U Birmingham Announces Living Wage Adjustment

(U.K.): Following months of protests and strikes on campus, including student sit-ins, university officials recently announced the wage increase for the university's lowest paid workers for the next two academic years beginning in August 2014.

City U London to Pay Living Wage

(U.K.): Soon all third-party university contractors, including those in cleaning and catering, will receive the London living wage in an effort to change the lives of those most in need.

Loyola U Chicago Employees Receive University Aid to Live Closer

The university recently implemented the homeownership program, which pays for closing costs and down payment assistance on a primary residence, encouraging employees to live closer to campus.

St. Mary's College Maryland Proposes Wage Policy

(U.S.): The newly proposed living wage scheme by campus campaigners aims to meet the schools' claims of social responsibility, respect and community maintenance, proposing a ratio of 10-to-1 for the highest to lowest paid employees.

U Louisville Sets Living Wage

The university just initiated a living wage program beginning November 1 that will increase the salary for regular staff employees to $10 per hour. Based on the cost of living in that community, the initiative is not a one-time raise, but rather a program that will be reviewed annually to make sure employees remain above the living wage threshold.

The New School Publishes Employee Sustainability Guide

The university's newly released guide promotes employee behaviors that reduce its environmental footprint and conserve natural and financial resources.

Yale U Partners on New Health Program

In commemoration of the city's 375th anniversary, the Yale School of Public Health, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Community Services have initiated the program aimed at reducing obesity by establishing working groups to strengthen nutrition and exercise in underserved communities.

American U Adopts Tobacco and Smoke Free Policy

(U.S.): After years of discussion and months of planning, the new policy aims to reduce the amount of cigarette butts and other tobacco product-related litter on campus, support the university’s LEED certification efforts, and create a cleaner environment throughout the campus. Effective August 15, the policy applies to students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Northeastern U Goes Smoke Free

(U.S.): Instigated by a 10-member committee of students, faculty and staff, the university has adopted a new campus-wide smoke-free policy which aligns with their its focus on solving global challenges in health.

Auburn U Adopts Smoke Free Policy

Based on a recommendation from the Campus Health and Wellness Committee, all members of campus including visitors may only smoke at the campus’ periphery.

Bowling Green State U Approves Smoking Ban

Starting January 2014, the ban was approved following the Ohio Board of Regents recommendation that all Ohio public universities become smoke free.

U Illinois Chicago Enforces Tobacco Ban

As of July 1, the university is now a tobacco-free campus, prohibiting all forms of tobacco anywhere within campus boundaries.

Duke U Approves Gender Confirmation Surgery Student Insurance

(U.S.): Administrators have signed a new contract with the university's health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, that will include up to $50,000 to cover gender confirmation surgery. All pivotal aspects of transgender health care such as counseling, hormone therapy and surgery will also be included in the coverage.

U Chicago Creates Sustainable Certification for Offices and Labs

(U.S.): The Office of Sustainability has created a certification process for sustainable offices, residence houses and laboratories. The certification will recognize those departments or houses that are reducing the environmental impact of their offices, homes or labs. Participants will be awarded a Silver, Gold or Platinum certification based upon the level of sustainability criteria they meet.

U Toledo to Create Green Office Certification Program

(U.S.): A new Green Office Survey will be used to determine which campus offices are conserving energy, recycling and reducing waste. Results from the survey will be used to create tiers for the Green Office Certification program, which will offer incentives to become eco-friendly.

Montgomery County CC Launches Green Office Initiative

The college has selected six offices to participate in a new Green Office pilot program. The four-tier, goal driven system requires that a minimum of 50% of an office’s staff must sign the registration to participate. Each participating office will have an internal office mentor who reports to the Green Office Committee and also serve as a conduit for goals and news from the Climate Council.

U Cincinnati Creates Environmental Literacy Certificate Program

The Sustainability Office has begun a non-credit Environmental Literacy Certificate of Achievement program this academic year with members of the housekeeping staff. In the fall semester, a new group of staff members will participate in the program, and a parallel program targeting students will begin. Participants will attend 20 events, including lectures, film discussions and sustainability supper discussions.

American Public U System Explores New Wellness Efforts

The university system has increased sustainability and wellness efforts that focus primarily on employees. Recent initiatives include a carpooling program and hosting walking clubs during lunchtime. The university also plans to host a wellness day that will feature information on composting, wellness clinics, vendors and yoga.

Wake Forest U Looks to Improve Students' Well-Being

In an effort to increase students’ overall well-being, the university recently revamped a campus quad by installing moveable tables, benches, board games, outdoor classrooms and a piano. The changes are being made to encourage students to take spontaneous breaks from routines, have one-on-one conversations and make time for self-reflection. The project is part of a long-term goal that will include polling to measure student well-being, hiring a director of student well-being and incorporating additional projects in spontaneity.

Harvard U Heroes Program to Recognize Sustainability Achievements

(U.S.): The Office of Sustainability has partnered with Human Resources to recognize staff achievements in sustainability through the university-wide Harvard Heroes Program. Recognizing sustainability leaders as Harvard Heroes is an effort to institutionalize sustainability across the university and incorporate green actions into the workplace culture on campus.

Portland State U Joins Fresh Air Campus Challenge

The university has signed on to the Fresh Air Campus Challenge, an effort that brings together campuses and local, state and national health organizations in a partnership to help all institutions of higher education begin the process of adopting a tobacco-free policy. Students and administrators are assessing tobacco issues on campus and working with the City of Portland to move toward a smoke-free campus.

Whitman College Approves Sustainability Coordinator Position

The Board of Trustees voted to hire a permanent sustainability coordinator that would oversee all green and sustainable efforts on campus. The decision is a result of several months spent by the Associated Students of Whitman College and student sustainability interns to convince the college that hiring a sustainability coordinator would be beneficial to the campus.

AAUP Seeks Better Policies on Preventing Sexual Assaults

The American Association of University Professors’ new report, “Campus Sexual Assault: Suggested Policies and Procedures” calls for clearer policies about what constitutes assault; coherent reporting procedures drafted in tandem with local law enforcement; more effective prevention campaigns targeted at both male and female students; and greater faculty awareness.

U Michigan Sustainable Workforce Expands to Health System

Sustainable Workplace, a certificate program that assists offices in creating greener workplaces, has expanded to the offices and units at the university’s Health System. The program focuses on behavioral changes to support waste prevention, energy reduction and increased awareness of sustainability.

U British Columbia Gives Raises to All Female Professors

The university has given all female, tenure-track faculty members a two percent raise following a series of studies that found female professors earning less than their male counterparts. Some of that gap is explained by factors that were not deemed to constitute gender bias. The raises are an attempt to remedy the portion of the salary gap that cannot be explained by legitimate factors.

Davidson College Appoints First Director of Sustainability

With funding from The Duke Endowment, the college has appointed Jeff Mittelstadt as the college’s first Director of Sustainability. Mittelstadt has worked on sustainability issues at the Environmental Protection Agency, Bank of America, the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing, his own non-profit and as a consultant. The director will lead the effort to integrate sustainability into both operational and academic functions of the college.

U California Los Angeles Launches Healthy Campus Initiative

(U.S.): The Healthy Campus Initiative will support the enhancement and expansion of current health and wellness efforts; offer new and interesting approaches to exercise, mental health and eating well; encourage the creation of new projects, programs and policies; foster synergies and coordination among the myriad groups and programs that support health and wellness at UCLA; and provide students, staff and faculty with fun and exciting ways to make it easy to be healthy and fit.

Cornell U Students Create Meditation Room

Students in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis have designed and built a meditation and reflection space. Students applied lessons from practitioners of Zen, Hindu, Christian and Buddhist meditation and prayer about their faith’s mindfulness rituals to construct a room open to people of all religions and cultures. Applying universal design principles, the students also ensured that the area accommodates people with disabilities.

Queen’s U Releases Framework for Mental Health and Wellness Plan

(Canada): The university has released a comprehensive report that provides recommendations for promoting a healthy community, easing transitions and promoting resilience, and encouraging help-seeking and helping behavior.

John C. Smith U Opens Health and Wellness Center on Campus

The university has opened HealthPlex, a new facility designed to provide health and wellness services that promote positive attitudes, healthy lifestyles and responsible self-care for the campus and surrounding community. The facility’s fitness center, teaching kitchen, yoga studio, and related wellness offerings are free to the campus, and are available to members of the community on a medical referral basis.

Loma Linda U Health Recognized by the American Heart Association

The university has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a Gold Fit-Friendly Worksite for encouraging a culture of wellness at the workplace through its Living Whole wellness program. The initiatives of the program include: Health risk assessments for employees, participation in the Breathe Program for tobacco dependency treatment, participation in Better Understanding for Individuals Living with Diabetes, and Living Whole wellness meals available to employees that are designed to meet specific nutrition criteria.

Ohio State U to Increase Faculty with a Focus on Sustainability

The university has announced plans to spend $400 million over the next decade to hire 500 leading scholars and researchers in three fields: health and wellness, energy and environment, and food production and safety.

Spelman College Eliminates Athletics to Focus on Campus Wellness

In an effort to create a community of women who are concerned about health and wellness, the historically black liberal arts college has announced plans to eliminate intercollegiate athletics to dedicate its resources to a campus-wide fitness and wellness initiative. The college will redesign its curriculum to focus more on fitness and activities career women are likely to continue with as adults.

Stanford U Medical School Pilots Schedule Flexibility Program

A team at the university’s medical school has created a “banking system” that will allow medical professors to build flexibility into their schedules and better balance their professional and personal lives. The system, asks professors to track the time spent on tasks such as mentoring, serving on committees, and taking on extra clinical hours. Such work translates into credits, and professors can cash these credits in when needed.

Arizona State U to Become a Tobacco Free Campus

The university senate has passed a measure to ban on-campus smoking. Effective Aug. 1, 2013, tobacco use will be prohibited on university property, facilities, grounds, parking structures, university-owned vehicles and structures owned or leased by the university.

U Oregon Joins Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus Movement

The university is the latest campus to declare a smoke- and tobacco-free campus, joining a movement that is on the rise in the U.S. with 126 schools that have moved forward with smoke-free policies that apply to all areas of campus this year. Between January 2011 and January 2012, the number of U.S. colleges and universities with total smoking bans rose from 466 to 648, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

Chronicle of Higher Ed Announces 'Great Colleges to Work For'

With categories including "diversity," "work/life balance" and "facilities, workspace and security," the Chronicle of Higher Education has released its fifth annual review of the Great Colleges to Work For. Nearly 47,000 employees evaluated their colleges in 12 categories, revealing, among many things, how important respect and appreciation are to employees. The 103 "best colleges in the country" are grouped as four-year or two-year institutions, and by enrollment size.

Living Wage Campaign Succeeds at Vanderbilt U

A Living Wage campaign organized by unions and social justice groups has resulted in increased wages at Vanderbilt University (TN). The university has increased its starting wage to nearly $11 an hour.

Yale U Named 'Best Company' by Working Mother Magazine

Yale University (CT) has been selected for the second year in a row as by Working Mother magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies" in the nation. The initiative recognizes organizations that support working mothers by providing family-friendly benefits and programs. With a high representation of women in its workforce, the university received high marks for its child care, benefits and work-life programs.

Northwestern U Dining Hall Employees Campaign for Living Wage

Northwestern University (IL) campus dining hall workers recently voted to pass a new contract with Sodexo that increases wages by 80 cents and lowers the price of health care over the next four years. Thirty-two contract changes were approved including wages no less than $10 per hour plus benefits. The contract allows for free health care and an $85 flat fee for family healthcare, no matter how many family members are covered. Members of the Living Wage Campaign worked with labor union Unite Here and university administrators to negotiate with Sodexo.

U Minnesota Research Touts Benefits of Flexible Work Schedule

Two sociology professors at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities have published a study about the effects of flexible work time on employees. In 2005, Best Buy introduced Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) to its employees, an initiative that allows employees to choose their work hours and places, as long as they achieved the desired results. Surveying 608 Best Buy employees, half who were given a ROWE work environment and half who continued under standard work hours and locations, the study found that flexible scheduling reduced work-life stress and increased enjoyment and commitment to the position. The employees also reported that they could avoid rush hour and reduce their commuting time by up to 75 percent.

Food Services Provider Protests Lead to Student Arrests

Students at the University of Washington, Emory University (GA) and Ohio State University have recently been arrested during protests of their respective university's contract with global food services vendor Sodexo, which they accuse of mistreating employees in the United States and abroad. United Students Against Sweatshops, the national network behind the Kick Out Sodexo campaign, says students on at least 30 campuses are involved in the stepped-up focus on Sodexo. A Sodexo spokeswoman says the company cares deeply about its employees. "I don't want to go on the record and say we're perfect. No company is perfect. But to portray us as this abuser of human rights is false." She also notes in the Inside Higher Ed article that Sodexo was an early signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and has been ranked for two consecutive years as a top company in the U.S. for diversity and inclusion by Diversity Inc.

Ithaca College Sodexo Employees to Earn Living Wage

Food service provider Sodexo has announced that it will increase wages for all dining hall employees at Ithaca College (NY) who earn less than the living wage. Employees will now earn at least $11.11, the living wage in Tompkins County, N.Y. While the students and Ithaca residents who make up the Labor Initiative in Promoting Solidarity are pleased that their demonstrations over the past year helped create the change, they are disappointed that the initiative's entire all-campus living wage proposal was not adopted, which also included changes to employee health care packages and grievance policies.

U Memphis Employees, Students Call for Living Wages

Joined by Tennessee state Rep. Jeanne Richardson of Memphis, University of Memphis faculty, staff and students recently held a vigil with local faith leaders and elected officials for increased wages. A study by the university’s professor emeritus of economics determined that a living wage - the pay required for a household to "live a minimally decent life" - in Memphis is $11.62 per hour. University employees have not received a wage increase in four years, and in some instances, employees of over 20 years are still making $7.50 an hour. The vigil was an effort to raise awareness to introduce the issue to Tennessee’s state legislation.

7 Colleges & Universities Make Canada's Greenest Employers List

The editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers project have announced the 2010 winners of Canada's Greenest Employers competition, and among the winners are seven colleges and universities. Thie designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations. These employers have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives -- and are attracting people to their organizations because of their environmental leadership. The 2010 college and university winners are: British Columbia Institute of Technology, Georgian College (ON), Kwantlen Polytechnic University (BC), McGill University Health Center (ON), Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, University of Alberta, and University of Victoria (BC).

Maharishi U Management Plans Community Garden

Maharishi University of Management (IA) has planted a community garden for faculty and staff. The goal of the garden is to grow local food and to offer a chance for exercise. University employees will be able to choose their own plot or be part of a large community plot.

Macquarie U Plans to Engage Staff in Sustainability Projects

Macquarie University (Australia) has announced a four-point plan for staff sustainability engagement in 2010. The goals of the staff engagement plan are to increase understanding and awareness of sustainability throughout the University, embed sustainability into governance, and to create a culture in which staff are proud of their environment. The plan includes interaction will all new staff about the sustainability vision, goals, and objectives; the establishment of a Sustainability Representative Network comprised of sustainability champions for all departments and faculties across campus; the creation of sustainability competitions between campus departments; and the creation of sustainability committees.

Harvard U Building Services Staff Receives Green Building Mgmt Training

The Harvard University (MA) Office for Sustainability’s Green Building Services (GBS) team has completed an 8-hour Direct Digital Controls (DDC) training using a custom-made DDC simulator that is a full mock-up of all common pieces of HVAC equipment found in a building, including fans, heating and cooling coils, thermostats, and humidity sensors. The DDC training will help the GBS team ask better questions in project meetings, as well as recommend better solutions when auditing existing buildings. The training is part of an effort to keep the GBS team knowledgeable about the building systems they work with around campus, helping to reduce energy consumption and lower peak demand.

Grand Valley State U Names ED of Renewable Energy Center

Grand Valley State University (MI) has named T. Arnold Boezaart as the second executive director of the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC). Boezaart previously served as the vice president for Grant Programs for the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. In that role, he handled a project that put a wind energy turbine atop the Frauenthal Center in downtown Muskegon. Boezaart, who has been serving as the interim executive director of MAREC since April, hopes to focus MAREC's attention on job creation in the green economy.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Hires Interim Sustainability Director

The University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh has hired an interim sustainability director after the previous director unexpectedly resigned. Professor of Biology Michael Lizotte, director of the Aquatic Research Laboratory, will serve in the one-year position. Lizotte helped to formalize the sustainability movement on campus and served as a co-captain of the 26-person campus sustainability team officially created in the fall of 2007.