Stanford U Adopts Investment Responsibility Framework
Two statements were recently adopted by the university's Board of Trustees: an Ethical Investment Framework, which seeks to actively incorporate ethical considerations into its investment decisions, and an updated Statement on Investment Responsibility, which is a statement of the trustee's view of the responsible investment of the university's endowment and the “abhorrent and ethically unjustifiable” conditions under which an investment should be excluded from it. Stanford is also committing funding to expand academic offerings in the area of responsible investing and governance.
Brandeis U Adopts Fossil Fuel Divestment Policies
The university's Board of Trustees recently adopted policies that balance the university's climate-related concerns with its fiduciary responsibility. The university will make no direct investments of endowment funds with companies whose principle business is mining coal for energy; existing investments will end with the funds' typical life cycles and then will be suspended for a three-year period; and the university's investment bodies will increase their focus on finding investments in renewable energy sources and technology. Additionally, the provost and president will prioritize support for Brandeis faculty and researchers working on climate change and related issues through the provost research fund.
U Pittsburgh to Use Hydropower
The university has signed a letter of intent to purchase 100 percent of the power from a hydroelectric plant to be built on the Allegheny River. The facility will generate about 50,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, which is enough to supply about 25 percent of Pitt’s electricity needs.
Maharishi U Management Students Tackle Local Food Insecurity
The new program, “Global Solutions: Consciousness and the Challenges of the 21st Century,” engages students in projects that range from encouraging farmers and gardeners to grow extra food to contacting retailers to reclaim unsold food rather than having it go into a landfill.
Emory U Receives $650K to Advance Climate Project
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $650,000 grant to Emory University to advance the Georgia Climate Project. This foundational grant will support efforts to build a network of experts who can improve understanding of climate impacts and solutions and better position Georgia to respond to a changing climate. The Georgia Climate Project is a state-wide consortium co-founded by Emory, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and joined by Agnes Scott College, Georgia Southern University, Spelman College, and the University of North Georgia.
U California System Researchers Vote to Unionize
The 5,000-member union of researchers who are not faculty members or postdoctoral fellows filed representation petitions with California’s Public Employment Relations Board in September, with about two-thirds supporting unionization. The state board must certify the union before collective bargaining can begin.
Yale U Maps Teaching to SDGs
According to a new report by the Yale Office of Sustainability, 44 percent of its teaching and research relates to at least two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using the database that was created for the report, the Office of Sustainability can generate multidisciplinary lists of faculty and researchers by SDG or by interdisciplinary interests.
U Montreal Reduces Leftover Food Waste
In an effort to reduce food waste, the university's food service provider launched a new project to sell meals, sandwiches, salads and other surplus food at cost to students living in residence.
U Alabama Birmingham Releases 6-Year Sustainability Plan
The new Sustainability Strategic Plan outlines the goals and strategies for 13 different objective areas targeting the university’s academic and medical campus. The plan commits the university to acquire 20 percent of the university’s energy needs from renewable sources of power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2025.
Cleveland State U Begins Campaign to Reduce Plastic Straw Use
CSU Dining implemented a new initiative to reduce the amount of plastic and single-use waste generated on campus. The “Skip the Straw” program, which began in early November, gives straws only for select beverages such as a smoothie. Most retail outlets will keep straws behind the counter and made available by request only.
Silliman U Adopts Environmental Policy
(Philippines) The university recently adopted a new environmental policy framework consisting of Environmental Principles, Policies, Guidelines, and Best Practices that will be implemented by its faculty, staff, and students as well as by concessionaires, booth operators, event organizers, sponsors and visitors. Nine components that the guidelines encompass are teaching, research, service, worship and fellowship, culture and sports, outreach, planning and development, administration, and operations.
Cloud County CC Students to Install 200 KW Solar Array
Students enrolled in the college's Solar Energy Technology program will install a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic array on single-axis solar trackers, which will increase electricity production efficiency. The system will be installed on campus-owned land.
West Texas A&M U Enters Energy-Efficiency Contract
The university entered a partnership for a $14.4 million Campus Energy Reduction and Modernization Project throughout 31 campus buildings. Scheduled for completion by September 2019, the conservation and modernization measures include high efficiency LED lighting, improvements to the campus heating and cooling systems, water conservation measures, and automated controls that allow for improved tracking of energy consumption.
U California Los Angeles Partners to Fund Water & Energy Research
Through a new partnership, UCLA and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will identify research that would move the city to greater use of recycled water, increase water and energy conservation and efficiency as well as electrification of the transportation network. The partnership also seeks to use and produce local water and strengthen climate adaptation planning.
Central Michigan U Begins Composting Pizza Boxes
Because grease and food toppings on pizza boxes largely exempt the material from being recycled, the university began a program to compost pizza boxes. The initiative was spearheaded by Residence Life.
College William & Mary Announces 2019-2024 Sustainability Plan
As part of the the university’s first long-range, comprehensive Sustainability Plan, the university has signed onto the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s Billion Dollar Green Challenge, pledging to grow its green revolving fund for environmental efforts from $200,000 to $1 million by 2025. Other components of the W&M Sustainability Plan include a commitment to creating a climate action plan by 2020 and exploring renewable energy for the campus. Individual departmental efforts include elimination of single-use plastics by dining services and implementation of electric vehicle charging stations by transportation.
Duke U Adds Electric Buses to Fleet
The two new battery-electric buses will replace two diesel vehicles, saving Duke about $924,000 in maintenance, fuel and vehicle costs over the lifespan of the two buses. Each bus can carry up to 40 seated passengers and operate for about 200 miles on a single charge. Besides zero greenhouse gas emissions, the buses require no oil changes and use no liquid fuels.
U Massachusetts Amherst Launches Student-Run Organic Vineyard
The new vineyard received an initial $3,000 grant from the university's Sustainability Innovation and Engagement Fund in spring 2017, which supported preparatory steps such as soil analysis and installing an irrigation system. The professor that teaches viticulture received a Sustainable Curriculum Initiative award from UMass Libraries to enhance the sustainability aspect of viticulture courses.
Hope College Student Completes Campus & City Tree Inventory
A Hope College sophomore student completed a summer research project that was a collaboration between the city of Holland, Hope College Biology Department, and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute. Taking 10 weeks, 3,500 trees on public property in the city of Holland were inventoried. The inventoried trees are projected to provide more than $16,166 in environmental value annually, according to preliminary calculations that do not factor in electricity offset yet. Using information from the trees, a faculty member and two students of computer science released a phone app that helps users identify Holland trees.
Wellesley College Commits $24M to Energy Initiatives
Based on recommendations from a task force assembled to assess the energy needs of the college, the Board of Trustees has committed approximately $24 million to be spent over the next three years on a multipart energy initiative. The college will make the following improvements in its buildings and central utility plant: replace the steam absorption chiller plant with an electric chiller plant; decommission five natural gas electricity generators and increase renewable energy; construct a power plant that will generate electricity during peak electrical-use periods and during power grid failures; and improve energy efficiency in campus buildings.
U Washington Uses E-Bikes to Deliver Campus Mail
The university's Mailing Services now uses a fleet of electric-assist cargo bicycles to deliver nearly all mail to 455 departments on the Seattle campus. Mailing Services used a grant from the Campus Sustainability Fund to purchase five of the bikes. Since phasing out trucks, deliveries now take 10 percent less time and 30 percent fewer miles traveled.
Dalhousie U Opens Biomass Energy Plant
The new Biomass Energy Plant is a $26.5 million project that burns biomass fuel to create electricity using a new 1-megawatt turbine. Additionally new piping for a district hot water system was installed that will use waste heat from electricity generation to heat the campus. Overall, the steam system is now 30 percent more energy efficient.
U Arkansas Launches Interdisciplinary Sustainability Minor
Open to all undergraduate students, the sustainability minor is an 18-credit program drawing instruction from faculty and courses across all colleges and schools at the university. The purpose of the minor in sustainability is to provide foundational knowledge and skills related to the discipline of sustainability and to prepare students to become innovators within their diverse fields.
Bucknell U Building Earns LEED Silver
The repurposed Hildreth-Mirza Hall, a building that originally opened in 1941 as a fraternity house, features occupancy sensors, air quality monitors and automated ventilation systems. Together, these measures reduce the building's energy consumption by 35 percent.
ACTS Announces 2018 Green Gown Awards Australasia Winners
(Australia) The Australasian Campuses Toward Sustainability (ACTS) recently announced 10 winners across nine categories. The Green Gown Awards Australasia is an awards program dedicated to recognizing excellence in sustainability within the tertiary education sector in Australasia.
Penn State U CSO Becomes Club of Rome Inductee
Paul Shrivastava, Penn State's chief sustainability officer, director of the Sustainability Institute, and professor of management in the Smeal College of Business, was inducted last month as one of the 100 members of the Club of Rome, which seeks solutions to pressing global problems and is well known for its first report, "The Limits of Growth," published in 1972.
U Maryland Pilot Project Cleans Water & Produces Energy
Helping to keep pollution out of the Port of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay while providing a pollution-free source of renewable energy, a university research pilot project harvests algae that is used to filter pollution from water and turns it into biogas, which is used to power flood lights at the algae digester site.
Second Nature Receives $90K From Ray C. Anderson Fdn
The NextGen Committee of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $90,000 grant to Second Nature, which will be used to provide resources for colleges and universities that have signed Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments and are ready to move from the initial administrative commitment stage to measurable climate action within the next calendar year. Second Nature aims to enable multiple universities to complete a large-scale, aggregated procurement of clean energy in 2019 through a power purchase agreement.
U Virginia Saves $750K Through Energy Savings Measures at Clark Hall
After a team of UVA engineers, technicians and specialists who focus on conserving resources reviewed and retrofitted the systems of the university's Department of Environmental Sciences, and Science and Engineering library, the university achieved a 67 percent reduction in energy costs, saving about $750,000 annually. Energy-saving measures included converting all lighting to LED lamps, installing low-flow toilets and sink aerators, upgrading the HVAC system, repairing the energy recovery system, and recalibrating airflow rates in labs to provide correct ventilation for the space. The building earned LEED V4 Existing Buildings O+M Silver certification.
Pennsylvania State U Goes Tobacco- & Smoke-Free
The university updated one of its policies this fall to prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco in and on all university owned or leased properties, facilities and vehicles. The university will offer support for students and employees who are current tobacco users and those who may be working toward quitting.
North Country CC to Go Tobacco-Free With Aid of Grant
With the aid of an $18,800 grant from the Truth Initiative, the community college will go tobacco-free on its three campuses by 2020. The college will create a Tobacco-Free Task Force to assess tobacco-related issues on campus, educate and engage students and staff on the need for and benefits of going tobacco-free, identify a plan to address treatment for those who are interested in quitting, and develop a tobacco-free policy recommendation.
Kansas State U Buys Wind Energy
The university has signed a 20-year agreement to receive approximately 50 percent of the electricity needs for the university's main Manhattan campus from a nearby wind farm. It is estimated that the new deal will save the university nearly $200,000 annually. Kansas State University is one of 14 Kansas organizations that will receive electricity from the 300-megawatt Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center.
U Technology Sydney Purchases Electricity From 32 MW Solar Farm
(Australia) The university has signed a renewable energy power purchase agreement for the output of a 32 megawatts of electricity from a solar farm in northern New South Wales. The university will purchase the equivalent of half its annual electricity demand.
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.
Yale Divinity School Announces Air Travel Offset Program
The Yale Divinity School has launched a new program to offset the environmental impacts of academic and administrative travel. Inspired by other universities with offset programs, domestic flights will incur a $50 charge and international flights will incur a $100 charge. The revenue from the charge/tax will be used to support sustainability efforts at Yale Divinity School.
Whitman College Creates Plan to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The Whitman College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new investment policy that directs the college to begin reducing ownership in fossil fuels and to not invest in any companies listed on the Carbon Underground 200. This action was taken in response to a proposal submitted by the student-led organization Divest Whitman.
U New Hampshire Receives $1.4M for Aquaculture Training & Research
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that the New Hampshire Sea Grant will receive $1.4 million to expand aquaculture research in New Hampshire. The funding will support two projects. The first one is an offshore aquaculture system that will serve as a training platform to recruit fishermen and farmers to participate in workshops and daily operations of farming steelhead trout and blue mussels. The second is a research project that seeks to assess and mitigate microbial safety issues associated with shellfish aquaculture.
U Maryland Research Technology Helps Clean Up Surface Water
Technology developed at the university's School of Engineering will be used in a new stormwater basin that will capture nutrient pollution in an effort to protect aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay. Before reaching the bay, stormwater will be captured in an artificial pond lined with a bed of stones and a 12-inch layer of an aluminum-based material known for its ability to bind with and trap phosphorus.
U Maryland Begins Emergency Meal Initiative
The university launched the Emergency Meal Fund following growing recognition of the variety of challenges faced by food-insecure students, such as physical health problems, lower self-esteem, anxiety and depression. A partnership between the Student Government Association and Dining Services, the program offers 10 meals in any of the university’s three dining halls to students in crisis.
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.