Penn State U Offers Energy Storage & Microgrid Training
A new training program is part of the university's GridSTAR Center, a smart-grid education and research center at Penn State at The Navy Yard. The program is intended to help instructors prepare to teach electrical workers about safe and productive energy storage and microgrid construction. A unique element of the program is that the curriculum is based on lessons learned in the design and construction of multiple energy storage and microgrid systems at Penn State.
Colorado State U Receives $50K for Campus Sustainability & Water Research
The $50,000 grant will be split between campus sustainability research and collaboration, and STEM opportunities for diverse and underrepresented students. The university's National Western Center Sustainability Team will use $37,500 to develop innovations in water, energy, food systems, and health and recreation, and improve the natural environment. The second part of the grant, $12,500, supports the CSU Water Fellows program. First-generation CSU students from diverse and often underrepresented backgrounds will team with neighboring high school students to work on water issues.
AASHE Asks Elected Officials to Protect the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver
AASHE has joined more than 30 other organizations in opposing the repeal of the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver that is included in the House of Representatives' Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). Reclassifying these waivers as taxable income will significantly increase the cost of a graduate education and make it even more difficult for working class and low income students to pursue advanced degrees.
Cornell U Living Lab Waste Project Reduces Contamination
The student club WasteNot prototyped designs for waste sorting signage that is more user-friendly and inclusive of the international community by featuring clear directions in several languages and visual cues. In the first pilot with the redesigned signage, total contamination dropped by 10 percent for landfill, 17 percent for recycling and 19 percent for compost. Plans are underway to roll out piloted designs across campus facilities.
Cornell U Launches Food Security Grocery Store
Based on results of a Cornell University survey indicating a high percentage of students were regularly without access to food, the Center for Transformative Action launched Anabel's Grocery to provide nutritious, affordable food that includes low-priced meals, daily meal kits and fresh staples. The store is student-led and has served over 1,000 students in the first semester of operations. The store also offers educational programs around quality food, food choices, wellness and positive social change.
York U Releases Inaugural Institutional Sustainability Strategy
The university's first published sustainability strategy was led by a working group comprised of members of the university president’s Sustainability Council and included participation from more than 1,000 community members. The goals of the strategy are divided into three key categories: people, focusing on a culture of collaboration; knowledge, using its strengths in sustainability research to inform teaching; and place, creating a pedestrian-oriented campus.
McGill U Releases Climate & Sustainability Action Plan
In its new plan, the university commits to carbon neutrality by 2040 and sets a long-term goal of earning AASHE STARS Platinum by 2030. The result of an extensive consultation process, the plan includes offsetting air travel emissions and recruiting an Indigenous scholar or artist-in-residence.
Colgate U Initiates Green Fund for Sustainability Projects
The university's new Green Revolving Loan Fund was seeded with $230,000 and aims to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Funded projects must reduce carbon and provide a return on investment. Colgate has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2019, the university’s bicentennial.
Colgate U Class of 1965 Arena Earns LEED Gold
The new athletics facility includes water-saving technology, specialized climate controls, and recycled and locally sourced building materials. The university relied on paints, adhesives and other building materials that have no or low volatile organic compounds.
U Nebraska-Lincoln Installs Ventilation Technology for Efficiency
Several buildings on campus now use Aircuity, a technology that monitors the ventilation rates of buildings for optimal level of airflow to save energy and maintain air that contains low contaminants. It is estimated that Aircuity can reduce lab energy use by 40 to 60 percent.
U Hawai'i Explores Tariff for Renewable Energy Projects
To help the university achieve its net-zero energy goal and bring more cost-effective, renewable energy resources online, the university is working with local power companies to explore the possibility of a tariff that would go toward projects to increase renewable energy generation, improve grid capacity for renewables and lower energy costs for the university.
Middlebury College to Buy Biogas From Local Cow Farm
A new college partnership will deliver renewable natural gas to the college's main power plant. The gas will be produced at a local farm in an anaerobic digester using cow manure and food waste, and will travel by pipeline to the college. The college will purchase approximately 100 million cubic feet (100 Mmcf) of gas annually.
Medicine Hat College Gets $215K Grant for Microgrid
The college was recently awarded $215,000 for planning a $2 million renewable microgrid on campus. The college intends to install a solar parking lot canopy and electric vehicle charging station. Called the Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project (CREMDP), the installation will act as an equipment testing site for innovators and serve as a learning lab for students.
Denison U to Construct 2.3 MW of Solar Electricity
In an effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, the university is currently completing a solar project using 6,750 photovoltaic panels with a 2.3-megawatt capacity. The panels are on university-owned land while the arrays are owned by a power company. Under the agreement with the power company, the university will purchase all of the generated electricity.
U Exeter Joins Circular Economy Network
(U.K.) The university recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a Pioneer University, a program that seeks to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by engaging academics to research new business models to overcome environmental and economic challenges.
Medical U South Carolina Converts Street to Greenway
The university and a team of partners are reclaiming a street on campus to establish it as a space for people to walk, sit and relax. Called the Charleston Medical District Greenway, it will become a natural area with trees and gardens that enables patients to heal more quickly, as well as a gathering place for people visiting and working in the hospitals.
U South Florida St. Petersburg Installs 40 KW Solar System
The university unveiled a 40-kilowatt solar array carport, which was completed in partnership with Duke Energy Florida and was funded by the Student Green Energy Fund. The system is projected to power about 15 percent of the new biology and chemistry labs on campus.
Bates College EcoReps Construct 3 KW Photovoltaic Project
Doubling the capacity of a system installed in 2016 on the Bates Coastal Center, the colleges EcoReps installed 12 new solar panels to complete a six-kilowatt photovoltaic array that is estimated to produce 100 percent of the building's electrical needs. Bates’ sustainability office covered the cost of the 2017 installation, which was approximately $10,000.
Gavilan College to Connect 1.4 MW of Solar Electricity
The 1.4-megawatt solar electric system will be installed across two of the college's largest parking lots before the end of 2017 and enhanced by a 250-kilowatt (500 kilowatt-hour) energy storage solution. The system is expected to save the college $12.5 million in energy costs over 30 years. The Gavilan Joint Community College District will own the solar power system along with the associated renewable energy credits.
U Buffalo Coordinates 100 MW RE Community Initiative
A renewable energy initiative being spearheaded by the university aims to invest in the city’s urban core, while reducing energy costs for some Buffalo-area anchor institutions. Called Localizing Buffalo’s Renewable Energy Future, the plan calls for the creation of 100 megawatts of renewable energy, mostly in the form of solar power, by 2020. Other participating higher education institutions are SUNY Buffalo State and Erie Community College.
Hampshire College Chronicles Its Mission-Based Endowment Investing
A case study released by Intentional Endowments Institute describes Hampshire College's policy and process for aligning its endowment investments with its nonprofit mission and values. The case study also reveals how the college developed its investment policies with staff and student engagement.
Fordham U Professors and Postdoctorals Vote to Form Union
After an agreement was signed by the administration and non-tenure track faculty that allowed for a free and fair election, adjunct faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty, and postdoctoral fellows recently voted 16-to1 to join Service Employees International Union.
Catawba College Participates in US EPA Air Quality Flag Program
The college now participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Flag Program designed to help the community be aware of and respond to air quality conditions by flying one of five various colored EPA flags on a daily basis. The flag color is determined by the Air Quality Index (AQI) color that corresponds to the expected level of air pollution for that day.
Corporate Knights Releases 2017 Greenest Campuses in Canada Index
A new index released in October used data from AASHE STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) to produce a top 10 ranking of Canadian institutions of higher education. The ranking was based on 13 indicators: building area and clean air management, green certified building space, environment friendly dining certification, clean energy, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool score, green purchases on cleaning products and office paper, green transportation, commuting, waste and water management, and sustainable investing.
U Virginia to Open Community Food Space
The Morven Food Lab at the university's Morven Farm will be both a physical space and an organizational structure that aims to bring together food-related initiatives across the university, including the UVA Food Collaborative, the University’s Sustainable Food Strategy Task Force, the Morven Summer Institute and the Morven Kitchen Garden, and from within the community.
U Montreal Launches Support Program for Fair Trade
The university launched a financial support program designed to encourage and support the promotion of fair trade and campus outreach on fair trade issues by allocating $2,000 toward select projects. The Fair Trade Student Initiatives Project is managed by students and funded by the Sustainability Office and students association.
Southern Connecticut State U to Install 3 Photovoltaic Arrays Totaling 1 MW
The 1 megawatt photovoltaic project is expected to provide approximately 4 percent of the university's annual electricity consumption. Planned for completion in 2018, the more than 3,000 panels will be installed in three arrays: as a combination ground mount and carport array, and a rooftop array on the west side of campus.
Lehigh U Signs Real Food Campus Commitment
By signing the Real Food Campus Commitment, the university pledges to purchase at least 20 percent of its food annually from local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane sources by 2020. Becoming a signatory is aligned with the food purchasing goal captured in its 2020 Campus Sustainability Plan.
U Washington Supports Labor Rights in New Nike Contract
With pressure from the student-led group United Students Against Sweatshops, the university signed a renegotiated contract with Nike that gives the Worker Rights Consortium the right to inspect Nike's overseas factories. Under the terms of the contract, Nike must withdraw orders from a factory if workplace violations are discovered and the company is unable to get the factory to agree to a remediation plan.
Louisiana State U Cleans Up Litter With Social Campaign
A new awareness campaign aims to beautify the campus by encouraging the campus community to pick up litter, snap a photo and upload it to social media. The photos will be part of a photo contest with the winning photo displayed in the art gallery of the student union.
Portland State U Integrates Sustainability Mission Into Hiring Process
As part of the university’s ongoing effort to institutionalize sustainability into the culture of the campus community, Human Resources has added an environmental stewardship statement to all job postings and created an orientation video highlighting the university’s commitment to sustainability. The statement emphasizes PSU’s sustainability values and goals and states that employees will, “contribute to a culture of environmental stewardship, practice resource conservation, and actively work toward achieving long-term sustainability goals.”
Northwestern U Introduces Reusable Cup Vending
The Cats Cups program aims to reduce the amount of waste from disposable cups and glasses by giving students the option to fill a specially designed reusable bottle. Students can purchase the cup with unlimited refills for $65.
Duke U Vendors Address Food Insecurity With $5 Lunch Option
A new Duke Dining program was introduced this fall that seeks to address the inaccessibility and cost of West Campus dining for first-year and low socioeconomic students. Called Daily Devil Deals, the program ensures that every vendor on Duke’s campus offers a lunch option for $5 or less.
U New Hampshire Launches New Carbon/Nitrogen Measurement Tool
The university recently announced the launch of the Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP), a tool that offers campuses an online platform for tracking, reporting and managing their carbon and nitrogen footprints. The platform will also help identify trends across campus sustainability by tracking and sharing aggregated campus sustainability data.
American College Greece Begins Scholarship Program for Refugees
(Greece) Called Education Unites: From Camp to Campus, the goal of the new program is to give displaced students the opportunity to continue their education, provide them with knowledge, skills and academic credits they can use either in Greece or in any other European country they move to, and help them get out of the camps and become integrated in local colleges.
American College Greece Launches New Sustainability Website
(Greece) The new website includes information about the college's sustainability efforts in education and research, operations, and community engagement. It also houses a sustainability game, news and events, and a pledge that asks signers to implement sustainable behaviors.
Bates College Switches One Boiler to Renewable Fuel Oil
To aid the college's long-term carbon neutrality goals, it recently switched fuel sources on one of its three boilers from natural gas to renewable fuel oil, a proprietary product made by vaporizing wood feedstock (e.g., sawdust) at a very high temperature. The vapor, which retains the energy of the wood’s organic compounds, is then re-condensed into a fuel oil.
Mohawk Valley CC Installs 3 MW Solar Array
Projected to offset about $90,000 per year in electricity costs, the 3 megawatt project is net-metered, meaning that any excess energy the system produces beyond the needs of the campus will be sold back to the utility company.
U Minnesota Duluth to Purchase 100 KW Block From Solar Farm
Three Student Life units at the university are sharing the $213,215 cost of purchasing a 100 kilowatt block of solar electricity from an in-state community solar garden. In return, the units – Dining Services, Housing and Residence Life, and Transportation and Parking Services – will receive annual discounts on their electricity bills.
Second Nature & AASHE to Host Gathering at COP23
Second Nature and AASHE, along with the University of Connecticut and Tufts University, are hosting a reception and networking event at COP23, in Bonn, Germany, on Nov. 14 at the U.S. Climate Action Center. Along with networking, attendees will hear briefly from a select group of speakers about climate leadership programs within the higher education sector.
Princeton U Files Lawsuit Regarding DACA
In early November, Princeton University and Microsoft joined together to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A DACA-protected student at Princeton, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is also listed as a plaintiff.
Southern Oregon U Introduces Dish Loan Program
The Sustainability Resource Center at Southern Oregon launched a new program to loan reusable dishes and utensils for free at campus events in an effort to move toward zero waste events.
2017 Sustainable Campus Index Lists Top Performers
The 2017 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Top performers overall by institution type are Appalachian State University (master’s); Nova Scotia Community College (associate); Stanford University (doctoral/research); and Sterling College (baccalaureate). Also included in the report are innovative and high-impact initiatives.