APPA Selects Five 2018 Sustainability Innovation Award Recipients
Central Michigan University, James Madison University, Simon Fraser University, San Jose State University, and University of Calgary were recipients of this year's Sustainability Innovation Award given by APPA. This award is designed to recognize and advance sustainability in educational facilities.
U Texas Austin Grounds Goes Nearly 100% Organic
The university's 431 acres are now organic thanks to ongoing effort to discontinue the use of chemicals to fertilize and control weeds. The university grounds team makes and uses 250 gallons of compost tea each week to enrich the soil and make plants healthier, which nearly eliminates the use of chemicals and reduces water use for irrigation. The tea is made from compost, coffee grounds, molasses and seaweed. Some limited chemical treatments are used to manage invasive plants and fire ants.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Wins International Freezer Challenge
Earning first place in the 2018 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, the university had 45 labs from 17 buildings participate in the program. Researchers earned points for tasks such as eliminating fridge and freezer usage, cleaning lab spaces and moving samples to warmer storage. Combined efforts to conserve energy resulted in a 720 kilowatt-hours per day reduction of energy use.
Culver Academies Installs Solar Array
The 24-kilowatt solar-electric system recently installed on campus will be used for educational purposes. Since data for each panel will be available and the panels can be tilted individually, the school aims to determine the best angle for different times of the year in order to maximize the system's efficiency.
Ithaca College to Pilot Peer Program That Addresses Hunger
Students will soon have the option to anonymously donate their allotted guest passes on their college meal plan to fellow students facing food insecurity. The initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with Swipe Out Hunger, an organization that partners with higher education institutions to address student hunger. The program will begin with a yearlong trial phase, during which the college's Student Financial Services will collect data, including the number of passes donated and the number used, in order to assess its effectiveness.
New York U School of Medicine Goes Tuition Free
In an effort to address the rising costs of medical education, the school is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program regardless of need or merit. The yearly tuition costs covered by the scholarship are $55,018.
U Western Australia Tests Driverless Electric Bus
(Australia) The autonomous driving bus travels at 5 kilometers per hour (3.1 miles per hour) and can carry up to 14 passengers. Students and faculty will evaluate the accuracy and reliability of autonomous driving and the effects the vehicle has on other traffic, such as cyclists and pedestrians.
U Louisiana Lafayette Adopts Sustainability Strategic Plan
The 21-point plan enumerates goals through 2021 that seek to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy and water consumption. It is the institution's first comprehensive statement of environmental objectives.
U Hawaiʻi Mānoa Launches 2 MW Solar Installation
The installation includes a large photovoltaic canopy on the top deck of the university's main parking structure as well as several rooftop systems. The university is buying the electricity under a power purchase agreement that is expected to save between $2 million to $8 million over its lifetime, depending on future energy costs.
Danville Area CC Sustainability Land Learning Lab Receives Grant
The $20,000 gift from the Arconic Foundation includes funds to improve the honey bee project with new bees and hives, bee suits, and honey harvest equipment. Another portion of the funds will provide tools to aid in production and curriculum such as a solar powered remote weather station and agricultural drone. Finally, the grant provides funds for equipment to improve working conditions at the lab – a utility vehicle and gas generator.
U South Carolina Health Center Earns LEED Gold
The Center for Health and Well-Being's sustainability features include a central automation system for the HVAC equipment, occupancy sensors for lights, recycled content materials, and water efficient fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens.
U California Irvine Starts Recycling 80M Gallons of Water
The university recently celebrated the conversion of its Central Plant, which has been retrofitted to use recycled water for cooling campus buildings. The use of treated recycled water in cooling 65 buildings will save more than 80 million gallons of drinking water annually. This will help the university achieve its goal to reduce per capita drinkable water use by 50 percent by 2025.
Slippery Rock U Dining Installs Hydroponic Garden
Chefs in Boozel Dining Hall can now use fresh herbs and vegetables in their daily menu thanks to a new indoor, soilless growing system. The hydroponic garden was installed in partnership with a business that focuses on indoor gardening and STEM education for restaurants and institutional dining halls.
Jordan U Builds Demonstration Solar Tree
(Jordan) With the participation of 12 engineering students, the university is constructing an off-grid solar-electric tree, which it hopes will raise awareness of renewable energy. The energy will be stored in batteries, and eventually solar-charging stations will be available to the community.
U California Santa Cruz to Offer Sustainability Certificate
Created by the Office of Sustainability, the Sustainability Certificate Program launching this fall is a seven-course certificate program for faculty, staff and graduate students. Topics covered include sustainability in the UC system, social equity, climate change and justice, mindfulness and sustainability, green office certification, leadership, and procurement strategies.
Vanderbilt U Dining Reduces Meat Purchases & Plastic Waste
In addition to offering more plant-based options, such as a "cauliflower steak" and a wheat- and potato-protein burger, the university's dining facilities are also reducing the amount of beef used in burgers by replacing about a quarter of it with mushrooms. This is expected to reduce their meat purchases by about 700 pounds per month. Plastic straws, cold cup lids and plastic bags will be phased out in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
Virginia Tech U Rolls Out Community Bike-Share Program
A regional partnership among Virginia Tech, Blacksburg and Christiansburg, and Montgomery County now gives the community access to 12 bike stations with eight being housed on the Virginia Tech campus. Seventy-five bikes are in circulation with plans to expand in the future. Riders gain access to the bikes through a smart phone app. The program offers flexible pricing and timing options, along with unlimited daily, monthly and yearly memberships.
SUNY Purchase Completes Energy Retrofit
The State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase campus recently completed the installation of energy-efficient LED lighting at its Performing Arts Center, the library, and in campus streetlights. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the project is estimated to save taxpayers more than $161,000 annually.
AASHE Announces Sustainability Award Finalists
The AASHE Sustainability Awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 34 finalists were chosen from nearly 300 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced mid-September.
U Utah Receives LEED Gold on Student Innovation Space
The university's Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a five-story, 160,000-square-foot building that opened in 2016. The building features low-flow water fixtures, 100 percent LED lighting throughout and 21.2 percent of the building materials contain recycled content. The site uses water-efficient landscaping through limited sod and drought tolerant plants, and provides easy access to alternative modes of transportation.
Virginia Commonwealth U Partners to Offer Public Transit
The university has signed a one-year agreement with a transit company to provide unlimited transportation access on certain routes for all VCU students and employees. The $1.2 million initiative will become effective on Aug. 1.
U Maryland Professor Collaborates on $1.1M Grant to Study Sea-Level Adaptation
A professor of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland will collaborate with researchers from George Washington University, University of Delaware, and Resources for the Future using a $1.1 million grant to further research on sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The research combines crop research, wetland ecology, geological and chemical analyses, and economic modeling to determine what crop management strategies work in saltier environments and to identify practical applications that will be the most cost effective and profitable. The project’s outreach initiatives will include webinars, the creation of educational materials, and train-the-trainer sessions.
Boston U Pilots Reusable Tote Program for Office Supplies
In partnership with a local office supply store, BU Sourcing and Procurement is rolling out a reusable tote program for the delivery of office supplies on campus. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of waste created from cardboard packaging.
U Wisconsin-Madison Hires Sustainability Director
Melissa Nergard has been selected as the inaugural full-time director of Sustainability. Nergard comes to UW-Madison from Illinois State University where she served as director of Sustainability. In the near term, Nergard will focus on expanding and re-aligning the Office of Sustainability in order to advance the university’s sustainability efforts, as well as spearhead the university's AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) reporting and greenhouse gas data collection, benchmarking and reporting. Nergard holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from UW–Stevens Point and a master’s in history from Illinois State, and is scheduled to complete her Ph.D. in higher education administration in 2019, also from Illinois State.
U Edinburgh Charges for Disposable Cups
(U.K.) As of August 2018, all hot drink prices in university cafes will be lowered to show the price customers will pay if they bring their own reusable cup, while customers without cups will be charged a small fee to purchase a disposable cup. This reverses the previous pricing structure in which all hot drinks prices were for disposable cups, with customers who brought a reusable cup receiving a discount.
Georgia Southern U Dining Offers Farm-to-Table Program
Thanks to a new in-house partnership, the farm-to-table program will feature food from the university's aquaponics farm, the Foram Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center. The aquaponics system is located in an approximately 4100-square-foot greenhouse that supports student and faculty research in multiple departments.
U California President's Office Launches Million Light Bulb Challenge
The Million Light Bulb Challenge is a statewide effort to advance the purchase of 1 million high-quality, energy-efficient light bulbs for campus buildings and residences across the state. Under the program, all UC students, staff, faculty, retirees and alumni can purchase light bulbs at nearly half the price of online competitors.
Princeton U Introduces Car Sharing
The university's Transportation & Parking Services recently partnered with Enterprise CarShare in an effort to reduce campus traffic congestion while also meeting student needs for on-demand transportation. The new service offers an automated way for the campus community to rent a vehicle by the hour, the day or overnight.
Drake U Receives Two GBI Green Globes on Two Buildings
The university recently announced that it earned a rating of Two Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative (GBI) for the construction of its newest academic buildings, the Science Connector Building and Collier-Scripps Hall. The two buildings feature a white roof to promote indoor cooling, energy-efficient windows and lighting, increased amounts of insulation in the roof and walls, and low flow water fixtures. The sites include drought-tolerant landscaping and easy access to public transportation and rental bicycles.
St. Lawrence U Enters PPA for Solar Energy
Entering into a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), the university will purchase solar electricity from a 2.9-megawatt photovoltaic solar system located just outside of Watertown, New York. The system, which came online in mid-July, is expected to produce 18 percent of the university’s total annual electricity consumption.
Penn State U New Kensington Receives $75K for Community Engagement
The university was awarded $75,000 from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund for the creation of a community educational workshop that will host speakers and sessions related to sustainability and energy for community members and business owners. The workshop will also help identify local needs and gaps. Remaining funding will support revitalization efforts in the city of New Kensington.
Western Michigan U Receives LEED Gold on Dining Center
The university's Valley Dining Center includes an exterior living wall and green roof section, a rain garden that helps to keep 100 percent of stormwater on-site, landscaping designed to be drought tolerant and require little to no irrigation, energy-efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and water systems, a food pulper and water extraction system, and dishwashers with energy-recovery units that use the steam generated during operation to pre-heat the water for further operations.
U Manchester Joins Principles for Responsible Investment
(U.K.) In joining the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the university now works with its investment managers to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their selection criteria. A couple features of the policy are identifying and promoting low or zero-carbon investments where available without detrimental impact to investment risk and returns, divesting in shares in companies which do not respond positively to concerns about their practices or are deemed to be in breach of acceptable standards or ethical or environmental practice, and engaging more proactively with investment managers to ensure that the new policy is being put into practice.
U Cambridge Establishes Sustainability Fellowship Program
(U.K.) The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Program was recently launched by the the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to provide a platform for academic departments, Cambridge colleges, and the private sector to collaborate to identify breakthrough solutions to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Three Universities Receive NACUBO Sustainability Awards
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) annual awards honor institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management. The three universities that received this honor for sustainability leadership are University of California, Los Angeles; University of Minnesota, Morris; and University of Texas at Arlington.
Columbia U Introduces Six Electric Buses to Fleet
The university is replacing the existing diesel-powered buses with six new electric buses to its campus shuttle network. In addition to improving air quality, the university also aims to reduce noise pollution. Transitioning to electric buses is expected to reduce shuttle greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent from the diesel-powered shuttle buses.
Tiffin U Begins Construction on 240 KW Photovoltaic Array
Construction of the 240-kilowatt solar electric system will begin in October, which will be mounted on the university's indoor practice arena. It is projected to supply approximately 26 percent of the annual electricity consumption of the building.
U Washington Reduces Plastic Waste With Bamboo Toothbrushes
Thanks to an undergraduate student, the university's School of Dentistry is now replacing some of the plastic toothbrushes handed out to patients with ones that have bamboo handles. The toothbrushes' handles are made from wild bamboo grown with no pesticides or fertilizer. The student secured grants to purchase the toothbrushes, which come from a company that donates part of its profits to a women's shelter in Seattle.
Penn State U University Park Releases Pollinator Video Game
A collaboration between the university's School of Visual Arts and the Center for Pollinator Research led to the creation of Pollinator Panic, an online strategy game that raises awareness of the issues around bee population decline. The game allows a player to assume the role of a field researcher who is working to restore a bee community.
Penn State U Receives $50K for Student Farm
The $50,000 from the university's Auxiliary & Business Services will be used to support paid student interns and an assistant farm manager at the university's Student Farm, which is in the third year of operation. Led by members of the Student Farm Club and housed within Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the Student Farm gives students from across the university hands-on experience in all facets of farming and running a business.
Marshall U Rolls Out Bike Loan Program
Starting fall 2018, students will be able to check out bicycles to ride around campus for free through a new Eco Bike Loan Program, which will have 30 bikes available for use by students, faculty and staff.
Lenoir-Rhyne U Introduces Sustainability Scholarship
Lenoir-Rhyne undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy that plan to pursue a Master of Science in Sustainability Studies at the university now have the opportunity to apply for the Bracewell/Trout Unlimited Conservation Education Scholarship. The expected award is $3,540 - $4,130 per year toward tuition and additional fees.
Southern Oregon U Opens to Community for Smoke & Fire Relief
In an effort to provide relief from the heat and smoke-filled air caused by dozens of climate-driven wildfires throughout the area, the university is now welcoming community members to several air-conditioned facilities across campus. The university has also opened its indoor track in the Student Recreation Center for community members to have a cool, clean place to exercise out of the smoke.