Seattle U Adjuncts Vote in Favor of Unionizing
The final vote count was 73 to 63 in favor of forming a bargaining unit with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), with some votes from those who teach courses with religious content and specific roles in maintaining the university’s religious educational environment being excluded.
NLRB Rules to Allow Graduate Students at Private Universities to Unionize
In a 3-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in mid-August that graduate students employed by private universities are entitled to collective bargaining under National Labor Relations Act. The decision to overturn a prior ruling that denied unionization asserts graduate student assistants can be both employees and students.
Yale U Nursing Students Connect with Food Systems to Improve Patient Wellbeing
Students in their first year of the school's Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing program work with Yale Landscape Lab for a series of workshops that focus on the importance of creating meaningful connections with their patients as they work with them to learn to access and eat healthy foods. These sessions combined with hands-on growing and cooking exercises help the students explore their personal connections with food as a way to empower them to promote healthy lifestyles.
Tennessee Technological U Becomes REAL Certified
The REAL, or Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership, Certification from the United States Healthful Food Council uses a points-based system, implemented with assistance from independent, third-party registered dietitians and is based on nutritional benefit, food quality and experience, procurement from safe and high quality sources, and food that enables better choices.
Auburn U Opens Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant
University students with gluten intolerance now have access to Plains to Plate, a locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant that is now certified gluten-free and is the first retail concept on a college campus to achieve a Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification, a part of the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Education Dept Announces 2016 Green Ribbon Schools Award
This year's U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award went to Elon University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Hawkeye Community College; Macalester College; Raritan Valley Community College; Slippery Rock University; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; University of Montevallo; and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors postsecondary institutions that are demonstrating progress in three pillars: environmental impact, health and wellness, and sustainability education.
Columbia U Increases Student Wage to $15 Per Hour
After lobbying from student activists, a recent statement from the university's provost said the hourly wage paid to students on work-study and in other part-time positions will increase to $15 per hour over the next three years.
New York U Sets $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage for Student Workers
A letter to the university community from New York University's president indicated that by the 2018-19 academic year students will receive a minimum of $15-per-hour. All full-time employees, graduate students and full-time employees of vendors with a major presence on campus already receive at least $15-per-hour.
San Francisco State U Launches Cigarette Butt Recycling Program
The university's Office of Sustainability partnered with the Surfrider Foundation to install new ashcans in an effort to curb cigarette butt litter and pollution. The containers will be monitored by students who will send the butts to a recycling company, TerraCycle.
Penn State Students Help Peers Make Healthy Food Choices
Thanks to a new blog, the RHEAL Deal (Residential Healthy Eating and Living Deal), university student nutrition assistants communicate weekly posts highlighting healthy items in the dining commons. The blog posts include information about the nutrients in the featured food, different ways it can be prepared and where it can be found in the dining commons. Food that meets the healthy qualifications of RHEAL are also marked by a carrot icon on the entrée card.
Georgia Tech Green Cleaning Program Earns Third-Party Certification
With certification under the Green Seal Standard for Cleaning Services, the university is now one of six higher education campuses in the nation to earn the certification. Certification verifies that Georgia Tech’s cleaning program has gone through performance testing and on-site inspections to prove cleaning efficacy, while supporting the well-being of people and reducing impact to the environment. Key requirements of certification include cleaning equipment and procedures, purchasing, training, labeling and communication. The custodial department has reduced the volume of chemicals used to clean the campus by 56 percent from 2008 levels.
Well-Being as a Measure of Student Success
Well-being was the focus of a session at a recent meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The session discussed the role of student well-being in higher education, what colleges can do to support well-being and why it is important. "When students go through college, it isn’t enough for them to excel academically; they should flourish", reports Insider Higher Ed. The results of a climate survey conducted at Iowa State University revealed that different groups of students report different levels of mental health and that institutions should break down data based on specific populations in order to target initiatives accordingly.
State University New York Sets Employee Minimum Wage
Governor Cuomo recently announced a $15 per hour minimum wage for all SUNY employees, more than 28,000. As part of the governor's 2016 agenda, he hopes to restore economic justice by making New York the first state to enact a $15 minimum wage for all workers.
Investing in Students' Mental Health Pays Off
A recent article from the American Association of Community Colleges points to a new study from the RAND Corporation that indicates there is a corollary between mental health and academic achievement. Researchers found that the proportion of California college students at the state's public universities and community colleges increased by more than 10 percent between 2013 and spring 2015. At just community colleges, the increase was 15 percent over the same period. During that time, county governments directed a combined average of $8.7 million a year to campuses for outreach campaigns to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and to train faculty and staff to recognize students who may need help.
U Louisville Extends Living Wage Policy to Contract Workers
Following its 2013 move guaranteeing all employees a living wage, the university recently approved a requirement that companies entering contracts with the university must pay their full-time staff a minimum wage of at least $10.10 per hour. Companies currently doing business with the university will be required to meet the new guidelines when their agreements are renewed.
Harvard U Pledges Chemical Flame-Retardant Free Campus
On Nov. 4, the university became the first in the nation to sign a pledge stating its preference for purchasing furniture that is manufactured without the use of toxic chemical flame retardants. Based on scientific research out of Harvard, it joins Kaiser Permanente, Facebook and Autodesk in pledging to create healthier environments on campus.
Drexler U Reveals New Tools to Prevent Suicide
Attempting to support students' mental health, the university unveiled MindKare, a kiosk that allows students to quickly and anonymously get feedback about whether they have a problem and resources that can help. Many students have admitted a fear of being seen as crazy or stupid, and this new, confidential tool gives them the safety and knowledge to investigate on their own.
AASHE Releases 2015 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey Report
The 2015 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey examines the nature of sustainability positions at colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, providing insights into salaries, funding, supervision, job satisfaction, challenges and more. This report aims to increase our understanding of the continuously growing career field of sustainability in higher education.
U Virginia and USGBC Partner to Support Public Health
Supported by a $1.2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the new research initiative aims to result in new tools that create and demonstrate the value of public health through the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings and that bring a public health lens to assessments of commercial real estate portfolios.
San Francisco State U to Open Wellness Center
The 118,700-square-foot complex, scheduled for completion in 2017, will feature an indoor jogging track, fitness and weight areas, pools, a sauna, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, two multi-use courts, fitness studios and a large multi-use space. The university is pursuing LEED Platinum designation.
Inside Higher Ed 'Minimum Wage Hike'
The article discusses the recent trend among colleges and universities to increase minimum wages above what's required by states and the federal government due to concerns about equitable pay for all employee, changes in local ordinances, or pressure from workers' advocates.
Inside Higher Ed 'Sugar Out, Diet In'
A recently published article spotlights the University of California at San Francisco, where all programs are in the health professions, for becoming the first college to stop the sale of sugary beverages on campus but wouldn't prevent diet sodas from being sold. The move comes after work from university researchers identified negative health effects from a large intake of sugar-filled beverages.
NY Times: 'Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers'
Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, though depression is on the rise too. Treating anxiety has become an enormous challenge for campus mental health centers. Many institutions are designing a variety of workshops and therapy groups to address anxiety, depression and their triggers.
Duquesne U Increases Minimum Wage to $16 Per Hour
The university's new annual budget raises its minimum wage from $15 per hour and also includes an extra 0.5 percent increase to all employees making less than $34,000 annually and a $500 university contribution to employee dependent-care flexible spending accounts.
The Atlantic Discusses the Cost of an Adjunct Instructor
A recent article in The Atlantic spotlights the potential impacts of unpaid, non-tenured professors on students. The article states, "odds are that students will be taught by professors with less job security and lower pay than those tenured employees, which research shows results in diminished services for students."
Harvard U Offers a Guided Meditation Hotline
The university's new hotline is one of several ways the university supports its mindfulness meditation program, which is just one of many programs designed to promote employee health and well-being, one of the pillars of the school’s sustainability plan.
California State U Fullerton Hosts Campus Tour for Faculty
Recently the notorious commuter campus convened its faculty for a first-ever tour of the inner-workings of campus heating, cooling, ventilation and electricity systems, including a solar installation, in order to build a sense of community among the group.
U Virginia Begins Employee Sustainability Program
Seeking to reduce its environmental impact by building more efficient spaces, the university's sustainability committee has started its new, self-reporting Green Workplace Program, which uses a checklist of 60 actions that workplaces can implement to improve operations and reduce cost, and includes eight categories: energy, transportation, purchasing, zero waste, community, health, food and bonus credits.
U Florida Commences Workspace Sustainability Assistance
Called Green Recognition for Office and Workspaces (GROW), the new program is designed to help offices, labs and other facilities improve energy use, water use, transportation and waste to create more sustainable practices.
SUNY Cortland Hosts Weekly Wellness Events
The university recently began the Wellness Wednesday Series, for campus and the community, encouraging health and wellness through speakers and panels, informational fairs, self-help workshops and demonstrations.
Duke U to Raise Minimum Pay Rate for Regular Employees
An annual review of all pay ranges relative to local and national markets inspired the university to announce an increase in minimum wage pay rate to $12 per hour from the current rate of $10.91, which was last adjusted in 2012.
U Kentucky Launches Sustainability Radio Show
Green Talks, hosted by the the director of the Student Sustainability Council, interviews faculty, staff and students who have received funding for projects through the university's student green fee, which generates about $160,000 annually.
Manchester U Commits to Living Wage
(U.K.): The university student's union has confirmed that all of its workers will be paid at least the living wage of 7.85 pounds ($12.27) per hour.
Binghamton U Pledges to Improve Campus Nutrition
The university has recently teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to promote changes on campus that encourage healthy lifestyle practices for students. The university has agreed to 23 changes by joining the initiative including implementing a local food procurement program, offering at least five fruits and five vegetable choices in dining halls, and every platform serving meat must also offer a plant-based alternative.
U Utah Hires Wellness Officer
Robin Marcus, now the university's first chief wellness officer, is tasked with coming up with a broad vision for health and wellness on campus. Some of Marcus' first goals include linking, promoting and supporting various wellness initiatives already under way. Marcus has been an associate professor of Physical Therapy at the university for over 30 years.
U Winnipeg Offers Healthy Vending Options
The 23 new campus vending machines offer gluten-free and low sodium products, fair trade coffee, granola bars, fruit cups, trail mix, and hummus and crackers. The machines also display nutritional information, promotion of events, and are outfitted with LED lighting and motion sensors.
U Haifa Prohibits Food Containing Trans Fat
(Israel): The university, which hosts a school of public health, recently eliminated the sale of foods containing trans fats, a type of artificially created unsaturated fat that has been found to raise the risk of coronary heart disease. During the past year, the university has been checking nutritional values of food sold at campus restaurants and cafeterias and held seminars on health.
Laurentian U Hires Energy & Sustainability Manager
(Canada): The university recently hired a Manager of Energy and Sustainability. This brand new position will develop and execute sustainability goals with initiatives in energy consumption, waste diversion, outreach and education.
U Chichester to Pay Living Wage
(U.K.): The university recently agreed to pay the living wage to all staff based on its Chichester and Bognor campuses. This agreement includes firms that the university contracts for catering, cleaning and security.
Wells College Names Sustainability Director
The college recently welcomed Marian Brown as the director of the new Center for Sustainability and the Environment to address the increase in needs of an ecologically-conscious and sustainable approach to living.