SUNY New Paltz to Divest From Fossil Fuel Companies
The SUNY New Paltz Foundation board voted recently to remove endowment funds from direct investment in fossil fuel companies. The initial request to consider divestment came from a group of students who raised the issue with the college president in September 2016. The SUNY New Paltz Foundation endowment currently stands at about $20 million. Data as of June 30, 2017, show that about 4.5 percent, or $920,055, was directly invested in fossil fuel companies.
U Nottingham Wins ‘University of the Year’ Accolade From MSC
(U.K.) The university received the honor at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Awards 2017 for serving students with the most MSC-certified seafood. The MSC’s annual awards recognize U.K. retail and foodservice providers for improving the world’s oceans.
U California Davis Pilots Energy Saving Technology to Keep Cows Cool
In an effort to demonstrate an effective alternative to cooling cows that consumes less energy and water, the university's new pilot program uses chilled water and air cooling. The project is part of a four-year, $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission to help improve water and energy efficiency in California’s dairy industry.
U Winnipeg Announces Institutional Sustainability Strategy
The university's second five-year plan outlines four overarching sustainability goals and 19 targets to ensure those goals are met, including exceeding Canada’s commitments under the Paris Accord, deriving five percent of total campus energy from renewable energy sources, and establishing a baseline and reduction target for emissions resulting indirectly from university activities, such as waste, paper use and air travel.
American U Receives Energy Star Certification
By managing the energy related practices of its College of Arts and Sciences building, the university was awarded with its first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star certification. The EPA’s Energy Star certification recognizes buildings that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by using more energy-efficient products and implementing energy savings practices.
Harvard U & U California San Diego Win 2017 Freezer Challenge
The University of California San Diego was identified as the organizational winner by saving an estimated 500,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Harvard University's Hoekstra Lab was the individual laboratory winner, saving an estimated 13,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Individual labs at the University of Alberta and the University of California San Diego received honorable mention. The Freezer Challenge encourages researchers to implement sustainable practices around cold storage management. Labs received points for taking actions such as properly maintaining freezers and refrigerators, discarding old samples and retiring unneeded units.
U California Riverside Fellows Help Reduce Carbon Emissions
As part of the Carbon Neutrality Initiative Student Fellowship Program, five participating fellows will receive a stipend of $3,000 to fund a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions produced by UCR buildings and vehicles. An additional student engagement fellow will serve as the initiative’s ambassador, receiving a $4,000 stipend plus $1,000 to fund campus event programming geared toward educating and inspiring other students.
Northern Kentucky U Establishes No-Mow Zones
No-mow zones are land that will be returned to a natural state. The university now has 4.8 acres designated as no-mow zones, which helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and soil erosion. Natural areas also create habitat for native species.
Higher Education Leaders Criticize DACA Repeal
Many college and university leaders have spoken out against the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a federal program that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children to remain in the U.S.
Northeastern U Opens New Science Building
The university’s new science and engineering building features triple-glazed windows to reduce glass condensation and prevent heat loss, variable air volume (VAV) fume hoods, and occupancy-based airflow controls.
Cornell U Launches Free Online Climate Change Course
The new course on climate change science, communication, and action focuses on equipping learners with the tools they need to understand climate science and policy fundamentals, and how to take action to communicate and implement climate change related projects in their community and work.
North Carolina State U Opens Edible Garden on Rooftop
The university's Student Union hosts a new rooftop garden with raised beds for planting herbs and vegetables that will be used by university dining facilities. The department of horticultural science will also use the garden for experimental pollinator plants and perennials.
Pomona College Releases 2030 Carbon Neutrality Plan
The college's new plan, known as SAVE: Sustainable Action Visible Effects, strives for carbon neutrality by 2030 through energy, water, waste, transportation, buildings, and landscaping and food initiatives. The college intends to reach net-zero carbon emissions without purchasing carbon credits, but rather by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to zero and then offsetting remaining emissions by retrofitting buildings, installing solar panels, investing in off-site renewables and promoting alternative transportation programs. The plan was crafted by the Office of Sustainability and the President's Advisory Committee on Sustainability.
McHenry County College Receives $500K to Develop Ag Degree
An anonymous donor recently gave the college $500,000 toward the first phase of an effort to promote sustainable urban agriculture education. The project will provide experiential learning related to intensive, organic food production, business management and marketing. During a two-year pilot program, the new funds will be used to research sustainable agricultural trends and practices, facilitate partnerships across the agricultural community, and promote the use of sustainable practices and food production in the region.
Bucknell U Earns 'Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal' Certification
The recent Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) certification, administered by the Green Business Certification, Inc., recognizes the university for reliable delivery of electricity, reducing the environmental impact of electricity generation, leveraging value gap analysis to identify and eliminate waste, and assessing customer contribution to grid service, investment and innovation. PEER is a framework for continuous energy improvement and performance assessment that leads to greater efficiency, reduction in carbon emissions and greater power quality.
U Florida Receives LEED Gold on Building Renovation
The newly renovated building designed for study and collaboration space includes systems for reusing wastewater, and use of regional and recycled materials. No additional parking spaces were added for the building during renovation.
U Kentucky Introduces Car Sharing
University students and staff can now check-out one of two vehicles parked on campus through a university partnership with Zipcar. The car sharing program is part of a suite of alternative transportation options available to the campus community designed to simplify the process of shifting from driving a single-occupancy vehicle to campus to an alternative form of transportation, and to reward those individuals who make the change in their routine.
EAUC Launches Sustainable Development Goals Accord
The SGD Accord supports the critical role that education has in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Signatories of the pact, which AASHE and many other organizations have endorsed, commit to implement the goals, annually report on progress, and share best practices and experiences.
AASHE Releases 2017 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey Report
The 2017 staffing survey report examines sustainability positions at colleges and universities. It presents insights into salaries, funding, supervision, job satisfaction and challenges. For the first time, the report includes information from outside of the U.S. and Canada, and graphical data comparisons.
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.
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.
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.
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.