61 Catholic Universities Sign 'Catholic Climate Declaration'
The declaration affirms the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement by renewing Catholic support for continuing U.S. actions to address climate change. In addition to the 61 higher education signers, 37 dioceses, close to 200 religious communities, and more than 100 parishes and more than a dozen Catholic health care organizations signed on. The signing announcement coincided with the third anniversary of Laudato Sí, Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment and human ecology.
U Brighton Begins Using Liquid Air to Store Energy
(U.K.) Called Liquid Air Energy Storage, the technology works by storing air as a liquid in above-ground tanks and, when electricity is required, the liquid air is brought to ambient temperature where it regasifies and turns a turbine. The 5-megawatt plant is a result of a two-year partnership project to develop understanding of high grade power storage and influence design guidelines for future plants.
U Louisville Launches Institute to Study Human-Environment Interrelationship
With a $5M gift, the university will establish the Envirome Institute at the School of Medicine, dedicated to researching environmental determinants of health. Specifically the institute will study environmental factors that influence heart disease, better known as environmental cardiology. The institute will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a new approach to the study of health.
AASHE 2018 Workshop: Creating an Ecologically Restorative, Socially Just, and Culturally Rich Campus
Using the Living Building Challenge and the Living Community Challenge as a framework, this pre-conference, half-day workshop will offer a program overview of the philosophy, structure, intent, requirements and certification pathways, and will describe how the two programs create a comprehensive approach to facility and campus planning. Additionally, the session will cover how these programs support AASHE STARS goals and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Attendees can expect to understand how using these systems together creates a roadmap for designing, constructing and operating a vibrant, healthy and sustainable campus that supports the mission of the institution, the values of the campus community, and the education of the next generation of leaders. The workshop is presented by Kathleen Smith and Alicia Daniels Uhlig with the International Living Future Institute.
Lumina Foundation Awards Race & Social Justice Equity Grants Totaling $1.6M
In response to what it sees as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on U.S. campuses, the Lumina Foundation recently announced that 19 colleges and universities will receive one-time grants—ranging from $25,000 to $50,000—totaling $625,000 from its Fund for Racial Justice and Equity. The University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center will also be supported by a $1 million grant to help improve and assess campus climate nationally.
U California San Diego Researcher Wins International Prize for Climate Science
The 2018 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development, issued by a Taiwanese foundation, has been awarded to climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and former NASA climate scientist and advocate James Hansen. The two scientists will split a $1.33 million prize. Ramanathan, who joined Scripps in 1990, has pioneered research on sources of planetary greenhouse warming. In recent years, he has turned his focus to areas beyond research, engaging civic and spiritual leaders to frame climate change in social justice terms.
U Utah to Receive Up to $140M for Geothermal R&D
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that the University of Utah will receive up to $140 million in continued funding over the next five years for geothermal research and development at a new field laboratory called FORGE, the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy. The new FORGE site is dedicated to research on enhanced geothermal systems, i.e., manmade geothermal reservoirs, which could be deployed in areas across the U.S. that don't have traditional geothermal resources.
Harvard U Pens Letter Opposing New EPA Rule
University President Drew Gilpin Faust wrote a letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s administrator, opposing "Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science," a proposed rule that would restrict the kinds of scientific studies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can use when it develops policies. The letter argues that the proposed rule would significantly limit the EPA's ability to consider best available science and erode public trust in the EPA's work.
McGill U Hosts Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQ Students
In an effort to support equal rights and foster an inclusive atmosphere, the university recently held its first-ever lavender graduation ceremony, which honors students from the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign has a list of 166 American universities that offer lavender graduation ceremonies for their LGBTQ students.
U Iowa to Provide Professional Clothing to Students
Launching in fall 2018, the Clothing Closet at Iowa will be a clothing bank that gives students an affordable option for buying new or used professional clothing. In addition to supporting students who are unable to afford professional clothes, it will also divert textile waste from landfills and promote reusing and recycling clothing.
New Ashoka U Publication: Changemaker Institutions
Changemaker Institutions: How Higher Education Can Use Social Innovation to Better Prepare Students, Transform Campus Culture, and Lead Society toward a Better Future makes the case that social innovation can be used for institutions to meet the demands of the 21st century. It claims that social innovation can be used both as an educational framework and as an approach for institutional innovation.
Nazareth College Adjuncts Form Union
In an effort to improve their working conditions, adjuncts who taught in the 2017-2018 academic year recently voted 3-to-1 in favor of unionizing through Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Appalachian State U Students Build Outdoor, Off-Grid Classroom
Students enrolled in the Integrative Design Experience Laboratory (IDEXlab) recently completed building a sheltered workspace located at the university’s Small Wind Research and Demonstration Site. Called the mobiLANDING, the energy-independent workspace showcases sustainable building practices and facilitates research.
Texas A&M U to Open Teaching Garden
The garden is scheduled to open in mid-June and includes 21 themed garden "rooms" for teaching and research in food production and landscape management. Future phases include outdoor venues for performing arts, films, celebrations and social events. Other planned gardens include one for children, a rose garden and a feed-the-world themed courtyard.
Knox College Art Building Earns LEED Gold
The college's Whitcomb Art Center features energy-efficient and operable windows on 40 percent of the building's walls, helping to reduce energy use as well as provide high-quality lighting for students and faculty. More than 80 percent of the construction waste was recycled. The building reused historic building materials from the college's Alumni Hall, which was recently renovated. The site features two rain gardens that channel stormwater runoff into the ground rather than the municipal sewer system. Grounds include native prairie plants designed to help reduce unwanted plants from growing.
Four Institutions Collaborate on Social Infrastructure Development
Founding partners of the new B.C Collaborative for Social Infrastructure are Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Northern British Columbia and Vancouver Island University. The collaboration will focus on sustainable campus and community building, indigenous entrepreneurship and social finance, social procurement, and library outreach and community scholar programs. The four institutions will share practices and policies to encourage progress and to determine how initiatives can be scaled-up and enhanced. The institutions plan to create a community of practice that can be shared with other post-secondary institutions across Canada.
AASHE 2018 Workshop: Applied Learning: Interventions for Sustainability Impacts
This pre-conference, half-day workshop aims to empower staff and faculty who are involved in building and/or growing applied learning programs at their institution. Workshop participants will review techniques for building successful applied learning programs. Then, working through a series of five steps, participants will design a specific plan for their institution. The session will be presented by Katja Brundiers at Arizona State University, Fletcher Beaudoin at Portland State University, Caroline Savage at Princeton University and Rachelle Haddock at University of Calgary.
Northwestern U Partners With WWF
The university and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining joint collaborative strategies for advancing sustainability solutions and research areas including: sustainable materials, green infrastructure planning, water science and flood management, plastic waste solutions, climate change impact and adaptation analysis, environmental communications, and training for policymakers, advocates and students.
Thompson Rivers U Launches E-Bike Program
The university is rolling out an electronic bike option as an alternative to cycling on its hilly terrain. Employees who choose to purchase an e-bike through the university will receive a discounted rate with the option to pay it back through a payroll deduction.
Bucknell U Residential Buildings Earn LEED Silver
Part of a residential area on campus, two new LEED certified buildings feature room occupancy sensors and low-flow water fixtures. Covered bike racks are available to students, and landscaping around them includes native plant species. Sustainability is also incorporated into student life through frequent sustainability-related educational programming.
U Queensland to Construct 64 MW Photovoltaic Array
(Australia) The 64-megawatt, $125 million solar farm will offset the university's annual electricity needs when its completed in 2020. It will provide research, teaching and engagement opportunities in addition to its environmental and financial benefits. The university will take ownership of the project from renewable energy developer once construction starts, and will own and operate the plant over its expected life.
Stellenbosch U Introduces Diploma in Sustainable Development
(South Africa) Introduced in January this year, this first-ever undergraduate program in Sustainable Development at the university is offered by the School of Public Leadership in collaboration with its Sustainability Institute. The workplace-based diploma aims to give students an opportunity to work on sustainability challenges, gaining skills and experiences perhaps not otherwise available to them.
U Pittsburgh Hires First Sustainability Director
As part of the university’s newly formalized sustainability plan, Aurora Sharrard will leave her post as executive director of the Green Building Alliance on July 1 to become the university’s first-ever director of Sustainability. Among the projects she helped to develop and oversee while at the Green Building Alliance were the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, a coalition between local government, residents, higher education institutions and businesses to address the city’s climate change goals.