U California Merced Launches Food Exchange and Community Engagement Program
To help address issues ranging from food waste to food insecurity and resource scarcity, the university recently launched CropMobster Merced County, an online food and agricultural exchange and community engagement program. CropMobster, an online platform introduced in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013, aims to bring together farmers, producers, hunger relief organizations and community members. Part of the program's funding comes from the UC Office of the President as part of its ongoing Global Food Initiative.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Residence Hall Earns LEED Gold
The residence hall opened in fall 2016 and features locally manufactured construction materials, products with recycled content, wood products certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council, roof mounted solar panels to provide renewable energy that offsets one percent of the energy costs, and landscaping that includes native and drought-tolerant plants to reduce dependency on potable water.
Wege Center for Sustainable Design Announces Winners of Wege Prize 2017
Wege Center for Sustainable Design, housed at the Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University, announced the winners of Wege Prize 2017, the fourth iteration of the annual design competition challenging transdisciplinary teams of college and university students to rethink and redesign the way economies work. Three multi-institutional teams were selected as winners out of the five finalist teams.
U Oregon Hosts Summit on Ethical Endowments in the Age of Climate Change
The Investing in the Age of Climate Change symposium was organized by students, faculty, staff and the University of Oregon Foundation in early April 2017, largely in response to the UO Divest campaign. The gathering tackled the question of how climate change is affecting businesses and investors. The sessions were recorded and can be viewed for free.
Harvard U to Retrofit Home as Model of Ultra-Efficiency & Affordability
The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities will retrofit its headquarters, a pre-1940s house, into an ultra-efficient, healthy, positive-energy structure. Called HouseZero Project, the prototype will be designed to require almost zero energy, rely on natural daylighting, and produce no carbon emissions. The center aims to show how any existing building can become a model of efficiency and cut emissions without requiring a huge investment.
Three Schools Win Green Cleaning Award
The 2017 Green Cleaning Awards, hosted by American School & University, recognized Western Michigan University as the grand prize winner; University of Michigan for the silver award; and Folsom Lake College as honorable mention. The juried competition highlights education institutions whose green cleaning programs go above and beyond just using green products to protect health without harming the environment.
U Colorado Boulder Creates 'Social Justice Living Environment' in Dorm
In fall 2018, the Social Justice Living Environment will house communities for students who identify as black, LGBTQ and those passionate about diversity. The new program stemmed from student concerns following a campus climate survey revealing only a quarter of African-American undergraduates and less than half of undergraduates, in general, felt welcome on campus.
Webster U Publishes Interactive Eco-Map
In early May, the university published a campus map that highlights the spectrum of green infrastructure and resources on campus. The map allows viewers to navigate different layers, such as solar panels, bike racks or water bottle refill stations.
California State U Sacramento Becomes First Keep America Beautiful Collegiate Affiliate
Keep America Beautiful announced that Sacramento State is now its first collegiate affiliate and that it hopes the partnership will result in a model that can be adopted at colleges and universities across the nation. Through the partnership, students will have access to volunteer and internship opportunities. The university will be able to share data from student and faculty research, as well as tap additional resources such as grants, research and programmatic resources available through Keep America Beautiful.
Salisbury U to Build 544KW Solar Carport Project
The 543.9-kilowatt photovoltaic project will feature three solar canopies and five electric vehicle charging stations. The canopies will cover a parking lot and electricity from the system will be sent to the adjacent educational buildings. Standard Solar, the university's partner, will own, operate and maintain the system for 20 years, after which ownership will revert to the university.
U Birmingham Pilots Coffee Grounds Reuse Program
(U.K.) The 12-month pilot program aims to collect spent coffee grounds from catering outlets across campus that will be sent to a recycling company for processing into biofuels, such as fuel starter logs and pellets for industrial use.
Indiana U Pennsylvania Receives $44K Grant for Watershed Management
Several university faculty will use the new funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to work with area agencies and schools to develop a water quality and stormwater monitoring plan. In addition to providing watershed educational experiences, the project will generate baseline water quality data for 12–15 key watershed locations that will be utilized to make governmental and environmental policy decisions.
U Pennsylvania Wins 2017 Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Award
The University of Pennsylvania won the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council's (SPLC) 2017 Supplier Engagement Award for its collaboration with a local enterprise, Wash Cycle Laundry, to create local jobs, foster the growth of an innovative local business, and reduce the environmental impact of the university’s laundry services. In total, the SPLC recognized ten organizations and one individual for their leadership in the sustainable purchasing movement.
Pennsylvania State U Earns Tree Campus Designation
The university's new designation as a Tree Campus, a program of Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes its commitment to effective urban forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. The university currently has more than 17,000 trees in its canopy.
Tufts U Grad Students to Unionize
Graduate students in the university's School of Arts and Sciences voted 129-84 to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union.
Baylor U Building Receives LEED Gold
The new building, completed in 2015 and housing the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, features a solar-reflective roof, dimmable LED lighting, daylighting controls that allow individuals to adjust the level of lighting based on brightness throughout the day, natural lighting for all interior offices using glass walls and doors, use of low-emitting materials to reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants, and sustainable landscaping and irrigation systems that increase water efficiency and reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems.
Queen's U Belfast Announces Responsible Investment Policy
Following recent discussions with the Students’ Union, the university has updated its investment policy and will, with some caveats, seek to disinvest from companies involved in the extraction and production of fossil fuels by 2025. Additionally, the university is implementing a comprehensive Carbon Management Strategy that aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions.
U Hong Kong Expands Smart Meter Program
A student-focused carbon reduction and behavioral change pilot project included the installation of smart meters in select student rooms and a real-time data dashboard. The technology and science-based program will be scaled up this year to include 1,800 users from four residential colleges. Students in the college led the development of data-driven solutions that reduced electricity use by over 25 percent in the pilot project.
Wesleyan U Receives $4M Gift for College of the Environment
An alumnus and his wife recently donated $4 million to the university’s College of the Environment. The endowment will fund seminars, workshops and faculty-student research grants, internship learning opportunities for students with financial need who are pursuing studies related to environmental research, and an endowed scholarship for those who have demonstrated exceptional academic accomplishment and are pursuing the environmental studies linked major or the environmental studies certificate through the College of the Environment.
U Colorado Boulder Uses New Steam Process for Weed Control
Grounds personnel at the university are now using saturated steam to control weeds in landscape beds and natural areas. Using an Australian company's patented technology, Weedtechnics, the system helps the university reduce herbicide use and lost workdays due to the traditional weather-dependent weed control method of using chemicals, which can’t be applied when it’s too windy, too wet or too hot outside.
U Vermont Reaches Real Food Challenge Goal Three Years Early
In an April 17 announcement, members of the Real Food Challenge and UVM Dining confirmed the university is serving 21 percent "real food", three years ahead of its goal of 20 percent by 2020. It has established a new goal of 25 percent "real food" as determined by the Real Food Challenge by 2020.
Northern Arizona U Installs Solar Canopy
The new photovoltaic system will generate enough renewable energy to power up to 100 homes and will save an estimated $1 million in electricity costs during the 25-year life cycle of the solar panels. It is expected to produce 1.2 percent of the campus’ projected annual electric consumption.
Roxbury CC Completes Solar Canopy, Geothermal Wells & EV Stations
As part of a $20.1 million energy savings performance contract, 115 geothermal wells, six electric car charging stations and a solar canopy with approximately 3,000 solar panels representing nearly a megawatt of power were recently unveiled at the community college.
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski U Launches MA in Sustainability Studies
(Poland) Beginning May 2017, students can enroll in the new Sustainability Studies Masters program, which aims to ensure that the graduates know how to deal with the complex sustainability issues. The curriculum is specially designed to enable students to experience interdisciplinary learning over various fields of the humanities and natural sciences.
U Adelaide Announces Multi-Million Dollar Sustainability Plan
(Australia) The university's new Campus Sustainability Plan earmarks 14.4 million Australian dollars ($10.7 million) over four years to sustainability, with more than AU$12.8 million dedicated to carbon emissions reduction projects at the university's three campuses. While the university's goal is net zero emissions by 2050, its interim 2020 goals include two megawatts of installed solar, a 15 percent improvement in energy performance and a 50 percent reduction in waste to landfill.
Strathmore U Connects 600KW Photovoltaic System
(Kenya) In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the university took advantage of a green line of financial support created by the French Government to installed a 600-kilowatt roof-top, grid connected photovoltaic system to meet its electricity needs. The system is designed so that extra power can be sold to the utility via a power purchase agreement.
UK Student Union Renews Efforts to Fight Climate Change
(U.K.) Delegates at National Union of Students National Conference voted in favor of a motion to renew the drive for student action against climate change. One of the two key resolutions in the motion is to support protests against the President Donald J. Trump's rollback of progress on climate change.
MIT Opens Energy Dashboard Data to Students, Faculty & Staff
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched a new website that makes available detailed information about energy use and carbon emissions on campus. This resource is available to the institute’s students, faculty and staff, for education, research and decision-making purposes. The rollout of this central data dashboard, called Energize_MIT, helps the school meet the goals and commitments set out in its 2015 Plan for Action on Climate Change.
Sheridan College to Construct 500KW Solar Array
This summer the college will begin construction on a 500-kilowatt photovoltaic project that will provide shelter for approximately 260 parking spots. The project is estimated to generate about 700,000 kilowatt-hours per year and avoid producing 29 tons of emissions.
U Hong Kong Introduces Green Revolving Fund
(Hong Kong) The university's new Green Revolving Fund (GRF) supports improvement initiatives on campus with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. The fund will invest in energy-efficiency projects in university buildings, returning the utility and maintenance cost savings back to the fund for further projects. Initial funding of approximately $1 million Hong Kong dollars ($128,000) will be allocated this year in the GRF’s pilot phase. The seed capital will fund two lighting projects.
Nanyang Technological U Opens Sustainable Building
(Singapore) The university's new sports complex features LED lighting, solar powered systems, and a special cooling system that chills the air as it enters the hall so that no conventional air-conditioning systems are needed. The complex hosts three full-sized basketball courts or 13 badminton courts.
U California Connects Public to Research-Based Sustainability Solutions
The university is now hosting a new web portal called Sustainable California that broadcasts stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and students. The new resource attempts to connect educators and the public to the science-based, real-world sustainability solutions.
Education Dept Announces '2017 Green Ribbon Schools' Recipients
Nine post-secondary institutions were among 63 honorees nationally to receive the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools award, an awards program that acknowledges a commitment to sustainable practices among schools, districts and institutions of higher education. Recipients of the award demonstrated leadership across three pillars: reduced environmental impact and costs, improved health and wellness, and effective environmental and sustainability education.
Pennsylvania State U Earns Top Honors at Collegiate Wind Competition
The Pennsylvania State University earned the top spot, followed by Kansas State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in the collegiate competition involving university students designing and testing their small-scale models in a wind tunnel, as well as presenting their designs to industry professionals.
Santa Fe CC Wins '2017 Climate Leadership Award'
The American Association of Community Colleges and ecoAmerica’s Solution Generation program announced Santa Fe Community College was recognized for its commitment to addressing climate change as a component of the city’s 25-year Sustainability Plan. Also mentioned were the college's sustainability programs in 19 high schools and its outreach efforts with local tribes and rural communities. The college will be awarded $10,000 to continue its sustainability initiatives.
Central Carolina CC Receives $199K to Expand Sustainable Tech Curriculum
The community college has been awarded a $199,612 grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Small Grant program. The goal of the project, which includes recruitment from underrepresented populations, is to provide technician skills, competencies and hands-on experiences needed for employment in the fields of energy-efficiency verification and building performance analysis.
West Virginia State U to Sue Dow Chemical for Polluting Groundwater
The university announced in early May that it is pursuing litigation against Dow Chemical Company, among others, for contaminating the groundwater under the university’s campus. Though the pollution does not pose a direct threat to anyone on campus, the university says the company should be responsible for cleanup of the contaminants.
U Hong Kong Bans Disposable Plastic Water Bottles
(Hong Kong) Ditch Disposable, a university-wide waste reduction and awareness campaign, was launched in spring 2017 on behalf of World Water Day with the announcement of a new policy that seeks to eliminate on-campus sale and distribution of single-use water bottles of one liter or less in volume.
Minnesota Two-Year Schools Receive $1M for College Readiness Program
A 2016 report from Minnesota's Office of Higher Education found 26 percent of Minnesota high school graduates enrolled in at least one developmental course when they got to college. The new $1 million donation will create the Summer Scholars Academy, a program aimed at closing the opportunity gap in underserved communities by offering new students tutoring in math, reading, writing and study skills during the summer months before the fall semester. Officials hope improving college readiness will result in higher graduation rates for students of color.
Chemeketa CC Opens Press to Reduce Burden of Textbook Cost
The community college recently started a publishing peer-reviewed textbooks with original content authored by the college’s faculty in an effort to reduce the financial burden to students. In addition to savings, the Chemeketa Press supports collaboration and professional development across the university. The Chemeketa Press published 13 titles in 2016, with over 20 new titles planned to be released for fall 2017.
North Carolina State U Hosts Sponsored Apiary
Thanks to a public-private partnership, a new community apiary with seven honeybee hives was inaugurated for Earth Day 2017. The new apiary will create opportunities for pollinator-related education.
U California Merced Class Commissions Campus Building for LEED O+M Silver
The university's LEED Lab Engineering Service Learning class, in its fourth semester, has commissioned its first building on campus, which earned a silver LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating. The one-unit, LEED Lab class gives students from all majors the opportunity to assess the performance of existing campus facilities through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED O+M program.
Harvard U Takes Pause on Some Fossil Fuel Investments
Harvard Management Company’s head of natural resources Colin Butterfield said recently at a Business School event that Harvard is “pausing” investments in some fossil fuels. Butterfield added that Harvard indirectly invests in fossil fuels through outside funds, however he also said that Harvard's natural resources portfolio will not likely invest in the fossil fuel industry in the future because those funds do not perform that well financially.
Pennsylvania State U Names Chief Sustainability Officer
Paul Shrivastava, recent executive director of Future Earth, a global environmental change research program, and researcher in the fields of sustainability, risk and crisis management, has been named the university’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Penn State Sustainability Institute. Shrivastava received his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.
U Vermont Receives $6M Donation for Environment Institute
A $6 million gift from the Gund family will create the university's first university-wide sustainability institute. Designed to catalyze interdisciplinary research at UVM, the Gund Institute for Environment will help address urgent global issues highlighted in the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals.
Pennsylvania State U Begins Reforestation Project
To help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, erosion and pollution of waterways, the university's Hershey campus will add almost 2,400 native trees across a 13-acre area that will be planted by community residents, school groups and other local volunteers.
Energy Dept Names Student Building-Design Competition Winners
The U.S. Department of Energy announced winners of its fourth annual Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a collegiate competition engaging university students to design high-performance homes that offset all or most of annual energy consumption with renewable energy. Four contests had first and second place finishers with the grand prize winners announced as Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. An aim of the competition is to advance building science curricula in university programs across the country.