National Union of Students Receives UNESCO Prize
(U.K.) Chosen by an international jury from a total of 120 nominations, the National Union of Students U.K. from the United Kingdom will receive $50,000 from the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development, funded by the Government of Japan. The National Union of Students U.K. won for its Green Impact initiative, a 10-year-old effort that helps students’ unions improve their sustainability practices.
Smith College Signs 'Real Food Challenge'
The college signed onto the Real Food Challenge in October 2016, pledging 20 percent of the food provided on campus will meet sustainability and fairness standards set by the Real Food Challenge organization by 2020. Students, whom the college's president credits for leading the effort to get Smith to join the Real Food Challenge, have been working for three years to research food practices and raise awareness of sustainable food issues on campus.
Northwestern U Students Form New Social Justice Group
Student Action NU, a new undergraduate-led organization, is meant to serve as a space for students who want to organize around social justice issues with an intersectional perspective, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and climate injustice issues.
U California Develops Climate Change Curriculum for Non-Science Majors
Through a series of curriculum workshops held across the university system, over 200 professors in fields ranging from music to Swahili have developed new materials for existing courses that incorporate climate change and sustainability into their subject areas. The new program is part of the university’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative.
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.
AASHE Reveals Seven Sustainability Award Winners
Cedar Valley College, Furman University and University of Manitoba were proclaimed Campus Sustainability Achievement Award winners; Erica Davis from University of Tennessee at Knoxville earned the Student Sustainability Leadership Award; an undergraduate group from the University of Houston and a graduate group from the University of Michigan each won the Student Sustainability Research Award; and Tina Lynn Evans from Colorado Mountain College received top place in the Sustainability Research Award. The AASHE Sustainability Awards program provides a vehicle for the higher education community to celebrate outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.
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.
U North Dakota Launches Social Justice Living Learning Community
The new social justice living learning community is designed for students interested in learning more about and practicing principles of social justice, including issues of equality and diversity involved in promoting a more inclusive and just society and those interested in bringing about positive social change.
Saint Mary's College Adopts Sustainable Purchasing Policy
Adopted summer 2016, the new sustainable purchasing policy supports products and companies that exhibit pro-environmental and social practices. Stakeholder workshops were held with staff to discuss the context of how a purchasing policy will work on campus and outline important next steps towards its implementation.
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.
U Nebraska-Lincoln Starts Composting in Student Union
The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska's Environmental Sustainability Committee has worked with administrators, food vendors and a new Lincoln-based company to establish the composting program, which will be established in three phases. The first phase includes pre-consumer food waste, while additional phases will feature promotion and education, and expansion that includes all compostable waste from the Student Union.
2016 American Solar Challenge Announces Results
The 2016 American Solar Challenge, an eight-day, 1,975-mile road course traveling through nine national parks in seven states, provides student teams with an opportunity to demonstrate their solar-powered vehicles in real world driving conditions and test the reliability of all onboard systems. Twelve teams competed with trophies awarded to the top three finishers: University of Michigan, Dunwoody College of Technology and University of Toronto.
Appalachian State U Becomes 'Workers Rights Consortium' Affiliate
As a result of one student's efforts to transform the university's purchasing practices of logo apparel, the new partnership means that Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) investigates working conditions at factories producing clothing and other products bearing the university's name and logo. Collegiate affiliates of the WRC have a manufacturing Code of Conduct that addresses, among other things, workers' wages and rights, and workplace safety and health.
Pennsylvania State U Sees Significant Reduction in Paper Use
By sharing helpful tips with students and faculty, students reduced paper usage by 44 percent and faculty by 10 percent in the 2015-16 academic year. A Paper Reduction Committee ran promotional campaigns on ways to reduce printing as well as promoted tips such as encouraging students to print double-sided, using the multiple pages per sheet printer function, and promoting use of an electronic document sharing solution.
'Community College Innovation Challenge' Names 2016 Winners
The 2016 Community College Innovation Challenge, a team competition calling for innovative, research-based solutions for food, energy and water, named Forsyth Technical Community College as first place, and Normandale Community College and Virginia Western Community College as tied for second. The competition was hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.
APPA Names 2016 Sustainability Award Winners
APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities, better known as simply APPA, recently named its award recipients for its Sustainability Award. They are Colorado State University, Elon University, George Washington University, Ohio University, Portland Community College, Spelman College, University of Michigan and University of Virginia. APPA's Sustainability Award in facilities management is designed to recognize and advance sustainability excellence in educational facilities.
Emory U Awards Inaugural Green Labs & Offices Grants
The university’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives announced the recipients of its inaugural Green Labs at Emory and Green Offices at Emory Incentives Fund programs that use small grants to fund innovative, timely and impactful projects led by students, faculty and staff to foster sustainability-related knowledge and habits in laboratories and workspaces.
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.
North Carolina State U Welcomes Aquaponics to Student Union
Thanks to the NC State Sustainability Fund, the university's Talley Student Union is now home to a student-designed and maintained, 800-gallon aquaponics system, a closed-loop food production method, featuring a tank of up to 15 fish and two shallow planting containers that will grow tomatoes and salad greens in water.
U British Columbia Boasts High Savings from Lab Challenge
One hundred and twelve participants, forming 18 teams, from 11 buildings across two campuses competed in a challenge to make research labs more energy efficient. The results yielded over 7,500-kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings, primarily through raising the freezer temperatures from minus 80 degrees C to minus 70 degrees.
California State U Sacramento Receives $80K Living Lab Grant
An $80,000 boost awarded by the California State University’s Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) program will cover the redesign of Urban Agriculture, a course in the Department of Environmental Studies. A large portion of the funding will go toward running power and water to the area where students work. As a part of the Urban Ag course, students will do hands-on work in the yard, creating compost and mulch for the 3,500 trees on campus.
U Virginia Dining Partners with Student-Led Agricultural Organization
Starting in fall 2016, the new partnership enables students to use their meal plans to choose between the pre-built snack boxes and produce boxes available from Greens to Grounds, a nonprofit, student-run agricultural organization that is dedicated to making fresh, local food accessible to students.
Portland State U Claims Bee Campus USA Designation
The university was named this spring as the 10th Bee Campus USA campus in the nation by Bee City USA for its commitment to minimize the use of harmful chemical pesticides and raise awareness of the plight of pollinators, including bees, which have suffered from colony collapse and die-offs in recent years due to chemicals in the environment. In an effort to improve the university’s urban ecosystem and provide an educational opportunity for the community, the Student Sustainability Center has installed two hives with as many as 100,000 honeybees near a community garden and orchard at the edge of campus.
U Central Florida Begins Engineering Course with Campus as Lab
In spring 2016, the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science offered a new honors-level course titled Systems Analysis for Sustainability in Engineered Systems that utilizes the main campus as a living laboratory to apply their systems knowledge to diverse problems. The course introduces principles of sustainable engineering, systems and life-cycle thinking, and the development of sustainability metrics and indicators.
U California Los Angeles Students Win Grant for Storm Water System
As part of the Sustainability Action Research program, five students from the Resilience Team received $18,000 from the Green Initiative Fund for a 200,000-gallon water capture system in order to save an estimated 1.22 million gallons of water per year. The system is intended to supplement water currently supplied by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for the university's irrigation system.
Ten Canadian Institutions Top 2016 Greenest Employers List
Organized by the Canada's Top 100 Employers project, the 10 colleges and universities are Dalhousie University, Humber College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Mohawk College, Red River College, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Toronto and York University. The Greenest Employer award recognizes employers that lead the nation in making environmental values part of their organizational culture.
U California Los Angeles Becomes Fair Trade University
Fair Trade Colleges and Universities announced that after three years of working on the designation, the university received the title of Fair Trade University. The process involved forming a committee, offering Fair Trade products through campus dining outlets, and catering and hosting educational events on campus.
Wesleyan U Funds Sustainability Education and Social Justice Programs
Among this year's initiatives and projects that the student-run Green Fund allocated money to are the development of sustainability curriculum into existing courses, an event featuring a Stony Brook University professor about ecofeminism, eco-grief and climate justice, and funding to a pilot program that offers cooperative food shares to a local elementary school.
U Iowa Marks Progress on 2020 Sustainability Goals
Some areas of progress include net negative energy growth, with a nearly 15 percent reduction in per capita emissions of fossil fuel-produced carbon dioxide from university-related transportation and travel, a 42 percent waste diversion rate and 14.4 percent renewable energy use.
Chatham U Opens Sustainable Building at Eden Hall
The two-floor, 23,000-square-foot center features a commercial teaching kitchen where food from the gardens and greenhouses will be prepared using inductive heating, recycled through a heat loop. Power is generated from a mix of solar panels and two, highly efficient, natural gas-powered turbines that feed electricity to the campus grid. Some of the building's walls are earthen using soil from the campus.
NACUFS Announces Sustainability Award Winners
The National Association of College & University Food Services announced the 2016 awardees for its four categories. Outreach and Engagement winners are Brown University Dining Services (Gold), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Silver) and Virginia Tech University (Bronze). Waste Management winners are Princeton University (Gold), Colorado State University (Silver) and Johnson County Community College (Bronze). Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the Procurement Practices category are, respectively, Harvard University Dining Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Green Champion Student winner is Sarah Leann Ross at Colorado State University.
Wilfrid Laurier U Claims First in Aspen Institute Competition
The university's Lazaridis School of Business & Economics claimed first place out of five finalists at the Aspen Institute's 2016 Business and Society International MBA Case Competition, for which it earned a grand prize of $15,000. Founded in 2009, the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society International MBA Case Competition provides an opportunity for MBA students from 25 leading business schools over three rounds to reflect on the significant influence and positive impact a well-managed business can have on society.
NextGen Climate Mobilizes Young Voters at 203 Campuses
NextGen Climate launched a national campaign to register and mobilize young voters at 203 college campuses in seven key battleground states to help elect climate champions to the White House and the Senate this fall. The campaign aims to show the size and scope of the enthusiasm for climate action among young voters.
U Maryland & City Launch Bike-Share Program
The university and City of College Park, in partnership with Zagster, Inc., launched mBike, a bike sharing program for students, faculty, staff, visitors and community members that includes 120 bikes at 14 stations throughout campus and the city.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale to Open Sustainability Display
The new Innovation and Sustainability Hub will feature informational displays about current and future innovation and sustainability efforts on campus and serve as a collaborative space to share information and increase awareness and student participation.
North Carolina State U Awards $161,000 to Sustainability Projects
Fifteen sustainability projects will be implemented on campus over the next year after $161,000 in grants were recently awarded by the student-led advisory board of the university's Sustainability Fund. Some of the projects include raising awareness for political and social issues through music, stormwater management and water treatment, pollinator-friendly landscaping and a new Alternative Spring Break trip to install solar-electric panels in underserved communities.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Starts Styrofoam Recycling Program
Styrecycle, a specialty recycling program created in 2016 by the university, aims to reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene headed to the landfill by using a Styrofoam densifier, a machine that grinds the plastic into small beads and extrudes it in a very dense tube. A local company in Urbana houses and operates the University-owned densifier for free in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of densified Styrofoam.
U Manitoba Concludes International Bee House Design Competition
The university's international bee house design competition called BEE / HOUSE / LAB aimed to address the rapid decline in bee populations due to pesticide use and severe winters brought on by climate change. Participants were challenged to design a bee house for 80-100 solitary nesting bees. In the Open category, first place went to a team from University of Manitoba and McGill University, and Ryerson University placed second. In the Student Competition category, a student from University of Toronto won top honors, with two students from Carleton University taking second.
Indiana U Completes Student-Funded Rain Garden
The newly completed rain garden installation was funded by the Student Sustainability Council and facilitated by one of the working groups of the Office of Sustainability. The garden was conceptualized, proposed, funded and installed by students.
Stanford U Students Reduce Team Travel Emissions
The university recently announced that all of last year's (2015) varsity team air travel emissions were offset through Stanford Carbon Offsets to Reduce Emissions (SCORE), a collaborative effort to reduce Stanford Athletics’ carbon footprint from air travel by purchasing carbon offsets.
Wilfrid Laurier U and CQUniversity Join Ashoka U Changemaker Campus List
Joining 35 other campuses across seven countries, Ashoka U recently named Wilfrid Laurier U and CQUniversity (Australia) as Ashoka Changemaker Campuses. Ashoka U, an initiative of Ashoka, is a global network that strives to foster a campus-wide culture of social innovation in higher education.
California State U, Northridge Partners on Mobile Solar
In an agreement with DC Solar Freedom, the university will receive 39 mobile solar units at no cost to the campus. Funding for this program is provided through a third-party power purchase agreement, allowing the third-party to utilize vacant space on the unit for additional brand recognition.
Michigan State U Unveils Tiny House
A first for the university, the tiny house project, for which a ribbon-cutting ceremony happened on Earth Day to emphasize sustainability, was a student-led, collaborative project that took over six weeks with more than 100 people from across the campus and community contributing. The 177-square foot house features materials from the university's Sustainable Wood Recovery Program, recycled newspaper insulation and a composting toilet.
84 US Universities Join Second Nature's Climate Commitment
Second Nature recently announced that 84 charter college and university signatories across the U.S. have signed onto its Climate Commitment, which requires higher education institutions to set targets, report on progress publicly and collaborate with their surrounding community, all while integrating sustainability across the curriculum.
RecycleMania Reports 2016 Tournament Results
Richland College, a two-year community college was recently crowned Grand Champion of the 2016 competition with a recycling rate of 82 percent. Loyola Marymount University won in the Per Capita Classic category with the highest total weight of recyclables per person, and North Lake College won in the Waste Minimization category with the least overall waste per person. Overall, 350 schools across North America recycled or composted a combined total of 79.3 million pounds of materials.