Keene State College Establishes Env'l Studies Department
Keene State College (NH) has created a Department of Environmental Studies. The courses in the new department will focus on how people interact with the environment, incorporating the natural world as well as social and political systems.
UNESCO, Microsoft Announce Partnership for Green Training
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Microsoft Corp. have announced a joint task force to help higher education institutions worldwide meet the growing challenge of supporting economic stimulus efforts and work-force development strategies. The UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will create a strategic plan of action to identify how ICT can be used by governments as a catalyst for change. The Task Force will also seek to ensure that students are equipped to drive and support economic growth and to address major development challenges such as those related to the environment.
Federal Agencies Announce Biofuels Research Grants
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have announced up to $6.3 million in funding for genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production. Awards have been given to the University of Georgia, Michigan Technological University, the University of Florida, and the University of Nebraska.
North Carolina State U Receives $1.3M to Improve Hybrid Car Batteries
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $1.3 million to faculty in North Carolina State University's Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center to improve the batteries that help power plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The grant will support research into the development and use of electrospinning technology to integrate lithium alloy and carbon into novel composite nanofiber anodes, which hold more energy, cost less and tolerate abuse better than materials found in existing batteries.
U Arkansas Sustainability Research Ctr Receives PepsiCo Grant
The University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center has received a $300,000 grant from PepsiCo. The Center works with a wide range of partners, including other UA colleges, for the rapid development of sustainable business practices and to promote their application across the retail and consumer goods industries.
Universities Receives DOE Funding for Wind Energy Research
The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the selection of 28 new wind energy research projects for up to $13.8 million in funding. The higher education institutions that will receive a portion of the funding include: the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Illinois Institute of Technology; New Mexico State University; the University of Michigan; the University of Colorado; Tennessee Technological University; the University of Texas at Austin; and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
U Tennessee Opens Biodiesel Production Facility
The University of Tennessee has opened a biodiesel production facility on its agricultural campus. The production facility will convert waste fryer oil from Knoxville area restaurants into useable fuel and will serve as a research center for other agricultural fuels like soybean oil and oilseed crops. The facility can produce up to 380,000 gallons of biodiesel annually, which will supply UT and local businesses.
Trident Tech, Virginia Tech Partner for Sustainability Initiatives
Trident Technical College (SC) and Virginia Tech have announced a joint initiative called TTC Green, a program that seeks to expand TTC's energy efficiency and sustainability efforts at all three of its campuses. Virginia Tech will help the College to develop curricula that will enhance TTC's program offerings to include green building construction, engineering technology, and management curricula and certifications that lead to green careers. Virginia Tech experts will also consult with TTC officials as the college develops a comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit program.
U Maine, U Southern Maine Receives $20M for Sustainability Initiative
The University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine have received a $20 million National Science Foundation EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) grant for a new project called the Sustainability Solutions Initiative. The research portion of the five-year initiative will bring together core research teams from UM and USM, as well as government and industry stakeholders, to work to improve the science and practice of sustainable development. Researchers will also collaborate with non-profit organizations focused on community development in rural Maine. The project will begin by focusing on problems related to urbanization, forest management, and climate change.
Arizona State U Receives $60K Grant for Sustainable Cities
Arizona State University has received a $60,000 grant for its Sustainable Cities Network. The contribution is a market grant, with money pooled from 13 Sam’s Club stores in the Phoenix-Tucson-Prescott area. The Sustainable Cities Network is designed to be a bridge between ASU’s research and technical capabilities in sustainability and the front-line challenges facing cities.
Caltech Announces $90M Sustainability Institute
California Institute of Technology has announced plans for a $90 million Resnick Sustainability Institute. The vision of the new Institute is to provide a path to sustainability by focusing on innovative science and engineering developments required for groundbreaking energy technologies. Caltech has already received $30 million and has plans to obtain additional funding over the next year.
Carnegie Mellon U Prof Receives EPA Green Chemistry Award
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences and University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (PA), received the 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Matyjaszewski, the second Carnegie Mellon professor to receive the award, was recognized in the academic category for the development of an environmentally low-impact form of Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization, a widely used method for preparation of functional polymers. The EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge promotes research and development of less-hazardous alternatives to existing technologies in an effort to reduce or eliminate waste, particularly hazardous waste, in industrial production.
CC of Allegheny Council to Launch Green Institute
The Community College of Allegheny County (PA) has announced the establishment of the Green Institute, which will launch this fall with a broad range of topics related to both green technology and energy conservation. The College will offer three free informational classes in alternative energy and energy conservation this summer as a preview of the institute’s fall programs. The courses offered in the fall include: "Go Green at Home with Safer Products," "Green Building Operators Certification," "Solar Panel Installation and Maintenance Certification," and "Energy Losses and Conservation of Energy in Buildings."
Union College Pilots Fuel Cell Technology
Union College (NY) has been selected as the host site of a new residential fuel cell. As part of the project, a 5 kilowatt combined heat and power (CHP) unit will convert natural gas into electricity and heat for the Beuth House residence hall. The companies running the unit will use the data collected to determine system refinements for incorporation into the next-generation system design.
Western Illinois U Partners to Protect National Resources
Western Illinois University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the shared goals of protecting natural resources and enhancing environmental sustainability in the region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will work closely with Western's Institute for Environmental Studies to conduct environmental research and data gathering and to provide environmental education opportunities surrounding large river natural resources.
Appalachian State U Partners for Renewable Energy Education
Appalachian State University (NC) has partnered with Ching Yun University to develop faculty and student exchanges, participate in collaborative research activities, and jointly publish research papers focused on renewable energy. ASU hopes to learn from CYU's solar and wind installations, and CYU plans to study ASU's biofuel initiatives.
U Colorado Boulder Partners to Establish Renewable Energy Ctr
The University of Colorado at Boulder has announced plans to partner with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to launch a joint institute on campus. The institute will blend disciplines — including business, engineering, and law — to explore renewable energy production and policies. The program will facilitate collaboration among researchers and offer graduate and undergraduate courses.
Alliant Intl U Partners for Green Development
Alliant International University (CA) has partnered with EcoDynamics, LLC to advance renewable energy production, environmental conservation, and sustainable business development. As part of each of its projects, EcoDynamics will create an Alliant Sustainability Center that will house research, educational, and outreach activities related to energy production, resource management, sustainable development, and conservation. These Centers will provide further opportunities for Alliant’s faculty and students to participate in research, planning, and educating the public about these topics.
Cornell U Opens New Biofuels Research Laboratory
Cornell University (NY) has opened a new Biofuels Research Laboratory. The new $6 million facility will study and research ways to convert sugars from nonfood crops, such as grasses and wood, into fuel. The lab will provide educational opportunities for students.
McGill U Receives Funding for Green Chemistry Project
McGill University has received a total of $63 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Quebec government. The funds will support five research projects, one of which will help discover new chemical reactions which allow chemists to switch from harmful petrochemicals and solvents to environmentally sound alternatives. $16 million has been allotted for green chemistry research.
Ohio State U Students Win 1st Phase of EcoCAR Competition
A team of Ohio State University Engineering students have won the first phase of EcoCAR: The Next Challenge, a competition run by the U.S. Department of Energy that is challenging student teams to re-engineer a 2009 Saturn Vue to achieve improved fuel economy and reduced emissions while retaining the vehicle’s performance and consumer appeal. 17 teams competed in the competition. In this first year of the EcoCAR competition, each team received $10,000 to begin developing their vehicle designs. During years two and three, students will build the vehicle and continue to refine, test and improve vehicle operation. At the end of years two and three, the re-engineered student vehicle prototypes will compete in a week-long competition of engineering tests.
San Diego State Establishes Center for Regional Sustainability
San Diego State University (CA) has established the SDSU Center for Regional Sustainability. The Center will be a forum through which a range of stakeholders can come together to work collaboratively to implement comprehensive sustainable solutions to pressing problems in San Diego and Imperial counties, and in Northern Baja, Mexico. Identifying and tackling particular issues, such as water resource management, climate change, transportation, energy, air quality, health, social equity, and sustainable workforce development, the center will build on its capacity to conduct basic and applied research while sponsoring regional and community forums to further define and identify pressing issues.
U Connecticut Partners for Green Chemistry Solutions
The University of Connecticut and VeruTEK Technologies, Inc has entered into an agreement to jointly develop, formulate, and distribute green chemistry solutions and implementation technologies that remedy and eliminate the toxic effects of chemical waste in the environment. The partnership seeks to develop Environmental Catalysis and Photocatalysis of Pollutants.
Campuses Donate Unwanted Items During Move-Out
AASHE has posted a blog on 2008 campus collection/donation campaigns, through which several campuses donated unwanted items during move-out season. The initiatives kept items out of landfills, saved trash pickup fees, and donated items to a good cause. Highlighted campuses include Rutgers University (NJ), Suffolk University (MA), San Francisco State University (CA), University of Dayton (OH), and Alfred University (NY).
Farmingdale State College to Create Green Building Institute
Farmingdale State College (NY) has announced that it has secured $357,000 in federal funds to establish a Green Building Institute. The GBI effort will include participation from faculty in Architectural Design and Management, Construction Technology, Landscape Design, Electrical Engineering, and the Solar Energy. Working with municipalities, agencies, and the public in training, workshops, and seminars, the institute will address such needs as alternative energies, alternative construction materials, storm water management, and “green” roofs and walls and will help to develop sampling techniques for monitoring indoor air quality and water efficient landscaping. In addition, the GBI will provide economic analysis and consultation in alternative land usage, cost-benefit analysis of alternative construction materials and energy systems, and the economic impact of green building construction. Development of the GBI will begin this fall, with its introduction expected to take place in 2010.
Harvard U Class of '84 Reunion Goes Green
The New York Times has published a blog post on a Harvard University (MA) alumni class that opted to hold a green 25th reunion. Environmentally friendly features of the class of 1984's reunion included the use of reusable bottles, plates, and glasses; local food; and biodiesel-fueled busses for a field trip. The organizers of the event also offered suggestions for how attendees could offset their travel emissions.
U Maryland, North Carolina State U to Host NOAA Climate Inst
The University of Maryland has announced that it will lead a new climate research partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and 17 other institutions. The nationwide consortium led by Maryland won a competition for a new NOAA-supported Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS) that will receive up to $93 million in funding over the next five years, with approximately two-thirds of this funding expected to be managed by the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center of the University of Maryland. CICS will be directed from two principal locations: the first in Maryland's research park; and the second associated with the agency's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. North Carolina State University will be the lead institution for the UNC system and will host an Inter-Institutional Research Institute. CICS will work to create a National Climate Service that would provide longer-term forecasts and warnings related to climate change.
U Nevada Reno Establishes Renewable Energy Research Ctr
The University of Nevada, Reno has formalized its renewable energy research efforts in a new collaborative, the Renewable Energy Center. The collaboration will primarily focus on the work of four colleges within the University: Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; Business; Engineering; and Science. Research areas will include geothermal, biomass, hydrogen energy, and solar.
Furman U Class Constructs Cabin for Environmental Learning
A group of students in a Furman University (SC) Experience course have constructed a replica of the cabin that Henry David Thoreau lived in while writing Walden . The students built the structure after reading the book, and plan to donate it for use as a teaching tool and a learning laboratory for classes covering such subjects as environmentalism, philosophy, and literature.
NY Times Covers MBA Graduate Pledges for Social Responsibility
The New York Times has published an article on the increase in MBA programs that offer a voluntary or mandatory pledge to conduct business for the greater good and on the growing number of ethics courses and clubs. The article reviews pledges at Harvard University (MA) and Columbia University (NY) business schools and mentions ethics courses and student organizations at University of Pennsylvania and Columbia MBA programs.
Research Universities Worldwide Sign Sustainability Agreement
Vice-chancellors and presidents from Universitas 21, the international network of 21 research-intensive universities in 14 countries, have signed a statement on sustainability at their annual meeting held in Seoul, South Korea. The statement emphasizes the important role universities play in facing the challenges of climate change, the decline of biodiversity, the need for energy, food and water security, and of economic sustainability and of human health. Under the agreement, each university will develop, publish, and monitor targets, share the results with the others, undertake research aimed at a sustainable future, establish the university campus as a living laboratory for such a future, emphasize citizenship and engagement to promote faculty, staff, and student volunteers, and build capacity through cross-network collaboration and work. Fourteen of the university leaders also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a joint PhD program to enable doctoral students to undertake joint degrees. The universities believe this will enhance the students' international research and employment opportunities. American and Canadian participants include the University of British Columbia and the University of Virginia.
NY Times Covers Increasing Number of Organic Farm Internships
The New York Times has published an article on the increasing number of liberal arts students who are opting to intern at organic farms during the summer. The article mentions Barnard College (NY), Kenyon College (OH), Washington State University, and New York University.
Students Campaign for Econ Textbooks to Address Sustainability Issues
Students have begun a campaign, called Toxic Textbooks, to support and coordinate protests against college and university economics textbooks that do not consider social and environmental externalities. The group desires a textbook that instead focuses on human well-being and quality of life and teaches students to distinguish between poverty in terms of low quality of life and in terms of low monetary income.
Arizona State U Partners to Advance Solar Technology
Arizona State University has partnered with Advent Solar, a solar technology company, to develop solutions for improving energy harvesting of solar systems. ASU and Advent Solar will collaborate to develop solar technology based upon an integrated cell-to-module architecture that delivers higher energy efficiency at lower production costs.
Case Western Reserve U to Pilot New Energy Reduction Technologies
Case Western Reserve University (OH) has announced plans to pilot Cisco's new building energy use reduction technology in its biomedical Wolstein Research Building and in one of its largest residence halls. The initiative, known as Connected Real Estate project, aims to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.
Lafayette College Creates Film on Campus Sustainability Project
Students and faculty at Lafayette College (PA) have created Dig the Earth , a feature length film documenting the College's Corn on the Quad sustainability project and the academic and cultural issues the project explores. Corn on the Quad was a companion project to the Fall 2008 first-year students’ orientation reading of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma . The project consisted of three plots of corn planted by students, faculty, and staff at the center of campus. Students in a film theory and practice course worked as production assistants and creative consultants on the 45 minute film. The students operated camera and editing equipment, conducted on camera interviews, edited footage, and reviewed and critiqued other students’ work. The film was director by the students' professor, Andrew Smith. Smith plans to show the film at film festivals and to pitch it to PBS.
U Tennessee to Host State Solar Institute
The University of Tennessee has announced plans to join Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority as a partner in Governor Phil Bredesen's proposed Volunteer State Solar Initiative. UT and ORNL will be home to The Tennessee Solar Institute, one of two projects in the proposed initiative subject to U.S. Department of Energy approval. The Tennessee Solar Institute would receive $31 million to focus on basic research to improve solar product affordability and efficiency.
Georgia Tech, Caltech Partner Globally for Sustainability
The Georgia Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology have joined with five international technological universities to form the Global Alliance of Technological Universities. The Alliance brings together these engineering-based universities in the belief that one of the best ways to address global societal issues is through the joint and concerted development of technological solutions based on top class research in science and technology. “Grand Challenges” identified by the Alliance include biomedicine and health care, sustainability and global environmental change, security of energy, water and food supplies, and changing demographics/ population.
Portland State U Receives Grant to Study Rooftop Solar Energy
A team of researchers at Portland State University (OR) has received over $600,000 to study the integration of solar panels and eco-roofs on rooftops to assess how combining these green technologies might boost overall photovoltaic energy production and green roof function. The researchers want to know if shading provided by the solar panels might benefit green roof vegetation, which often suffers during hot, dry months. As part of the study, a set of solar arrays will be installed over a series of 12-by-15 foot stainless steel trays simulating green roof conditions. Each set of solar panels installed above the green roof trays will have a corresponding set installed in a separate array without the trays. Installation for both projects is tentatively set for early summer 2009.
U Illinois Chicago Receives Grant to Study Benefits of Green Housing
The University of Illinois at Chicago has received nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to study the benefits of green housing. UIC researchers will evaluate the health and monetary benefits when 300 low-income residents move from distressed, unhealthy public housing into green, affordable, healthy housing.
U Michigan, GM Announced Automotive Research Institute
The University of Michigan and General Motors have announced the formation of the GM/U-M Institute of Automotive Research and Education. The institute will be dedicated to clean and efficient vehicle technologies that address challenges such as energy diversity, sustainable mobility, and technology innovation. It will link U-M faculty and GM in projects and research questions, as well as enable an efficient exchange of technical personnel and knowledge. The projects will supplement ongoing work within GM and will provide U-M faculty and students with research focused on real-world challenges.
DOE to Establish Energy Research Centers at 31 Universities
The White House has announced the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science will invest $777 million in Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) over the next five years. Out of 46 new Centers, 31 will be located at Universities. Supported in part by funds made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , the EFRCs will bring together groups of leading scientists to address fundamental issues in fields ranging from solar energy and electricity storage to materials sciences, biofuels, advanced nuclear systems, and carbon capture and sequestration. Over 110 institutions from 36 states plus the District of Columbia will be participating in the EFRC research. In all, the EFRCs will involve nearly 700 senior investigators and employ, on a full- or part-time basis, over 1,100 postdoctoral associates, graduate students, undergraduate students, and technical staff.
U California Berkeley Profs Receive Carbon Capture Research Grant
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded grants to two professors at the University of California, Berkeley for carbon capture and sequestration research. Professors Berend Smit and Donald DePaolo will get $2 million and $4 million a year, respectively, to seek better ways to remove carbon from the emissions of power plants and natural gas wells. Smit will work on more efficient scrubbing of carbon dioxide from power plant plumes and DePaolo will focus on how to better store carbon dioxide underground where it won’t leak out of porous rocks and into the air again.
U Wyoming Receives $3M for Clean Coal Technology
The University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources Clean Coal Technology Center has received a $1.5 million gift from the Arch Coal Foundation and a matching grant from the State of Wyoming. The $3 million will be used to support students and faculty who are dedicated to the development of improved technologies for the extraction of energy from coal.
Group Campaigns to Include Green Building in Architecture Accreditation
The Boston Society of Architects Architectural Education Committee has launched a campaign to encourage the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) to include carbon neutral building in the accreditation requirements for professional degree programs in architecture. The NAAB Board of Directors has approved the first reading of the 2009 Conditions for Accreditation , and the document is now available for review and comment by the general public. The deadline for comments is June 1, 2009.
Inside Higher Ed Publishes Article on Sustainable Ag Education
Inside Higher Ed has published an article titled, "Green Revolution," that discusses the growth in sustainable agriculture programs on campuses across the nation. The article mentions the University of California, Davis and North Carolina State University and profiles programs at the University of Maine, the University of Missouri at Columbia, Montana State University, Washington State University, the University of Florida, and Iowa State University.
Santa Clara U Sustainability Activist Wins Fulbright Award
Santa Clara University (CA) senior Elizabeth Tellman has won a Fulbright U.S. Student Award. Tellman, a double major in Environmental Studies and Individual Studies with an emphasis on Sustainable Globalization, plans to use the fellowship to continue work she began using a Hackworth grant at SCU. With fellow student Alexandra Dunne, she explored whether Salvadoran organic coffee farmers are better off with established or alternative trade networks to sell their coffee. She plans to continue that analysis as a Fulbright scholar for 10 months starting in August, measuring the various trade options by their impact on the farmers’ food insecurity, or whether they can grow or buy enough food for themselves and their families. While on campus, Tellman hosted multiple events each quarter to increase awareness in the areas of sustainability, labor rights, and cultural values surrounding food. Tellman also received honorable mention in the 2008 AASHE Student Sustainability Leadership Award program.
Wayne State U Engineering Dev Ctr to Study Green Technologies
Wayne State University (MI) has opened the Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center. The $28 million, 82,500-square-foot facility contains labs that will be used to advance research in biofuels and diesel fuels, fuel cells, emissions and vehicle wear automotive systems; allow for 25 student faculty and student researchers to investigate ways to reduce traffic congestion and improve traffic and pedestrian safety; research and develop biotechnology applications that include micro-systems for artificial vision, real-time cancer detection, and other biological and neurological implants and smart sensors; and conduct advanced research in surface science, tissue engineering, drug delivery, and biomaterials.
U California Davis, San Diego to Expand California Solar Energy
The University of California, Davis has received $3 million from the California Energy Commission to coordinate efforts of four statewide programs. The new California Renewable Energy Collaborative will become the administrative center for three existing programs focused on biomass, geothermal, and wind energy, as well as a new fourth program that will focus on solar energy. In related news, the University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with the UC, Davis, will use a two-year, $700,000 grant from the California Energy Commission to expand the development and use of solar energy in the state. The new California Solar Energy Collaborative will collect and critically analyze existing solar research; facilitate research in gap areas where existing data are insufficient; and develop consensus among key solar stakeholders based on this research by tracking the evolving landscape of solar technology development and use in California. This new collaborative is also intended to help California achieve an ambitious target of installing 3,000 megawatts of solar in California by 2017.
U Guelph Cuts Organic Ag, Women's Studies Programs
The University of Guelph (ON) has cut its Organic Agriculture and Women's Studies programs. The final decision was made by the deans and program committees in an effort to make up for a portion of the University's $16 million deficit. NOTE: After the publication of this news story, the University of Guelph decided to give the Organic Agriculture Program a one year reprieve. See UG's new press release for more information.