Energy Dept. Announces 2018 Green Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Energy's 2018 Green Ribbon Schools program selected six postsecondary institutions, 46 schools, and six districts as honorees. They are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
Emory U Opens Biking & Pedestrian Trail
Developed through a partnership with Emory and the Path Foundation and opened on Earth Day, a new, 12-foot wide, paved bicycle and pedestrian trail opened that will eventually link Emory’s Clairmont Campus to a scenic, off-road trail system. The new trail replaces a previous section of narrow sidewalk.
U Washington Postdoctoral Researchers Form Union
Postdoctoral researchers recently voted to form a union affiliated with United Auto Workers. More than 700 of the campus’ 1,100 postdocs participated in the election, with 89 percent of unchallenged ballots being cast in favor of unionization.
Wesleyan U Offers Bike Sharing Service
In mid-April, the university placed 100 orange bikes on campus through a company called Spin, a bike sharing program that allows students to use the bikes for a small fee. The system works with an app that allows registered users to scan a QR code on any bike, which unlocks the bike for use. In the first seven days, nearly 1,000 individuals used the bikes for 2,082 total trips.
U Bath to Pay Voluntary Living Wage
(U.K.) The university is applying for formal accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation to reinforce its commitment to ensure salaries keep pace with the cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announces living wage rates in the first week of November each year and, once accredited, the university will be committed to implementing that rate.
Harvard U Graduate Assistants Vote for Union
Graduate students at Harvard University voted 1,931 to 1,523 to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The election, held earlier this month, was the second on the union issue, as a 2016 vote proved inconclusive.
U North Carolina Wilmington Student Creates Wellness Campaign
UNCW sophomore Victoria Rause founded a new student organization called PERK, People Encouraging Random Kindness, that seeks to help students cope with stress by doing encouraging things for fellow students, like distributing notecards with nice thoughts written on them or passing out candy, all while teaching students to look for opportunities to promote kindness and rethink the way they view their perceived obstacles.
Cornell U Promotes Climate Literacy for Staff
Members of the university's Employee Assembly voted earlier this month to support staff involvement and participation in campus climate change literacy policy and programs, in an effort to ensure the success of the Climate Action Plan. Highlighting the scientific consensus of global climate change, the resolution notes the impact of climate change on employee happiness and well-being. Climate change literacy was defined in the resolution as an understanding of an individual’s influence on climate and climate’s influence on individuals.
Harvard U Installs Rails on Trucks to Protect Cyclists & Pedestrians
After a successful pilot to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, university fleet technicians have begun installing side guards on all existing, eligible Harvard-owned trucks, including box trucks, and solid waste and recycling trucks. Harvard has also begun asking vendors that drive large trucks to campus to install side guards on eligible trucks as quickly as possible.
California State U Northridge Rolls Out Bike Rental Program
In mid-January, LimeBike delivered 400 bicycles to the campus that are now part of a rental program to provide an alternative mode of transportation to the campus community. There is no membership fee required, however the rental fee is 50 cents per half hour with no time limit. Solar-powered GPS units will allow the university to determine where bike lanes are most needed.
Bemidji State U Unveils Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The new Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a student-driven initiative that promotes and reinforces fundamental values of civic engagement and leadership, and international and multicultural understanding in a space safe for all students, faculty and staff. Dr. Brian V. Xiong has been hired as the center’s coordinator.
U Wisconsin–Madison Increases Pay for Staff & Faculty by 4%
The university has announced that the 2017–2019 pay plan will be distributed to faculty and staff in phases, with the first two percent increase taking effect in July 2018 and the second two percent in January of 2019. Other recent compensation changes designed to benefit some of the university's lowest-paid workers included an increase in the living wage standard to $13.01 per hour beginning Dec. 24, 2017, and an increase in the differential pay for employees working night and weekend shifts.
Emory U Creates Zero Waste Policy
In an effort to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025, the university recently formalized its commitment by publishing a new waste management policy that engages the entire campus in the push to enhance recycling efforts. The new policy calls for adding additional collection stations, making existing stations more efficient and creating a new team to assist with removal of compost and recycling at campus stations.
Broward College Adjuncts Form Union
Adjunct faculty members at the college in Florida recently voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The new unit has approximately 1,700 eligible members, and some 92 percent of those who voted approved of the union bid.
Rutgers U Raises Pay to $11 Per Hour for Student Workers
The minimum wage for student workers will go from $8.44 an hour to $11 an hour, starting Jan. 1, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a letter to students. The 30 percent raise affects more than 13,000 students who work in dining halls, libraries, offices and other facilities on the New Brunswick-Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses.
Cornell U Launches Staff Sustainability Champions Program
The university's Employee Assembly and Campus Sustainability Office staff created the new recognition program as a way to capture and better recognize the hundreds of daily acts that staff demonstrate to reduce waste, create a more welcoming environment, save resources and champion new ideas for sustainability.
U Nottingham Agrees to Living Wage to Low-Paid Staff
(U.K.) Two weeks after protesters asked the university to pay a living wage, the university agreed to do so for the 2017-18 academic year. The agreement guarantees the lowest-paid staff 8.75 pounds ($11.72) an hour.
Cornell U Launches Food Security Grocery Store
Based on results of a Cornell University survey indicating a high percentage of students were regularly without access to food, the Center for Transformative Action launched Anabel's Grocery to provide nutritious, affordable food that includes low-priced meals, daily meal kits and fresh staples. The store is student-led and has served over 1,000 students in the first semester of operations. The store also offers educational programs around quality food, food choices, wellness and positive social change.
U Nebraska-Lincoln Installs Ventilation Technology for Efficiency
Several buildings on campus now use Aircuity, a technology that monitors the ventilation rates of buildings for optimal level of airflow to save energy and maintain air that contains low contaminants. It is estimated that Aircuity can reduce lab energy use by 40 to 60 percent.
Fordham U Professors and Postdoctorals Vote to Form Union
After an agreement was signed by the administration and non-tenure track faculty that allowed for a free and fair election, adjunct faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty, and postdoctoral fellows recently voted 16-to1 to join Service Employees International Union.
Baker Center at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wins 2017 Livable Buildings Award
The Baker Center for Science and Mathematics received the award from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) for a sustainable design that includes operable windows, radiant heating/cooling in offices and conference rooms, chilled beams in laboratories, a green roof, active monitoring of laboratory air, and an atrium designed to take advantage of daylight and passive ventilation. The award - the only building industry honor that includes feedback from occupants in its selection criteria - recognizes buildings that demonstrate exceptional performance in occupant satisfaction, resource efficiency and overall design.
Duke U Raises Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour
Duke will increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all regular university and health system staff, according to an Aug. 25 university statement. Over 2,300 staff members will get a pay raise by 2019.
Harvard U Achieves LEED Gold on Renovation
The housing renovation aimed to deliver a healthier interior for residents. The project team worked with manufacturers to ensure selected flooring material was produced without any added antimicrobials and all furniture and furnishings are free of chemical flame retardants. Wellness efforts focused on controlling noise pollution and enhancing access to natural light. Energy conservation measures implemented in the renovation include high-performing LEDs, high-efficiency washer and dryers, and natural ventilation strategies.
Emory U Class Revitalizes Pilot Green Roof
An abandoned rooftop garden was recently revamped through a class project and was funded by the university's Sustainability Incentives Fund grant through Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives. The original project in 2008 was part of a student-led pilot study exploring the benefits of vegetative roof coverings and had been largely unmaintained since.
Northwestern U Upgrades Lab Ventilation Systems
In an effort to conserve energy and maintain healthy, safe and comfortable labs, eight buildings now have an air quality monitoring system that saves energy by ensuring that lab ventilation systems run only as much as needed to maintain healthy air quality. Research and testing in one of the campus' buildings revealed that, with the new system, the number of air exchanges per hour could be reduced from nine to four, resulting in a cost savings of $117,000 per year.
U Wisconsin Madison Meets Student Needs With Food Hub
The UW Campus Food Shed is a new program that gives students and faculty access to free vegetables and produce, stocked by university agriculture researchers and local farms with excess crops. Many of these excess crops would otherwise be composted or thrown out.
California State U San Marcos to Go Smoke/Tobacco-Free
In an effort to protect and promote the health and well-being of the campus community, the university will become a completely smoke- and tobacco-free campus beginning in fall 2017. Electronic cigarettes will also be banned. The effort will be aided by a $20,000 grant as part of the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, a $3.6 million effort to accelerate and expand smoke- and tobacco-free campuses. The funding will be used for educational material, supplies and personnel essential to implement and evaluate the initiative.
Indiana U to Offer Paid Parental Leave
Recently endorsed by the board of trustees, all university staff employees will receive six weeks of paid leave after a birth or adoption. The leave will be available to both mothers and fathers regardless of their marital or relationship status.
Tufts U Grad Students to Unionize
Graduate students in the university's School of Arts and Sciences voted 129-84 to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union.
Harvard U Awards Inaugural Campus Sustainability Innovative Fund Grants
The new fund supports projects that use the campus or the neighboring community as a test bed for envisioning and piloting innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. The projects align with one of the five topics in the university-wide Sustainability Plan: emissions and energy, campus operations, nature and ecosystems, health and well-being, and culture and learning.
American U Grad Students Vote to Unionize
Graduate student workers at the university recently voted 212 to 40 in favor of forming a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. Some 761 students were eligible to vote.
Northland College Pledges to be Sanctuary for Undocumented Students
In a letter dated March 2, the college's president cites a rising national rhetoric of intolerance and acts of hate that threaten minorities as a basis for affirming Northland’s intention to support all students in their quest to pursue their education without government interference. Unless it is legally required to do so, the college will not voluntarily share student information with or grant property access to immigration enforcement officials, nor participate in the enforcement actions of immigration officials on campus.
U Toronto Cafeteria Workers Strike for Fair Wages
Cafeteria workers employed with Aramark at the university's Scarborough Campus launched an open-ended strike recently, an escalation in their fight to end what they describe as 'poverty-wage jobs' on the university campus. These workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 75, have been bargaining a new collective agreement for several months.
U Alberta Creates Multi-Faith Space
The new Multi-Faith Prayer and Meditation Space offers spiritual peace and quiet for students of various faiths, offering more opportunity to rest, recharge and get to know people of other religions.
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.