U Florida Commencement to be Carbon Neutral
The University of Florida has announced that its graduation ceremonies will be carbon neutral this year. The University plans to offset the utilities of the three facilities that will be used during commencement. Additionally, more than 350 graduating students signed the Green Graduation Pledge, committing to carry the values of sustainability with them as they move on from the University of Florida.
U Massachusetts Medical School Student Invention Wins Grand Prize
Max Fraden, a University of Massachusetts Medical School student, and project partner Charles Ishimwe, a business student at the Adventist University of Central Africa in Rwanda, recently won a global social entrepreneurship competition with their idea to replace dangerous kerosene with human pedal power. Based on advanced hand-crank technology, the Nuru Light uses a pedal generator similar to an incumbent bike to generate electricity, which is then stored in batteries. These batteries can be used to power lights, and eventually small household electronics, such as radios and cell phones. Currently, 90 percent of residents in Rwanda use expensive kerosene fuel to light their homes, exposing them to toxic fumes and other dangers. The two students will take home the $10,000 Grand Prize in the 6th annual Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC). Awarded by the Global Business Center at the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business, the GSEC is a business plan competition in which students from around the world—and across fields of study—develop creative, commercially sustainable solutions to problems of poverty in the developing world.
Washington Post Covers Earth Day on College Campuses
The Washington Post has published an article on how college students celebrated Earth Day this year. The article mentions St Mary's College of Maryland; University of Georgia; American University (DC); Texas State University; University of Denver (CO); Gustavus Adolphus College (MN); Georgetown University (DC); Hamilton College (NY); University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Salisbury University (MD); Susquehanna University (PA); Dickinson College (PA); Harper College (IL); Sewanee: The University of the South (TN); and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Western Michigan U Completes Res Hall Energy Competition
Western Michigan University has completed a competition to see which residence hall can save the most electricity. Eco-thon ran during the entire month of February and tracked which dorm could reduce electricity usage by the greatest percentage during the month. The competition used last fall's average electricity consumption as a baseline. The Grand Prize winner, Valley II, received $500 for reducing its consumption by 7.97 percent. Overall, campus residence halls reduced their energy use by 3.08 percent.
2010 Renewable Energy Challenge Winners Announced
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced that, at the college level, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (NM) and the College of Menominee Nation (WI) have tied for first place in the 2010 Indian Education Renewable Energy Challenge to build the most efficient portable wind turbine system. The focus of the contest was to promote renewable energy development for Indian Country among students and teachers at the high school and college level. The challenge was a two-part contest. In Phase I, student teams organized by the schools were asked to submit designs for a portable wind turbine installation that generated energy, stored it mechanically or electronically and then used the stored energy to power an array of light emitting diodes. The best 10 designs were selected in the fall and those teams each received $1,300 to construct a prototype for Phase II.
Campuses Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Earth Day
Campuses across the U.S. and Canada celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this year. Events ranged from tree plantings and panel discussions to presentations on composting and electronic waste collections. Many schools expanded their normal day or week long celebrations to last 40 days in recognition of the anniversary.
Indiana U Launches Pilot Project to be Greenest in Big 10
The Indiana University Athletic Department has launched the pilot project Greening Cream & Crimson, an effort to become the greenest athletic department in the Big Ten Conference. As part of the initiative, IU will offset carbon produced by electricity use, transportation, and food consumption during the game by trading out 100 watt incandescent bulbs with the equivalent 23 watt Condensed Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) in the area. Other projects will include recycling during tailgating, recycling inside Memorial Stadium, reducing vendor waste, collecting cell phones for recycling, and offering valet parking for bicycles. In addition to these new green initiatives, campus environmental groups are invited to set up educational booths in Memorial Stadium during the game to highlight other on-campus sustainability efforts.
Michigan State U to Hold Green Commencement
Michigan State University has planned a green commencement ceremony. Student diplomas have been made from recycled paper, caps from one 20-ounce plastic bottle, and gowns from 12 20-ounce plastic bottles. In addition, the program booklets were printed with soy-based ink on recycled paper, and invitations were sent electronically rather than through the mail.
Quinnipiac U Students to Graduate in Green Gowns
Quinnipiac University (CT) has announced that students graduating this spring will wear caps and gowns made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The only features not made of recycled materials are the tassel, the button on the top of the cap, and the gown's zipper. The company making the gowns estimates that it takes 123 bottles to make each gown.
Austin College Launches Green Effort
Austin College (TX) has launched a new sustainability initiative - Thinking Green. The initiative has been designed by students, faculty, and staff to encourage “greener” practices on campus and in the community. As part of the project, students are distributing free energy-efficient light bulbs, picking up garbage off-campus, and doing cleanup and landscape work for several area social service organizations.
CNN Posts Video on Sustainability at U Colorado Boulder
CNN has posted a video on sustainability initiatives at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "The Greenest University in America" covers the UC Boulder's composting program, zero-waste football games, biodiesel buses, hybrid campus vehicle, solar farm, water-bottled refill stations, the Campus Environmental Center, recycling center, and the University's effort to teach students to live more sustainably.
RecycleMania Announces 2010 Final Results
Over 600 colleges and universities participated in RecyleMania this year, recycling or composting over 84 million pounds of material during the course of the 10-week competition. California State University, San Marcos won the Grand Champion spot, barely nudging out New Mexico State University. The US Coast Guard Academy (CT) claimed the Per Capita Classic award; North Lake College (TX) received its third Waste Minimization title; and Ursinus College (PA) and Johnson & Wales University-Denver (CO) each claimed their first awards with the Bottles and Cans and Food Waste Organics categories respectively. Rounding out the list, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (MA) won the Paper category and Kalamazoo College (MI) won the Cardboard category.
Rice U Announces Green Dorm Initiative
Rice University (TX) has announced the Green Dorm Initiative, a program which encourages students to reevaluate their living habits by rating the environmental friendliness of their dorm rooms. When students register, they complete a questionnaire about their laundry habits, appliance and lighting usage, water consumption and recycling practices. For the next two weeks, participants complete a daily log about their energy and water usage. After the program finishes on April 22, students' rooms will be certified as bronze, silver, or gold and participants will receive prizes.
U Idaho Unveils Energy Audit Internship Program
The University of Idaho Sustainability Center and Environmental Science Program are partnering with the Idaho Small Business Development Center at Boise State University to fund student internships to conduct energy audits in nearby towns. Paid interns will work in teams to evaluate energy usage in at least 40 regional businesses. Based on their findings, teams will make recommendations for increasing energy efficiency, thereby reducing costs and energy-related carbon emissions.
U Michigan Releases New Sustainability Website
The University of Michigan has launched a new U-M Sustainability Website to showcase its ongoing achievements in sustainability research, teaching, and university operations, as well as to raise campus awareness of — and engagement in — related issues and activities. Designed as a central portal, the site provides a comprehensive overview of sustainability news, information, events, and activities from across the entire campus. It will highlight the work being done to set campus goals for sustainable operations, and will communicate new operational milestones, such as the purchase of renewable energy credits. Further, the site offers an events calendar, a collection of facts about U-M sustainability, and featured initiatives.
George Mason U to Start Organic Garden
George Mason University (VA) has broken ground on a new campus produce garden. The community garden will provide produce for the campus community and local food banks, as well as create a place for students to learn and practice sustainable gardening. FCRP, a partnership of nonprofit environmental groups, county agencies, businesses and individual citizens, has assisted Mason’s Office of Sustainability in securing funding and resources necessary for the garden project to take shape.
Mills College Approves On-Campus Organic Farm
Mills College (CA) has approved the creation of an on-campus organic farm. The plots will contain fruits and vegetables. The group managing the garden hopes to sell produce to the College's food service company. Future plans for the project include more on-campus work-study for students, the addition of a new course on sustainable horticulture and food production, and a possible farmers' market stand.
St. Mary's College Announces New, Larger Campus Garden
St. Mary's College of Maryland has created a new, larger campus garden. The garden is meant to teach College and community members about sustainable agriculture while producing local, organic, and nutritious food. The group that manages the garden, the Community Garden Club, hopes to be able to sell produce to the College's dining services provider.
Green Mountain College Launches New Sustainability Website
Green Mountain College (VT) has launched its new sustainability website which describes the College's environmental liberal arts tradition and charts GMC's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2011. Designed by a Green Mountain College alumnus, the site was built on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), administered by AASHE.
U Florida Completes Water Conservation Competition
The University of Florida residence halls have completed their "Eco-Challenge: Battle of the Halls" water usage competition. Weaver Hall, the winner of the competition, saved 23.26 gallons of water per resident per day during the month of January, for a grand total of 122,580 gallons of water saved. In all, water savings ranged from 1.52 to 23.26 less gallons of water per resident per day.
U Michigan Graduate Students Win $10K in Sustainability Challenge
The winners of the 2010 Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge, both of which were graduate students teams from the University of Michigan, have each received $10,000 for their contest submissions. The Challenge, administered by UM's Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, recognizes and rewards students for their innovation and research of sustainable solutions to the world's most pressing social, economic, and environmental problems. As part of the program, the student winners will attend an annual recognition event to celebrate their energy, commitment, and contribution to sustainable innovation.
U System of Ohio Releases Sustainability Website
The University System of Ohio has unveiled a new sustainability website, "USO Sustainability." The site is designed to be both a forum and a resource for faculty, prospective students, and anyone interested in sustainability efforts at Ohio's higher education institutions. The site offers a calendar of events, information and links to USO programs, a forum for discussion and input on the direction of the USO and sustainability, individual school sustainability profiles, and resources and links for research.
Marshall U Offers Sustainable Living Student Hall
Marshall University (WV) has introduced a green living-learning community in its campus residence halls. Students that are interested in living sustainably will be able to participate. The living area will consist of two dormitory floors where students will have access to recycling bins, will take field trips, and will help develop ideas for campus wide projects to promote sustainability.
Anderson U Students Dig Campus Garden
A group of approximately 30 students at Anderson University (IN) have dug a campus garden. Students plan to donate the food grown in the garden to local food banks and the college's food service.
Gustavus Adolphus College Releases Green Farming Video
Gustavus Adolphus College (MN) Professor of Communication Studies Martin Lang and Sophomore Political Science and English Major Ethan Marxhausen were awarded a Gustavus Presidential Faculty/Student Collaboration Grant, and over the past year they produced an independent film documentary titled Farming Forward . The film focuses on highlighting the possible solutions to sustainable farming. The film discusses how instead of using pesticides and other chemicals, sustainable farming promotes crop rotation, in which farmers change the crop in a specific field each year to literally stay ahead of plant-specific pests that can destroy harvests. Farming Forward is still in the process of being converted to DVD format, but the team hopes to continue showing the documentary and also distributing it to local farmers.
Stetson U Student Wins Grant for Campus Garden Activities
Stetson University student Heather Grove has won a Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur grant for $1,000 to help fund educational outreach activities for the Hatter Harvest organic garden. Hatter Harvest is a student organization dedicated to food, health, and environmental sustainability awareness and education. Outreach activities will include garden signage displaying concepts such as the nitrogen cycle in composting and the carbon cycle in plants, and workshops to be presented in the garden and off-campus to community organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club and local schools.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Holds Energy & Water Competition
Interns with the Alliance To Save Energy’s Green Campus Program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo partnered with University Housing to host the Poly Canyon Energy Competition, an energy and water-saving competition held between nine apartment buildings in Poly Canyon Village. The competition, which spanned five weeks and involved 2,700 students, led to an overall savings of 16 percent, resulting in a total savings of 76,874 kWh, 14,619 gallons of water, 117,325 MBTU’s, and $9,778. The winning building received stainless steel water bottles and the student community advisors from the winning building received sweatshirts.
Louisiana State U Students Use Community Garden
Louisiana State University students can now have their very own nine-by-five foot plot to grow vegetables for $10 a semester at the campus farm. The four-acre Hill Farm will allow students to use eco-friendly gardening practices to grow food.
Unity College to Hold Green Commencement
Unity College (ME) has announced plans to hold a green commencement again this year. New environmentally-friendly features of the presentation will include e-invitations, composting, 100 percent post-consumer recycled diplomas, a limited number of printed programs, eco-friendly plaques, and caps and gowns made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
Bowdoin College Student Visualizes Carbon Emissions with Art
A senior at Bowdoin College (ME) has illustrated what one ton of carbon emissions looks like in a new installation in a student lounge. Madelyn Sullivan roped off a cube with 27 foot sides that goes from the ceiling to the floor and across the lounge to show students the size of one ton of carbon emissions. The installation also provides educational information on the amount of CO2 emissions that an average U.S. citizen emits every two weeks and that Bowdoin College emits each year.
College of William & Mary Begins Sustainability Campaign
The College of William and Mary (VA) has launched the "Do One Thing for Sustainability" (DOT) initiative in which students can claim one thing they will do for the environment. This claim can be made on Facebook, on paper, or through a video. The campus art department plans to assemble an installation from all of the paper commitments that will be displayed in the campus library, and videos will be placed on YouTube.
Colorado & Dickinson Colleges Launch Sustainability Virtual Tours
Colorado College and Dickinson College (PA) have each launched sustainability virtual tours. Colorado College created a single location to view its on-campus sustainability initiatives. The Campus Sustainability Virtual Tour guides visitors through numerous locations showcasing what the College has accomplished as stewards of the environment. Examples include the College's composting efforts and the pervious paving project. The online sustainability tour, which took about three months to create, develop, and post, is aimed at multiple audiences: the campus community, alumni, prospective students, and community members. Dickinson College posted four thematic tours, one of which focuses on its sustainability initiatives. The tour covers green buildings, natural landscaping, student leadership, energy and waste, research and education, college farm, and green living. The tour aims to increase involvement and awareness on incorporating sustainability into college life.
Temple U Ambler Wins Environmental Award in Flower Show
A group of Temple University, Ambler (PA) faculty and students have won the American Horticulture Society Environmental Award at the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show. The group won the award for an exhibit of horticultural excellence which best demonstrates the bond between horticulture and the environment, and inspires the viewers to beautify homes and community through skillful design and appropriate plant material. Their display, METROmarphosis, demonstrates ways to increase biodiversity, conserve natural resources, and promote local food production. The exhibit also includes a beehive and an “eco-wall,” an artistic representation of the urban landscape and the natural landscape working in harmony by combining industrial materials with plants, bird houses, worm farms, and a variety of “found objects.” Other honors the group took home include "Best in Show” Award in the Academic Educational category, Bulkley Medal of the Garden Club of America, and the Philadelphia Unit of the Herb Society of America Award.
U Florida Launches Energy Reduction Campaign
The University of Florida Office of Sustainability has launched its "Chomp Down on Energy" campaign to help reduce energy use throughout campus. The project includes educational resources about energy consumption and the associated cost savings that can be affected through minor behavioral changes, and encourages students, staff, and faculty to be more energy conscious. During this first phase of the campaign, department Green Teams can order light-switch stickers that serve as reminders for individuals to turn off lights to rooms when not in use. The next phases will target IT power management and labs and research areas, aiming to determine what equipment is suitable for end of day shut-down.
U Michigan Team Wins Clean Energy Prize Competition
A team of three University of Michigan graduate students have won the 2009-2010 Clean Energy Prize competition with a plan to harness vibrations to power small electronics. DTE Energy and the University of Michigan sponsored the competition in which teams competed to develop business plans that promise to move a new, clean-energy technology from the laboratory to the market place. The thirty-two teams were comprised of schools from around Michigan, including the University of Michigan, Davenport University, Henry Ford Community College, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and Oakland University.
Ivy League Institutions Come Together for Local Food Summit
Student representatives from all eight Ivy League institutions recently came together for the first All-Ivy Real Food Summit, organized by the Yale Sustainable Food Project and the Just Food Challenge. The goal of the Summit was for the schools to share what they are doing to incorporate local or organic foods on campus, build a networking group, and ultimately begin to create a more sustainable food system for the Ivy League.
U Central Florida Starts Sustainability Campaign
At the University of Central Florida, a new campaign to educate students about sustainability was launched by the Student Union. The campaign, “Awareness, Availability and Action,” seeks to educate all members of the UCF community about how easy it is to go green; verify that green alternatives are available to the UCF community, from recycling bins to alternative lighting sources and low-flow water fixtures; and bring new initiatives to the University. To set an example, the Student Union has set up a number of recycling bins and installed a green roof and LED lights that will result in an estimated $10,000 in energy and maintenance savings.
Washington U St. Louis Student Competition Provides Parking Plan
Washington University in St. Louis (MO) hosted its first ever Olin Sustainability Case Competition with the goal to raise awareness of and engagement in sustainability among the student body. Students developed plans to address campus parking issues and the winning group suggested providing grad students with more alternative transportation options.
Northern Arizona U Launches New Sustainability Website
Northern Arizona University has launched a new website on its environmental and sustainability activities in education, research, operations, and community engagement. The Environmental Caucus created the website, called Green NAU, as part of its mission to advance the institutional commitment to sustainability and to promote education, research, and collaboration on the environment. The caucus includes students, faculty, staff, and the University’s environmental partners and has about 300 individuals participating on its listserv.
U California Berkeley Launches New Sustainability Website
The University of California, Berkeley Office of Sustainability has launched a redesign of its website. The new site focuses on easy navigation and provides information on current green energy projects, sustainability progress reports, and green certifications.
Duke U Announces Greenhouse Gas Reduction Challenge
In an effort to encourage students, faculty, and staff to take specific actions to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions on campus, Duke University (NC) has announced the Green Devil Challenge. Each month, a new challenge will be issued to encourage individuals to make small changes in their daily lives that will help reduce emissions at Duke. The first challenge, issued by an email from Bill Chameides, dean for the Nicholas School of the Environment and co-chair of Duke’s Campus Sustainability Committee, asks people to begin by making a commitment by signing the Sustainable Duke Pledge or asking a friend or colleague to do so.
Airzona State U Starts Community Garden
Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus has begun developing a community garden for students, faculty, and staff to use this coming spring. There will be eight plots measuring 20-feet by 30-feet that will be rented for $70 each. The fee will help pay for fertilizer, a fence to keep rodents out, and general maintenance. The Garden Committee will host classes and workshops to help beginning gardeners best utilize their plots.
Boston U Launches Sustainability Website
Boston University (MA) has launched its first sustainability website, sustainability@BU, which acts as a portal to educate and engage the BU community. The site houses information such as research being done in renewable energy, classes being offered, energy saving building retrofit projects, a Green Campus Tour, and where to find bike rack and recycling locations.
Queen's U Opens Organic Teaching Farm
Queen's University (ON) and Sodexo have partnered on a new project called MyFarm, a 76 acre piece of land that will be used as an educational tool and organic farm. The property, currently owned by Sodexo's corporate executive chef, has been made available for the students to learn where their food comes from and how it is grown. The University hopes to educate the students on the importance of food security and sustainable agriculture.
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 international institutions were recognized: Cambridge University (United Kingdom), Peking University (China), and University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). 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.
St. Aloysius College Initiates Green Campaign
St. Aloysius College (India) has launched a new campus-wide campaign called "Green, Clean, and Plastic Free." The College’s goal is to spread awareness among students about the importance of cleanliness and the harmful effects of non bio-degradable plastics so that its use is minimized. As part of the campaign, paper bags were distributed to students.
U Melbourne Creates Sustainability Website
The University of Melbourne's (Australia) Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) has created a website that acts as a virtual hub to showcase the breadth and depth of research on climate change in the University. The website aims to communicate university research to the outside audience of policy makers and the concerned general public. The University hopes that the website will also contribute to creating more interdisciplinary research projects and cross-faculty collaboration in sustainability, with staff from different research backgrounds and with different skill sets, who are spread across the Parkville campus, finding each other via the web.
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.