U.S. Dept of Ed Pledges Commitment to a Sustainable Green Economy

The U.S. Department of Education promised to be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society during its Sustainability Education Summit on September 21, themed "Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy." Until now, said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the summit, "we've been mostly absent from the movement to educate our children to be stewards of our environment and prepare them to participate in a sustainable economy." He pledged that the summit represents "the first time that the Department is taking a taking a leadership role in the work of educating the next generation of green citizens and preparing them to contribute to the workforce through green jobs." Efforts include a Department Green Team that will create policies in support of state efforts to prepare students for jobs in the green economy and a proposal that environmental education be part of the Blueprint for Reform's commitment to a well-rounded education.

Duke U Offers Winter Mobile Market

Duke University (NC) has announced a new fall/winter mobile market. University employees can choose from fruit, vegetables, locally-raised meat, local seafood or gluten-free prepared foods. Faculty and staff will pre-pay for the produce in September and pick up weekly shares of the harvest from October through March.

U Florida Participates in Community Agriculture Program

The University of Florida's Office of Sustainability will provide campus locations this fall for local farms to offer a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to the community. The pilot year of the program will begin in mid-October with four farms delivering member shares to campus. Through the program, local consumers become farm members by paying a set price at the beginning of the season. In return, farmers provide fresh produce and farm products directly to members each week throughout the growing season. In an effort to encourage CSA participation among its staff, faculty and students, the university is providing coordination and communication help, as well as a physical location for the CSA pickup.

U Memphis Exhibits New Water Turbine

The University of Memphis (TN) has announced a new water turbine exhibit. The Greene Turbine features a sealed middle structure and concrete blade that harnesses ocean or deep river currents to turn it. The rush of water continuously spins the turbine inside, generating power that is transferred to a generator. The turbine is name after its creator, Geoff Greene, who was assisted by a university mechanical engineering professor. The exhibit, “Green Power: A New Twist on a Turbine,” runs through Sept. 24, 2010.

Penn State York Offers Green Advantage Training, Certification

Pennsylvania State University, York will offer Green Advantage training and certification in October. Green Advantage is a commercial construction program designed for builders, developers, contractors and suppliers. The training is open to the public and will cover the construction principles behind sustainable building and the LEED rating system. Participants will learn how to lighten the impact on the environment, save energy and improve the health conditions of construction workers and building occupants.

Appalachian State U Provides Energy Tours to School Groups

Appalachian State University (NC) has begun offering tours of its various energy projects to local school groups. Conducted by the university’s Wind Applications Center, tour stops include the university’s wind turbine, biodiesel processing facility, energy-efficient dwelling and photovoltaic solar array. Interactive features of the tour include the chance for students to make their own electricity to light a light bulb by pedaling a bike that is connected to a generator. Students also learn how alternative and renewable energy is good for the environment and its increasing role in consumer energy use.

Central Michigan U Student Creates Community Garden, Ed Program

A Central Michigan University senior has created the Campus Grow project, which focuses on an organic community garden and composting. The project offers the community sustainable alternatives to the industrial food system through access to healthy local food and educational gardening opportunities. The Campus Grow team focuses on growing and harvesting food in two organic gardens on campus. Food scraps are collected from residential restaurants to create compost for the gardens. The gardens are used to grow a variety of vegetables and plots are rented out by students, faculty and community members.

Philander Smith College Receives Grant for Social Justice Center

Philander Smith College (AR) has received a $1.2 million grant from the Kresge Foundation to help establish the Center for Social Justice. The grant will help fund the staff needed to oversee the college’s social justice initiative. An executive director and program staff will train faculty to infuse social justice into their curricula.

U Toronto Scarborough Promotes Healthy Eating to Local Community

The University of Toronto Scarborough is promoting the benefits of buying local and eating healthy through its weekly farmers market this summer and fall. The university's goal is to create an opportunity for local farmers, producers and artisans to connect with the community, providing access to locally-grown, sustainable produce. The university will continue support of the market through educational programs with the help of guest chefs, nutritionists and local producers. The farmers market initiative will link campus research, programs and services that investigate the benefits of sustainable farming.

Butte College, Chico State U Students to Help Retrofit Households

Butte College (CA) and California State University, Chico have received a grant of almost $400,000 from Pacific Gas and Electric's Innovators Pilot Program to retrofit at least 100 Chico, Calif. households with energy-saving measures. The funding will be used to employ students to conduct energy audits and assist with the installation of energy conservation measures like caulking and sealing cracks, doors and windows, and placing real-time energy monitors on homeowner meters to track energy consumption.

Johns Hopkins University Students Help to Green Local Nonprofits

Students at Johns Hopkins University (MA) have recently completed sustainability assessments at 20 Baltimore nonprofits as part of the university's Climate Showcase Project. Through the project, students learn ways to reduce the organizations' energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. The inaugural co-hort of six students looked at details like weatherproofing, lighting fixtures, toilet and sink water flow, recycling efforts and in-house dining options. The students made recommendations including the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, insulation, low-flow toilets, recycling programs and biking to work.

Washington and Lee U Program Provides Local Food to Summer Camps

Washington and Lee University's (VA) Campus Kitchen has partnered with local camps to provide food education and fresh, local food to the kids. Campus Kitchen serves snacks produced from the campus garden five days a week and plans to host local YMCA summer camps, inviting the kids into the garden to learn firsthand where food comes from.

Macalester College Invests in Bank for Under-Resourced Citizens

Macalester College (MN) has made a financial investment in University Bank, which supports economically distressed communities in St. Paul, Minn. Through the partnership, students research micro-lending, green banking methods and culturally-appropriate banking through classes and internship opportunities. The campus community can also contribute to the Socially Responsible Deposit Fund with an investment option that helps improve local urban neighborhoods.

Sacred Heart U Plants Community Garden

Sacred Heart University (CT) has debuted its St. Martha Community Garden. The garden has four raised beds, each containing rows of red and black bush beans. All of the produce from the community garden will be donated to the Connecticut Food Bank through Catholic Charities Harvest Now. Students in the fall will have the opportunity to harvest the beans and decide on an expansion of the garden based on the needs of the community.

Colorado State U Initiates Green Walking Tour

Colorado State University has created the self-guided Green University Walking Tour. The tour of its Fort Collins campus takes students, staff and visitors to more than a dozen locations that have been essential in the school’s sustainability efforts including the LEED Silver-certified Guggenheim classroom building and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

Curtin U Technology Installs Solar Panels in Rural Community

Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia's Project Care recently completed the installation of solar panels in the cultural center of Malaysian rural community Long Makabar. Project Care, a university community outreach program, spent the last two years raising funds for the project. The village has no permanent electricity supply and is looking at solar energy as a sustainable and affordable energy source.

U Washington Students Urge to End Nike Licensing Contract

Students at the University of Washington are urging the school’s president to end its apparel agreement with Nike. The university would join the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell University (NY), both of which ended licensing agreements with the Ore.-based apparel company as a result of its failure to adequately address the problems caused by the closing of two Honduran factories. At issue is the non-payment of severance to workers at two apparel factories, both of which were under contract with Nike to produce collegiately licensed apparel. The University of Washington’s Student Action Labor Project argues that Nike breached the University’s Code of Conduct that safeguards workers’ rights who produce logo apparel for the university.

California State U Northridge Creates Community Garden

California State University, Northridge has constructed three raised-bed vegetable boxes for a community garden. The garden, which will eventually feature five raised beds, a spiral herb garden and a raised potato bin, is a working demonstration of sustainable practices with an educational focus on healthy eating. The harvest will be used for cooking classes and donations to local food banks.

Portland State U Featured in NY Times as Planned EcoDistrict

The Portland State University (OR) campus will be the site of a pilot EcoDistrict, according to a recent article in The New York Times. To steer away from the reliance on large, centralized systems to generate electricity, dispose of waste, transport people and process stormwater, Portland residents will experiment with the management of such systems on a smaller, distributed scale in five pilot neighborhoods. The Oregon Sustainability Center, slated for construction at the edge of the university’s campus, will generate all of its electricity, consume only the rainfall that falls upon it, and process all of its wastewater.

Syracuse U Connects Neighborhood Food Desert with Local Farmers

Syracuse University's (NY) Environmental Finance Center has partnered with Central New York (CNY) Bounty to provide fresh, local and organic foods to neighborhoods in need of alternative food options. In these areas, known as "food deserts," residents must travel long distances to supermarkets that don't provide fresh or local food options. Through the CNY Bounty online farmers' market, residents can order food for pick-up at the university's South Side Innovation Center. The collaboration will also support the local economy by connecting Syracuse residents with small-scale local farmers and producers.

U Ottawa Unveils Community Garden

The University of Ottawa (ON) has started a 32-square-foot community garden project. A student volunteer organization will look after and manage the garden, which has 42 plots open to the community. Four communal plots are also on hand for campus projects. Students and faculty can apply for the reserved plots for research purposes.

U Houston Partners with Urban Harvest for Community Garden

The University of Houston (TX) has partnered with nonprofit urban food educator Urban Harvest to intensify its sustainability initiatives with a new community garden and campus gardening classes that are open to the public. The garden is slated for a fall 2010 debut.

New York U Releases Sustainable Communities Report

New York University's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy has released a report with the Urban Institute titled "Building Environmentally Sustainable Communities: A Framework for Inclusivity." The study examines the relationship between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's dual goals of encouraging sustainable communities and enhancing access to opportunity for lower income people and people of color.

British Columbia Inst of Technology Prepares Vancouver for EVs

The British Columbia Institute of Technology has partnered with the city of Vancouver and the Rocky Mountain Institute to launch Project Get Ready Vancouver. The program will help the City of Vancouver prepare for the use of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by providing a long-term sustainable plan for electrical grid infrastructure development and the adoption of electric vehicles in Vancouver.

U Tennessee to Host Farmers' Market

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has announced plans to host a farmers' market once a week. Proceeds from the market will be use to fund the University’s Organic and Sustainable Crop Production Program, a multi-disciplinary internship program for students to foster interest in farming and farmland preservation.

U Rochester Develops New Environmental Curriculum

University of Rochester (NY) has developed a new curriculum in environmental sustainability. The program will help two independent schools in the U.S. and Africa educate and lead communities toward a more sustainable energy future by teaching about the science, maintenance, and use of energy technologies. Research on curriculum, learning, and assessment, conducted by faculty and students from the University of Rochester, will help middle school students at both schools gain a better understanding of renewable energy and how to operate the systems installed at their schools.

Florida Universities Assist Gov't Agencies in BP Oil Spill

Florida State University, University of Florida, University of South Florida, University of Miami, Florida A&M University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, University of Central Florida, University of North Florida, and University of West Florida have joined the Oil Spill Academic Task Force created by FSU Chancellor Frank Brogan to assist local, state, and federal agencies in dealing with the oil spill that took place in the Gulf of Mexico. The Task Force will coordinate academic resources of all Florida universities to measure and model the magnitude and trajectory of the spill, provide information on potential and actual ecological impacts of the oil, plan logistics, and evaluate risks and assist in citizen-response efforts.

Temple U Ambler Partners to Plant Trees at Local Park

The Temple University, Ambler (PA) Arboretum and the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture has partnered with the Philadelphia Zoo, among other institutions, to plant thousands of trees and native plants in Fairmount Park as part of the Zoo's Footprints conservation program. The project, which over the course of the next few years will involve 40 - 50 students, aims to reduce global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide through reforestation, restore native wildlife and habitat and improve forest connectivity in Fairmount Park, and increase local appreciation of wildlife and understanding of climate change effects.

Furman U Students Weatherize Area Homes

Furman University (SC) has begun the Community Conservation Corps, a new initiative to weatherize older, energy-inefficient homes in the surrounding area. Projects could include weather stripping doors and windows, adding insulation, installing vapor barriers in crawl spaces, and placing foam pads behind wall plates. The Community Conservation Corps is under the direction of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability.

State U New York Fredonia Donates 3,500 CFLs to Local Community

State University of New York at Fredonia students and members of EarthWorks, an environmental action group of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northern Chautauqua, passed out 3,500 free compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Expo attendees could learn energy saving tips and receive two free CFL bulbs per person—one 13-watt and one 23-watt bulb. The CFL Giveaway was a part of the Green Home Expo, a community event hosted at the local fairgrounds.

U Wisconsin Madison to End Nike Licensing Contract

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has announced plans to end its licensing agreement with Nike as a result of the company's failure to adequately address the problems caused by the closing of two Honduran factories. At issue is the non-payment of severance to workers at two apparel factories, both of which were under contract with Nike to produce collegiately licensed apparel. Since the factories were closed without notice in January 2009, their owners have allegedly failed to pay workers a combined total of more than $2 million in legally mandated severance. While Nike did not own the factories in question, the company is obligated under the University's Code of Conduct for the actions of its subcontractors. The code addresses workers' wages, working hours, overtime compensation, child labor, forced labor, health and safety, nondiscrimination, harassment or abuse, women's rights, freedom of association, and full public disclosure of factory locations.

Drew U Completes First Civic Scholars Prgm, Promotes Bike Safety

Drew University (NJ) has partnered with TransOptions, a local nonprofit transportation management association, to complete its first round of the Civic Scholars Program, an initiative the institution created in the fall of 2009 to infuse civic engagement as a value and practice throughout the University. A group of three students in the Program researched and analyzed safety projects that aligned with TransOptions’ mission to improve mobility, the environment, and quality of life. More than 450 freshman applicants applied to become Civic Scholars, which requires a commitment to community service and demonstrated leadership in organizing and implementing community projects.

Humboldt State U Awarded Energy Independence Grant

A Humboldt State University graduate student and three HSU alumni are part of a grant team that has won $4.4 million in federal stimulus funding to support the development of the North Coast Energy Independence Program. The seven-county municipal financing initiative is aimed at fostering green economic development through government loans for energy efficiency projects, like solar panels, repaid through property tax.

6 Campuses Receive Presidential Recognition for Community Service

Six colleges and universities have been named as Presidential Awardees in the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. In 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service. The awardees include: Lee University (TN); Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Emory & Henry College (VA); Raritan Valley Community College (NJ); and Willamette University (OR).

Hamilton College Students Help Build Green Homes

Hamilton College's (NY) Habitat for Humanity Chapter has announced plans to build more energy efficient homes and to reduce waste during construction. Plans include increasing the insulation of windows and doors, using recycled building materials whenever possible, installing Energy Star appliances, and making an effort to recycle as much construction waste as possible. The Chapter also plans to seek LEED certification whenever possible.

Washburn U Students Create Community Bike Center

Washburn University (KS) graduate and undergraduate students have opened a new community bike center. The Topeka Community Cycle Project (TCCP) advocates for bicycling in the city and provides education on how to maintain a safe and working bicycle. TCCP hopes to promote a safe community for bikers.

Acadia U Awarded $120K for Community Climate Change Program

The Arthur Irving Academy for the Environment at Acadia University (NS) has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment, EcoNova Scotia Fund for Clean Air and Climate Change. The funding is to support the development of a two-year Community Emissions Challenge program, which is intended to help individuals and communities across Nova Scotia reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The program features an online personal emissions calculator, website, and community awareness program involving local education and engagement activities. Program development is already underway and the calculator, website, and community awareness campaign launch is planned for September 2010.

North Carolina State U Opens Expanded Farmers Market

North Carolina State University's new expanded farmer's market has opened for the season with five new vendors. The market, which includes vendors that utilize sustainable farming practices, is different than other local markets in that its goal is education. A student booth at the market promotes the importance of buying local.

Rochester Inst of Tech Builds Green Habitat for Humanity House

Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) has completed its first green Habitat for Humanity house. RIT’s Engineers for a Sustainable World worked with the city and RIT Habitat organizations and a local architect to make the home more energy efficient. Green elements of the home include an efficient ventilation delivery system to prevent heat loss; an air-lock entry redesign system; tankless hot water heater; 95 percent energy-efficient furnace; soy-based foam insulation; new pipe insulation; use of natural lighting and a roof designed to provide adequate summer shade; and solar panels. The house is located in the southwest part of Rochester. In the surrounding neighborhood, 99 percent of properties were built before 1950 and 20 percent of children under 6 tested at or above the highest levels of lead-paint poisoning.

Wesleyan U Brings Farmers Market to Campus

Wesleyan University (CT) students now have the option of purchasing products from local vendors every other Wednesday. The new farmer's market will offer items such as goat cheese, yarns, and pesto. Organizers of the market hope that it will educate students on the importance of buying local.

College of Marin Receives Award for Organic Farm

The College of Marin (CA) Organic Farm and Garden has been named Project of the Year in the category of "Pathways to Achievement – Post- Secondary, Training, and Credentialing Partnerships" by the Corps Network, a Washington D.C. based group. The farm is recognized as a place where at risk youth have been able to come and develop new skills and knowledge in organic and sustainable agriculture that puts them on a career path.

Northern Arizona U to Host Wind Power Education Program

Northern Arizona University has been selected to host a new program that will develop educational programs to improve the understanding of wind technology through the installation of small wind turbines at K-12 schools in rural areas across the state. NAU will receive about $60,000 a year for three years from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program. Through this project, NAU will administer a Sustainable Energy Technology Center housed at NAU. In addition to installing wind turbines, the program will implement wind-related curricula and educational programs, both at K-12 schools and at the community college and university level. The Center will also support small wind and anemometer installations at schools and other facilities throughout the state and will serve as a repository for wind data, curriculum materials, and other information.

New York U Specifies Worker Rights in Middle East Campus Contract

The Washington Post has published an article on New York University's recent mandate that all workers involved in its Middle East campus in Abu Dhabi have labor rights. The provisions specify how often workers are paid, how many hours they can work in a week, that overtime is voluntary and must be paid, and that workers are entitled to vacation and paid holidays.

Santa Monica College Produces Water Conservation PSA

A group of Santa Monica College (CA) students, alum, and faculty have unveiled the "SMC Global Citizens for Water Conservation," a one-minute public service announcement that communicates the message that water conservation is important locally and globally. This production was made possible by a $10,000 water conservation grant SMC won in 2008, to be used for student-created video public service announcements on water conservation around the world.

U New Hampshire, State Partner to Create Green Jobs

The University of New Hampshire and the State of New Hampshire have partnered to create the Green Launching Pad, an initiative that will bring new green technologies to the marketplace, help innovative clean technology companies succeed, and support the creation of green economy jobs in New Hampshire. Through the Green Launching Pad, companies, both established and start-ups, will receive extensive financial, operational, technical, and managerial support to launch and commercialize green energy products and services. By accelerating these products and services to market, the program aims to help reduce energy use and carbon emissions while creating new jobs and economic opportunities in New Hampshire. The program, which starts immediately, will draw on the engineering, energy, environmental, and business research at UNH.

Portland State U Launches Social Innovation Incubator

Portland State University’s (OR) School of Business Administration has launched the Social Innovation Incubator (SII), a new program fostering entrepreneurial solutions to today’s environmental, social, and economic challenges. The Social Innovation Incubator assists individuals that are working to launch new initiatives within established organizations. Chosen through a selective application process, SII members receive strategic support for business planning, marketing, and fundraising. Services include one-on-one consulting, mentors and coaches, pro bono legal education, and networking.

Karnataka State Women’s U Grows Biofuel

Karnataka State Women’s University (India) has begun sharing some of its unused land with local farmers to create a bio-diesel park. The land will be used to grow trees specifically for creating biofuel. The project will create both biofuel and jobs for the local communities.

U Idaho Partners to Teach Local Students About Climate Change

The University of Idaho has announced a new program that aims to educate Idaho seventh through twelfth graders about the impacts of climate change and how it affects their everyday lives. McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) programs consist of five- to 10-day expeditionary science learning experiences that will occur in students' classrooms, in natural areas in close vicinity to their schools, and in the mountains and forests of central Idaho near the MOSS campus. Each outreach program module is divided into four sessions. Topics include watersheds, exploring local rivers, mapping and GIS, invasive species, fire ecology, and landforms. The program received a seed grant from the University of Idaho's National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Warren Wilson College Trains City Employees in Energy Efficiency

Warren Wilson College (NC) has partnered with the City of Ashville to help train its employees to evaluate and improve building energy efficiency. WWC held a week-long Home Energy Rating Systems training program, during which 20 employees learned how to utilize diagnostic equipment and software to conduct energy analyses. Participants also learned practices for increasing energy efficiency. The 16 building inspectors who participated in the training can now serve as energy efficiency ambassadors and the four building maintenance employees who participated will be able to help reduce municipal energy expenditures.

U Idaho Partners to Teach Local Students About Climate Change

The University of Idaho has announced a new program that aims to educate Idaho seventh through twelfth graders about the impacts of climate change and how it affects their everyday lives. McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) programs consist of five- to 10-day expeditionary science learning experiences that will occur in students' classrooms, in natural areas in close vicinity to their schools, and in the mountains and forests of central Idaho near the MOSS campus. Each outreach program module is divided into four sessions. Topics include watersheds, exploring local rivers, mapping and GIS, invasive species, fire ecology, and landforms. The program received a seed grant from the University of Idaho's National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.