Portland State U Defends Nature to Washington D.C.

A coalition of partners led by the university conducted briefings about a new set of principles designed to guide more comprehensive assessments of ecosystem services, such as natural watershed management and the multiple benefits of healthy forests and wildlife habitats.

Portland State U Launches Certificate in Social Innovation

(U.S.): The university's Impact Entrepreneurs program announced the new Business of Social Innovation professional certificate for designing and launching social change organizations.

Skidmore College to Begin New Clean Tech Program

(U.S.): In a recent release, the university will soon offer the New York Executive Clean Energy Leadership Institute, which intends to teach business professionals about renewable energy and opportunities for new ventures.

Denison U Addresses Modern-Day Slavery

The goal of the initial Fair Food Festival was to increase awareness about modern day slavery as well as the role of corporate sustainability in creating better working conditions for farmworkers.

Clarkson U Hosts Community Farmers' Market

The university's recent decision to host the winter market allows campus and community members to procure locally grown and processed goods. The markets' new location is near the all-local dining concept, which will allow dining services to source food directly from the market.

UC Berkeley Public Service Day Students Work at 50 Sites

Over 1,600 students recently volunteered in the surrounding community on service projects including grounds beautification to wielding to window-washing to working with special needs children.

Furman U Partners for Community Weatherization Program

(U.S.): The university's Community Conservation Corps program recently partnered with Habitat for Humanity to continue its efforts to reduce energy consumption and promote financial stability of homeowners through weatherization, energy conservation and education in the community.

Monash U Collaborates on Water Resources with Vietnam

(Australia): The university's Sustainability Institute is working with Vietnamese natural resource research and management agencies to examine a shared approach to river basin management given climate change.

U California Santa Barbara Opens First Farmers' Market

(U.S.): In an effort to promote eating local and providing a place for community to exist and grow, the Gaucho Certified Farmers' Market will allow any farmers within the three- county area to sell fresh produce to students and the community.

Loyola U Chicago Partners to Increase Compost Stream

Through a $90,000 grant, the university has launched the Compost Collection Network, a program that assists local businesses and institutions in setting up food scrap collection processes.

College of the Canyons Holds Inaugural Sustainability Event

(U.S.): Dedicated to promoting sustainability awareness and practices within the student body and community, the event, in concert with the Santa Clarita Environmental Consortium, will focus on environmental issues and is open to the public.

Indiana State U Builds Greenhouses

(U.S.): Drawing on its agricultural history, the university’s greenhouse project includes seven passive solar greenhouses which will aid in student and community learning. Made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, food grown in the structures will be sold at the farmers’ market and donated to local food banks and charities. Other schools involved include Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Ivy Tech Community College and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

U Melbourne Students Plant Community Garden

(Australia): Motivated by a healthy environment and body, a honors botany student designed and planted the organic garden of vegetables on the Parkville campus.

U Idaho Professor Recognized by National Conservation Award

Professor Dennis Scarnecchia will be awarded the Fisheries Management Sections Award of Excellence from the American Fisheries Societies this month for his research and commitment to the sustainable management of fish resources. Professor Scarnecchia has worked for the conservation of some of the world’s oldest fish for over 20 years and includes study of the Missouri, Yellowstone and Columbia river systems. Most recently, Scarnecchia has served on the Independent Scientific Advisory Board, an independent scientific panel recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, which provides input to fish conservation, management and research in the Pacific Northwest.

Virginia Tech Offers Global Resilience Assistance

Birthed from the university’s most recent strategic plan calling for the expansion of interdisciplinary research and dissemination, the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience will provide information to organizations around the globe looking at disaster response and recovery, critical infrastructure and urbanization.

Harvard Allston Farmers Market Hosts Composting Program

(U.S.): The first of its kind for the City of Boston, the university’s market will pilot a compostable food scraps drop-off location for city residents. Food scraps collected during the pilot program will be hauled off-site for composting.

Lehigh U Embarks on Community Native Planting Project

The latest project to come from the South Side Initiative, a group of university and surrounding community members that aims to foster democracy and improve quality of life, includes the transformation of a former railroad bed into a scenic meadow of native vegetation.

Wilfrid Laurier U Celebrates Aboriginal Day with Teaching Garden

The Mino-kummik Aboriginal Community Garden, named after the Ojibwa word for "good, bountiful earth," features a vegetable and fruit garden, aboriginal medicinal garden, ceremony space and rain-harvesting cistern for irrigation. A local nonprofit will hold workshops with local residents to illustrate sustainable practices of saving rainwater for later use.

Exeter U Students Propose Local Renewable Energy Solutions

(U.K.): After working on cost-effective renewable energy systems for the coastal Sidmouth area in Devon for the past year, four students recently presented their ideas to the Sid Valley Energy Action Group. Ideas included an anaerobic digestion feasibility study using geographic information systems.

UC Berkeley to Oversee Public Utility Green Job Training

(U.S.): Under a $500,000 contract that runs through spring 2014, the university's Donald Vial Center for Employment in the Green Economy will coordinate green training for future workers at state utilities with a focus on installing energy-efficient materials and technology.

U West Indies Introduces At-risk Youth to Alternative Energy

(Jamaica): A team from the university and Youth Crime Watch Jamaica have partnered to introduce at-risk youth to alternative energy by showing them how to turn waste vegetable oil into biodiesel. Through a $50,000 Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme grant, the project will train 30 youth in the conversion process and introduce ways to transfer the knowledge into entrepreneurial ventures.

UC Berkeley Business Students Developing 'Green Market' in Kenya

Students in the university's Haas School of Business are working to develop a "green market" in Kibera, Nairobi in Kenya that will provide affordable, environmentally-friendly products not available elsewhere for residents.

Community Protests Closure of U Windsor Social Justice Center

A rally was held last week on campus to urge university administrators to reconsider their decision to close the Centre for Studies in Social Justice in July for financial reasons. Created in 2002, the center provides a forum for information and exchange of research on social justice issues including racism, poverty, gender inequality, sexuality, literacy, cultural challenges and the global economy.

U California Santa Barbara Community Goes on 'Justice Fast'

A recent 24-hour fast involving students, faculty and staff sought to highlight campus-based, domestic and international social justice issues including suicide prevention, mental care, health care, immigration, gun violence, university divestment, environmentalism, sweat shop brutality and Black Student Union demands.

Idaho State U Renewable Energy Prgm Educates High School Students

The Idaho State University College of Technology Program is partnering with area high schools to introduce students to eastern Idaho's renewable energy sources including hydroelectric dams and wind turbines.

U Buffalo Hosts Community Environmental Justice Forum

The university recently hosted "An Environmental Justice Forum for Buffalo Homes and Neighborhoods" to bring local activists, academics, community organizers and federal experts together to address aging and deteriorating housing stock, environmentally unhealthy conditions in many neighborhoods, and high poverty and unemployment rates. Students participating in the Law School practicum are providing legal support to the National Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, which has chosen Buffalo as one of 17 pilot cities for its work in promoting safer housing.

Washington U St. Louis Announces Land Lab Winners

The Sustainable Land Lab is a joint program between the city and the university’s Office of Sustainability to turn vacant land into innovate public competition that will give teams the opportunity to demonstrate their ideas through tangible projects at the scale of a single vacant lot. Winners of the inaugural competition include a franchise-model urban farm, a bistro built out of re-used shipping containers, and a sunflower lab piloting efficiency of plant-based soil remediation.

Cuesta College to Open Sustainability Resource Center

The college has announced plans to open a Sustainability Resource Center that will focus on alternative energies in the San Luis Obispo County school systems and the local community. The center will provide resources and training for teachers at all grade levels and delivery of sustainability learning modules to students both at Cuesta College and local schools. MidAmerican Solar, SunPower and NRG Energy provided financing for the project.

U Minnesota Expands Resilient Communities Project

The university’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) has selected North St. Paul as its partner community for the 2013-2014 academic year. Each year, RCP chooses a city partner, helps identify potential projects, and matches the city’s project needs with University of Minnesota courses. The partnership will bring the expertise of hundreds of graduate students and the university to sustainability-related projects identified by North St. Paul.

Portland State U, UC Berkeley Students Spend Spring Break Farming

As part of an alternative spring break program, 24 students from Portland State University and the University of California, Berkeley partnered with Petaluma Bounty, a nonprofit educational farm, to learn about food justice. The students planted vegetables, spread compost and helped with other labor-intensive projects on the farm.

Cuesta College to Establish Sustainability Resource Center

The college has announced plans to open a Sustainability Resource Center this year. The center will provide resources and training for teachers at all grade levels and delivery of sustainability learning modules to students both at the college and local schools. MidAmerican Solar, SunPower power plant solar solutions and NRG Energy financed the project.

U Iowa Expands Initiative for Sustainable Communities

(U.S.): The university has expanded its Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities to become a campus-wide and statewide project. The initiative was created to enhance the capacity of Iowa's communities to address the economic, environmental, and social-cultural issues they face today and build a more sustainable future. With its expansion, more departments across campus will partake in future projects.

Indiana U Purdue U Indianapolis Conducts Sustainability Survey

The university has conducted a survey asking businesses, health care organizations, churches, nonprofits, higher education institutions, and other groups and residents in Indianapolis how they view sustainability. The survey’s purpose is to examine the sustainability practices of those in the Indianapolis community and use the data to determine possible improvements to current and future sustainability practices.

Yale U Hosts Community Food Justice Conference

Yale Divinity School hosted Nourish New Haven, a local food justice and sustainability conference to engage with the community connecting leaders across the university and New Haven. Panel discussions, workshops, films, food, neighbors, and visitors celebrated food justice and food literacy initiatives.

Unity College to Raise Pastured Chickens for Hunger Relief

The college has received a grant from the Food for All program to raise free range chickens as part of an ongoing hunger relief effort. Through the collaborative grant, Unity students and local high school students designed the project, including budgeting, planning, and development of educational opportunities. A local food pantry and soup kitchen will be recipients of the meat and will distribute it to its clients.

Arizona State U to Establish Sustainability Center in Netherlands

(Netherlands): The university’s Global Institute of Sustainability and the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, the Netherlands, have created a partnership to establish an ASU Global Sustainability Solutions Center in Haarlemmermeer. The center will bring together resources of universities, businesses, NGOs, communities and government organizations to tackle sustainability problems and find solution sets. The Haarlemmermeer center is the first of three such Centers in the world. The Centers are part of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, an investment in the Global Institute of Sustainability from the Rob and Melani Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation.

U Dayton Creates Exhibit to Teach Students About Water Resources

Developed by students in the university’s Rivers Institute, the RiverMobile is a traveling exhibit converted from a semi-trailer that highlights the history, benefits and preservation of the Great Miami River watershed. Its threefold mission is to develop pride for the region, provide knowledge about Dayton's river system and water resources, and foster personal responsibility for the protection of local water resources and the environment. The learning studio will travel throughout the region to guide groups of schoolchildren through five learning classrooms.

Oberlin College to Invest Student Fee Surplus in Local Community

The Board of Trustees has approved the College and Community Investment Plan, a resolution to invest a residual portion of the Student Activity Fund in certificates of deposit (CDs) with the Ohio Educational Credit Union (OHECU). Since OHECU is a local credit union, money invested in these CDs will be lent out to local businesses and individuals in the community. The Student Finance Committee and the Responsible Investing Organization, a student group that advocates for the college to bank and invest more responsibly, proposed this resolution.

Johns Hopkins U to Give $10M to Local Neighborhoods

(U.S.): The university has announced plans to give $10 million over the next five years to help communities surrounding its campus. The university also announced plans to hire more city residents and increase supply purchases from local businesses owned by women and minorities.

The New School Solar House Becomes Home to Local Families

A student-assembled solar powered house that won the Solar Decathlon’s affordability contest will become a real home for two families in Washington D.C. Working with project partner Habitat for Humanity, volunteer builders fully realized the housing design by adding a second story and a second unit, making it a two-family home.

U Chicago Staff Help Create Urban Farm

(U.S.): Several members of the Facilities Services’ grounds crew volunteered to turn a vacant city lot into a 1.7-acre farm. The farm will provide produce to restaurants and will feature an on-site farm stand, where community members can purchase cheap local produce year-round. The project is part of City Farm, a citywide farming and composting initiative.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Holds Community Building Contest

(U.S.): The university has awarded nearly $3,000 to four teams as part of its Creating a Stronger Community Contest. In its second year, the contest is designed to generate excitement and action around community-building projects. First place was awarded to Growing Oshkosh, a new organization created by an alumna that aims to raise awareness and educate citizens about the numerous benefits of local food.

U York Participates in Tree Planting Initiative

(U.K.): The university has partnered with Woodland Trust to reforest a local area through two community tree plantings. The project is part of a nation-wide initiative to plant more trees.

Washington U St. Louis Helps to Address Vacant City Properties

(U.S.): A joint program between the city and the university Office of Sustainability is seeking to turn vacant land into an opportunity that inspires innovative thinking. The Sustainable Land Lab is a public competition that will give teams the opportunity to demonstrate their ideas through tangible projects at the scale of a single vacant lot.

UC Berkeley Partners with Community to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals

University researchers have teamed up with a local organization to plant thousands of ferns in an effort to extricate toxic chemicals from city lots. The project, spearheaded by the campus department of environmental science and Berkeley Partners for Parks, will experiment with a specialized fern known to extract arsenic from soil. If successful, the city will transform the area into a greenway lined with bicycle paths and trees. The project is funded by a $40,000 campus grant, though further fundraising is still necessary.

Carnegie Mellon U Launches Campus Farmers Market

The university garden and CulinArt have partnered to host a market on campus. Students will be able to spend their food service dollars on fresh groceries that they would otherwise have to buy off campus. The CMU Garden supplies the produce.

Kennesaw State U Debuts Campus Farmers Market

The university has begun hosting a weekly campus farmers market. Eleven vendors offer locally grown and organic fare, including wildflower honey, heirloom tomatoes, organic granola, broccoli, hydroponic lettuce, apples, and handmade goat’s milk products.

Walden U Participates in Global Day of Service

(U.S.): More than 2,500 volunteers from the university’s international community of students, alumni, faculty and staff led more than 150 service projects in 700 cities during the seventh annual Global Day of Service. Projects included the sustainability of a multigenerational neighborhood, health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; working in food banks; cleaning and cooking in Ronald McDonald Houses; holding drives to donate food, clothing, infant and maternity items and coats for veterans; and cleaning up roads, beaches and parks.

Portland State U Participates in Public Space Reclamation Event

More than 40 students, faculty, alumni and community members constructed an Earthbench at the university’s community orchard as part the 2012 Village Building Convergence. The Peace on Earthbench project upcycled waste into community space and diverted about 70 pounds of trash from the landfill. The annual festival combines crowd-sourced community development, hands-on education and celebration of reclaiming public space.

U Maryland to Launch Rain Barrel Program

Interns at the university’s Extension program have partnered with Prince George’s County to place rain barrels across the County in an effort to reduce erosion and bring the County closer to refining its stormwater management program. Once the university is able to secure more funds, organizers hope to include rebates for rain gardens, green roofs and impermeable pavers.