St. Lawrence U Enters PPA for Solar Energy
Entering into a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), the university will purchase solar electricity from a 2.9-megawatt photovoltaic solar system located just outside of Watertown, New York. The system, which came online in mid-July, is expected to produce 18 percent of the university’s total annual electricity consumption.
AASHE 2018 Workshop: Develop Your Toolkit for Sustainability Communication
This half-day, pre-conference workshop will explore how communications plays an increasingly important role as we rise to the challenge to reach the global Sustainable Development Goals. Learn how to create a communications strategy, discover best practices and get the tools to create a strong communications strategy to promote your sustainability initiatives. It will be presented by Pamela Gramlich at Colgate University; Nathan Jandl at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Lisa Nicolaison at Princeton University.
Penn State U New Kensington Receives $75K for Community Engagement
The university was awarded $75,000 from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund for the creation of a community educational workshop that will host speakers and sessions related to sustainability and energy for community members and business owners. The workshop will also help identify local needs and gaps. Remaining funding will support revitalization efforts in the city of New Kensington.
Western Michigan U Receives LEED Gold on Dining Center
The university's Valley Dining Center includes an exterior living wall and green roof section, a rain garden that helps to keep 100 percent of stormwater on-site, landscaping designed to be drought tolerant and require little to no irrigation, energy-efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and water systems, a food pulper and water extraction system, and dishwashers with energy-recovery units that use the steam generated during operation to pre-heat the water for further operations.
U Manchester Joins Principles for Responsible Investment
(U.K.) In joining the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the university now works with its investment managers to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their selection criteria. A couple features of the policy are identifying and promoting low or zero-carbon investments where available without detrimental impact to investment risk and returns, divesting in shares in companies which do not respond positively to concerns about their practices or are deemed to be in breach of acceptable standards or ethical or environmental practice, and engaging more proactively with investment managers to ensure that the new policy is being put into practice.
Options for Endowment Investment in Solar Energy
Serving as a follow-up resource to the Clean Energy White Paper, this briefing paper from Intentional Endowments Network focuses on solar energy and how to most effectively enable endowments to make investments in solar projects, and the solar energy market as a whole. It provides guidance on three main approaches endowments can utilize to invest in solar: allocating capital across traditional asset classes in the investment portfolio, sponsoring a project by investing funds for its development, and allocating capital to a campus green revolving fund.
Divest Invest Network Global Press Event
Any school that is planning on, or close to a decision on, divesting from fossil fuels is encouraged to participate in a coordinated publicity push and press event organized by Divest Invest Network. The press event will be in coordination with the Global Climate Action Summit taking place on Sept. 12-14.
U Cambridge Establishes Sustainability Fellowship Program
(U.K.) The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Program was recently launched by the the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to provide a platform for academic departments, Cambridge colleges, and the private sector to collaborate to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Three Universities Receive NACUBO Sustainability Awards
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) annual awards honor institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management. The three universities that received this honor for sustainability leadership are University of California, Los Angeles; University of Minnesota, Morris; and University of Texas at Arlington.
Columbia U Introduces Six Electric Buses to Fleet
The university is replacing the existing diesel-powered buses with six new electric buses to its campus shuttle network. In addition to improving air quality, the university also aims to reduce noise pollution. Transitioning to electric buses is expected to reduce shuttle greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent from the diesel-powered shuttle buses.
Tiffin U Begins Construction on 240 KW Photovoltaic Array
Construction of the 240-kilowatt solar electric system will begin in October, which will be mounted on the university's indoor practice arena. It is projected to supply approximately 26 percent of the annual electricity consumption of the building.
U Washington Reduces Plastic Waste With Bamboo Toothbrushes
Thanks to an undergraduate student, the university's School of Dentistry is now replacing some of the plastic toothbrushes handed out to patients with ones that have bamboo handles. The toothbrushes' handles are made from wild bamboo grown with no pesticides or fertilizer. The student secured grants to purchase the toothbrushes, which come from a company that donates part of its profits to a women's shelter in Seattle.
Penn State U University Park Releases Pollinator Video Game
A collaboration between the university's School of Visual Arts and the Center for Pollinator Research led to the creation of Pollinator Panic, an online strategy game that raises awareness of the issues around bee population decline. The game allows a player to assume the role of a field researcher who is working to restore a bee community.
Penn State U Receives $50K for Student Farm
The $50,000 from the university's Auxiliary & Business Services will be used to support paid student interns and an assistant farm manager at the university's Student Farm, which is in the third year of operation. Led by members of the Student Farm Club and housed within Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the Student Farm gives students from across the university hands-on experience in all facets of farming and running a business.
Marshall U Rolls Out Bike Loan Program
Starting fall 2018, students will be able to check out bicycles to ride around campus for free through a new Eco Bike Loan Program, which will have 30 bikes available for use by students, faculty and staff.
Lenoir-Rhyne U Introduces Sustainability Scholarship
Lenoir-Rhyne undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy that plan to pursue a Master of Science in Sustainability Studies at the university now have the opportunity to apply for the Bracewell/Trout Unlimited Conservation Education Scholarship. The expected award is $3,540 - $4,130 per year toward tuition and additional fees.
Southern Oregon U Opens to Community for Smoke & Fire Relief
In an effort to provide relief from the heat and smoke-filled air caused by dozens of climate-driven wildfires throughout the area, the university is now welcoming community members to several air-conditioned facilities across campus. The university has also opened its indoor track in the Student Recreation Center for community members to have a cool, clean place to exercise out of the smoke.
Bucknell U Diverts Food to Animals in Behavior Program
Since last fall, Bucknell University Dining has donated excess fruit and vegetable cuttings to its Animal Behavior Program, which is used to supplement the diets of the roughly 50 primates housed on campus. The donated food has allowed the Animal Behavior Program to cut its supplemental food budget in half.
AASHE 2018 Workshop: Catch: A Face-to-Face Simulation Game for Teaching About Sustainability & Resource Management
This half-day, pre-conference workshop will introduce Catch, a face-to-face systems dynamic simulation game focused on resource management. Catch responds to the need for new, core-competency based pedagogical resources for teaching about the challenges of transformative change and the forms of learning that are necessary to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. In this session, attendees will play a full game, debrief and discuss game management so that they are prepared use Catch on their own campuses. This workshop will be presented by Harold Glasser and Isaac Green at Western Michigan University.
Alabama State U to Build Teaching Garden
Thanks in part to funding by the the Mid-South Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc., the university has plans to install a teaching garden and entomology lab on campus this fall to introduce students to the plant sciences and sustainable agricultural practices.
SUNY Fredonia Designates Low-Mow Zones
The university recently designated 10 acres of meadows as low-mow zones, meaning the meadows will only be mowed once a year. In addition to generating less noise and pollution, the university expects to see a cost savings on labor, chemicals and equipment use.
MacEwan U Expands Bee Hive Collection
After a successful trial project to keep bees and sell their honey, the university increased the hive count from four to six. Over the two years of the project, the resident beekeeper has engaged 12 students and gives tours to the community at-large who are interested in urban food production.
U Bristol to Pilot Well-Being & Sustainability Program
(U.K.) The three-month Be the Change pilot program started in July 2018 and encourages the university’s 6,000 staff members to adopt well-being behaviors, such as volunteering, mindfulness and keeping active. It also promotes sustainable travel, energy and water conservation, and sustainable purchasing.
NACUFS Highlights Dining Sustainability Award Winners
The annual National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor member institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations. The overall winner was Harvard University, which also earned Silver in Waste Management. Boston College earned top honors in Outreach and Education, Carleton University earned first place in Waste Management, and the University of Rochester earned top place in Procurement Practices.
U South Florida St. Petersburg Receives LEED Platinum for Lab
The university’s Warehouse Laboratory, which houses biology, chemistry and physics labs, was an old Greyhound bus service station whose entire shell, walls and floor were kept during a recent renovation. It features a 40-kilowatt solar carport, a new roof, an energy-efficient heating and air system, and enhanced insulation.
7 Universities Receive Energy Dept Funding for Solar-Thermal Desalination Research
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $21 million for 14 projects, of which $11.4 million went to seven universities. The projects will focus on reducing the cost of solar-thermal desalination and helping the technology to reach new markets, including to areas that are not connected to the electric grid. The seven schools selected and funding allocated were Columbia University ($1 million); Oregon State University ($2 million); University of California, Los Angeles ($2 million); University of California Merced ($1.1 million); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($1.6 million); University of North Dakota ($2 million); and Rice University ($1.7 million).
ISCN Announces 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award Winners
The International Sustainable Campus Network announced the 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award winners. The University of Copenhagen (Denmark) won the Building and Innovative Infrastructure Award; Stanford University won the Campus Planning and Management Systems Award; the Free University of Berlin (Germany) received the Innovative Collaboration Award; and the University of Cyprus (Cyprus) earned the Student Leadership Award. These awards recognize universities for exceptional sustainability efforts in campus planning, integration with academics, student leadership, and exemplary building projects.
U Idaho Launches Bike-Share Program
Starting in August, the university will launch a dockless bike-share program for the fall semester using Spin bicycles. Students and staff can rent the bicycles using a smartphone app. The bikes' baskets contain a solar panel that powers the bike lock battery and GPS.
Duke U Bans Disposable Plastics
All 34 dining locations on the university’s campus are now required to no longer carry single-use plastic carryout bags, plastic hot and cold beverage cups, plastic straws, and plastic utensils. In recent years, Duke Dining has also eliminated its use of bleached paper products and Styrofoam. Dining venues will now use paper bags and utensils, and straws and drinkware made from a Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plant-based substance with properties similar to traditional, oil-based plastics.
U Alabama Birmingham Installs 16 EV Charging Stations
Employees at the university now have access to 16 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at four campus locations. Employees can refuel their electric vehicles at the stations free of charge. Later this summer, there will be two additional chargers available to employees, bringing the total to 18.
AASHE Mentorship Program
As a benefit of AASHE membership, the Mentorship Program connects sustainability staff and faculty with peers to share knowledge, collaborate on projects and advance the field of higher education sustainability. Participants can expect a semi-structured process that facilitates ongoing collaboration between mentors and mentees, who will be matched based on desired goals, relevant experience and overall expertise. Apply to be a mentor or mentee by Aug. 24.