AASHE Welcomes Board and Advisory Council Members
In the fall of 2016, AASHE held governance elections that resulted in the appointment of two new board members, Ann Erhardt, director of energy programs and director of sustainability at Michigan State University, and Cynthia Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability at University of Illinois at Chicago. Forty-five new Advisory Council members were selected.
Michigan State U Receives $2M for Community Partnerships
The university's Office of K-12 Outreach will use a $2.1 million grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to work with the city of Flint, Michigan. The funding will be used in Flint Community Schools on four strategies that include training the district's managers on the effective use of data and strengthening community relations.
U Iowa Students Create Platform for Public Engagement
A group of students created 30,000 Hands, a website capable of linking the more than 30,000 university students with local service opportunities, as an outcome to a class project that challenged the students make a difference in the community. The website attempts to respond to the needs of Iowa City’s nonprofit, charity and social-good organizations while providing real-life learning opportunities for students.
U Notre Dame to Generate Hydroelectric Energy
The university and the city have reached an agreement on a 50-year lease that gives the university rights to construct and operate a hydroelectric generation facility on the dam in the St. Joseph River. The university will run transmission lines from the dam to campus to generate about seven percent of its electrical needs.
Energy Department Announces 28 Universities to Lead Efficiency Program
The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently announced nearly $35 million for 28 higher education institutions from 25 states across the country to set up and operate regional Industrial Assessment Centers, which aim to provide site-specific recommendations to small manufacturers with opportunities to improve productivity, secure information, reduce waste and lower energy costs while providing training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures and energy management systems.
Scientists Send an Open Letter to President-Elect on Climate Change
More than 800 Earth scientists and energy experts are urging the incoming U.S. president to take six crucial steps to address climate change to help protect “America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety." Some of the steps include reducing carbon pollution and dependence on fossil fuels, enhancing climate preparedness and resilience capacity, and upholding the Paris Climate Agreement.
U Albany Art Exhibition Focuses on Climate Change
The university art exhibit, called Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene, brought more than 10 artists to the university to showcase artwork dealing with climate change by portraying the effects of humans' presence in the world.
Rowan College Burlington County Offers Vets Free Solar Energy Training
The college now offers military members transitioning out of the service and honorably discharged veterans an opportunity to participate in the college's Solar Ready Vets program, a six-week training developed by the U.S. Department of Energy that prepares participants for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry Level Exam and solar-related jobs, such as system installers and sales representatives.
Colby-Sawyer College Opens Center Devoted to Community-Based Sustainability
Complementing its new degree program in community-based sustainability, the college recently held a grand opening of its field studies office for the Sustainable Learning Initiative, an experiential learning opportunity for students to use the principles of permaculture and sustainability to explore, design and develop sustainable solutions to real and evolving community needs.
Portland State U Wins National Award for Community Engagement
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has named the university the winner of the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award in recognition of its 27-year partnership with Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which have gained national and international recognition for their long-term partnership that engages faculty and students in education, research and service.
Portland State U Partners with Community on Clean Air
The university’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions recently joined with Neighbors for Clean Air and Lewis & Clark Law School’s Northwest Environmental Defense Center on a new partnership, BREATHE Oregon, that will provide scientific data, legal analysis and community outreach so residents and policy makers have the information they need to make decisions that improve air quality in Portland and throughout Oregon. The partnership was awarded $250,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust.
Unity College Begins Online MS with Sustainability Concentrations
As part of a distance education initiative, the college now offers an online master's of Professional Science degree in two tracks: Sustainability Science and Sustainable Natural Resource Management. The programs give training in core environmental science, sustainability topics and management skills.
U Washington to Receive $210M for Its 'Population Health Initiative'
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced its $210 million gift to the university's Population Health Initiative, which aims to bring together the research and resources of the university and its partners to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world. The gift will fund construction of a new building to house the Department of Global Health, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and portions of the School of Public Health, all of which are currently spread across Seattle.
Cleveland State U Partners to Conduct Energy Audits in Community
The university partnered with the State of Ohio to conduct free energy audits of area buildings that help identify simple fixes and low-cost recommendations that could conserve energy and reduce operating costs. The initiative was made possible through a grant that the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering received through the Ohio Lean Building Program, which is managed by the University of Dayton.
Southern Oregon U Class Explores Sustainability Through Art
A class on art as activism encourages students to learn about art, race, ethnicity and ability, while examining both the ecological and cultural components of sustainability. Their task is to listen for what’s needed from a community, for example, a domestic violence shelter, then respond with a creative action.
Pontifical Catholic U Valparaíso Wins Inaugural $100K 'Ray of Hope' Prize
A team from the university's Ceres Regional Center for Fruit and Vegetable Innovation in Chile has won the first-ever $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, an international design competition and accelerator program that crowdsources nature-inspired solutions to big sustainability challenges, such as climate change, food system issues, water management and alternative energy. The team's winning concept provides a new way to protect seedlings and restore soils back to health.
U South Carolina & Clemson U Students Engage with Industry to Reduce Manufacturing Waste
A new partnership with Michelin North America will select up to 12 students from each school to take two courses that will prepare students to research sustainability and come up with a plan to reduce the amount of waste in tire manufacturing. Students will visit Michelin headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, a few times throughout the semester to work alongside Michelin employees.
IUPUI & Butler U Win Sustainable Campus Competition
A joint project between Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Butler University won $50,000 from Kimberly-Clark Professional* in the Sustainable Campus Competition. The funds will go toward a large-scale, commercial composting collection initiative as a means to catalyze a city-wide composting collection program. Their plan will begin with both universities sharing the cost of having a trash hauler cart away the food waste from dining halls at both campuses. The hope is to eventually bring other Indianapolis organizations on board to share and ultimately lower the cost of hauling.
Pacific-12 Announces College Sports Sustainability Summit
In an effort to influence conferences and universities around the country on the importance of sustainability, the Pacific-12 Conference will host the first conference-wide college sports sustainability summit in June 2017 in Sacramento, California, as part of the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit. This event will convene sustainability officers from across the conference to design new collective initiatives and share best practices to transform college sports into a platform for environmental progress. This announcement was made on the inaugural Green Sports Day.
U California Berkeley Enters $4M Partnership with Brita
The 10-year, $4 million partnership beginning in the 2016-17 academic year bolsters the university's Refills not Landfills program, an effort to encourage students and the campus community to drink from reusable containers. The partnership includes distribution of Brita products, monetary support to departments and an on-campus Brita filter-recycling program.
U Montana Professor Receives Award for Civic Engagement
Robin Saha, associate professor of Environmental Studies, has been selected by Campus Compact as the recipient of the 2016 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, which recognizes faculty for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal partnerships, building institutional commitments to engagement and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. The focus of Saha's scholarship is environmental justice and health policy, emphasizing advocacy for marginalized communities. Four finalists were also named: David Berle (University of Georgia), Christopher Janson (University of North Florida), Ellen Percy Kraly (Colgate University) and Susan Needham (California State University, Dominguez Hills).
Suffolk CC Joins Community Car-Free Day
The community college and Suffolk County jointly hosted a Car Free Day Long Island Summit. The event, which SCCC President Shaun McKay kicked off, included discussion about sustainable transportation options available to the community in an effort to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions, which is 30 percent according to a regional sustainability plan.
Dickinson College and Town Partner to Measure Resilience
A beta tool developed by the Rockefeller Foundation and Arup International Development called the City Resilience Index was recently utilized by the college and the surrounding town of Carlisle to measure the community's ability to cope with, manage and adapt to change. The collaboration resulted from Carlisle asking various constituencies to suggest priority issues to address, of which resilience was one such issue.
ACC Moves Games Out of North Carolina
In response to a recent North Carolina law that makes it illegal for a person in a publicly owned building to use a restroom that does not correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificate, the ACC Council of Presidents recently joined the NCAA when they announced the relocation of all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. The ACC and NCAA expressed a desire to promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches and fans.
U New Hampshire Opens Network Leadership Institute
As part of the university's Food Solutions New England (FSNE) initiative, the inaugural Network Leadership Institute aims to raise awareness for the emerging New England food system. The Network Leadership Institute will help stakeholders gain an understanding of how to use the FSNE network, learn skills in facilitative leadership, network leadership and stakeholder engagement, and gain an understanding of the emerging New England food system.
Portland State U Authors Book on University-Community Engagement
Released August 2016 and written by more than 25 university faculty and staff, the book shares the university’s collective successes and challenges in building collaborative campus-community sustainability programs. It aims to help other schools develop programs that connect students and faculty with the needs of local communities.
Georgetown U President Responds to Its History of Slavery
After a new report was published by the university's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which cites the school's involvement in the institution of slavery when it sold 272 enslaved people in 1838, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced that it will issue an apology, give the descendent community the same admissions process considerations as the Georgetown community, develop a public memorial to the enslaved, and establish a new Institute for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies. In addition, two campus buildings will be renamed.
U Washington Partners Students with Local Governments
In the year-long partnership with the City of Auburn, students and professors will work on 15-20 projects that seek to advance the city’s goals for livability and sustainability. Called the Livable City Year program, the initiative is a cross-university collaboration that connects local governments with university classes to address community-identified areas of need.
U Arizona Holds First Salvage Sale
In an effort to reduce the landfill waste, the Office of Sustainability and Residence Life coordinated an end-of-year move-out campaign to capture unwanted materials and recently held a sale of those items that collected over $9,000. Of the materials that were obtained at the end of the year, some of the items were donated to local charities, such as a women's resource center, a veteran center and homeless shelter.
Energy Action Coalition Becomes the Power Shift Network
After the Energy Action Coalition's newly hired (2015) executive director, Lydia Avila, completed a listening tour with stakeholders, it was decided that along with a name change, the Power Shift Network will decentralize itself into "a national network of climate, clean energy, and social justice organizations, including student-led groups, who, together, mobilize the collective power of young people to mitigate climate change and create a just, clean energy future and resilient, thriving communities for all", Avila says.
Loyola U Students Support Composting at National Festival
In an effort to minimize its environmental impact, Lollapalooza hired 46 Loyola students to guide festival-goers to compost food scraps, recycle appropriate materials and use refillable bottles instead of one-time use containers. The four-day festival included over 400,000 attendees.
U British Columbia Publishes 'Carbon Neutral Action Report'
The newly released report summarizes the school's emissions profile, actions to reduce emissions, total offsets and ongoing and future strategies for continued emissions reductions. Highlights include greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 30 percent below 2007 levels despite a 16 percent increase in floor space and 22 percent increase in student enrollment. Reductions were primarily due to a steam to hot water conversion project (District Energy), displacement of natural gas through the Bio-energy Research and Demonstration Facility and optimizing academic building performance.
Eastern Mennonite U & Partners Launch Climate Center
The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions launched in August with a $1 million donation. Led by the university, the center will focus on connecting with a national and global network of like-minded organizations, researching best practices and innovation. Goshen College is a founding partner institution.
Pennsylvania State U Institutes Civic Engagement Program
The university's new Scholarship, Sustainability and Civic Engagement Program had 11 students pilot the program in the 2015-16 academic year, which included two semesters of classwork and summer fieldwork. The students worked with various cities across the state to find creative and innovative solutions to various issues, from food access to urban development. The program made a three year commitment to the cities, whereby future groups of students will build upon the work that began this year.
Swarthmore College Assists in Community Solar Array
A satellite ministry of Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia is now using photovoltaic energy thanks to a collective of North Philadelphia residents and Swarthmore College students and faculty, who obtained funding for the project through a series of grants and crowdfunding. Funding is also being used for an apprenticeship program for young people in the community to learn about renewable energy.
Williams College Partners on Capped Landfill Solar Array
Supporting the college's climate change response plan, Williams College and the Town of Williamstown have signed an agreement to invest approximately $6 million to complete construction of a 1.9-megawatt solar array on the town's capped landfill. Williams will provide the initial $6 million investment to construct the project while seeking a tax equity partner that would co-own the solar array and provide $2 million toward the project during the final stages of construction.
College of the Atlantic Opens Community Energy Center
The college's new Community Energy Center builds on existing sustainability and renewable energy efforts and aims to work with residents, organizations and business owners to research, develop and implement innovative projects that enable people and business owners to reap the financial and social benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels. The first project will provide 30 or more local farms and businesses with solar energy assessments and in-depth information on funding mechanisms.
U Maryland Eastern Shore Receives $1M to Boost Green Workforce
Delmarva Power announced a pledge of $1 million to help the university launch the Green Collar Initiative, a series of energy conservation projects that include crafting a sustainable curriculum using research, development and training assistance targeting rural businesspeople, especially those in agribusiness.
Western Washington U Begins Sustainable Cities Partnership
Applying its academic expertise to strengthen communities beyond the campus, the new Sustainable Cities Partnership with the city of Edmonds will focus student energy and ideas on a variety city issues oriented toward sustainability.
Scientific Organizations Write Congress Regarding Climate Change
The June letter to U.S. policymakers, representing 31 scientific organizations, reaffirmed human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources and human health. The letter provides objective, authoritative information to policymakers.
U Maryland System to Direct Endowment Away from Fossil Fuels
Following a student-led movement to direct more of its portfolio toward clean energy, the University System of Maryland Foundation, which oversees the state university system's $1 billion endowment, said that it will stop investing directly in the 200 coal, oil and gas-related companies on a list complied by Fossil Free Indexes. Students at University of Maryland, College Park began the push to divest from fossil fuels in 2013, circulating a petition with nearly 600 signatures from within and outside the university.
Yale U Nursing Students Connect with Food Systems to Improve Patient Wellbeing
Students in their first year of the school's Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing program work with Yale Landscape Lab for a series of workshops that focus on the importance of creating meaningful connections with their patients as they work with them to learn to access and eat healthy foods. These sessions combined with hands-on growing and cooking exercises help the students explore their personal connections with food as a way to empower them to promote healthy lifestyles.
U Washington Plans to Host Homeless Encampment
After hundreds of supporters came forward, the university is moving forward with plans to host a tent city for homeless people on its Seattle campus next year. President Ana Mari Cauce, who presented the idea in March, said the school is working toward obtaining a permit from the city and planning to host the encampment for three months in early 2017.
U California Receives $300K for Carbon Neutrality Project
With a $300,000 gift from the TomKat Foundation, established by Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor, the university recently launched the TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project. UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency will lead the project and bring together working groups of researchers, practitioners and students with wide-ranging areas of expertise from diverse disciplines in order to advance UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels through major investments in energy efficiency, behavioral incentives, the development of alternatives to natural gas and the widespread deployment of renewable energy.
Tufts U Releases Student Voting Analysis
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) at the university’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life released a new analysis of the voting patterns of 7.4 million college students at 783 institutions, examining voter rates by region of the country, field of study and type of institution. Results indicate higher participation among education, humanities and social science majors whereas STEM fields lag. Voting rates at four-year institutions were slightly higher than at two-year institutions, though there was little difference between private and public colleges and universities.