'Community College Innovation Challenge' Names 2016 Winners
The 2016 Community College Innovation Challenge, a team competition calling for innovative, research-based solutions for food, energy and water, named Forsyth Technical Community College as first place, and Normandale Community College and Virginia Western Community College as tied for second. The competition was hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.
U California Receives $300K for Carbon Neutrality Project
With a $300,000 gift from the TomKat Foundation, established by Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor, the university recently launched the TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project. UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency will lead the project and bring together working groups of researchers, practitioners and students with wide-ranging areas of expertise from diverse disciplines in order to advance UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels through major investments in energy efficiency, behavioral incentives, the development of alternatives to natural gas and the widespread deployment of renewable energy.
Michigan State U Water Research Reveals Campus Behavior
A recent survey of students, faculty and staff revealed that 37 percent prefer tap water while 36.6 percent prefer bottled water, 39 percent use filtered water stations, and 90 percent understand that bottled water has a higher environmental and economic cost than tap water. These insights will be used to help improve recycling programs and create awareness of refill stations across campus.
U Winnipeg Unveils Climate Change Website
The new Prairie Climate Atlas is an interactive, online tool that uses climate data, geovisualizations and multimedia to map the dramatic changes predicted for the Canadian Prairies. The Atlas is the flagship project of the Prairie Climate Center, which is a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The goal of the Atlas is to make the best climate science available to a broad spectrum of society.
Furman U Receives $95K Grant for Waterways
The new $95,000 grant from Duke Energy's Water Resources Fund will help the university to protect and enhance the region’s waterways and environment. With the funds, Furman will restore a wetland habitat and build floating marsh islands. The project will be the basis for student-faculty ecological research and community education. Matching funds from the university will construct a pedestrian bridge and provide educational signage. The grant is part of Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund, a $10 million, multiyear commitment to improve water quality and conservation in the North and South Carolina and neighboring regions.
Michigan State U Students Discover Solution for Polystyrene
A group of students from the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program is researching the use of mealworms to degrade this material beyond the industry standard of 20 percent. Funded by the Be Spartan Green Student Project Fund, the Meals for Mealworms project was proposed, researched and executed by freshman students, earning them an invitation to the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference.
Trent U Environmental Studies Institute Receives $1.5M
Following his initial $165,000 gift in 2015 to help launch the university's International Institute for Environmental Studies, Dr. Justin Chiu '76 recently donated $1.5 million in support of the institute, which is in partnership with Nanjing University, to bring experts from universities around the world together to tackle international environmental issues.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Starts Styrofoam Recycling Program
Styrecycle, a specialty recycling program created in 2016 by the university, aims to reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene headed to the landfill by using a Styrofoam densifier, a machine that grinds the plastic into small beads and extrudes it in a very dense tube. A local company in Urbana houses and operates the University-owned densifier for free in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of densified Styrofoam.
U Massachusetts Amherst Establishes School of Earth and Sustainability
Approved by the board of trustees in April 2016, the university's new School of Earth and Sustainability will serve as a central hub for a suite of academic programs, research, innovation outreach and extension activities focused on finding solutions to the complex, global environmental challenges of the 21st century.
MIT Report Highlights Creation of Climate Action Advisory Committee
In a new report released in April, MIT announced a new Climate Action Advisory Committee to consult on the implementation of climate plans, develop a set of strategies and benchmarks for the school's engagement with industry, government and other institutions, and assist in finding ways to engage the broader community in climate action. The report also outlines progress on its five-year climate action plan released in October 2015.
Indiana U Faculty Mentors & Students Collaborate in Sustainability Scholar Program
The university's inaugural 2020 Sustainability Scholar program paired undergraduates with faculty mentors from multiple disciplines to conduct high-quality research in the area of sustainability. As part of the program, students were required to complete a research work plan and enroll in a class that explores sustainability research methods.
Harvard U Dispenses $1M Toward Climate Research Projects
Ten research projects driven by faculty collaborators across six Harvard Schools will share over $1 million in the second round of grants awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, an initiative launched last year by President Drew Faust to encourage multidisciplinary research around climate change.
Georgia State U Hosts Inaugural Student Research Award
The university’s Office of Sustainability announced its first-ever student award winners for sustainability projects at the GSA Undergraduate Research Conference held April 13. Lead authors from the top seven projects were awarded $100 funded from the student sustainability fee. Winning initiatives include community engagement, climate change impacts, photography collection of trash from a local river, and environmentally friendly textile dyes.
Four Universities Receive Water Research Funding From EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $3.3 million to research human and ecological health impacts associated with water reuse and conservation practices. Of the five institutions selected, the four universities are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Utah State University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of California Riverside. Selected by the EPA in conjunction with the White House Water Summit, this research will evaluate how reclaimed water applications such as drinking water reuse, replenishing groundwater and irrigation can affect public and ecological health.
U Washington Tacoma Tracks Source of Tainted Water
The university's Tacoma campus, UWT, was built on what was once home to commercial and industrial uses such as dry cleaning, auto-repair operations and other manufacturing, reports a recent article from The Seattle Times. University officials have already spent about $7 million since the mid-1990s investigating and in clean-up, but a proposed legal agreement between the UWT and the state Department of Ecology seeks to pinpoint the source.
U California Santa Cruz Researcher Earns NSAC Recognition
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has given its Sustainability Champion award to the university's alumnus Mark Lipson, currently a researcher with UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. NSAC said the award was made to honor Lipson’s years of service to the organic and sustainable agriculture movement, and his “groundbreaking work on Capitol Hill shepherding historic changes, such as the much-celebrated five-fold increase in funding for organic research secured in the 2008 Farm Bill.”
Boston U Names Head of New Institute for Sustainable Energy
At the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Peter Fox-Penner and his team will focus on increasing energy research initiatives throughout the university, deepening connections among science, engineering and management scholars with policy makers and corporations, and advancing the curriculum at the university's schools and colleges. The institute’s three research focus areas are electric industry transformation, global climate change and smart, sustainable cities.
U Maryland Launches Center for Global Sustainability
The university recently announced the opening of its new Center for Global Sustainability housed within the School of Public Policy. The center will feature a multi-stakeholder approach to analysis and policy assessment. Work will be organized around four topical areas that draw from existing strengths at the university: climate mitigation policy; energy pathways; resilience and adaptation; and ecosystems and health. In celebration of the launch of the Center for Global Sustainability, Al Gore visited the campus on March 1 to pledge his support for the center’s mission of a multi-stakeholder approach to climate change policy.
North Carolina State U Professor Receives $791K for Distributed Energy Research
Dr. Mo-Yuen Chow, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded $791,950 from Total S.A. to develop a Cooperative Distributed Home Energy Management System (HEMS) over three years. The objective of this project is to design, develop and demonstrate a cooperative distributed Home Energy Management System (HEMS) for a single house/building as wells as aggregated houses/buildings in a community. The goal is to optimize the cost (e.g., minimize electricity bills, maximize energy storage life span) of each house/building while maintaining the users' comfort level.
U Washington Campus Sustainability Research Projects Receive $190K
The university's Green Seed Fund approved three research projects to split $190,000. The projects include research on the impact of campus landscape changes on stormwater volume and quality, and impact to surrounding wetlands; improving outdated irrigation systems; and design, construct and monitor a new rainwater irrigation system on UW Seattle campus will also provide data.
Western Carolina U Grounds Contributes to Human Decomposition Research
The university's grounds crew has been providing wood chips for research to determine the most efficient and environmentally friendly manner of composting human bodies after death. Call the Urban Death Project, two Office of Sustainability interns are assisting with the project that aims to eventually build a three-story human composting facility.
U California Merced Identifies Faculty Climate Action Champion
In its inaugural year, the Faculty Climate Action Champion was recently announced as biodiversity professor Michael Dawson for his work and plan to engage the campus and community in sustainability. Dawson posits that the lines we draw on maps are crucial to the representation of how climate changes the natural world, including species boundaries. By building collaborations in which people from the campus and community explore the concepts of lines and change, he hopes to build figurative and literal understanding of change and sustainability. The Faculty Climate Action Champion program is managed through UC Office of the President.
U Brighton Conducts Research on Innovative Air Monitor
(U.K.): The university's new air monitor has the ability to measure nano-sized particles that can infiltrate the human body by way of the lungs and cause dire health consequences. The city of Brighton has ongoing issues with air quality and the university was selected because of its precise location in the city. Researchers hope that discoveries will pressure policy makers to take more action to reduce air pollution.
U Virginia Wins $3.56M Grant for Wind Turbine Design
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy awarded the three-year, $3.56 million grant to a university team to build a small-scale prototype of a new kind of wind turbine with blades that fold together like palm fonds in dangerous weather and spread out to catch the wind during good weather.
Colgate U Receives $500K Forest Research Grant
The National Science Foundation awarded $500,000 in funding to an interdisciplinary team of Colgate faculty, led by Associate Professor of Biology Catherine Cardelús, to continue investigating the status and conservation of sacred forests in Ethiopia’s northern highlands.
U Virginia Completes Nitrogen & Carbon Footprint Food Study
Students in the Nitrogen Working Group, which is part of the university’s Environmental Stewardship Subcommittee, came up with a pilot project to give a sustainability rating label to foods sold in the Clark Café. To calculate the footprint of a product, its weight was multiplied by impact factors for carbon, nitrogen and water pollution caused and used.
Harvard U Creates Multi-Disciplinary Global Institute
Called the Harvard Global Institute, the new, multi-disciplinary collaborative provides large grants to teams of established faculty members and smaller grants to faculty members exploring more experimental topics. The grants are intended to foster research in topics that transcend disciplinary and regional boundaries, such as climate change, urbanization, education, water, and migration.
Harvard U Funds Students Conducting Sustainability Research
The university's Center for the Environment provides funding each summer to students who have an interest in working with faculty and their research groups. With topics ranging from growth limitation in New England’s forest trees to housing and air pollution, the program draws undergraduates in concentrations from environmental science and public policy to East Asian studies.
Yale U Partners With MAD for New Food Institute
Drawing upon Yale's varied programming in food studies, the university and MAD, a Danish nonprofit dedicated to improving food culture, just announced a partnership to develop the new institute that will tap into chefs' influence beyond the restaurant. The intent is to allow participants to think creatively and critically about food-related issues and to explore and implement solutions.
Colorado State U & 13 Others Contribute to Water Research Network
The university will join 13 other academic institutions from the U.S. that will establish the Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN). With $12 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, these institutions, led by Colorado State University, will create technological, institutional and management solutions to help increase the resilience of water systems and enhance crisis preparedness.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Allocates $1.2 to Four Interdisciplinary Projects
More than $1.2 million in seed funding was recently awarded to seed four interdisciplinary research projects through the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. The selected topics that received over $350,000 each were stormwater and mosquito control, crop response to climate change, renewable energy for transportation, and crude oil cleanup treatment.
Penn State U Students Select Sustainability Research Award Winners
Offered in the spring to undergraduates at all Penn State campuses, three students, Kelsey Czyzyk, Alexandra Sorce and Andrew Madl, received cash awards for their research last week as part of the university's annual Award for Undergraduate Research on Sustainability and the Environment.
Oregon State U Partners for Renewable Energy Research
The university's Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, U.S. Navy and Department of Energy, students and faculty work via the Ocean Sentinel to facilitate the development of marine energy technology, inform regulatory and policy decisions, and to close key gaps in scientific understanding with a focus on student growth and development.
Emory U Initiates Global Response to Climate Change
Climate@Emory is an initiative of more than 50 faculty and staff from 20 departments across the university. Its goal is to harness Emory's strengths to help it play a leading role in the global response to climate change. Since its launch last fall, the initiative has worked to support, connect and expand Emory's climate-related scholarship, teaching and community engagement.
Emory U Seeks to Map Sustainability Community
Emory's students, faculty and staff who are actively involved in sustainability are contributing to a mapping project to visualize the university's sustainability community in an effort to understand who is actively engaged in sustainability on campus, the type of work they do, and to what extent these individuals and groups collaborate.
U Calgary Partners on Wastewater Research Facility
For the first time, university researchers are working with municipal operators to advance wastewater treatment technologies and knowledge that will lead to cleaner water, a better protected ecosystem and improved public health. The $38.5 million wastewater facility is a fully-integrated university research facility located within an operating industrial wastewater treatment plant.
Cambridge U Studies Plant-Powered Bus Shelter
(U.K.): The prototype hub at the university's botanical garden has walls of plants in pockets made of carbon fiber that receive electrons, produced as a byproduct of photosynthesis, that power a light in the shelter.
Michigan State U Bolsters Campus Sustainability Research
(U.S.): The new Sustainability Fellows Program funds research projects that investigate topics in energy, waste, water and campus member engagement for the purpose of creating a positive impact on the university's sustainability goals, build the university's reputation as a sustainable campus community, and to develop a greater connection between the sustainability department, campus operations, and academic units.
Florida Gulf Coast U to Construct Renewable Energy Research Park
The proposed 240-acre research park focusing on environmental sustainability will focus on technologies that impact the use of solar and other renewable sources, structures that combine renewable energy with electric transportation, energy storage, solar desalination of brackish water, anaerobic digestion of food waste on farms, and shade tolerant plants that can grow under solar panels.
Eight U California System Schools Collaborate to Research Climate
(U.S.): The state's university system has allocated $1.9 million in funding over four years to Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Barbara for a coordinated approach to studying climate impacts in diverse natural and human-dominated ecosystems. Scientists from the nine campuses will form an institute, develop a strategy to synthesize climate research in a common framework, assess climate change models for California, and extend collaborative research across the school system.
Energy Dept Reveals 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition Participants
(U.S.): The U.S. Department of Energy's 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition challenges teams of undergraduate students to design and build a model wind turbine based on market research and siting considerations, develop a business plan to market their products, and test their turbines against a set of rigorous performance criteria. The twelve teams participating in the competition are Boise State University, The California Maritime Academy, California State University, Chico, Kansas State University, Northern Arizona University, The Pennsylvania State University, Universidad del Turabo (Puerto Rico), University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Lowell and University of Wisconsin Madison.
U California Berkeley Establishes Chair in Sustainability
(U.S.): The recently established James and Katherine Lau Distinguished Chair in Sustainability will support work that spans the areas of environment and climate, energy supply and demand, and policy and markets. It will be held by the director of the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute and will advance development of scalable solutions for our planet.
Antioch U New England Announces Peace Corps Partnership
Following a model of engaged scholarship, the recently launched program allows students conducting Department of Environmental Studies doctoral work to complete advanced graduate work during their Peace Corps service. The program consists of two years of doctoral courses and 27 months in the Peace Corps while students conduct doctoral research.
Loyola U Chicago Student Extends Growing Season on Campus Grounds
A now senior student enrolled in the university's Solutions to Environmental Problems class uses the campus' outdoor urban agricultural spaces to research ways to extend the growing season into winter in hopes of providing easy and affordable methods people can use to grow fresh produce at home.
Emory U Studies Sustainability Network
Beginning in fall of 2014, the university's Graduate Sustainability Group conducted an analysis of involvement of graduate students in sustainability by making visible the connections between individuals and groups, and are evaluating how these relationships and interactions function.