U Florida Students Make Soap with Used Vegetable Oil
Two University of Florida students have begun making organic, UF-themed bars of soap to promote sustainable fuel and biodiesel production, after UF's biodiesel plan to was forced to halt its operations last spring. The soap, called Gator Gylss, is made using glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel production, and essential oils made from fruit peels collected from campus eateries.
Hawaii Pacific U Students Build Garden
Student organizations at Hawaii Pacific University have transformed a patch of grass into a garden on their Hawaii Loa campus. Led by the Amnesty International Club and the Green Club, students built the garden to show the viability of gardening for food. Students have realized benefits from their projects including the ability to provide produce for the local community, the function of creating a model for a green campus, and social bonding.
Students Attend COP15
Several U.S. and Canadian institution sent student delegations to the United National Climate Change Conference, which was held December 7-18, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hundreds of students blogged and tweeted about their experiences and the Dickinson College (PA) delegation held three conference calls with the AASHE community. Recordings of these conversations are posted on the AASHE website.
U Kansas Partners with ESPN to Green Basketball Game
The University of Kansas Athletics, the city of Lawrence, and television network ESPN have partnered to host a "Green Game" for the KU men's basketball game against Michigan on ESPN, which took place on Saturday, December 19th. The telecast featured two short features about go-green initiatives on the KU campus. The first highlighted the 15 elliptical machines in the Student Recreation and Fitness Center that convert kinetic energy created by individual workouts and feed it back into the building's electrical grid. The second video featured KU's Biodiesel Initiative, which collects used cooking oil from campus dining halls and converts it into biodiesel fuel. Also during the game, KU played a 3-second video featuring student athletes recycling a water bottle and recognized the on-campus winners of the Sustainability Leadership Awards program.
Michigan State U Starts Green Certification Program
Michigan State University has launched a Green Certification Program that recognizes departments, programs, and individuals on campus for their efforts towards sustainability. In order to receive certification, an entity has to show steps they are taking to reduce MSU’s environmental impact through energy efficiency and conservation, waste reduction and recycling, water conservation, and/or purchasing.
Appalachian State U Students Sell Produce on Campus
Students at Appalachian State University (NC) have begun a new program to sell leftover produce from the ASU research farm on campus after the community farmers' market ends for the season. Participants in the campus's Goodnight Family Sustainability Development Program Teaching and Research Farm sell late fall land early winter produce, such as kale, mustard greens, lettuce, turnips, radishes, and celeriac, to students, faculty, and staff on campus. Since the farm has a meat handlers license from the Noth Carolina Department of Agriculture, it is able to sell pork from farm-raised pigs on occasion, processed by a USDA licensed meat processor nearby. Proceeds from the sales help purchase garden tools, seeds, animal feed, and other items to support the farm’s operation.
U Notre Dame Launches Green Dorm Room Initiative
Two architecture graduate students at the University of Notre Dame (IN) who interned in the Office of Sustainability have created an interactive, virtual "Green Dorm Room." The room, created with 3D rendering techniques, is fully outfitted with things a student needs to live more sustainably. Objects in the room include a drying rack for clothes, a reusable water bottle, an Energy Star television and mini-fridge, a smart strip, and organic cotton sheets. Visitor to the site can pan around the room, zoom in and out on the various items, and click on the “green” items to learn more.
Brandeis U Eco-reps Start Green Certified Dorm Room Program
Brandeis University (MA) dorm residents will now have the opportunity to have their dorm room green certified by campus Eco-reps, also known as peer-to-peer sustainability outreach representatives. The Green Rooms program allows students to obtain a certificate if they promote green living through a number of room adaptations, including energy-saving electrical habits like pulling out chargers as well as using cold water and recycling. The initiative was piloted earlier this year by the Brandeis eco-reps, environmental advocates, and Students for Environmental Action. In an effort to increase awareness on campus about sustainability and about the new program, the organizations set up a model “green” room in a campus atrium.
Dow Chemical Announces Student Sustainability Challenge Winners
The Dow Chemical Company has recognized the inaugural winners of its Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge, an awards competition established to encourage and promote solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental problems. Graduate student teams from the following U.S. institutions were recognized: Northwestern University (IL), Tufts University (MA), and University of Michigan. Some of the project highlights included: building a community-based sustainable food system; energy efficient low-income homes in South Africa – an evaluation of international support mechanisms; new generation transportation fuels based on coal, natural gas and biomass; and biotechnological production of xylitol using sugarcane bagasse – an evaluation of operational parameters and economical feasibility. Graduate student teams selected for their research and innovations received $10,000 for use at the students’ discretion. In addition, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation donated $20,000 in financial support directly to each university to offset costs of managing the selection process and travel for students to the recognition event.
Campuses Participate in Global Day of Climate Action
Several campuses in the U.S. and Canada participated in the International Day of Climate Action on October 24, 2009. The campaign, created by 350.org, is dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis.
Unity College Sustainability Office Launches Blog
The Sustainability Office at Unity College (ME) has launched the Unity College Sustainability Monitor. The new site highlights sustainability activities on campus and tracks resource consumption at the rural liberal arts college. The new blog is a chance for students, faculty, and staff members to research and report out on a variety of campus initiatives.
Campuses Celebrate Campus Sustainability Day
Several campuses participated in the seventh annual Campus Sustainability Day, which took place October 21st. Events included week-long events, scavenger hunts, bike-powered blenders, rooftop garden parties, free bike tune-ups, mini-grants for campus sustainability projects, an Art for the Sky project of a raven embracing the earth, and the Society for College and University Planning's annual webcast.
Portland State U Launches Sustainability Pledge
Portland State University (OR) has launched a Campus Sustainability Pledge. The Pledge, which may be signed by all PSU faculty, staff, and students, provides a framework for the PSU campus community to understand how their actions impact social, economic, and environmental systems. The project seeks to be an educational tool to foster sustainable behavior changes. PSU's pledge committee also chose to include a section focusing on community and social sustainability. The creators want to emphasize the interdependence and equal importance of social, economic, and environmental systems in the creation of a sustainable society.
U New Mexico Launches Eco-Reps Program
The University of New Mexico has launched an Eco-Reps program on campus. Participants in the peer-to-peer sustainability outreach program will be elected student leaders who encourage sustainable living and recycling in the dormitories on campus. The program is a collaborative effort between UNM Recycling, Residence Life and Student Housing, and a service learning class.
U New Mexico Student Stand Sells Local, Organic Fruit
Students at the University of New Mexico have set up a stand on campus to offer students an alternative snack to junk food. The stand sells local, organic fruit and hands out information on the benefits of eating local and organic. The stand is run by the UNM chapter of New Mexico Youth Organized.
U Missouri, Columbia Begins Peer-to-Peer Sustainability Outreach
The University of Missouri, Columbia’s Sustainability Office has announced plans to begin sustainaReps, a new peer-to-peer sustainability outreach program on campus. The sustainaReps will work directly with students to improve communication and environmental efforts toward sustainability within various campus groups. A sustainability fee generates $52,000 annually and is used to fund sustainability projects and initiatives, as well as the sustainaReps program.
U San Diego Opens Campus Garden
The University of San Diego (CA) has created a student garden on campus. The goal of the 50-by-10-foot plot is to help connect students to nature and promote sustainability. The garden will also have an academic component, with classes and professors taking responsibility for plots in the garden.
Central Michigan U Students Plant Three Organic Gardens
Central Michigan University’s Campus Grows student organization has planted three organic vegetable gardens on campus. Campus Grows consists of four students that have led the initiative and spent the summer tending to the gardens. The crops are sold at farmers markets and a coffee house. Some of the food is donated to soup kitchens and food banks as well. Extra plots are sold to students interested in having a personal garden and proceeds go to purchase seed, fencing, and other needs.
U New Hampshire Publishes Book on its Sustainability Program
The University of New Hampshire has published, "The Sustainable Learning Community: One University's Journey to the Future." The new book details how the University of New Hampshire, home to one of the oldest endowed offices of sustainability in the nation, has been integrating sustainability across its curriculum, operations, research, and engagement in the last 10-plus years. The book shares the perspectives of more than 60 authors from UNH and beyond on subjects ranging from curriculum to climate change to compost.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Launches 'Carolina Green' Campaign
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has launched a new inter-departmental “Carolina Green” campaign to identify and promote university programs that support a healthy and responsible approach to the “green” issues of environmental integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity. Carolina Green offers an online directory of university resources, a range of committees working to improve campus practices, and resources to help individuals and departments have a greener impact on their world.
Grist Releases Campus Sustainability Video
Grist, an online environmental news network, has posted a video on campus sustainability. The video discusses green campus initiatives at the College of the Atlantic (ME).
U California Berkeley Assigns Green Summer Reading
The University of California, Berkeley College of Letters and Science has completed its summer reading project, the On the Same Page program, in which first-year students were asked to read The Omnivore's Dilemma , written by UC Berkeley Professor Michael Pollan. Each year, the program selects a work or works by a leading thinker or artist for incoming students to read and reflect on, and for L&S faculty to teach to in seminars as well as their regular courses.
U Oregon Completes Green Orientation Program
The University of Oregon has completed its first green orientation program, Project Tomato. The program enabled ten first-year students to embark on a four-day trip exploring UO dining services and its connections to local agriculture. The students biked to and camped at local farms, worked with farm staff to harvest about 1,000 pounds of tomatoes, and made pizza sauce to use in the dining hall. Participants also learned about permaculture, agriculture that relies on renewable resources and a self-sustaining eco-system. Project Tomato is managed by the OU Office of Sustainability.
Saint Joseph's College Starts Campus Farm
Saint Joseph's College (ME) has established a small farm adjacent to the school that will be used to grow organic produce to supplement the school’s cafeteria and food pantry. The 35,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly farm, which is strongly supported by the school’s food vendors, is being tended by six student apprentices who are learning how to effectively rotate crops between lands in order to avoid the need for chemicals.
Bates College Assigns Summer Reading on Climate Change
In an effort to encourage arriving first-year students to participate in researching and taking action on carbon emissions and climate change, Bates College (ME) has made climate change the focus of its 2009 summer reading program. The list of books included: With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change by Fred Pearce; Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action by David Spratt and Philip Sutton; and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben. As part of the same effort, the institution's annual orientation will feature a presentation by Franke James, an artist known for her environmental activism, and on October 24, Bates students will take part in an international day of action advocating for real progress in curtailing climate change.
Lafayette College Students Take Honors in Green Building Contest
A group of civil engineering graduates at Lafayette College (PA) have won third place, trailing two teams of professional architects, in the U.S. Green Building Council's Natural Talent Design Competition in New York City. The Lafayette team designed a complex that includes a middle school and affordable housing for a 7,500-square-foot lot along Adam Clayton Boulevard in Harlem. The contest provides an applied learning experience in integrated design, sustainability, innovation, and social consciousness.
U Albany Launches 2 Green-Themed Res Halls, Local Food Dining
University at Albany (NY) has opened two new sustainability-themed residence halls and has introduced local food in one of its dining halls. Students living in the sustainability-themed residences will learn about sustainable living, help raise awareness among the student body about the importance of environmental conservation, and model best practices towards sustainability. Prior to the fall semester, students signed contracts agreeing to calculate their carbon footprint; initiate sustainability-themed programming for faculty, staff, and students; and attend meetings of the campus group UAlbany Students for Sustainability. The local food options will include produce, grass-fed beef, and cage-free eggs, which will be prepared and cooked to order.
U California, San Diego Begins Several Green Initiatives
The University of California, San Diego has launched several sustainability initiatives to start the new school year. UCSD has hired seven student “Econauts” to provide peer-to-peer sustainability education. The students will work with the campus residential life staff to educate students and dining customers about ways to reduce their carbon footprint and help UC San Diego meet sustainability goals. The University has also installed bioswales - landscape elements designed to wash water through rocks so that it can be absorbed into the land and minimize the need for irrigation - around new buildings. The bioswales contain native plants. In addition, students moving into the transfer student housing on campus will receive individual electricity bills (to give them an incentive to keep energy consumption low) and a reusable recycling bag in which they can deposit plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper and newspaper, metal containers, and cardboard to take to central recycling locations. UCSD has also instituted a policy to serve only cage-free eggs and fair trade coffee, tea, and sugar in campus dining facilities, and all dining locations will begin regularly featuring farmers' markets where students will have the opportunity to buy locally grown, organic produce directly from local food businesses.
U Colorado Students Plant 20-Acre Organic Farm
Student volunteers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have planted a 20-acre organic farm with more than 30 varieties of vegetables including four types of squash, green beans, pumpkins, Swiss chard, radishes, 10 varieties of tomatoes, seven acres of pinto beans, onions, and cucumbers. The project received a Community Supported Agriculture grant and has grown enough produce to sell extra vegetables at the Boulder Farmers' Market and to a few local restaurants. The 'Beyond Organic Farm' was developed and is run entirely by students.
Vanderbilt U, Coastal Carolina U Hold Green Move-Ins
Vanderbilt University (TN) and Coastal Carolina University (SC) have introduced several new initiatives to make their first-year student move-ins more sustainable. Vanderbilt provided 12 water cooler filling stations, distributed reusable water bottles to first-year students, offered Styrofoam recycling, and printed its housing assignment information on paper with recycled content. CCU launched a recycling drive for cardboard boxes and other recyclable materials.
Arizona State U Art Museum Features Sustainability Theme
Arizona State University's Art Museum has announced plans to showcase a series of projects this fall gathered under the title, "Defining Sustainability." All exhibitions or projects range in materials and format, and are installed throughout the Museum to tell stories of environmental, social, and cultural sustainability.
U New Hampshire Football Game Goes Green
University of New Hampshire Athletics has announced a partnership with the UNH University Office of Sustainability to focus on eco-friendly products and choices at the first football game of the season. The 'Go GREEN with the Wildcats'” event will feature volunteers encouraging attendees to recycle and tables offering Wildcat Corporate Partners' green products and services.
Students' Guide to Sustainable Living at Stanford
Students at Stanford University (CA), in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, have created the "Students' Guide to Sustainable Living at Stanford." The guide, which will be presented at the new student orientation events, contains information on greening dorm rooms and apartments, how to conserve water and electricity while doing laundry, how to make study habits more sustainable, eating sustainably on campus, using alternative transportation options, and where and what to recycle.
Smith College Distributes Green Back-to-School Shopping List
Smith College (MA) has distributed an environmental sustainability-focused back-to-school shopping list that was developed by a Smith student. The list encourage students to bring cloth bags, a bicycle, reusable mugs, Tupperware, Energy Star appliances, power strips, and compact fluorescent bulbs. The list also discourages students from bringing a refrigerator, a computer printer, and incandescent bulbs.
Inside Higher Ed Covers Campus' 'Year of Sustainability'
Inside Higher Ed has published an article on campuses that create a "year of sustainability" to begin discussions of how the institution can address such goals as climate neutrality, sustainability in the curriculum, and teaching students to live sustainably. The article mentions Davidson College (NC), New Mexico State University, Villanova University (PA), and University of Denver (CO).
U Virginia Showcase Dorms Feature Green Products
The University of Virginia Bookstore and Housing Division have outfitted its showcase dorm rooms with environmentally friendly products in an effort to encourage students to do the same. The green products featured include binders, notebooks, and paper towels made from recycled products, green cleaning supplies, and energy efficient computers refrigerators, and microwaves.
New England Professionals Form Sustainability Group
The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Region I, which includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, has formed a group called the NASPA Sustainability Knowledge Community. The group is charged with advancing sustainability practices through the education and engagement of members. Members of the Sustainability Knowledge Community will communicate at local, regional, and national NASPA meetings and conferences. They will also attend other sustainability meetings and work to develop better sustainability approaches for the use of technology in student affairs. Stephen Nason, Director of Residence Life and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at Unity College (ME), has been named to lead the effort.
Simon Frasier U Students Compare Green Initiatives
A group of nine Simon Frasier University (BC) business sustainability honors students have completed a review and comparison of sustainability initiatives at SFU, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria (BC). The project compared performance, leadership, operations, teaching, research, finance, and community engagement. The group found that that SFU leads in active student sustainability groups, leading sustainability researchers, and energy management, but trails in the number of staff hired to institutionalize sustainability and the number of sustainability-related courses available to students. SFU also falls behind UBC and UVic in composting, paper reduction, LEED certification, and the use of green cleaning products. The group made recommendations to the administration on how SFU can improve its standing.
Philadelphia U Chooses 'Cradle to Cradle' for Reading Program
Philadelphia University (PA) has selected William McDonough’s book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things , as the 2009 First Year Experience Summer Reading Program book. Cradle to Cradle is a manifesto that calls for a radical change in the relationship of human industry to the environment using a model of “lifecycle development.” The model advocates for a regenerative stance and uses manufactured products that have exhausted their primary function as the material to create subsequent products. New students at PU will receive a copy of the book when they attend orientation. Students will discuss the book in orientation with faculty, staff, and upper division students; the University will offer forums to engage additional discussions; and the book will be used in many courses taken by first year students.
Unity College Announces New Sustainability Website
Unity College (ME) has updated its sustainability website. The new content, developed by former interim sustainability coordinator, Aaron Witham, highlights Unity’s sustainability education initiatives, current and past sustainability achievements, and personal sustainability stories from campus community members.
Virginia Tech Selects Sustainability-Themed Book for Reading Prgm
Virginia Tech has chosen Daniel Goleman's Ecological Intelligence for its Common Book Project for the 2009-2010 academic year. The program gives nearly all new and transfer undergraduate students a common academic experience during their first year at the University. VT encourages faculty teaching first year students to integrate the common book into their curriculum in order to foster broader community discussions on important themes or issues. In Ecological Intelligence , Goleman tells of the critical role of the psychological dimension in our decision making, illustrates the inconsistencies in our response to the ecological crisis, and explains why we as shoppers have found it impossible to know the true range of harmful environmental and health consequences of our purchases.
2 Campuses Select Sustainability Books for Summer Reading
Smith College (MA) has chosen Van Jones' The Green Collar Economy as summer reading for all entering students. The book will be discussed in during summer orientation. In related news, Northwestern University (IL) has selected Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How it Can Renew America as its reading book for all new, incoming undergraduate students. The One Book One Northwestern program will provide students with public lectures, the opportunity to engage in online discussions throughout the academic year, and other events related to the topics of energy and sustainability.
Appalachian State U Students Test Green Construction Methods
Students in the Building Science and Appropriate Technology Program at Appalachian State University (NC) have constructed a 500-square-foot model house to test innovative technologies and building practices. The structure is designed to be a self-sufficient and adaptable disaster relief dwelling. The building’s energy-efficient features include use of structural insulated panels (SIPs) for the building’s exterior walls and roof; solar panels, which will generate energy needs for the occupants, a system to collect rainwater from the roof, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. The structure can accommodate up to five occupants.
WSU Reinstates 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' as Common-Reading Book
Washington State University has decided to reinstate the original plan for distribution of its Common Reading book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma , as a result of a private contribution to support the program. Earlier this year, WSU administrators made the decision not to distribute the book, which examines industrial agriculture and the American diet, and not to bring author Michael Pollan to campus, for either budget or political concerns, depending on different points of view. Some people believed that the University, which had already purchased 4,000 copies of the book and has a prominent agriculture college, bowed to pressure from agribusiness interests, but the University affirms that the decision was due to budget difficulties.
U Iowa Opens Student Garden
The University of Iowa Environmental Coalition and the Office of Sustainability have opened a student garden on campus. The 1/3 acre garden will produce "field to market" vegetable crops for the student union. Students from the UI Environmental Coalition will manage the garden and will be responsible for preparing the ground, installing structures, and maintenance.
U North Carolina Begins Eco-Newsletter
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has published its inaugural issue of "Act Today" a chronicle of sustainability at UNC. The new publication, which is published by the UNC Sustainability Office to inform the campus community about academics, research, public service, and operations that promote campus sustainability, is available in print and as an e-newsletter. The first issue focuses on solar energy.
Hartwick College Gives Energy Theme to 2009-10 Academic Year
Hartwick College (NY) has named "Energy" as the theme for its 2009-10 academic year. Over the year, the college community will engage in discussions, events, and lectures that center on the increasing relevance of energy policies, carbon footprints, greenhouse gas inventories, and how the decisions made today about energy production, consumption, and conservation will affect the future. In addition, the campus will explore patterns of energy use and apply lessons learned to enhance energy conservation on campus and in the regional community.
U Denver Plants Campus Garden
Students and community members have planted a community garden on the University of Denver (CO) campus. The garden will include vegetables, herbs, and flowers. All editable food will either be donated to a local homeless shelter or used in a local foods meal at DU.
Yale U Releases Sustainability Video
Yale University (CT) has released a video entitled, "Sustainability at Yale." The video features an introduction by President Richard C. Levin and an overview of the sustainability initiatives taking place on campus.