Duke U Pilots Carbon Sequestration Farm
After recently acquiring the rights to a 10,000-acre farm in eastern North Carolina, the university began a two-year pilot program on 300 acres of the land. University researchers aim to identify the best ways to restore the former farm fields to their original wetland state and measure and verify how much carbon the land's saturated peat soil can store. If enough carbon credits can be generated at a cost-effective rate, production will then expand to the other 9,700 acres.
Clemson U Engineering Students Partner on Sustainable Vehicle
Clemson University students are partnering with ExxonMobil to develop an ultra-efficient, lightweight, highly durable sustainable concept vehicle. The project emphasizes the integration of sustainability in the entire product lifecycle – from manufacture and operation with circular economy considerations.
U Victoria Selects Two Carbon Offset Projects
All students and employees were invited to vote on a shortlist of projects selected by the school’s Carbon Neutrality Plus committee. All projects were presented and voted on through a video contest. The winning projects included a solar power project in India and a conservation project in Canada.
U Newcastle Procures 100% Renewable Electricity
(Australia) In response to feedback from students, staff and stakeholders who wanted to see the university increase its investment in renewable energy, the university recently signed a contract to purchase wind, solar and hydroelectric energy that will cover 100 percent of the university's electricity needs across its Newcastle and Central Coast campuses.
Beloit College Turns Coal Plant Into Recreation Center
The decommissioned Blackhawk Generating Station is projected to open in fall 2019 as a 120,000-square-foot student recreation center and student union. One of the aims of the renovation project is to showcase sustainable redesign of the historic building.
Green Guy Podcast: Auburn University's Awards Program
Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability at Auburn University, joined the College Sustainability Summit Series to talk about the university's Spirit of Sustainability Awards that recognize individual students, groups, faculty, staff and/or alumni that exemplify the Auburn spirit by making significant contributions towards sustainability on campus.
Western Technical College Building Remodel Achieves LEED Gold
The building, which was originally built in 1923, was remodeled in 2016. The project highlighted wide-ranging energy efficient building systems and extensive construction activity pollution protection. In total, Western’s efforts in all of its LEED facilities has led to a total cost avoidance of over $2.5 million.
U New Hampshire Pilots Employee Bike Program
A total of 30 facilities department staff members have been trained to participate in the new bike program. They are replacing trips to meetings that previously would have included the use of a car with bike travel. To support the program, UNH purchased six bikes, lights, racks, lock, and helmets. The facilities team plans to share information with new groups across campus that want to adopt the program.
U Wisconsin Oshkosh Launches Creative Scholarship Fund
The university's Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations (SIRT) program launched the grant program this fall to support the advancement of research, teaching, creative activity and outreach on topics of sustainability. Faculty members from UWO’s three campuses could apply, and in its inaugural year, two groups of applicants will receive $7,500 each.
TIAA Difference Maker 100 Honors Florida State U & Lehman College Staff
The TIAA Difference Maker 100 recognizes people who devote their lives to improving the world and shaping a better future. Of the 100 people recognized, Elizabeth Swiman at Florida State University was honored for her work creating a food recovery program that resulted in 40,000 pounds of donated meals, a recycling project that has collected 100-plus tons of recyclables and a low-cost bike initiative for students. Eva Bornstein at Lehman College was recognized for creating culturally engaging performances for underserved audiences at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx. Those recognized will receive $10,000 to help support the organization where they are making a difference.
Georgetown U Offers Master's Degree to Inform Environmental Policy
The new interdisciplinary Master of Science in Environmental Metrology and Policy degree, offered nights and weekends, is designed to equip scientists and engineers to measure and analyze potential hazardous substances in the earth’s atmosphere or on its surface so they can make sound environmental decisions.
Colby College Achieves LEED Platinum & SITES Certification
Grossman Hall, a nearly 16,000-square-foot building that opened in September 2017 is now LEED Platinum. The hall features a 48 percent reduction in energy use due to a high-performance building envelope and an efficient HVAC system with energy recovery. Low-flow fixtures contribute to a 45.5 percent reduction in potable water use in the building. Across campus, the college’s lacrosse, soccer and practice fields in the outdoor competition center have received certification through the Sustainable SITES Initiative for including stormwater runoff filtration and an irrigation system that conserves water by automatically adjusting to precipitation and evaporation rates with the use of rain and soil sensors.
St. Joseph's College Switches to Biodegradable Straws
The college recently switched from plastic straws to biodegradable straws through an agreement between Student Government, the college’s Mission-Aligned Businesses, and Sustainable Enterprises. Additionally, in an effort to reduce single-use cups, one of the college's coffee stations now offers free coffee to students and employees who bring their own reusable cups.
Brandeis U Completes LED Retrofit
The recently completed lighting retrofit of the university's Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center is expected to reduce the university's annual lighting costs by over $32,000 annually.
Western Washington U Receives $18K Grant for Local Education Program
The Russell Family Foundation awarded $2.3 million in grants in the Pacific Northwest region for programs that focus on outdoor environment and community empowerment. Of that amount, $18,000 went to Western Washington's SEA Discovery Center to engage youth in hands-on marine education about the local environment. The grant will expand its curriculum for middle school students specifically.
U Minnesota Receives $5M for Sustainability Research
A $5 million gift from the Ecolab Foundation will support environmental sustainability research and education. A cornerstone of the Ecolab Foundation gift is $2 million to establish an endowed chair for the Institute on the Environment. The foundation will also invest more than $1 million in undergraduate scholarships in science, engineering and related environmental and sustainability-focused majors and minors, providing renewable awards of $7,500 for diverse and talented students beginning in their sophomore year. Through the Institute on the Environment, the gift also will support immersive student experiences with global and local partners focused on energy, water quality and supply, sustainable development and public health.
Big Tent Consortium Calls for Higher Ed Action on SDGs
The Big Tent Consortium, a global network of universities and their community partners, has issued a declaration and call to action to its members to commit to collaboration, cooperation and action on the Sustainable Development Goals. The Big Tent Consortium is composed by The Talloires Network, the Global University Network for Innovation and the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education.
Sterling College Accepts $350K to Establish Ecology Center
Sterling College recently announced the new Robert B. Annis Center for Ecology, thanks to a $350,000 grant from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation. Construction will begin in spring 2019, and $50,000 of the award will be for scholarships for ecology students.
Gonzaga U Trustees Approve Socially Responsible Investment Strategy
At its December meeting, the university's Board of Trustees approved approximately $10 million to be invested in new funds involved in research and activities that reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, promote social responsibility and seek solutions to climate change. Under the new approach, Gonzaga also will introduce new tools to measure and evaluate current and prospective fund investments against socially responsible investing criteria, and use such tools and criteria to inform decision-making.
Appalachian State U Introduces Community Meal Program
A new partnership between the university's Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management and a local nonprofit is addressing local food insecurity through the new Grab and Go Meal Program. Students in the department use the nonprofit's Food Recovery Kitchen to prepare hot meals that are paired with donated food and distributed to those in need.
Senators Call for Changes to U.S. News Rankings
Six U.S. Democratic senators wrote to the U.S. News & World Report urging it to adopt a methodology that more strongly considers a school's diversity, inclusion and representation. The well-known ranking system recently changed its methodology to reflect college's role in boosting social mobility, however, the senators contend that the ranking still fails to sufficiently reward enrollment of historically underrepresented students.
Citizens' Climate Campus Leaders Program
Citizens' Climate Education is a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization that empowers citizens to build political will for climate solutions. The Campus Leader Program is designed for students who want to start their own campaign or student group on climate change. With support from Citizens' Climate Lobby staff and higher education allies, campus leaders educate the community about climate solutions, build relationships with community leaders, and organize students in advocacy activities.
Stanford U Adopts Investment Responsibility Framework
Two statements were recently adopted by the university's Board of Trustees: an Ethical Investment Framework, which seeks to actively incorporate ethical considerations into its investment decisions, and an updated Statement on Investment Responsibility, which is a statement of the trustee's view of the responsible investment of the university's endowment and the “abhorrent and ethically unjustifiable” conditions under which an investment should be excluded from it. Stanford is also committing funding to expand academic offerings in the area of responsible investing and governance.
Brandeis U Adopts Fossil Fuel Divestment Policies
The university's Board of Trustees recently adopted policies that balance the university's climate-related concerns with its fiduciary responsibility. The university will make no direct investments of endowment funds with companies whose principle business is mining coal for energy; existing investments will end with the funds' typical life cycles and then will be suspended for a three-year period; and the university's investment bodies will increase their focus on finding investments in renewable energy sources and technology. Additionally, the provost and president will prioritize support for Brandeis faculty and researchers working on climate change and related issues through the provost research fund.
Global Goals Teach In
The 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Global Teach In calls upon educators to pledge to include the Sustainable Development Goals within their teaching, learning and assessment in their courses and in their classrooms from Feb. 18-22. Organized by the National Union of Students, the teach-in website hosts faculty resources to help facilitate infusing courses with the SDGs.
U Pittsburgh to Use Hydropower
The university has signed a letter of intent to purchase 100 percent of the power from a hydroelectric plant to be built on the Allegheny River. The facility will generate about 50,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, which is enough to supply about 25 percent of Pitt’s electricity needs.
Maharishi U Management Students Tackle Local Food Insecurity
The new program, “Global Solutions: Consciousness and the Challenges of the 21st Century,” engages students in projects that range from encouraging farmers and gardeners to grow extra food to contacting retailers to reclaim unsold food rather than having it go into a landfill.
Sierra/Princeton Review Data Sharing Procedures
AASHE is collaborating with Sierra and The Princeton Review to allow colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada to use the STARS Reporting Tool to share their sustainability data for potential inclusion in Sierra's Cool Schools ranking and The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges. The deadline for inclusion in both rankings, as well as AASHE’s annual Sustainable Campus Index (SCI), is March 1.
Emory U Receives $650K to Advance Climate Project
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $650,000 grant to Emory University to advance the Georgia Climate Project. This foundational grant will support efforts to build a network of experts who can improve understanding of climate impacts and solutions and better position Georgia to respond to a changing climate. The Georgia Climate Project is a state-wide consortium co-founded by Emory, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and joined by Agnes Scott College, Georgia Southern University, Spelman College, and the University of North Georgia.