U Strathclyde Begins Equity & Diversity Program

(U.K.) STEM Equals is a new program for enhancing equality and diversity in science and engineering. Aided by a grant totaling $704,125 (538,568 British pounds), the program will introduce a nursery so that staff can attend key research meetings while on leave, and will establish public and private social media platforms for female and LGBT staff within the university.

U Strathclyde Begins Employee Well-Being & Sustainability Program

(U.K.) Following a successful five-month pilot period, the employee well-being and sustainability program will be offered to all employees in October 2018. Employees can earn points for tracking activity in areas such as fitness, commuting and waste. Employees who receive the most points are able to win individual voucher prizes, while teams with the most points can award a charity donation.

Washington Post Covers Rise of Campus Gardens

Citing a 2015 university food gardens study co-authored by a Southern Illinois University professor of geography and director of environmental studies, the article highlights a burgeoning trend over the past decade in which college students across the country volunteer their time to get back to the land or to forge a connection to the land for the first time.

U Montana Secures $1.5M Grant to Purchase Three Electric Buses

The university can now order three new zero-emission battery electric buses thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The Associated Students of UM’s UDASH transit system was awarded the competitive grant through the FTA’s Low and No Emission Bus Program. ASUM expects to order buses this fall and receive them sometime in 2020. The new electric buses will allow Associated Students of UM to replace several diesel buses.

La Trobe U Builds 100 KW Solar Carport

(Australia) At its Albury-Wodonga campus, the new, 100-kilowatt solar-electric system covers 44 car parking spots.

U Wisconsin Green Bay Offers Bike-Sharing

In partnership with Lime, the campus community now has access to shareable bikes. Riders pay $1 for 30 minutes of riding, with discounts available for students. When the ride is finished, the rider can park the bike anywhere public, as long as it is not in way of traffic or pedestrians, and lock it to end the ride.

Bucknell U Prepares 5-Acre Campus Garden

Preliminary construction and site preparation began this summer on a 5-acre campus garden that will provide a platform for academic collaborations, sustainable food production, student life and wellness, and community engagement.

Washington U St. Louis Rolls Out Bike Share Program

The university recently partnered with Lime to offer dockless, GPS-based bike sharing. Lime will provide about three dozen bikes between the university's Danforth, North and West campuses.

Western Carolina U Hosts Air Quality Monitors

Clean Air Carolina, a North Carolina advocacy group, recently provided air quality monitors at two university locations for both research and providing real-time data to the public about weather fluctuations and particle pollution in the region. Students will be involved in data collection and measuring environmental hazards, with applications for course work, research projects and regional ecological assessment.

Times Higher Education to Develop International SDGs Ranking

A new global university ranking that aims to measure institutions’ success in meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals is under development by Times Higher Education (THE). The first edition of the ranking will include metrics based on 11 SDGs and the long-term goal is to measure performance against all 17 goals. The ranking will be open to all accredited universities that teach undergraduates, and the first edition will be launched at THE’s Innovation and Impact Summit in South Korea in April 2019. Data collection will begin this autumn.

U California Expands Systemwide Sustainability Goals

As part of its Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the university now aims to provide 100 percent of its electricity across its campuses and medical centers from clean sources by 2025. Additional goals include reducing energy-use intensity by 2 percent year over year and discontinuing on-site fossil fuel combustion for water and space heating in new buildings and major renovations after June 2019. Enhanced purchasing requirements supporting sustainable sourcing were adopted and each campus will reduce municipal solid waste 25 percent by 2025, and by 50 percent by 2030.

Campaign Calls on Food Contractors to Invest in Real Food

The Community Coalition for Real Meals recently launched a nationwide campaign urging the higher education divisions of Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo to commit to serve 25 percent "Real Food" as defined by Real Food Challenge, reduce carbon emissions and industrial animal products, invest in racial justice and equity, and increase transparency and accountability. The coalition will publish report cards on the progress of each company. The coalition is a grassroots alliance of farmers, ranchers, fishers, food workers, students and environmental advocates.

Chronicle of Higher Ed Showcases Sustainable Campus Index

In early September, The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted AASHE's 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, an impact report that spotlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type. The Chronicle piece features the top 10 schools by overall score for doctoral, master's, baccalaureate and associate institutions, along with seven of 10 subcategories, which are sortable by score.

Teams From Two Universities Win Affordable Housing Design Competition

Teams from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte won first and third, while a team from California College of the Arts won second place in the 2018 Steel Design Student Competition, put on by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The Affordable Housing category is socially oriented to challenge students to design affordable multi-family housing in an urban context.

U Washington Researchers Help Government Building Get Fitwel Certification

Two researchers in the university's Civil & Environmental Engineering department assisted the city of Bellevue with Fitwel certification of its city hall. Administered by the Center for Active Design, Fitwel encourages the adoption of 63 strategies that support healthy behavior by occupants. Out of a total possible 144 points, Bellevue City Hall earned 92 points, receiving a one-star rating.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Launches Green Laboratory Program

Launched in August 2018, the Certified Green Lab Program is for university labs that commit to sustainability through actions like reducing waste, conserving energy and abiding by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. The lab program is managed by the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.

U North Carolina Charlotte Adopts Air Quality Measures for Construction

The university, with assistance from Clean Air Carolina, recently changed its Design and Construction Manual to require contracted companies to reduce diesel fuel emissions while working on campus. These new standards, which apply to all future construction projects on campus, discourage prolonged idling of equipment on construction sites and require all equipment to use the lowest exhaust emissions possible.

U Missouri Announces Ban on All Tobacco Use

The new policy prohibits all use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on campus. The university applied for and won a grant from the American Cancer Society to help implement it.

U Tennessee Knoxville Initiates Smoke-Free Campus Policy

In an effort to protect the health and safety of university students, employees and visitors and to promote a healthy and safe work, educational and living environment, the university passed a smoke-free policy and procedure, which prohibits smoking in and on all university property, including smoking in private vehicles when parked or operated on university property. The policy also prohibits littering on university property with tobacco products or the remains of any tobacco products.

Lehigh U to Phase Out Plastic Straws

The university will be replacing plastic straws with paper ones across campus by Sept. 11. Plastic straw bans have raised concern among disability rights groups, which is why the university decided against a ban. Dining services staff will provide reasonable access to plastic straws for people who need them.

Sonoma State U Bans Plastic Straws

The university is enacting California's Assembly Bill 1884, which prohibits any sit-down food facility from providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless requested by the customer. Culinary services will switch to paper straws.

Stony Brook U Joins County in Eliminating Plastic Straws

The university recently signed onto a county-wide initiative aimed at eliminating plastic straws. Instead of plastic, all campus dining locations other than Starbucks will now offer special straws made of polylactic acid.

Baylor U Removes Plastic Straws From Cafeterias

This semester the university pulled plastic straws from routine use in cafeterias operating in Baylor’s four residence halls. Students wanting a plastic straw must request one. Straws will be available for take-out orders.

Goucher College Goes Smoke- & Tobacco-Free

As part of continuing efforts to improve the health and well-being of the Goucher community, Goucher College is a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus, as of mid-July. This policy applies not only to smoking any substance, but also to the use of e-cigarettes and any form of tobacco anywhere on campus.

York College to Transition to Smoke- & Tobacco-Free Campus

Taking effect June 2019, the college will implement a full ban on smokeless tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, pipes or other smoking material and devices, including electronic cigarettes.

Virginia Wesleyan U Installs Flower-Shaped Solar Array

The university held a ribbon cutting in late August for the solar electric system in the shape of a flower. The flower was designed with a dual-axis system, which allows the modular fan to follow the sun across the sky throughout the day, always maintaining the optimal angle.

George Washington U Expands Dining Representative Program

There are now six GW Dining representatives who tweet information about on-campus dining options for students with dietary restrictions. GW Dining debuted the dining representative program last September, using students with specific diets – Kosher, vegan and vegetarian, Halal and gluten-free – to advertise dining vendors and meal options for students.

Purdue U Receives $70M to Lead Research Consortium on International Development

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $70 million to the university to lead a multi-university consortium that aims to devise evidence-based solutions for pressing development challenges. The consortium will help USAID identify research challenges across all its technical sectors and geographical locations and identify experts worldwide to answer questions about the challenges, such as food security, global health and early childhood education. Purdue’s supporting partners in the consortium are Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

Bowling Green State U Building Attains LEED Gold

The building that houses the university's School of Media and Communication features solar energy, automated lighting controls, a reflective roof, and native and organic landscaping.

U Wisconsin-Madison to Open Two Cultural Centers

The Latinx Cultural Center and the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Cultural Center will open this fall. Both spaces will be supported by the Multicultural Student Center. With the addition of the two new spaces, there will now be four cultural centers on campus.

Pueblo CC to Introduce Renewable Energy Living Lab

The community college recently announced a new partnership with NextEra Energy Resources where NextEra will deliver and install 52 photovoltaic solar panels to create a 20-kilowatt solar energy system on PCC’s Pueblo campus. NextEra also will provide training and curriculum to help the college create a pipeline of skilled workers into the solar industry.

U Louisiana Lafayette Adds Composting at Football Games

As part of a larger campus-wide effort to produce zero waste, the university is replacing trash cans inside Cajun Field with stations that hold separate bins for compost and recycling. The stadium will serve food on biodegradable plates or in reusable containers instead of plastic-lined paper products. Wooden spoons, forks and knives will replace plastic utensils. Fans will consume beverages from either aluminum cans or recyclable plastic cups, and they can request compostable straws.

RIT Inspires Climate Change Modification for Minecraft

After attending a course on climate change science, technology and policy last spring at Rochester Institute of Technology, Minecraft Developer Nick Porillo created a new plugin that adds climate change factors to the game. Different elements of gameplay affect the carbon dioxide levels in the game world’s atmosphere.

U Richmond Procures Solar Energy for 100% of Its Electricity

The university has announced a partnership with sPower to construct a 130-acre, 20 megawatt solar array 50 miles away from campus. Expecting to go online in 2020, the 47,000-panel array is projected to produce 41,000 megawatt-hours of solar energy.

U Iowa Residence Hall Earns LEED Gold

The Catlett Residence Hall includes energy efficient windows and the use of natural light throughout, high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems are controlled by occupancy sensors, and Energy Star-certified laundry, kitchen and dishwashing equipment, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Seventy-six percent of waste was diverted from the landfill.

Flinders U Installs 1.8 MW Photovoltaic Carport

(Australia) The solar electric system will go online in October and is projected to provide 20 percent of needed electricity for the university’s Bedford Park campus. It will include a charging dock for recharging planned autonomous shuttles and plug-in electric vehicles. Costing 4.895 million Australian dollars ($3.6 million) it is expected to pay for itself within seven years. Flinders' draft sustainability plan indicates its commitment to achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2020.

Lehigh U Installs Solar-Powered Recycling & Trash Receptacles

The university is removing more than 150 open-top trash cans and replacing them with Bigbelly trash and recycle bins in an effort to cut labor and waste costs. The bins have a sensor and compactor mechanism powered by the sun that allows the material inside to be compressed when it senses the trash level is too high. Then when the bin is full, a red light blinks and trash collectors are notified through an app on their phones.

Susquehanna U Becomes Bee Campus USA Certified

The new certification signifies that the university has taken strides to support pollinators, which includes maintaining landscape spaces that attract pollinators, hosting educational events and keeping bee hives. Next steps include Susquehanna's Department of Facilities Management drafting an integrated pest management plan to govern the use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.

U Texas Rio Grande Valley Attains Bee Campus USA Designation

The new certification as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program means that the university provides healthy habitats with a variety of native plants and free of pesticides. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is an area that can especially help with butterflies, as it is home to nearly 40 percent of the 700 species of butterflies found in the U.S. The university recently added a butterfly garden on its Brownsville Campus.

U Iowa Launches Dorm Room Composting

The university launched a composting initiative for first-year and other students living in the residence halls after recent building trash audits revealed that about 30 percent of waste was organic material. The sustainability office made available 1,125 individual compost bins at a recent open house.

Pace U Moves Toward Plastic-Free Campus

The university's Elisabeth Haub School of Law will no longer use non-reusable water bottles, plastic straws, disposable plates or cutlery. Instead, paper straws, china and metal flatware will be used in the cafeteria. In addition, at all of its programs, the school will not use paper or plastic products and will provide water-bottle fill stations rather than individual plastic water bottles.

U Central Florida Introduces Bike Sharing

The bicycle-sharing company, Lime, will be providing the university with 500 bikes to start the school year. Lime will also provide maintenance without charge to the school. Bikes will be available for students, employees and visitors for 50 cents per half-hour.

Sierra Magazine Releases 2018 Cool Schools Full Ranking

This year, Sierra's Cool Schools ranking features 269 North American institutions, including, for the first time, community colleges. The annual ranking assesses colleges' environmental practices in food and transportation systems, water and waste management, purchasing procedures, academics, investments and more. Sierra based its ranking this year on scores from the AASHE Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

18 Schools Earn Top Spots in 2018 Sustainable Campus Index

AASHE recently released the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, which recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate’s), Dickinson College (baccalaureate), Green Mountain College (master’s), and University of California, Irvine (doctoral/research). The full list of top-performing institutions for each of the impact areas can be found within the report.

Oglethorpe U Matches Public Tuition Prices

Members of next year’s freshman class who meet certain benchmarks, such as cumulative grade point average and SAT or ACT test scores, will pay the in-state tuition rates of flagship universities in their home state. It’s a non-need-based scholarship program.

Portland State U to Offer Major In Indigenous Nations & Native American Studies

Starting this fall, students will have the option of majoring in Indigenous Nations and Native American Studies. The university says the major aims to offer native and non-native students alike with opportunities to study the history, values and contemporary issues of native peoples. The major will cover critical studies, tribal race theory, decolonizing methodologies, and traditional and cultural ecological knowledge, among other topics.

Yale U Adopts Policy Against Investing in Assault Weapon Retailers

The university's recently adopted policy regarding the investment of its endowment says that it will not invest in any retail outlets that market and sell assault weapons to the general public. The decision was based on the recommendation from its Corporation and Advisory Committees on Investor Responsibility.

U Iowa Allocates Benefits to Non-Tenure-Track Professors

Following months of protests and meetings with administrators, non-tenure-track faculty members at the university won expanded health insurance benefits, dependent coverage, retirement and sick leave. As of next month, visiting faculty members with half-time or greater appointments for a year or more are eligible for the same university benefits as full-time university employees.

Rollins College Bans Straws

Plastic straws have now been removed from all food services on campus. Paper and pasta straws will be available upon request and cups now have lids with openings to drink from directly.

California State U East Bay Approves First Climate Action Plan

In early May 2018, the campus completed one of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment milestones by approving its first Climate Action Plan. The plan, which includes immediate, near-, medium- and long- action steps, indicates the university has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.