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.
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.
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.
Dalhousie U Releases Bike Safety Video
The university recently debuted a comedic bike safety video with 12 tips for safe cycling. Students and alumni appear in the film, which was co-funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Health.
U British Columbia Bolsters City's Climate Action Potential
Student participants of the 2015 Greenest City Scholars cohort have worked with the city of Vancouver on specific sustainability projects including water and food challenges. The projects target the city's ability to be resilient in the face of climate challenges. Since 2010, the Greenest City Scholars Program has brought together a total of 79 graduate students from the University of British Columbia.
MIT Initiates Crowdsourcing for Climate Mitigation Ideas
The university recently launched a crowdsourcing contest to identify projects that reduce campus emissions and highlight the potential for scaleable, educational solutions as a living laboratory. The challenge is part of a new series of contests launched by the MIT Climate CoLab, a crowdsourcing platform of over 50,000 members. The series seeks high-impact proposals that tackle major climate change challenges.
Penn State Students Help Peers Make Healthy Food Choices
Thanks to a new blog, the RHEAL Deal (Residential Healthy Eating and Living Deal), university student nutrition assistants communicate weekly posts highlighting healthy items in the dining commons. The blog posts include information about the nutrients in the featured food, different ways it can be prepared and where it can be found in the dining commons. Food that meets the healthy qualifications of RHEAL are also marked by a carrot icon on the entrée card.
Penn State Grounds Become Bat Habitat
Biology and engineering students collaborated to research, design and build bat houses that will be placed at two campus locations that were identified as suitable bat habitats.
Morehead State U Obtains Bee Campus Honor
A Bee Campus USA certification now adorns the university after the campus developed a Pollinator Protection Plan for its 1,200-acre landscape that includes locally native and pollinator friendly plants.
U Missouri to House Two Beehives
With planning that began over one year ago, Sustain Mizzou wants to install the beehives to teach students about bee behavior and the importance of bees for food production.
Penn State Building Collects LEED Gold Designation
After a three-year effort, the university's Smeal College is now adorned with the USGBC LEED-EB (Existing Building) Gold certification. Since the building will need to be re-certified every five years to keep its designation, business building will act as a living laboratory for students to conduct research and participate in experiential learning.
Michigan State U Courses Conduct Waste Audits
Two of four of the university's Introduction to Sustainability courses provide students with the opportunity to partner with the university's Recycling Center team to conduct a hands-on waste audit of a campus building. The Recycling Center team will use the data to improve signage and outreach materials.
U California Santa Cruz Organizes Paper Recycle Day
The Records and Information Management, and Policy Coordination Office sponsored a Disposition Day event, offering secure shredding and recycling of confidential and restricted paper documents to university business offices. This year, 10 offices participated and 5,034 pounds of paper were securely recycled.
Portland CC Earns Bee Campus USA Status
The community college recently announced its acquisition of the Bee Campus USA certification. In keeping with certification, the campus implements an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan, staff are regularly trained on best IPM practices and chemical use, and the college is expected to use signage in appropriate places that explain the role of pollinators. There are currently plans to develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan.
SUNY Oneonta Creates Sustainability Living and Learning Community
Beginning in fall 2016, the college will offer two new living, learning communities for incoming freshman. The Sustainability Living Learning Community will focus on management of environmental and financial resources, and finding harmony with the natural environment. The Social Justice Living Learning Community will enable students to engage diverse perspectives and views, critically examine issues that cause oppression related to race, gender, age and other differences, and form connections to other community members interested in social justice issues.
U California Santa Cruz Hosts Climate Science and Policy Conference
Climate scientists, policymakers and practitioners, including former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, recently participated in a national conference on climate science and climate change. Presented by the divisions of Social Sciences, and Physical and Biological Sciences, the theme of the third annual climate science & policy conference was Earth's Climate Future: Uncharted Territory. Three panels focused on public health, geoengineering and geopolitics.
Portland State U Launches Seed Library
The Student Sustainability Center has launched a new seed library where any university student, staff or faculty member can take free seeds to plant and grow. Participants are invited to harvest seeds from the plants they grow and return some of these next generation seeds to the library for others to borrow and to keep the library going. The 2016 seed inventory includes 270 different seed varieties.
U Central Florida Holds Energy Competition
One of the largest campaigns hosted by the university's Sustainability Initiatives is underway for its ninth year, the Kill-A-Watt Energy Conservation Competition. This competition uses scholarship incentives (up to $750) to encourage university residents to lower their energy consumption over a two-and-a-half month timeline.
Six Universities to Host Climate Leadership Summits
National Campus Leadership Council recently announced the six sites to host a 2016 Climate Leadership Summit as Arizona State University (April 16), Cal Poly Pomona and Claremont McKenna College (April 22-23), Florida International University (April 30), Georgia State University (April 6), and University of Wisconsin-River Falls (April 9). In partnership with Defend Our Future, the regional summits provide a platform to address energy challenges and climate change.
Penn State Approves One-Acre Plot for Student Farm
In the works for nearly two years, the university recently set aside a one-acre plot for the Student Farm Club to grow food and operate a community-supported agriculture program for three years. The farm will operate as a laboratory where students will have the opportunity to study food production and marketing.
North Carolina State U Students Compete in 45-Hour Sustainability Challenge
The university's first Make-a-thon, a 45-hour challenge to create solutions to campus sustainability challenges, brought together 42 students on 11 teams to compete in one of three categories: energy, waste or water. Armed with actual campus utility, waste and recycling data, student teams researched, designed and prototyped sustainability innovations. Some projects may get funded through the university Sustainability Fund.
Inside Higher Ed 'Get Ready for More Protests'
About nine percent of freshmen indicated in a recent annual survey that they have a very good chance of participating in student protests while in college, an increase of 2.9 percentage points from last year's survey, reported Inside Higher Ed. Conducted by the American Freshman Survey, the survey collected responses from more than 141,000 first-year students during their first few weeks of college.
Georgia State U Launches Green Office Certification Program
This new program offers university departments and offices the opportunity to gain recognition for sustainable practices already in place and learn additional sustainable practices. The program is entirely voluntary and requires buy in from the majority staff and faculty in each unit applying. Scoring is tiered and based on level of difficulty to achieve certain tasks in categories including energy conservation, waste reduction, recycling, communications, and occupant health and comfort.
Georgia Southern U Opens Campus Community Garden
Opened in summer 2015, the organic garden has six beds for student teams to grow edible plants and vegetables. One member of each team is required to attend a bi-weekly workshop to learn various gardening techniques and skills. The garden was funded by the student sustainability fee.
Emory U Students Launch Interactive Sustainability Map
After three semesters researching and mapping the university’s sustainability network of over 700 staff, faculty and undergraduate and graduate students, the university's Graduate Sustainability Group has launched an interactive Emory Sustainability Ecosystem map. The map affords current and future community members interested in sustainability an avenue to identify a range of existing initiatives to plug into their work. The map is freely available on the Graduate Sustainability Group website through a project that was funded by the Emory Sustainability Incentives Fund.
SUNY Student Assembly Passes Resolution to Adopt STARS Across 64 Campuses
The Sustainability Committee of the State University of New York (SUNY) Student Assembly recently passed the resolution calling for all campuses to "gauge, monitor, and enhance the overall sustainability of its campuses and entities" by using AASHE STARS as the standard. The resolution calls for campuses to maximize each category with the intent of obtaining a Gold rating and potentially allowing campuses to be awarded grant money through Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), a New York State clean energy initiative that aims to spur clean energy innovation.
Michigan State U Releases Video on 2015 Sustainability Highights
The newly released video mentions the university's commitment to discontinue the use of coal on campus as a fuel source, the acquisition of $170,000 in sustainability research funding, and the on-campus green office certification program had 193 spaces reduce their environmental footprint.
Michigan State U Awards Cash for Student Energy Innovations
The university recently announced the winners of its inaugural Energy Innovation Award and Student Solar Design Competition that dispensed $11,000 in total prize money. The competition tasked interdisciplinary student teams with designing cost-effective, energy-efficient and design-centric solar installations for a campus landscape. Each project was evaluated for creativity, design, application and entrepreneurship with the intent of challenging participants to push the boundaries of clean energy innovation.
U British Columbia Students Compete on Sustainability Solutions
Launched in October 2015, as part of the university’s centennial celebrations, the Sustainability Challenge has fifteen interdisciplinary teams actively developing solutions across four priority areas for campus sustainability: sustainable food, climate action planning, waste management, and well-being and physical activity. Student teams will present their solutions to a panel of judges who will evaluate the projects and award cash prizes to the top three teams.
Montclair State U Earthship Initiative Receives USGBC Recognition
The university's Environmental Club received honorable mention in the innovative sustainability initiative category from the New Jersey chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council for its Earthship project proposal, an off-the-grid structure built from recycled tires that are pounded full of dirt. If completed, the Earthship would be the only one on a university campus.
Harvard U Students Attend Sustainability Leadership Symposium
On November 8, a group of four Harvard Resource Efficiency Program members joined 141 other college students at Connecticut College to learn, discuss and explore best practices. Commons themes that arose throughout the day included diversity and personal definitions of sustainability.
AASHE 10-Year Anniversary Celebrates Campus Sustainability
In this celebratory 10-year anniversary video of the campus sustainability movement, Meghan Fay Zahniser, AASHE's executive director along with Judy Walton, AASHE's founding executive director, Leith Sharp of Harvard University, Debra Rowe of U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainability Development and Fahmida Ahmed at Stanford University share thoughts about their vision for the future.
Michigan State U Launches Green Event Certification Program
In an effort to reduce waste from on-campus events, the university's sustainability office initiated the new Spartan Green Event Certification that uses an online form to evaluate several areas. Events that adequately meet the criteria receive a certificate and a seal for marketing purposes.
U California Santa Cruz Students Receive Global Food Initiative Fellowships
Four university students that recently received a $4,000 UC Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellowships for the 2015–2016 academic year will be involved in one of the ongoing university GFI projects, which include efforts to address food equity and improve food security for students on UC campuses, and to increase opportunities for experiential learning at the campus’s farm and gardens.
Michigan State U Student Group Increases Campus Sustainability Awareness
The student group Sustainable Spartans actively engage in spreading achievements in campus sustainability and, by way of research, develop practical solutions that can be implemented across campus. Recent projects include a solar-powered picnic table and a festival celebrating the campus' organic farm. Future projects include rain barrels and improving local food options.
Stanford U Forms New Student Working Group
Beginning in fall 2015, the university created the new Student Sustainability Working Group to support the culture of student innovation and collaboration, and ensure a cohesive approach to university sustainability. Each month the group brings students and staff together to share updates, solicit project feedback and brainstorm partnership opportunities.
U Illinois Chicago Internship Raises Monarch Butterflies on Campus
Student interns at the university's UIC Heritage Garden, funded via the university's sustainability fee, recently released the last of the monarch butterflies they raised this summer and fall. The UIC Heritage Garden an ecology and sustainability-focused internship program that creates and maintains gardens on campus. Photo credit: UICheritagegarden.org