American Federation of Teachers Cites Campus Violence in Letter to President-Elect

A joint letter from the American Federation of Teachers and Southern Poverty Law Center cites concern regarding discrimination in schools and on college campuses and asks the President-Elect to send a clear message that hate has no place in public discourse, public policy or society.

Southern Illinois U Green Fund Supports Lactation Room

The room, which will be centrally located on the university library’s third floor, is meant to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff who need to breastfeed or pump between classes and study sessions. The student-led project started in the spring of 2014 after a community nutrition class conducted a needs assessment study of the campus. An independent study class that is working to complete the project.

Southern Illinois U Gives Food Assistance to Hungry Students

Having opened in fall 2016, an estimated 300 students have already visited the new food pantry. Visits are limited to once per month and the amount visitors can take depends on the number of people in their family. Managed by a graduate student studying social work, the food pantry is sustained by donations.

Occidental College Institute Reports on U California Employee Food Insecurity

Occidental College’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, in collaboration with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 2010, sent a survey to more than 13,600 clerical, administrative and support employees at the University of California System with a response rate of 21 percent over a two-week period revealed that 70 percent struggle to put adequate food on the table and are considered food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition. The survey was developed by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics of the USDA. Another finding indicates the level of food insecurity among these UC employees is one-and-a-half times higher than the level of food insecurity among UC students.

Minneapolis College Art & Design Faculty Vote to Form Union

Two years after a national union began organizing in the state, nearly two-thirds of college's faculty voted for the union, which will represent about 100 full- and part-time instructors, according to the Service Employees International Union, which sponsored the organizing effort.

Harvard U Partners on Building Materials Tool

The university is the first founding partner from the higher education community to sign on to Portico, a web-based application designed to simplify the analysis, selection and specification of building products that meet health and transparency objectives. Harvard’s Office for Sustainability and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment will partner with Healthy Building Network and Google to foster opportunities for faculty and students to use the data available to generate new research and support existing initiatives on healthy buildings that are already underway at the university.

U Southern California Student Center Hires Wellness Dog

The Student Health Center within the university's Office for Wellness and Health Promotion hired its first, full-time wellness dog trained to work with a multitude of people on a regular basis. Research suggests that positive interactions with dogs can create a sense of calm and well-being, and can help remove barriers for students around accessing resources at the student center.

State College Florida Manatee-Sarasota Faculty Vote to Unionize

A recent vote of more than 90 percent of the faculty revealed 75 to 24 were in favor of joining a union affiliated with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The vote comes a year after the college’s Board of Trustees voted to eliminate its rolling contract system, which means now even long-serving faculty members are on one-year contracts.

Seattle U Adjuncts Vote in Favor of Unionizing

The final vote count was 73 to 63 in favor of forming a bargaining unit with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), with some votes from those who teach courses with religious content and specific roles in maintaining the university’s religious educational environment being excluded.

NLRB Rules to Allow Graduate Students at Private Universities to Unionize

In a 3-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in mid-August that graduate students employed by private universities are entitled to collective bargaining under National Labor Relations Act. The decision to overturn a prior ruling that denied unionization asserts graduate student assistants can be both employees and students.

Northern Arizona U Becomes Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus

As of July, a new university policy is in effect that extends the smoking ban from inside university buildings and vehicles to all outdoor campus areas including parking lots and athletic fields.

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.

Tennessee Technological U Becomes REAL Certified

The REAL, or Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership, Certification from the United States Healthful Food Council uses a points-based system, implemented with assistance from independent, third-party registered dietitians and is based on nutritional benefit, food quality and experience, procurement from safe and high quality sources, and food that enables better choices.

Auburn U Opens Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant

University students with gluten intolerance now have access to Plains to Plate, a locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant that is now certified gluten-free and is the first retail concept on a college campus to achieve a Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification, a part of the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Education Dept Announces 2016 Green Ribbon Schools Award

This year's U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award went to Elon University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Hawkeye Community College; Macalester College; Raritan Valley Community College; Slippery Rock University; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; University of Montevallo; and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors postsecondary institutions that are demonstrating progress in three pillars: environmental impact, health and wellness, and sustainability education.

Columbia U Increases Student Wage to $15 Per Hour

After lobbying from student activists, a recent statement from the university's provost said the hourly wage paid to students on work-study and in other part-time positions will increase to $15 per hour over the next three years.

New York U Sets $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage for Student Workers

A letter to the university community from New York University's president indicated that by the 2018-19 academic year students will receive a minimum of $15-per-hour. All full-time employees, graduate students and full-time employees of vendors with a major presence on campus already receive at least $15-per-hour.

San Francisco State U Launches Cigarette Butt Recycling Program

The university's Office of Sustainability partnered with the Surfrider Foundation to install new ashcans in an effort to curb cigarette butt litter and pollution. The containers will be monitored by students who will send the butts to a recycling company, TerraCycle.

Penn State Students Help Peers Make Healthy Food Choices

Thanks to a new blog, the RHEAL Deal (Residential Healthy Eating and Living Deal), university student nutrition assistants communicate weekly posts highlighting healthy items in the dining commons. The blog posts include information about the nutrients in the featured food, different ways it can be prepared and where it can be found in the dining commons. Food that meets the healthy qualifications of RHEAL are also marked by a carrot icon on the entrée card.

Georgia Tech Green Cleaning Program Earns Third-Party Certification

With certification under the Green Seal Standard for Cleaning Services, the university is now one of six higher education campuses in the nation to earn the certification. Certification verifies that Georgia Tech’s cleaning program has gone through performance testing and on-site inspections to prove cleaning efficacy, while supporting the well-being of people and reducing impact to the environment. Key requirements of certification include cleaning equipment and procedures, purchasing, training, labeling and communication. The custodial department has reduced the volume of chemicals used to clean the campus by 56 percent from 2008 levels.

Well-Being as a Measure of Student Success

Well-being was the focus of a session at a recent meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The session discussed the role of student well-being in higher education, what colleges can do to support well-being and why it is important. "When students go through college, it isn’t enough for them to excel academically; they should flourish", reports Insider Higher Ed. The results of a climate survey conducted at Iowa State University revealed that different groups of students report different levels of mental health and that institutions should break down data based on specific populations in order to target initiatives accordingly.

State University New York Sets Employee Minimum Wage

Governor Cuomo recently announced a $15 per hour minimum wage for all SUNY employees, more than 28,000. As part of the governor's 2016 agenda, he hopes to restore economic justice by making New York the first state to enact a $15 minimum wage for all workers.

Investing in Students' Mental Health Pays Off

A recent article from the American Association of Community Colleges points to a new study from the RAND Corporation that indicates there is a corollary between mental health and academic achievement. Researchers found that the proportion of California college students at the state's public universities and community colleges increased by more than 10 percent between 2013 and spring 2015. At just community colleges, the increase was 15 percent over the same period. During that time, county governments directed a combined average of $8.7 million a year to campuses for outreach campaigns to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and to train faculty and staff to recognize students who may need help.

U Louisville Extends Living Wage Policy to Contract Workers

Following its 2013 move guaranteeing all employees a living wage, the university recently approved a requirement that companies entering contracts with the university must pay their full-time staff a minimum wage of at least $10.10 per hour. Companies currently doing business with the university will be required to meet the new guidelines when their agreements are renewed.

Harvard U Pledges Chemical Flame-Retardant Free Campus

On Nov. 4, the university became the first in the nation to sign a pledge stating its preference for purchasing furniture that is manufactured without the use of toxic chemical flame retardants. Based on scientific research out of Harvard, it joins Kaiser Permanente, Facebook and Autodesk in pledging to create healthier environments on campus.

Drexler U Reveals New Tools to Prevent Suicide

Attempting to support students' mental health, the university unveiled MindKare, a kiosk that allows students to quickly and anonymously get feedback about whether they have a problem and resources that can help. Many students have admitted a fear of being seen as crazy or stupid, and this new, confidential tool gives them the safety and knowledge to investigate on their own.

AASHE Releases 2015 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey Report

The 2015 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey examines the nature of sustainability positions at colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, providing insights into salaries, funding, supervision, job satisfaction, challenges and more. This report aims to increase our understanding of the continuously growing career field of sustainability in higher education.

U California to Increase Minimum Wage for All Employees

The university system is raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour from $9 for all employees including indirect contract employees. The wage will increase incrementally before reaching the final level in 2017.

U Virginia and USGBC Partner to Support Public Health

Supported by a $1.2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the new research initiative aims to result in new tools that create and demonstrate the value of public health through the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings and that bring a public health lens to assessments of commercial real estate portfolios.

CC Allegheny County Adjuncts Vote to Unionize

Adjunct faculty members at the community college recently voted 394-64 to unionize with the American Federation of Teachers.

San Francisco State U to Open Wellness Center

The 118,700-square-foot complex, scheduled for completion in 2017, will feature an indoor jogging track, fitness and weight areas, pools, a sauna, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, two multi-use courts, fitness studios and a large multi-use space. The university is pursuing LEED Platinum designation.

Inside Higher Ed 'Minimum Wage Hike'

The article discusses the recent trend among colleges and universities to increase minimum wages above what's required by states and the federal government due to concerns about equitable pay for all employee, changes in local ordinances, or pressure from workers' advocates.

Inside Higher Ed 'Sugar Out, Diet In'

A recently published article spotlights the University of California at San Francisco, where all programs are in the health professions, for becoming the first college to stop the sale of sugary beverages on campus but wouldn't prevent diet sodas from being sold. The move comes after work from university researchers identified negative health effects from a large intake of sugar-filled beverages.

Trinity Washington U Adjuncts Form Union

Adjuncts at the university recently voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The count was 74 in favor and 54 opposed.

NY Times: 'Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers'

Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, though depression is on the rise too. Treating anxiety has become an enormous challenge for campus mental health centers. Many institutions are designing a variety of workshops and therapy groups to address anxiety, depression and their triggers.

Boston Globe: 'Colleges Cautioned on Tanning Salons'

With pressure from cancer-prevention advocates and members of Congress, some universities and schools are adopting policies that stop the use of students' college debit cards.

Duquesne U Increases Minimum Wage to $16 Per Hour

The university's new annual budget raises its minimum wage from $15 per hour and also includes an extra 0.5 percent increase to all employees making less than $34,000 annually and a $500 university contribution to employee dependent-care flexible spending accounts.

The Atlantic Discusses the Cost of an Adjunct Instructor

A recent article in The Atlantic spotlights the potential impacts of unpaid, non-tenured professors on students. The article states, "odds are that students will be taught by professors with less job security and lower pay than those tenured employees, which research shows results in diminished services for students."

Harvard U Offers a Guided Meditation Hotline

The university's new hotline is one of several ways the university supports its mindfulness meditation program, which is just one of many programs designed to promote employee health and well-being, one of the pillars of the school’s sustainability plan.

California State U Fullerton Hosts Campus Tour for Faculty

Recently the notorious commuter campus convened its faculty for a first-ever tour of the inner-workings of campus heating, cooling, ventilation and electricity systems, including a solar installation, in order to build a sense of community among the group.

U Virginia Begins Employee Sustainability Program

Seeking to reduce its environmental impact by building more efficient spaces, the university's sustainability committee has started its new, self-reporting Green Workplace Program, which uses a checklist of 60 actions that workplaces can implement to improve operations and reduce cost, and includes eight categories: energy, transportation, purchasing, zero waste, community, health, food and bonus credits.

U Florida Commences Workspace Sustainability Assistance

Called Green Recognition for Office and Workspaces (GROW), the new program is designed to help offices, labs and other facilities improve energy use, water use, transportation and waste to create more sustainable practices.

U North Carolina Charlotte Launches Food Pantry

The university's new food pantry, for food-insecure students without meal plans who live off-campus, stocks shelves with donated nonperishable items and is open two days per week.

SUNY Cortland Hosts Weekly Wellness Events

The university recently began the Wellness Wednesday Series, for campus and the community, encouraging health and wellness through speakers and panels, informational fairs, self-help workshops and demonstrations.

Auburn U Releases Online Presentation of Sustainability Efforts

The university's Office of Sustainability recently released the new Prezi video, Our Sustainability Story, that provides an overview of campus-wide sustainability efforts including research, instruction and outreach.

Duke U to Raise Minimum Pay Rate for Regular Employees

An annual review of all pay ranges relative to local and national markets inspired the university to announce an increase in minimum wage pay rate to $12 per hour from the current rate of $10.91, which was last adjusted in 2012.

U Kentucky Launches Sustainability Radio Show

Green Talks, hosted by the the director of the Student Sustainability Council, interviews faculty, staff and students who have received funding for projects through the university's student green fee, which generates about $160,000 annually.

Manchester U Commits to Living Wage

(U.K.): The university student's union has confirmed that all of its workers will be paid at least the living wage of 7.85 pounds ($12.27) per hour.

U College London to Pay Interns Living Wage

(U.K.): Under the new policy, interns will be paid 9.15 pounds ($14.30), receive paid leave, and be entitled to sick pay.

Binghamton U Pledges to Improve Campus Nutrition

The university has recently teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to promote changes on campus that encourage healthy lifestyle practices for students. The university has agreed to 23 changes by joining the initiative including implementing a local food procurement program, offering at least five fruits and five vegetable choices in dining halls, and every platform serving meat must also offer a plant-based alternative.