Kings College London Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment
(U.K.): Sharing concern with the Students' Union about the dangers of human-induced climate change, the college recently committed to divest from all fossil fuels by the end of the year 2022, to be carbon neutral by 2025, and to increase its commitment to investments with socially responsible benefits from the present goal of 15 percent to an aspiration of at least 40 percent by 2025. With this agreement, the direct action campaign that called on the college to divest from fossil fuels drew to a close.
Smith College Releases New Climate Action Plan
Smith College's Study Group on Climate Change presented the results of their yearlong study to the college's board of trustees recently, which recommended the college take a comprehensive approach to climate action in five areas: academic, campus programming, campus operations, investments and institutional change. The report also supports specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and a focus on climate justice, including a yearlong initiative on women and climate change.
Simon Fraser U Releases 20-Year Sustainability Vision & Goals
Following a year-long community-wide envisioning process, the university released its finalized 20-Year Sustainability Vision and Goals. The vision and goals will lay the foundation for the university's next five-year sustainability strategic plan. Goal topics include sustainability literacy, waste, transportation, curriculum, community engagement, accessibility and collaboration.
Indiana U Bloomington Faculty Approve Open Access Policy
The Bloomington Faculty Council unanimously approved an open access policy recently that ensures that faculty scholarship will be accessible and available to the public for future generations. Adopting the policy reduces barriers to research and learning by making research available on the public internet to be downloaded and shared freely, making it possible for scholarship to be more widely read and cited than literature that appears in closed-access, licensed journal databases.
Yale U Graduate Students Vote to Unionize
Becoming the latest group of graduate students at private universities to unionize since the National Labor Relations Board ruled last summer that graduate students are employees, teaching assistants from eight of nine departments at Yale University voted Thursday to join UNITE HERE. The teaching assistants are seeking funding security, mental health care, affordable child care, equitable pay and parity for marginalized communities in academia.
Eastern Kentucky U Sets 2036 Carbon Neutrality Goal
The university recently completed a comprehensive Climate Action and Resiliency Plan to strategically and economically reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2036. The plan calls for the university to reach its goal via a variety of mitigation strategies, including implementation of geothermal heating/cooling throughout campus, improvements in central plant and building efficiencies, greater efficiencies in steam and chilled water, energy efficiency guidelines for new buildings, the purchase of renewable energy credits and carbon offsets and reduction in water consumption.
U British Columbia Starts $10M Sustainability Investment Fund
Donors now have the option to give to the university's new Sustainable Future Fund, a fund for low-carbon emission and high environmental, social and governance equity funds. Seeded with $10 million, the fund was launched as a result of a responsible investment policy for its endowment, approved by the university's board of governors in 2015.
Big Tent Consortium Issues Travel Ban Call to Action
The Big Tent Consortium, a global network of universities and their community partners, have issued a call to action to its members to oppose the Jan. 27 U.S. travel ban, join with other worldwide protests, and create spaces for dialogue within universities and communities everywhere to combat alleged growing Islamophobia and exclusionary trends around the world.
Higher Education Leaders Issue Statements on Immigration Ban
Many higher education leaders issued statements recently in response to the Trump administration's executive order to ban immigrants and nonimmigrant visitors from seven countries, which are majority Muslim, from entering the U.S. They criticized the ban for the disruption it caused to students and scholars and for confusion around the order and its implementation and, in many cases, expressed moral outrage.
U Iowa Appoints Interim Sustainability Director
Sara Maples, currently Research Support & Sustainability Manager at the Tippie College of Business, has been appointed to serve as interim director of the Office of Sustainability on a part-time basis. She initiated a competition that encourages students to develop sustainable business models that must include accounting for societal costs and benefits. She also recently completed the college’s sustainability report, in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (G4) standards.
Business School Professors Endorse Article to President Urging Leadership on Climate
After President Donald Trump announced that he will work to roll back environmental laws and regulations, two business professors, one from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the other from Harvard Business School, wrote an article urging President Donald Trump to reconsider the impacts of undoing environmental regulation citing both economic and health benefits to U.S. citizens and businesses.
Loyola U Chicago Wins 2016 Climate Leadership Award
The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Solution Generation recognized the university for its commitment to addressing climate change and making climate impacts on natural and social systems a key aspect of social justice. In the past year, Loyola released the university’s climate action plan with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. As Chicago’s Jesuit, Catholic university, Loyola is addressing the climate through three main strategies: its campus, its curriculum and its community engagement.
U Connecticut Announces New Sustainability Plan
The university's new 2020 Vision For Campus Sustainability & Climate Leadership Plan was announced by the president in late January. Initiated shortly after a university cohort attended COP21 in Paris, France, in 2015, the plan includes the following categories: energy and buildings, waste reduction and diversion, outreach and engagement, water resources, food and dining, grounds, open space and conservation areas, purchasing and transportation. Each category has one or two goals and a few measurements to achieve those goals.
Concordia U Introduces First Sustainability Plan
The university board of governors recently green lighted a new campus-wide policy that it hopes will serve as a catalyst to facilitate innovative, interdisciplinary and interdepartmental sustainability initiatives. The policy consists of 12 guiding principles that will be integrated into the fabric of the university through a Sustainability Advisory Committee.
U Melbourne Unveils Four-Year Sustainability Plan
(Australia): The university’s first institution-wide Sustainability Plan 2017-2020 indicates the university will become carbon neutral before 2030, achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2021 and will now report annually on the institution’s sustainability impact and performance. The plan also calls for the establishment of a sustainable investment framework for evaluating and managing material climate change risk, and will set out the criteria for divestment from and investment in listed equities.
AASHE Publishes 2016 Annual Report
The new report details AASHE’s accomplishments and progress throughout 2016, spotlighting STARS, education and professional development, AASHE Sustainability Awards, the annual conference & expo, resources and publications, and membership. New to the report this year is a Member Spotlight section, an initiative that celebrates AASHE-member successes.
Johns Hopkins U Building Gets LEED Platinum
The Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories was designed to use 40 percent less energy than similar lab buildings. Its designs include highly efficient heating and cooling systems, occupancy sensors that control lights and HVAC, low-flow water fixtures and lab technologies designed to conserve energy and water.
GreenMetric Releases 2016 Ranking
The GreenMetric World University Ranking from the University of Indonesia released its sustainability ranking for 516 universities participating from 74 countries. The results are computed from information provided by universities online. The information is organized under six main categories: Green Statistics, Energy and Climate Change, Waste Management, Water Usage, Transportation and Education.
AASHE Welcomes Board and Advisory Council Members
In the fall of 2016, AASHE held governance elections that resulted in the appointment of two new board members, Ann Erhardt, director of energy programs and director of sustainability at Michigan State University, and Cynthia Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability at University of Illinois at Chicago. Forty-five new Advisory Council members were selected.
Fairfield U Releases Inaugural Sustainability Plan
The university's first Campus Sustainability Plan includes actions to enhance education and student engagement, manage energy use and other university resources, and build new facilities to increase sustainability all over campus.
The Chronicle Features the 'Sustainable Campus Index'
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently covered AASHE's 2016 Sustainable Campus Index, an impact report that spotlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type. The report used data from AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).
U Kentucky Announces New Faculty Sustainability Committee
The newly formed Faculty Sustainability Council is a technical advisory group to the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee charged with evaluating the state of sustainability curriculum and establishing short, medium and long-term goals for integrating sustainability further into the curriculum.
Michigan State U Receives $2.3M to Diversify Economics Profession
The American Economic Association chose the university, after a national competition, to house the two-month residential program until 2020. The university has received more than $2.3 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and other organizations to continue operating an economics-training program for undergraduates designed to increase diversity in economics doctoral programs and professions.
HEIs Pen Letter to President-Elect Regarding Climate Action
Collaboratively developed by a diverse group of higher education institutions and Second Nature, an open letter to the incoming President and members of Congress asks for participation in international climate efforts, support for climate research and investment in climate solutions. Any institution of higher education can add their name to the letter by Dec. 9, to be included in the national release of this letter.
League of American Bicyclists Announces 2016 Campus Designations
Bicycle Friendly University award designations grew this year with 37 campuses obtaining a designation for the first time. Eleven campuses moved up from one designation to another, with a total of 51 campuses now having the Bicycle Friendly Designation, a program of The League of American Bicyclists.
California State U, Northridge Breaks Ground on Sustainability Center
Construction began in September on a new Associated Students Sustainability Center, a multi-functional space serving as an expanded collections station for campus recyclables, the administrative hub of the Associated Students' sustainability programs and services and the administrative offices of the Institute for Sustainability. The building will include photovoltaic and solar hot water panels, a gray-water collection system and composting toilets.
Princeton Review Releases Guide to 361 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review's Guide to 361 Green Colleges: 2016 Edition is a free guide that profiles universities and colleges with commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives and activities. The edition includes a list of the Top 50 Green Colleges.
McGill U Creates Advisory Council on Sustainability
The new Advisory Council on Sustainability, co-chaired by senior academic members, is charged with making recommendations on the implementation and evolution of the university's sustainability strategy and related plans, policies, and performance indicators. Consisting of 17 individuals, including administrators, staff, students and external members, the council will meet for the first time in early November 2016.
Amherst College Sets Up Green Revolving Fund with $2M Gift from Alumnus
The college recently joined the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, an initiative of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, after Prince Albert Grimaldi ’81 of Monaco gifted $2 million toward the establishment of a fund to support operational and facilities environmental initiatives. The overarching purpose of the green revolving fund is to aid the college in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing the resources to implement energy conservation measures.
North Carolina State U Reaches State-Mandated Energy & Water Goal
Despite a more than 50 percent increase in campus square footage, the university reduced campus energy use by 33 percent and water use by 50 percent per gross square-foot, as indicated by a piece of legislation that became law in 2007. The legislation calls for a 30 percent reduction in energy use per gross square foot from the 2003 baseline and a 50 percent reduction in water use per gross square foot from the 2002 baseline.
Yale to Release New 2025 Sustainability Plan
The university announced that it will soon release the new university sustainability plan, Yale Sustainability Plan 2025, that aims to connect the broader Yale community under one long-term Yale Sustainability Vision. Expanding the scope of the previous two plans, the Yale Sustainability Plan 2025 is the result of broad stakeholder engagement across the university community.
AASHE Announces Top Performers in 2016 Sustainable Campus Index
AASHE’s newly released 2016 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Additionally, the report highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from over 60 institutions.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Announces Three Zeros Initiative
The university's new Three Zeros Initiative strives to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality, water neutrality and zero waste by addressing individual behaviors, teaching and how the campus can model new, innovative approaches while having a global impact. Three Zeros stemmed from the new Sustainability Plan, which is the university's framework for examining campus-wide sustainability efforts and identifying ways to integrate them into teaching, research and engagement activities.
Cleveland State U Appoints New Director of Sustainability
Jennifer McMillin will manage the university’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions and waste, enhance alternative energy use and increase overall environmental quality on campus. McMillin will also lead multiple education and training initiatives designed to enhance sustainability among students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community. McMillin comes to CSU from the Australian National University where she led the development of the university’s internationally-recognized student and staff sustainability outreach program.
NCAA Encourages Divisions to Sign Diversity Pledge
The NCAA’s diversity and inclusion pledge, gaining approval from the NCAA's board of governors in August 2016, is now available online for presidents and chancellors to affirm their commitment to ethnic, racial and gender diversity in the hiring process for athletics. Colleges, universities and athletics conferences that commit to the pledge will be recognized in a public listing on the NCAA’s website. This comes after a 2014-15 NCAA employment survey shows slow progress toward addressing diversity initiatives.
Dalhousie U Adopts Sustainable Food Plan
The newly released framework from the university's Food Services and Office of Sustainability supports and adheres to the vision and principles identified in the Dalhousie University Sustainability Plan. The plan is primarily focused on but not limited to the food procurement, preparation, kitchen operation and end use, for which there are 11 goals spanning these four areas.
California State U, Northridge & Stockton U Receive Nat'l Sustainability Award
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) recently awarded the Sustainability and Sustainable Development Award to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and Stockton University. AASCU cited CSUN for incorporating sustainability into planning and administration, facilities and operations, education and curriculum, student government and life, research and innovation, and Stockton University was attributed on behalf of their natural-environment living laboratories and having sustainability as one of four pillars in its strategic plan.
Nine Community Colleges Win Green Genome Award from AACC
Cedar Valley College, Chesapeake College, College of Lake County, Guam Community College, Johnson County Community College, Lewis & Clark Community College, Lincoln Land Community College, Northeast Community College and Northeast Texas Community College are recipients of the 2016 Green Genome Awards for exemplary efforts to promote sustainability education, practices, programs and training. The winning colleges will each receive $10,000. The Green Genome Awards are part of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and its Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Center.
Kimberly-Clark Professional* Announces Sustainable Campus Competition LIVE! Finalists
Selected from over 220 entries, Oberlin College, University of Washington and a joint submission from Butler University and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis have been named as finalists in the Sustainable Campus Competition LIVE! contest, which includes a $50,000 grand prize from Kimberly-Clark Professional*. The finalists will present their projects before a panel of judges on Oct. 10 at the 2016 AASHE Conference & Expo, where the grand prize winner will be announced.
Dickinson College and Town Partner to Measure Resilience
A beta tool developed by the Rockefeller Foundation and Arup International Development called the City Resilience Index was recently utilized by the college and the surrounding town of Carlisle to measure the community's ability to cope with, manage and adapt to change. The collaboration resulted from Carlisle asking various constituencies to suggest priority issues to address, of which resilience was one such issue.
Ohio U Building Earns LEED Gold Certification
The new building minimizes consumption of water and energy, project materials contained recycled content, almost 50 percent of materials were manufactured in the region, and the project diverted more than 75 percent of construction waste from entering a landfill.
Marquette U Hires First Sustainability Coordinator
Hired to lead Marquette's sustainability efforts, Brent Ribble was recently brought on to advance campus sustainability as it relates to academics, operations, planning and engagement. In addition, the university announced a new interdisciplinary major in environmental studies, that began fall 2016, to help prepare students to address sustainability challenges in their lives and careers.
Sierra Magazine Releases 2016 Cool Schools List
Open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the U.S., the guide is produced for prospective and current students, administrators and alumni to compare higher education institutions' environmental commitments. The scoring key is a reflection of Sierra Club's broader priorities and awards more weight in the areas of campus energy use, transportation and fossil fuel divestment.