U Hawai'i Maui College to Generate 100% of Energy Needs with Onsite Solar
A new solar photovoltaic system coupled with battery storage will be capable of eliminating the campus’ fossil fuel-based energy use when it becomes operational in 2019. The project is part of a partnership with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current that will also allow four UH community college campuses on Oʻahu to significantly reduce their fossil fuel consumption through the combination of solar shade canopies, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures.
U Bristol Strengthens Divestment Commitment
(U.K.) The University has pledged to divest completely from all investments in fossil fuel companies within two years. The new commitment builds on its previous commitment to end investment in companies that derive more than five percent of turnover from the extraction of thermal coal or oil and gas from tar sands.
UNESCO Designates Chair of Global Understanding for Sustainability at University of Jena
(Germany) The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has established a Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Over the next four years, the new chair will primarily encourage getting social sciences and humanities to become more involved in sustainability research. Social geographer Dr. Benno Werlen will hold the position.
College of the Holy Cross to Phase Out Knight Mascot and Imagery
Noting that the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties the college to religious wars and the violence of the Crusade, it will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. It will instead use the interlocking HC on a purple shield as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising.
U Florida Launches Center for Public Interest Communications
The center is dedicated to developing, translating and applying the science of strategic communication to drive social change. Among other things, the center will promote scholarship that can advance the practice of public interest communications and will create undergraduate and graduate curricula for adoption by other institutions. The university's College of Journalism and Communications has also launched the Journal for Public Interest Communications, an open-access academic journal devoted to this emerging field.
U California Los Angeles to Offer Bachelors Degree in Climate Science
Housed in UCLA's department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, the program will be among first undergraduate degree programs in climate science worldwide. The degree program will provide undergraduates with the scientific understanding they need to assess the effects of climate change, both from human activity and from natural climate variability. It also will provide students with the knowledge and tools they need to communicate on the subject with decision-makers in the public and private sectors.
U Virginia Launches 'Shut the Sash' Competition
In late 2017, the university launched its first “Shut the Sash” competition to encourage safer, more efficient working standards under chemical fume hoods. Competition participants earned points by answering educational questions, watching videos on sustainable research practices, and submitting before and after photos of fume hoods.
Cornell U Adopts New Standards for Healthy Dining
As part of the university's participation in the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, Cornell Dining is focusing on whole, minimally processed food and transparency in menu items. More than 50 changes have been made, such as: eliminating trans fats, MSG, and artificial food coloring; serving whole muscle meat with no soy protein fillers; and avoiding artificial additives in pepperoni, breakfast sausage, most deli meats and pizza.
U Colorado Boulder to Assist City With Climate Justice & Conservation Work
CU Boulder's Foundations for Leaders Organizing for Water and Sustainability (FLOWS) program will work with the city of Longmont on a pilot project to help train Longmont employees and community members on climate justice, and energy and water conservation work. With a $15,000 Boulder County sustainability grant, the project will involve program development, community engagement, staff and resident training, supplies, equipment and evaluation, in addition to providing workforce development opportunities for underrepresented communities.
Arizona State U Partners with MLB to Reduce Waste at Baseball Games
Major League Baseball and the university's School of Sustainability recently announced that a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students will analyze the waste stream and operations at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Students will test and implement zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks.
Radford U Receives LEED Gold on Three Residence Halls
The three residence halls feature low-flow toilets, sinks and showers, and occupancy sensors that turn off LED lighting when rooms are unoccupied. Each of the renovations incorporates rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo flooring in lobbies and lounges.
Eight Hong Kong Institutions Launch 'Skip the Straw' Initiative
(Hong Kong) The City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Education University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and The University of Hong Kong aim to reduce plastic waste by introducing regular awareness campaigns and no straw days or implementing a campus-wide ban of plastic straws.
Elon U Earns LEED Silver on Schar Hall & Steers Pavilion
Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion were designed to provide green space and pedestrian walkways to encourage the use of outdoor space. All of the plumbing fixtures are low-flow, and landscaping around the buildings is designed to minimize the need for irrigation. The buildings are about 32 percent more energy efficient than those that meet the standard building energy code, and the buildings’ water, natural gas and energy use can be observed through a real-time monitoring system. During construction, 95 percent of the waste was recycled or reused.
McGill U Bans Sale of Bottled Water on Campus
On the eve of World Water Day 2018, McGill has announced that it will phase out the sale of single-use bottled water over the coming year. By May 1, 2019, non-carbonated water will no longer be sold in retail and vending machine locations on the downtown and Macdonald campuses. The university also plans to work with event organizers to reduce the use of bottled water at McGill events.
Fordham U and SASB to Develop Sustainability Accounting Education Program
The university's Gabelli School of Business will partner with Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) to advance the field of sustainability accounting through education, research and public events. In addition to hosting SASB board meetings at Fordham, the university will host a speaker series, conduct academic research into current and emerging topics related to financially material sustainability issues, and develop and test education materials for students.
Cornell U Establishes Center for Health Equity
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell’s Ithaca campus have established a new center to better understand why health outcomes vary among demographic groups. Through partnerships with communities in New York City and central New York, the Cornell Center for Health Equity will study the potential causes of health care disparities, which include unequal health care access and quality, as well as social influences, among minority communities with the goal of achieving health equity for people locally, regionally and nationally.
U Dayton to Construct 1.26 MW Solar System
Meeting approximately two percent of campus-wide power consumption, the 1.26-megawatt photovoltaic system is expected to save the university roughly $300,000 in avoided energy costs over its 30-year lifespan. The university hopes to have the arrays online by early 2019.
College St. Scholastica Introduces 'Sustainability Studies and the Environment' Degree
The Sustainability Studies and the Environment bachelor of arts degree program that begins fall 2018 contains required courses in the fields of biology, chemistry, economics, the humanities, political science and philosophy. A minor will also be available. The program creation was inspired by Pope Francis’s first encyclical, Laudato Si’, from 2015, which says caring for the Earth is a moral imperative.
GUPES Announces 2017 Green Gown Awards Winners
The U.N. Environment Program and the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) recently announced Chiba University in Japan as this year’s GUPES Green Gown Awards Winner for its pioneering Student Committee-led achievement of international Environmental and Energy Management Systems certifications, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, respectively. A collective of five universities in Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich University of Teacher Education, Zurich University of the Arts, and Zurich University of Applied Sciences, won the Highly Commended Award for their Sustainability Week Zurich, a large student run sustainability project in Switzerland.
Durham U to Divest From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Following a year-long review of divestment options and the impact divestment would have on the university’s finances, the university’s highest governing body recently decided to withdraw financial investments from companies involved in fossil fuel extraction. These currently total less than $2.1 million (1.5 million British pounds).
U North Carolina Chapel Hill to Recycle Stadium Bleachers
About 200,000 pounds of high-grade aluminum bleachers from the university's Kenan Stadium were recently sold to a business from Statesville, North Carolina, that specializes in recycling various types of metals. The university expects the value of selling the metal to offset the cost of paying to remove the bleachers and power wash the stadium once the bleachers are removed. The aluminum bleachers will be replaced by 34,000 individual chair back seats.
Durham College Receives $14.7M for Energy Upgrades
Provincial government funding through the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program will be used to install a $9.1 million ground source heating and cooling system at the Oshawa campus. Additional upgrades of existing facilities, including the installation of high-efficiency HVAC systems, new and upgraded building automation systems, and LED lighting, will cost approximately $1.4 million. About $4 million of the government support will take the form of an eligible interest-free loan, uses for which are being explored.
U South Florida Adjuncts Form Union
Adjuncts at the university recently voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The tally was 326 in favor of unionization and 91 opposed, out of 900 part-time professors on the university’s three campuses eligible to vote.
18 Higher Education Schools Win 2017 Recycling Grant
The Coca-Cola Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant supports recycling in communities by providing bins to expand recycling opportunities in public spaces. There were 50 awardees total, 18 of which were universities and colleges, selected from among more than 800 applicants.
Susquehanna U to Install 3.9 MW Photovoltaic Array
At the end of 2017, the university entered into an agreement to develop a 3.9-megawatt ground-mounted solar array that will supply 30 percent of the university's electricity needs. The 12,000-panel, 14-acre project is expected to be completed by summer of 2018. Susquehanna will purchase the electricity from WGL Energy, who will own and operate the facility under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
Two Harvard U Buildings Achieve LEED Commercial Interiors Certification
Two recent renovation projects at the university recently achieved LEED v4 for Commercial Interiors certification. The Science Center – Cabot Library Project features all new mechanical, lighting, power, and plumbing upgrades; a new air-handling unit with high efficiency fans and motors, occupancy sensors, and temperature sensors; and low-flow water fixtures are expected to reduce water use by 38 percent. The Extavour Laboratory includes automatic receptacle controls, which turn off plug loads when spaces are not occupied; occupancy sensors for ventilation and lighting; and low-flow fixtures. Additionally, 95 percent of the equipment purchased for the lab is Energy Star certified.
Texas A&M U Installs Dockless Bike System
Texas A&M Transportation Services partnered with ofo to introduce 500 dockless bicycles to campus in early March. Next semester, an additional 4,000 ofo bikes will be introduced to campus.
U California San Diego Partners With Lyft
In an effort to meet the university’s evolving transportation needs, the university and Lyft formally announced a partnership to provide access to alternative commuter options, safe rides for students, patient transport, designated pick-up and drop-off locations, direct billing for business travel, and ride credits for certain university-sponsored events.
Mohawk College to Receive $10.8M for Energy Retrofits
The funding will be used to replace an existing natural gas-fired boiler with an electrical boiler, and construct a solar-powered car park for over 200 parking spaces. The electricity from the solar system will be used to help power the new net-zero $54-million Joyce Center for Partnership and Innovation building currently under construction.
Pennsylvania State U to Lead Global Building Science Network
Faculty expertise in the university's Institutes of Energy and the Environment led the United Nations to ask the it to lead the Global Building Network, a global network to advance building science, construction processes and building management that advances energy efficiency and human performance.
Chalmers Tech & U Gothenburg Strengthen Collaboration Toward Sustainable Development
(Sweden) Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg have signed an agreement that reorganizes a long-standing sustainability collaboration between the two schools. The Gothenburg Center for Sustainable Development is organized directly under the two universities and aims to create strategic cooperation both internally and with various external partners. It will continue to serve as a forum for various areas of expertise and a platform for projects, initiatives and networks.
North Carolina State U Tests Water Quality With Floating Islands
A faculty member and a student in biological and agricultural engineering recently installed floating islands of plants at an on-campus research site to evaluate whether the islands can improve stormwater quality. A temporary vinyl barrier divides the pond into a control side and an experimental side with water quality sensors providing continuous, multi-point data as water enters and exits the pond.
U Kentucky Offers Commute Planning Assistance
In an effort to increase the number of campus community members using alternative modes of transportation, the university's Transportation Services now offers free personalized commute planning assistance.
Mohawk College to Offer Training Certificate on Local Food Procurement
Through a $30,000 grant from Ontario, the college will be offering an online course this fall to provide information on local food procurement skills, as well as information on how to use Ontario foods. Completion of the course gives participants a certificate for food procurement training.
Cameron U Establishes Social Change Endowed Lectureship
The establishment of the Albert Johnson Sr. and Josephine Johnson Endowed Lectureship in Social Change aims to advance the study of social justice, racial and ethnic cultures and human interaction. The funds will be used to bring distinguished lecturers and workshops to campus, to support faculty development related to civil rights and social justice, and to aid faculty and students in providing services to the community.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Funds Campus Lake Restoration
After spending over $400,000 to reduce cyanobacteria levels, the university's green fund allocated another $30,000 to implement features to help keep the lake healthy, including a solar-powered fountain and at least one stationary bike to help aerate the lake’s water.