Loyola U & Portland CC Win Climate Leadership Award

Loyola was chosen as the winner in the category for four-year institutions. It has reduced carbon emissions per-square-foot by 38 percent from a 2008 baseline at two of its locations. Portland Community College, recipient in the two-year category, has reduced energy consumption per-square-foot by 65 percent since 2006. The 2017 Climate Leadership Award was given by the U.S. Green Building Council and Second Nature.

U Reading Reduces Vending Machine Waste

(U.K.) In an effort to prevent more than half a million plastic bottles from entering the landfill, new vending machines allow students to use a specially designed reusable bottle. The "Sustain It" bottle is a reusable bottle that contains a microchip that allows users to pre-pay for drinks that can be filled at the new vending machines.

Blackburn College to Meet 100% of Student Financial Need

The Blackburn Promise is a new program that meets the full amount of each individual student's financial need after they have paid their estimated family contribution as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Direct college costs covered by the Blackburn Promise financial aid package include tuition, fees, room and board.

EPA Announces Green Power Leadership Award Winners

The University of California and University of Tennessee, Knoxville won the Excellence in Green Power Use award, while Stanford University and University of Missouri won the Direct Project Engagement award. The Excellence in Green Power Use Award recognizes Green Power partners that use green power in amounts that exceed the minimum benchmark requirements or can demonstrate a distinct market impact through innovation, communications and stakeholder engagement. The Direct Project Engagement Award recognizes partners that use financing structures with on- and off-site projects to access renewable energy certificate-based green power.

St. Joseph College Maine Launches Local Food Institute With $4M in Funding

The Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation seeks to develop the state’s food and beverage industry and meet regional food security goals. The institute will encompass five enterprises: a food manufacturing incubator, a hydroponic farm, a traditional crop and livestock farm, an agri-tourism event center, and a complementary entrepreneurship development and education program offering certificates.

U Chicago Graduate Students Vote to Unionize

The university's graduate students voted to unionize with 1,103 voting "yes" to 479 voting "no". Voter turnout was 70.5 percent.

HEI Presidents Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Protecting Dreamers

Nearly 800 college and university presidents and chancellors signed onto the letter sent to U.S. Senate and House leaders, urging Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect Dreamers. Citing widespread public support, the letter argues that individuals covered under DACA have made valuable contributions to US economy and security and should continue to be able to do so.

U Utah Announces LEED Gold Certification on Athletics Building

The 102,000-square-foot basketball facility was completed with over 23 percent of recycled materials and resources selected from the Utah region, and a stormwater management plan that resulted in a 25 percent decrease in the volume of stormwater runoff. All interior and exterior light fixtures are LEDs, and the HVAC systems, building insulation and windows were selected to minimize energy waste, which has resulted in exceeding the LEED baseline energy performance rating by 38 percent.

Saint Joseph’s U & PRME to Develop Business Education Assessment Tool

In mid-October, Saint Joseph’s University’s Erivan K. Haub School of Business announced a partnership with the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative. Both organizations will develop a new data analytics tool, the PRME SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) Dashboard, to assess business schools’ success in delivering socially and environmentally sustainable management education. The tool will measure the participating business schools’ fulfillment of the SDGs based on its curriculum, academic research, community and global outreach, and campus integration of the goals.

Ohio State U to Cover Full Tuition for Qualified Students

In an effort to increase affordability for in-state students, the university will ensure that all in-state students who qualify for Pell Grants receive an aid package that covers the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees.

Penn State U Berks Chancellor Establishes Endowment for Ethics & Sustainability

Penn State Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk and his wife have established the Hillkirk Family Program Endowment for Ethics and Sustainability, which will provide ongoing support to increase awareness and education and to encourage action in the campus community and beyond, regarding issues related to ethics and sustainability. This endowment was funded with an initial gift of $25,000 and will provide resources for programs and initiatives to engage the campus community. The college has established a committee that will review funding requests, which can be initiated by faculty, staff and students.

Penn State U University Park Receives $262K for Graduate Studies of Pollinator Decline

The five-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will support three graduate fellows for three years each in the university's graduate training program in entomology and ecology aimed at helping to solve the multifaceted problem of pollinator decline.

U Maryland Celebrates 2 MW Solar Carport Installations

More than 7,000 solar panels now sit atop Regents Drive, Terrapin Trail and Mowatt Lane parking garages, with a combined capacity of 2 megawatts. The project was funded by a $250,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration and matched funding from the university's Facilities Management.

Smith College Trustees Approve Responsible Investment Recommendations

At its October meeting, the college's board of trustees adopted four strategic recommendations regarding climate change and the Smith endowment, which are designed to support the college’s commitment to environmental sustainability while also ensuring the continued health of the endowment.

North Carolina State U Introduces Professional Clothes Exchange

Through the Wolfpack Styled clothing reuse program, the university’s Career Development Center connects students with free professional clothes while also reducing textile waste. Student interns and volunteers organize and sort donations, which have come from faculty, staff, alumni and a local, alumni-owned consignment store.

Northern Arizona U Installs Tree Education Project

In an effort to educate the community about the value of urban trees, this time-limited installation included 23 "price tags" in Wheeler Park and NAU’s North Quad that describe the financial contributions of the trees as a result of their various ecosystem services and health benefits.

U Utah To Source Half Its Electricity Needs From Renewables

A new agreement will provide 20 megawatts of geothermal energy and 10 megawatts of solar energy to the university for the next 25 years, which is estimated to reduce the University of Utah's total carbon emissions by 25 percent.

U California Los Angeles Launches Bike Share Program

Developed in partnership with CycleHop, Bruin Bike Share will start with 130 bikes distributed at 18 hubs. Cyclists can rent the bikes for $7 an hour or purchase a plan that includes 90 minutes of daily riding time.

U Mississippi Launches Bike Share Program

The program, a collaboration between Ole Miss and Gotcha Bike, will start with 50 smart bikes with seven hub locations.

Michigan State U to Test Algae-Based Carbon Capture on Power Plant

With the support of a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, university researchers will test a novel technique for capturing power plant emissions while producing high-value chemicals and biofuels with algae. The test will take place at the T.B. Simon Power Plant on MSU’s campus.

College of the Desert Deploys Mobile Renewable Energy Unit

The unit is designed to generate, store and distribute power to critical operations. It will be used in sustainability education programs and as a recruiting tool with prospective students.

Five Colleges and Universities Receive 2017 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards

Guilford College, Keene State College, Northern Arizona University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh received the award from The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. The award celebrates institutions where the commitment to leadership extends into civic roles in the communities beyond their own campuses.

Florida State U Enters Into Energy Conservation Contract

The university is partnering with Cenergistic LLC to create a five-year energy conservation program that is projected to save the university $12 million in energy costs. As part of the agreement, Cenergistic will hire at least four university student interns each summer.

Florida State U Marching Band Eliminates Paper Flip Charts

Band members are using an attachment called “eFlip” to mount smartphones with marching materials onto their instruments. The move is expected to save 200,000 sheets of paper a year.

Northwestern U Releases Inaugural Sustainability Plan

The comprehensive plan details the next five years of environmental stewardship at Northwestern, laying the groundwork for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The plan establishes goals to reduce energy consumption in campus facilities by 20 percent by 2020 (from a 2010 baseline); transition the campus fleet to run exclusively on renewable energy by 2030; and divert at least 50 percent of waste generated on campus from landfills by 2020.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Begins Construction on 4.5MW Solar Farm

The 18.5-acre solar farm is expected to generate about a quarter of Cal Poly’s total power needs. It is being installed under a power purchase agreement with REC Solar, which will also provide funds for student and faculty involvement, help develop curriculum around the solar panels, and collaborate on applied research. Construction is expected to finish in late December.

Baker Center at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wins 2017 Livable Buildings Award

The Baker Center for Science and Mathematics received the award from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) for a sustainable design that includes operable windows, radiant heating/cooling in offices and conference rooms, chilled beams in laboratories, a green roof, active monitoring of laboratory air, and an atrium designed to take advantage of daylight and passive ventilation. The award - the only building industry honor that includes feedback from occupants in its selection criteria - recognizes buildings that demonstrate exceptional performance in occupant satisfaction, resource efficiency and overall design.

U Arkansas Pine Bluff Completes 321KW Solar Installation

The 321 kilowatt solar park is the largest public solar installation in Arkansas and is part of a $19.3 million energy performance contract that is expected to reduce the university’s energy consumption by 32 percent.

Loyola U Chicago and Portland CC Win Climate Leadership Awards

Awarded by Second Nature and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Climate Leadership Awards recognize advanced leadership in sustainability, climate change mitigation and resilience. Bristol Community College and Georgia Southern University received Honorable Mentions.

Pomona College Provides Students With Free Access to Reusable Menstrual Care Products

The college has partnered with Diva International Inc. to provide its students with free access to a reusable, eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads known as The Diva Cup.

SUNY Receives $800K Grant to Develop Sustainable Village in Haiti

With a nearly $800,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 10 State University of New York campuses and five not-for-profit organizations will be working together to establish a sustainable village and learning community on 40 acres of land in Akayè, Haiti.

U Maryland Releases Climate Action Plan 2.0

The updated climate action plan that outlines new strategies and priorities to help the university become carbon neutral by 2050 and integrate sustainability into educational and research efforts across campus.

Acadia U Becomes Fair Trade Campus

The university's new designation that recognizes its commitment to Fair Trade, an alternative approach to business based on partnerships between producers and consumers.

U Maryland Center for Environmental Science Breaks Ground on 2 MW Photovoltaic Array

The two-megawatt solar array, expected to go live in spring 2018, will power approximately 50 percent of the university's Horn Point Laboratory campus. A third party will install and operate the solar panels and sell the energy they generate to the university under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Northeastern U Dining Stops Using Trays and Plastic Bags

Thanks to student-led efforts, two sustainability-focused measures have been implemented: trayless dining halls and the elimination of single-use plastic bags in one of the residential dining facilities.

Humboldt State U Introduces Bike Sharing

The university, in conjunction with the city of Arcata, launched the Zagster bike-share service to help students, staff and faculty get around campus and town while reducing their carbon footprint. The university has two bike stations while the city is planning to host four stations.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Expands Food Pantry to Include Perishable Food

The Carolina Cupboard reopened in September in a new space that is three times larger, adding refrigerators and freezers that allow it to offer perishable food. With this expansion, the pantry has also joined a partnership with Carolina Closet, providing professional clothes to students.

Northwestern U Earns LEED Platinum on 63-Year-Old Building

The building includes a 254-panel rooftop photovoltaic array that provides five percent of the building’s electricity, LED light sensors that automatically dim or brighten based on the amount of natural light, and radiant ceiling panels that use chilled water from the university's utility plant to reduce the amount of energy needed for air conditioning.

AASHE Releases Value of Sustainability in Higher Education Publication

AASHE announced the release of its latest publication, “Beyond the Right Thing to Do: The Value of Sustainability in Higher Education.” This publication aims to help sustainability practitioners more powerfully articulate the value sustainability offers their institutions.

U Maryland Expands Campus Compost Collection

The Office of Solid Waste and Recycling has successfully expanded campus waste diversion to include compost collection sites at 25 locations, including 12 residence halls.

National Recycling Coalition Announces 2017 Award Winners

The University of Florida received this year's Outstanding Higher Education award from the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), while the University of Illinois at Chicago was recognized as honorable mention. The NRC mentioned UF’s Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management and curricular opportunities for waste professionals. The University of Illinois at Chicago was cited for its Sustainability Internship Program.

Cleveland State U Earns LEED Silver on Medical Building

The building reduces the heat island effect through shading, hardscape materials and green space. It also improves stormwater management and reduces runoff with the use of pervious concrete pavers. The project diverted over 99 percent of demolition materials from landfills through recycling and reuse.

Cleveland State U Receives Grant to Expand Recycling Program

Thanks to a new $3,000 grant from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, the university installed 24 battery recycling receptacles across campus. A portion of the grant also will be used to obtain additional recycling bins for bottles, cans and paper.

U New Hampshire Earns STARS Platinum

The University of New Hampshire recently earned a Platinum rating in AASHE STARS, which measures sustainability achievements in academics, campus and community engagement, operations, and planning and administration. Some highlights of the university’s sustainability achievements include powering the main campus with 100 percent renewable energy and composting 25,000 pounds of food waste every month.

Orange Coast College Debuts $7.5M Recycling Center

The new facility accepts a variety of recyclable materials from the community. It also houses classrooms and offices, a conference room, a first aid room, men’s and women’s showers, as well as solar panels and solar tubes for indoor lighting.

Yale U Implements Carbon Charge for Buildings & Departments

After three years of study, discussion and experimentation, the university has implemented a carbon charge that affects more than 250 buildings and nearly 70 percent of campus carbon dioxide emissions. A university carbon charge pilot program ran from December 2015 to May 2016 in 20 buildings and tested four approaches to reducing carbon.

U North Carolina Asheville Earns Green Restaurant & Fair Trade University Status

One of the university's dining halls is now certified as a Three Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association. Additionally, the university's Dining Services worked together with a committee of student, faculty and staff volunteers to achieve Fair Trade University designation by Fair Trade Campaigns.

Saint Anselm College Hires First Chief Diversity Officer

The college recently hired Ande Diaz, Ph.D., to lead its diversity efforts. Coming from Princeton University as an assistant dean for Multicultural Affairs for seven years, Dr. Diaz is responsible for increasing diversity and inclusivity in the campus community.

U California System Takes Legal Action in Defense of DACA

The University of California System has filed suit in federal court against the Trump administration for its recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country without fear of deportation. Approximately a quarter of the country’s 800,000 DACA individuals, commonly known as DREAMers, live in California. Of those, roughly 4,000 are enrolled in the University of California System.

Pennsylvania State U Greater Allegheny Breaks Ground on Community Garden

In early September, a crew at the Greater Allegheny campus broke ground on a new community garden with the hopes of helping to combat food insecurity on campus and in the local neighborhoods.