U Central Florida Begins Engineering Course with Campus as Lab
In spring 2016, the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science offered a new honors-level course titled Systems Analysis for Sustainability in Engineered Systems that utilizes the main campus as a living laboratory to apply their systems knowledge to diverse problems. The course introduces principles of sustainable engineering, systems and life-cycle thinking, and the development of sustainability metrics and indicators.
Michigan State U Water Research Reveals Campus Behavior
A recent survey of students, faculty and staff revealed that 37 percent prefer tap water while 36.6 percent prefer bottled water, 39 percent use filtered water stations, and 90 percent understand that bottled water has a higher environmental and economic cost than tap water. These insights will be used to help improve recycling programs and create awareness of refill stations across campus.
Central Carolina CC to Offer Construction Program
Part of the community college's Sustainability Technologies Program, the newly approved Building Construction Technology program will attempt to help students build better using sustainable technologies.
Green Mountain College and Audubon International Announce Partnership
Graduate students at Green Mountain College can apply their place-based education by exploring and implementing Audubon International’s programs alongside professional staff. Staff at any of Audubon International's member facilities will receive discounts to enroll in the college’s online graduate curriculum in one of four sustainability disciplines. The goal of the partnership is to improve training opportunities for sustainability professionals and students, and lead to new research on sustainability practices.
Michigan State U Students Discover Solution for Polystyrene
A group of students from the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program is researching the use of mealworms to degrade this material beyond the industry standard of 20 percent. Funded by the Be Spartan Green Student Project Fund, the Meals for Mealworms project was proposed, researched and executed by freshman students, earning them an invitation to the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference.
Wilfrid Laurier U Claims First in Aspen Institute Competition
The university's Lazaridis School of Business & Economics claimed first place out of five finalists at the Aspen Institute's 2016 Business and Society International MBA Case Competition, for which it earned a grand prize of $15,000. Founded in 2009, the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society International MBA Case Competition provides an opportunity for MBA students from 25 leading business schools over three rounds to reflect on the significant influence and positive impact a well-managed business can have on society.
Five Universities Place in Shell Eco-Marathon Americas
This year's Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, a global program that challenges high school and college student teams to design, build and test the most energy-efficient vehicles, concluded with the following winners: Queens University (Canada), University of Alberta (Canada), University of Colorado at Boulder, Laval University (Canada), and Université de Sherbrooke (Canada). The win qualifies the teams to compete at the Shell Ecomarathon Europe and the Drivers World Championship in London this summer.
U Manitoba Concludes International Bee House Design Competition
The university's international bee house design competition called BEE / HOUSE / LAB aimed to address the rapid decline in bee populations due to pesticide use and severe winters brought on by climate change. Participants were challenged to design a bee house for 80-100 solitary nesting bees. In the Open category, first place went to a team from University of Manitoba and McGill University, and Ryerson University placed second. In the Student Competition category, a student from University of Toronto won top honors, with two students from Carleton University taking second.
U Massachusetts Amherst Establishes School of Earth and Sustainability
Approved by the board of trustees in April 2016, the university's new School of Earth and Sustainability will serve as a central hub for a suite of academic programs, research, innovation outreach and extension activities focused on finding solutions to the complex, global environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Education Dept Announces 2016 Green Ribbon Schools Award
This year's U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award went to Elon University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Hawkeye Community College; Macalester College; Raritan Valley Community College; Slippery Rock University; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; University of Montevallo; and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors postsecondary institutions that are demonstrating progress in three pillars: environmental impact, health and wellness, and sustainability education.
Energy Dept. Names 'Race to Zero Student Design Competition' Winners
Prairie View A&M University was named Grand Winner in the U.S. Department of Energy's collegiate competition engaging university students to design zero-energy ready homes. First and second place winners were named in four other categories. A major goal of the competition is to advance building science curriculum in university programs across the country.
Harford CC & U Maryland Tie for First in Student Competition
The Sustainable Growth Challenge, an annual collegiate competition hosted by the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, enables teams to conduct community planning exercises, analyze economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable growth and develop creative community solutions. Harford Community College developed a multimodal transportation proposal that connects existing bike routes throughout Harford County, while University of Maryland developed a plan to revitalize a vacant lot to address the community's needs and assuring economic prosperity for the neighborhood.
Indiana U Faculty Mentors & Students Collaborate in Sustainability Scholar Program
The university's inaugural 2020 Sustainability Scholar program paired undergraduates with faculty mentors from multiple disciplines to conduct high-quality research in the area of sustainability. As part of the program, students were required to complete a research work plan and enroll in a class that explores sustainability research methods.
Illinois State U Students Work to Site Large Solar Array
The student-led initiative, known as Solar Pathways Project, is currently exploring possible sites for solar panels to be installed at the university. The effort is sponsored by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and part of a multi-university effort organized by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
Virginia Commonwealth U Builds Learning Garden
With funding from a community engagement grant, the university's learning garden received new infrastructure from leftover renovation materials and is used to grow food as donation crops and rented by community members.
Penn State Grounds Become Bat Habitat
Biology and engineering students collaborated to research, design and build bat houses that will be placed at two campus locations that were identified as suitable bat habitats.
Cranfield U Launches MS Course in the Circular Economy
The new master's level course is on the concept of the circular economy, a notion that attempts to increasingly decouple production from the consumption of finite resources, and emphasizes keeping products and materials at their highest value and utility at all times. The course will focus on how business can be restorative and regenerative.
Michigan State U Courses Conduct Waste Audits
Two of four of the university's Introduction to Sustainability courses provide students with the opportunity to partner with the university's Recycling Center team to conduct a hands-on waste audit of a campus building. The Recycling Center team will use the data to improve signage and outreach materials.
Umpqua CC to Install 36KW Photovoltaic Array
As part of an ongoing energy efficiency overhaul for the campus, the community college will be installing a 36-kilowatt solar energy system that will have the ability to be expanded up to 300-kilowatt capacity.
SUNY Oneonta Creates Sustainability Living and Learning Community
Beginning in fall 2016, the college will offer two new living, learning communities for incoming freshman. The Sustainability Living Learning Community will focus on management of environmental and financial resources, and finding harmony with the natural environment. The Social Justice Living Learning Community will enable students to engage diverse perspectives and views, critically examine issues that cause oppression related to race, gender, age and other differences, and form connections to other community members interested in social justice issues.
U Calgary Launches Institutional Sustainability Strategy
The university recently completed a comprehensive institutional sustainability strategy that, for the first time, incorporates an academic framework to advance education and research for sustainability. During the launch, the university also announced a new interdisciplinary sustainability certificate that will be offered to all undergraduate students. The strategy is the result of more than two years of broad consultation with students, faculty, staff and community partners.
Michigan State U Students Nurture Green Space
A group of students from the university's Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment recently transformed a low-traffic area to a vibrant natural space to encourage students to enjoy and take advantage of the outdoor environment. Funding for the project was provided by the university's student sustainability fund.
Three Universities Create Global Alliance to Offer Sustainability Degrees
Arizona State University, King's College London and University of New South Wales Australia recently announced the PLuS Alliance, a new partnership dedicated to find research-led solutions to global challenges and increase access to learning. Beginning in fall 2016, more than 20 programs in sustainability, global health, social justice and sustainability leadership will be offered online. Degrees through the PLuS Alliance include Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science.
National U, U California San Diego Offer Sustainability Manager Training
The new partnership offers students a pathway to pursue studies in sustainability management by allowing those who have completed a University of California San Diego Extension’s Sustainable Business Practices certificate program to obtain credit for two classes that can be applied toward National University’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management. Both the certificate and master’s program are available online.
U Massachusetts Amherst to Open Online Food & Farming Degree
Starting in September 2016, the university's Stockbridge School of Agriculture will offer an online associate of science degree in sustainable food and farming. The online-only, 60-credit degree will cover basic knowledge of plant and soil science, and train students in agricultural techniques, community development, public policy and education. The program is designed to be flexible, allowing students to focus on specific career objectives.
Portland State U Launches Food Systems Certificate Program
The new program, Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems, aims to educate students on topics ranging from business and urban planning to policy and public health, providing a multi-dimensional understanding of the social, environmental and economic impacts of the food sector. A collaborative program developed by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, the certificate is offered through a unique partnership between four PSU units: the College of Urban and Public Affairs, Graduate School of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Business Administration.
U Kansas Offers Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability
Students from all disciplines can now pursue a certificate in sustainability that aims to bring a lens of sustainability to their future career. Requirements of the certificate include completing a selection of interdisciplinary coursework, an experiential learning component and a final reflection. The experiential learning requirement will involve participation in 60 hours of service, research or fieldwork with a campus department, community organization or business on a project or effort related to sustainability.
Virginia Tech, RIT Win Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge
A student from Virginia Tech recently won the award for best student design with a computer backpack made from 60-70 recycled plastic bags and organic cotton capable of reducing the plastic waste and carbon emissions by taking advantage of embodied energy already in the processed plastic. Rochester Institute of Technology's Engineers for a Sustainable World Team won the best use of Autodesk Fusion 360 by developing a recycled broom with a bristle head made form biodegradable material that can be replaced independently of the broom's other components. Autodesk allowed the team to compare and conserve materials through the animation feature, promoting a Cradle to Cradle approach to design.
U Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Offers New Sustainability Minor
Six academic units at the university now collaborate to offer a new campus-wide sustainability minor through the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. The purpose of the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Fellows Program (SEE FP) is to promote systems-level thinking about energy and sustainability, and foster the development of an integrated view of the economy, society and the environment. The fellows program will prepare students for pursuing careers in the corporate sector, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and environmental advocacy groups.
Rochester IT Students Create Enviro-Friendly Product Packaging
As part of a design competition, students from the packaging science department partnered with industrial design and graphic design students to re-work packaging designs for two Wegmans products, orange juice and Greek yogurt, with more sustainable materials. The challenge resembled those that would be found in the workplace, and provided the students with hands-on skills in project management, marketing and incorporating sustainable designs in product development.
Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition Names Five Finalists
The University of Texas at Dallas won the $10,000 prize for first place. Duke University walked away with $5,000 for finishing second. Penn State was awarded $2,500 for third place. Teams from Dartmouth and Texas Christian University were the other finalists. These five teams were selected from a pool of 28 after pitching their presentation about corporate environmental affairs at IBM to judges from IBM, PepsiCo and SKF.
Penn State Unveils New Online Undergraduate Sustainability Certificate
The new online undergraduate certificate in Earth sustainability is offered through the university's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The four courses required to obtain the certificate allow students to work with large data sets about climate change, water and food supplies, and natural hazards and conduct lab activities.
Furman U Develops Online Sustainability Science and Full Cost Analysis Course
In keeping with its mission to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching in support of sustainability, the university recently launched the free, open-source, online learning module for undergraduate and introductory graduate-level course that explores problem-solving with systems thinking to account for the economic, societal and environmental costs of a problem.
U California Names Faculty Climate Action Champions
As the university steps up efforts to eliminate its carbon footprint, it has named Faculty Climate Action Champions at each campus to work with students on projects aimed at building community engagement and awareness, and helping the university achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. The recognition comes with a $25,000 award, to be used for a project during the academic year.
Saint Mary's College California Students Live as Migrants
Students recently engaged in an immersion program on local food production systems in Salinas, California that required them to live off food stamps and with assigned families. The program hosted discussions on food justice, fair trade and the ecology of food production.
Enrollment in Food-Related Courses & Degrees Rises
Civileats.com released a partial compilation of universities and colleges that offer degrees and courses in food. The article discusses the surge in demand in recent years for food as an academic subject. Among other areas, students are interested in learning about food equality issues, the local and organic food movement and food policy.
U Utah Offers Graduate Certificate in Sustainability
Launched in January 2015, the university's Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability is open to any University of Utah graduate student or non-degree seeking student with a bachelor's degree. The intent of the certificate is to expand career opportunities and increase students' capabilities to be agents of transformational change within their communities and institutions.
University World News: 'Open Education the Sustainable Way in the Knowledge Age'
The recent article from University World News says most models of higher education are based on the presumption of perpetual growth. The author argues that the only way to widen access to tertiary education sustainably is through an open access model, and that education is key to creating models of growth that do not rely on scarce resources.
Virginia Commonwealth U Students Use UCI Cycling Championships to Study Recycling
Students in a class organized by the university’s Office of Sustainability will log, map and analyze tweets sent by the 450,000 spectators anticipated at the upcoming UCI Road World Cycling Championships and will use geographic informations systems to produce maps, study the location of existing recycling resources, and create proposals on how to guide crowds toward resources with signage.
California State U System Funds Sustainability Curriculum Development
The university's systemwide Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) program provides up to $12,000 to each campus to support the redesign of an existing course that ties in sustainability and campus facilities. This year, 21 teams from 19 universities received grants supporting water conservation, energy and waste reduction, and enhanced partnerships with local utilities.
U Toledo to Offer Disability Studies Major
The university's new undergraduate major in disability studies will be based on a 21-credit set of required courses that include an introduction to the field, courses on disability culture and a course on the history of disability in the U.S. The program at Toledo will join minors at Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of California at Berkeley.
Kapi'olani CC Students Build Solar Cart
The community college's team of Engineers for a Sustainable World built the cart to demonstrate how science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be applied towards building a more sustainable campus. The apparatus has the ability to provide 0.5-kilowatt-hours of AC electricity.
U California Riverside to Launch Sustainability Science Degree Program
Offered through the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, the interdisciplinary bachelor of science degree will focus on challenges to sustainability such as climate change, air and water pollution, toxic contamination, energy demands, economic growth, agricultural production, and environmental degradation.
RIT Professor Wins Excellence in Teaching Sustainability Award
Associate professor Brian Thorn will be presented the Sustainable Development Excellence in Teaching Sustainability Award by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. The award recognizes him for leadership, innovation and teaching sustainability principles within the university’s industrial and systems engineering program, and integrating ways to apply that learning in real world situations.
U Vermont Adds Sustainability Requirement
Starting with this fall’s freshman class, Class of 2019, sustainable approaches and practices will be built into the university’s curriculum across departments, and woven into co-curricular activities, so there will be several ways for students to fulfill the new requirement.
Aquinas and Bard College Join Summer MBA Sustainability Consortium
The two colleges recently joined the summer MBA Sustainability Consortium that allows member schools to offer their summer MBA courses to other members so students may use their home institution's financial aid. Membership in the consortium is free and open to accredited colleges and universities.
U Vermont Earns Recognition for U.N. Sustainability Education Program
Vermont’s Greater Burlington Region recently received official designation as a Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations' University Institute for Advanced Studies of Sustainability, including the University of Vermont's service-learning partnerships with local schools and non-governmental organizations.