CSU President Calls for Increased Sustainability Research
Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley recently published an article in Inside Higher Ed that discusses the leadership role higher education institutions need to take in advancing sustainability research and solutions. He argues that research universities have an obligation and an opportunity to use their resources to educate green collar workers and create ground-breaking climate change solutions. Penley believes that universities should focus less on installing greener goods and creating climate change awareness, and focus more on preparing students for the up and coming green economy, advancing green research, and inputting new technologies into the free market. Once this research enters the marketplace, he says, it can create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve health and living conditions worldwide, and stimulate the economy.
Johns Hopkins U Approves Funding for Green Initiatives
Johns Hopkins University (MD) recently approved the Sustainable Hopkins Infrastructure Program, a program created to provide a way for students, faculty, and staff to secure funding for green projects on campus. JHU plans to form a committee of campus members that will review project proposals based on compliance to certain criteria, which have yet to be finalized. Once a project is approved, it will be handed off to the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration where funds will be allocated. SHIP is not a revolving loan fund, and the money does not come from a predetermined fund; instead, money will be taken from excess funds, which will be determined on a case by case basis.
Oberlin College Announces New Financial Aid Initiative
Oberlin College (OH) recently announced the Oberlin Access Initiative, which promises to eliminate the annual loan requirements for those members of the incoming class of 2012 who are eligible to receive federally funded Pell Grants. In addition, the new policy will extend to all current, Pell-eligible students returning to Oberlin next fall.
San Diego State U Students Vote for Green Fee
San Diego State University (CA) Students recently voted to increase the current mandatory Student Body Association Fee to fund, among other initiatives, new green program and facility upgrades. 64.6 percent of students voted for a $20 increase per semester. 8.66 percent of the total student body voted.
Clinton Global Initiative U Receives $500,000 Grant from Wal-Mart
The Clinton Global Initiative University program recently received a $500,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation. Through a selection process by CGI U, the grant will be awarded to students or universities whose commitments integrate principles of sustainability. A total of $350,000 will go to two universities, and the remaining $150,000 will be granted to thirty-five students and student groups. The awards will be made in August 2008 to students and universities who have made demonstrable progress on their commitments.
Harvard Law School Launches New Public Service Initiative
Harvard University (MA) Law School recently announced that it will pay the third year of tuition for all future students who commit to work for a nonprofit organization or the government for five years following graduation. Students interested in participating in the initiative must demonstrate a commitment to public service during their time in law school. Students will earn eligibility credits by engaging in public service activities such as summer internships and relevant clinical programs, and once the student makes the commitment, they will receive a grant totaling the cost of their third year tuition. The program is scheduled to start this fall for incoming students; currently enrolled students will receive partial benefit. Officials say that the Harvard Public Service Initiative is the first of its kind in legal education.
Harvard Med., Claremont McKenna & Lafayette Expand Financial Aid
Harvard University (MA) Medical School recently announced that it will reduce the cost of a four year medical education by up to $50,000 for families with incomes of $120,000 or less. The new plan will eliminate before-tax retirement savings from the family income calculation. Likewise, Claremont McKenna College (CA) has announced that it will eliminate student loans from financial aid packages for all current and entering students effective fall 2008. The student loans will be replaced by grants. Lafayette College (PA) also recently announced that, starting in the fall of 2008, it will eliminate loans in need-based financial aid packages awarded to students from families with incomes of $50,000 or less and whose financial assets are typical of families with this annual income level. Beginning in the fall of 2009, Lafayette will limit loans to $2,500 per year for need-based financial-aid packages awarded to students from families whose incomes are between $50,000 and $100,000 and whose financial assets are typical of families with this annual income level. The new policy will apply to both new and returning Lafayette students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Indiana U Increases Wages for Union Workers
The Indiana University Board of Trustees recently voted to increase union employee pay by 3.5 percent starting in the fall of 2008 as an effort to pay these workers a living wage. Employees who fall under a collective bargaining agreement will likely get a 3.5 percent increase, but the unions have a right to negotiate how that pool increase is distributed.
St. Ambrose U To Launch Campus-wide Recycling Program
St. Ambrose University (IA) recently announced its plans to launch a campus-wide recycling program in the fall of 2008. The initiative was made possible by $20,000 from the University and a $32,000 grant from the Scott County Regional Authority. The money will be used to purchase recycling bins and a baler for waste generated by dining services.
Willamette U Housing to be Gender Neutral
Willamette University (OR) recently announced that, starting in the fall of 2008, it will offer gender neutral housing that will allow men and women to room together. The initiative is designed to meet the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students who may not be comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same sex. Participation will be voluntary and students outside of the LGBT community will be permitted to participate. Parents will not be informed when a student chooses to live in gender neutral housing. The pilot program is not intended for romantically involved straight or gay couples; the University retains the right to deny requests from couples.
Carleton College Announces New Access Scholarship Program
Carleton College (MN) recently announced its new Access Scholarship program aimed at reducing or eliminating student loans for students from a family with an annual income of $75,000 or less, starting with the 2008-09 school year. The plan calls for a $4,000 scholarship for students from families making less than $40,000 annually, a $3,000 scholarship for students from families with annual incomes of $40,001-$60,000, and a $2,000 scholarship for students from families with yearly incomes of $60,001-$75,000.
Columbia U Expands Financial Aid
Columbia University (NY) recently announced that students from families with incomes below $60,000 attending Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science will no longer be expected to borrow or contribute any of their income or assets to tuition, room, board and other fees beginning in fall 2008. At the same time, Columbia will eliminate loans for all new and continuing students in the College and SEAS who are eligible for financial aid, regardless of family income, and replace them with University grants. Additionally, all aid recipients will be invited to apply for exemptions from summer and academic-year work expectations when they engage in community service or accept unpaid research or internship commitments.
Drew U to Offer Environmental Studies and Sustainability Major
Drew University (NJ) recently received a $950,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an innovative academic major in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. The grant money will support two additional faculty members, new interdisciplinary courses, and a program of student internships and research experiences. Drew faculty members are working now to design the new major, which will incorporate internship experiences and coursework that is interdisciplinary and project-oriented. If approved by the College of Liberal Arts faculty this spring, it will be made available to students in the fall of 2008.
Lehigh U Enhances Financial Aid
Lehigh University (PA) recently announced its new plan to increase financial aid. As long as students are eligible for financial aid, the University plans to eliminate loans for students whose family’s calculated annual income is less than $50,000 and plans to limit loans to a maximum of $3,000 per year for students whose family’s calculated annual income is between $50,000 and $75,000. Additionally, work-study awards for students who are included in the loan elimination and reduction initiatives will be increased by 25 percent to $2,200 per year, thus offsetting the need for loans. Additional funds are also being made available to enroll a larger number of eligible, international students with demonstrated financial need.
MIT Announces New Financial Aid Program
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently announced its financial aid program for the 2008-2009 academic year. Under the new plan, families earning less than $75,000 per year will have all tuition covered and will not be expected to take out loans to cover expenses beyond tuition. MIT will also no longer consider home equity for families with total annual income below $100,000 and typical assets. In addition to the financial aid plan, the Institute will also reduce the work-study expectation for all financial aid recipients by 10 percent.
Students from Maryland Universities Design Mobile Teaching Labs
The Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority recently donated four dirty emissions transit buses to Biodiesel University, a nonprofit affiliated with the University of Maryland dedicated to providing hands-on renewable energy experiences and to inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology. The four buses will be recycled into mobile teaching laboratories and will travel to schools, colleges, and public events in the Washington, D.C. region and beyond. Students from regional colleges and universities, including the University of Maryland and the Maryland Institute College of Art, have been designing the mobile labs and their contents since late 2006 as part of a multi-institutional collaboration. The labs will educate visitors on the sustainability issues of food versus fuel, the carbon cycle, unintended economic consequences, pollution, and land and water use. Each lab will include a hands-on feedstock section, where visitors learn about dozens of renewable sources for biodiesel and compare the benefits and tradeoffs of each one.
USA Today Covers Increasing Student Awareness of Global Warming
USA Today recently published an article on the increasing number of students who are concerned about the effects of global warming. More and more students are participating in national events, such as Focus the Nation and Powershift, and creating their own campus initiatives aimed at reducing global warming and increasing knowledge about the problem.
Vassar College Expands Financial Aid Program
Vassar College (NY) recently announced that it will eliminate loans from the financial aid packages of students with calculated family incomes of up to $60,000. The college will replace those loans with additional Vassar scholarship grants. The policy will take place in the fall of 2008. The College will also return to a need-blind admissions policy, with admissions decisions being made without regard to the student's ability to pay.
Duke Bans Future Investments With Sudan-Linked Companies
The Duke University (NC) Board of Trustees recently approved a resolution that prohibits Duke from making future direct investment in companies engaged in business with the government of Sudan. The resolution, in protest against that government’s human rights violations in the war-torn region of Darfur, covers the $8.2 billion in endowment and assets of Duke University that is invested by the Duke Management Corporation. The policy is effective immediately and will remain in effect until the United States government lifts sanctions against Sudan.
Green Chemistry Bill Introduced into Congress
5 U.S. Senators recently introduced the Green Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2008 into Congress. The bi-partisan legislation would leverage federal green chemistry initiatives in an effort to advance research and development at universities and at federal agencies. The Act would create an inter-agency working group lead by the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency, and in coordination with the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to advance green chemistry research. The bill also provides grant funding for private sector and academic projects for environmentally friendly chemicals.
Oregon State U Increases Financial Transparency
Inside Higher Ed recently published an article on Oregon State University's new online budget reporting system. This new system allows students, faculty, and staff connected with the University to view budgeted allowances, actual expenditures, and available balances for income, salaries and wages, other payroll expenses, and other expenses for each department. Additionally, campus members can view the invoices of each completed purchase. The name of the employee associated with the transaction is not shown in the database. The data are updated each night.
U Maryland Receives Grant for Endowed Sustainability Professor
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science recently received a $750,000 challenge grant from the France-Merrick Foundation. This gift will establish the Center’s first endowed chair, a professorship in Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration, which will research ecosystem restoration in the face of growth and climate change.
U Maryland to Establish Green Real Estate Development Institute
The University of Maryland's real estate development program, which has a broad-based approach to sustainability, has received a $3 million gift that will help establish the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development in UM's School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The Institute will be the academic home for the school's two year-old Masters in Real Estate Development, giving the program a solid financial foundation, creating a new track with an even greater focus on sustainable development, expanding its leadership training, and extending the program's public outreach and international presence.
U New Hampshire Receives Top Lean and Green Award
The University of New Hampshire has received New Hampshire Magazine's Lean and Green Overall Judges Award, which recognizes the school's extensive sustainable practices. The campus's cogeneration plant and initiatives such as the reuse of purified landfill gas to power the Durham campus and transitioning its public transit system to alternative fuels help to win the award.
Brown U Enhances Financial Aid
Brown University (RI) recently announced its plan to expand its undergraduate financial aid program. Beginning in the fall of 2008, students from families with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer have loans as part of their financial aid packages, and most parents who earn less than $60,000 will not be expected to make a financial contribution to fund their child’s Brown education. The new financial aid also sharply reduces loan expectations for all students who receive financial aid, regardless of family income. The new provisions apply to all current students who receive financial aid, as well as to the Class of 2012, which matriculates next fall.
Lake Land College Receives 2 Renewable Energy Grants
Lake Land College (IL) has been awarded a $30,000 grant to help determine what type of wind turbine would fit the needs of the college. The college also plans to install solar hot water heaters, natural lighting via skylights with reflective lenses, and prairie grasses into the landscaping. The projects are expected to begin in the spring of 2008. The College also recently received a $45,000 grant that enabled it to complete the installation of a geothermal system in the Student Fitness Center, which is now heated and cooled entirely with geothermal energy. The geothermal grant was provided by GeoAlliance as part of a $1 million program to further the proliferation of geothermal technology. The wind turbine grant was provided by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.
Princeton U Helps Fund Town Bus Service
Princeton University (NJ) has agreed to cover the costs of the new community jitney bus service until Princeton Borough receives its permanent vehicle and funding from New Jersey Transit at the end of the year. The jitney bus service will be free to riders and will run Monday through Friday during peak commuting hours. The service also has a direct connection with the newly modified University shuttle routes.
Warner Pacific C Lowers Tuition
Warner Pacific College (OR) recently announced that, starting fall 2008, tuition and fees for incoming traditional undergraduate students will be 23 percent lower than the 2007 – 2008 school year. The move is intended to improve student access.
Washington U St. Louis Eliminates Student Loans
Washington University in St. Louis (MO) has announced that it will eliminate need-based loans as part of its undergraduate financial aid awards to students from low- and middle-income families. Beginning in fall 2008, both entering freshmen and returning full-time undergraduate day-school students with parental incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to take out need-based loans and will instead receive grants from the University that will not have to be repaid. Families with parental income somewhat higher than $60,000 also may receive additional student loan relief based on demonstrated need and their financial circumstances. The additional grant aid will be funded by the increase in spending from scholarship and unrestricted endowments in the university's four schools with undergraduate programs, as well as from unrestricted university resources.
Whitman C to Establish $100,000 Revolving Loan Fund
Whitman College (WA) recently announced its plan to establish a $100,000 revolving loan fund for sustainability initiatives. The fund will be launched during the 2008 – 2009 school year and will correspond with a call for proposals from students, faculty and staff. Half of the money will come from Whitman's life cycle program, which is mainly for building maintenance. The additional $50,000 will come from year-end surpluses. The College also plans to hire a current student or recent graduate as Sustainability Coordinator for the campus.
6 Institutions Receive Exemplary Community Service Award
Six colleges and universities recently received presidential recognition for extraordinary contributions to service in their communities in the second annual 2007 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Pennsylvania, and Otterbein College (OH) received Presidential Awards for General Community Service. Syracuse University (NY), the University of Redlands (CA), and Chaminade University of Honolulu (HI) were recognized for Service to Youth from Disadvantaged Circumstances, a special focus area of this year's Honor Roll competition. In all, 528 schools were listed on the Honor Roll for their community service activities during the 2006-2007 academic year. This year, new Special Achievement Awards for outstanding service by minority serving institutions and community colleges were presented to California State University, Fresno, Lake Area Technical Institute (SD), Raritan Valley Community College (NJ), and Johnson C. Smith University (NC). In addition, the Honor Roll also recognized 127 schools as Honor Roll with Distinction members and 391 schools as Honor Roll members. The awards were presented by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Furman U Receives Sustainability Grant
Furman University (SC) recently received a $250,000 grant to support environmental sustainability initiatives and stewardship. The grant will provide scholarship aid for students engaged in environmental projects on campus and in the community through a student fellowship program. The Fellows will be charged with promoting sustainable practices on campus, with includes the production of biodiesel fuel, the development of the organic garden, and the creation and maintenance of environmentally friendly living spaces. In addition to the fellowships, the grant will also go towards the completion of Cliffs Cottage, the new Southern Living Showcase Home on campus that will model green design, renewable energy, and sustainable products, processes and materials. The grant was awarded by The Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition Launches Energy Campaign
The Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition recently announced the launch of the Energy Future Campaign at a press conference at the state capitol. During the event, the MSSC dropped off Valentine's Day cards to the Michigan Legislature in support of the Energy Future Campaign. The cards, along with the online cards sent by youth through cleanenergylove.com, called for a renewable energy standard of at least 25% by 2025 and an energy efficiency standard that would require 2% annual energy efficiency increases in this state between now and 2015, with a commitment to the renegotiation of a stronger standard after 2015. The letters also asked for a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Michigan and Integrated Resource Planning, which would require state regulators to consider demand-side options like energy efficiency programs as well as supply-side options in their efforts to meet Michigan's needs for energy, equity, and the environment.
Occidental C Offers Green Alternative to Dry Cleaning
The Occidental College (CA) Urban and Environmental Policy Institute recently began a program that offers an on-campus professional environmentally friendly wet cleaning service. Wet cleaning is an alternative to dry cleaning that uses energy efficient computer controlled washers and dryers, nontoxic biodegradable detergents, and finishing equipment to safely clean garments that have a dry clean label. To kick off the green cleaning service, Occidental will be hosting a fashion show featuring green designers and an informational session about alternatives to toxic dry cleaning. The program is offered by the UEPI's Pollution Prevention Center and a local clothes cleaning service, Sunny Brite Natural Cleaners.
Stanford U Eliminates Student Loans
Stanford University (CA) recently announced a new undergraduate financial aid program that will eliminate the need for student loans. Under the new program, parents with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer pay tuition. Parents with incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to pay tuition or contribute to the costs of room, board and other expenses. Students will still be expected to contribute their earnings from work during the summer and academic year. The plan will go into effect in fall 2008.
U.S. House Passes Higher Education Sustainability Act
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, HR 4137, which includes all the provisions of the Higher Education Sustainability Act with a few minor amendments. The final higher education act will now be addressed in the conference between the House and the Senate. So far, Senators Kennedy, Dodd, Bingaman and Kerry have co-sponsored Senator Murray's Senate version of HESA, and are looking for more support. These Senators are asking for colleges and universities to contact their senators about the importance of HESA.
Wellesley College Increases Financial Aid
Wellesley College (MA) recently announced a new initiative in its financial aid policies which will replace loans with grants for students from families who have calculated annual incomes below $60,000 and will reduce loans by one-third for those with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000. Under the new plan, eligible students from families with higher incomes will continue to benefit from Wellesley’s low loan packages, which will continue to cap the four-year maximum debt at $12,825. The new initiative will increase Wellesley’s spending on financial aid to about $40 million per year, 80 percent of which comes directly from its endowment.
George Washington U Launches Affordability Program
The George Washington University (DC) Board of Trustees recently approved a five-year plan to address affordability and costs for undergraduates. The program includes moderating tuition increases, improving fund-raising efforts for student-aid, providing additional funding for institutional grants to incoming freshman, lowering the average student debt burden upon graduation, and continuing its fixed-tuition guaranteed financial aid program. Under the plan, GWU will provide $118 million in institutional financial assistance for undergraduates in 2008-2009, offer 50% tuition discounts for siblings, and reduce average student debt to $20,000.
Senator Sanders Discusses Campus Sustainability
AASHE recently posted an interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about the campus sustainability related provisions that he introduced into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In the interview, Sanders talks about how the legislation will offer $1 million and $500,000 grants for renewable energy projects and innovative energy sustainability projects respectively to higher education institutions. The programs has been authorized and is awaiting appropriation.
AASHE Announces Campus Sustainability Rating System Pilots
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recently announced the launch of its pilot rating system for sustainability in higher education. Over ninety college and universities will test the self-assessment tool, called STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System). Over the course of 2008, they will provide feedback to AASHE and inform STARS version 1.0, planned for release in spring 2009. The 90-plus participating campuses were selected to represent a wide range of institutional types, sizes, and geography. They include public and private schools, and community colleges and research universities. STARS is designed to help gauge the progress of colleges and universities toward sustainability in all sectors, from governance and operations to academics and community engagement; enable meaningful comparisons across institutions as well as benchmarking within institutions; create incentives for continuous improvement toward sustainability; facilitate information sharing about sustainability practices and performance in higher education; and build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.
Holy Cross Announces Financial Aid Initiative
The College of the Holy Cross (MA) recently announced that, beginning with the 2008-09 academic year, Worcester residents who are admitted to the college and who come from families with incomes below $50,000 will receive four years of free tuition. The new initiative was catalyzed by established alumni-funded scholarship programs that benefit Worcester students.
Inside Higher Ed Begins Getting to Green Blog
Inside Higher Ed recently started a new blog, entitled "Getting to Green," that will to discuss topics related to greening the higher education. The start of the blog coincided with Focus the Nation.
Macalester C Senior Gift to Fund Sustainability on Campus
The Macalester College (MN) Senior Class Gift Committee recently announced that the 2008 senior gift will fund sustainability initiatives on campus. The 10 seniors on the committee sent out a survey to their class to gauge what type of contribution the class would like to make and, based on the results, decided to fund campus sustainability projects. The class will attempt to raise $38,000 for the fund. Sustainability Coordinator Suzanne Hansen will ultimately decide how the money is used.
Northwestern U Increases Financial Aid
Northwestern University (IL) recently announced that it will replace loans with grants for its 450 neediest undergraduates. When choosing who will qualify for the grant, Northwestern will consider family income as well as other financial pressures such as extensive medical expenses and multiple sibling families. The University will also cap the amount of federal loans undergraduates can take out over four years to $20,000.
Casper College to Launch Renewable Energy Program
Casper College (WV) recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to launch a program in renewable energy. The majority of the funding will support the construction of a small wind generator testing and training site, which will serve as a laboratory for students in the program. The program will also include courses such as electrical power, electrical machines, and alternative energy.
U Texas at Austin Launches Campus Sustainability Newsletter
The University of Texas at Austin recently launched 'Synergies,' a monthly newsletter devoted to sustainability-based campus events, activities and achievements. The goal of the newsletter is to publicize sustainability initiatives on campus, create a broader understanding of sustainability at UT, and help connect individuals who wish to get involved with campus projects. 'Synergies' is designed for UT faculty, staff, and students and is distributed primarily online.
Bowdoin Converts Student Loans to Grants
Bowdoin College (ME) has announced that, starting in the 2008-09 academic year, it will replace loans with grants for all new and current students receiving financial aid. Bowdoin President Barry Mills assured that the program would not cause the college to abandon its commitment to educate lower-income students. The initiative is part of The Bowdoin Campaign, a five-year effort that seeks to raise $250 million for the college.
Colby Replaces Student Loans with Grants
Colby College (ME) recently announced that, beginning in the fall of 2008, the school will replace all student loans with grants. The loan elimination program will apply to new and currently enrolled students and will take about $1.5 million per year to implement.
Dartmouth Announces New Financial Aid Program
Dartmouth College (NH) recently announced a new financial aid initiative that will begin in the fall of 2008. The program includes: free tuition for students who come from families with annual incomes below $75,000, replacing loans with scholarships, need-blind admission for international students, and scholarships of $2,950 to allow financial aid recipients to take advantage of research or internship opportunities in their junior year. The new initiative will cost an additional $10 million per year, which will be paid for through the reallocation of resources and the use of funds generated by an increase in the distribution from endowment.