U Hong Kong Expands Smart Meter Program
A student-focused carbon reduction and behavioral change pilot project included the installation of smart meters in select student rooms and a real-time data dashboard. The technology and science-based program will be scaled up this year to include 1,800 users from four residential colleges. Students in the college led the development of data-driven solutions that reduced electricity use by over 25 percent in the pilot project.
Wesleyan U Receives $4M Gift for College of the Environment
An alumnus and his wife recently donated $4 million to the university’s College of the Environment. The endowment will fund seminars, workshops and faculty-student research grants, internship learning opportunities for students with financial need who are pursuing studies related to environmental research, and an endowed scholarship for those who have demonstrated exceptional academic accomplishment and are pursuing the environmental studies linked major or the environmental studies certificate through the College of the Environment.
UK Student Union Renews Efforts to Fight Climate Change
(U.K.) Delegates at National Union of Students National Conference voted in favor of a motion to renew the drive for student action against climate change. One of the two key resolutions in the motion is to support protests against the President Donald J. Trump's rollback of progress on climate change.
MIT Opens Energy Dashboard Data to Students, Faculty & Staff
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched a new website that makes available detailed information about energy use and carbon emissions on campus. This resource is available to the institute’s students, faculty and staff, for education, research and decision-making purposes. The rollout of this central data dashboard, called Energize_MIT, helps the school meet the goals and commitments set out in its 2015 Plan for Action on Climate Change.
Maharishi U Management Receives $10K Grant for New Trees
Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Alliant Energy, a local electric power distribution company, volunteers were able to plant 100 trees on campus. This is the third such grant from Alliant, bringing the total number of new trees planted in the past two years to approximately 240.
Saint Michael's College Earns Bee Campus USA Certification
The college has become the 23rd educational institution in the nation to be certified under the Bee Campus USA program. The Bee Campus USA designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds and bats.
Pac-12 Releases Zero Waste Bowl Results
The Pac-12 Road Zero Waste Bowl provides a friendly and spirited platform for Pac-12 universities to engage on best practices in waste diversion and to learn how each campus strives toward zero waste goals. The winners of the Zero Waste Bowl for the 2016-17 basketball season, in order of rank, are the University of California, Berkeley, diversion rate of 94 percent; the University of Colorado, Boulder, diversion rate of 92 percent; and University of Arizona, with a diversion rate of 65 percent.
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.
Ohio State U Student Uses Grant Funding to Give Away LED Bulbs
After hearing Dominic Frongillo, Student Summit keynote speaker at AASHE 2016 in Baltimore, speak about the impact that young people can have in their community, a third-year student used a $4,500 grant to begin the Light Up with LED program this semester. The Light Up with LED program allows students to bring in up to five non-LED light bulbs in exchange for five LED light bulbs.
Energy Department Announces 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition Participants
The 12 collegiate teams selected to participate in the third Collegiate Wind Competition are California State University Maritime Academy; California State University, Chico; Iowa State University; James Madison University; Kansas State University; Northern Arizona University; The Pennsylvania State University, University Park; Seattle University; Texas Tech University; Universidad del Turabo (Puerto Rico); University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Virginia Tech University. This competition, led by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, challenges undergraduate students to design and build a model wind turbine, develop a business plan to market the products, and test the turbines against a set of rigorous performance criteria.
U North Texas Taps Green Fund for RECs & Renewable Energy Education Campaign
A class submitted a request to the university's We Mean Green Fund that resulted in funding to purchase 107-megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) and for an educational campaign focused on increasing renewable energy use that includes an educational website and classrooms and student organizations visits.
Ball State U Class Installs Photovoltaic System
In fall 2017, a $2,000 grant allowed an immersive learning class to install a solar panel system that powers a display case where students can charge their phones and learn more about solar energy via a television screen.
Harvard U and U Pennsylvania Students Stage Divestment Protests
Student protesters at both universities recently held sit-ins asking administrators to divest from fossil fuels. Harvard students are demanding that school officials divest its endowment from the coal industry, while Penn students are seeking immediate divestment from coal and tar sands, and full divestment from fossil fuel corporations within six months. In previous responses to student divestment advocates, officials at both schools have indicated that while they share the students’ concerns about climate change, they disagree on the strategy and will not be divesting money from the fossil industry.
U Wyoming Launches Waste Reduction Initiative Aimed at Athletic Events
The Conservation Cowboys, an initiative that aims to reduce waste and resource use at athletics facilities and events, was recently piloted at an athletic event that resulted in the diversion of 266 pounds of the total 659 pounds of waste materials. A total of 35 volunteers from eight student organizations and four operational and academic units volunteered in the event.
Northwestern U Alumnus Donates $3M to Support Social Justice Reporting
Northwestern University alumnus David F. Freedman ’81 has made a $3 million commitment to further the study of reporting on social justice issues. Freedman’s gift will establish the David F. Freedman Fund for Social Justice Reporting Initiatives to support research, students, curricula, conferences and other activities at the intersection of journalism and social justice.
U Arizona Publishes Online Campus Sustainability Map
More than 600 projects, programs and features are presented on the university's new web-based map. Launched to illustrate campus-wide sustainability efforts in an accessible and centralized way, the map visualizes efforts meant to reduce energy and water consumption, and aid in waste diversion and recycling.
U Maryland Student Launches Ride-Sharing App
A sophomore accounting major launched CarPo on March 1 after almost a year and a half of planning and developing the app. Through the app, students looking for rides to and from their hometowns and colleges are able to see registered students with cars who are already driving to the same place.
U Maryland Farm Registers 30K Pounds of Food in Three Years
Located about 15 miles from the university, the campus farm concluded its three-year pilot program in late 2016 registering more than 29,000 pounds of vegetables, the majority of which went directly to campus dining halls. Six thousand pounds of produce were donated to hunger relief organizations, including the Campus Pantry, a program that provides emergency food to university students, faculty and staff.
Smith College Releases New Climate Action Plan
Smith College's Study Group on Climate Change presented the results of their yearlong study to the college's board of trustees recently, which recommended the college take a comprehensive approach to climate action in five areas: academic, campus programming, campus operations, investments and institutional change. The report also supports specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and a focus on climate justice, including a yearlong initiative on women and climate change.
Utah State U Initiates Recycling Education Week
In an effort to reduce contamination and increase waste diversion rates, the university will have volunteers available to instruct students about recycling correctly during a week-long recycling awareness event. New recycling bins will also be installed that have sensors thanking people who recycle.
U Wisconsin Stout Approves Solar Installation
A proposal to install 36 solar panels was recently approved by the Stout Student Association, the university’s student government council. Since receiving state approval, wheels are in motion for the university’s first solar panel investments using $66,280 of student Green Fee funds. All students pay the annual fee for campus sustainability-related projects.
Manhattan College Students Open Fair Trade Store
Business school students created a business and marketing plan for a student-run store focusing on selling fair trade products. As of February 2017, the store has operated as a pop-up store for Christmas and Valentine's Day. The group is planning another pop-up sale before Mother’s Day, coinciding with the end of the semester in May. The group’s long-term goals include having the store open full-time during longer periods during the academic year.
U British Columbia & U Washington Receive $1M for New Public Research Partnership
Thanks to a $1 million gift from Microsoft, the new partnership will establish the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative, helping the Cascadia region address social challenges. The partnership will revolve around four main programs: a social good summer program for students, a social good symposium, research partnerships and development of new software, systems and services to facilitate data management and analysis.
Stanford U Creates Awards Program for Sustainability Champions
The Sustainable Stanford Awards program, rolled out in 2017, formally acknowledges and rewards campus champions for their dedication and support as they work to enable progress, spearhead change and implement programs that directly influence the the university’s environmental performance.
U California Berkeley Begins Recycling 3-D Printer Waste
With over 100 3-D printers on campus, a new recycling initiative by students is intended to tackle 3-D printer waste by grinding then melting the waste plastic, before reshaping it into a new spool that can be used for new projects.
U Illinois Chicago Upgrades Energy Dashboard
The newly improved dashboard allows campus users immediate access to real-time energy displays. Upgrades include a new analytics platform, improved navigation and added campus-wide data streams. Users can see the energy use for 13 campus buildings.
Suffolk County CC Earns Tree Campus USA Recognition
The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Suffolk County Community Colleges Eastern Campus as a Tree Campus USA, a national program that honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. The community college achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
Texas A&M U Begins Labeling Compostable Material
After discovering that some to-go containers were compostable but looked like non-compostable ones, a bill was passed by the Student Government Association to include labels on compostable packaging to better inform students of a whether a container is compostable or landfill.
Auburn U Introduces Aquaponics-Grown Food
The aquaponics project, a collaborative effort among a local fishery and two university units, gives students a hands-on educational experience while providing Campus Dining with locally grown food. A 1,600-acre, local fishery is used to raise tilapia, and the discharge water is used to used to supply nutrients to plants like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes as part of the project.
North Carolina State U Students Test Paper Towel Composting Solution
A team of psychology students researched, designed and tested a system to compost an estimated 34,000 pounds of annual paper towel waste from the university’s student union building. The team’s challenge was to create a simple system that captured users’ attention in order to eliminate contamination and maximize landfill diversion.
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.
U Louisville Taps Campus Maple Trees for Syrup
A biology class successfully tapped campus maple trees to offer a workshop to the campus and surrounding community about how to make syrup from urban maple trees. The initiative attempts to teach students that they don't have to be science majors to do science.
Pierce College Opens Food Pantry for Students in Need
The new pantry contains free, non-perishable food items. With student government acting as steward of this new program, the pantry serves a need for students who are dealing with food scarcity, students who have forgotten money on a particular day or for students who find themselves on campus after the cafeteria has closed.
Students Nationwide March for Fossil Fuel Divestment
Hundreds of students across the country staged a walk-out in an effort to show that President Donald J. Trump's climate denial does not have their consent. The demonstration was a call to academic administrators to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy.
Three Georgia Universities Address State Water Crisis
Open to students at Emory, University of Georgia and Georgia State University, the recently concluded Sustainability Case Competition asked participants to create a five-year plan to mitigate Georgia's water crisis, taking water conservation, distribution, resilience and impact on community stakeholders into account. The winning team has chance to work with the Department of Watershed Management on implementing their five-year plan, and all participants have the opportunity to intern.
U Kentucky Allocates $200K Toward Six Sustainability Projects
As part of the Sustainability Challenge Grant Program, six projects that further campus sustainability are sustainability education in the first year experience, introduction of an interdisciplinary research program for undergraduate students, development of a sustainable, community food system that includes training students how to cook, and creating a tree ambassador program that raises awareness for the benefits of urban trees.
Kansas U Students Build Certified Green Home
Students from the university's Studio 804, a graduate level architecture studio, recently completed a solar-powered home that achieved both LEED Platinum and Passive House certification. The 1,941-square-foot house contains three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths within an airtight and highly insulated envelope, wrapped in low-maintenance siding salvaged from dismantled railroad bridge trestles. Interior recycled materials include countertops made from reclaimed marble slabs sourced from a demolished office building.
U Iowa Students Create Platform for Public Engagement
A group of students created 30,000 Hands, a website capable of linking the more than 30,000 university students with local service opportunities, as an outcome to a class project that challenged the students make a difference in the community. The website attempts to respond to the needs of Iowa City’s nonprofit, charity and social-good organizations while providing real-life learning opportunities for students.
Cornell U Creates Animated Sustainability Video
Highlighting the university's living laboratory model, the new video animation features the university's ground source heating and cooling system, and draws connections between campus projects and classroom engagement.
Harvard U Achieves GHG Reduction Milestone Set in 2008
In a recently released report, the university details the path it took to achieving its goal, which it set in 2008, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016 from a 2006 baseline, inclusive of campus growth. The steps included energy audits and energy efficiency measures across most of the 25 million square feet of campus, installing renewable energy technology, and fuel-switching and other improvements to campus utilities that lowered carbon pollution. Changes to energy supply and demand resulted in a 24 percent absolute reduction in emissions while purchased electricity from local renewable energy sources fulfilled the remaining six percent reduction.
Vanderbilt U Student Prompts Solar Electric Project
A former student member of the university's tennis program proposed a photovoltaic project for the tennis center that, now installed, cut natural gas consumption at the center by 40 percent. Funding was approximately $80,000 and came from the Green Fund Working Group. The project was completed fall 2016 and is comprised of 67 solar panels.
Hope College Dining Services Provider Awards Certification
The college's dining services provider, Creative Dining Services, awarded the college a Gold certification as part of the providers Sustainability and Ecological Engagement and Development program, which awards points in the categories of non-food waste, food waste, energy and water, and sourcing. Initiatives pursued at the college include trayless dining, which reduces food waste, water use, detergents and energy for cleaning, using food waste for compost and procuring local food.
Furman U Sustainability Center Receives $500K for Fellowships
Former Furman University President David E. Shi and his wife, Angela Halfacre Shi, have made a $500,000 gift to the university that will provide additional financial support for students who are actively involved in the work of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. The gift will create an endowed fund to support undergraduate students in sustainability research, service, and internships focused on campus and community-based projects.
Simon Fraser U Commits to Decrease Footprint of Investment Portfolio
In late November, the university's board of governors committed to decrease the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by at least 30 percent by 2030. This target is in line with Canada’s climate commitment, and enables the university to actively encourage companies to pursue lower carbon solutions, while also reducing its investment risk.
League of American Bicyclists Announces 2016 Campus Designations
Bicycle Friendly University award designations grew this year with 37 campuses obtaining a designation for the first time. Eleven campuses moved up from one designation to another, with a total of 51 campuses now having the Bicycle Friendly Designation, a program of The League of American Bicyclists.
Syracuse U Starts Sustainability Scholarship Grant Program
A new university grant program that combines scholarship with campus sustainability is offering up to $50,000 in funding for projects that promote reductions in greenhouse emissions and increase awareness about sustainability. The grants are part of the Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability program, overseen by a team of faculty from 11 schools and colleges. The project merges academic scholarship with the university’s broad initiatives to meet energy efficiency goals, while having the campus become a testbed for innovative ideas.