green Rating tallies this year out of 629 schools. This rating, on a scale of 60–99, looks at students quality of campus life, student preparation for a clean energy economy and citizenship, and the school's policies as they relate to environmental responsibility.

Florida State U Alumni Donate Solar Array

The newly completed installation, comprised of 12 panels near the Seminole Organic Garden, was donated and installed by three alumni, each with roles in the sustainable energy sector.

Stanford U Earns STARS Platinum

Earlier this month, Stanford University earned a Platinum rating in the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), which measures sustainability achievements in academics, campus and community engagement, operations, and planning and administration. Stanford joins Colorado State University as the only two higher education institutions to achieve STARS Platinum.

Sierra Magazine Releases Annual Cool Schools List

In 2017, Sierra magazine ranked 227 institutions based on information about their environmental practices in food and transportation systems, water and waste management, purchasing procedures, academics, investments and more. Participation in the Cool Schools ranking was open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada.

U Virginia Students Mobilize Against Hate

In repudiation of hate and bigotry, thousands of University of Virginia and Charlottesville community members retraced the steps that neo-Nazi and white supremacist protesters took on Aug. 11. The crowd displayed a message of solidarity as they chanted, sang hymns and held a moment of silence for those that lost their lives.

Red Deer College Breaks Ground on Alternative Energy Lab

When completed in 2018, the lab will be utilized for teaching, demonstration and applied research related to alternative energy opportunities. The space will also engage and support regional businesses wanting to explore alternative energy production options. The new lab is one of three key components of RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative, which promotes environmental stewardship through the application of sustainable and energy efficient technologies.

Flinders U to Introduce Driverless Electric Bus

(Australia) The new autonomous, solar-powered bus will be used at the university's Tonsley campus. A 320,000 Australian dollar ($253,000) solar garage will be built, capable of recharging about six electric vehicles at once, including the new autonomous bus. The university won AU$1 million in state government funding to trial the autonomous bus technology, and will also use another AU$3 million from other investors to run the project over the next five years.

U Texas Dallas Earns Tree Campus USA Designation

The university's Grounds department and the Office of Sustainability helped the university earn the certification from the Arbor Day Foundation by establishing a tree maintenance and management program, designating a budget for trees, and holding tree-related service projects and educational outreach on campus. The Tree Campus USA program helps colleges and universities establish and sustain healthy community forests.

U California San Diego Wins Freezer Challenge

Over 200 labs representing 34 organizations across North America competed in the Freezer Challenge, which encouraged researchers to implement best practices in cold storage management. Labs received points for taking actions, such as properly maintaining freezers and refrigerators and discarding old samples. UC San Diego saved an estimated 500,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Honorable mention goes to the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Virginia. An individual lab at Harvard University won top honors by saving an estimated 13,000 kilowatt-hours per year.

U Texas Austin Removes Three Confederate Monuments

After protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent in mid-August, the university’s president said in a letter to the campus' community “that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism." After speaking with the campus community, the president decided to remove and relocate three Confederate statues on campus, indicating the statues "represent the subjugation of African Americans" and are not in alignment with the university's core values.

U Virginia Student Council Releases Statement in Response to Charlotteville Incident

After the recent protests that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia Student Council released a statement condemning the violent actions that took place, and communicated its resolve to speak out against hatred and create an environment where all feel safe and welcomed.

Texas A&M U Cancels Speaker Event Over Safety Concerns

After consultation with law enforcement, the university has cancelled an on-campus event scheduled for September by Preston Wiginton, a Texas-based white nationalist. Wiginton linked the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, with his planned protest, which raised concerns about the safety of the university's students, faculty, staff and the public.

Northwest Missouri State U and SUNY Oswego Win Sustainability Awards from AASCU

Northwest Missouri State University and the State University of New York Oswego won the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' (AASCU) Sustainability and Sustainable Development Award. The program honors member institutions for excellence and innovation in sustainability. Northwest Missouri State was cited for its Comprehensive Sustainability System, which has produced $15.4 million in energy savings, and SUNY Oswego's BikeShare and BusShare projects were highlighted.

Duke U Removes Robert E. Lee Statue

After recent vandalization of a statue of Robert E. Lee at the entrance to the university's chapel, Duke University president recently authorized its removal after conferring with students, faculty, staff and alumni. The statue will be preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future. The president also announced that a commission will be assembled to understand how best to memorialize individuals on campus and recommend principles drawn from Duke’s core values as a guide when questions arise.

AAC&U Selects Ten Institutions as Sites for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the ten institutions selected to serve as sites for the first Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers. The TRHT Campus Centers are part of a multi-year initiative to educate, prepare and inspire the next generation to advance justice and build equitable communities. Selected through a competitive process, the institutions are: Austin Community College; Brown University; Duke University; Hamline University; Millsaps College; Rutgers University-Newark; Spelman College; The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina; University of Hawai’i at Mānoa; and University of Maryland Baltimore County.

SEPN Releases Study Results on Sustainability Assessment and Strategic Planning

According to a new study from the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN), an examination of strategic plans from 50 post-secondary institutions across Canada revealed that institutions that have undergone a sustainability assessment also incorporate sustainability into their strategic plans in a more significant way. The study is part of a larger study examining sustainability uptake across the Canadian formal education system.

Luzerne County CC Enters $8M Energy Performance Savings Contract

The community college recently contracted with Ameresco to renew and upgrade its campus energy infrastructure and to institute energy efficiency measures. The nearly $8 million project is expected to save the college more than $576,000 annually in energy costs and operation and maintenance savings for the next 15 years. In addition, the college will earn $122,757 in energy rebates and incentives.

Winona State U Hires First Sustainability Director

Nathan Engstrom will be directly responsible for collecting and analyzing data, developing implementation strategies, overseeing and assessing progress towards established metrics and standards, and reporting to all constituent groups on campus. Engstrom, who previously served as regional sustainability coordinator at Northland College, has a master’s degree in sustainable design from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and environmental studies from Northland College.

U Philippines Baguio Implements Carless Wednesdays

(Philippines) In an effort to reduce the university's carbon footprint, the university began Carless Wednesdays, prohibiting the campus community and visitors from parking cars on university property each Wednesday.

Bournemouth U Initiates Employee Sustainability Program

After a six-month pilot of a behavior change program reduced energy consumption by 14.6 percent across four departments, the university is expanding the program to all staff members. The initiative works by engaging employees on a range of themes through an online platform and app. Employees are rewarded with points for reducing their environmental footprint and improving their well-being through measures such as cycling, car-sharing or using re-usable cups and bottles.

MIT Prepares to Upgrade Cogeneration Plant

The upgrade project will soon replace an aging 22 megawatt turbine with a new one and install a second 22 megawatt gas turbine. Each will be equipped with a heat recovery steam generator. In addition, the upgrade includes changing fuel use scenarios for five existing boilers to eliminate the use of No. 6 fuel oil on campus and equip them to use cleaner fuels. The plant will switch to using natural gas for all normal operations, relegating fuel oil to backup emergency use only. Both new turbines are projected to be in service by 2020.

Eastern Kentucky U Athletics Launches Litter Prevention Program

The university and the EKU Athletics Department will start a litter prevention initiative this fall that allows student athletics to use their community service hours to clean up designated parts of campus.

Duke U, Unity College & U Texas Austin Win Top Honors for Dining Practices

The National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability in campus dining operations. The 2017 grand prize winner is Unity College, who also won top honors in the Waste Management category followed by Oregon State University and Georgia State University, respectively. The first, second and third place winners in Outreach and Education are respectively University of Texas at Austin, University of Massachusetts Amherst and College of Saint Benedict. In the Procurement Practices category, Duke University, University of Montana and Purdue University ranked first, second and third place respectively.

MIT Energy Initiative Announces $10.3M Collaboration

The $10.3 million, five-year collaboration with energy company Iberdrola aims to advance technologies and policies that will help transition to clean energy and fight climate change. The agreement includes $5 million in funding for a professorship at MIT dedicated to research and education in power systems engineering.

Rhode Island to Offer Free Community College

The state's lawmakers passed the state budget proposal recently, which included $2.8 million to fund the free tuition program for one year. Graduating high school seniors who maintain a 2.5 GPA and go to school full-time will be eligible, regardless of income. Rhode Island joins three other states – New York, Tennessee and Oregon – that have approved plans to make community college free.

U Notre Dame Establishes Endowment for Sustainability Minor

The Otterbeck Family Endowment for Excellence in Undergraduate Sustainability Studies was established in March. The first major program supported by the endowment this past semester was a course development grant, which was awarded to six faculty members to support the creation of new sustainability courses. Other goals include student research support, alumni mentoring and career guidance.

U Michigan Serves Campus Farm Produce

The university's campus farm was able to begin supplying its produce to on-campus dining halls after attaining its USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) food safety certification in June. This effort was in part made possible by the addition of a covered produce wash station built by volunteers and student farmers. Students volunteers work at the farm each week, engaging in hands-on learning about sustainable farming, the environment, equality and issues of justice surrounding food.

Emory U Class Revitalizes Pilot Green Roof

An abandoned rooftop garden was recently revamped through a class project and was funded by the university's Sustainability Incentives Fund grant through Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives. The original project in 2008 was part of a student-led pilot study exploring the benefits of vegetative roof coverings and had been largely unmaintained since.