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.
Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'
During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.
Oregon State U Faculty & Students Endorse 'Warning to Humanity' Article
The university's Faculty Senate and Associated Students passed a joint resolution last month endorsing “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice", an article published in the journal Bioscience that documents changes in environmental factors over the last 25 years. While the article says that progress has been made in addressing some environmental issues, it suggests that humanity is continuing to risk its future. The article has been co-signed by more than 20,000 scientists from 184 countries.
U College Cork Divests From Projects With Environmental Impact
(Ireland) The new pledge announces the university's divestment from all projects with adverse environmental consequences and is intended to ensure that the university accounts for a diverse range of environmental, social and governance concerns in its financial decision-making. In conjunction with this decision, the university has joined the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
Nelson Mandela U to Construct Large Solar Farm
(South Africa) The university's South Campus will soon be producing just over 10 percent of its electricity needs thanks to a large solar array that will produce 1,740 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. The university has given a solar company a piece of land upon which they will install and maintain the plant for 10 years, selling the energy back to the university. At the 10-year mark, the university will take over ownership of the power plant and will no longer have to buy the electricity produced. The solar farm will contain a combination of single-axis and double-axis trackers.
U Manchester Wins 2018 'Sustainable Business Award' for Food Services
(U.K.) The university's hospitality and events team was recently awarded with the Cateys' Sustainable Business Award, organized by The Caterer. The Cateys are a U.K. hospitality and catering award program that showcases innovative brands and trail-blazing people from across hotels, restaurants, foodservice and pubs and bars.
Energy Star Commercial Buildings College Course
The three-unit course offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explores energy efficiency, overcoming efficiency barriers, and benchmarking. Available at no cost, the content includes an overview document about the course, slide decks for each unit and descriptions of optional assignments. The main optional assignment is a project where students apply their learning by going out into their community to benchmark a building using Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
Ashoka U Summer Webinar Series
The summer webinar series offered by Ashoka U will touch on change-making trends from the field, best practices, glimpses into top models from Ashoka's Changemaker Campuses, considerations for building a Change Team, and the future of field-building. The webinars are July 26, and Aug. 1 and 8.
Loughborough U Divests From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Following conversations with both students and staff members of the university, the university will no longer invest funds in fossil fuel companies and will withdraw all current investments in such organizations within three years.
Queens' College Initiates Divest/Invest Strategy
(U.K.) The college will shift its investments in fossil fuel companies within the roughly $114 million (86 million British pounds) endowment into environmental, social and governance-screened (ESG) companies.
Monash U to Purchase Wind Energy & RECs
(Australia) In an effort to help meet its target of achieving net zero emissions by 2030, the university recently signed an agreement from the Murra Warra Wind Farm in Western Victoria, Australia, to buy the rights to both electricity and renewable energy certificates. This long-term power purchase agreement is part of the first stage of the 226 megawatt Murra Warra Wind Farm, which is currently under construction and expected to be fully operational in 2019.
Three Higher Ed Institutions Sign Agreement to Develop Wind Energy Curriculum
Bristol Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently signed a memorandum of understanding to share resources and collaborate on the development of curriculum and programs centered on the offshore wind energy sector. The goal of the Connect4Wind agreement is to create a sustainable offshore wind industry that compliments the existing and historic fishing and industrial uses of the port. It also aims to develop a better understanding of the workforce requirements of existing models of offshore wind and deepen the understanding as a new industry sector with an appropriate supply chain model.
Nova Scotia CC Team Builds Mobile, Solar-Powered Microgrid
The college's Applied Energy Research team has developed a microgrid that uses solar panels and a system of converters and deep-cycle batteries that can store and produce up to 48 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Part of the aim of the research is to build a reliable microgrid that can be deployed to remote areas without conventional power sources, temporary hospitals in disaster zones, and to run small electric cars.
2018 Climate Leadership Awards
Offered in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, Second Nature's Climate Leadership Awards recognize innovation and leadership in climate action, including mitigation and resilience at signatory campuses of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments. In addition to three new award categories, Student Preparedness, Climate Innovation, and Cross-Sector Collaboration, one two-year institution and one four-year institution will be selected as the overall winner. Applications are due Sept. 20.
Global Alliance Releases SDGs Report
At the U.N.’s High Level Political Forum in New York earlier this July, a partnership of universities, colleges and sustainability networks called the Global Alliance released a report examining the global contribution of higher education to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The findings highlight the opportunities and challenges in embedding the SDGs in higher education, as well as higher education's commitment to increase its contributions to the SDGs. The report also shows the aspiration of students to learn more about the SDGs and the changing focus of young people as they start to prioritize social justice and environmental ethics.
U Denver Pilots New Shuttle
Building on the momentum of providing sustainable transportation options to students and staff, the university is piloting a new, subsidized shuttle service. The new service will provide rides along two designated routes around the perimeter of campus, with stops that include the university's light rail station, the new administrative building and four other locations around campus.
2018 AASHE Conference Tours & Evening Events
Tours and evening events give participants the opportunity to see sustainability projects on local campuses, visit sustainability-related attractions in the community and learn more about the city with other conference attendees. Tours and events this year include Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper Quad Facility; the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens; Chatham University’s Eden Hall; and the University of Pittsburgh’s urban campus in Oakland.
AASHE 2018 Workshop: Organizing a Campus-Community Resilience Building Workshop
This half-day pre-conference workshop will train participants in how to organize and facilitate a community resilience building workshop. A community resilience building workshop is a community-driven process that aims to equitably improve resilience to natural and climate-related hazards. This how-to workshop will be presented by Ruby Woodside at Second Nature and Adam Whelchel at The Nature Conservancy.
U Glasgow Initiates Deposit System for Bottles & Cans
(Scotland) A newly installed machine accepts the campus community's recyclable bottles in exchange for a deposit. For every bottle that is accepted, a donation to a charity that raises funds for the university's cancer research is made.
Call for Presentations: Sustainability and Development Conference
A collaboration between the University of Michigan and the journal World Development, this international conference seeks to bring together diverse and interdisciplinary stakeholders to engage with the best approaches to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and assess progress towards them. The conference is Nov. 9-11, at the University of Michigan. The deadline for conference submissions is July 22. Free registration is available to a limited number of undergraduates. Selected students will be paired with a senior researcher whose work best aligns with the student's interests.
Arizona State U Launches 'Carbon Project'
The ASU Carbon Project is a program that purchases carbon offset credits and supports local projects that mitigate carbon. To partially fund the carbon-reduction initiatives, the university enacted a mandatory price on carbon for all ASU-sponsored air travel at a current rate of $8 per round-trip flight. The ASU Carbon Project will begin to use these funds for carbon offset credits in 2025.