Johns Hopkins U to Divest Holdings in Major Coal Producers
Following a recent vote of its board of trustees, the university will divest from its separately managed holdings in thermal coal recently. The board's vote directs the university to stop buying the stocks and bonds of companies that produce coal for electric power as a major part of their business, and to sell from its endowment or other investments any securities it directly owns from those companies, on a schedule that minimizes financial loss.
Rutgers U Raises Pay to $11 Per Hour for Student Workers
The minimum wage for student workers will go from $8.44 an hour to $11 an hour, starting Jan. 1, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a letter to students. The 30 percent raise affects more than 13,000 students who work in dining halls, libraries, offices and other facilities on the New Brunswick-Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses.
U Virginia to Facilitate Governor's Environmental Justice Panel
Representatives from UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation will serve as facilitators for the 15-member Environmental Justice Advisory Council, established by Virginia Govenor Terry McAuliffe in October. The mission of the council is to ensure that environmental policies around major issues like air quality or sea-level rise serve the interest of every Virginian, and that no area or group bears a disproportionate share of the burden.
Boston U Approves Climate Action Plan
The Boston University board of trustees recently approved a Climate Action Plan that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions across both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus and fund broad infrastructure improvements in preparation for flooding or heat surges in the coming decades. The plan calls for capital improvements estimated to cost about $141 million over 10 years and the reduction of carbon emissions on the campuses to zero by 2040.
Project Green Challenge Announces Winners
Students from Dickinson College, Rice University and Yale University won Project Green Challenge, a 30-day lifestyle competition from Turning Green that seeks to inspire students to transition from a conventional to a conscious lifestyle by calling for students to complete daily challenges focused on sustainability-related themes.
North Carolina State U Uses Campus Buildings for Energy Management Living Lab
Working together with the university's energy management team, engineering professors and students were able to identify opportunities to reduce electricity use at times when costs are highest. The collaboration also revealed that if the university had a 1.2 megawatt solar array and 400 kilowatt-hour battery there would be a 5 percent reduction in electricity costs over the summer months.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Center Ranks Top Illinois HEIs for Underserved Students
The Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has published a new report that identifies the state’s top seven, four-year postsecondary institutions that are good investments for underserved students. Motivated by the need to provide an equitable education, the study analyzed publicly available institutional data on graduation rates, earnings, student loan debt and loan default rates to rank 55 public, nonprofit private, and for-profit private institutions in the state of Illinois.
Cornell U Launches Staff Sustainability Champions Program
The university's Employee Assembly and Campus Sustainability Office staff created the new recognition program as a way to capture and better recognize the hundreds of daily acts that staff demonstrate to reduce waste, create a more welcoming environment, save resources and champion new ideas for sustainability.
College William & Mary Uses $10K Grant for Lighting Upgrade
A $10,239 Green Fee grant awarded in fall 2017 will be used at the college's Virginia Institute of Marine Science to reduce electricity usage and improve working conditions by replacing 52 dated, energy-demanding bulbs with new light-emitting diode (LED) lamps in three buildings.
Brown U Replaces Loans With Scholarships
Having achieved its initial fundraising goal of $30 million, the university will replace loans with scholarship funds in financial aid packages for all returning and incoming undergraduate students starting in the 2018-19 academic year.
Brown U Launches Three-Year, $24M Project to Boost Thermal Efficiency
As part of its continued work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 42 percent below 2007 levels by 2020, the university will increase energy efficiency by replacing its steam-based central heating system with a medium-temperature hot water system. Completion is expected in October 2020.
Johns Hopkins U Building Earns LEED Gold
Sustainability features of the university's Malone Hall are heat reutilization, an energy recovery wheel, radiant panels and LED lighting. Water conservation measures include low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets and electronic faucets that are estimated to reduce water consumption by 40 percent. The building landscape incorporates a bioretention swale, which is a shallow, vegetated, landscaped depression with sloped sides that manages storm water runoff.
U South Australia Receives $2.7M for Alternative Energy Installations
(Australia) The University of South Australia will soon receive 3.6 million Australian dollars ($2.7 million) for a project at its Mawson Lakes campus that is expected to cut campus emissions by 35 percent. The project includes hydrogen production with a 50 kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell and a 1.8 megawatt photovoltaic array.
Bucknell U Earns LEED Silver on Campus Health & Wellness Building
The seventh campus building to obtain LEED Silver, the Graham Building diverted more than 93 percent of construction waste from landfills through recycling while incorporating more than 10 percent recycled and more than 20 percent regionally sourced materials into the building's design. It also features technology to ensure efficiency such as occupancy sensors, daylighting and low-flow water fixtures.
U Nottingham Agrees to Living Wage to Low-Paid Staff
(U.K.) Two weeks after protesters asked the university to pay a living wage, the university agreed to do so for the 2017-18 academic year. The agreement guarantees the lowest-paid staff 8.75 pounds ($11.72) an hour.
Utah Valley U Completing Sustainability Communications Wall
In an effort to educate students and staff about sustainability measures on campus, a soon-to-be completed wall will include an interactive display that will allow students to see the current energy usage for different buildings as well as information about green features of campus such as geothermal energy, recycling, transportation and water.
U Waterloo Publishes Environmental Sustainability Strategy
After two years of consultation and planning, the president's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability released the university's first environmental sustainability strategy, which seeks to strengthen organizational sustainability across academics, operations, and student and employee engagement.
Barnard College Affiliates With the Worker Rights Consortium
The college's president recently announced its decision to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium. The affiliation will assist Barnard in implementing a manufacturing code of conduct with which apparel vendors contracting with Barnard will be asked to comply.
U Michigan Building Receives LEED Gold
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business' Kresge renovation and Jeff T. Blau Hall project has received LEED Gold certification. The project includes energy and water conservation measures such as occupancy sensors for lighting control, energy-efficient light fixtures, the incorporation of natural daylight and low-flow bathroom fixtures. Energy measures are expected to allow for energy savings of an estimated 30 percent.
Six Universities Receive Energy Dept CHP Research Funding
North Carolina State University, Pace University, Pennsylvania State University-University Park, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Maine, Washington State University, Houston Advanced Research Center and the Center for Sustainable Energy will split a U.S. Department of Energy $25 million grant to further the installation of cost-effective, highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) technologies. These institutions will, among other things, become regional CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships that will assist in the development of strategies to increase resilience to natural disasters and improve grid and electric delivery reliability.
Penn State U Offers Energy Storage & Microgrid Training
A new training program is part of the university's GridSTAR Center, a smart-grid education and research center at Penn State at The Navy Yard. The program is intended to help instructors prepare to teach electrical workers about safe and productive energy storage and microgrid construction. A unique element of the program is that the curriculum is based on lessons learned in the design and construction of multiple energy storage and microgrid systems at Penn State.
Colorado State U Receives $50K for Campus Sustainability & Water Research
The $50,000 grant will be split between campus sustainability research and collaboration, and STEM opportunities for diverse and underrepresented students. The university's National Western Center Sustainability Team will use $37,500 to develop innovations in water, energy, food systems, and health and recreation, and improve the natural environment. The second part of the grant, $12,500, supports the CSU Water Fellows program. First-generation CSU students from diverse and often underrepresented backgrounds will team with neighboring high school students to work on water issues.
AASHE Asks Elected Officials to Protect the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver
AASHE has joined more than 30 other organizations in opposing the repeal of the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver that is included in the House of Representatives' Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). Reclassifying these waivers as taxable income will significantly increase the cost of a graduate education and make it even more difficult for working class and low income students to pursue advanced degrees.
Cornell U Living Lab Waste Project Reduces Contamination
The student club WasteNot prototyped designs for waste sorting signage that is more user-friendly and inclusive of the international community by featuring clear directions in several languages and visual cues. In the first pilot with the redesigned signage, total contamination dropped by 10 percent for landfill, 17 percent for recycling and 19 percent for compost. Plans are underway to roll out piloted designs across campus facilities.
Cornell U Launches Food Security Grocery Store
Based on results of a Cornell University survey indicating a high percentage of students were regularly without access to food, the Center for Transformative Action launched Anabel's Grocery to provide nutritious, affordable food that includes low-priced meals, daily meal kits and fresh staples. The store is student-led and has served over 1,000 students in the first semester of operations. The store also offers educational programs around quality food, food choices, wellness and positive social change.
York U Releases Inaugural Institutional Sustainability Strategy
The university's first published sustainability strategy was led by a working group comprised of members of the university president’s Sustainability Council and included participation from more than 1,000 community members. The goals of the strategy are divided into three key categories: people, focusing on a culture of collaboration; knowledge, using its strengths in sustainability research to inform teaching; and place, creating a pedestrian-oriented campus.
McGill U Releases Climate & Sustainability Action Plan
In its new plan, the university commits to carbon neutrality by 2040 and sets a long-term goal of earning AASHE STARS Platinum by 2030. The result of an extensive consultation process, the plan includes offsetting air travel emissions and recruiting an Indigenous scholar or artist-in-residence.
Colgate U Initiates Green Fund for Sustainability Projects
The university's new Green Revolving Loan Fund was seeded with $230,000 and aims to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Funded projects must reduce carbon and provide a return on investment. Colgate has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2019, the university’s bicentennial.
Colgate U Class of 1965 Arena Earns LEED Gold
The new athletics facility includes water-saving technology, specialized climate controls, and recycled and locally sourced building materials. The university relied on paints, adhesives and other building materials that have no or low volatile organic compounds.
U Nebraska-Lincoln Installs Ventilation Technology for Efficiency
Several buildings on campus now use Aircuity, a technology that monitors the ventilation rates of buildings for optimal level of airflow to save energy and maintain air that contains low contaminants. It is estimated that Aircuity can reduce lab energy use by 40 to 60 percent.
U Hawai'i Explores Tariff for Renewable Energy Projects
To help the university achieve its net-zero energy goal and bring more cost-effective, renewable energy resources online, the university is working with local power companies to explore the possibility of a tariff that would go toward projects to increase renewable energy generation, improve grid capacity for renewables and lower energy costs for the university.
Middlebury College to Buy Biogas From Local Cow Farm
A new college partnership will deliver renewable natural gas to the college's main power plant. The gas will be produced at a local farm in an anaerobic digester using cow manure and food waste, and will travel by pipeline to the college. The college will purchase approximately 100 million cubic feet (100 Mmcf) of gas annually.
Medicine Hat College Gets $215K Grant for Microgrid
The college was recently awarded $215,000 for planning a $2 million renewable microgrid on campus. The college intends to install a solar parking lot canopy and electric vehicle charging station. Called the Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project (CREMDP), the installation will act as an equipment testing site for innovators and serve as a learning lab for students.
Denison U to Construct 2.3 MW of Solar Electricity
In an effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, the university is currently completing a solar project using 6,750 photovoltaic panels with a 2.3-megawatt capacity. The panels are on university-owned land while the arrays are owned by a power company. Under the agreement with the power company, the university will purchase all of the generated electricity.
U Exeter Joins Circular Economy Network
(U.K.) The university recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a Pioneer University, a program that seeks to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by engaging academics to research new business models to overcome environmental and economic challenges.
Medical U South Carolina Converts Street to Greenway
The university and a team of partners are reclaiming a street on campus to establish it as a space for people to walk, sit and relax. Called the Charleston Medical District Greenway, it will become a natural area with trees and gardens that enables patients to heal more quickly, as well as a gathering place for people visiting and working in the hospitals.
U South Florida St. Petersburg Installs 40 KW Solar System
The university unveiled a 40-kilowatt solar array carport, which was completed in partnership with Duke Energy Florida and was funded by the Student Green Energy Fund. The system is projected to power about 15 percent of the new biology and chemistry labs on campus.
Bates College EcoReps Construct 3 KW Photovoltaic Project
Doubling the capacity of a system installed in 2016 on the Bates Coastal Center, the colleges EcoReps installed 12 new solar panels to complete a six-kilowatt photovoltaic array that is estimated to produce 100 percent of the building's electrical needs. Bates’ sustainability office covered the cost of the 2017 installation, which was approximately $10,000.
Gavilan College to Connect 1.4 MW of Solar Electricity
The 1.4-megawatt solar electric system will be installed across two of the college's largest parking lots before the end of 2017 and enhanced by a 250-kilowatt (500 kilowatt-hour) energy storage solution. The system is expected to save the college $12.5 million in energy costs over 30 years. The Gavilan Joint Community College District will own the solar power system along with the associated renewable energy credits.
U Buffalo Coordinates 100 MW RE Community Initiative
A renewable energy initiative being spearheaded by the university aims to invest in the city’s urban core, while reducing energy costs for some Buffalo-area anchor institutions. Called Localizing Buffalo’s Renewable Energy Future, the plan calls for the creation of 100 megawatts of renewable energy, mostly in the form of solar power, by 2020. Other participating higher education institutions are SUNY Buffalo State and Erie Community College.
Hampshire College Chronicles Its Mission-Based Endowment Investing
A case study released by Intentional Endowments Institute describes Hampshire College's policy and process for aligning its endowment investments with its nonprofit mission and values. The case study also reveals how the college developed its investment policies with staff and student engagement.
Fordham U Professors and Postdoctorals Vote to Form Union
After an agreement was signed by the administration and non-tenure track faculty that allowed for a free and fair election, adjunct faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty, and postdoctoral fellows recently voted 16-to1 to join Service Employees International Union.
Catawba College Participates in US EPA Air Quality Flag Program
The college now participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Flag Program designed to help the community be aware of and respond to air quality conditions by flying one of five various colored EPA flags on a daily basis. The flag color is determined by the Air Quality Index (AQI) color that corresponds to the expected level of air pollution for that day.