61 Catholic Universities Sign 'Catholic Climate Declaration'
The declaration affirms the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement by renewing Catholic support for continuing U.S. actions to address climate change. Among the 61 higher education signers are 37 dioceses, close to 200 religious communities, more than 100 parishes, and more than a dozen Catholic health care organizations. The signing announcement coincided with the third anniversary of Laudato Sí, Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment and human ecology.
U Brighton Begins Using Liquid Air to Store Energy
(U.K.) Called Liquid Air Energy Storage, the technology works by storing air as a liquid in above-ground tanks and, when electricity is required, the liquid air is brought to ambient temperature where it regasifies and turns a turbine. The 5 megawatt plant is a result of a two year project with Highview Power Storage to develop understanding of the material used in high grade power storage and influence design guidelines for future plants.
U Louisville Launches Institute to Study Human-Environment Interrelationship
With a $5M gift, the university will establish the Envirome Institute at the School of Medicine, which will be dedicated to researching environmental determinants of health. Specifically the institute will study environmental cardiology, which is environmental factors that influence heart disease. The institute will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a singular, new approach to the study of health.
Harvard U Pens Letter Opposing New EPA Rule
University President Drew Gilpin Faust wrote a letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s administrator, opposing "Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science," a proposed rule that would restrict the kinds of scientific studies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can use when it develops policies. The letter argues that the proposed rule would significantly limit the EPA's ability to consider best available science and erode public trust in the EPA's work.
Texas A&M U to Open Teaching Garden
The garden is scheduled to open in mid-June and includes 21 themed garden "rooms" for teaching and research in food production and landscape management. Future phases include outdoor venues for performing arts, films, celebrations and social events. Other planned gardens include one for children, a rose garden and a feed-the-world themed courtyard.
Four Institutions Collaborate on Social Infrastructure Development
Founding partners of the new B.C Collaborative for Social Infrastructure are Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Northern British Columbia and Vancouver Island University. The collaboration will focus on sustainable campus and community building, indigenous entrepreneurship and social finance, social procurement, and library outreach and community scholar programs. The four institutions will share practices and policies to encourage progress and to determine how initiatives can be scaled-up and enhanced. The institutions plan to create a community of practice that can be shared with other post-secondary institutions across Canada.
Northwestern U Partners With WWF
The university and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining joint collaborative strategies for advancing sustainability solutions and research areas including: sustainable materials, green infrastructure planning, water science and flood management, plastic waste solutions, climate change impact and adaptation analysis, environmental communications, and training for policymakers, advocates and students.
Stellenbosch U Introduces Diploma in Sustainable Development
(South Africa) Introduced in January this year, this first-ever undergraduate program in Sustainable Development at the university is offered by the School of Public Leadership in collaboration with its Sustainability Institute. The workplace-based diploma aims to give students an opportunity to work on sustainability challenges, gaining skills and experiences perhaps not otherwise available to them.
U Michigan Grants Target Sustainability Challenges in Puerto Rico & Michigan
The Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan has awarded more than $200,000 to support three sustainability-related research projects in Puerto Rico and Michigan. The projects vary in scale and address energy and food system resilience in Puerto Rico, stormwater management on tribal lands in Michigan, and plans for a green energy village in Detroit’s Eastern Market.
Maharishi U Student Farm Launches CSA
Students studying regenerative organic agriculture started a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and are providing 20 memberships to community members. For $320, CSA members will receive a weekly box of fresh vegetables during the 16-week growing season.
U Connecticut Expands Park Built on Landfill
The Hillside Environmental Education Park opened in 2008, following the remediation and closure of the former UComm landfill, which dates back at least 50 years. The park was recently expanded with the addition of land, trails, and more than a dozen trailhead and interpretive signs. The park is now 165 acres and includes three miles of trails through uplands, wetlands, meadows and woodlands.
U Plymouth Wins Award for Greening Nursing Field
(U.K.) A team from the University of Plymouth received a Guardian University Award for the development and implementation of the NurSusToolkit, a teaching and learning resource for sustainability in nursing education that seeks to reduce the National Health Service's environmental impact.
U California San Diego Receives 2018 Grid Edge Innovation Award
The university was recognized for providing a platform for companies to test new electric vehicle charging technologies with real customers. The university partners with 18 commercial EV charging companies to test a variety of technical configurations and models with the university's population of more than 400 EV commuters.
Penn State Behrend Partners for Biofuel Research Opportunities
A $1 million investment by Hero Bx, an Erie-based biodiesel company, will create research opportunities for students and faculty members in the School of Science. Students will work in a new, 1,500-square-foot chemistry lab with Hero Bx chemists and other researchers to reduce the sulfur in biodiesel feedstocks, which are processed for reuse as transportation fuels and heating oil. Subsequent studies will focus on increasing the efficiency of biodiesel in cold-temperature applications, including commercial aviation.
Rice U Collaborates to Restore Native Habitat
The university's Arboretum Committee, an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology class, and several community partners collaborated to plant an urban prairie on campus that will help retain flood water, sequester carbon and sustain a variety of native species.
Northern Arizona U Collaborates With Flagstaff on Bike-Share Program
In conjunction with the City of Flagstaff, the university launched a new bicycle share program through Spin as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The city is testing the bike-share program fee-free for six months, which allows people to use one of 300 dockless bikes for 50 cents per hour.
Three US Legislators Introduce Climate Change Education Act
U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan recently introduced legislation that would create a grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aimed at promoting climate literacy. By supporting the application of the latest scientific and technological discoveries, it would promote formal and informal learning opportunities that emphasize actionable information. The grant program would also support professional development for teachers.
U Massachusetts Boston Releases Report on Climate Resilience Financing
In April 2018, the university's Sustainable Solutions Lab released a report, Financing Climate Resilience Report, that looks at different financial mechanisms for climate resilience. It provides recommendations for the city of Boston and the region on how to pay for climate adaptation investments and suggests that funding needs to be leveraged at the federal, state, municipal and district levels.
Energy Dept Announces Zero Energy Student Design Competition Results
Prairie View A&M University was deemed the grand winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a competition that challenges collegiate teams to apply sound building science principles to create cost-effective, market-ready designs for zero energy ready homes and schools.
U Louisville Launches Student Sustainability Fund & Philanthropy Program
The new fund allows finance students to participate in socially responsible investing by selecting funds, investing real dollars, managing the fund and voting their proxies. Then, social change students use the proceeds to fund local nonprofit or philanthropic projects either on or off campus. The inaugural beneficiary was a local non-profit organization dedicated to housing and mentoring youth who are in the state's custody and aging out of the foster care system.
Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis Hosts Inaugural Sustainability Summit
The summit, which happened in late March, was a collaboration between the university and the City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability. The goals of the summit were to highlight the impact of community and collaborative efforts in advancing sustainability in Indianapolis and to engage the community in creating a vision of sustainability for Indianapolis.
31 Colleges & Universities Begin Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative
The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative is a joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and The Democracy Collaborative aimed at developing and sharing new strategies for deploying higher education’s intellectual and place-based resources to enhance the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve. The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative builds on and expands the work of The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort, in which six urban universities—SUNY Buffalo State, Cleveland State University, Drexel University, Rutgers University-Newark, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Virginia Commonwealth University—collaborated in a multi-year process to pilot effective metrics for tracking anchor mission impact.
Cornell U Students Redesign Regional Bus Signage for Accessibility, Clarity
Students of the Cornell University Sustainability Design (CUSD) collaborated with the county-wide campus and regional bus system to redesign over 560 signs to incorporate responsive mobile phone text messaging to help riders understand routes and delays. The new signs are also compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ball State U Students Conduct Solar Assessment of Community Brownfield Sites
A group of second year urban planning students in the university's College of Architecture and Planning studied the brownfield redevelopment programs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and then analyzed the solar potential of 19 Delaware County brownfields as well as the existing conditions of many sites. Nine students authored a summary report of the process and output of this immersive learning project.
Cornell U Adopts New Standards for Healthy Dining
As part of the university's participation in the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, Cornell Dining is focusing on whole, minimally processed food and transparency in menu items. More than 50 changes have been made, such as: eliminating trans fats, MSG, and artificial food coloring; serving whole muscle meat with no soy protein fillers; and avoiding artificial additives in pepperoni, breakfast sausage, most deli meats and pizza.
U Colorado Boulder to Assist City With Climate Justice & Conservation Work
CU Boulder's Foundations for Leaders Organizing for Water and Sustainability (FLOWS) program will work with the city of Longmont on a pilot project to help train Longmont employees and community members on climate justice, and energy and water conservation work. With a $15,000 Boulder County sustainability grant, the project will involve program development, community engagement, staff and resident training, supplies, equipment and evaluation, in addition to providing workforce development opportunities for underrepresented communities.
Arizona State U Partners with MLB to Reduce Waste at Baseball Games
Major League Baseball and the university's School of Sustainability recently announced that a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students will analyze the waste stream and operations at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Students will test and implement zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks.
Cornell U Establishes Center for Health Equity
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell’s Ithaca campus have established a new center to better understand why health outcomes vary among demographic groups. Through partnerships with communities in New York City and central New York, the Cornell Center for Health Equity will study the potential causes of health care disparities, which include unequal health care access and quality, as well as social influences, among minority communities with the goal of achieving health equity for people locally, regionally and nationally.
Chalmers Tech & U Gothenburg Strengthen Collaboration Toward Sustainable Development
(Sweden) Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg have signed an agreement that reorganizes a long-standing sustainability collaboration between the two schools. The Gothenburg Center for Sustainable Development is organized directly under the two universities and aims to create strategic cooperation both internally and with various external partners. It will continue to serve as a forum for various areas of expertise and a platform for projects, initiatives and networks.
Mohawk College to Offer Training Certificate on Local Food Procurement
Through a $30,000 grant from Ontario, the college will be offering an online course this fall to provide information on local food procurement skills, as well as information on how to use Ontario foods. Completion of the course gives participants a certificate for food procurement training.
U New Hampshire Appoints Professors of Practice in Sustainable Food Systems
In early February, the university named Curtis Ogden and Karen Spiller joint recipients of the Thomas W. Haas Professorship in Sustainable Food Systems, which was established in 2013 to deepen the ties between the university and the New England food system. Ogden and Spiller’s primary responsibility will be to connect the transdisciplinary work of Food Solutions New England, and in particular its racial equity work, to students, faculty and staff at UNH through lectures, workshops and collaborative scholarship.
University of Maryland Green Terp Program Expands to 13 Residence Halls
The Office of Sustainability and the Department of Resident Life partnered to expand a one-year-old pilot program, Green Terps, into 13 dorms. The Green Terps program helps students adopt sustainable practices by asking them to pick 10 different sustainable behaviors and submit their progress. Once completed, their name is written on a pledge board in the lobby of their dorm.
Emory U, Georgia Tech & Spelman College Lead Regional Center for Expertise on Sustainability
Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Spelman College will lead the newly designated regional sustainability network, RCE Greater Atlanta. Seven sustainable development goals were deemed to be priority for the Greater Atlanta region. Designated by the United Nations University, the Regional Centers of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development are networks of multidisciplinary stakeholders committed to implementing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals at the local level. Other higher education institutions collaborating on the RCE Greater Atlanta include Agnes Scott College, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Morehouse College and University of Georgia.
AASCU Announces Program to Assess Political Learning & Engagement
The American Democracy Project (ADP), a program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), recently announced a new two-year initiative to work with 12 AASCU campuses over two years to pilot processes for engaging campus communities in measuring, understanding and improving campus climates in order to prepare students to be informed, engaged citizens.
13 North American Universities Form Climate Action Coalition
The University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) is a group of 13 North American research universities, each of whom will convene a climate change forum in 2018 tailored to meet local and regional objectives shared across sectors and will aim to speed the implementation of research-driven climate policies and solutions. A coalition-wide report, to be released in late 2018, will synthesize the best practices, policies and recommendations from all UC3 forums into a framework for continued progress on climate change goals across the nation and the world. The UC3 will operate in close partnership with Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network.
University Deans Refuse Funding From Tobacco-Tied Anti-Smoking Group
Seventeen American and Canadian public health schools have signed a pledge saying they won't work with or accept money from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an anti-smoking group funded by Philip Morris International. Philip Morris International plans to contribute close to $1 billion to fund the organization, whose mission is to reduce illness and death from smoking. The statement claims both the tobacco industry and Philip Morris International have a long history of funding research in ways meant to purposely confuse the public and advance their own interests.
U Iowa Adopts 'Climate for Change' Theme for Spring Semester
The Climate for Change theme aims to get students to think about the environmental problems they may face in the future. Throughout the semester, the university will offer events on destruction of natural resources, climate change, and food and water insecurity.
Keele U Partners on Large-Scale Smart Energy Project
(U.K.) The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator will be a single, integrated electricity, gas and heat system that includes the digitalization of 24 substations and the installation over 1,500 smart meters, 500 home controllers and a five megawatt renewable integration package. Developed in partnership with Siemens, the project will provide analysis of energy consumption to enable demand management and allow businesses to access the university's infrastructure in order to develop and test renewable and smart energy technologies.
Humber College Receives Fair Trade Designation
The Canadian Fair Trade Network designation was granted to Humber’s south Etobicoke campus in mid-January for the college’s commitment to ensuring the availability of Fair Trade products, such as coffee, tea and chocolate in vending machines, the bookstore, and campus eateries and catering. Achieving the designation is part of the college’s five-year plan to make its campuses more sustainable.
Blackfeet CC & U Montana Western Partner to Increase Indigenous Educators
A new partnership between the two schools, aided by a $1 million federal Office of Indian Education grant, seeks to design and implement a program that addresses the shortage of teachers serving Indigenous children on the Blackfeet Reservation. Through this grant, the schools have recruited Blackfeet faculty to design and deliver a Blackfeet culture-infused curriculum for Blackfeet teacher candidates who teach or will teach in area schools.
U Florida Publishes Guidebook for Integrating Cultural Resources into Disaster Planning
With support from the National Park Service, the Conservation Clinic at the university's Levin College of Law recently released a guidebook to help Florida state and local governments better integrate cultural resources into hazard planning. It describes current emergency management and preservation planning frameworks, provides examples of disaster planning practices, and presents new policy and planning recommendations.
U Illinois Chicago Hospitals Pilot Providing Shelter for Homeless
The university has concluded a 2015 pilot program that provides housing for 26 emergency room “super utilizers”. Health care costs per patient housed dropped 18 percent on average each month. The University of Illinois Hospital will expand the program to house 25 additional homeless patients. At least three other Chicago hospitals are launching or recently launched similar programs.
U Washington Creates Sustainability Engagement Games
A group at the university held the Sustainability Game Jam, an event that brought together dozens of students, faculty and staff over a weekend to create game prototypes that communicate concepts around sustainability. It was funded by a Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) grant.
U Virginia to Facilitate Governor's Environmental Justice Panel
Representatives from UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation will serve as facilitators for the 15-member Environmental Justice Advisory Council, established by Virginia Govenor Terry McAuliffe in October. The mission of the council is to ensure that environmental policies around major issues like air quality or sea-level rise serve the interest of every Virginian, and that no area or group bears a disproportionate share of the burden.
Barnard College Affiliates With the Worker Rights Consortium
The college's president recently announced its decision to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium. The affiliation will assist Barnard in implementing a manufacturing code of conduct with which apparel vendors contracting with Barnard will be asked to comply.
Six Universities Receive Energy Dept CHP Research Funding
North Carolina State University, Pace University, Pennsylvania State University-University Park, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Maine, Washington State University, Houston Advanced Research Center and the Center for Sustainable Energy will split a U.S. Department of Energy $25 million grant to further the installation of cost-effective, highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) technologies. These institutions will, among other things, become regional CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships that will assist in the development of strategies to increase resilience to natural disasters and improve grid and electric delivery reliability.
Penn State U Offers Energy Storage & Microgrid Training
A new training program is part of the university's GridSTAR Center, a smart-grid education and research center at Penn State at The Navy Yard. The program is intended to help instructors prepare to teach electrical workers about safe and productive energy storage and microgrid construction. A unique element of the program is that the curriculum is based on lessons learned in the design and construction of multiple energy storage and microgrid systems at Penn State.
U Exeter Joins Circular Economy Network
(U.K.) The university recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a Pioneer University, a program that seeks to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by engaging academics to research new business models to overcome environmental and economic challenges.