MIT Report Highlights Creation of Climate Action Advisory Committee

In a new report released in April, MIT announced a new Climate Action Advisory Committee to consult on the implementation of climate plans, develop a set of strategies and benchmarks for the school's engagement with industry, government and other institutions, and assist in finding ways to engage the broader community in climate action. The report also outlines progress on its five-year climate action plan released in October 2015.

EPA Honors Winners of Campus RainWorks Challenge

In April 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency announced four winners and two honorable mentions for the 2015 Campus RainWorks Challenge. University of Texas at Arlington (Master Plan category) and University of Maryland, College Park (Demonstration Project category) were first place winners, with Stevens Institute of Technology (Master Plan) and University of California, Berkeley (Demonstration Project) taking second place. The Campus RainWorks Challenge encourages students to learn about the current or potential impacts of climate change on campus and demonstrate how using green infrastructure practices on their campuses can build resiliency to those impacts while effectively managing stormwater runoff.

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.

Johns Hopkins Releases New Sustainability Report

Through efforts to meet the university's pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51 percent by 2025, the newly released report reveals greenhouse gas emissions were down 30 percent from 2007 levels, despite a 9.3 percent increase in its building footprint and 4.6 percent increase in total energy consumption. A portion of the reduction is attributable to the regional electricity grid's fuel mix, which now uses less coal and more natural gas and renewable sources.

U Virginia Launches First Sustainability Plan

In honor of Earth Day, the university has launched its first comprehensive, strategic roadmap for sustainability that addresses pressing global challenges. The plan was developed by the University Committee on Sustainability and facilitated by the Office for Sustainability, representing over one hundred students, staff and faculty.

California State U Monterey Bay Uses Falcons in Demolitions

As the university prepares for demolition of some buildings, it is using a technique called bird abatement where birds of prey, in this case falcons, are used with handlers to deter other avian friends from making homes in the vacant, soon-to-be torn down structures. Simulating hunting patterns, the falcons do not hunt the other birds, their presence provides enough of a threat to warn other birds not to nest. If a nest is completed or found with eggs in or near any of the buildings, the demolition will have to be halted until the eggs hatch and the birds mature enough to fly on their own.

U Illinois Chicago Announces Four Climate Commitments

In a campus-wide ceremony, the university's chancellor presented four climate commitment action items that were developed by the university's Committee on Sustainability and Energy. The commitments include reducing carbon emissions yielding to a carbon-neutral campus, reducing, reusing and recycling material leading to a 90 percent waste diversion rate, increasing water efficiency to an amount equal to or less than what falls within the university's boundaries, and creating a resilient campus landscape that supports a biodiverse plant and animal ecosystem.

Stanford U Energy System Innovation Receives Award

Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) was awarded with the Engineering News-Record Editor's Choice & Best Energy/Industrial awards. The SESI system transformed the university's energy supply from a 100 percent fossil-fuel-based combined heat and power plant to grid-sourced electricity and a more efficient electric heat recovery system.

Arizona State U Appoints Sustainability Operations Officer

Nichol Luoma is the new University Sustainability Operations officer and associate vice president for University Business Services at the university. Before her associate vice president interim appointment, Luoma served as the university's chief procurement officer, responsible for procurement and contracting. Under her leadership, university procurement was recognized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) Sustainable Campus index as No. 1 in the purchasing category.

U Calgary & York U Make '2016 Future 40' List

The Corporate Knights 2016 Future 40 Responsible Corporate Leaders of Canada holds University of Calgary at No. 8 and York University at No. 22. In its third year, the Future 40 is a ranking of Canadian organizations and institutions based on 12 key performance indicators covering resource, employee and financial management. The Future 40 shortlist is derived from companies with revenues under $2 billion or maintaining fewer than 2,000 employees in 2014.

U Connecticut Names Chief Diversity Officer

Joelle A. Murchison has recently been named chief diversity officer and associate vice president to the university. Murchison, who begins her new role in July, will serve as the university’s main strategist responsible for guiding efforts to define, assess, and promote diversity, inclusion, and educational and employment opportunity. She will develop programs and coordinate activities to recruit and retain faculty, students and staff from diverse backgrounds.

U Michigan Reports on Sustainability Progress

The newly released progress report highlights funding for sustainability-related research in the areas of water, climate and communities, greenhouse gas emissions reductions and expansion of the university's food waste composting program.

U Oregon Earns National Accolades for Sustainable Event Planning

The university events staff helped the football game earn Gold certification from the Council for Responsible Sports, which advocates for environmentally and socially responsible events. Highlights include 40-plus percent waste diversion, 100 percent renewable resources for electricity, reduced water use and food donation totaling 850 pounds.

McHenry County College Wins IGEN Award

The college won the College Leadership and Sustainability Award from the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) at the 2016 IGEN Sustainability Conference held in January 2016. IGEN's awards program honors colleges across the state for incorporating sustainability as a measure of success.

Frostburg State U Allocates Funding to 12 Sustainability Projects

Twelve projects, about half of which were student proposals, recently received grant funding from the university’s President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability. Funded projects include increasing sustainability awareness, performing environmental research, presenting research at academic conferences and making direct environmental impacts on campus. Funding preference was given to those projects that involve and benefit students, are linked to an academic class offering experiential learning, provide long-term campus benefits and address the university's Climate Action Plan.

Kentucky State U Director Earns Environmental Education Honor

Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez, director of the center for environmental education at Kentucky State University in Frankfort and state specialist for sustainable programs, was selected from nominees across the U.S. as one of five Outstanding Educators by Project Learning Tree. Hubbard-Sánchez connects Kentuckians with a special interest in teaching about climate change. Project Learning Tree is the national environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation.

Higher Education Institutions Under Pressure to Disclose Investments

The Associated Press reports that Congress and campus activists have stepped up pressure on colleges and universities to reveal financial investments made through their endowments. While lawmakers are questioning whether to tax colleges on investment portfolios, activists, including alumni and students, are demanding to know if investments are held in certain industries. An inquiry by The Associated Press to 50 public and private universities asking them to disclose their investments revealed "most schools issue annual reports with broad information and few details about specific investments".

Bucknell U Buildings Earn LEED Gold

The university's South Campus Apartments and Student Commons building, now displaying the Gold designation, feature natural light and energy-efficient lighting technology, FSC-certified wood, efficient plumbing fixtures, wind power and native plant landscaping.

Royal Agricultural U Wins 2016 The Guardian University Award for Sustainability

(U.K.): The university reduced its carbon emissions by 14 percent in one year and increased the number of students learning about environmental issues. Runners-up were the University of Edinburgh and the University of Bristol Students’ Union.

U Edinburgh Adopts Purchasing Policy for Conflict Minerals

(U.K.): The newly adopted policy is meant to ensure that the electronic goods it buys do not contain conflict minerals, defined in the policy as "any minerals that have been found to be being used to fund conflict in any part of the world." Further, the policy pledges to raise awareness among and advise students and staff regarding personal purchases, supports research efforts on conflict minerals.

U California Santa Cruz Researcher Earns NSAC Recognition

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has given its Sustainability Champion award to the university's alumnus Mark Lipson, currently a researcher with UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. NSAC said the award was made to honor Lipson’s years of service to the organic and sustainable agriculture movement, and his “groundbreaking work on Capitol Hill shepherding historic changes, such as the much-celebrated five-fold increase in funding for organic research secured in the 2008 Farm Bill.”

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.

U California San Francisco Details Sustainability Progress in Annual Report

The campus reports reduced energy use despite adding square footage, a reduction in water use after implementing water rebate programs and a Water Action Plan, an increase in landfill diversion and a transition to cleaning supplies that are Green Seal-certified.

U Arkansas Appoints Eric Boles as Sustainability Director

Eric Boles, a University of Arkansas graduate with a master's degree in biological engineering, will now serve as the director of the Office of Sustainability. He is tasked with leading strategies to help the university achieve zero waste by 2021 and climate neutrality by 2040. He indicates one of his priorities is not alienating campus community members from the effort to implement sustainability.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Athletics Publishes Sustainability Report

UNC Athletics released its sustainability report, highlighting environmental efforts throughout campus, including a university-wide 12 percent increase in collected recycling materials.

Saint Mary's College California Releases Sustainability Report

The college's latest sustainability review cites its operational and academic successes and future plans. As an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partner, the college has offset 100 percent of electricity consumption with renewable energy credits.

U British Columbia Releases Annual Sustainability Report

The university’s newest sustainability report aligns with the university’s new 20-year Sustainability Strategy through targeted priorities in teaching, learning and research, operations and infrastructure, community, and communications and engagement. Highlights from the report include 636 sustainability courses, 48 sustainability programs, a 22 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to 2007, and a clear focus on community well-being.

U Chicago Faculty Form Union

A vote of 96 to 22 in early December resulted in non-tenure-track faculty forming a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) reports Inside Higher Ed. The University of Chicago is one of several to form SEIU-affiliated unions for full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members.

U Delaware Employs New Sustainability Manager

Michelle Bennett assumed her role as sustainability manager in August of 2015 for the Newark campus. Her appointment and the establishment of an office of sustainability are part of the university's strategic plan. She comes to the University of Delaware from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

U New Hampshire Appoints Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer

Miriam Nelson, a researcher and author on nutrition and physical activity, will become the deputy chief sustainability officer and director of the university's Sustainability Institute in March of 2016. Nelson arrives at the University of New Hampshire from Tufts University's Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and professor of its Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

U Nebraska Omaha Hires First Sustainability Coordinator

After earning her master's degree in sustainability from St. Louis University, Sarah Burke will facilitate the implementation of university's Sustainability Master Plan and help support sustainability-based curricular and co-curricular programs, events and research activities for the campus community.

Swarthmore College Hires New Sustainability Director

Aurora Winslade will join the college in December 2015 from Hawai'i Energy where she designs and manages programs to shift the market toward increased energy efficiency. Previously Winslade launched the sustainability office at the University of Hawai'i and was the inaugural sustainability director at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

AASHE, Second Nature, NWF & USGBC Make Joint Statement

Last week Julian Keniry from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Jaime Van Mourik from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Tim Carter of Second Nature and Meghan Fay Zahniser with AASHE came together at the AASHE 2015 Conference & Expo to unveil a shared vision between the organizations to advance sustainability by working more closely together to benefit higher education institutions.

Stratford U Announces Move to Become a Public Benefit Corporation

The university, a for-profit, Virginia-based institution with national accreditation, announced last week a legal change to the company's charter, which allows it to focus more on activities that do not generate profit including actions aimed at benefiting the public.

U Mississippi Removes State Flag with Confederate Symbol

After months of protests on campus, last week several campus bodies all passed measures requesting the university remove the state flag. The flag will be stored in the university's archives, along with the resolutions that call for its removal. The state is currently debating changing the flag's design.

Ten Institutions Top AASHE's 2015 Sustainable Campus Index

The AASHE 2015 Sustainable Campus Index highlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report also highlights best practices from over 50 U.S., Canadian and Mexican institutions that have submitted a STARS report in the last 12 months.

Saint Joseph’s College Partners With EcoMotion to Advance Sustainability

EcoMotion’s tasks will include conducting a greenhouse gas inventory, developing a climate action and sustainability plan, advising on Saint Joseph’s newly established green revolving fund, formalizing campus engagement, along with providing strategic marketing and communications to document sustainability progress and foster community awareness.

Stanford U Releases 2014-15 Year in Review

The newly released, digital edition of Sustainability at Stanford: A Year in Review highlights 14 topical areas and monthly snapshots that represent collaborative efforts across multiple campus entities. Topical areas include assessment and evaluations, behavior-based programs, collaborative governance, interdisciplinary research, student leadership and activities, and training and education.

Penn State U Names First Transportation Coordinator

Cecily Zhu recently took the helm as the university's first transportation coordinator. Before coming to Penn State, she most recently worked as a transportation policy and planning fellow for the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group. Editorial Photo Credit: Lilyana Vynogradova / Shutterstock.com

Sheridan College Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Report

It's first sustainability report celebrates its recent AASHE STARS Silver rating and progress made toward its mission zero goals. The report highlights successes in four key areas of STARS, including improving energy efficiency and waste diversion, engaging the campus and local community, sustainability planning, and integrating sustainability into curriculum.

U Virginia Releases 2014-15 Sustainability Report

Issued by the University Committee on Sustainability, provides a snapshot of sustainability progress over the past academic year. The report is framed around our core approaches: grounds stewardship, campus and community collaboration and engagement, and discovery through curriculum, research and campus grounds as a living laboratory.

AASHE Releases 2014 Annual Report

The purpose of the recently released report is to provide members, prospective members and others with an overview of the accomplishments of AASHE in 2014. The report provides a snapshot of the following areas: Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), Listening Project, Conference & Expo, Sustainability Awards, professional development, and councils and committees.

Sierra Magazine Releases Cool Schools Ranking

Sierra Magazine has published its ninth annual Cool Schools ranking of America's most sustainable four-year undergraduate colleges and universities, based on data submitted through AASHE's STARS reporting system. The rankings are intended to spur productive competition between schools, raise campus eco-standards and publicly reward the institutions. Photo courtesy of Peter Morenus/U Connecticut

U Washington Receives NACDA Sustainability Award

Honored for the renovation and sustainable operations of its football stadium, the university was recently received the inaugural Sustainability Award from the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USG Corporation. The stadium showcases the natural environment and carries a 75 percent waste diversion rate.

U British Columbia Develops 20-Year Sustainability Strategy

Building on 20 years of sustainability achievement and following extensive community engagement, the strategy provides an overall framework to further integrate academic and operational sustainability efforts through the lens of regenerative sustainability. Using the campus as a societal test-bed, it seeks to explore and demonstrate net-positive approaches to human and environmental well-being.

Slippery Rock U Holds 2015 APPA Sustainability Award in Facilities Management

The university was recently honored for its efforts in reducing waste, lessening greenhouse gases, and demonstrating leadership in green building design, recycling and educational programs for students and community residents.

Auburn U Recognized Green Ribbon School by Energy Department

The university was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as a 2015 Green Ribbon School in its inaugural postsecondary sustainability award category. The Green Ribbon School initiative aims bolster reduction of environmental impacts and costs, improve health and wellness of schools, students and staff, and provide an environmental education.

U Illinois Chicago Proposes Sustainability Teaching and Research Plan

The overarching goal of the newly proposed investment in sustainability is to advance the frontier of knowledge about attitudes towards and the practice of sustainability among all campus members through education, research and leadership. The document calls upon institutions of higher ed to expand educational goals and outcomes, and adopt policies that integrate principles of sustainability.

Ithaca College Adjuncts Vote in Favor of Union

The preliminary results of the election, announced by the National Labor Relations Board, for a union among part-time and adjunct faculty at the college were favorable says the college's president in the recently published letter.

U Washington Receives Environmental Excellence Award

The university's Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center recently received the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award from Practice Greenhealth for setting high standards for environmental practices in healthcare.