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
U British Columbia Volunteers Promote Zero Waste Goals
Supporting the university's zero waste action plan, volunteers and Sustainability Coordinator Program staff work with Ceremonies and Events to educate attendees about sorting their disposables. At a recent event with 4,000 participants, a desk bin-sized trash bag was remaining after composting and recycling everything else.
rootAbility Earns International Accolades for University Green Office Program
The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-Japan (UNESCO-Japan) prize for outstanding projects related to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was recently awarded to rootAbility for its Green Office Model, which began at Maastricht University in 2010 and now has 14 green offices at 14 universities in six countries. rootAbility was awarded $50,000 for the honor.
U Colorado Boulder Athletics Expands Sports Sustainability Programs
Kicking off the 2015 home football season, CU Athletics introduced new programs that encourage recycling, using alternative transportation and reducing water consumption. Bring Your Bottle Back to Life, a partnership with PepsiCo, gives away T-shirts made with 50 percent recycled plastic fibers each time the Colorado Buffaloes score a touchdown.
Michigan State U Announces Student Solar Design Competition
In an effort to address some of the most urgent environmental issues facing our world today, the university is inviting students across the state to design a dynamic solar installation that values both aesthetic appeal and energy efficiency. With $10,000 in total prizes, the competition recognizes students who are advancing sustainability through their commitment to clean energy innovation.
U California Merced Student Proposal Amplifies Student Engagement
Winning the first-ever Chancellor's Advisory Committee's Sustainability Proposal Writing Contest, undergraduate student Andrew John De Los Santos' proposal includes providing information to residence halls during move-in and providing "triple zero" workshops. Triple Zero is the university's pledge to consume zero net energy, produce zero waste and zero net greenhouse gas emissions, all by 2020.
Michigan State U Students Establish Beehive in Campus Neighborhood
The university's Bee Club is combining pollinator research and student learning by engaging Bailey Hall residents with a honeybee hive atop their green roof. The honeybee hive is providing students with a unique opportunity to manage a fully-functional colony and helping to diminish the fear associated with these critical pollinators.
Elmhurst College Expands Campus Garden
Tended by students, faculty, staff and volunteers, the college's Heritage Garden quadrupled in size this year and produces organic food for campus and local food banks. The garden has also become a research laboratory and service learning experience for local community members from a boys and girls home.
U Albany to Host Sustainability Leadership Summit
During the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students Leadership Summit in early August, graduate student leaders from across the nation will convene to discuss the principles of leadership used to advance university sustainability capacity and how the principles can be applied to student governance.
Maharishi U Management Holds Inaugural Deep Sustainability Discussion
Hosted in June 2015, the Colloquy on Deep Sustainability was a closed discussion in order to distill the meaning of the term deep sustainability, how it differs from similar concepts and systems, and what a future with deep sustainability at its core should look like. Topics included philosophy, spirituality, mathematics, ecology, economics, governments and societies.
Maharishi U Management Holds Green Business Symposium
At its third annual Deep Green Business Symposium, the university focused on Global Green Opportunities and Technologies with 16 speakers discussing subjects including community development, optimization of a product’s life cycle, and philosophies of sustainability.
U Southern California Introduces Green Teams
Promoting environmental sustainability within athletics, the Green Teams Program, part of the Office of Sustainability, recently honored three teams, women's sand volleyball, women's rowing and men's club lacrosse, for their consideration of transportation, waste, energy and water impact, and food consumption. The program has four tiers of certification and seeks to highlight best practices.
Boston U Publishes 2014 Sustainability Report
The recently published report indicates the university has reached it's greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals six years early, along with a 13 percent reduction in waste from 2006 to 2014. The report also discusses achievements and future work in the areas of curriculum, buildings, climate, dining services, grounds and purchasing.
U Florida Tackles Student Hunger With Food Pantry
The university will soon open its first food pantry in summer 2015 to provide food-insecure campus members with nonperishable and fresh goods from the on-campus farm. The pantry will also provide the campus community with education tools to improve their lifestyle, including cooking and nutrition classes for people who want to establish healthier eating habits.
Net Impact's Small Steps, Big Wins Announces Winners
For the third year, students around the world proved that a big difference can start with a small step. Over the course of the 2014-15 academic year, almost 5,000 students across 71 campuses completed 113,000 small actions, ranging from recycling and taking public transit to volunteering in their communities.
U Washington Awards Environmental Grants to Students
The university's Campus Sustainability Fund awarded 13 projects a total of more than $270,000 recently. The project included outreach on the harmful effects of single-use water bottles, an expansion of a native plant nursery, a wood salvage program on campus, and starting work toward creating a sustainable shellfish aquaculture farm.
Northwestern U Awards Second Largest Office Green Certification
The university's Green Office Certification program brought together the Alumni Relations and Development department, employing 252 people, to increase awareness and participation in sustainable behavior. The department is in the process of creating a bike-share program and expanding the availability of reusable silverware and flatware for the office.
The Atlantic Frames Student Activism Renaissance
After citing many occurrences of student unrest at universities and colleges across the country and world, the recent article in The Atlantic highlights the social activism in topics ranging from sex and racism to university governance and student rights.
U Maryland Small Footprint Pledge Tallies Over 3,500 Pledges in First Year
In less than a year, the cumulative impact of the pledge, which asks university students, faculty, staff and visitors to change one aspect of their daily routine to lessen their environmental footprint, includes 23,367 pounds of diverted waste, over 5 million gallons of water saved, and 274,136 pounds of carbon dioxide saved.
Michigan State U Celebrates Campus Sustainability
On April 22, university members celebrated the 45th anniversary of Earth Day at its 2015 Be Spartan Green Gala by dispensing Be Spartan Green Outstanding Awards to staff, students, faculty and campus partners who have demonstrated their support of sustainability on campus.
U South Carolina Integrates Hydroponics Into Community Farm
Completely assembled and operated by students, the soil-less growing system for their community farm and garden, based on permaculture practices, is expected to produce nearly $20,000 in annual revenue within 12 months. The farm produces sorghum, milkweed, mushrooms, heirloom seeds, and over 72 heads of lettuce per week.
Schools Save $290,000 in Campus Conservation Nationals
345,000 students and staff at 125 schools competed in the fifth year of Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) to reduce energy and water use. Schools reduced by a total of 1.9 million-kilowatt hours and 394,000 gallons of water.
Indiana U Bloomington Focuses on Reducing Paper Use
After quantifying the resource input for the university's paper consumption on campus, the university will be hosting a paperless challenge in the fall that awards points to departments, groups and buildings for specific actions and implementation of innovative ideas to reduce paper use.
MIT Announces Earth Day 2015 Grant Recipients
Eleven projects and events were chosen to receive Earth Day 2015 grants for promoting campus sustainability and they include furniture rehabilitation, water learning laboratory, waste initiatives, and an environmental film festival.
U California Santa Cruz Hosts 14th Annual Earth Summit
The first woman of color to hold the Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for the Student Environmental Movement prompted the annual summit to bring more focus on environmental justice by bringing awareness to the connection between climate change, exploitation, racism and anti-immigration.
U Illinois Chicago Team Wins EPA Environmental Challenge
In the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Rainworks Challenge, a team of urban planning, civil engineering and environmental sciences students submitted a planning process that demonstrates an incremental, scalable and adaptive approach to implementing green infrastructure in a highly urbanized context, using the east side of the campus as a model.