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.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Receives Grant to Identify Racial & Gender Biases

Supported by a $240,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, university researchers will teach students how to work in groups in ways that promote equity and how to identify and address unconscious racial and gender biases in project-based teamwork, such as biases in assigning tasks or making decisions.

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.

U South Dakota to Offer MS & Doctoral Programs in Sustainability

The South Dakota Board of Regents recently granted the university’s request to offer both the Master of Science degree and the Ph.D. degree in Sustainability, which will be offered through face-to-face instruction with an emphasis on research.

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.

QS Releases International Ranking of Environmental Sciences Programs

The QS ranking includes 300 environmental sciences programs from universities and colleges across the world. The QS World University Rankings are based upon academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

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 Connecticut Senate Passes Environmental General Education Requirement

All incoming students will now be required to take an environmental literacy course as part of the university's general education requirements.

Georgia Tech Launches Serve, Learn, Sustain Teaching Toolkit

The toolkit is a library of lesson-planning resources that helps instructors integrate sustainability, community engagement, and service-learning into their courses.

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 Management 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.

North American Association for Environmental Education Announces Award Winners

Jacqueline S. McLaughlin at Pennsylvania State University won the Higher Education Educator of the Year Award, and Constance Russell of Lakehead University won the Outstanding Contributions to Research in Environmental Education Award.

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.

U Notre Dame Teaches Course on Faith and Sustainability

The new sustainability class, offered each fall semester, integrates Catholic teachings into environmental studies to reflect on issues of sustainability. The course examines topics in theory and how to implement these theories in a practical way.

Arizona State U Student Spearheads Lab-Glove Recycling Program

A junior majoring in sustainability and interning at Kimberly Clark, a paper company, started a lab glove recycling program in partnership with Kimberly Clark called RightCycle. Lab gloves are collected with special cardboard boxes, sent to recycling centers and processed into plastic pellets or nitrile powder, which can then be used to manufacture anything plastic.

Texas Tech U to Create Local Food Concentration

The department of Plant & Soil Science will establish a new undergraduate degree specialization in local food and wine production systems, the creation of which was a response to the continued growth of local-food sales.

Smith College Establishes a $100K Student Managed Fossil Fuel-Free Fund

Smith College has provided $100,000 to the Smith College Investment Club to create and manage a new portfolio of fossil-fuel-free investments. Students will set criteria for what meets the standard of a fossil-fuel-free portfolio, and will make investment decisions. The new fund, which grew out of a recommendation from the Study Group on Climate Change, offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the growing field of impact investing.

St. Joseph College Launches Local Food Institute With $4M in Funding

The Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation seeks to develop the state’s food and beverage industry and meet regional food security goals. The institute will encompass five enterprises: a food manufacturing incubator, a hydroponic farm, a traditional crop and livestock farm, an agri-tourism event center, and a complementary entrepreneurship development and education program offering certificates.

Saint Joseph’s U & PRME to Develop Business Education Assessment Tool

In mid-October, Saint Joseph’s University’s Erivan K. Haub School of Business announced a partnership with the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative. Both organizations will develop a new data analytics tool, the PRME SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) Dashboard, to assess business schools’ success in delivering socially and environmentally sustainable management education. The tool will measure the participating business schools’ fulfillment of the SDGs based on its curriculum, academic research, community and global outreach, and campus integration of the goals.

Yale U Announces Academic Initiative to Improve Corporate Reporting

Recognizing the critical role that private capital flows will play in moving society toward a more sustainable future, the university recently launched a new academic effort to provide high-quality research on the flow of capital into sustainability-oriented projects and sustainable companies. Called the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance, the initiative will focus on three initial sustainable finance issues: impediments to the movement of mainstream capital into sustainability-related projects, needs of sustainability-minded investors, and standards in the sustainability bonds market.

Cornell U Launches Free Online Climate Change Course

The new course on climate change science, communication, and action focuses on equipping learners with the tools they need to understand climate science and policy fundamentals, and how to take action to communicate and implement climate change related projects in their community and work.

McHenry County College Receives $500K to Develop Ag Degree

An anonymous donor recently gave the college $500,000 toward the first phase of an effort to promote sustainable urban agriculture education. The project will provide experiential learning related to intensive, organic food production, business management and marketing. During a two-year pilot program, the new funds will be used to research sustainable agricultural trends and practices, facilitate partnerships across the agricultural community, and promote the use of sustainable practices and food production in the region.

U British Columbia Students Design & Install Pollinator Homes

Working with biologists, zoologists and local planners, students in the UBC school of architecture and landscape architecture (SALA) designed, built and installed three pollinator homes for bees and bats. The project will provide the opportunity for students to study sharing spaces with species in urban environments.

Red Deer College Breaks Ground on Alternative Energy Lab

When completed in 2018, the lab will be utilized for teaching, demonstration and applied research related to alternative energy opportunities. The space will also engage and support regional businesses wanting to explore alternative energy production options. The new lab is one of three key components of RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative, which promotes environmental stewardship through the application of sustainable and energy efficient technologies.

Mount Royal U & Simon Fraser U Designated as Changemaker Campuses

Ashoka U recognized the institutions for having embedded social innovation as a core value. Along with the Colombian Institute of Administration, a business school in Colombia, they join a network of 40 institutions across eight countries. MRU and SFU are the first Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses in Alberta and British Columbia, respectively.

Santa Fe CC Receives $351K for Building Energy Automation & Microgrid Training Center

Awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the funding will support the purchase of critical equipment for the Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center, which provides specialized hands-on training in the fields of building automation and microgrid energy distribution systems. The college is leveraging an additional $326,000 in state appropriations and $111,661 in donated equipment and engineering expertise from industry partners to support the project.