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.
Brandeis U Receives $8.4M Gift for Social Justice Initiatives
A former rehabilitation doctor who visited Brandeis just once, but felt a strong connection to its social justice values, left the university an $8.4 million gift, which will provide financial aid for four to five students in the Sustainable International Development program and support research and program development in the Center for Global Development and Sustainability.
Raritan Valley CC Announces Carbon Neutrality
The community college has offset its Scope 1 emissions by acquiring carbon offsets, mostly from wind energy and some from landfill gas. Since 2014, the college has offset all Scope 2 emissions by purchasing renewable energy certificates.
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.
U New South Wales to Go 100% Solar
(Australia) A 15-year power purchase agreement will enable the university to achieve its goal of carbon neutral energy use by 2020.. Starting in 2019, the university will purchase up to 140,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough solar energy to meet 100 percent of its electricity use.
Florida State U to Procure Solar Energy
The university recently entered into a partnership with the City of Tallahassee to procure approximately 20 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy per year, which is about 10 percent of the energy consumption of FSU’s main campus.
U Colorado Boulder Installs Vertical, Aeroponic Greenhouse
The new greenhouse is equipped with 140 towers, each of which contains 44 plants that are watered through a tube in the middle. The harvested greens go from the towers to a washing station a few feet away then to the salad bar at Village Center dining hall.
U California Los Angeles Reduces Travel Emissions With Fee
A new university program reduces the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from university business-related air travel by assessing a carbon mitigation fee for these flights. A $9 fee will be applied to each domestic round-trip flight and a $25 fee to each international round-trip flight. Air travel mitigation fees will be placed into a fund, which will then be made available annually to the campus to finance university projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot program will run from January 2018 through December 2020.
Pennsylvania State U University Park Building Earns LEED Silver
Improvements to the university's Steidle Building included installation of two new HVAC systems with heating and cooling based on occupancy, LED lighting with occupancy sensors and ability to self-adjust based on natural light, dual-pane windows with added insulation between interior and exterior walls, new roof and insulation, and low-flow energy-efficient fume hoods. Lobby furniture was made from recycled materials and materials were sourced from within 500 miles of campus.
Princeton U Pilots Food Waste Biodigester
Beginning in February 2018, the university will pilot an in-vessel aerobic digester that will convert a portion of campus food waste into a soil amendment for university grounds, while serving as a living laboratory for multi-disciplinary investigations into all aspects of food waste conversion.
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.
Meal Exchange Releases Food Report Card for Ontario Universities
The Campus Food Report Card released by Meal Exchange measures the success of Ontario universities in providing locally-grown, sustainable, healthy and accessible food as rated by students, foodservice staff and campus administrators at 21 campuses across the province.
Northwestern U Earns LEED Platinum for School of Management Building
The university's new Kellogg School of Management building features a geothermal system, LED lighting throughout the facility and low-flow plumbing fixtures in restrooms and kitchens. Its landscaping is designed for efficient irrigation and contains plants that require minimal watering. The building's location offers occupants various forms of public transportation, and cyclists have access to bike racks, showers and changing rooms.
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.
Warren Wilson College & Bard College Collaborate on Five-Year Undergraduate/Graduate Program
Warren Wilson College has partnered with Bard College’s graduate programs in Sustainability to help environmental studies students graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Through the new agreement, undergraduates can opt to dual enroll at both campuses. For the first three years, students study, work and serve at Warren Wilson College and then complete their education at Bard.
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 Virginia Creates Online Solar Energy Tracker Tool
Multiple work groups at the university collaborated to develop and launch an online tool that displays real-time data on its renewable energy portfolio, which includes energy production on 1,700 panels installed in 2017. The goal of the tool is to raise awareness of the university’s investment in solar energy production and the environmental savings resulting from these initiatives, and to support learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff.
North Carolina State U Uses Compostable Cups
Through a new partnership between the University Sustainability Office and Waste Reduction and Recycling, NC State Dining started using compostable cups in early January at two major dining locations on campus. This expands an existing compostable selection at the student union that includes napkins, to-go containers and single-use bamboo plates.
Hampshire College Uses 100% Solar Electricity
The residential college now has 100 percent of its electricity sourced from 15,000 photovoltaic arrays on two fields that have a capacity of 4.7 megawatts. The college is buying the electricity at a fixed rate for about half the rate the college had been paying. The project is estimated to save the college about $400,000 a year in electricity costs for up to 20 years, for total estimated savings of $8 million.
Michigan State U Completes 11 MW Solar Carport
As of December 21, five parking lots spanning 45 acres now have fully operational photovoltaic arrays over them totaling 11 megawatts of electricity. The arrays are expected to save the university $10 million over 25 years, and provide approximately five percent of its annual electricity needs.
U Puerto Rico Partners to Deliver Clean Water
The university recently partnered with two organizations to provide continuous, clean water and power to some of those affected by the hurricanes this fall. A solar-powered system will provide long-term benefits to the local people while being used as a teaching instrument for the engineering students at the university campus.
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.
Emory U Students Create Educational Waste Diversion Videos
Multiple two-minute videos were created by Emory students that educate viewers about the importance of landfill waste diversion, including the social and environmental impacts of landfills. The videos were submitted on behalf of a video competition as part of the university's zero waste commitment, which aims to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025.
Maharishi U Students Build Electric Vehicle Charging Station for Campus Use
Eleven students in a recent course on energy and sustainability built a charging station for electric cars that is attached to its Sustainable Living Center grid. The station uses some of the excess energy from the wind turbine and solar panels that power the building. The charging station, which is free for anyone to use, was set up for about $600.
Emory U Creates Zero Waste Policy
In an effort to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025, the university recently formalized its commitment by publishing a new waste management policy that engages the entire campus in the push to enhance recycling efforts. The new policy calls for adding additional collection stations, making existing stations more efficient and creating a new team to assist with removal of compost and recycling at campus stations.
Broward College Adjuncts Form Union
Adjunct faculty members at the college in Florida recently voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The new unit has approximately 1,700 eligible members, and some 92 percent of those who voted approved of the union bid.
U California Davis Building Earns BREEAM Certification & LEED O+M Gold
The Plant and Environmental Sciences Building, completed in 2001, comprises 140,394 square feet, about 80 percent of which is lab space. A lab retrofit project in 2014 resulted in 36 percent energy savings from temperature setbacks and reduced ventilation rates during occupied hours. Other green features include occupancy-based lighting and heating-ventilation-air conditioning control for spaces and fume hoods, low-flow fixtures and Energy Star-rated computers. The university is using the building as a test case for comparing the LEED and BREEAM rating systems.
U Minnesota Replaces Old Heating Plant With Co-Gen Plant
A decommissioned 104-year-old heating plant on the university's Twin Cities campus has been resurrected as a 22.8 megawatt combustion turbine and heat recovery co-generation system that will generate electric power and steam. The university expects the system will reduce its net carbon footprint by 10 to 13 percent.
U Alberta Releases Sustainable Purchasing Guide for Promotional Products
The new guide aims to assist procurers of promotional products in embracing sustainability criteria and principles into their purchasing processes. It contains best practices, a directory of suppliers, and a worksheet to determine the most sustainable choice among three different suppliers.
Western Washington U Releases Sustainability Action Plan
The new plan, which was drafted with campus-wide input including three public input sessions, will serve as the university’s roadmap for protecting local and global ecology, upholding social equity, creating economic vitality, and maintaining human health.
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.
College William & Mary Facilities Management Receives CIMS Sustainability Certification
In late October, ISSA, a trade association for the cleaning industry, awarded William and Mary's Facilities Management the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS)-Green Building Certification, which means that Facilities Management administration and a staff of 165 custodians offer environmentally friendly cleaning across the campus' 170 buildings.
Johns Hopkins U to Divest Holdings in Major Coal Producers
Following a recent vote of its board of trustees, the university will divest from its separately managed holdings in thermal coal recently. The board's vote directs the university to stop buying the stocks and bonds of companies that produce coal for electric power as a major part of their business, and to sell from its endowment or other investments any securities it directly owns from those companies, on a schedule that minimizes financial loss.
Rutgers U Raises Pay to $11 Per Hour for Student Workers
The minimum wage for student workers will go from $8.44 an hour to $11 an hour, starting Jan. 1, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a letter to students. The 30 percent raise affects more than 13,000 students who work in dining halls, libraries, offices and other facilities on the New Brunswick-Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses.
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.
Boston U Approves Climate Action Plan
The Boston University board of trustees recently approved a Climate Action Plan that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions across both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus and fund broad infrastructure improvements in preparation for flooding or heat surges in the coming decades. The plan calls for capital improvements estimated to cost about $141 million over 10 years and the reduction of carbon emissions on the campuses to zero by 2040.
Project Green Challenge Announces Winners
Students from Dickinson College, Rice University and Yale University won Project Green Challenge, a 30-day lifestyle competition from Turning Green that seeks to inspire students to transition from a conventional to a conscious lifestyle by calling for students to complete daily challenges focused on sustainability-related themes.
North Carolina State U Uses Campus Buildings for Energy Management Living Lab
Working together with the university's energy management team, engineering professors and students were able to identify opportunities to reduce electricity use at times when costs are highest. The collaboration also revealed that if the university had a 1.2 megawatt solar array and 400 kilowatt-hour battery there would be a 5 percent reduction in electricity costs over the summer months.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Center Ranks Top Illinois HEIs for Underserved Students
The Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has published a new report that identifies the state’s top seven, four-year postsecondary institutions that are good investments for underserved students. Motivated by the need to provide an equitable education, the study analyzed publicly available institutional data on graduation rates, earnings, student loan debt and loan default rates to rank 55 public, nonprofit private, and for-profit private institutions in the state of Illinois.
Cornell U Launches Staff Sustainability Champions Program
The university's Employee Assembly and Campus Sustainability Office staff created the new recognition program as a way to capture and better recognize the hundreds of daily acts that staff demonstrate to reduce waste, create a more welcoming environment, save resources and champion new ideas for sustainability.
College William & Mary Uses $10K Grant for Lighting Upgrade
A $10,239 Green Fee grant awarded in fall 2017 will be used at the college's Virginia Institute of Marine Science to reduce electricity usage and improve working conditions by replacing 52 dated, energy-demanding bulbs with new light-emitting diode (LED) lamps in three buildings.
Brown U Replaces Loans With Scholarships
Having achieved its initial fundraising goal of $30 million, the university will replace loans with scholarship funds in financial aid packages for all returning and incoming undergraduate students starting in the 2018-19 academic year.
Brown U Launches Three-Year, $24M Project to Boost Thermal Efficiency
As part of its continued work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 42 percent below 2007 levels by 2020, the university will increase energy efficiency by replacing its steam-based central heating system with a medium-temperature hot water system. Completion is expected in October 2020.
Johns Hopkins U Building Earns LEED Gold
Sustainability features of the university's Malone Hall are heat reutilization, an energy recovery wheel, radiant panels and LED lighting. Water conservation measures include low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets and electronic faucets that are estimated to reduce water consumption by 40 percent. The building landscape incorporates a bioretention swale, which is a shallow, vegetated, landscaped depression with sloped sides that manages storm water runoff.
U South Australia Receives $2.7M for Alternative Energy Installations
(Australia) The University of South Australia will soon receive 3.6 million Australian dollars ($2.7 million) for a project at its Mawson Lakes campus that is expected to cut campus emissions by 35 percent. The project includes hydrogen production with a 50 kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell and a 1.8 megawatt photovoltaic array.
Bucknell U Earns LEED Silver on Campus Health & Wellness Building
The seventh campus building to obtain LEED Silver, the Graham Building diverted more than 93 percent of construction waste from landfills through recycling while incorporating more than 10 percent recycled and more than 20 percent regionally sourced materials into the building's design. It also features technology to ensure efficiency such as occupancy sensors, daylighting and low-flow water fixtures.
U Nottingham Agrees to Living Wage to Low-Paid Staff
(U.K.) Two weeks after protesters asked the university to pay a living wage, the university agreed to do so for the 2017-18 academic year. The agreement guarantees the lowest-paid staff 8.75 pounds ($11.72) an hour.
Utah Valley U Completing Sustainability Communications Wall
In an effort to educate students and staff about sustainability measures on campus, a soon-to-be completed wall will include an interactive display that will allow students to see the current energy usage for different buildings as well as information about green features of campus such as geothermal energy, recycling, transportation and water.