AASHE Releases 2018 Annual Report
AASHE recently released its 2018 annual report detailing accomplishments and progress. It spotlights STARS, educational and professional development opportunities, the Sustainability Awards, the 2018 conference and expo, and outreach and advocacy. The report also includes information about new efforts: AASHE Connect - an online community for members, AASHE’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion statement, and a partnership with Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) to advance STARS.
Grand Valley State U Names New Sustainability Director
Beginning January 1, Yumiko Jakobcic, who served as campus sustainability coordinator since 2014, assumed the role of director of the university's Office of Sustainability Practices. Jakobcic earned a bachelor's degree in natural resources management from Grand Valley in 2006 and a master's degree in environmental management from Duke University. She is in the process of earning a doctoral degree in natural resources from the University of Vermont.
AASHE Adopts Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement
Developed over the course of a year with input from the Advisory Council and board of directors, the new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) statement reaffirms AASHE's resolve to advancing DEI as a core value. As a result, AASHE will be providing DEI training for AASHE staff, offering professional development opportunities for members, and continuing to emphasize equity and social justice throughout AASHE programs and partnerships.
Delta College & U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Win Climate Leadership Award
Second Nature, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), recently announced the winners of the Climate Leadership Award. Delta College was recognized for implementation of an Energy Optimization Incentive Program in collaboration with its utility provider, as well as a sustainability-immersive study abroad program, and climate adaptation and resilience learning sessions. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was honored for using power purchase agreements to reduce more than 17,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, creating a task force to address climate resilience concerns, and enhancing classroom learning through a sustainability mentorship program. Six institutions received honorable mention.
Georgetown U Creates Faculty Research Collaboration
The Georgetown Global Cities Initiative is a network of university faculty and students who share ideas and research on global urbanization. It includes about 70 Georgetown faculty from disparate disciplines who work on the relationship between cities and climate change; governance and diplomacy; history and the humanities; health; sociology; digitization; infrastructure and numerous other issues.
TIAA Difference Maker 100 Honors Florida State U & Lehman College Staff
The TIAA Difference Maker 100 recognizes people who devote their lives to improving the world and shaping a better future. Of the 100 people recognized, Elizabeth Swiman at Florida State University was honored for her work creating a food recovery program that resulted in 40,000 pounds of donated meals, a recycling project that has collected 100-plus tons of recyclables and a low-cost bike initiative for students. Eva Bornstein at Lehman College was recognized for creating culturally engaging performances for underserved audiences at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx. Those recognized will receive $10,000 to help support the organization where they are making a difference.
Big Tent Consortium Calls for Higher Ed Action on SDGs
The Big Tent Consortium, a global network of universities and their community partners, has issued a declaration and call to action to its members to commit to collaboration, cooperation and action on the Sustainable Development Goals. The Big Tent Consortium is composed by The Talloires Network, the Global University Network for Innovation and the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
AASHE & ACTS Partner to Bring STARS to Australasia
A new partnership between AASHE and Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) provides a framework for a cohort of ACTS members to conduct a STARS assessment. Anticipated to begin in early 2019, the pilot initiative is for ACTS members that have dedicated a staff member to support the cohort. Qualifying ACTS members will receive a substantial discount from AASHE to use STARS.
UCLA Wins National Athletic Sustainability Award
The University of California, Los Angeles was the winner of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USG Corporation Sustainability Award for its work on the Wasserman Football Center. The award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions across all divisions, honoring athletics directors and their universities for incorporating sustainable practices and materials into their athletics facilities. Bentley University and Georgia State University were finalists, receiving $10,000 each in USG product while UCLA received $40,000 in USG product.
McGill U Provides Staff With Resources to Incorporate Sustainability
The McGill Office of Sustainability has released two new resources that encourage staff to make sustainability a part of their everyday work life. One resource is for new employees while the other outlines many different ways to engage with sustainability practices, programs and initiatives on campus.
Stony Brook U Professor Earns Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award
Alex Orlov, Ph.D., associate professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a faculty member of the Consortium for Inter-Disciplinary Environmental Research and the Advanced Energy Center at Stony Brook University, will receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineering’s Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award for "outstanding contributions to sustainability education". He is being recognized for new approaches to teaching sustainability practices to undergraduate and graduate engineering students. The annual award comes with a $1,000 cash prize.
Princeton Review Releases Guide to 399 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review's 2018 Guide to 399 Green Colleges is a free guide that profiles universities and colleges with commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives and activities. The edition includes a Top 50 Green Colleges list. In related news, STARS ratings have now been added to campus profiles on Princeton Review website. The rating is displayed in the Sustainability section of the Campus Life tab.
Ball State U Faculty Receives 2018 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award
Eva Zygmunt is the Helen Gant Elmore Distinguished Professor of Elementary Education and co-director of the Alliance for Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation at Ball State University. Zygmunt was selected for her work in training future teachers in thoughtfully engaging communities to work toward social justice and educational equity in the classroom. This Campus Compact award is bestowed annually to recognize one faculty member and up to four finalists for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal partnerships, building institutional commitments to engagement, and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. Four finalists were also acknowledged for their achievements.
Southern Oregon U Signs Real Food Commitment
By signing up for the Real Food Challenge, the university agreed that at least 20 percent of its food budget by 2023 will be spent on “real food”. To get there, the university will establish a transparent reporting system and file an annual progress report to evaluate its food purchasing practices; create a food systems working group that will develop a “real food" policy and multi-year action plan; and increase awareness of ecologically sustainable, humane and socially equitable food systems.
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.
Times Higher Education to Develop International SDGs Ranking
A new global university ranking that aims to measure institutions’ success in meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals is under development by Times Higher Education (THE). The first edition of the ranking will include metrics based on 11 SDGs and the long-term goal is to measure performance against all 17 goals. The ranking will be open to all accredited universities that teach undergraduates, and the first edition will be launched at THE’s Innovation and Impact Summit in South Korea in April 2019. Data collection will begin this autumn.
U California Expands Systemwide Sustainability Goals
As part of its Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the university now aims to provide 100 percent of its electricity across its campuses and medical centers from clean sources by 2025. Additional goals include reducing energy-use intensity by 2 percent year over year and discontinuing on-site fossil fuel combustion for water and space heating in new buildings and major renovations after June 2019. Enhanced purchasing requirements supporting sustainable sourcing were adopted and each campus will reduce municipal solid waste 25 percent by 2025, and by 50 percent by 2030.
Chronicle of Higher Ed Showcases Sustainable Campus Index
In early September, The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted AASHE's 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, an impact report that spotlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type. The Chronicle piece features the top 10 schools by overall score for doctoral, master's, baccalaureate and associate institutions, along with seven of 10 subcategories, which are sortable by score.
U North Carolina Charlotte Adopts Air Quality Measures for Construction
The university, with assistance from Clean Air Carolina, recently changed its Design and Construction Manual to require contracted companies to reduce diesel fuel emissions while working on campus. These new standards, which apply to all future construction projects on campus, discourage prolonged idling of equipment on construction sites and require all equipment to use the lowest exhaust emissions possible.
U Missouri Announces Ban on All Tobacco Use
The new policy prohibits all use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on campus. The university applied for and won a grant from the American Cancer Society to help implement it.
Sierra Magazine Releases 2018 Cool Schools Full Ranking
This year, Sierra's Cool Schools ranking features 269 North American institutions, including, for the first time, community colleges. The annual ranking assesses colleges' environmental practices in food and transportation systems, water and waste management, purchasing procedures, academics, investments and more. Sierra based its ranking this year on scores from the AASHE Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).
18 Schools Earn Top Spots in 2018 Sustainable Campus Index
AASHE recently released the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, which recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate’s), Dickinson College (baccalaureate), Green Mountain College (master’s), and University of California, Irvine (doctoral/research). The full list of top-performing institutions for each of the impact areas can be found within the report.
California State U East Bay Approves First Climate Action Plan
In early May 2018, the campus completed one of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment milestones by approving its first Climate Action Plan. The plan, which includes immediate, near-, medium- and long- action steps, indicates the university has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.
APPA Selects Five 2018 Sustainability Innovation Award Recipients
Central Michigan University, James Madison University, Simon Fraser University, San Jose State University, and University of Calgary were recipients of this year's Sustainability Innovation Award given by APPA. This award is designed to recognize and advance sustainability in educational facilities.
U Louisiana Lafayette Adopts Sustainability Strategic Plan
The 21-point plan enumerates goals through 2021 that seek to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy and water consumption. It is the institution's first comprehensive statement of environmental objectives.
AASHE Announces Sustainability Award Finalists
The AASHE Sustainability Awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 34 finalists were chosen from nearly 300 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced mid-September.
U Wisconsin-Madison Hires Sustainability Director
Melissa Nergard has been selected as the inaugural full-time director of Sustainability. Nergard comes to UW-Madison from Illinois State University where she served as director of Sustainability. In the near term, Nergard will focus on expanding and re-aligning the Office of Sustainability in order to advance the university’s sustainability efforts, as well as spearhead the university's AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) reporting and greenhouse gas data collection, benchmarking and reporting. Nergard holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from UW–Stevens Point and a master’s in history from Illinois State, and is scheduled to complete her Ph.D. in higher education administration in 2019, also from Illinois State.
Three Universities Receive NACUBO Sustainability Awards
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) annual awards honor institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management. The three universities that received this honor for sustainability leadership are University of California, Los Angeles; University of Minnesota, Morris; and University of Texas at Arlington.
Lenoir-Rhyne U Introduces Sustainability Scholarship
Lenoir-Rhyne undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy that plan to pursue a Master of Science in Sustainability Studies at the university now have the opportunity to apply for the Bracewell/Trout Unlimited Conservation Education Scholarship. The expected award is $3,540 - $4,130 per year toward tuition and additional fees.
NACUFS Highlights Dining Sustainability Award Winners
The annual National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor member institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations. The overall winner was Harvard University, which also earned Silver in Waste Management. Boston College earned top honors in Outreach and Education, Carleton University earned first place in Waste Management, and the University of Rochester earned top place in Procurement Practices.
ISCN Announces 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award Winners
The International Sustainable Campus Network announced the 2018 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award winners. The University of Copenhagen (Denmark) won the Building and Innovative Infrastructure Award; Stanford University won the Campus Planning and Management Systems Award; the Free University of Berlin (Germany) received the Innovative Collaboration Award; and the University of Cyprus (Cyprus) earned the Student Leadership Award. These awards recognize universities for exceptional sustainability efforts in campus planning, integration with academics, student leadership, and exemplary building projects.
Global Alliance Releases SDGs Report
At the U.N.’s High Level Political Forum in New York earlier this July, a partnership of universities, colleges and sustainability networks called the Global Alliance released a report examining the global contribution of higher education to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The findings highlight the opportunities and challenges in embedding the SDGs in higher education, as well as higher education's commitment to increase its contributions to the SDGs. The report also shows the aspiration of students to learn more about the SDGs and the changing focus of young people as they start to prioritize social justice and environmental ethics.
Harvard U Adopts Sustainable IT Standards
The new standards focus on actionable recommendations that schools and departments can adopt in three core areas – waste, energy and practice – aimed at reducing the environmental impact of technology. The Sustainable IT Standards were created by the Green IT Working Group that comprises IT, operations and facilities professionals, in collaboration with the Office for Sustainability and Harvard University Information Technology.
U Pittsburgh Hires First Sustainability Director
As part of the university’s newly formalized sustainability plan, Aurora Sharrard will leave her post as executive director of the Green Building Alliance on July 1 to become the university’s first-ever director of Sustainability. Among the projects she helped to develop and oversee while at the Green Building Alliance were the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, a coalition between local government, residents, higher education institutions and businesses to address the city’s climate change goals.
Education Dept. Announces 2018 Green Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Education's 2018 Green Ribbon Schools program selected six postsecondary institutions, 46 schools, and six districts as honorees. They are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
Seattle Colleges Hires Associate Vice Presidents for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
For the first time in the history of Seattle Colleges, all colleges have established campus diversity officers for equity, diversity and inclusion. These positions will report directly to their respective college presidents. Each position will be tasked to work collaboratively across the district and to help establish and monitor the equity and inclusion goals in the Seattle Colleges strategic plan. D’Andre Fisher is at North Seattle College; Betsy Hasegawa is at South Seattle College; and Valerie Hunt is at Seattle Central College.
Three Universities Win International Green Gown Awards
University of Tasmania (Australia) won in the Community category; Canterbury Christ Church University (U.K.) won in the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change category: and Chiba University (Japan) won the Student Engagement category. The awards recognize exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.
U Bath to Pay Voluntary Living Wage
(U.K.) The university is applying for formal accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation to reinforce its commitment to ensure salaries keep pace with the cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announces living wage rates in the first week of November each year and, once accredited, the university will be committed to implementing that rate.
Harvard U Graduate Assistants Vote for Union
Graduate students at Harvard University voted 1,931 to 1,523 to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The election, held earlier this month, was the second on the union issue, as a 2016 vote proved inconclusive.
U Maryland Installs Wall of Plants in Library
In an effort to inspire creativity and support well-being, living plants now cover the surface of an interior wall at the university's McKeldin Library as part of a series of renovations to the library’s busy first floor. The bio-wall project was partially funded by students through the University Sustainability Fund.