Appalachian State U Becomes 'Workers Rights Consortium' Affiliate

As a result of one student's efforts to transform the university's purchasing practices of logo apparel, the new partnership means that Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) investigates working conditions at factories producing clothing and other products bearing the university's name and logo. Collegiate affiliates of the WRC have a manufacturing Code of Conduct that addresses, among other things, workers' wages and rights, and workplace safety and health.

Pennsylvania State U Sees Significant Reduction in Paper Use

By sharing helpful tips with students and faculty, students reduced paper usage by 44 percent and faculty by 10 percent in the 2015-16 academic year. A Paper Reduction Committee ran promotional campaigns on ways to reduce printing as well as promoted tips such as encouraging students to print double-sided, using the multiple pages per sheet printer function, and promoting use of an electronic document sharing solution.

'Community College Innovation Challenge' Names 2016 Winners

The 2016 Community College Innovation Challenge, a team competition calling for innovative, research-based solutions for food, energy and water, named Forsyth Technical Community College as first place, and Normandale Community College and Virginia Western Community College as tied for second. The competition was hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.

APPA Names 2016 Sustainability Award Winners

APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities, better known as simply APPA, recently named its award recipients for its Sustainability Award. They are Colorado State University, Elon University, George Washington University, Ohio University, Portland Community College, Spelman College, University of Michigan and University of Virginia. APPA's Sustainability Award in facilities management is designed to recognize and advance sustainability excellence in educational facilities.

Emory U Awards Inaugural Green Labs & Offices Grants

The university’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives announced the recipients of its inaugural Green Labs at Emory and Green Offices at Emory Incentives Fund programs that use small grants to fund innovative, timely and impactful projects led by students, faculty and staff to foster sustainability-related knowledge and habits in laboratories and workspaces.

U Maryland System to Direct Endowment Away from Fossil Fuels

Following a student-led movement to direct more of its portfolio toward clean energy, the University System of Maryland Foundation, which oversees the state university system's $1 billion endowment, said that it will stop investing directly in the 200 coal, oil and gas-related companies on a list complied by Fossil Free Indexes. Students at University of Maryland, College Park began the push to divest from fossil fuels in 2013, circulating a petition with nearly 600 signatures from within and outside the university.

U Cambridge Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment Decision

(U.K.) A university working group, charged in 2015, recently announced its plans to blacklist all investments in coal and tar sands, although currently it has no direct holdings in either. At this time, however, the university refuses to completely divest from fossil fuel investments. This decision follows a petition signed by more than 2,000 students calling for divestment and a student union council vote 33-to-1 in favor of divestment. Nearly 100 Cambridge academics signed an open letter in April 2016 calling for divestment.

North Carolina State U Welcomes Aquaponics to Student Union

Thanks to the NC State Sustainability Fund, the university's Talley Student Union is now home to a student-designed and maintained, 800-gallon aquaponics system, a closed-loop food production method, featuring a tank of up to 15 fish and two shallow planting containers that will grow tomatoes and salad greens in water.

U British Columbia Boasts High Savings from Lab Challenge

One hundred and twelve participants, forming 18 teams, from 11 buildings across two campuses competed in a challenge to make research labs more energy efficient. The results yielded over 7,500-kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings, primarily through raising the freezer temperatures from minus 80 degrees C to minus 70 degrees.

California State U Sacramento Receives $80K Living Lab Grant

An $80,000 boost awarded by the California State University’s Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) program will cover the redesign of Urban Agriculture, a course in the Department of Environmental Studies. A large portion of the funding will go toward running power and water to the area where students work. As a part of the Urban Ag course, students will do hands-on work in the yard, creating compost and mulch for the 3,500 trees on campus.

U Virginia Dining Partners with Student-Led Agricultural Organization

Starting in fall 2016, the new partnership enables students to use their meal plans to choose between the pre-built snack boxes and produce boxes available from Greens to Grounds, a nonprofit, student-run agricultural organization that is dedicated to making fresh, local food accessible to students.

Portland State U Claims Bee Campus USA Designation

The university was named this spring as the 10th Bee Campus USA campus in the nation by Bee City USA for its commitment to minimize the use of harmful chemical pesticides and raise awareness of the plight of pollinators, including bees, which have suffered from colony collapse and die-offs in recent years due to chemicals in the environment. In an effort to improve the university’s urban ecosystem and provide an educational opportunity for the community, the Student Sustainability Center has installed two hives with as many as 100,000 honeybees near a community garden and orchard at the edge of campus.

Harvard U Sustainability Science Alums Offer Presentations of Work

At a recent 10-year celebration of the Harvard Kennedy School's Sustainability Science Program, more than 70 program alumni gave mini-lectures over the two-day event that celebrated accomplishments and progress, and outlined challenges.

U Central Florida Begins Engineering Course with Campus as Lab

In spring 2016, the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science offered a new honors-level course titled Systems Analysis for Sustainability in Engineered Systems that utilizes the main campus as a living laboratory to apply their systems knowledge to diverse problems. The course introduces principles of sustainable engineering, systems and life-cycle thinking, and the development of sustainability metrics and indicators.

U California Los Angeles Students Win Grant for Storm Water System

As part of the Sustainability Action Research program, five students from the Resilience Team received $18,000 from the Green Initiative Fund for a 200,000-gallon water capture system in order to save an estimated 1.22 million gallons of water per year. The system is intended to supplement water currently supplied by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for the university's irrigation system.

Ten Canadian Institutions Top 2016 Greenest Employers List

Organized by the Canada's Top 100 Employers project, the 10 colleges and universities are Dalhousie University, Humber College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Mohawk College, Red River College, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Toronto and York University. The Greenest Employer award recognizes employers that lead the nation in making environmental values part of their organizational culture.

U California Los Angeles Becomes Fair Trade University

Fair Trade Colleges and Universities announced that after three years of working on the designation, the university received the title of Fair Trade University. The process involved forming a committee, offering Fair Trade products through campus dining outlets, and catering and hosting educational events on campus.

Wesleyan U Funds Sustainability Education and Social Justice Programs

Among this year's initiatives and projects that the student-run Green Fund allocated money to are the development of sustainability curriculum into existing courses, an event featuring a Stony Brook University professor about ecofeminism, eco-grief and climate justice, and funding to a pilot program that offers cooperative food shares to a local elementary school.

U Iowa Marks Progress on 2020 Sustainability Goals

Some areas of progress include net negative energy growth, with a nearly 15 percent reduction in per capita emissions of fossil fuel-produced carbon dioxide from university-related transportation and travel, a 42 percent waste diversion rate and 14.4 percent renewable energy use.

Chatham U Opens Sustainable Building at Eden Hall

The two-floor, 23,000-square-foot center features a commercial teaching kitchen where food from the gardens and greenhouses will be prepared using inductive heating, recycled through a heat loop. Power is generated from a mix of solar panels and two, highly efficient, natural gas-powered turbines that feed electricity to the campus grid. Some of the building's walls are earthen using soil from the campus.

NACUFS Announces Sustainability Award Winners

The National Association of College & University Food Services announced the 2016 awardees for its four categories. Outreach and Engagement winners are Brown University Dining Services (Gold), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Silver) and Virginia Tech University (Bronze). Waste Management winners are Princeton University (Gold), Colorado State University (Silver) and Johnson County Community College (Bronze). Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the Procurement Practices category are, respectively, Harvard University Dining Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Green Champion Student winner is Sarah Leann Ross at Colorado State University.

College and University Campuses Celebrate Earth Day (Photos)

Thirty-five colleges and universities in 24 states and provinces across the U.S. and Canada submitted Earth Day-themed photos to the Campus Sustainability Hub that depict engagement and action within the community.

Wilfrid Laurier U Claims First in Aspen Institute Competition

The university's Lazaridis School of Business & Economics claimed first place out of five finalists at the Aspen Institute's 2016 Business and Society International MBA Case Competition, for which it earned a grand prize of $15,000. Founded in 2009, the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society International MBA Case Competition provides an opportunity for MBA students from 25 leading business schools over three rounds to reflect on the significant influence and positive impact a well-managed business can have on society.

NextGen Climate Mobilizes Young Voters at 203 Campuses

NextGen Climate launched a national campaign to register and mobilize young voters at 203 college campuses in seven key battleground states to help elect climate champions to the White House and the Senate this fall. The campaign aims to show the size and scope of the enthusiasm for climate action among young voters.

U Maryland & City Launch Bike-Share Program

The university and City of College Park, in partnership with Zagster, Inc., launched mBike, a bike sharing program for students, faculty, staff, visitors and community members that includes 120 bikes at 14 stations throughout campus and the city.

Southern Illinois U Carbondale to Open Sustainability Display

The new Innovation and Sustainability Hub will feature informational displays about current and future innovation and sustainability efforts on campus and serve as a collaborative space to share information and increase awareness and student participation.

North Carolina State U Awards $161,000 to Sustainability Projects

Fifteen sustainability projects will be implemented on campus over the next year after $161,000 in grants were recently awarded by the student-led advisory board of the university's Sustainability Fund. Some of the projects include raising awareness for political and social issues through music, stormwater management and water treatment, pollinator-friendly landscaping and a new Alternative Spring Break trip to install solar-electric panels in underserved communities.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Starts Styrofoam Recycling Program

Styrecycle, a specialty recycling program created in 2016 by the university, aims to reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene headed to the landfill by using a Styrofoam densifier, a machine that grinds the plastic into small beads and extrudes it in a very dense tube. A local company in Urbana houses and operates the University-owned densifier for free in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of densified Styrofoam.

U Manitoba Concludes International Bee House Design Competition

The university's international bee house design competition called BEE / HOUSE / LAB aimed to address the rapid decline in bee populations due to pesticide use and severe winters brought on by climate change. Participants were challenged to design a bee house for 80-100 solitary nesting bees. In the Open category, first place went to a team from University of Manitoba and McGill University, and Ryerson University placed second. In the Student Competition category, a student from University of Toronto won top honors, with two students from Carleton University taking second.

Indiana U Completes Student-Funded Rain Garden

The newly completed rain garden installation was funded by the Student Sustainability Council and facilitated by one of the working groups of the Office of Sustainability. The garden was conceptualized, proposed, funded and installed by students.

Stanford U Students Reduce Team Travel Emissions

The university recently announced that all of last year's (2015) varsity team air travel emissions were offset through Stanford Carbon Offsets to Reduce Emissions (SCORE), a collaborative effort to reduce Stanford Athletics’ carbon footprint from air travel by purchasing carbon offsets.

Wilfrid Laurier U and CQUniversity Join Ashoka U Changemaker Campus List

Joining 35 other campuses across seven countries, Ashoka U recently named Wilfrid Laurier U and CQUniversity (Australia) as Ashoka Changemaker Campuses. Ashoka U, an initiative of Ashoka, is a global network that strives to foster a campus-wide culture of social innovation in higher education.

California State U, Northridge Partners on Mobile Solar

In an agreement with DC Solar Freedom, the university will receive 39 mobile solar units at no cost to the campus. Funding for this program is provided through a third-party power purchase agreement, allowing the third-party to utilize vacant space on the unit for additional brand recognition.

Michigan State U Unveils Tiny House

A first for the university, the tiny house project, for which a ribbon-cutting ceremony happened on Earth Day to emphasize sustainability, was a student-led, collaborative project that took over six weeks with more than 100 people from across the campus and community contributing. The 177-square foot house features materials from the university's Sustainable Wood Recovery Program, recycled newspaper insulation and a composting toilet.

84 US Universities Join Second Nature's Climate Commitment

Second Nature recently announced that 84 charter college and university signatories across the U.S. have signed onto its Climate Commitment, which requires higher education institutions to set targets, report on progress publicly and collaborate with their surrounding community, all while integrating sustainability across the curriculum.

Penn State Students Plant 200 Trees in State Forest

In honor of Earth Day, students from the university's Positive Energy student organization planted the 200 trees in Rothrock State Forest.

RecycleMania Reports 2016 Tournament Results

Richland College, a two-year community college was recently crowned Grand Champion of the 2016 competition with a recycling rate of 82 percent. Loyola Marymount University won in the Per Capita Classic category with the highest total weight of recyclables per person, and North Lake College won in the Waste Minimization category with the least overall waste per person. Overall, 350 schools across North America recycled or composted a combined total of 79.3 million pounds of materials.

Indiana U Faculty Mentors & Students Collaborate in Sustainability Scholar Program

The university's inaugural 2020 Sustainability Scholar program paired undergraduates with faculty mentors from multiple disciplines to conduct high-quality research in the area of sustainability. As part of the program, students were required to complete a research work plan and enroll in a class that explores sustainability research methods.

U British Columbia Concludes Yearlong Sustainability Challenge

The yearlong student competition, which sought to engage students to develop new ideas that would help the university address campus sustainability challenges, ends with three top project submissions out of 11 total. Two projects focus on the university's non-disposable to-go container program, while the project that won top honors seeks to target faculty as agents of change by increasing the number that bike to work.

Northern Arizona U Becomes a Tree Campus

The university's Office of Sustainability recently announced the 2015 Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. As part of the designation, the university's campus landscape inventory is about 40 percent complete and will be enlisting the aid of students to finalize.

Illinois State U Students Work to Site Large Solar Array

The student-led initiative, known as Solar Pathways Project, is currently exploring possible sites for solar panels to be installed at the university. The effort is sponsored by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and part of a multi-university effort organized by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

Portland State U Offers Free Art Supplies

University art students looking for free supplies and materials have a new outlet on campus that is populated with unused and donated art supplies. Called the Supply Studio, the initiative is a collaboration between the School of Art + Design and the Campus Sustainability Office.

Colorado State U Releases Web Platform for Sustainability Efforts

Celebrating its recent AASHE STARS Platinum rating, the university unveiled a new interactive website that communicates its sustainability ecosystem using rotating info-graphs, videos and research stories in a user-friendly format.

Cornell U Hosts Diet Education Events

The university will have a series of events designed to help participants improve their diet and reduce carbon emissions associated with food. The events will feature plant-based dishes and prizes for attendees.

Brandeis U Hosts Food and Sustainability Dialogue

Students recently organized a series of panel discussions for interested participants to discuss what role food choices can make in fighting climate change. Called the Brandeis Food Tank: The Think Tank on Food and Sustainability, the series explored food production, insecurity, waste, diets and education.

San Francisco State U Launches Cigarette Butt Recycling Program

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

Virginia Commonwealth U Builds Learning Garden

With funding from a community engagement grant, the university's learning garden received new infrastructure from leftover renovation materials and is used to grow food as donation crops and rented by community members.

Nine Universities Receive $450K for Low-Income Students

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities awarded nine public urban research universities a total of $450,000 to launch or expand pilot programs that inhibit low-income college students nearing graduation from dropping out. The recipients are Cleveland State University, Florida International University, Kent State University, The Ohio State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Central Florida, University of Houston, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and Wayne State University. The APLU and USU released a report on the success of these micro-grants at 10 universities that includes an implementation guide for universities.

Harvard Law School to Retire Shield

The Harvard Corporation has approved the recommendation of the Harvard Law School Shield Committee to retire the HLS shield, which is modeled on the family crest of an 18th century slaveholder, Isaac Royall. Because of its ties to slave labor, the shield came under fire in October 2015, when a group of law school students formed "Royall Must Fall" to demand that HLS discontinue using the Royall family crest as its symbol. The HLS has the opportunity to propose a new shield.

Frostburg State U Allocates Funding to 12 Sustainability Projects

Twelve projects, about half of which were student proposals, recently received grant funding from the university’s President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability. Funded projects include increasing sustainability awareness, performing environmental research, presenting research at academic conferences and making direct environmental impacts on campus. Funding preference was given to those projects that involve and benefit students, are linked to an academic class offering experiential learning, provide long-term campus benefits and address the university's Climate Action Plan.