U New Mexico Begins Denim Recycling Partnership
The university’s Environment Coalition partnered with the Blue Jeans Go Green program to kick off a denim recycling effort to turn the collected material into insulation. Once the denim is processed, it is turned into a non-toxic denim insulation that gets donated to eligible grant programs or sent out to various Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
Michigan State U & U California Win 2018 Green Power Leadership Award
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bestowed its Green Power Leadership Award to the two universities for their efforts in advancing the voluntary green power market. MSU hosts the largest solar photovoltaic carport system in the U.S. through a long-term power purchase agreement and operates an anaerobic digestion system that turns dairy farm and dining hall food waste into renewable energy. UC increased its voluntary green power use by 40 percent system-wide, completed 12 new on-site solar projects, and hosts more than 40 megawatts of on-site solar capacity with photovoltaic systems at every campus.
U Exeter Launches Center for Circular Economy
(U.K.) The new center, hosted by the university's business school, aims to support the circular economy research agenda through new educational programs including MOOCs, executive and leadership programs, undergraduate courses and doctoral training. The current research focus is on farming and food, building and construction, waste, and regional approaches to circular economic regeneration.
U Virginia Convenes 'Universities Studying Slavery' Consortium
Bringing together over 40 colleges and universities from across the country, the consortium seeks to allow institutions to work together as they examine the role of slavery and racism in their histories and its impacts today. The consortium hosts semi-annual meetings to share strategies, research, and knowledge. The fall 2018 meeting will be held at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
12-Institution Consortium Receives $4.9M for Open Textbook Pilot Program
The Education Department recently announced that a consortium of 12 universities, led by the University of California Davis, will receive $4.9 million to expand a STEM-focused open textbook repository called LibreTexts by adding publications on STEM, career and technical topics. The other schools are American River College, Contra Costa College, Cosumnes River College, Diablo Valley College, Folsom Lake College, Hope College, Los Medanos College, Prince George's Community College, Sacramento City College, Saint Mary's College, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
U North Carolina System Promotes College Affordability Plans
The NC Promise tuition plan lowers undergraduate tuition to $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students at Elizabeth City State University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Western Carolina University. The Fixed Tuition Program dictates that tuition will remain the same all four years at a UNC System university. Both of these programs are part of the "We Promise" campaign launched in early October to promote affordable college opportunities for all North Carolinians.
Delta College Receives Bee Campus USA Certification
Campus ground crews have been steadily increasing wildflower-planted areas and native plant habitat, as well as designating pollinator habitat, that have enable the college to obtain the Bee Campus USA certification. The college undertook seven steps including establishing a committee, developing a plan, sponsoring student service-learning projects and installing signage around campus.
Indiana U Boosts Wellness With 3-Week Challenge
The three-week challenge will start at the beginning of October and aims to encourage everyday physical activities that benefit human health and the environment. Free for all members of the IU community to participate, the challenge focuses on one form of sustainable physical activity per week.
Southern Oregon U Ignites a 'World Peace Flame'
Hosted by the World Peace Flame Foundation, the World Peace Flame represents a symbol of those dedicated to achieving peace through education and practical support of grassroots peace initiatives. It aims to inspire people to create peace at every level. There is only one other World Peace Flame in the U.S. It is in the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
U New Mexico Receives $20M for SMART Grid Center
Funded by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a consortium of universities, research laboratories and industry partners will contribute to a SMART Grid Center at the University of New Mexico. The SMART Grid Center, which stands for Sustainable, Modular, Adaptive, Resilient and Transactive, will support an integrated research and education program for the development of a modern electric grid. The research program seeks to transform existing electricity distribution feeders into interconnected microgrids and will utilize multiple testbeds across New Mexico.
New Partnership Aims to Increase Diversity of Solar Industry
With a goal of making the solar workforce more diverse, the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition have signed a memorandum of understanding to begin a comprehensive effort to help the solar industry recruit and employ more students from the nation’s 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This will include hosting a national jobs fair and individual jobs fairs at the HBCU schools.
SUNY & UC Leaders Call on Higher Ed to Lead on Climate Action
University of California President Janet Napolitano and State University of New York Chancellor Kristina Johnson co-wrote a piece for the Washington Post recently that contends the higher education community is well-equipped to lead on climate action. They write, "With some 20 million college students nationwide, the impact the higher education sector could have by decarbonizing its own operations, and by educating the next generation to wean the world off fossil fuels, is significant." Because universities generally contain in-house expertise and a commitment to sustainability, they have the opportunity to be testbeds that can be used to inform public policy and mitigate immense environmental challenges.
Western State Colorado U Partners on Environmental Management Degree Expansion
The university's new partnership with Earthship Biotecture Academy allows students in its Environmental Management degree program to learn how to build an Earthship while earning their degree. Participants in the academy might also earn undergraduate credit to be applied to their bachelor’s degrees at other universities.
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.
U Maryland Receives $3M NSF Grant to Launch Graduate Program
The $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to establish a new graduate training and research program, Global STEWARDS (STEM Training at the Nexus of Energy, Water Reuse and Food Systems). The program seeks to enable UMD to recruit and train more than 60 doctoral students in the life sciences, earth system sciences, engineering and computational sciences, natural resource management, and energy and environmental policy.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Launches Student-Written Environmental Publication
The first published issue of Q Magazine features articles from students enrolled in the undergraduate certificate in Environmental Writing, a joint venture of the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, the School for Earth, Society, and Environment, and the English department. Students enrolled in the capstone course learn about the latest scientific research on the environment and how to communicate that research effectively to the public.
Teams From Two Universities Win Affordable Housing Design Competition
Teams from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte won first and third, while a team from California College of the Arts won second place in the 2018 Steel Design Student Competition, put on by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The Affordable Housing category is socially oriented to challenge students to design affordable multi-family housing in an urban context.
U Washington Researchers Help Government Building Get Fitwel Certification
Two researchers in the university's Civil & Environmental Engineering department assisted the city of Bellevue with Fitwel certification of its city hall. Administered by the Center for Active Design, Fitwel encourages the adoption of 63 strategies that support healthy behavior by occupants. Out of a total possible 144 points, Bellevue City Hall earned 92 points, receiving a one-star rating.
Purdue U Receives $70M to Lead Research Consortium on International Development
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $70 million to the university to lead a multi-university consortium that aims to devise evidence-based solutions for pressing development challenges. The consortium will help USAID identify research challenges across all its technical sectors and geographical locations and identify experts worldwide to answer questions about the challenges, such as food security, global health and early childhood education. Purdue’s supporting partners in the consortium are Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.
Pueblo CC to Introduce Renewable Energy Living Lab
The community college recently announced a new partnership with NextEra Energy Resources where NextEra will deliver and install 52 photovoltaic solar panels to create a 20-kilowatt solar energy system on PCC’s Pueblo campus. NextEra also will provide training and curriculum to help the college create a pipeline of skilled workers into the solar industry.
RIT Inspires Climate Change Modification for Minecraft
After attending a course on climate change science, technology and policy last spring at Rochester Institute of Technology, Minecraft Developer Nick Porillo created a new plugin that adds climate change factors to the game. Different elements of gameplay affect the carbon dioxide levels in the game world’s atmosphere.
Virginia Tech U Rolls Out Community Bike-Share Program
A regional partnership among Virginia Tech, Blacksburg and Christiansburg, and Montgomery County now gives the community access to 12 bike stations with eight being housed on the Virginia Tech campus. Seventy-five bikes are in circulation with plans to expand in the future. Riders gain access to the bikes through a smart phone app. The program offers flexible pricing and timing options, along with unlimited daily, monthly and yearly memberships.
Virginia Commonwealth U Partners to Offer Public Transit
The university has signed a one-year agreement with a transit company to provide unlimited transportation access on certain routes for all VCU students and employees. The $1.2 million initiative will become effective on Aug. 1.
U Maryland Professor Collaborates on $1.1M Grant to Study Sea-Level Adaptation
A professor of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland will collaborate with researchers from George Washington University, University of Delaware, and Resources for the Future using a $1.1 million grant to further research on sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The research combines crop research, wetland ecology, geological and chemical analyses, and economic modeling to determine what crop management strategies work in saltier environments and to identify practical applications that will be the most cost effective and profitable. The project’s outreach initiatives will include webinars, the creation of educational materials, and train-the-trainer sessions.
U California President's Office Launches Million Light Bulb Challenge
The Million Light Bulb Challenge is a statewide effort to advance the purchase of 1 million high-quality, energy-efficient light bulbs for campus buildings and residences across the state. Under the program, all UC students, staff, faculty, retirees and alumni can purchase light bulbs at nearly half the price of online competitors.
Penn State U New Kensington Receives $75K for Community Engagement
The university was awarded $75,000 from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund for the creation of a community educational workshop that will host speakers and sessions related to sustainability and energy for community members and business owners. The workshop will also help identify local needs and gaps. Remaining funding will support revitalization efforts in the city of New Kensington.
U Manchester Joins Principles for Responsible Investment
(U.K.) In joining the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the university now works with its investment managers to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their selection criteria. A couple features of the policy are identifying and promoting low or zero-carbon investments where available without detrimental impact to investment risk and returns, divesting in shares in companies which do not respond positively to concerns about their practices or are deemed to be in breach of acceptable standards or ethical or environmental practice, and engaging more proactively with investment managers to ensure that the new policy is being put into practice.
U Cambridge Establishes Sustainability Fellowship Program
(U.K.) The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Program was recently launched by the the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to provide a platform for academic departments, Cambridge colleges, and the private sector to collaborate to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Southern Oregon U Opens to Community for Smoke & Fire Relief
In an effort to provide relief from the heat and smoke-filled air caused by dozens of climate-driven wildfires throughout the area, the university is now welcoming community members to several air-conditioned facilities across campus. The university has also opened its indoor track in the Student Recreation Center for community members to have a cool, clean place to exercise out of the smoke.
Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'
During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.
Three Higher Ed Institutions Sign Agreement to Develop Wind Energy Curriculum
Bristol Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently signed a memorandum of understanding to share resources and collaborate on the development of curriculum and programs centered on the offshore wind energy sector. The goal of the Connect4Wind agreement is to create a sustainable offshore wind industry that compliments the existing and historic fishing and industrial uses of the port. It also aims to develop a better understanding of the workforce requirements of existing models of offshore wind and deepen the understanding as a new industry sector with an appropriate supply chain model.
U Denver Pilots New Shuttle
Building on the momentum of providing sustainable transportation options to students and staff, the university is piloting a new, subsidized shuttle service. The new service will provide rides along two designated routes around the perimeter of campus, with stops that include the university's light rail station, the new administrative building and four other locations around campus.
Arizona State U Launches 'Carbon Project'
The ASU Carbon Project is a program that purchases carbon offset credits and supports local projects that mitigate carbon. To partially fund the carbon-reduction initiatives, the university enacted a mandatory price on carbon for all ASU-sponsored air travel at a current rate of $8 per round-trip flight. The ASU Carbon Project will begin to use these funds for carbon offset credits in 2025.
U Central Florida Joins Coastal Sustainability Consortium
As part of its ongoing efforts to help develop sustainable, resilient and economically successful coastal communities while ensuring the ecological security of coastal ecosystems, the university’s National Center for Integrated Coastal Research recently became a member of the Blue Community Consortium. The consortium has developed a certification process based on global sustainable tourism criteria that emphasizes coastal-habitat protection, restoration and enhancement.
Northeast Schools Partner to Launch Sustainable Energy Training Consortium
Antioch University New England, Greenfield Community College, Keene State College, and the School for International Training started the Ecovation Hub Education and Training Consortium to bring broader sustainable economy knowledge and opportunities to the tri-state area of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The consortium introduced its first course this summer at Keene State College, which was a two-week program in sustainable building practices.
U Nottingham Partners With Volvo on Energy Storage Research
(U.K.) The new partnership with Volvo Trucks aims to convert diesel engines due for scrap into renewable power storage units that can charge electric bus and truck fleets. The project idea is to re-task the engines to become machines that compress and expand air to store and release energy, called Compressed Air Energy Storage.
Humboldt State U & Santa Rosa Junior College to Receive $5M Each for Microgrids
The California Energy Commission recently announced that Humboldt State's Sponsored Programs Foundation will receive $5 million for a multi-customer, front-of-the-meter microgrid with renewable energy generation owned by a community choice aggregation and the microgrid circuit owned by an investor-owned utility. Santa Rosa Junior College campus will receive $5 million from the energy commission for a renewable energy microgrid demonstration project, which will meet 40 percent of the electricity needs at the campus and allow the campus to provide emergency services during power outages.
Indiana U Partners With City on Bike-Share Program
The city of Bloomington and the university have partnered to launch a dockless bike sharing service, operated by company Zagster, which aims to give residents, students and visitors an affordable and sustainable on-demand transportation option. With an initial base of 150 bicycles, the program will offer rides at $1 per half-hour, with monthly subscriptions available for unlimited 60-minute trips.
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. In addition to the 61 higher education signers, 37 dioceses, close to 200 religious communities, and more than 100 parishes and more than a dozen Catholic health care organizations signed on. 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 partnership project to develop understanding of 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, dedicated to researching environmental determinants of health. Specifically the institute will study environmental factors that influence heart disease, better known as environmental cardiology. The institute will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a 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.