EPA Announces Campus RainWorks Challenge Winners
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received first place in the Demonstration Project Category for integrating a variety of green infrastructure practices into a campus parking lot, while the University of New Mexico received second place. The University of California, Berkeley earned first place in the Master Plan Category for its commitment and vision in stormwater management, while the University of Maryland, College Park earned second place. The University of Arizona received an honorable mention in both the Demonstration Project and Master Plan categories.
Orange Coast College Launches Apparel Sustainability Program
After receiving interest from students and suggestions from faculty to offer more classes in sustainability, faculty members worked up a curriculum that translates to an Apparel Industry Sustainability certificate program, which will begin fall 2018.
Northern Illinois U Rolls Out Bike-Share Program
A campus bike sharing option called VeoRide launched at the end of April that offers students a free month of service, followed by discounted rates for three months. Once the three-month period ends, the service will charge its regular rate of 50 cents per 15 minutes.
U Windsor to Receive $4.5M for Energy Efficiency
In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development has awarded the university $4.5 million for the replacement of eight aging air-handling units. The grant also includes funding for new LED lighting and roof insulation.
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.
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.
American U Launches Local Carbon Offset Program
The new program aims to offset the carbon emissions caused by students, faculty and staff members who commute to campus by planting and nurturing 650 trees throughout the nation’s capital. The initiative will also provide students with access to the urban forestry data from this program to inform their own field studies in urban planning and other related fields.
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.
College William & Mary Issues Apology for Slavery & Discrimination History
The William & Mary Board of Visitors adopted a new resolution that includes an apology for the college’s history as it relates to exploiting slave labor and racial discrimination. Since 2009, the college has been investigating the college's role in perpetuating slavery and racial discrimination through a project called The Lemon Project. The project, named after a man who was once enslaved by the College of William & Mary, is a multifaceted and dynamic attempt to rectify wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by the college through action or inaction. A major effort that will soon formally get underway is a design competition for a memorial on the Historic Campus honoring the enslaved.
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.
American U Becomes Carbon Neutral
The university achieved carbon neutrality two years earlier than expected through a combination of on-site renewables, a renewable energy partnership in North Carolina, and carbon offsets. The university relies solely on renewable energy for its electricity.
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 Pilots Compostable Paper Straws
During the month of April, the Maryland Dairy at the Stamp Student Union piloted using compostable paper straws. The pilot program was initiated by the general manager and supported by the student-led group Sustainable Ocean Alliance.
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.
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.
Fleming College to Receive $12.1M for Sustainable Energy Projects
Thanks to funding from the provincial government, the college will get nearly $12,147,000 in infrastructure and research funding, a portion of which will be used to install a new geothermal heating and cooling system at its Sutherland Campus as well as rooftop solar and wind energy.
Loyola U Maryland Joins Beyond Benign Green Chemistry Program
Challenged to join the program by John Warner, Ph.D., founder of Beyond Benign, Loyola’s department of Chemistry recently signed up for Beyond Benign’s Green Chemistry Commitment program, which commits the department to incorporating green chemistry into the curriculum.
U Tennessee Replaces Paper Towels With Hand Dryers
A total of 1,034 hand dryers will be installed in restrooms of academic buildings across campus. Paper towels will remain in break rooms, kitchens and labs. This project aims to reduce waste and paper towels, which make up more campus waste than any other single item. Hand dryers will also result in less labor to clean and maintain restrooms, reduce transportation for deliveries of paper towels, save liners, a costly custodial supply item, and prevent litter and overflowing trash cans in restrooms.
Two U Notre Dame Buildings Earn LEED Gold
Undergraduate residences Flaherty Hall and Dunne Hall contain high-efficiency faucets, shower heads and toilets, and used regionally sourced building materials. During the construction of both residence halls, project managers eliminated and minimized waste as much as possible, and reused materials when feasible in the construction of the halls.
Keene State College Students Organize On-Campus Food Bank
When students from two campus organizations learned last semester that food insecurity is a problem for some Keene State students, they secured a location for a new pantry, the Hungry Owl, and launched a nonperishable-food drive. The space has a fully operational kitchen in which organizers hope to add services like cooking nights or providing recipes or assembling pre-made meals.
Colorado State U-Pueblo Building Receives LEED Platinum
More than 80 percent of the construction materials for the General Classroom Building were recycled on the job site and flooring, drywall and ceiling tiles in the building all include recycled content. Water-saving plumbing fixtures were installed and indoor water use was reduced by 38 percent compared to a similar building designed to code. The existing campus solar array provides approximately 15 percent of the building’s electricity.
UK's National Union of Students Awards $140K to Student Projects
(U.K.) The National Union of Students' (NUS) Student Eats Program recently awarded over $138,000 (100,000 British pounds) to projects at nine universities in an effort to help scale-up programs that help students to grow food and develop food-based social enterprises.
U North Carolina Asheville Offers Free Summer Courses
In an effort to help students reduce student debt, the university is now offering students who are one or two classes shy of junior or senior status (60 or 90 credits) free summer courses to encourage them to complete the 120 credits required to graduate in four years.
U Illinois Chicago Releases Climate Action Implementation Plan
The new Climate Action Implementation Plan includes seven strategies that integrate the university's goals for carbon neutrality, zero waste, net zero water, and creating a biodiverse university. The strategies cover energy, transportation, natural systems and ecosystem services, materials and waste, curriculum and engagement, and climate resiliency. The portfolio of solutions will be implemented over the next 10 years through 2028.
Five Colleges Create Renewable Energy Partnership
Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith and Williams Colleges have formed the New England Colleges Renewable Partnership, an effort that will facilitate the development of additional solar electricity generation. The planned project will allow them to offset 46,000 megawatt-hours per year of their collective electrical needs from a new solar power facility to be built in Farmington, Maine.
Bowdoin College Achieves Carbon Neutrality
Two years ahead of schedule, the college has achieved carbon neutrality through a variety of campus energy projects, campus engagement, regional carbon offsets and renewable energy credits, with additional contributions from changes to the Maine electrical grid. The college has reduced its on-site carbon emissions by 29 percent compared to a 2008 baseline.
Hampshire College Appoints a Sustainability Officer as President
Miriam E. Nelson, PhD. comes to Hampshire College as its seventh president from the University of New Hampshire, where she has served as deputy director of the Sustainability Institute since 2016. Prior to the UNH, Nelson spent over three decades at Tufts University where she served on the faculty and was chair of the faculty at Tisch College of Civic Life, founded the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, published over 100 scholarly papers and presented at hundreds of conferences nationally and overseas, and was health and nutrition adviser to the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, and Agriculture.
U North Carolina Asheville Earns Tree Campus USA Recognition
The university recently earned the new designation by meeting five standards developed by the Arbor Day Foundation that promote healthy trees and student involvement on campus, including creating a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree plan, a campus tree program and a service learning project, and observing Arbor Day.
U North Carolina Wilmington Student Creates Wellness Campaign
UNCW sophomore Victoria Rause founded a new student organization called PERK, People Encouraging Random Kindness, that seeks to help students cope with stress by doing encouraging things for fellow students, like distributing notecards with nice thoughts written on them or passing out candy, all while teaching students to look for opportunities to promote kindness and rethink the way they view their perceived obstacles.
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.
U California Davis Releases Growth Plan Alongside an Environmental Impact Report
The university recently released an updated Long Range Development Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), which assesses the potential environmental impacts of the proposed development plan along with new housing projects. The goal of the new development scheme is to plan for future growth in programs while targeting environmental goals in areas such as energy and water use, transportation, and waste management.
DePauw U Dining Hall Receives LEED Gold
The university's Hoover Dining Hall is a 48,600 square-foot facility that seats more than 600 people in the main dining room with an array of smaller dining rooms that provide additional seating options. Food Services implements zero waste initiatives, such as reusable carry-out boxes, trayless dining, composting and using leftover fruit peels to make infused water. The university also donates leftover food to those in need and gives a portion of its scraps to local farmers for livestock feed.
Eastern Kentucky U Introduces Dockless Bike-Share System
Designed to help students get around the Richmond campus, the university recently contracted with LimeBike to introduce 100 brightly painted green and yellow bicycles at no cost to the university, with plans to increase the fleet to 250 in the upcoming weeks.
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 Promotes Climate Literacy for Staff
Members of the university's Employee Assembly voted earlier this month to support staff involvement and participation in campus climate change literacy policy and programs, in an effort to ensure the success of the Climate Action Plan. Highlighting the scientific consensus of global climate change, the resolution notes the impact of climate change on employee happiness and well-being. Climate change literacy was defined in the resolution as an understanding of an individual’s influence on climate and climate’s influence on individuals.
California State U System Creates Healthy Food Working Group
In an effort to offer healthier food options on campus for students, the California State Universities' Food Systems Working Group convened had its inaugural meeting in March. The meeting was attended by students, professors, technical experts, dining management staff, food producers and administrators from all 23 campuses and their respective communities. Their goal is to get more real food, defined as local- and community-based, fair trade, ecologically sound and humane, on CSU campuses.
Western U Receives $11.6M Grant for Energy Upgrades
The grant will go toward a retrofit to modify heating systems from steam to hot water in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce the use of natural gas. The change is expected to result in a 12 percent reduction in emissions from 2016 levels and an estimated cost savings of $1.5 million annually. The funding is from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program of the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
Arizona State U Hosts 'Day Without Cars' Event
As part of a coordinated effort to further sustainable transportation efforts, nearly 400 university students and staff members signed a pledge to take an alternate, non-single occupancy vehicle mode of transit to campus on March 27.
Ball State U Students Create SGA Green Council
The Student Government Association voted recently to add a green council to its senate. This council will bring together environmentally-focused student organizations to collaborate on improving campus sustainability.
Stetson U to Launch Minor in Sustainable Food Systems
Courses in the new minor will be taught by professors of public health, chemistry and other environmental sciences, as well as media and communication. The new minor can be paired with any undergraduate degree, and requires five courses and 20 credit hours. The new program is expected to launch fall 2018.
Stetson U Students Compile ESG Stock Index
Five university seniors in the Roland George Investments Program (RGIP) created a new index focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. In total, $300,000 was approved from the RGIP Growth Fund for investment in four of the six stocks comprising the index.
U Richmond Receives $75K Grant for Energy Management Plan
A $75,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will support the development of a comprehensive energy conservation management plan, including an energy audit to document energy usage and identify measures to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
U Dayton Hires Executive Director of Sustainability Institute
Ben McCall was selected to be the first executive director of the University of Dayton's Hanley Sustainability Institute. Currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, McCall helped develop a project to verify carbon credits from campus emission reductions, raising nearly $1.5 million for campus sustainability efforts. He also coordinated design of and fundraising for a biomass boiler system; advocated for the first wind energy power purchase agreement for the campus; and facilitated the initiation of a student-led program to convert used cooking oil from dining halls into biodiesel. His appointment begins in mid-August.
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.
Northwestern U Earns Energy Star Partner of the Year Award
The award recognizes Northwestern’s achievements in energy efficiency, including its efforts to accurately track energy usage data and measure progress in reducing consumption. Northwestern recently completed a comprehensive energy audit of all 222 campus buildings in Evanston and Chicago, representing more than 14.5 million square feet of space. Northwestern is the first university in more than a decade to receive the award and the fourth university ever to be recognized. Previous higher education winners include the University of Michigan (2004), University of Virginia (2001) and University of Missouri-Columbia (1997).
Acadia U to Eliminate Plastic Straws
At the request of students, Chartwells, Acadia’s food service provider, committed to eliminating plastic straws from retail and dining hall operations. ASU food and bar services have also reduced straws in operations as part of a campaign led by several students in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.