Corporate Knights Releases 2017 Greenest Campuses in Canada Index

A new index released in October used data from AASHE STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) to produce a top 10 ranking of Canadian institutions of higher education. The ranking was based on 13 indicators: building area and clean air management, green certified building space, environment friendly dining certification, clean energy, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool score, green purchases on cleaning products and office paper, green transportation, commuting, waste and water management, and sustainable investing.

U Virginia to Open Community Food Space

The Morven Food Lab at the university's Morven Farm will be both a physical space and an organizational structure that aims to bring together food-related initiatives across the university, including the UVA Food Collaborative, the University’s Sustainable Food Strategy Task Force, the Morven Summer Institute and the Morven Kitchen Garden, and from within the community.

U Montreal Launches Support Program for Fair Trade

The university launched a financial support program designed to encourage and support the promotion of fair trade and campus outreach on fair trade issues by allocating $2,000 toward select projects. The Fair Trade Student Initiatives Project is managed by students and funded by the Sustainability Office and students association.

Southern Connecticut State U to Install 3 Photovoltaic Arrays Totaling 1 MW

The 1 megawatt photovoltaic project is expected to provide approximately 4 percent of the university's annual electricity consumption. Planned for completion in 2018, the more than 3,000 panels will be installed in three arrays: as a combination ground mount and carport array, and a rooftop array on the west side of campus.

Lehigh U Signs Real Food Campus Commitment

By signing the Real Food Campus Commitment, the university pledges to purchase at least 20 percent of its food annually from local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane sources by 2020. Becoming a signatory is aligned with the food purchasing goal captured in its 2020 Campus Sustainability Plan.

North American Association for Environmental Education Announces Award Winners

Jacqueline S. McLaughlin at Pennsylvania State University won the Higher Education Educator of the Year Award, and Constance Russell of Lakehead University won the Outstanding Contributions to Research in Environmental Education Award.

U Washington Supports Labor Rights in New Nike Contract

With pressure from the student-led group United Students Against Sweatshops, the university signed a renegotiated contract with Nike that gives the Worker Rights Consortium the right to inspect Nike's overseas factories. Under the terms of the contract, Nike must withdraw orders from a factory if workplace violations are discovered and the company is unable to get the factory to agree to a remediation plan.

Louisiana State U Cleans Up Litter With Social Campaign

A new awareness campaign aims to beautify the campus by encouraging the campus community to pick up litter, snap a photo and upload it to social media. The photos will be part of a photo contest with the winning photo displayed in the art gallery of the student union.

Portland State U Integrates Sustainability Mission Into Hiring Process

As part of the university’s ongoing effort to institutionalize sustainability into the culture of the campus community, Human Resources has added an environmental stewardship statement to all job postings and created an orientation video highlighting the university’s commitment to sustainability. The statement emphasizes PSU’s sustainability values and goals and states that employees will, “contribute to a culture of environmental stewardship, practice resource conservation, and actively work toward achieving long-term sustainability goals.”

Northwestern U Introduces Reusable Cup Vending

The Cats Cups program aims to reduce the amount of waste from disposable cups and glasses by giving students the option to fill a specially designed reusable bottle. Students can purchase the cup with unlimited refills for $65.

Duke U Vendors Address Food Insecurity With $5 Lunch Option

A new Duke Dining program was introduced this fall that seeks to address the inaccessibility and cost of West Campus dining for first-year and low socioeconomic students. Called Daily Devil Deals, the program ensures that every vendor on Duke’s campus offers a lunch option for $5 or less.

U New Hampshire Launches New Carbon/Nitrogen Measurement Tool

The university recently announced the launch of the Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP), a tool that offers campuses an online platform for tracking, reporting and managing their carbon and nitrogen footprints. The platform will also help identify trends across campus sustainability by tracking and sharing aggregated campus sustainability data.

American College Greece Begins Scholarship Program for Refugees

(Greece) Called Education Unites: From Camp to Campus, the goal of the new program is to give displaced students the opportunity to continue their education, provide them with knowledge, skills and academic credits they can use either in Greece or in any other European country they move to, and help them get out of the camps and become integrated in local colleges.

American College Greece Launches New Sustainability Website

(Greece) The new website includes information about the college's sustainability efforts in education and research, operations, and community engagement. It also houses a sustainability game, news and events, and a pledge that asks signers to implement sustainable behaviors.

Bates College Switches One Boiler to Renewable Fuel Oil

To aid the college's long-term carbon neutrality goals, it recently switched fuel sources on one of its three boilers from natural gas to renewable fuel oil, a proprietary product made by vaporizing wood feedstock (e.g., sawdust) at a very high temperature. The vapor, which retains the energy of the wood’s organic compounds, is then re-condensed into a fuel oil.

Western Kentucky U Regents Approve Five-Year Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Plan

The new plan focuses on opportunity through the recruitment and enrollment of diverse students; student success through retention, graduation rate and degrees conferred; and impact through campus climate, inclusiveness and cultural competency.

Mohawk Valley CC Installs 3 MW Solar Array

Projected to offset about $90,000 per year in electricity costs, the 3 megawatt project is net-metered, meaning that any excess energy the system produces beyond the needs of the campus will be sold back to the utility company.

U Minnesota Duluth to Purchase 100 KW Block From Solar Farm

Three Student Life units at the university are sharing the $213,215 cost of purchasing a 100 kilowatt block of solar electricity from an in-state community solar garden. In return, the units – Dining Services, Housing and Residence Life, and Transportation and Parking Services – will receive annual discounts on their electricity bills.

Monroe CC Earns LEED Gold for Its State Street Campus

The college's State Street campus features a vegetative roof, rainwater capture and reuse elements, and energy-efficient construction materials. Cost avoidance is expected to be nearly $120,000 per year.

Second Nature & AASHE to Host Gathering at COP23

Second Nature and AASHE, along with the University of Connecticut and Tufts University, are hosting a reception and networking event at COP23, in Bonn, Germany, on Nov. 14 at the U.S. Climate Action Center. Along with networking, attendees will hear briefly from a select group of speakers about climate leadership programs within the higher education sector.

Princeton U Files Lawsuit Regarding DACA

In early November, Princeton University and Microsoft joined together to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A DACA-protected student at Princeton, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is also listed as a plaintiff.

Southern Oregon U Introduces Dish Loan Program

The Sustainability Resource Center at Southern Oregon launched a new program to loan reusable dishes and utensils for free at campus events in an effort to move toward zero waste events.

2017 Sustainable Campus Index Lists Top Performers

The 2017 Sustainable Campus Index 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). Top performers overall by institution type are Appalachian State University (master’s); Nova Scotia Community College (associate); Stanford University (doctoral/research); and Sterling College (baccalaureate). Also included in the report are innovative and high-impact initiatives.

Messiah College Offsets Printing With Planting

The college is participating in PrintReleaf, which allows organizations to reduce their environmental impact by automatically planting trees to offset their paper consumption. Through the program, Messiah plants an average of six trees per month in Madagascar.

Bucknell U Launches Sustainability Website

As part of increased sustainability programming, the university recently launched its first sustainability website as resource to the campus community. The website serves as a centralized place for the campus community to explore the institution's academic, research, engagement and operational goals.

U Notre Dame Teaches Course on Faith and Sustainability

The new sustainability class, offered each fall semester, integrates Catholic teachings into environmental studies to reflect on issues of sustainability. The course examines topics in theory and how to implement these theories in a practical way.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Rolls Out Bike Sharing

The official launch of UNC’s new Tar Heel Bikes program happened in late October, offering students the opportunity to rent a bike from one of 18 hubs on campus. The new bike-share program is one of the latest efforts in the university’s Three Zeros Environmental Initiative, which aims to reduce waste, water use and carbon dioxide emissions on campus.

U West Indies Finishes Net Zero Energy Building

(Jamaica) The 2,300-square-foot structure, which will house a research center in photovoltaic, wind and biomass energy, is designed as a model to encourage construction of sustainable and energy-efficient buildings throughout the region.

Trinity College Dublin Students Pass Motion to End Single-Use Plastic Bags

(Ireland) The Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union passed a motion that seeks to replace single-use plastic items on campus with compostable alternatives.

Arizona State U Student Spearheads Lab-Glove Recycling Program

A junior majoring in sustainability and interning at Kimberly Clark, a paper company, started a lab glove recycling program in partnership with Kimberly Clark called RightCycle. Lab gloves are collected with special cardboard boxes, sent to recycling centers and processed into plastic pellets or nitrile powder, which can then be used to manufacture anything plastic.

Texas Tech U to Create Local Food Concentration

The department of Plant & Soil Science will establish a new undergraduate degree specialization in local food and wine production systems, the creation of which was a response to the continued growth of local-food sales.

U Edinburgh Invests Millions in Low Carbon Companies

(U.K.) The university recently moved $79.3 million (60 million pounds) of its investments into two funds that businesses that support a cleaner, more sustainable and climate-friendly future. One fund invests in companies that tackle a range of sustainability issues, including green products, low-carbon infrastructure, sustainable water, energy and food, while the second fund direct supports a global transition to low-carbon and renewable energy.

Campus Compact Announces Positive Engagement Grant Recipients

Campus Compact, a nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, recently announced 40 college and university recipients of grants from its Fund for Positive Engagement to bring people together across lines of difference.

My Green Lab Launches Environmental Label for Laboratory Products

My Green Lab recently announced the launch of ACT (accountability, consistency, transparency), an environmental impact factor label for laboratory products. The ACT label is designed to provide critical information on the environmental impact of laboratory products in an effort to increase transparency and assist customers in making sustainable choices in purchasing.

Smith College Establishes a $100K Student Managed Fossil Fuel-Free Fund

Smith College has provided $100,000 to the Smith College Investment Club to create and manage a new portfolio of fossil-fuel-free investments. Students will set criteria for what meets the standard of a fossil-fuel-free portfolio, and will make investment decisions. The new fund, which grew out of a recommendation from the Study Group on Climate Change, offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the growing field of impact investing.

Fort Lewis College Receives $355K to Further Food Security

The Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College, along with community partners, have been awarded a $355,000, three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture Local Food Promotion grant to launch a Durango Regional Food Recovery Hub. The initiative will address food insecurity, create secondary markets for farmers, and offer student learning opportunities.

Simon Fraser U Embeds Sustainability Into Commercial Contracts

The university is now selecting local contractors with sustainable practices over large corporate competitors as part of its commitment to sustainability, innovation, community and customer service.

U California Berkeley Partners to Improve Animal Welfare Through Purchasing

Cal Dining at the University of California Berkeley and Farm Forward recently announced the launch of the Leadership Circle, a program that leverages the buying power of institutions to change the way animals are raised for food. Members of the Leadership Circle commit to purchase only third-party certified, higher-welfare products in at least one product category within two years.

Radford U Building Earns LEED Gold

The university's College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building was constructed with materials containing 20 percent recycled content. Ninety-nine percent of the facility’s wood products are Forest Stewardship Council certified. Water usage in the building is reduced through low-flow toilets, sinks and showers, creating an annual savings of about 221,000 gallons per year, and exterior shading helps reduce solar heat gain, which reduce energy use and cost.

Southern Oregon U Launches Botanical Tour

The tour includes GPS coordinates for trees located across the university’s 175-acre campus, along with a printed tour brochure and a web-based tour. The tour serves to educate southern Oregon residents about the campus' biodiversity, inspire people to expand sustainability efforts and foster engagement with groups throughout the community.

U Colorado Boulder Receives LEED Gold on Three New Buildings

The Sustainability, Energy and Environment Laboratory, a hub for environmental and sustainability research, features a high-performance energy recovery system that captures waste exhaust from labs and utilizes it in the heating and cooling of the building. The East District Energy Plant features a rain gardens that captures all stormwater from the roof and a yellow roof to reduce light pollution. The Grounds and Recycling Operations Center building features include an 11-kilowatt rooftop solar array, exterior LED lighting and an electric-truck charging station.

AASHE Announces 2017 Sustainability Award Winners

Announced at the annual AASHE Conference & Expo, 10 awards were handed out to those that rose to the top in the juried program. The three award categories were Campus Sustainability Achievement, Student Sustainability Leadership and Campus Sustainability Research. There were 230 total entries in 2017.

Monash U to Become 100% Renewable Energy Powered

(Australia) The university is investing $135 million in a project called Net Zero in an effort to generate all of the energy used on its campuses from renewable resources. In addition, Monash has committed that it will be carbon neutral by 2030, meaning residual emissions from operations, such as plane travel, will be mitigated by purchasing certified and socially-conscious carbon offsets.

Loyola U & Portland CC Win Climate Leadership Award

Loyola was chosen as the winner in the category for four-year institutions. It has reduced carbon emissions per-square-foot by 38 percent from a 2008 baseline at two of its locations. Portland Community College, recipient in the two-year category, has reduced energy consumption per-square-foot by 65 percent since 2006. The 2017 Climate Leadership Award was given by the U.S. Green Building Council and Second Nature.

U Reading Reduces Vending Machine Waste

(U.K.) In an effort to prevent more than half a million plastic bottles from entering the landfill, new vending machines allow students to use a specially designed reusable bottle. The "Sustain It" bottle is a reusable bottle that contains a microchip that allows users to pre-pay for drinks that can be filled at the new vending machines.

Blackburn College to Meet 100% of Student Financial Need

The Blackburn Promise is a new program that meets the full amount of each individual student's financial need after they have paid their estimated family contribution as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Direct college costs covered by the Blackburn Promise financial aid package include tuition, fees, room and board.

EPA Announces Green Power Leadership Award Winners

The University of California and University of Tennessee, Knoxville won the Excellence in Green Power Use award, while Stanford University and University of Missouri won the Direct Project Engagement award. The Excellence in Green Power Use Award recognizes Green Power partners that use green power in amounts that exceed the minimum benchmark requirements or can demonstrate a distinct market impact through innovation, communications and stakeholder engagement. The Direct Project Engagement Award recognizes partners that use financing structures with on- and off-site projects to access renewable energy certificate-based green power.

St. Joseph College Maine Launches Local Food Institute With $4M in Funding

The Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation seeks to develop the state’s food and beverage industry and meet regional food security goals. The institute will encompass five enterprises: a food manufacturing incubator, a hydroponic farm, a traditional crop and livestock farm, an agri-tourism event center, and a complementary entrepreneurship development and education program offering certificates.

U Chicago Graduate Students Vote to Unionize

The university's graduate students voted to unionize with 1,103 voting "yes" to 479 voting "no". Voter turnout was 70.5 percent.

HEI Presidents Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Protecting Dreamers

Nearly 800 college and university presidents and chancellors signed onto the letter sent to U.S. Senate and House leaders, urging Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect Dreamers. Citing widespread public support, the letter argues that individuals covered under DACA have made valuable contributions to US economy and security and should continue to be able to do so.