Kingston U Launches Smart Communities Project
Kingston University (United Kingdom) has launched the Smart Communities project. A team of university researchers will help around 500 households reduce their energy consumption by encouraging the community to come together to change their daily routines. The three-year project will be led, as much as possible, by the people in the community with support from the university. In related news, the university has also announced that it will host Green Growth workshops to help businesses. The workshops will help identify sustainable enterprise opportunities and develop a business model to commercialize ideas. The program will be taught at the university by experts in sustainable design, research and enterprise. The workshops are slated to begin in fall 2011.
New Australian National U Website Promotes Urban Biodiversity
Australian National University has developed a new website, Life in the Suburbs, to teach local residents how to maintain urban biodiversity and improve species habitat for local birds and animals. Stemming from a recent comprehensive ecological survey of Sullivans Creek, which revealed the role that urban landscapes have in providing living spaces for local species, the website shows residents how to best share their suburban spaces with the species that can be found there. The site includes guidelines for managing urban habitat, steps to reduce human-induced threats to urban biodiversity and practical guidelines for developing habitat gardens and landscapes.
U Edinburgh Students Help Businesses Reduce Carbon Footprint
University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) students have begun to measure the carbon footprints of businesses. The project seeks to offer businesses with the knowledge needed to manage their energy use and provide students with practical knowledge and hands-on experience. Initial figures show that the project, involving eight businesses from a range of sectors, has achieved a combined carbon emissions savings of more than 600 tons. The initiative is a partnership between the university, Prince’s Mayday Network and the Carbon Trust, and is coordinated by the Scottish Business in the Community.
Paul Quinn College Fights for Food Access in Local Neighborhood
Paul Quinn College (TX) President Michael Sorrell recently hosted a conversation on campus to challenge the city of Dallas to open a grocery store near campus. After grocers told the Sorrell that they didn't want to invest in the underserved Dallas neighborhood where the college is located, the college recently turned its football stadium into a farm. Now, Sorrell is looking toward the next step. More than 250 people, including a large number of Paul Quinn students, attended the meeting.
Solar Decathlon Home Preserved as Affordable Housing
A solar-powered house that students are currently assembling for the 2011 Solar Decathlon on the Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) campus will be placed permanently in northeast Washington to serve as affordable housing. The institute partnered with Parsons the New School for Design (NY); Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School (NY); and Washington's Habitat for Humanity affiliate to break ground in the middle- to low-income neighborhood of Deanwood. Traditionally, the affordable solar-powered homes designed and constructed by college teams for the competition return to their respective institutions, where many are dismantled. In addition to the house drafted and built by "Empowerhouse," Habitat for Humanity will build a second passive house at the same site. The 2011 Solar Decathlon, an international green technology contest staged every two years by the U.S. Department of Energy, will hold its opening ceremony on Sept. 22, 2011.
U Maryland College Park Program to Certify Green Communities
The University of Maryland, College Park has launched Sustainable Maryland Certified, a program developed at the university's Environmental Finance Center to help steer public and private funding to communities that win sustainable certification by adopting green policies. Funded by federal and private grants, the free program will offer sustainability certification to communities that amass a total of 150 points, earned by setting up initiatives that address global warming, energy, pollution, land use, air and water quality, health equity, support for local businesses, sustainable agriculture, green buildings and transportation.
U Mississippi Donates Computers to Tornado Ravaged School
The University of Mississippi's Technology Recycling to Enhance Education (TREE) program recently delivered 24 computers to the Monroe County School District office for the Smithville School campus. The K-12 school was heavily damaged in an April tornado and students will attend classes in 43 mobile trailers when school resumes in August. The computers were collected from across the university's campus and cleaned and refurbished for distribution to public K-12 schools. TREE is a joint effort among the university's Association for Computing Machinery chapter, computer and information science faculty, and the Office of Information Technology to reduce the waste of usable electronic equipment.
Central Michigan U Starts Community Organic Garden Initiative
Central Michigan University’s Campus Grow, a local food-focused student organization, hosted a planting day for children at the Child Development and Learning Lab. The initiative was created to educate children about a variety of plants and how to begin and nurture a garden. Students planted an assortment of lilac cuttings, squash and watermelon seeds. Volunteers with the project will care for the garden along with two other campus gardens. The student group was founded two years ago and utilizes and researches non-toxic and organic means of producing a variety of open-pollinated fruits and vegetables.
NY Times: Sustainability Careers Appeal to Recent Grads
A new wave of recent college graduates are entering environmental sustainability careers, reports a recent article in The New York Times. "Suddenly, 'sustainability' seems to resonate with the sex appeal of 'dot com' or 'start-up,' appealing to droves of ambitious young innovators," says the article. Idealist.org, a website that lists paid and unpaid opportunities for nonprofit groups and social enterprise companies, reports that the number of jobs related to environmental work has roughly tripled in the last three years. Yale School of Management's (CT) director of career development notes in the article that business students are recognizing that corporations of all kinds consider environmental issues like reducing waste and carbon footprints important.
Stonehill College Starts Organic Farm for Local Food Desert Area
Stonehill College (MA) has started an organic farm to grow and distribute produce to local organizations. The farm was developed after learning that much of the surrounding community was considered a food desert. Students, faculty and staff volunteer to maintain the farm and have already delivered produce to three organizations. The farm has also inspired a new course to be taught in the fall as part of a learning community called “Food Justice,” which will focus on food access and distribution issues.
Lehigh U Donated Item Sale Raises Nearly $15K for Community
A recent clothing and household items sale at Lehigh University (PA) raised $14,700 for the Community Service Office's Homework Clubs. This is a record amount for the event, which began 13 years ago when university professors noticed the vast number of usable items being discarded by students who were leaving campus for the summer. That initial drive netted $500 for the South Bethlehem Neighborhood Center. Starting with a donation drive in April, this year's sale featured two 100-square-foot tents full of reduced price items donated by students.
Syracuse U Students Help Local Businesses Become Green-Certified
Students in the Syracuse University (NY) chapter of Students in Free Enterprise recently paired with local business as consultants for the Green Core Company program. Launched in 2010 with a group of pilot businesses through the university's Campus-Community Entrepreneurship Initiative, the program is a certification blueprint for businesses working to achieve green operations through reduced environmental impacts. The student's on-site work, sometimes done on a weekly basis, addressed areas such as waste/recycling, energy use and green cleaning. As a result, eight businesses graduated from the green certification program.
Boise State U Sustainability Club Creates a Community Garden
Boise State University’s (ID) Sustainability Club has created a new community garden and sustainable space as an educational outreach tool and venue for community networking and engagement on sustainability. The space will emphasize integration of people as part of the environment and demonstrate the relationship between our behavior and natural systems. It will include a garden, compost area and water management system. Community members can participate in the garden by becoming shareholders at the beginning of the year or by volunteering labor to the maintenance of the garden. Shareholders will receive a portion of the garden’s produce. The garden was funded through a Fulbright Canada Eco-Leadership Grant.
Bard College Civic Engagement Center Receives $60 Mil
Bard College (NY) has received a $60 million contribution from the Open Society Foundations in support of its Center for Civic Engagement. The center's programs include helping people in New York State prisons earn degrees, assisting in the development of the first liberal-arts institution in Russia, and operating several public high schools in New York and New Jersey.
Cal Poly Pomona Constructs Water Tank for Guatemala Residents
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona's Engineers Without Borders club recently traveled to Guatemala with the government's permission to construct a 90-cubic meter water tank in San Lorenzo. Designed by the university's students, the tank was based on a previous site assessment and made specifically for the area's needs.
Institutions Earn Presidential Recognition for Community Service
Six colleges and universities received Presidential Awards in the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, announced this month. Augsburg College (MN), Rollins College (FL) and San Francisco State University (CA) were honored in the General Community Service category; St. Mary's University (TX) and Loyola University, Chicago (IL) received Promise Neighborhood awards; and California State University, Monterey Bay took home the Summer Learning award. Administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, 511 institutions were named to the Honor Roll with 114 receiving Honor Roll with distinction recognition including Ohio Wesleyan University for the third consecutive year.
Missouri Institutions Assist with Tornado Relief Efforts
In the wake of the deadliest tornado in the U.S. in more than 60 years in Joplin, Mo. on May 22, area colleges are assisting with disaster relief efforts. Missouri Southern State University, Crowder College's Davidson Hall and Ozark Christian College are operating as triage centers and emergency shelters. Ozarks Technical Community College is collecting items for donation to the tornado victims.
Rochester Institute of Tech Announces Community Grants
The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute housed at Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) has announced the 2011 recipients of its Community Grants Program. The grants will provide monetary assistance to communities to advance the development and implementation of programs and initiatives in pollution prevention. The Rochester Child Care Council will use the funds to further advance its Eco-Healthy Kids Program. The second recipient, the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services, will use the funds to launch Pollution Prevention Education for municipal employees. The training effort is designed to assist municipal staff to better incorporate pollution prevention techniques in their operations while also providing information on new state and federal regulation related to waste collection.
U Oregon Students Prep Local City for Green Makeover
Springfield, Ore. will be the focus of the University of Oregon's Sustainable City Year, an initiative that joins student projects with city needs. Promoting environmentally sustainable design and development, the two-year old program invites cities who are interested in having students involved in creating green buildings, developing parks, improving traffic planning and refurbishing neighborhoods to apply. The work in Springfield, who will pay the university $230,000 to participate, is still being decided but could include the redevelopment of a former 40,000-square-foot grocery store and 17-acre lumber mill site. Last year, the initiative's focus on Salem, Ore. received attention in The New York Times. Salem paid $330,000 and in return received an estimated 80,000 hours of work from more than 500 students working on 16 projects that were part of 28 different academic courses in 10 different departments.
Austin College Earns Community Environmental Project Grant
Austin College (TX) has received a grant from the Constellation Energy Foundation’s EcoStar competition. The grant will be used to finance the college’s Center for Environmental Studies Sneed Prairie Field Trip Program. This program allows college students to teach elementary and middle school students about ecology and environmental issues on the college's 100-acre prairie.
Harvard U Ed Students Call for More Focus on Social Justice
After a sociologist who considered issues of grassroots organization was denied tenure, more than 50 doctoral students at Harvard University's (MA) Graduate School of Education are protesting the school's direction toward results-driven management and policy concerns. The students say the school has veered away from social justice and equality issues in education over the last decade.
Harvard U Sponsors Regional Bike Share
Harvard University (MA) has announced that it will sponsor five bike share stations as part of Hubway, a newly launched regional Bike Share program recently introduced by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and state officials. Harvard has also committed to sponsoring four bike share stations in Cambridge, Mass. when the bike share program expands.
U South Florida Hosts First Farmers Market
Members of the Food Activists Revolutionizing Meals (FARM) at the University of South Florida held the university’s first farmers market after five years of planning. The launch received nearly 400 Facebook RSVP’s to the event and students lined up to purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables. Members of FARM include student organizations, the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement and the Office of Sustainability. Beginning this summer, the Student Community Gardens group will plant a campus garden to harvest produce to be sold at the market.
U Wyoming Awarded $5 Mil Grant for Community Food Project
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grant program, a University of Wyoming professor will lead a $5 million, multi-state "Food Dignity: Action Research on Engaging Food Insecure Communities and Universities in Building Sustainable Community Food Systems" project. The project's extension portion includes five community food initiatives. Each will create a local steering committee to disperse small grants that invest in citizen solutions to their own food system issues. The research will focus on developing case studies of what each community has already done and during the next five years will make clear what factors influence their successes and failures as they work to create sustainable community food systems that provide ample and appropriate food for all. An education component aims to create new cross-disciplinary undergraduate minors in sustainable food systems to prepare University of Wyoming and Cornell University (NY) graduate students to engage in this work. In addition to Wyoming, participating states include California and New York.
Portland CC Raises Plastic Pollution Awareness with Art
Portland Community College (OR) has scheduled an art installation called “Washed Ashore,” to raise awareness of the pollution caused by plastic waste. The exhibit features giant sculptures of sea creatures that are made from discarded plastics that were gathered by hundreds of volunteers and grade-school children from the Oregon beaches.
Yale Health Donates Medical Equipment to Haiti
Yale University's (CT) Health Center diverted nearly 38 tons of medical equipment from the waste stream by donating it to a hospital in Haiti that is being rebuilt after it was severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake. The university partnered with International Medical Equipment Collaborative, a non-profit that provides medical equipment to rebuild hospitals and clinics in impoverished areas worldwide, for the effort. The eight-truckload donation will take care of 20 percent of the equipment needed by the hospital.
Wake Forest U Students Teach Sustainability to Bilingual Children
Three students at Wake Forest University (NC) are using a service learning project for their "Entrepreneurship in Latin American and Latin Cultures" course to teach bilingual 4th and 5th graders in the community. Their program, Semillas Sostenibles (Sustainable Seeds), is a four-week course that teaches children about the environment, sustainability and healthy lifestyles. The students created a blog to document their progress.
Appalachian State U Recognized for Green Energy Advocacy
A new report by the Appalachian Region Commission, which states that the green energy movement has the potential to create more than 70,000 jobs by 2030, applauds Appalachian State University's (NC) efforts toward green energy job growth. The report recognizes the university's community outreach efforts through educational programs and the research conducted at its Energy Center. By 2030, the commission hopes to cut energy use for the entire region by 24 percent, resulting in energy savings of $21 billion for the region.
Central Lakes College to Offer Free Renewable Energy Training
Central Lakes College (MN) is partnering with the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. to offer free renewable energy training that is open to the public. The training is intended for dislocated workers to improve their skill-sets and make them more competitive in the renewable energy sector job market. The training program is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Governor's Workforce Development Council.
Students Nationwide Rally for Public Workers, Education
The United States Student Association and Jobs with Justice recently organized a nationwide student-led rally to defend public education and the rights of public workers during a national day of action. More than 10,000 students participated in the rallies at more than 35 locations and across 15 states.
Cornell U Students to Design and Build School in South Africa
Cornell University (NY) Sustainable Design, a student-led organization, has partnered with Education Africa, a nonprofit organization that strives to counter poverty through education, to design and build a schoolhouse in Cosmo City, South Africa, this summer. The 6,000-square-foot preschool and teacher-training center, known locally as a crèche, will accommodate up to 80 of the area's children as part of a South African national initiative to improve early childhood development. It will include classrooms, a dining area, a kitchen, a health center, indoor and outdoor play areas, and an office. The students have also published a book, "Schoolhouse South Africa: Comprehensive Context," that is a compilation of their research for the project. The book contains case studies, local architectural history, details about the city and region, childhood development strategies, building sites, structures and a pre-design brief.
Furman U to Help Small Businesses Become Sustainable
The Center for Corporate and Professional Development at Furman University (SC) has received a $50,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support a new program that will educate and transform small businesses in the area of sustainability practices. The center will develop and implement the "Small Business Boot Camp," a hands-on program that will detail sustainable business practices that can decrease operating costs, increase revenues and build social responsibility. Program topics will include how to develop and maintain green facilities, and analyze and reduce energy usage, water consumption and waste creation.
American U Sharjah Students Raise Funds for Community Food Aid
American University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) students held a campus-wide fundraising drive to generate support for the "Feed the Needy" campaign, launched by the university's Community Services Division. The students' efforts resulted in a truck load of food items that were distributed to 470 families in the community. In related news, student volunteers at the university were honored with the Sharjah Voluntary Award 2010 in the educational institutions category of the Eighth Local and Fourth Arab Voluntary Awards in December 2010. The university's Community Services Division was recognized for its exemplary volunteer work in the social sector.
India and U.S. Institutions Partner for Food Security Efforts
A consortium of Indian and U.S. institutions and agribusinesses have announced a $9.6 million project to boost agricultural production and food security in northern India. Launched by India and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under "Feed the Future," the new Agricultural Innovation Partnership will focus on rural populations in the Indo-Gangetic Plain who typically live on less than $1.25 a day. The consortium is led by Banaras Hindu University (India) and Cornell University (NY).
Royal Roads U to Support Public Green Energy Initiative
Royal Roads University (BC) has announced that it will provide community education and outreach, applied research, monitoring and reporting as part of the City of Colwood's three-year solar power project. The federally-funded $3.9 million effort will include retrofitting municipal buildings with solar energy, working with developers to build new model energy-efficient buildings, working with homeowners to retrofit up to 1,000 homes and installing electric vehicle-charging infrastructure throughout the city.
Cal Poly State U Students Help Affordable Housing Go Solar
The Power and Energy Society, an on-campus electrical engineering club at California Polytechnic State University (CA) recently volunteered to help install solar panels on low-income houses. Five houses received the solar panels that are expected to provide 90 percent of their electrical needs. The students installed the panels with two non-profits, GRID Alternatives and People’s Self-Help Housing Corp. The project received funding from the California Solar Initiative Single-family Affordable Solar Homes program.
U Arizona Supports Local Homeowner Water Conservation Program
The University of Arizona's Water Resources Research Center is backing a new water conservation program. Conserve to Enhance, also known as C2E, plans to offer $500-$1,000 subsidies to help local homeowners install 2,400-gallon cisterns to harvest rainwater. The university is reviewing applications to determine whether applicants qualify for these subsidies. The pilot program is looking for ways to engage the university's Campus Sustainability Group in the near future.
U California Santa Barbara Sends Solar Lamps to Ghana, Haiti
Engineers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have partnered with nonprofits to send solar-powered LED lights to thousands of people in Ghana, Haiti and other developing countries without plentiful electricity by the end of this year. Spearheaded by the director of the university's Institute for Energy Efficiency, the project received $19 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Cornell U Students Propose 'Sustainable Community' for Local Area
Designed to shift the minds of local residents to clean and efficient technologies, students studying biological and environmental engineering at Cornell University (NY) have designed a sustainable community with bike trails, community gardens and renewable energies for a plot of land in Helena, N.Y. The 266-acre land known as Aspen Trails Ranch is owned by a Cornell alumnus who contacted the school as a possible site for such a venture. While Aspen Trails Ranch is the focus of the students' study, the concept of having a community where energy costs are low, local produce is easily accessible and people can potentially bike or walk to work can be used elsewhere. The tentative plan for Aspen Trails Ranch allows for agricultural land, 650 residences ranging from apartments to single-family homes to business spaces and community centers. The students recently met with the Helena city manager and other city officials to present their sustainable community study.
Carnegie Foundation Designates 'Community Engagement' Schools
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recently designated 115 U.S. colleges and universities as meeting the requirements for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification, an elective process open to institutions from all sectors. In order to be selected, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. More than 300 colleges applied for the designation this year, up from 217 that applied in 2008. Representing campuses in 34 states, the institutions selected include 37 research universities, 40 master's colleges and universities, 28 baccalaureate colleges, six community colleges and four specialized institutions.
Duke U Students to Help Aid Areas Recovering from Oil Damage
As part of its DukeEngage program, Duke University (NC) will send students to Bayou Grace, La. and Quito, Ecuador, where the environment and local populations have been negatively affected by oil industry practices. During the Louisiana project, students will spend eight weeks helping to reverse the damage done to the wetlands of the state's coast during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and educate the local youth about the wetland loss. In Ecuador, students will work in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where oil companies have dumped crude oil and waste materials.
Unity College Receives Grant to Support Local Food Production
Unity College (ME) has been awarded a $75,000 grant from Jane's Trust to help build, grow and strengthen existing community-based food production and distribution networks. The funding will allow the college to enhance infrastructure on campus that will support Veggies for All, a community agricultural project dedicated to alleviating rural hunger in the region. The college hopes to improve facilities for vegetable processing and storage to allow for more campus-grown food to be integrated into the dining hall, as well as increase capacity for Veggies for All. An action plan is being developed to ensure that the grant will have a sustainable impact.
Rochester Inst. Students Participate in Civic Engagement Program
Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) students will have the opportunity to turn classroom lessons into hands-on experience through AmeriCorps’ Students in Service pilot program. Twenty-five students will work in the community on development initiatives including public education, environmental stewardship and strengthening neighborhoods. The program is designed to challenge students to develop civic skills and increase connections between colleges and universities and the local community. The pilot is being coordinated through the New York Campus Compact.
Grinnell College Creates Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize
Grinnell College (IA) has announced the creation of the Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize. The prize will carry an award of $100,000, half to the individual and half to an organization committed to the winner’s area of social justice. One to three awards will be given each year to honor individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.
Duke U to Promote Socially Minded Student Ventures
Students, faculty and Duke University (NC) alumni are encouraged to transform socially minded theories into practice through the university's new campus-wide initiative to develop entrepreneurial ventures. The effort will build on ideas generated in existing campus social innovation programs by seeking opportunities to partner with private companies and the local community. One example of such an effort is Bull City Forward, a community of innovators who develop and scale solutions to community challenges and entrepreneurial opportunities. Led by the director of the university's Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative, Bull City Forward recently opened a storefront hub for social entrepreneurs.
U California Merced Creates Student Energy Service Corps
The University of California, Merced has partnered with AmeriCorps and the California Public Interest Research Group to create a new service-learning student group, the UC Merced Energy Service Corps. As part of the club’s official launch, students helped make the Merced County Rescue Mission more energy-efficient by weatherizing all windows and replacing all light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights. With 16 groups at college campuses throughout the state, the statewide goal is to educate 30,000 people about energy efficiency and conduct 4,000 energy surveys.
California Schools Help Provide GHG Inventories for Local Gov'ts
California universities are teaming up with the Great Valley Center to offer free assistance to local governments to develop an inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions. The Green Communities Program, funded by Pacific Gas & Electric and the California Public Utilities Commission and implemented with the help of ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability, will pay interns from the University of California, Merced; the University of the Pacific (CA); and California State University, Stanislaus to work with staff members in participating cities to offer recommendations on how each city can reduce energy use in its operations. Interns will help the Great Valley Center assess metered energy use and interview city staff members about solid waste management, sewage treatment, landfill emissions and commuting practices.
Santa Clara U Receives National Higher Ed Civic Engagement Award
Santa Clara University (CA) is one of six institutions recently honored for their commitment to civic engagement and service-learning by the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. With new core curriculum that requires students to work with marginalized communities, the university earned the 2010 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award. The university's Arrupe Partnerships Program encourages faculty members to build relationships with local organizations and match students with placements that meet course goals and benefit the community. The other 2010 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award winners include Miami Dade College (FL); Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis; The College of New Jersey; Wagner College (NY) and Western Carolina University (NC).
Grand Valley State U to Offer Social Justice Training Program
Grand Valley State University (MI) has announced the launch of a free social justice training program for students and community members. The vision behind the program is to help foster multi-generational and diverse partnerships between students and the West Michigan Community. The program was funded through a grant from the Arcus Foundation and will start in January.