Columbia U Partners with HBCUs in Scholarship Program
In an effort to combat the lack of diversity in the professional workforce, beginning summer 2017, Columbia University will admit two students from each of the top 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as ranked by The Wall Street Journal, through a university scholarship program with a $100,000 value. The chosen students can earn a one-year master’s degree, receive access to industry mentors, career coaches and Columbia’s alumni network, followed by a paid summer internship and the possibility of a job offer from one of the program’s 11 Fortune 500 partners.
Clarion U Designates All-Gender Restrooms
Anyone wanting privacy can now choose from several facilities across campus after the university selected 11 buildings with one-stall restrooms and converted them to all-gender facilities. The restroom facilities needed only locks and signage, making the cost to convert minimal.
Southeast Missouri State U Opens Food Pantry
The new Redhawk Food Pantry provides non-perishable food items, hygiene products and school supplies to university students and employees in need. The food pantry provides supplemental support for members of the campus community who struggle with food insecurity, encourages an educational understanding of food insecurity, and provides a space for students to volunteer with their peers.
U Maryland Approves Carbon Neutral Air Travel Initiative
The university president recently approved a strategy to offset the greenhouse gases caused by university-related student, faculty and staff air travel, which have increased 52 percent over the past decade and now account for 20 percent of the university's carbon footprint. The goal is to completely and permanently eliminate the university air travel carbon footprint, likely through the purchase of carbon offsets at a cost of approximately $5 for each domestic trip.
North Carolina State U Pilots Cotton Textile Composting
After reading a blog detailing cotton composting at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, a student in the university's College of Textiles launched a pilot program to collect cotton waste and compost that waste at the university’s Compost Learning Lab. The aim of the project is to figure out what works, doesn’t work and whether there’s future opportunity to implement a permanent cotton compost program.
U North Texas Taps Green Fund for RECs & Renewable Energy Education Campaign
A class submitted a request to the university's We Mean Green Fund that resulted in funding to purchase 107-megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) and for an educational campaign focused on increasing renewable energy use that includes an educational website and classrooms and student organizations visits.
Ball State U Class Installs Photovoltaic System
In fall 2017, a $2,000 grant allowed an immersive learning class to install a solar panel system that powers a display case where students can charge their phones and learn more about solar energy via a television screen.
U California & Mexico Partner to Allocate $10M to Energy Efficiency Research Projects
Building on a memorandum of understanding signed by the university and Mexico, Mexico officially launched a request for proposals that will award up to $10 million (200 million pesos) to support energy efficiency research projects in Mexico, led by Mexican research institutions in collaboration with University of California researchers. The request for proposals aims to further advance shared goals of increasing energy efficiency in buildings and cities by investing in demonstration projects and microgrids.
EAUC Announces International Green Gown Award Winners
The International Green Gown Awards, administered by the Environmental Association of Colleges and Universities (EAUC), announced the 2017 winners, who were selected by an international panel of judges. The University of the West of England, Bristol (U.K.) won the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change category; Fiji National University, (Fiji) won in the Community category; and University of West of England, Bristol and University of Bristol (U.K.) won in the Student Engagement category. Winners of the regional Green Gown Awards competed internationally for top international honors.
Simon Fraser U to Train Researchers in Clean Technology
The university was selected to lead a program that will train researchers from low- and middle-income countries to research innovative solutions to global issues, such as food and water security, and solar energy and waste-heat technologies. The goal is to cultivate collaborations that can drive innovative research on a local and international level, while developing scholars to become leaders in their field.
Harvard U and U Pennsylvania Students Stage Divestment Protests
Student protesters at both universities recently held sit-ins asking administrators to divest from fossil fuels. Harvard students are demanding that school officials divest its endowment from the coal industry, while Penn students are seeking immediate divestment from coal and tar sands, and full divestment from fossil fuel corporations within six months. In previous responses to student divestment advocates, officials at both schools have indicated that while they share the students’ concerns about climate change, they disagree on the strategy and will not be divesting money from the fossil industry.
Green America Challenges Schools to Save One Million Trees
The nonprofit Green America’s Better Paper Project launched One Million Trees recently in an effort to encourage higher education institutions to publish alumni magazines on recycled paper in order to save trees and reduce landfill waste. Green America estimates that if all colleges used 100 percent recycled paper for their alumni publications, this could have annual savings up to one million trees and enough water to fill over 700 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Santa Fe CC Faculty Vote to Unionize
A recent vote yielded a 93 percent to seven percent ratio in favor of unionizing, which means that 50 full-time faculty at the college will now be represented by an American Association of University Professors chapter. The collective bargaining agreement will establish clear policies for faculty employment, and it will create a set of standards that holds everyone accountable.
U Kentucky Program Pays Employees to Use Transportation Alternatives
The university's Transportation Services has launched a pilot program to give $200 each to up to 200 qualified employees who agree to forgo bringing a motor vehicle to campus for one year. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of motor vehicles on campus and create a more pedestrian friendly community.
North Carolina State U Installs Solar Bus Stop Station
The university recently installed a solar canopy at one of its bus stations that allows riders to charge their electronic devices while waiting. The bus stop location as an optimal site for solar due to its popularity and lack of solar obstruction.
U Wisconsin-Stevens Point Introduces Educational Sustainability Doctoral Program
The new doctoral program in Educational Sustainability is designed to challenge students to educate for sustainability, by understanding and responding to problems in economic, ecological and social justice contexts. Sustainability learning and leadership theories are used to enable graduates to transform educational systems and foster citizen engagement.
U Massachusetts Amherst Opens Net-Zero-Energy Building
The new 16,800-square-foot building houses 35 offices and four conference rooms and was designed to produce as much energy as it consumes, aided by daylighting, ground-source heating and cooling, and photovoltaic energy. It will use about one-fifth the energy of the average office building in that region's climate.
St. John's U Receives Fair Trade Designation
Meeting the requirements set forth by Fair Trade Campaigns, a grassroots movement mobilizing campuses to embed Fair Trade practices and principles into policy, the university recently earned the designation after three years of working toward that end.
U Toledo Installs Solar Charging Tables
The campus community can now use outdoor, clean-power charging stations, which were funded and installed after a second-year student wrote a proposal to the UT Student Green Fund for exterior tables with solar panel umbrellas.
Leuphana U Completes Zero Emissions Building
(Germany): Topped with a green roof and powered by renewable energy, the light-filled building will operate at zero emissions. It also includes a gray water system. The building exceeds the standard that sets energy requirements for new buildings in Germany.
U Wyoming Launches Waste Reduction Initiative Aimed at Athletic Events
The Conservation Cowboys, an initiative that aims to reduce waste and resource use at athletics facilities and events, was recently piloted at an athletic event that resulted in the diversion of 266 pounds of the total 659 pounds of waste materials. A total of 35 volunteers from eight student organizations and four operational and academic units volunteered in the event.
Arizona State U Earns 'Best of Green Schools' Honor
The university was recently awarded the 2017 Best of Green Schools award from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S Green Building Council, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network. The award highlighted the university's variety of programs for middle and high school students and the university’s two sustainability education programs targeted toward K-12 teachers.
U North Georgia Earns Tree Campus Honor
The university recently earned a Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges Building Earns LEED Gold
The campus' first LEED certified building includes energy-efficient windows that allow natural daylight, ductwork that was sealed against dust during construction, filter systems that keep air in the building clean, low-flow water fixtures, and the use of long life-cycle materials such as slate and brick. The project was designed to reduce square footage of the building by making many spaces dual purpose.
U California Merced Building Achieves LEED Platinum
Some of the new building's sustainable features include 93 percent diversion of construction waste, 51 percent recycled content in the building materials, and 43 percent more water efficient and 46 percent more energy efficient than California code requires.
Pomona College Receives $2.5M for Energy Efficiency Upgrades
A new $2.5 million California Energy Commission grant will fund a three-year project to enhance existing energy management systems for 10 campus buildings. In partnership with five other organizations, the grant will provide additional occupancy sensors, automated controls, and optimization of air circulation, lights and thermostats.
Harvard U Partnership Allocates $100K to Local Community
Thirteen local nonprofits were selected to receive Harvard Allston Partnership Fund grants totaling $100,000 to support programs in the community. The program, established by Harvard University and the city of Boston in collaboration with the Allston community, was created to support nonprofit organizations providing neighborhood improvement, cultural enrichment and educational programming for residents.
North Carolina State U Upgrades Lab Lights to LED Fixtures
New LED light fixtures now provide light for the senior design lab of the university's Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science program, replacing 84 metal halide and fluorescent fixtures. With new fixtures and occupancy motion sensors installed, the retrofit project is expected to save $4,700 annually in avoided energy costs, providing a return on investment in less than six years.
AASHE Endorses March for Science
AASHE joins hundreds of other organizations supporting the March for Science, happening on Earth Day, April 22, in Washington, D.C., and at satellite marches around the globe. The March for Science aims to unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.
Williams College Students Turn Leftovers Into Donations
Leftover meals that went unserved in the dining halls are now being gathered up by students, packaged into meals and delivered by volunteers from several different student organizations under an umbrella initiative known as "The Campus Kitchens Project," a leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste. Student volunteers pick up food three nights a week from campus dining halls, chill the food for 24 hours, and then package the meals for deliveries to multiple affordable housing communities.
U Idaho Begins Fueling Trucks With Biodiesel
The university's Steam Plant has begun reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their operation by fueling their semi-truck and front-end loaders with a 20-percent blend of biodiesel made on campus from used cooking oil from Dining Services.
Michigan State U Begins Construction of Solar Carport
Construction has started on a new solar array project at five different parking lots across campus that are estimated to generate more than 15,000 megawatt-hours annually, about 5 percent of the electricity used on campus annually. As part of the power purchase agreement, the university will purchase electricity produced from the solar arrays at a fixed price for 25 years. The university is covering the cost of connecting the arrays to the university’s power grid while project investors are paying all other construction and maintenance costs projected to be about $20 million.
Northwestern U Alumnus Donates $3M to Support Social Justice Reporting
Northwestern University alumnus David F. Freedman ’81 has made a $3 million commitment to further the study of reporting on social justice issues. Freedman’s gift will establish the David F. Freedman Fund for Social Justice Reporting Initiatives to support research, students, curricula, conferences and other activities at the intersection of journalism and social justice.
U Arizona Publishes Online Campus Sustainability Map
More than 600 projects, programs and features are presented on the university's new web-based map. Launched to illustrate campus-wide sustainability efforts in an accessible and centralized way, the map visualizes efforts meant to reduce energy and water consumption, and aid in waste diversion and recycling.
U Maryland Student Launches Ride-Sharing App
A sophomore accounting major launched CarPo on March 1 after almost a year and a half of planning and developing the app. Through the app, students looking for rides to and from their hometowns and colleges are able to see registered students with cars who are already driving to the same place.
MIT Creates Sustainability Incubator Fund
The new Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund seeks to enable MIT community members to use the MIT campus as a test bed for research in sustainable operations, management and design. It is intended to support the generation of breakthrough sustainability solutions.
U Michigan Launches Three Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives
As part of its ongoing strategic efforts to enhance diversity in higher education and society, the university's National Center for Institutional Diversity is starting the Distinguished Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship, Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change, and the Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award and initiatives. Through these initiatives, the center is actively working to highlight the interconnections of diversity and excellence in research and scholarship in ways that positively affect knowledge production and its use for societal change.
Three Higher Ed Groups to Implement Open Access Initiative
The Association of American Universities, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of American University Presses are implementing a new initiative, expected to launch spring 2017, to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members by publishing free, open access, digital editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs. To date, there are 12 institutions that have committed to participate in this initiative.
Umeå U Ends Fossil Fuel Investments
(Sweden): The decision to end all university investments in fossil fuels was made in December 2016 and contributed to the university being nearly fossil free at the beginning of 2017. A small portion of investments remain that will be phased out this spring. The university's investment policy is now being revised to include a statement prohibiting investments in fossil fuels.
Columbia U Announces Coal Divestment Plans
The university's board of trustees has voted to support a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing to divest from companies deriving more than 35 percent of their revenue from thermal coal production and to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Climate Change Program.
U Virginia Hosts First Zero Waste ACC Game
With the help of 75 student volunteers, UVA Athletics, Aramark and the Office for Sustainability, fans at the sold-out Atlantic Coast Conference game recycled and composted 94 percent of all waste generated at the arena as part of this year’s Game Day Challenge. The nationwide Game Day Challenge contest promotes waste diversion at college basketball games.
Wake Forest U Appoints Former EPA Official as Director of Sustainability Grad Program
Stan Meiburg, alumnus and former Environmental Protection Agency official from 2014-2017, will lead the master of arts in sustainability program and associated dual degree and certificate programs. He is known for leading efforts to protect the nation’s air and water, clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites, build collaborative relationships with state and tribal environmental programs, and promote sound management in the EPA.