Global Alliance Releases SDGs Report
At the U.N.’s High Level Political Forum in New York earlier this July, a partnership of universities, colleges and sustainability networks called the Global Alliance released a report examining the global contribution of higher education to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The findings highlight the opportunities and challenges in embedding the SDGs in higher education, as well as higher education's commitment to increase its contributions to the SDGs. The report also shows the aspiration of students to learn more about the SDGs and the changing focus of young people as they start to prioritize social justice and environmental ethics.
Energy Dept Announces Winners of Cleantech University Prize
A team at California Institute of Technology took first place in the Energy Department's Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP), while Northwestern University clinched second place and the University of Houston claimed third place. A Building Technologies Prize was awarded to a team at Princeton University, and the Department of Defense sponsored an Operational Energy Prize, which went to a team from University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Cleantech UP business plan competitions provide aspiring student entrepreneurs with the mentorship, business development skills and training, and investor feedback they need to turn their clean energy ideas into businesses offering real-world solutions.
Northeast Schools Partner to Launch Sustainable Energy Training Consortium
Antioch University New England, Greenfield Community College, Keene State College, and the School for International Training started the Ecovation Hub Education and Training Consortium to bring broader sustainable economy knowledge and opportunities to the tri-state area of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The consortium introduced its first course this summer at Keene State College, which was a two-week program in sustainable building practices.
Centre College to Offer Social Justice Minor
Starting in the fall of 2018, the interdisciplinary minor in social justice would require 19 credit hours in courses that discuss areas of methods, intersectionality and political economy, in addition to a number of electives covering topics of race, gender, wealth, poverty and environment. Currently, there are 11 students registered for the social justice minor, along with one student who has designed the model as a major.
Georgia College Students to Upgrade Electric Golf Cart Fleet
This summer, three Georgia College students, along with two high school students, will use a $7,700 grant from the Office of Sustainability to increase the efficiency of solar electric powered golf carts on campus. They will also locate spots on campus where the carts can be parked to get the most solar energy.
Kalamazoo College Environmental Center to Receive $250K Grant
A $250,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to the college's Center for Environmental Stewardship will be used to increase sustainability and environmental stewardship across its curriculum, expand the college’s capacity for responsible resource management and sustainable development, and increase the effectiveness of college’s arboretum as a learning lab for the campus and community.
Appalachian State U Students Build Outdoor, Off-Grid Classroom
Students enrolled in the Integrative Design Experience Laboratory (IDEXlab) recently completed building a sheltered workspace located at the university’s Small Wind Research and Demonstration Site. Called the mobiLANDING, the energy-independent workspace showcases sustainable building practices and facilitates research.
Four Institutions Collaborate on Social Infrastructure Development
Founding partners of the new B.C Collaborative for Social Infrastructure are Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Northern British Columbia and Vancouver Island University. The collaboration will focus on sustainable campus and community building, indigenous entrepreneurship and social finance, social procurement, and library outreach and community scholar programs. The four institutions will share practices and policies to encourage progress and to determine how initiatives can be scaled-up and enhanced. The institutions plan to create a community of practice that can be shared with other post-secondary institutions across Canada.
Stellenbosch U Introduces Diploma in Sustainable Development
(South Africa) Introduced in January this year, this first-ever undergraduate program in Sustainable Development at the university is offered by the School of Public Leadership in collaboration with its Sustainability Institute. The workplace-based diploma aims to give students an opportunity to work on sustainability challenges, gaining skills and experiences perhaps not otherwise available to them.
Moraine Valley CC Welcomes Bees to Campus
Partnering with a local beekeeper to install an apiary in its Nature Study Area on campus, the university hopes the new bee hives will enhance their land conservation and restoration efforts and provide new living lab opportunities for different faculty groups on campus.
U Michigan Students Unveil Straw-Bale House at Campus Farm
A University of Michigan green building class recently unveiled an off-grid straw-bale house. The team of about 20 students built the house using sustainable building techniques and installed a 1.5 kilowatt solar electric array attached to eight golf cart batteries.
SUNY New Paltz Creates Two Faculty Sustainability Funds
The two new funds are the Campus Auxiliary Services Sustainability Endowment Fund, and the Campus Auxiliary Services Sustainability Expendable Fund. The overall purpose of both funds is to empower New Paltz faculty members to develop course curricula that include sustainable lessons and activities that draw on the rich agricultural resources and infrastructure of the Hudson Valley.
Education Dept. Announces 2018 Green Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Education's 2018 Green Ribbon Schools program selected six postsecondary institutions, 46 schools, and six districts as honorees. They are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
Emory U Students Propose SDG 7 Solutions
21 student teams recently proposed solutions for implementing Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy at the municipal scale as part of the Emory Sustainability Case Competition. The case competition is an annual academic challenge that seeks innovative and practical solutions to a real-world energy issues for the United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise (UN RCE) Greater Atlanta on Education for Sustainable Development and the city of Atlanta.
Auburn U to Launch a Sustainable Biomaterials & Packaging Bachelor’s Degree
In an effort to meet the demand for packaging professionals with diverse expertise in using forest products sustainably, the university’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences will launch a new sustainable biomaterials and packaging degree this fall to prepare students for careers in bio-based industries.
California State U Maritime Wins Collegiate Wind Competition
Claiming top honors in the U.S. Department of Energy's third biennial Collegiate Wind Competition, the CSU Maritime Academy beat out 11 other teams. The competition includes developing and delivering a business plan, siting a wind plant, and building and testing a wind turbine. The Pennsylvania State University came in second place and Kansas State University came in third.
Binghamton U Students Design & Build Solar Charging Station
Students from the university's Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments unveiled a solar-powered charging station in May. Designed as part of their senior capstone design project, the system consists of a single solar panel attached a 10-foot-tall pole. The panel rotates, allowing it to track the sun from morning until night, increasing the power generated.
Orange Coast College Launches Apparel Sustainability Program
After receiving interest from students and suggestions from faculty to offer more classes in sustainability, faculty members worked up a curriculum that translates to an Apparel Industry Sustainability certificate program, which will begin fall 2018.
Three US Legislators Introduce Climate Change Education Act
U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan recently introduced legislation that would create a grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aimed at promoting climate literacy. By supporting the application of the latest scientific and technological discoveries, it would promote formal and informal learning opportunities that emphasize actionable information. The grant program would also support professional development for teachers.
Energy Dept Announces Zero Energy Student Design Competition Results
Prairie View A&M University was deemed the grand winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a competition that challenges collegiate teams to apply sound building science principles to create cost-effective, market-ready designs for zero energy ready homes and schools.
U Louisville Launches Student Sustainability Fund & Philanthropy Program
The new fund allows finance students to participate in socially responsible investing by selecting funds, investing real dollars, managing the fund and voting their proxies. Then, social change students use the proceeds to fund local nonprofit or philanthropic projects either on or off campus. The inaugural beneficiary was a local non-profit organization dedicated to housing and mentoring youth who are in the state's custody and aging out of the foster care system.
Stetson U to Launch Minor in Sustainable Food Systems
Courses in the new minor will be taught by professors of public health, chemistry and other environmental sciences, as well as media and communication. The new minor can be paired with any undergraduate degree, and requires five courses and 20 credit hours. The new program is expected to launch fall 2018.
Stetson U Students Compile ESG Stock Index
Five university seniors in the Roland George Investments Program (RGIP) created a new index focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. In total, $300,000 was approved from the RGIP Growth Fund for investment in four of the six stocks comprising the index.
Cape Fear CC Receives $16.5K Grant for Solar Energy Program
Of the $16,500, $9,000 will be used for student scholarships and certification tests, such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certification exam, while $7,500 will be used for ongoing training for instructors. The grant was dispersed by Cypress Creek Renewables.
Ball State U Students Conduct Solar Assessment of Community Brownfield Sites
A group of second year urban planning students in the university's College of Architecture and Planning studied the brownfield redevelopment programs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and then analyzed the solar potential of 19 Delaware County brownfields as well as the existing conditions of many sites. Nine students authored a summary report of the process and output of this immersive learning project.
U Florida Launches Center for Public Interest Communications
The center is dedicated to developing, translating and applying the science of strategic communication to drive social change. Among other things, the center will promote scholarship that can advance the practice of public interest communications and will create undergraduate and graduate curricula for adoption by other institutions. The university's College of Journalism and Communications has also launched the Journal for Public Interest Communications, an open-access academic journal devoted to this emerging field.
U California Los Angeles to Offer Bachelors Degree in Climate Science
Housed in UCLA's department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, the program will be among first undergraduate degree programs in climate science worldwide. The degree program will provide undergraduates with the scientific understanding they need to assess the effects of climate change, both from human activity and from natural climate variability. It also will provide students with the knowledge and tools they need to communicate on the subject with decision-makers in the public and private sectors.
Fordham U and SASB to Develop Sustainability Accounting Education Program
The university's Gabelli School of Business will partner with Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) to advance the field of sustainability accounting through education, research and public events. In addition to hosting SASB board meetings at Fordham, the university will host a speaker series, conduct academic research into current and emerging topics related to financially material sustainability issues, and develop and test education materials for students.
College St. Scholastica Introduces 'Sustainability Studies and the Environment' Degree
The Sustainability Studies and the Environment bachelor of arts degree program that begins fall 2018 contains required courses in the fields of biology, chemistry, economics, the humanities, political science and philosophy. A minor will also be available. The program creation was inspired by Pope Francis’s first encyclical, Laudato Si’, from 2015, which says caring for the Earth is a moral imperative.
Chalmers Tech & U Gothenburg Strengthen Collaboration Toward Sustainable Development
(Sweden) Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg have signed an agreement that reorganizes a long-standing sustainability collaboration between the two schools. The Gothenburg Center for Sustainable Development is organized directly under the two universities and aims to create strategic cooperation both internally and with various external partners. It will continue to serve as a forum for various areas of expertise and a platform for projects, initiatives and networks.
North Carolina State U Tests Water Quality With Floating Islands
A faculty member and a student in biological and agricultural engineering recently installed floating islands of plants at an on-campus research site to evaluate whether the islands can improve stormwater quality. A temporary vinyl barrier divides the pond into a control side and an experimental side with water quality sensors providing continuous, multi-point data as water enters and exits the pond.
Cameron U Establishes Social Change Endowed Lectureship
The establishment of the Albert Johnson Sr. and Josephine Johnson Endowed Lectureship in Social Change aims to advance the study of social justice, racial and ethnic cultures and human interaction. The funds will be used to bring distinguished lecturers and workshops to campus, to support faculty development related to civil rights and social justice, and to aid faculty and students in providing services to the community.
U California Santa Barbara Earns LEED Platinum EBOM on Bren Hall
Bren Hall was first certified as LEED Platinum for new construction in 2002, and in 2009, received its second LEED Platinum certification for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EB O+M). During the 2016-17 academic year, students from a LEED Living Lab class broke off into teams for each of the eight LEED categories, assumed responsibility for a credit within each category, and submitted a complete application in spring 2017. The building features a white roof, daylighting and energy-efficient fixtures, a 100 kilowatt photovoltaic system, and an energy-efficient lab exhaust system.
Columbia U Introduces Master's Program in Sustainability Science for Professionals
The new program is designed for full-time and aspiring sustainability professionals who wish to develop their skills in Earth systems observation, analysis, projection and environmental remediation. The program’s coursework is organized by the following five areas of study: integrative courses in sustainability science, methods of earth observation and measurement, analysis and modeling environmental conditions and impacts, scientific tools for responding to sustainability challenges, and sustainability policy or management.
Tufts U Starts Degree in Sustainable Water Management
Beginning in fall 2018, the university will offer a new 12-month Master of Science degree in Sustainable Water Management that aims to prepare graduates for leadership positions in the nongovernmental, public and private sectors. The new program offers four tracks: urban water infrastructure, the water-energy-food nexus, water diplomacy, and international development and emergency response.
U Helsinki Establishes Institute of Sustainability Science
(Finland) The newly formed Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science seeks to solve global sustainability issues by focusing primarily on the study of cities, the global south and Arctic areas, systems of sustainable consumption and production, and the theory and methods of sustainability science. Ten new professorships are being established in conjunction with the new institute, connecting nearly 200 researchers from six different faculties.
Warren Wilson College & Bard College Collaborate on Five-Year Undergraduate/Graduate Program
Warren Wilson College has partnered with Bard College’s graduate programs in Sustainability to help environmental studies students graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Through the new agreement, undergraduates can opt to dual enroll at both campuses. For the first three years, students study, work and serve at Warren Wilson College and then complete their education at Bard.
Maharishi U Students Build Electric Vehicle Charging Station for Campus Use
Eleven students in a recent course on energy and sustainability built a charging station for electric cars that is attached to its Sustainable Living Center grid. The station uses some of the excess energy from the wind turbine and solar panels that power the building. The charging station, which is free for anyone to use, was set up for about $600.
York U Releases Inaugural Institutional Sustainability Strategy
The university's first published sustainability strategy was led by a working group comprised of members of the university president’s Sustainability Council and included participation from more than 1,000 community members. The goals of the strategy are divided into three key categories: people, focusing on a culture of collaboration; knowledge, using its strengths in sustainability research to inform teaching; and place, creating a pedestrian-oriented campus.
U Exeter Joins Circular Economy Network
(U.K.) The university recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a Pioneer University, a program that seeks to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by engaging academics to research new business models to overcome environmental and economic challenges.
American College Greece Begins Scholarship Program for Refugees
(Greece) Called Education Unites: From Camp to Campus, the goal of the new program is to give displaced students the opportunity to continue their education, provide them with knowledge, skills and academic credits they can use either in Greece or in any other European country they move to, and help them get out of the camps and become integrated in local colleges.