Northeastern U to Invest $25M in Environmental Sustainability
The university recently announced it will direct $25 million of its endowment, currently valued at approximately $700 million, to investments with a focus on sustainability, including clean energy, renewables, green building, and sustainable water and agriculture. Implementation will take place over five years.
North Carolina State U Tests Battery-Powered Lawn Equipment
New electric weed and hedge trimmers, leaf blowers and a lawn mower are now part of a pilot program to evaluate the equipment’s productivity, safety and cost-effectiveness. Air quality and noise reduction benefits are the driving motivators for the product testing.
Michigan State U Joins 'Workplace Charging Challenge'
In an effort to help reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions while also providing a valuable benefit to students, employees and visitors, the university recently joined the national partnership program, Workplace Charging Challenge through the U.S. Department of Energy, that aims to increase the number of employers offering workplace vehicle charging to 500 by 2018.
U California Merced Installs Hydrogel Into Soil
In an effort to conserve water and maintain an attractive landscape, the university uses a hydrogel system, which acts as a water and nutrient reservoir, allowing water to be released slowly into the soil and roots.
'Community College Innovation Challenge' Names 2016 Winners
The 2016 Community College Innovation Challenge, a team competition calling for innovative, research-based solutions for food, energy and water, named Forsyth Technical Community College as first place, and Normandale Community College and Virginia Western Community College as tied for second. The competition was hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.
Arizona State U Receives Athletics Sustainability Honor
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USG Corporation named the university as the winner of the 2016 USG NACDA Sustainability Award. Runners up were the University of Louisville and South Dakota State University. The USG NACDA Sustainability Award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions across all divisions, honoring athletics directors and their universities for incorporating sustainable practices and materials into their athletics facilities.
U California Davis Accommodates 20K Bicycles
A newly released video showcases the university's efforts to maintain a Platinum level Bicycle-Friendly designation from the League of American Bicyclists, given that on any given weekday in the spring or fall semester, the campus may have 20,000 bikes on it, says David Takemoto-Weerts, university bicycle program coordinator.
Northern Arizona U Wins Two Awards for High-Efficiency Lighting
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Interior Lighting Campaign awarded the university top honors in two categories: Best Use of Lighting Controls in a Single Building and Exemplary Higher Education Sector Site. Overall, the 2016 Interior Lighting Campaign recognized 13 organizations for exemplary performance in their application of high-efficiency lighting systems.
North Carolina State U Creates Pollinator-Friendly Areas
Horticulture professor Dennis Werner, in collaboration with Grounds Management, spent a year planning and preparing the sites to become meadows of pollinator-friendly plants. In spring 2016, Werner, horticulture students and Grounds Management installed more than 600 plants.
U Saskatchewan Plants Rooftop Garden
The urban garden project currently underway is part of the university's Department of Plant Sciences, through which a class on urban food production is offered. The food is sold to Culinary Services, who supplies food waste back to the university's compost that is used in the garden to create a closed loop.
APPA Names 2016 Sustainability Award Winners
APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities, better known as simply APPA, recently named its award recipients for its Sustainability Award. They are Colorado State University, Elon University, George Washington University, Ohio University, Portland Community College, Spelman College, University of Michigan and University of Virginia. APPA's Sustainability Award in facilities management is designed to recognize and advance sustainability excellence in educational facilities.
U Texas Austin & Huston-Tillotson U Win College Sports Sustainability Contest
The University of Texas at Austin and Huston-Tillotson University were announced as the two inaugural winners of the College Sports Sustainability Makeover Contest at the Green Sports Alliance Summit. Designed to highlight college athletics' ability to influence fan sustainability behavior and boost college sports sustainability, the winners will receive a prize package valued at $50,000.
Brown U Launches Donor Sustainability Fund
With the help of students, the university recently launched the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund that gives donors who wish to support the university a sustainability-focused giving option structured to invest in companies that meet high standards of environmental, social and governance practices.
Emory U Awards Inaugural Green Labs & Offices Grants
The university’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives announced the recipients of its inaugural Green Labs at Emory and Green Offices at Emory Incentives Fund programs that use small grants to fund innovative, timely and impactful projects led by students, faculty and staff to foster sustainability-related knowledge and habits in laboratories and workspaces.
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.