Harvard U and U Pennsylvania Students Stage Divestment Protests
Student protesters at both universities recently held sit-ins asking administrators to divest from fossil fuels. Harvard students are demanding that school officials divest its endowment from the coal industry, while Penn students are seeking immediate divestment from coal and tar sands, and full divestment from fossil fuel corporations within six months. In previous responses to student divestment advocates, officials at both schools have indicated that while they share the students’ concerns about climate change, they disagree on the strategy and will not be divesting money from the fossil industry.
Green America Challenges Schools to Save One Million Trees
The nonprofit Green America’s Better Paper Project launched One Million Trees recently in an effort to encourage higher education institutions to publish alumni magazines on recycled paper in order to save trees and reduce landfill waste. Green America estimates that if all colleges used 100 percent recycled paper for their alumni publications, this could have annual savings up to one million trees and enough water to fill over 700 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Santa Fe CC Faculty Vote to Unionize
A recent vote yielded a 93 percent to seven percent ratio in favor of unionizing, which means that 50 full-time faculty at the college will now be represented by an American Association of University Professors chapter. The collective bargaining agreement will establish clear policies for faculty employment, and it will create a set of standards that holds everyone accountable.
U Kentucky Program Pays Employees to Use Transportation Alternatives
The university's Transportation Services has launched a pilot program to give $200 each to up to 200 qualified employees who agree to forgo bringing a motor vehicle to campus for one year. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of motor vehicles on campus and create a more pedestrian friendly community.
North Carolina State U Installs Solar Bus Stop Station
The university recently installed a solar canopy at one of its bus stations that allows riders to charge their electronic devices while waiting. The bus stop location as an optimal site for solar due to its popularity and lack of solar obstruction.
U Wisconsin-Stevens Point Introduces Educational Sustainability Doctoral Program
The new doctoral program in Educational Sustainability is designed to challenge students to educate for sustainability, by understanding and responding to problems in economic, ecological and social justice contexts. Sustainability learning and leadership theories are used to enable graduates to transform educational systems and foster citizen engagement.
U Massachusetts Amherst Opens Net-Zero-Energy Building
The new 16,800-square-foot building houses 35 offices and four conference rooms and was designed to produce as much energy as it consumes, aided by daylighting, ground-source heating and cooling, and photovoltaic energy. It will use about one-fifth the energy of the average office building in that region's climate.
St. John's U Receives Fair Trade Designation
Meeting the requirements set forth by Fair Trade Campaigns, a grassroots movement mobilizing campuses to embed Fair Trade practices and principles into policy, the university recently earned the designation after three years of working toward that end.
U Toledo Installs Solar Charging Tables
The campus community can now use outdoor, clean-power charging stations, which were funded and installed after a second-year student wrote a proposal to the UT Student Green Fund for exterior tables with solar panel umbrellas.
Leuphana U Completes Zero Emissions Building
(Germany): Topped with a green roof and powered by renewable energy, the light-filled building will operate at zero emissions. It also includes a gray water system. The building exceeds the standard that sets energy requirements for new buildings in Germany.
U Wyoming Launches Waste Reduction Initiative Aimed at Athletic Events
The Conservation Cowboys, an initiative that aims to reduce waste and resource use at athletics facilities and events, was recently piloted at an athletic event that resulted in the diversion of 266 pounds of the total 659 pounds of waste materials. A total of 35 volunteers from eight student organizations and four operational and academic units volunteered in the event.
Arizona State U Earns 'Best of Green Schools' Honor
The university was recently awarded the 2017 Best of Green Schools award from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S Green Building Council, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network. The award highlighted the university's variety of programs for middle and high school students and the university’s two sustainability education programs targeted toward K-12 teachers.
U North Georgia Earns Tree Campus Honor
The university recently earned a Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges Building Earns LEED Gold
The campus' first LEED certified building includes energy-efficient windows that allow natural daylight, ductwork that was sealed against dust during construction, filter systems that keep air in the building clean, low-flow water fixtures, and the use of long life-cycle materials such as slate and brick. The project was designed to reduce square footage of the building by making many spaces dual purpose.
U California Merced Building Achieves LEED Platinum
Some of the new building's sustainable features include 93 percent diversion of construction waste, 51 percent recycled content in the building materials, and 43 percent more water efficient and 46 percent more energy efficient than California code requires.
Pomona College Receives $2.5M for Energy Efficiency Upgrades
A new $2.5 million California Energy Commission grant will fund a three-year project to enhance existing energy management systems for 10 campus buildings. In partnership with five other organizations, the grant will provide additional occupancy sensors, automated controls, and optimization of air circulation, lights and thermostats.
Harvard U Partnership Allocates $100K to Local Community
Thirteen local nonprofits were selected to receive Harvard Allston Partnership Fund grants totaling $100,000 to support programs in the community. The program, established by Harvard University and the city of Boston in collaboration with the Allston community, was created to support nonprofit organizations providing neighborhood improvement, cultural enrichment and educational programming for residents.
North Carolina State U Upgrades Lab Lights to LED Fixtures
New LED light fixtures now provide light for the senior design lab of the university's Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science program, replacing 84 metal halide and fluorescent fixtures. With new fixtures and occupancy motion sensors installed, the retrofit project is expected to save $4,700 annually in avoided energy costs, providing a return on investment in less than six years.
AASHE Endorses March for Science
AASHE joins hundreds of other organizations supporting the March for Science, happening on Earth Day, April 22, in Washington, D.C., and at satellite marches around the globe. The March for Science aims to unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.
Williams College Students Turn Leftovers Into Donations
Leftover meals that went unserved in the dining halls are now being gathered up by students, packaged into meals and delivered by volunteers from several different student organizations under an umbrella initiative known as "The Campus Kitchens Project," a leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste. Student volunteers pick up food three nights a week from campus dining halls, chill the food for 24 hours, and then package the meals for deliveries to multiple affordable housing communities.
U Idaho Begins Fueling Trucks With Biodiesel
The university's Steam Plant has begun reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their operation by fueling their semi-truck and front-end loaders with a 20-percent blend of biodiesel made on campus from used cooking oil from Dining Services.
Michigan State U Begins Construction of Solar Carport
Construction has started on a new solar array project at five different parking lots across campus that are estimated to generate more than 15,000 megawatt-hours annually, about 5 percent of the electricity used on campus annually. As part of the power purchase agreement, the university will purchase electricity produced from the solar arrays at a fixed price for 25 years. The university is covering the cost of connecting the arrays to the university’s power grid while project investors are paying all other construction and maintenance costs projected to be about $20 million.
Northwestern U Alumnus Donates $3M to Support Social Justice Reporting
Northwestern University alumnus David F. Freedman ’81 has made a $3 million commitment to further the study of reporting on social justice issues. Freedman’s gift will establish the David F. Freedman Fund for Social Justice Reporting Initiatives to support research, students, curricula, conferences and other activities at the intersection of journalism and social justice.
U Arizona Publishes Online Campus Sustainability Map
More than 600 projects, programs and features are presented on the university's new web-based map. Launched to illustrate campus-wide sustainability efforts in an accessible and centralized way, the map visualizes efforts meant to reduce energy and water consumption, and aid in waste diversion and recycling.
U Maryland Student Launches Ride-Sharing App
A sophomore accounting major launched CarPo on March 1 after almost a year and a half of planning and developing the app. Through the app, students looking for rides to and from their hometowns and colleges are able to see registered students with cars who are already driving to the same place.
MIT Creates Sustainability Incubator Fund
The new Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund seeks to enable MIT community members to use the MIT campus as a test bed for research in sustainable operations, management and design. It is intended to support the generation of breakthrough sustainability solutions.
U Michigan Launches Three Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives
As part of its ongoing strategic efforts to enhance diversity in higher education and society, the university's National Center for Institutional Diversity is starting the Distinguished Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship, Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change, and the Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award and initiatives. Through these initiatives, the center is actively working to highlight the interconnections of diversity and excellence in research and scholarship in ways that positively affect knowledge production and its use for societal change.
Three Higher Ed Groups to Implement Open Access Initiative
The Association of American Universities, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of American University Presses are implementing a new initiative, expected to launch spring 2017, to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members by publishing free, open access, digital editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs. To date, there are 12 institutions that have committed to participate in this initiative.
Umeå U Ends Fossil Fuel Investments
(Sweden): The decision to end all university investments in fossil fuels was made in December 2016 and contributed to the university being nearly fossil free at the beginning of 2017. A small portion of investments remain that will be phased out this spring. The university's investment policy is now being revised to include a statement prohibiting investments in fossil fuels.
Columbia U Announces Coal Divestment Plans
The university's board of trustees has voted to support a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing to divest from companies deriving more than 35 percent of their revenue from thermal coal production and to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Climate Change Program.
U Virginia Hosts First Zero Waste ACC Game
With the help of 75 student volunteers, UVA Athletics, Aramark and the Office for Sustainability, fans at the sold-out Atlantic Coast Conference game recycled and composted 94 percent of all waste generated at the arena as part of this year’s Game Day Challenge. The nationwide Game Day Challenge contest promotes waste diversion at college basketball games.
Wake Forest U Appoints Former EPA Official as Director of Sustainability Grad Program
Stan Meiburg, alumnus and former Environmental Protection Agency official from 2014-2017, will lead the master of arts in sustainability program and associated dual degree and certificate programs. He is known for leading efforts to protect the nation’s air and water, clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites, build collaborative relationships with state and tribal environmental programs, and promote sound management in the EPA.
Northland College Pledges to be Sanctuary for Undocumented Students
In a letter dated March 2, the college's president cites a rising national rhetoric of intolerance and acts of hate that threaten minorities as a basis for affirming Northland’s intention to support all students in their quest to pursue their education without government interference. Unless it is legally required to do so, the college will not voluntarily share student information with or grant property access to immigration enforcement officials, nor participate in the enforcement actions of immigration officials on campus.
Johns Hopkins U Commits $55.5M to Locally Owned Businesses
The university and the Johns Hopkins Health System hired 304 workers from Baltimore's distressed neighborhoods and campus-area communities and committed $55.5 million of construction project spending with minority- and women-owned or disadvantaged businesses in the first year of their HopkinsLocal initiative, an effort to use the university's purchasing and hiring power to help expand opportunities for those living in city neighborhoods.
U Bristol Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment & Carbon Reduction Plans
(U.K.): The university's board of trustees has agreed to end investment in companies that derive more than five per cent of turnover from the extraction of thermal coal or oil and gas from tar sands by January 2018, and actively manage other areas of its portfolio of energy investments, including those in oil and gas, to achieve a material reduction in carbon emissions from these investments. This will include investing in companies at the leading edge of carbon management and in companies with strong, deliverable commitments to improving their carbon efficiency, as well as a greater investment focus on non-fossil fuel energy providers.
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.
Hood College Receives $944K for Bioproducts Faculty Position
The college has been selected to receive a $944,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Commerce to establish an endowed faculty position in Advanced Bioproducts Research and Education focused on bringing biofuels and bioproducts production from the research laboratory to market. In addition to supporting the endowed chair position, the funding will be used for staff and support personnel, graduate and undergraduate research, and scientific equipment.
Harvard U Renovation Receives LEED Gold
Over 90 percent of occupied space within the 6,415-square-foot laboratory renovation was designed with access to daylight and views. Additionally, 39 percent of materials used were manufactured locally and 80 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. Overall, the space is projected to use 13 percent less lighting power.
U Maryland Farm Registers 30K Pounds of Food in Three Years
Located about 15 miles from the university, the campus farm concluded its three-year pilot program in late 2016 registering more than 29,000 pounds of vegetables, the majority of which went directly to campus dining halls. Six thousand pounds of produce were donated to hunger relief organizations, including the Campus Pantry, a program that provides emergency food to university students, faculty and staff.
California Polytechnic State U Releases Climate Action Plan
Over the 2015-16 academic year, Facilities Management and Development staff partnered with faculty and students in the college’s City and Regional Planning Department to create the university's first climate action plan. A team of twenty seven students and professors performed a background report and vulnerability assessment, comprehensive transportation survey, greenhouse gas inventory, and wrote the climate action plan. The university has the goal to achieve net zero emissions from all sources by 2050.
North Carolina State U Installs System to Reclaim Water
A new reclaimed water system designed by NC State Energy Management and a Utilities and Engineering student intern collects the unused water from the Cates Utility Plant and reroutes that water for use in the facility’s cooling towers, which uses more than 20 million gallons of water annually to cool refrigerant in the facility’s chillers. The new system is anticipated to reduce water costs by about $6,000 annually and achieving a full return on investment in less than 18 months.
Harvard U Awards $1M to Seven Climate Change Projects
Five Harvard Schools will share about $1 million, awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, for seven projects. Topics include energy, decarbonization, air pollution, imagining a fossil-free future, healthy eating and reducing the environmental footprint of food, and policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to inform the 23rd annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting of the parties in November.
Willamette U Fitness Center Earns LEED Gold
The building features salvaged existing materials and energy-efficient lighting, improved HVAC systems and water-saving fixtures. The project also used building materials with low or no volatile organic compounds and Forest Stewardship Council-certified forest products, and recycled more than 90 percent of construction waste.
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.