GSA Announces 'Environmental Innovators of the Year' Award Winners

The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis received Environmental Innovator of the Year from Green Sports Alliance for converting one of its athletic facilities to zero waste, while Oregon State University won the award for creating a sustainability team of athletes that educate fans on recycling, seek to compost all team meals and install light timers on electronics to save energy.

NC BOG Attempts to Ban Students From Practicing Litigation in Law School

The North Carolina Board of Governors has proposed a ban on litigation efforts by the UNC Center for Civil Rights at the law school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which takes on legal cases of school desegregation, fair housing and environmental justice for poor and minority clients. Several board members want to prohibit the center from filing legal claims and lawsuits, saying it is inappropriate for the center to represent clients in court against other government entities. Some UNC and N.C. Central University law school leaders say barring the centers and clinics from engaging in legal action would effectively end those student training opportunities, potentially leading to questions from the American Bar Association.

Purdue U, St. John's U & Towson U Win RecycleMania's 2017 Campus Engagement Case Study Competition

Purdue University won the Waste Minimization category; St. John's University won the Food Waste Reduction category; and Towson University won the Education and Awareness Campaign category. Unlike traditional RecycleMania categories that rank based on recycling, food waste or trash weights, this is a judged competition that recognizes schools based on the creativity and impact of their efforts. North Lake College and Stanford University won honorable mention.

Haverford College Requests Suppliers Use Pallets Made From Paper

Seeking innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint, the college recently sent a letter to all its suppliers asking for deliveries to campus to be made on lightweight, recyclable corrugated paper shipping pallets. Haverford's initiative comes one year after Change the Pallet wrote to the presidents of more than 300 U.S. colleges and universities. The letter calls on colleges to use their buying power to encourage or require suppliers to ship to campuses on corrugated pallets to further reduce emissions and waste.

Towson U Achieves Energy Goal Three Years Early

The university joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge in 2013, setting a goal to reduce energy consumption 20 percent by 2020, which it achieved this spring. The energy savings were achieved through a mix of major projects and smaller improvements that resulted in incremental energy reductions year after year, such as a lighting upgrade to nearly 35,000 light fixtures and installation of over 10,000 occupancy sensors.

Northwestern U Performs Outdoor Lighting Upgrade

As part of its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, the university is replacing all of its outdoor lighting with energy-efficient LED bulbs and installing a dimming system. When the two-part project is completed in 2019, the university expects to save over 300,000 kilowatt-hours per year, avoiding roughly $40,000 in energy costs.

U Maryland Hosts Inaugural Competition Designed to Solve Agricultural Issues

Earlier this spring, the university's College of Agriculture & Natural Resources hosted an innovation and entrepreneurship competition for students to submit business ideas that address pressing challenges such as food safety, energy conservation, green infrastructure and environmental protection.

Hawai'i CC Pālamanui Gets LEED Platinum

The 24,000-square-foot classroom building includes: on-site photovoltaics for electricity; sustainable water technology, including a living, natural wastewater recycling system; certified sustainable wood; and low-emitting paints and adhesives.

U Wisconsin Madison Meets Student Needs With Food Hub

The UW Campus Food Shed is a new program that gives students and faculty access to free vegetables and produce, stocked by university agriculture researchers and local farms with excess crops. Many of these excess crops would otherwise be composted or thrown out.

U Winnipeg Regents Approve New Responsible Investment Policy

Created and approved by the university’s foundation, the responsible investing policy ensures that environmental, social and governance factors guide endowment investment decisions. The foundation plans to include regular updates on the application of its responsible investing policy in its quarterly investment reports.

Pennsylvania State U Professor Earns Climate Communication Award

Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The Pennsylvania State University will receive the seventh annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communications from Climate One. The $15,000 award is given to a natural or social scientist who has made extraordinary scientific contributions and communicated that knowledge to a broad public in a clear and compelling fashion.

Johns Hopkins U to Receive $150M for Civic Engagement

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has committed $150 million to establish the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, a joint effort to address the deterioration of civic engagement worldwide and facilitate the restoration of open and inclusive discourse. As an academic and public forum, the institute will bring experts from different fields together to examine the dynamics of societal, cultural and political polarization and develop ways to improve decision-making and civic discourse.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Wins $1M Prize for Commitment to Equity

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently awarded the university the 2017 Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence, an honor that bestows a $1 million gift. The Cook Prize recognizes achievement in enrolling low-income students and supporting them through graduation. The university will match the foundation’s award through private funding, and will use the $2 million to support efforts that benefit low-income students.

California State U San Marcos to Go Smoke/Tobacco-Free

In an effort to protect and promote the health and well-being of the campus community, the university will become a completely smoke- and tobacco-free campus beginning in fall 2017. Electronic cigarettes will also be banned. The effort will be aided by a $20,000 grant as part of the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, a $3.6 million effort to accelerate and expand smoke- and tobacco-free campuses. The funding will be used for educational material, supplies and personnel essential to implement and evaluate the initiative.

Radford U Launches Faculty Workshop to Expand Sustainability in Curriculum

In May, the university held its first workshop designed to support faculty in revising existing courses or creating new curriculum to include sustainability components and outcomes. Participating faculty received a stipend for developing sustainability curriculum and a plan for implementation.

Wilfrid Laurier U Receives Recognition for Sustainable Energy Management

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change recently honored the university with its Minister's Award for Environmental Excellence for putting in place a series of innovative energy conservation measures to reduce energy consumption while improving efficiencies and functionality of space. To date, the initial phase of the Laurier Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP) has reduced the university’s current energy consumption by approximately 40 percent. LEEP is a multi-campus energy management program designed to reduce the consumption of all utilities across the Laurier’s campuses.

U Idaho Receives LEED Gold for College of Education Building

The College of Education building was built in 1969 and recently underwent a two-year, $17 million remodel, which features glass walls throughout to allow for daylighting across all five floors and incorporates design elements that help create community.

East Carolina U Receives Tree Campus USA Designation

The university has officially earned the Tree Campus USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the first time in university history. University staff worked over the past year to meet Tree Campus USA standards, which include having a Campus Tree Advisory Committee and a tree care plan.

Delaware Technical CC Completes 1.3 MW Solar Installation

The college has completed the installation of a 449-kilowatt carport and a 296-kilowatt (kW) rooftop array on its Terry Campus and two rooftop arrays totaling 585 kW on the Owens Campus. The four arrays, along with 806 kW of previously installed solar systems, provide approximately 12 percent of the annual energy needs of four of the college’s campuses.

U Rhode Island Launches Certificate in Energy Economics and Policy

Launched earlier this year, the university’s newest certificate program provides students with skills for the green energy sector by providing training in energy economics, management and policy. The program is open to full and part-time undergraduates and can be pursued as a stand-alone certificate, or combined with most academic majors to create an interdisciplinary learning experience.

Western Michigan U Earns LEED Platinum on Building Renovation

The university renovated Heritage Hall, which opened in 1905, in an effort to turn the least energy-efficient building on campus into one of the most efficient. The building now contains geothermal heating and cooling, LED lighting, energy-efficient windows and a high level of repurposed historic building materials. The energy-saving elements make make the hall more than 50 percent more efficient than buildings that use more traditional elements.

U Kentucky Scores LEED Gold on Academic Building

The building utilizes water-efficient plumbing fixtures, which reduce water use by 42 percent compared to a baseline model, and is 26 percent more energy efficient than the baseline model. More than 40 percent of materials used in the renovation were regional and all adhesives, sealants, paints, composite woods, sealers and floor systems are low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) emitting materials.

Madison Area Tech College to Construct 1.4MW Photovoltaic System

The technical college plans to contribute $1.8 million to a grant from a local utility to build a 1.4-megawatt solar photovoltaic system, which is projected to avoid approximately $200,000 per year in electricity costs. The construction and maintenance of the system will contribute to the college's renewable energy curriculum program.

U Michigan to Roll Out Tuition-Free Program

The new financial aid program for in-state students offers a guarantee of free tuition for up to four years for students with family income of up to $65,000, which is roughly equal to the state's median family income. Recently approved by the university's Board of Regents, the new program will launch in January 2018.

U Virginia to Commemorate Slaves Who Built Campus

The university is planning to build a large memorial to commemorate the contributions of an estimated 5,000 enslaved people who helped build and maintain the school. With recent Board of Visitor approval, private fundraising for the project will begin immediately. This project is part of the UVA's President’s Commission on Slavery and the University.

Northwestern U Saves $2M With Annual Maintenance to Steam System

By repairing and maintaining steam traps, automatic valves that filter out condensate as it collects in pipes that move steam through the campus, the university has been able to cut energy costs by $2 million dollars annually.

Goucher College to Relocate Three Residence Halls

The college is relocating and repurposing three 1,300-ton residence halls to make room for two brand new buildings on its Towson campus. The three-week relocation will cost Goucher about $7.6 million, to be paid for through a combination of debt proceeds and donor contributions.

American U Offsets Study Abroad Air Travel Emissions With International Project

The Paradigm Project, an endeavor that benefits communities in Africa by empowering women and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through reduced deforestation, is the university's new investment to reduce emissions from study abroad-related travel. The Office of Sustainability announced that this is the first project in what will be a portfolio of offset investments aligned with certain remaining sources of emissions that cannot be fully managed through efficiency and other mitigation strategies.

Northern Arizona U Launches Sustainable Citizen Program

After piloting the Sustainable Citizen Program in the 2016/17 academic year, the university has now expanded the program to include all students. The program measures and increases sustainability literacy and engagement by offering a path that includes a pre- and post-literacy test, two basic sustainability seminars, volunteer work and short, required reflection paper. Students have their entire time at the university to complete the program, and at graduation are given a Sustainable Citizen pin.

Tufts U Installs Two Solar Arrays Totaling 3.8MW

A 2.5-megawatt photovoltaic system covering eight acres and a 1.27-megawatt photovoltaic system covering four acres now provides the university with approximately 40 percent of the school’s electric power and are expected to save the university up to $5.3 million over the next 20 years. An outside company will own, operate and maintain the projects, as well as retain the renewable energy credits.

U Arkansas Plans Interdisciplinary Resiliency Center

An interdisciplinary Resiliency Center is being developed under the university's School of Architecture and Design. Still subject to approval from the university's board of trustees, the new center proposes to coordinate graduate-level education, undergraduate sustainability coursework, research, and outreach programs in sustainable food, water, community and landscape systems.

Georgetown U Approves New Socially Responsible Investing Policy

The new policy, approved by the university board of directors, further aligns the university’s investment strategy with its commitment to social justice, protection of human life and dignity, stewardship for the planet and promotion of the common good. The new policy was developed by the board working group on socially responsible investments, which was formed in 2015 following the board’s decision to divest from direct investments in companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy production.

EAUC Publishes Living Labs Research

The Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (U.K.) recently released new research on living labs. The research is broken into three reports: what living labs are and why they are important; making the case for living labs; and how living labs work.

Indiana U Purdue U Indianapolis Launches MS in Product Stewardship

Launching in fall 2017, the university's new Master of Science degree in product stewardship is designed to prepare students to address local, national and global issues relating to the environment, worker health and safety, and social accountability as they relate to the design, use and disposal of everyday products.

Indiana U to Offer Paid Parental Leave

Recently endorsed by the board of trustees, all university staff employees will receive six weeks of paid leave after a birth or adoption. The leave will be available to both mothers and fathers regardless of their marital or relationship status.

U Virginia Launches Environmental Resilience Institute

The new Environmental Resilience Institute aims to accelerate solutions to urgent social-environmental challenges, such as coastal flooding and storm impacts in coastal regions, and water security. The institute will be initially funded with a three-year, $2 million grant from the university, and spearheaded by the offices of the executive vice president and provost, and the vice president for research.

Portland CC Board Passes Divestment Resolution

The community college's board of directors passed a new resolution to divest college funds from socially irresponsible companies and investments, and fossil fuel-producing companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200. The movement to divest was started by student leaders in early 2016.

250 Institutions Commit to Climate Leadership

More than 250 colleges and universities have signed the We Are Still open letter to declare their intent to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. Private and public universities and community colleges, despite the lack of federal leadership, have agreed to pursue ambitious climate goals and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Senior college and university leaders are still welcome to sign on. AASHE is proud to support the leadership of these committed schools.

Three Michigan Universities Partner on Water Quality Research & Solutions

Michigan State, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University are partnering on a new program called IN-Water, Infrastructure Network for Water, in part due to aging water infrastructure as witnessed in the Flint, Michigan water crisis. The idea behind the program is to bring water leaders together to draw up a road map for how to help communities update their water systems.

U Michigan Launches Environmental Health Masters Degree Program

The university's School of Public Health has launched a new Masters of Public Health degree program called Environmental Health Promotion & Policy that will integrate the principles of environmental health sciences, with health policy and health promotion approaches to address and reduce environmental and occupational health risks.

Arizona State U Student Develops New LEED Pilot Credit

A 2016 alumnus who received a Masters in Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) did a capstone project suggesting a new USGBC Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Pilot Credit, which was recently accepted and published. The new LEED BD+C credit is Residential Energy Sub-Metering and Real-Time Usage Data.

Cornell U Partners on Climate and Jobs Initiative

A new partnership between Cornell University and Climate Jobs NY has led to the Clean Climate Careers initiative, a multi-pronged strategy to grow New York's emerging clean energy economy and prepare the workforce for the long-term careers associated with this industry. Focused on accelerating energy efficiency and renewable energy growth, the initiative aims to create 40,000 new, good-paying clean energy jobs by 2020.

Indiana U Adds Electric Vehicles to Fleet

The first all-electric cars were recently added to university fleet operations. Four 2017 Nissan Leafs will be used in various campus operations, including one that employees can rent for university business.

U Dayton Receives $500K in Energy Rebates

The university was recently awarded $500,000 in energy efficiency rebates from the local utility provider, which will seed the university's Green Revolving Fund and be used for sustainability projects on campus. The funding came from energy-efficient initiatives implemented during the last decade.

Middlebury Institute International Studies Becomes Fair Trade Certified

Over the course of this past academic year, students worked to complete the fair trade campaign for the graduate school. This process entailed increasing the number of fair trade products for sale on campus, integrating fair trade dialogues into the classroom, and creating a resolution about the school’s commitment to fair trade.

City of Boston Announces Tuition-Free College Program

Massachusetts' Republican governor and the Democratic Mayor of Boston recently launched a new college affordability program for high school graduates in the city. The aim is to allow eligible students to complete four-year degrees without paying tuition or mandatory fees. The program, open to 2017 high school graduates who live in the city, will cover students' tuition and fees.

SUNY New Paltz Earns Tree Campus USA Designation

The university has joined other U.S. colleges and universities that have met campus environment standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. A small group of students, faculty, staff and community members came together this year to work toward earning Tree Campus USA designation, an honor reserved for schools that meet five requirements focused on strategic and long-term plans to care for and manage trees on campus.

SUNY New Paltz Launches Sustainability Track for Business Management

SUNY New Paltz has launched a new line of business courses designed for students interested in applying sustainable practices to their future careers. The new sustainability track for management majors will provide opportunities for students to work with local companies on sustainability assessments to achieve cost savings and reduce environmental footprints.

U Idaho Research Building Receives LEED Gold

The university's new interdisciplinary research facility features include dedicated bicycle parking and electric vehicle charging spaces; metal paneling and automatic window shades that let in natural light while reducing glare and heat; and a 3,500-cubic-feet rainwater catchment system used to water trees, native grasses and plants.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Expands Energy Saving Campaign

With the support of a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee, a one-time, energy-saving initiative now happens monthly. Student volunteers walk through campus buildings to turn off lights that were left on at the end of the day. During seven scheduled walk-throughs during the 2016-17 school year, teams turned off more than 11,000 light fixtures, avoiding approximately $3,400 in energy costs.