Calgary Students Work on Solar-Powered Emergency Response

Students at the School of Information and Communications Technologies are working on a solar-powered communications system that will supply phone and internet connectivity for emergency response, geological survey and remote residential applications. The students are working with prototyping lab Calgary Protospace, a local incubator for innovative technology ideas, and renewable energy consultants Think Energy, on the project.

Hartwick College Launches Watershed Curriculum Workshop

The college’s Pine Lake Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Studies has announced a professional development workshop that brings together area teachers, faculty, education majors, and regional and national watershed experts in a project called Think, Act, Protect the Upper Susquehanna River watershed (TAP-US). TAP-US will help area teachers develop and offer hands-on, inquiry-based lesson plans to increase environmental literacy and engage students in activities to protect and maintain the ecology of rivers, streams and wetlands.

NACUBO, Second Nature Call on Gov't for Help with Sustainability

A recent report released by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, (NACUBO), Second Nature and the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) calls on the federal government to make it easier for colleges and universities to finance big sustainability projects on their campuses, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. The report includes several policy proposals to create incentives for colleges to pursue large-scale energy-efficiency projects like retrofitting laboratories and developing renewable energy sources to power their campuses.

Temple U Collaborates to Make Philadelphia More Bike-Friendly

After a ThinkBike Workshop with the Dutch Cycling Embassy, students and staff at the university worked with City of Philadelphia transportation planners and cyclists from around the region to develop specific bike-friendly proposals for each neighborhood. Proposals include a two-way bike route, increased covered and secured bike parking and storage capacity, and additional bike lanes.

RIT Partners With Local Agency in Pollution Prevention Programs

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology has partnered with GreenHomeNYC on a Green Homes, Green Cities outreach program. The program will educate New York City and Buffalo residents on waste prevention, energy efficiency and the use of non-toxic, recycled and reusable building materials in construction and renovation projects.

Loyola U Chicago Expands Farmers Market

(U.S.): Initiated and run by students, the second season of the university's farmers market will feature 11 vendors providing fresh produce, local dairy and baked goods through October. This year, the market has filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to accept food stamps and senior food coupons.

Masdar IST Offers Sustainability Lessons to K-12 Students

(United Arab Emirates): The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology recently partnered with renewable energy company Masday on a science fair for Emirates National School students that displayed projects focused on sustainability, energy and the environment with the aim of promoting renewable energy and the importance of a sustainable lifestyle.

Eastern Connecticut State U to Create Community Garden

With a grant from Northeast Utilities, university faculty, staff and students will develop educational events that will enable school groups and other community members to learn about developing urban gardens and green spaces. Events will include information on how to compost, develop a vertical garden, harvest seeds, market harvests, as well as seed-saving techniques.

U South Carolina Yard Sale Raises $3K for Habitat for Humanity

The university's first Give It Up For Good yard sale recently raised $3,414 to help construct a Habitat for Humanity house on campus next spring. The environmentally friendly house will be built by students and then moved to another location for a family in need. The program also collected 2,258 pounds of food and 138 pounds of plastic grocery bags that were donated to a local food bank.

CSU Channel Islands Hosts Sustainability Workshop for Businesses

(U.S.): The university's California Institute for Social Business has partnered with CAUSE (Coastal Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy) Triple Bottom Line Business Network to educate the business community about the benefits of social business, emphasizing the importance of social and environmental sustainability in achieving profit and financial goals. The university's upcoming symposium will feature speakers from B Corporation, Patagonia and Women’s Economic Ventures.

Princeton U Energy Service Corps Weatherizes Local Homes

(U.S.): Student volunteers with the university's Energy Service Corps (ESC), a joint project of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund and AmeriCorps, recently weatherized 10 homes owned by senior citizens with low to moderate incomes. The Housewarming Project is a partnership with ESC and the town of Princeton's Sustainable Princeton initiative.

UC Berkeley Issues Statement About Gill Tract

"After weeks of patient dialogue, engagement and rejected offers of compromise, we deeply regret that the occupiers’ actions and continued insistence on free and unfettered access to what is an open-air laboratory left us no choice but to take this step," says a statement issued by the University of California, Berkeley administration after police broke up an Occupy the Farm encampment on agricultural research land owned by the university. The purpose of police interference at Gill Tract, says the university, was to "ensure our faculty and students can conduct the research projects to which they have devoted much of their academic and professional lives." The university says that prior to any police action, efforts to talk with occupiers about how the unused portion of the land could be repurposed were "rejected or ignored."

Police Clear 'Occupy the Farm' Protest at UC Berkeley

Police broke up an Occupy the Farm encampment on agricultural research land owned by the University of California, Berkeley, reports a recent SF Gate article. Loosely affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, the activists tilled two acres, planted vegetables, set up a drip system and pitched tents on the site in protest against planned commercial development and housing nearby. The group is asking the university to preserve the tract for agricultural study and urban farming.

28 College Leaders Commit 5% of Earnings to Fight Global Poverty

Twenty-eight current and former college leaders have publicly come forward as charter members of the Presidents' Pledge Against Global Poverty. Reports a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, they are donating 5 percent of their total compensation this year to charities that fight global poverty. The pledge is designed to help reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which include halving the number of people in the world who live in extreme poverty by 2015.

Cornell U Partners to Create Solutions for Global Concerns

Cornell University and the global humanitarian organization CARE have launched CARE-Cornell, a partnership that will merge the university’s research with CARE's experience fighting poverty to create solutions for global concerns including world hunger and climate change. CARE-Cornell will provide financial support for international projects through the Impact through Innovation Fund, supplemented by competitive external grants. Five projects are currently under way in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Vietnam, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

Coastal Carolina U Hosts Farmers Market

The one-day market, featuring local producers, was held to promote the quality and value in local, fresh produce and products to the campus community and public.

Cornell U Helps 'Green' Low-Income Housing

(U.S.): Funded by a $3 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant and led by nonprofit Community Environmental Center of Long Island City, Cornell University (New York) will help test new, energy-saving approaches in older multifamily housing developments in the New York City region. The initiative will implement building retrofits, provide education and training and conduct a study as part of an effort to demonstrate cost savings and environmental benefits of energy retrofits and an education intervention. The university will coordinate intervention and control groups to examine changes in tenant and superintendents' knowledge and motivation.

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.

Seattle U Gives Water Bottle Proceeds to Haiti Water Project

Proceeds from the university's sale of reusable water bottles are now going to an Engineers Without Borders student chapter project that makes clean water accessible to Haitians. In its first 18 months, the initiative has raised $4,400.

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.

Clark U Students Initiate Recycling Program at Local K-12 School

Clark University's (Massachusetts) Recycling Crew is working to expand hands-on waste reduction education activities for local fifth graders into a school-wide recycling program at Woodland Academy.

Richard Stockton College Students Spend Break Building Homes

Part of the "Collegiate Challenge" national alternative spring break program, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey students and staff helped construct and rehabilitate housing in Rocky Mount, N.C. for families in need.

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.