Emory U to Launch $1.5M Sustainability Revolving Fund
The soon-to-launch $1.5 million, self-replenishing program will be used to fund capital-intensive energy and water efficiency projects. Made possible by a $500,000 grant from The Kendeda Fund and matched with $1 million from the university, Emory also joins the Billion Dollar Green Challenge led by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.
Green Electronics Council Announces 2016 EPEAT Award Winners
Five higher education institutions were recognized by the Green Electronics Council (GEC) as winners of the 2016 EPEAT Sustainable Purchasing Awards. Winners, recognized for their procurement efforts, are Loyola University Chicago, McGill University, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Bowdoin College and Laval University.
U Maryland System to Direct Endowment Away from Fossil Fuels
Following a student-led movement to direct more of its portfolio toward clean energy, the University System of Maryland Foundation, which oversees the state university system's $1 billion endowment, said that it will stop investing directly in the 200 coal, oil and gas-related companies on a list complied by Fossil Free Indexes. Students at University of Maryland, College Park began the push to divest from fossil fuels in 2013, circulating a petition with nearly 600 signatures from within and outside the university.
Yale U Nursing Students Connect with Food Systems to Improve Patient Wellbeing
Students in their first year of the school's Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing program work with Yale Landscape Lab for a series of workshops that focus on the importance of creating meaningful connections with their patients as they work with them to learn to access and eat healthy foods. These sessions combined with hands-on growing and cooking exercises help the students explore their personal connections with food as a way to empower them to promote healthy lifestyles.
Northern Kentucky U Building Achieves LEED Gold
The university's newly renovated and expanded Campus Recreation Center features 80 ground-source heating and cooling wells, landscape designed to lessen water consumption and energy-efficient mechanical systems.
U Louisiana Lafayette Signs $5M Solar Project Agreement
The university and Louisiana Generating LLC recently signed the $5 million agreement to construct and operate the Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing (PART) Laboratory, to be located on about five acres. The project partners say the PART Lab will give students training in the field of emergent alternative energies and reduce the university’s net fossil-fueled energy consumption by up to 10 percent. The project will be owned and operated by the university.
Austin CC Receives $150K for Solar System
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) recently announced the community college Highland Campus Library as the winner of the grant that will cover up to $150,000 of the cost of installing a solar array, allowing the university to reduce its electricity expenditures.
ISCN Announces 2016 Award Winners
The International Sustainable Campus Network's (ISCN) Campus Excellence Awards recognize sustainable campus projects that demonstrate leadership, creativity, effectiveness and outstanding performance in the areas of campus, collaboration and student leadership. University of São Paulo (Brazil) won in the Excellence in Campus category; University of Oxford (England) came in first in the Excellence in Innovative Collaboration; and Excellence in Student Leadership was awarded to five Swedish universities that collaborate in "Sustainability Week".
Cornell U Connects 2MW Photovoltaic Array
The new two-megawatt solar array is now fully operational. Spanning 17 acres, it is projected to offset almost 40 percent of the annual electricity demand at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Loyola U Chicago Installs Decals to Reduce Avian Collisions with Buildings
Over the last several years the Student Operation for Avian Relief (SOAR) project has identified the large east facing windows of the university's Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics as being particularly dangerous for migrating birds. As a result, the Facilities Department worked with Athletics to design and install a decal that should reduce bird collisions. SOAR will monitor avian impact during the upcoming fall migration period.
North Carolina State U Welcomes Aquaponics to Student Union
Thanks to the NC State Sustainability Fund, the university's Talley Student Union is now home to a student-designed and maintained, 800-gallon aquaponics system, a closed-loop food production method, featuring a tank of up to 15 fish and two shallow planting containers that will grow tomatoes and salad greens in water.
U British Columbia Diverts Nearly 100 Percent of Building C&D Waste
Nearly 100 percent of construction and demolition (C&D) waste from the university's General Services Administration building was diverted from the landfill by holding a sale of the equipment and furniture first, then ensuring the concrete and other debris were either reused or recycled.
Simon Fraser U to Build $21M Energy Plant
The university has reached an agreement with a utility company to build a $21 million energy plant that will decrease the Burnaby campus’ greenhouse gas emissions by 69 percent. Fuel for the new plant will consist of wood waste biomass such as wood chips and shavings. An on-site natural gas plant currently supplies energy to the campus, which will provide back-up and peak demand once the new plant is built.
Massachusetts Institute of Tech Rolls Out Free Transit
Between now and September, MIT will roll out the Access MIT pass, one of several new commuter benefits for Cambridge campus faculty and staff. The new benefits include free, unlimited subway and local bus usage, and increased subsidies for parking at MBTA stations and commuter rail tickets. The Access MIT program is an initiative to create a variety of affordable, low-carbon transportation options and change the way the MIT community thinks about commuting. Photo credit: Lilyana Vynogradova / Shutterstock.com
College-Bound Student Rejects Scholarship From Nestlé
Hannah Rousey, accepted to Sterling College for fall 2016, turned down a $1,000 scholarship from Poland Spring, a subsidiary of Nestlé, due to her objections to bottled water and the company’s alleged environmentally destructive practices. Rousey, future sustainable agriculture and environmental protection law and policy student, said that acceptance of the money would be "hypocritical". Photo credit: GoFundMe
U British Columbia Boasts High Savings from Lab Challenge
One hundred and twelve participants, forming 18 teams, from 11 buildings across two campuses competed in a challenge to make research labs more energy efficient. The results yielded over 7,500-kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings, primarily through raising the freezer temperatures from minus 80 degrees C to minus 70 degrees.
California State U, Sacramento Receives $80K Living Lab Grant
An $80,000 boost awarded by the California State University’s Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) program will cover the redesign of Urban Agriculture, a course in the Department of Environmental Studies. A large portion of the funding will go toward running power and water to the area where students work. As a part of the Urban Ag course, students will do hands-on work in the yard, creating compost and mulch for the 3,500 trees on campus.
U Virginia Dining Partners with Student-Led Agricultural Organization
Starting in fall 2016, the new partnership enables students to use their meal plans to choose between the pre-built snack boxes and produce boxes available from Greens to Grounds, a non-profit, student-run agricultural organization that is dedicated to making fresh, local food accessible to students.
Portland State U Claims Bee Campus USA Designation
The university was named this spring as the 10th Bee Campus USA campus in the nation by Bee City USA for its commitment to minimize the use of harmful chemical pesticides and raise awareness of the plight of pollinators, including bees, which have suffered from colony collapse and die-offs in recent years due to chemicals in the environment. In an effort to improve the university’s urban ecosystem and provide an educational opportunity for the community, the Student Sustainability Center has installed two hives with as many as 100,000 honeybees near a community garden and orchard at the edge of campus.
U Washington Plans to Host Homeless Encampment
After hundreds of supporters came forward, the university is moving forward with plans to host a tent city for homeless people on its Seattle campus next year. President Ana Mari Cauce, who presented the idea in March, said the school is working toward obtaining a permit from the city and planning to host the encampment for three months in early 2017.
Indiana U Professor Uses Innovative Fundraising Method for Scholarship Endowment
Mike Keen, the Chancellor's Professor of Sustainability, will hold an early retirement party at which he intends to fundraise to endow the Sustain the Future Scholarships for underrepresented students with financial need from the South Bend region. Keen and his wife are donating $25,000 to the scholarship. They hope to raise an additional $10,000 with tattoo votes and party ticket sales.
Stanford U Students to Receive Free Bike Helmets
In an effort to increase safe bicycling practices among Stanford students, the university will distribute free helmets to nearly 1,800 freshmen in the fall of 2016, thanks to a donation from two Stanford parents.
U St. Thomas Begins Campus Microgrid Facility
Expected to be fully operational in 2018, the campus microgrid facility will include up to a 50-kilowatt solar system that will also be used for teaching about and research and testing on distributed energy resources for alternative-energy microgrids.
Energy Dept. Announces Collegiate Wind Competition Results
The national competition that asks participants to build a small-scale wind turbine that can provide off-grid power named The Pennsylvania State University as top prize winner, while University of Massachusetts Lowell and Boise State University claimed second and third respectively.
Becker College Invests Full Endowment to Benefit Society
The trustees of the college recently announced they have officially mandated that all investments in their endowment should generate a positive impact on society, as well as a targeted financial return. The completion date for the portfolio transformation of the school’s $5 million endowment is June 2017.
Indiana U-Purdue U to Obtain Zero Waste Athletic Facility
The university's Natatorium will be ready to operate as a zero-waste athletic facility in June, becoming the first athletic facility in Indiana to achieve zero-waste goals and hosting the first Olympic event to have the zero-waste designation. Being a zero-waste venue means that by weight, 90 percent of all waste must be recycled or composted. Only 10 percent may be disposed of as trash.
U New Hampshire Procures Hydro-Energy
The university now purchases energy from three hydro-energy facilities that provide over $200,000 in annual cost savings. Currently 88 percent of the university's total power comes from a combined heat and power plant.
U California Receives $300K for Carbon Neutrality Project
With a $300,000 gift from the TomKat Foundation, established by Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor, the university recently launched the TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project. UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency will lead the project and bring together working groups of researchers, practitioners and students with wide-ranging areas of expertise from diverse disciplines in order to advance UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels through major investments in energy efficiency, behavioral incentives, the development of alternatives to natural gas and the widespread deployment of renewable energy.
Tufts U Releases Student Voting Analysis
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) at the university’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life released a new analysis of the voting patterns of 7.4 million college students at 783 institutions, examining voter rates by region of the country, field of study and type of institution. Results indicate higher participation among education, humanities and social science majors whereas STEM fields lag. Voting rates at four-year institutions were slightly higher than at two-year institutions, though there was little difference between private and public colleges and universities.
U California San Diego Votes to End Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles
A recent Associated Students Council resolution calls for the restriction of the sale of plastic water bottles in on-campus locations and proposes the installation of new hydration stations as well as increased access to disposable boxed water in order to support the university’s aim to be more sustainable.
U California Berkeley Fraternity to Install Solar Panels
A grant from the university's student sustainability fee fund, The Green Initiative Fund, will enable Sigma Chi fraternity to begin installing a solar electric system for its chapter house making it the first fraternity at UC Berkeley to harness electricity through solar energy. The fund also allocated a loan, which the fraternity says it will repay using savings from the solar system.
Colorado State U Offers Bike Training to Older Staff
Faculty and staff 50 years old and older can get personalized training through university’s Parking and Transportation Services, thanks to a Kaiser Permanente grant. The Back on the Bike program is designed to get more people in active transportation and physical activity by offering bike tune-ups, safety gear and tricks to travel in traffic and overcome other safety or comfort obstacles through personalized travel training.
Harvard U Building Earns LEED Platinum
Last updated in the 1940s, improvements to Longfellow Hall’s infrastructure included efficiency updates to the boiler plant, installation of energy recovery units for enhanced ventilation, substantial insulation upgrades to ensure reduced energy usage and the use of step-dimming. The building is expected to use 39 percent less lighting power.
Twelve Schools Become Pilots for Clean Technology
Second Nature, Clean Energy Trust and twelve higher education institutions created a new partnership that aims to accelerate clean energy technology commercialization by using their campus as testing and demonstration platforms for startup companies. Through this partnership, facilitated in part by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the 12 schools will develop and implement a strategy for using existing campus infrastructure to test emerging energy-related technologies.
U Central Florida Begins Engineering Course with Campus as Lab
In spring 2016, the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science offered a new honors-level course titled Systems Analysis for Sustainability in Engineered Systems that utilizes the main campus as a living laboratory to apply their systems knowledge to diverse problems. The course introduces principles of sustainable engineering, systems and life-cycle thinking, and the development of sustainability metrics and indicators.
North Carolina State U Tours State with Diversity & Social Justice Lens
Partially funded by the University Diversity Mini-Grant program, the College of Natural Resources and the University Sustainability Office coordinated a recent tour of eastern North Carolina to raise student awareness about the environmental, societal and economic dimensions of sustainability.
Michigan State U Water Research Reveals Campus Behavior
A recent survey of students, faculty and staff revealed that 37 percent prefer tap water while 36.6 percent prefer bottled water, 39 percent use filtered water stations, and 90 percent understand that bottled water has a higher environmental and economic cost than tap water. These insights will be used to help improve recycling programs and create awareness of refill stations across campus.
U California Los Angeles Students Win Grant for Storm Water System
As part of the Sustainability Action Research program, five students from the Resilience Team received $18,000 from the Green Initiative Fund for a 200,000-gallon water capture system in order to save an estimated 1.22 million gallons of water per year. The system is intended to supplement water currently supplied by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for the university's irrigation system.
U Massachusetts Amherst Divests Fossil Fuel Holdings
A recent announcement revealed a unanimous UMass Foundation Board of Directors' decision to divest its endowment, whose value was $770 million at the end of the last fiscal year, from direct holdings in fossil fuels. The move follows divestiture from coal companies in 2015.
St. Louis U Adjunct Faculty Vote to Form Union
Part-time faculty working in St. Louis University’s College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences voted 89 to 28 in favor of unionizing, pushing for higher wages and access to health benefits.
Northern Arizona U Eliminates Plastic Bags
Building on momentum gained from a 2010 decision to stop using plastic bags in campus dining locations, the bookstore recently switched to paper bags made from 100 percent Forest Stewardship Certified, recycled material. Now no retail store on campus gives out plastic bags.
Knox College Building Receives LEED Gold
The recently certified, 2014 renovation of the university's Alumni Hall features LED lighting, water control systems, fresh air exchange, occupancy sensors for lighting and ventilation, and reused material from the original building.
SUNY New Paltz Bolsters Diversity & Inclusion Support with New Hire & Task Force
The university recently announced Tanhena Pacheco Dunn as chief diversity officer after being hired in 2012 as executive director of Compliance and coordinator of Campus Climate and Title IX. Pacheco Dunn came to SUNY New Paltz from Vassar College. Additionally, a new, 21-member Diversity and Inclusion Plan Task Force has been tasked with leading the development of a draft campus diversity and inclusion plan.