Portland State U Professor Leads Clean Water Effort in Rwanda
(U.S.): Owned and funded by water quality testing company DelAgua, and contracted to Manna Energy Limited, the project will distribute water filters and efficient cook stoves to 750,000 households, nearly all of the Western Province of Rwanda, reducing the demand for wood fuel. Portland State University (Oregon) Assistant Professor of Engineering Evan Thomas, who co-founded Manna, is heading up the effort.
Skidmore College Students Host Nuclear Awareness Forum
(U.S.): As part of a "Community Engagement" course at the college, students recently held an information session to raise public awareness of the health and environmental implications associated with a local nuclear site. The students have been working with concerned citizens and former site employees this semester to disseminate information to those who live near the site about the lack of safety features including emergency cooling systems, containment systems to keep radiation from reaching the public, and a 10-mile evacuation plan.
U California Berkeley Students Work with Communities During Break
(U.S.): More than 136 students participated in the university’s Alternative Breaks program, lending their skills to public service projects. This year’s participants spent the last week of March working on projects involving animal welfare, health care, immigration and homelessness across the country. As part of the program, the students also learned about social justice issues at play in the surrounding community.
Unity College Partners to Raise Chickens for Food Security
Unity College (Maine) students have partnered with the Waldo County Technical Center to grow broiler chickens in support of hunger relief efforts in Waldo County. The students are developing management plans, delivering animal care and learning more about how local agriculture can work to improve food security.
Luther College Pilots Employee CSA Program
The college's Wellness and Sustainability programs are collaborating to reimburse faculty and staff that take part in community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, take two cooking classes and become part of two book groups offered this summer that support a holistic approach to food education. The college is working with three local farms to provide CSAs to the campus community.
U Arizona Debuts Community Garden
The 46 plots in the university's new garden will be divided among local community members, students, faculty and staff. Financed by the University Green Fund, the $25,000 garden features solar-powered timers that regulate when the plots are irrigated.
U California Berkeley Hosts Green Workforce Development Fair
Local high school students recently explored college and career opportunities in the clean-tech economy at the East Bay Green Corridor’s Green Education and Career Exploration Fair, hosted by the University of California, Berkeley. Local community colleges and workforce training organizations represented opportunities for sustainability-related programs of study and green job training certifications, and community nonprofits showcased advocacy efforts in areas of environmental justice and sustainability.
Institutions Earn Presidential Recognition for Community Service
(U.S.): Five colleges and universities received Presidential Awards in the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, announced this month. Carson-Newman College (Tennessee), Miami University (Ohio), North Carolina State University, Seattle University (Washington) and the University of Pennsylvania earned the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community service. A total of 642 schools were recognized this year for their impact on issues including literacy, neighborhood revitalization and supporting at-risk youth.
Maharishi U Mgmt Students Raise $ for Caribbean Sustainable Farm
(U.S. and Caribbean Islands): The recent fundraiser will help send three Maharishi University of Management (Iowa) students to the Caribbean island of Dominica in May, where they will spend three months establishing a small-scale vetiver-grass nursery. They hope to make cuttings of this grass available to farmers when they return for another season the following year.
Students Worldwide Collaborate to Improve Lives of Rural Poor
(Ghana): University students from Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ghana and the U.S. convened in Ghana to showcase designs aimed at improving the lives of the rural poor as part of the International Development Design Summit, reported the Chronicle of Higher Education last fall. For the past five years, the summit has brought together students, lecturers, engineers, farmers, mechanics and other practitioners from around the world to collaborate on developing products, services and business models to serve the rural poor.
San Diego State U Students Assess Clean Water Access in Honduras
Engineers Without Borders students at San Diego State University (California) recently traveled to Tejeras in Honduras to assess the town's water filtration and distribution system, which was making residents sick. The students are applying concepts from their environmental engineering classes toward a blueprint for a clean water solution. The group is planning another trip in January 2013 to implement the new filtration system.
U North Carolina Charlotte Considers Community Work for Tenure
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, recognized as a Carnegie Engaged Institution for its work in the community, has announced plans to revise its tenure and promotion guidelines to include community planning research, reports Inside Higher Ed. If approved, community engagement will qualify for promotion and tenure in the research, teaching or service category.
D.C. Institutions Unite to Make City 'Greenest in America'
Nine District of Columbia university presidents have joined Mayor Vincent C. Gray to sign his College and University Sustainability Pledge (CUSP). An effort to help drive city-wide engagement and progress toward a sustainable city, the pledge is an agreement to pursue sustainability measures related to energy use and buildings, green education, transportation, waste reduction, grounds maintenance, purchasing, and the management and reporting of progress. Each higher education signatory will implement its own commitments and goals for sustainability by the pledge's Dec. 31, 2012 deadline, when the District of Columbia aims to declare itself the “Greenest College Town in America.”
Furman U Debuts Program to Help Businesses Lower Energy Costs
Furman University's (SC) Center for Corporate and Professional Development has introduced a new online process that allows businesses to identify, benchmark and reduce their energy, water and waste management operating costs. The BEST (Businesses Engaged in Sustainability for Tomorrow) program generates a series of recommendations and estimated costs and savings through a custom dashboard specific to each business.
U North Carolina Wilmington Students Plant 1,000 Trees
As part of an applied learning experience in a new campus sustainability class, students at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington recently planted 1,000 pine trees at the Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve. The effort was part of a restoration project.
USA Today Covers Growth of Campus Food Banks
This USA Today article profiles Oregon State University's campus food pantry as part of a growing trend on college and university campuses nationwide. For students struggling to get enough food and supplies, the pantries offer sundries including cereals, meats and toiletries. The Oregon State University pantry sees several hundred students plus community members each month, while Michigan State University's pantry saw a spike in users in the 2005-2006 academic year and has remained busy with about 300 people served every other week. The article also cites Tennessee State and Austin Peay State universities in Tennessee, University of Arkansas, University of Georgia and Utah Valley University as schools that have establish pantries in the past year.
U South Carolina Debuts Campus Community Garden
The University of South Carolina has dedicated a community garden available to students, faculty, staff and community members through a semester-long rental agreement. There is a waiting list for the garden's first planting season.
Yale U Creates Citizen Science Initiative
Yale University ‘s (CT) Office of Sustainability and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History have partnered to create Citizen Science, a new initiative that aims to engage community members with urban ecology on campus. The Citizen Science initiative will train a group of students, faculty and staff to survey and record biodiversity on campus. The idea to create the program arose from the university’s 2010 Sustainability Strategic Plan stating a commitment to developing ecosystem and land management plans, as well as a commitment to understanding biodiversity within the urban ecosystem.
Kauai CC Partners with Community for Sustainable Living Institute
Kauai Community College (HI) has opened Ho'ouluwehi: The Sustainable Living Institute of Kauai to build upon the campus’ current sustainable programs including a community garden and the Farm to Table project. Through partnerships with the community, the institute will provide training for sustainability workers, entrepreneurs and interested residents.
Carleton College Partners with Community for Art Center
Carleton College (MN) partnered with the local school system to turn a "much-loved" school building into the Weitz Center for Creativity, reports a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article. The $40 million renovation and expansion of the building has resulted in a new space for the community and "allowed the college to fulfill a long-held goal of expanding its arts facilities." In addition to connecting the college and the community through performances offered there, the building features creative reuses including old gym bleachers that now act as cladding for elevator shafts.
U Colorado Boulder Leads in Peace Corps Volunteers
With 112 undergraduate alumni serving around the world, the Peace Corps has named the University of Colorado Boulder as No. 1 in the nation for graduates serving as Peace Corps volunteers for the second year in a row. The university ranks No. 5 on the all-time list of Peace Corps volunteers with 2,317 total alumni.
Virginia Commonwealth U Plans New Community Garden
Virginia Commonwealth University's Green Unity Club has started construction on a new community garden on campus. With space for 26 separate plots, the garden will host workshops for beginning gardeners and all of the produce grown will be donated to local food banks.
Student Groups Help Small Businesses Get Off the Ground
Student groups at a handful of institutions across the country have helped hundreds of community members start small businesses in the last few years, reports a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Campus Microfinance Alliance, a national network whose student members include Bentley (MA) and St. Cloud State (MN) universities, is one of several student-led groups offering loans to local residents who want to start businesses but are unlikely to qualify for traditional bank loans. Other groups profiled in the article include those at Grinnell College (IA) and Yale (CT), Brown (RI) and Rutgers (NJ) universities. The clubs, often established as nonprofits, have helped start barbershops, bakeries and hot-dog stands with modest loans of typically less than $5,000.
Antioch U New England Student Pledge Addresses Food Insecurity
Students in the Net Impact chapter at Antioch University, New England (NH) have signed the Perpetual Food Pledge. Aiming to bring awareness to the fact that the number of people who experience food insecurity in New Hampshire has increased by 90 percent since 2006, the pledge states that a nonperishable food item to help feed the hungry will be purchased with every trip to the grocery store.
Central Lakes College Hosts Local Food Production Program
Central Lakes College (MN) has announced a new Local Food College program that will aid farmers in increasing the production of food in the region. The low-cost sessions include an overview of whole farm planning, fruit and vegetable production, and business planning. Participants will learn from practitioners and educators and share personal experiences with others who are part of the growing movement to build resilient local food systems.
Mount Wachusett CC Receives $2 M Donation for Civic Learning
Following a recent National Task Force for Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement report noting that community college students in particular benefit from civic learning, Mount Wachusett Community College (MA) has received a $2 million donation from an anonymous donor to establish a civic learning center, reports the American Association of Community Colleges' (AACC) Community College Times. The center will establish best practices; support programs, activities and community events that highlight the value of civic engagement and its relationship to healthy communities; and help fund awards for the college's students who show commitment and provide mentorship in areas of civic learning.
Rochester Inst. of Tech Dean Earns National Sustainability Honors
Rochester Institute of Technology's (NY) M. Ann Howard, senior associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, has earned the American College Personnel Association's Champion of Sustainability award. Howard has been working in the field of community sustainability for more than two decades and established the University/Community Partnerships program in cooperation with resident leaders of neighborhoods in northeast Rochester. The program has yielded a 10-year community health initiative, community-based asset mapping and a community garden network.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Conducts Hunger Assessment
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo's STRIDE (Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise) Center has partnered with the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County to survey more than 600 low-income residents for data on how many people go hungry in the county. Funded by a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, students are helping collect data that will be used to create a "hunger map" of food availability in the county, including price differences and food desert zones. The research will be used to create a countywide plan to combat hunger.
U Southern California Students Host Community Skillshare
Student groups at the University of Southern California recently hosted a Community Skillshare for local neighborhoods. Community members and students showcased specific skills and activities including planting vegetable seedlings in recycled containers and screen-printing. Leftover sandwiches from the event were passed out to the homeless.
Michigan State U, OnSite Energy Partner for Biodiesel Training
Michigan State University has announced a new partnership with OnSite Energy for its Freeway to Fuels project. The project will test the potential of growing oilseed crops for bioenergy production. A portable unit that contains the equipment to crush oil from seed and convert it to biodiesel has been developed. Equipment will be transported from farm to farm to teach farmers how to make their own biodiesel fuel.
Washington State U Launches Sustainable Ag Newsletter
Washington State University's College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences has launched Green Times, an e-newsletter focused on organic and sustainable agriculture. Directed toward the regional agricultural community, the free resource includes current research news, events, and profiles of farmers and other regional industry professionals.
12 Nebraska Institutions Create Civic Engagement Group
Twelve Nebraska colleges have formed Nebraska Campus Compact in an effort to integrate service learning and civic engagement into campus and academic life. Nebraska is the 35th state to affiliate with the national organization, Campus Compact.
NPR Highlights Rise of Campus Food Pantries
Food pantries are becoming more common on campuses as the effects of the recession drag on, reports a recent National Public Radio story. New census data shows that young people under 24 years old are facing some of the highest rates of poverty. The story highlights a student-led food pantry at the University of Georgia, which had more than 200 student visitors in its first few weeks of operation.
U California Berkeley Hosts Community Service Day
Volunteers during the University of California, Berkeley's recent community service event tackled landscaping, mural painting, walking path construction, crop planting and graffiti removal. Launched in 2006, the Berkeley Project Day aims to build a legacy of community service by creating a strong relationship between campus students and community residents.
Green Mountain College Opens Community Co-Op
After several years of students talking about the need for a co-op market at Green Mountain College (VT), the Stone Valley Community Market has become a reality thanks to $50,000 from the college's president, according to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Besides providing desired items that are lacking in local supermarkets like bulk dry legumes, probiotic soy yogurt, hemp milk, and vegetables and meat that come straight from the farmers near town, the university hopes that the market will bring value as a local hangout and provide real-world experience to students including store management. While the market may not have opened without the initial investment, it was a group effort among the community and students. For example, the college's student government gave the co-op $10,000 from student fees as collateral for a loan from the Cooperative Fund of New England for marketing and other business start-up efforts.
Temple U Creates Community Medicinal Garden
Temple University (PA) has unveiled a community medicinal garden on campus with the intent to engage students and the community in the natural origins of medicine. In addition to allowing first-hand experience with plants with medicinal purposes for health sciences students, the garden contains planters with edibles like tomatoes, basil and cucumbers that community members are free to take as they pass by.
U Colorado at Boulder Holds Low-Income Youth Computer Intensive
For the first time, the University of Colorado at Boulder's decade-old "Computers to Youth" program has selected students to come onto the campus for a week to get a sneak peak of college life. The program, which provides computers to college-bound students from low-income families, exposes the students to the anatomy of computers in an attempt to bridge the "digital divide" that can affect economically disadvantaged groups. At the end of the camp, the students get to take home the donated computers that have been recycled and refurbished.
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham U Conducts Sustainable Outreach
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University's (India) Center for Environmental Studies has launched training and extension programs for individuals, farmers and non-government organizations. Topics on organic farming, wastewater management, composting, medicinal plants and tree planting are discussed and include field demonstrations. The center has also partnered with the state forest department to help instill a sense of protection for trees and forest wealth within the community.
Byron Region CC Plans 'Greenskills Community Education Network'
Byron Region Community College (Australia), which features sustainability at the core of its community education programs, has announced plans to create a Greenskills Community Education Network. The network of institutions, community organizations and local government will create a support system to encourage movement toward sustainable changes and include professional development opportunities. The college also hosts a Greening your Centre sustainability webinar series.
Kingston U Launches Smart Communities Project
Kingston University (United Kingdom) has launched the Smart Communities project. A team of university researchers will help around 500 households reduce their energy consumption by encouraging the community to come together to change their daily routines. The three-year project will be led, as much as possible, by the people in the community with support from the university. In related news, the university has also announced that it will host Green Growth workshops to help businesses. The workshops will help identify sustainable enterprise opportunities and develop a business model to commercialize ideas. The program will be taught at the university by experts in sustainable design, research and enterprise. The workshops are slated to begin in fall 2011.
New Australian National U Website Promotes Urban Biodiversity
Australian National University has developed a new website, Life in the Suburbs, to teach local residents how to maintain urban biodiversity and improve species habitat for local birds and animals. Stemming from a recent comprehensive ecological survey of Sullivans Creek, which revealed the role that urban landscapes have in providing living spaces for local species, the website shows residents how to best share their suburban spaces with the species that can be found there. The site includes guidelines for managing urban habitat, steps to reduce human-induced threats to urban biodiversity and practical guidelines for developing habitat gardens and landscapes.
U Edinburgh Students Help Businesses Reduce Carbon Footprint
University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) students have begun to measure the carbon footprints of businesses. The project seeks to offer businesses with the knowledge needed to manage their energy use and provide students with practical knowledge and hands-on experience. Initial figures show that the project, involving eight businesses from a range of sectors, has achieved a combined carbon emissions savings of more than 600 tons. The initiative is a partnership between the university, Prince’s Mayday Network and the Carbon Trust, and is coordinated by the Scottish Business in the Community.
Paul Quinn College Fights for Food Access in Local Neighborhood
Paul Quinn College (TX) President Michael Sorrell recently hosted a conversation on campus to challenge the city of Dallas to open a grocery store near campus. After grocers told the Sorrell that they didn't want to invest in the underserved Dallas neighborhood where the college is located, the college recently turned its football stadium into a farm. Now, Sorrell is looking toward the next step. More than 250 people, including a large number of Paul Quinn students, attended the meeting.
Solar Decathlon Home Preserved as Affordable Housing
A solar-powered house that students are currently assembling for the 2011 Solar Decathlon on the Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) campus will be placed permanently in northeast Washington to serve as affordable housing. The institute partnered with Parsons the New School for Design (NY); Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School (NY); and Washington's Habitat for Humanity affiliate to break ground in the middle- to low-income neighborhood of Deanwood. Traditionally, the affordable solar-powered homes designed and constructed by college teams for the competition return to their respective institutions, where many are dismantled. In addition to the house drafted and built by "Empowerhouse," Habitat for Humanity will build a second passive house at the same site. The 2011 Solar Decathlon, an international green technology contest staged every two years by the U.S. Department of Energy, will hold its opening ceremony on Sept. 22, 2011.
U Maryland College Park Program to Certify Green Communities
The University of Maryland, College Park has launched Sustainable Maryland Certified, a program developed at the university's Environmental Finance Center to help steer public and private funding to communities that win sustainable certification by adopting green policies. Funded by federal and private grants, the free program will offer sustainability certification to communities that amass a total of 150 points, earned by setting up initiatives that address global warming, energy, pollution, land use, air and water quality, health equity, support for local businesses, sustainable agriculture, green buildings and transportation.
U Mississippi Donates Computers to Tornado Ravaged School
The University of Mississippi's Technology Recycling to Enhance Education (TREE) program recently delivered 24 computers to the Monroe County School District office for the Smithville School campus. The K-12 school was heavily damaged in an April tornado and students will attend classes in 43 mobile trailers when school resumes in August. The computers were collected from across the university's campus and cleaned and refurbished for distribution to public K-12 schools. TREE is a joint effort among the university's Association for Computing Machinery chapter, computer and information science faculty, and the Office of Information Technology to reduce the waste of usable electronic equipment.