Wellesley College Commits $24M to Energy Initiatives
Based on recommendations from a task force assembled to assess the energy needs of the college, the Board of Trustees has committed approximately $24 million to be spent over the next three years on a multipart energy initiative. The college will make the following improvements in its buildings and central utility plant: replace the steam absorption chiller plant with an electric chiller plant; decommission five natural gas electricity generators and increase renewable energy; construct a power plant that will generate electricity during peak electrical-use periods and during power grid failures; and improve energy efficiency in campus buildings.
U Washington Uses E-Bikes to Deliver Campus Mail
The university's Mailing Services now uses a fleet of electric-assist cargo bicycles to deliver nearly all mail to 455 departments on the Seattle campus. Mailing Services used a grant from the Campus Sustainability Fund to purchase five of the bikes. Since phasing out trucks, deliveries now take 10 percent less time and 30 percent fewer miles traveled.
Dalhousie U Opens Biomass Energy Plant
The new Biomass Energy Plant is a $26.5 million project that burns biomass fuel to create electricity using a new 1-megawatt turbine. Additionally new piping for a district hot water system was installed that will use waste heat from electricity generation to heat the campus. Overall, the steam system is now 30 percent more energy efficient.
U Arkansas Launches Interdisciplinary Sustainability Minor
Open to all undergraduate students, the sustainability minor is an 18-credit program drawing instruction from faculty and courses across all colleges and schools at the university. The purpose of the minor in sustainability is to provide foundational knowledge and skills related to the discipline of sustainability and to prepare students to become innovators within their diverse fields.
Bucknell U Building Earns LEED Silver
The repurposed Hildreth-Mirza Hall, a building that originally opened in 1941 as a fraternity house, features occupancy sensors, air quality monitors and automated ventilation systems. Together, these measures reduce the building's energy consumption by 35 percent.
ACTS Announces 2018 Green Gown Awards Australasia Winners
(Australia) The Australasian Campuses Toward Sustainability (ACTS) recently announced 10 winners across nine categories. The Green Gown Awards Australasia is an awards program dedicated to recognizing excellence in sustainability within the tertiary education sector in Australasia.
Penn State U CSO Becomes Club of Rome Inductee
Paul Shrivastava, Penn State's chief sustainability officer, director of the Sustainability Institute, and professor of management in the Smeal College of Business, was inducted last month as one of the 100 members of the Club of Rome, which seeks solutions to pressing global problems and is well known for its first report, "The Limits of Growth," published in 1972.
U Maryland Pilot Project Cleans Water & Produces Energy
Helping to keep pollution out of the Port of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay while providing a pollution-free source of renewable energy, a university research pilot project harvests algae that is used to filter pollution from water and turns it into biogas, which is used to power flood lights at the algae digester site.
Second Nature Receives $90K From Ray C. Anderson Fdn
The NextGen Committee of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $90,000 grant to Second Nature, which will be used to provide resources for colleges and universities that have signed Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments and are ready to move from the initial administrative commitment stage to measurable climate action within the next calendar year. Second Nature aims to enable multiple universities to complete a large-scale, aggregated procurement of clean energy in 2019 through a power purchase agreement.
U Virginia Saves $750K Through Energy Savings Measures at Clark Hall
After a team of UVA engineers, technicians and specialists who focus on conserving resources reviewed and retrofitted the systems of the university's Department of Environmental Sciences, and Science and Engineering library, the university achieved a 67 percent reduction in energy costs, saving about $750,000 annually. Energy-saving measures included converting all lighting to LED lamps, installing low-flow toilets and sink aerators, upgrading the HVAC system, repairing the energy recovery system, and recalibrating airflow rates in labs to provide correct ventilation for the space. The building earned LEED V4 Existing Buildings O+M Silver certification.
Pennsylvania State U Goes Tobacco- & Smoke-Free
The university updated one of its policies this fall to prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco in and on all university owned or leased properties, facilities and vehicles. The university will offer support for students and employees who are current tobacco users and those who may be working toward quitting.
North Country CC to Go Tobacco-Free With Aid of Grant
With the aid of an $18,800 grant from the Truth Initiative, the community college will go tobacco-free on its three campuses by 2020. The college will create a Tobacco-Free Task Force to assess tobacco-related issues on campus, educate and engage students and staff on the need for and benefits of going tobacco-free, identify a plan to address treatment for those who are interested in quitting, and develop a tobacco-free policy recommendation.
Kansas State U Buys Wind Energy
The university has signed a 20-year agreement to receive approximately 50 percent of the electricity needs for the university's main Manhattan campus from a nearby wind farm. It is estimated that the new deal will save the university nearly $200,000 annually. Kansas State University is one of 14 Kansas organizations that will receive electricity from the 300-megawatt Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center.
U Technology Sydney Purchases Electricity From 32 MW Solar Farm
(Australia) The university has signed a renewable energy power purchase agreement for the output of a 32 megawatts of electricity from a solar farm in northern New South Wales. The university will purchase the equivalent of half its annual electricity demand.
EAUC Announces the 2018 Green Gown Award Winners
(U.K.) Administered by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC), the Green Gown Awards recognize the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. This year, there were 17 winners and 15 highly commended institutions or people.
Yale Divinity School Announces Air Travel Offset Program
The Yale Divinity School has launched a new program to offset the environmental impacts of academic and administrative travel. Inspired by other universities with offset programs, domestic flights will incur a $50 charge and international flights will incur a $100 charge. The revenue from the charge/tax will be used to support sustainability efforts at Yale Divinity School.
Whitman College Creates Plan to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The Whitman College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new investment policy that directs the college to begin reducing ownership in fossil fuels and to not invest in any companies listed on the Carbon Underground 200. This action was taken in response to a proposal submitted by the student-led organization Divest Whitman.
U New Hampshire Receives $1.4M for Aquaculture Training & Research
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that the New Hampshire Sea Grant will receive $1.4 million to expand aquaculture research in New Hampshire. The funding will support two projects. The first one is an offshore aquaculture system that will serve as a training platform to recruit fishermen and farmers to participate in workshops and daily operations of farming steelhead trout and blue mussels. The second is a research project that seeks to assess and mitigate microbial safety issues associated with shellfish aquaculture.
U Maryland Research Technology Helps Clean Up Surface Water
Technology developed at the university's School of Engineering will be used in a new stormwater basin that will capture nutrient pollution in an effort to protect aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay. Before reaching the bay, stormwater will be captured in an artificial pond lined with a bed of stones and a 12-inch layer of an aluminum-based material known for its ability to bind with and trap phosphorus.
U Maryland Begins Emergency Meal Initiative
The university launched the Emergency Meal Fund following growing recognition of the variety of challenges faced by food-insecure students, such as physical health problems, lower self-esteem, anxiety and depression. A partnership between the Student Government Association and Dining Services, the program offers 10 meals in any of the university’s three dining halls to students in crisis.
East Carolina U Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Plan
The university's inaugural Sustainability Plan, covering 2019-2023, outlines goals in the areas of climate change mitigation, academics and research, campus grounds, and materials management. More than 60 faculty, staff, students and members of the community participated in developing the plan over the past year.
AASHE & ACTS Partner to Bring STARS to Australasia
A new partnership between AASHE and Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) provides a framework for a cohort of ACTS members to conduct a STARS assessment. Anticipated to begin in early 2019, the pilot initiative is for ACTS members that have dedicated a staff member to support the cohort. Qualifying ACTS members will receive a substantial discount from AASHE to use STARS.
Salem State U Arts Building Achieves LEED Gold
The Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts demonstrates a 28 percent energy cost reduction and achieves a 32 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to a baseline building. More than 75 percent of the existing building structures were reused. The entire project site was redesigned to improve building accessibility and public entry.
Salem State U to Install 387 KW Solar Electric With $193K Grant
As part of a $5 million solar grant program launched earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Salem State is receiving the first award of $193,500 for three photovoltaic systems totaling 387 kilowatts. Estimated to save the university $28,500 in annual electricity costs, the installations are projected to generate 439,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity through a 20-year third-party power purchase agreement with no upfront costs.
Salem State U Receives $100K Grant for Open Textbook Resources
To reduce the impact of textbook costs on students and make college more affordable in general, a new grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund will fund a range of professional development opportunities to engage 25 percent of faculty in Open Educational Resources (OER) use and development, achieve $500,000 in textbook cost savings, and develop a community of OER innovators among faculty.
Western Carolina U Students Develop Campus Tree App
Students from natural resources and conservation management classes, environmental science, computer information systems and graphic design, with the guidance of faculty and the assistance of an alumnus, have collaborated to produce a smartphone app called WCUTrees. The app allows users to view and identify nearly every tree on WCU’s developed campus. Users can search for them by name or by using the interactive map. The app also provides information on each species of tree.
Georgia Tech Pilots Using Wastewater to Grow Vegetables
A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant totaling $5 million over five years will enable the university to pilot a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the campus sewer system. The overall goal is to show that using the nutrients and water resources from domestic wastewater in an urban controlled environment agriculture system is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable and can easily be replicated in other cities.
Keele U Opens 'Institute for Sustainable Futures'
(U.K.) Based around six themes each mapped to the SDGs, the new institute will bring together academics, students and other stakeholders to identity sustainability challenges and work together on solutions.
Virginia Commonwealth U Plants Trees in Local Community for Carbon Offset Credits
A project to plant dozens of trees this month in Richmond's Carver area will make the neighborhood a greener and more walkable community, while offsetting the carbon footprint of the university as the trees grow. The Carver Tree Project has brought together resources from VCU, nonprofits and state agencies to plant and maintain 75 trees in the neighborhood. VCU will claim carbon offset credits for the new trees under a peer-reviewed program developed at Duke University.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Launches Green Office Program
The new Green Office SLEUTH (Student-Led Energy-Use Treasure Hunts) program is a joint project of the university's Sustainability Office and the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center. Selected students will work with campus offices to find ways to reduce energy use and adopt good recycling techniques. At the end of the program, students receive $500 and a certificate at the completion of the assignment.
Crowder College Building Earns LEED Platinum
The newly certified building houses the college's Roy Blunt Center for Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology. It features motion sensor lights, solar panels that supply about 60 percent of the building's electrical needs, and an occupancy sensor for the heating and cooling system. To increase the efficiency of the solar electric panels, a series of water pipes underneath the solar panels pulls away heat, and then the heated water is dumped into a geothermal well to use later for heating and cooling. Another aspect of the building that helped it achieve Platinum certification is that Crowder solar and wind energy students maintain all of the building's equipment as part of their classes.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Opens Free Store
The Cougar Cupboard is a new initiative that stocks food and important hygiene products free of charge for students. Patrons of the cupboard receive enough food for each family member residing in their household to eat for approximately three days.
U Queensland Diverts Cardboard From Landfill By Reusing for Horse Bedding
(Australia) Used cardboard boxes are now turned into bedding material for horses and foals at the university's VETS Equine Specialist Hospital. Using cardboard allows the university to save approximately $80,000 (100,000 Australian dollars) annually in bedding costs. The initiative was originally developed by the 2017 cohort of Agribusiness students as part of an integrated learning project to make the university’s Gatton campus more sustainable. The project is now sourcing additional cardboard waste from local supermarkets.
St. Thomas Aquinas College Earns Fair Trade Designation
The college recently announced its official designation as a Fair Trade College as part of the national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage college and university students in issues of global poverty. This student-led initiative at the college began as a small independent study and grew into a collaborative team of students, faculty and administrators that worked to meet the campus certification requirements through further incorporating Fair Trade principles into our curriculum and serving fair trade products at campus dining facilities.
Purdue U Studies Best Practices for E-Scooters on Campus
In the coming weeks, 40 scooters will be distributed across Purdue's campus to begin the initial four-week research project to study how e-scooters can best be incorporated into an urban environment. While the research results are intended to be used by civil engineering and city planners worldwide, Purdue will be using the information for future decisions about whether to allow scooters on campus and how they should be used.
U Manitoba Launches Single-Use Cup Reduction Campaign
Following a waste audit that resulted in a public disposable cup display to raise awareness for how many cups are used, the Office of Sustainability launched a Choose to Refuse Single-Use Cups campaign in an effort to reduce the nearly 1.2 million disposable coffee cups used in an academic year.
Pennsylvania State U Gets Nearly $4M Grant for Community Wellness Program
Penn State College of Medicine has received a nearly $4 million grant to promote healthy lifestyles and improve nutrition for Hispanic people living in nearby Berks and Lebanon counties. Awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s REACH project, the grant will help establish healthy nutrition standards, provide healthier food access at community venues and increase electronic benefit transfer acceptance. It will also help create a bilingual hospital-based breastfeeding program.
U Notre Dame Installs 2-Acre Green Roof
Home to the Fighting Irish Athletics Department, the building now has a 79,096-square-foot vegetative rooftop. The layout consists of 25 plant species, including 22 varieties of sedum. A rooftop irrigation system also was installed.
U Notre Dame to Close Coal Plant One Year Early
Last month, the senior director of Utilities and Maintenance said the campus power plant will cease burning coal sometime in 2019, one year ahead of the initially predicted deadline in 2020. This recent decision is a direct result of the Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, a multi-pronged plan for a more sustainable campus. The strategy, created by a standing committee of faculty, administrators, undergraduates, graduate students and campus staff, is organized into six areas of focus: energy and emissions; water; building and construction; waste; procurement, licensing and food sourcing; and education, research and community outreach.
U Wisconsin-Platteville Receives $270K for Sustainable Ag Research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded $270,000 to the university to continue collaboratively exploring best practices for sustainable agriculture. Plots of land at a local enterprise will be used to evaluate alternative cropping practices and their effect on improved production and sustainability before potentially upscaling the methods. The project intends to take a comprehensive approach to integrating the research with education and outreach components, which will help ensure its value to the local farming community.
U Texas Dallas Begins Post-Consumer Composting
In addition to pre-consumer food waste from meal preparation, now students in one dining hall will be able to scrape everything from their plates, including food waste and napkins, into composting bins before placing their plates, cups and utensils in the dish return area. The university will use an outside contractor for composting. The transition was aided by prior changes including eliminating trays, straws and plastic foam cups.
Case Western Reserve U Students Compile Business Innovation Case Studies
The university's Weatherhead School of Management recently announced a student learning initiative co-sponsored by the city called Aim2FlourishNEO. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as their lens, students research and identify a business innovation and interview a business about it. Students then publish case studies to the Aim2FlourishNEO site that are also shared at an annual forum.