EAUC Announces the 2018 Green Gown Award Winners

(U.K.) Administered by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC), the Green Gown Awards recognize the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. This year, there were 17 winners and 15 highly commended institutions or people.

East Carolina U Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Plan

The university's inaugural Sustainability Plan, covering 2019-2023, outlines goals in the areas of climate change mitigation, academics and research, campus grounds, and materials management. More than 60 faculty, staff, students and members of the community participated in developing the plan over the past year.

AASHE & ACTS Partner to Bring STARS to Australasia

A new partnership between AASHE and Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) provides a framework for a cohort of ACTS members to conduct a STARS assessment. Anticipated to begin in early 2019, the pilot initiative is for ACTS members that have dedicated a staff member to support the cohort. Qualifying ACTS members will receive a substantial discount from AASHE to use STARS.

UCLA Wins National Athletic Sustainability Award

The University of California, Los Angeles was the winner of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USG Corporation Sustainability Award for its work on the Wasserman Football Center. The award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions across all divisions, honoring athletics directors and their universities for incorporating sustainable practices and materials into their athletics facilities. Bentley University and Georgia State University were finalists, receiving $10,000 each in USG product while UCLA received $40,000 in USG product.

McGill U Provides Staff With Resources to Incorporate Sustainability

The McGill Office of Sustainability has released two new resources that encourage staff to make sustainability a part of their everyday work life. One resource is for new employees while the other outlines many different ways to engage with sustainability practices, programs and initiatives on campus.

Stony Brook U Professor Earns Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award

Alex Orlov, Ph.D., associate professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a faculty member of the Consortium for Inter-Disciplinary Environmental Research and the Advanced Energy Center at Stony Brook University, will receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineering’s Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award for "outstanding contributions to sustainability education". He is being recognized for new approaches to teaching sustainability practices to undergraduate and graduate engineering students. The annual award comes with a $1,000 cash prize.

Princeton Review Releases Guide to 399 Green Colleges

The Princeton Review's 2018 Guide to 399 Green Colleges is a free guide that profiles universities and colleges with commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives and activities. The edition includes a Top 50 Green Colleges list. In related news, STARS ratings have now been added to campus profiles on Princeton Review website. The rating is displayed in the Sustainability section of the Campus Life tab.

Ball State U Faculty Receives 2018 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award

Eva Zygmunt is the Helen Gant Elmore Distinguished Professor of Elementary Education and co-director of the Alliance for Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation at Ball State University. Zygmunt was selected for her work in training future teachers in thoughtfully engaging communities to work toward social justice and educational equity in the classroom. This Campus Compact award is bestowed annually to recognize one faculty member and up to four finalists for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal partnerships, building institutional commitments to engagement, and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. Four finalists were also acknowledged for their achievements.

Southern Oregon U Signs Real Food Commitment

By signing up for the Real Food Challenge, the university agreed that at least 20 percent of its food budget by 2023 will be spent on “real food”. To get there, the university will establish a transparent reporting system and file an annual progress report to evaluate its food purchasing practices; create a food systems working group that will develop a “real food" policy and multi-year action plan; and increase awareness of ecologically sustainable, humane and socially equitable food systems.

AASHE Announces 2018 Sustainability Award Winners

From more than 300 submissions in this year’s award program, 11 submissions were selected across four categories that include the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. Some recipients will present on their award-winning work at AASHE 2018.

Four Universities Join University Climate Change Coalition

Second Nature recently announced that Boston University, the University of Connecticut, the University of South Florida, and Washington University in St. Louis have joined the thirteen other research universities that comprise the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3). UC3 is a new network of research institutions from across North America formed in early February that committed to leveraging their institutional strengths to foster exchange of best practices and research agenda in pursuit of accelerating local climate solutions.

Times Higher Education to Develop International SDGs Ranking

A new global university ranking that aims to measure institutions’ success in meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals is under development by Times Higher Education (THE). The first edition of the ranking will include metrics based on 11 SDGs and the long-term goal is to measure performance against all 17 goals. The ranking will be open to all accredited universities that teach undergraduates, and the first edition will be launched at THE’s Innovation and Impact Summit in South Korea in April 2019. Data collection will begin this autumn.

U California Expands Systemwide Sustainability Goals

As part of its Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the university now aims to provide 100 percent of its electricity across its campuses and medical centers from clean sources by 2025. Additional goals include reducing energy-use intensity by 2 percent year over year and discontinuing on-site fossil fuel combustion for water and space heating in new buildings and major renovations after June 2019. Enhanced purchasing requirements supporting sustainable sourcing were adopted and each campus will reduce municipal solid waste 25 percent by 2025, and by 50 percent by 2030.

Chronicle of Higher Ed Showcases Sustainable Campus Index

In early September, The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted AASHE's 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, an impact report that spotlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type. The Chronicle piece features the top 10 schools by overall score for doctoral, master's, baccalaureate and associate institutions, along with seven of 10 subcategories, which are sortable by score.

U North Carolina Charlotte Adopts Air Quality Measures for Construction

The university, with assistance from Clean Air Carolina, recently changed its Design and Construction Manual to require contracted companies to reduce diesel fuel emissions while working on campus. These new standards, which apply to all future construction projects on campus, discourage prolonged idling of equipment on construction sites and require all equipment to use the lowest exhaust emissions possible.

U Missouri Announces Ban on All Tobacco Use

The new policy prohibits all use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on campus. The university applied for and won a grant from the American Cancer Society to help implement it.

York College to Transition to Smoke- & Tobacco-Free Campus

Taking effect June 2019, the college will implement a full ban on smokeless tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, pipes or other smoking material and devices, including electronic cigarettes.

Sierra Magazine Releases 2018 Cool Schools Full Ranking

This year, Sierra's Cool Schools ranking features 269 North American institutions, including, for the first time, community colleges. The annual ranking assesses colleges' environmental practices in food and transportation systems, water and waste management, purchasing procedures, academics, investments and more. Sierra based its ranking this year on scores from the AASHE Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

18 Schools Earn Top Spots in 2018 Sustainable Campus Index

AASHE recently released the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, which recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate’s), Dickinson College (baccalaureate), Green Mountain College (master’s), and University of California, Irvine (doctoral/research). The full list of top-performing institutions for each of the impact areas can be found within the report.

California State U East Bay Approves First Climate Action Plan

In early May 2018, the campus completed one of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment milestones by approving its first Climate Action Plan. The plan, which includes immediate, near-, medium- and long- action steps, indicates the university has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.

APPA Selects Five 2018 Sustainability Innovation Award Recipients

Central Michigan University, James Madison University, Simon Fraser University, San Jose State University, and University of Calgary were recipients of this year's Sustainability Innovation Award given by APPA. This award is designed to recognize and advance sustainability in educational facilities.

U Louisiana Lafayette Adopts Sustainability Strategic Plan

The 21-point plan enumerates goals through 2021 that seek to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy and water consumption. It is the institution's first comprehensive statement of environmental objectives.

AASHE Announces Sustainability Award Finalists

The AASHE Sustainability Awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 34 finalists were chosen from nearly 300 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced mid-September.

U Wisconsin-Madison Hires Sustainability Director

Melissa Nergard has been selected as the inaugural full-time director of Sustainability. Nergard comes to UW-Madison from Illinois State University where she served as director of Sustainability. In the near term, Nergard will focus on expanding and re-aligning the Office of Sustainability in order to advance the university’s sustainability efforts, as well as spearhead the university's AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) reporting and greenhouse gas data collection, benchmarking and reporting. Nergard holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from UW–Stevens Point and a master’s in history from Illinois State, and is scheduled to complete her Ph.D. in higher education administration in 2019, also from Illinois State.

Three Universities Receive NACUBO Sustainability Awards

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) annual awards honor institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management. The three universities that received this honor for sustainability leadership are University of California, Los Angeles; University of Minnesota, Morris; and University of Texas at Arlington.

Lenoir-Rhyne U Introduces Sustainability Scholarship

Lenoir-Rhyne undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy that plan to pursue a Master of Science in Sustainability Studies at the university now have the opportunity to apply for the Bracewell/Trout Unlimited Conservation Education Scholarship. The expected award is $3,540 - $4,130 per year toward tuition and additional fees.

NACUFS Highlights Dining Sustainability Award Winners

The annual National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor member institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations. The overall winner was Harvard University, which also earned Silver in Waste Management. Boston College earned top honors in Outreach and Education, Carleton University earned first place in Waste Management, and the University of Rochester earned top place in Procurement Practices.

ISCN Announces 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award Winners

The International Sustainable Campus Network announced the 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award winners. The University of Copenhagen (Denmark) won the Building and Innovative Infrastructure Award; Stanford University won the Campus Planning and Management Systems Award; the Free University of Berlin (Germany) received the Innovative Collaboration Award; and the University of Cyprus (Cyprus) earned the Student Leadership Award. These awards recognize universities for exceptional sustainability efforts in campus planning, integration with academics, student leadership, and exemplary building projects.

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.

Harvard U Adopts Sustainable IT Standards

The new standards focus on actionable recommendations that schools and departments can adopt in three core areas – waste, energy and practice – aimed at reducing the environmental impact of technology. The Sustainable IT Standards were created by the Green IT Working Group that comprises IT, operations and facilities professionals, in collaboration with the Office for Sustainability and Harvard University Information Technology.

U Pittsburgh Hires First Sustainability Director

As part of the university’s newly formalized sustainability plan, Aurora Sharrard will leave her post as executive director of the Green Building Alliance on July 1 to become the university’s first-ever director of Sustainability. Among the projects she helped to develop and oversee while at the Green Building Alliance were the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, a coalition between local government, residents, higher education institutions and businesses to address the city’s climate change goals.

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.

Seattle Colleges Hires Associate Vice Presidents for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

For the first time in the history of Seattle Colleges, all colleges have established campus diversity officers for equity, diversity and inclusion. These positions will report directly to their respective college presidents. Each position will be tasked to work collaboratively across the district and to help establish and monitor the equity and inclusion goals in the Seattle Colleges strategic plan. D’Andre Fisher is at North Seattle College; Betsy Hasegawa is at South Seattle College; and Valerie Hunt is at Seattle Central College.

Three Universities Win International Green Gown Awards

University of Tasmania (Australia) won in the Community category; Canterbury Christ Church University (U.K.) won in the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change category: and Chiba University (Japan) won the Student Engagement category. The awards recognize exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.

U Bath to Pay Voluntary Living Wage

(U.K.) The university is applying for formal accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation to reinforce its commitment to ensure salaries keep pace with the cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announces living wage rates in the first week of November each year and, once accredited, the university will be committed to implementing that rate.

Harvard U Graduate Assistants Vote for Union

Graduate students at Harvard University voted 1,931 to 1,523 to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The election, held earlier this month, was the second on the union issue, as a 2016 vote proved inconclusive.

U Maryland Installs Wall of Plants in Library

In an effort to inspire creativity and support well-being, living plants now cover the surface of an interior wall at the university's McKeldin Library as part of a series of renovations to the library’s busy first floor. The bio-wall project was partially funded by students through the University Sustainability Fund.

U Illinois Chicago Releases Climate Action Implementation Plan

The new Climate Action Implementation Plan includes seven strategies that integrate the university's goals for carbon neutrality, zero waste, net zero water, and creating a biodiverse university. The strategies cover energy, transportation, natural systems and ecosystem services, materials and waste, curriculum and engagement, and climate resiliency. The portfolio of solutions will be implemented over the next 10 years through 2028.

Five Colleges Create Renewable Energy Partnership

Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith and Williams Colleges have formed the New England Colleges Renewable Partnership, an effort that will facilitate the development of additional solar electricity generation. The planned project will allow them to offset 46,000 megawatt-hours per year of their collective electrical needs from a new solar power facility to be built in Farmington, Maine.

Hampshire College Appoints a Sustainability Officer as President

Miriam E. Nelson, PhD. comes to Hampshire College as its seventh president from the University of New Hampshire, where she has served as deputy director of the Sustainability Institute since 2016. Prior to the UNH, Nelson spent over three decades at Tufts University where she served on the faculty and was chair of the faculty at Tisch College of Civic Life, founded the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, published over 100 scholarly papers and presented at hundreds of conferences nationally and overseas, and was health and nutrition adviser to the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, and Agriculture.

U California Davis Releases Growth Plan Alongside an Environmental Impact Report

The university recently released an updated Long Range Development Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), which assesses the potential environmental impacts of the proposed development plan along with new housing projects. The goal of the new development scheme is to plan for future growth in programs while targeting environmental goals in areas such as energy and water use, transportation, and waste management.

Eastern Kentucky U Introduces Dockless Bike-Share System

Designed to help students get around the Richmond campus, the university recently contracted with LimeBike to introduce 100 brightly painted green and yellow bicycles at no cost to the university, with plans to increase the fleet to 250 in the upcoming weeks.

California State U System Creates Healthy Food Working Group

In an effort to offer healthier food options on campus for students, the California State Universities' Food Systems Working Group convened had its inaugural meeting in March. The meeting was attended by students, professors, technical experts, dining management staff, food producers and administrators from all 23 campuses and their respective communities. Their goal is to get more real food, defined as local- and community-based, fair trade, ecologically sound and humane, on CSU campuses.

Arizona State U Hosts 'Day Without Cars' Event

As part of a coordinated effort to further sustainable transportation efforts, nearly 400 university students and staff members signed a pledge to take an alternate, non-single occupancy vehicle mode of transit to campus on March 27.

U Dayton Hires Executive Director of Sustainability Institute

Ben McCall was selected to be the first executive director of the University of Dayton's Hanley Sustainability Institute. Currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, McCall helped develop a project to verify carbon credits from campus emission reductions, raising nearly $1.5 million for campus sustainability efforts. He also coordinated design of and fundraising for a biomass boiler system; advocated for the first wind energy power purchase agreement for the campus; and facilitated the initiation of a student-led program to convert used cooking oil from dining halls into biodiesel. His appointment begins in mid-August.

Mount Holyoke College Seeks Carbon Neutrality by 2037

The college's board of trustees recently announced the 2037 carbon neutrality goal, which is also the institution’s bicentennial. To achieve carbon neutrality, the college aims to invest in energy efficiency and conservation, retrofit historic buildings and transition to carbon-neutral heating and electricity sources. The decision to pursue carbon neutrality came after nearly a year of analysis and research by the college's Sustainability Task Force.

St. Lawrence U Publishes Campus Sustainability Map

The intention of the new map application is to provide the university community with information and locations related to sustainability points of interest on the main campus. The map allows viewers to navigate different layers of sustainability on campus ranging from where to bring organic waste to locations with renewable energy to information about outdoor air quality.

College of the Holy Cross to Phase Out Knight Mascot and Imagery

Noting that the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties the college to religious wars and the violence of the Crusade, it will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. It will instead use the interlocking HC on a purple shield as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising.

GUPES Announces 2017 Green Gown Awards Winners

The U.N. Environment Program and the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) recently announced Chiba University in Japan as this year’s GUPES Green Gown Awards Winner for its pioneering Student Committee-led achievement of international Environmental and Energy Management Systems certifications, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, respectively. A collective of five universities in Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich University of Teacher Education, Zurich University of the Arts, and Zurich University of Applied Sciences, won the Highly Commended Award for their Sustainability Week Zurich, a large student run sustainability project in Switzerland.

Durham U to Divest From Fossil Fuels

(U.K.) Following a year-long review of divestment options and the impact divestment would have on the university’s finances, the university’s highest governing body recently decided to withdraw financial investments from companies involved in fossil fuel extraction. These currently total less than $2.1 million (1.5 million British pounds).