Pennsylvania State U Earns Tree Campus Designation

The university's new designation as a Tree Campus, a program of Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes its commitment to effective urban forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. The university currently has more than 17,000 trees in its canopy.

Tufts U Grad Students to Unionize

Graduate students in the university's School of Arts and Sciences voted 129-84 to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union.

Baylor U Building Receives LEED Gold

The new building, completed in 2015 and housing the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, features a solar-reflective roof, dimmable LED lighting, daylighting controls that allow individuals to adjust the level of lighting based on brightness throughout the day, natural lighting for all interior offices using glass walls and doors, use of low-emitting materials to reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants, and sustainable landscaping and irrigation systems that increase water efficiency and reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems.

Queen's U Belfast Announces Responsible Investment Policy

Following recent discussions with the Students’ Union, the university has updated its investment policy and will, with some caveats, seek to disinvest from companies involved in the extraction and production of fossil fuels by 2025. Additionally, the university is implementing a comprehensive Carbon Management Strategy that aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions.

U Hong Kong Expands Smart Meter Program

A student-focused carbon reduction and behavioral change pilot project included the installation of smart meters in select student rooms and a real-time data dashboard. The technology and science-based program will be scaled up this year to include 1,800 users from four residential colleges. Students in the college led the development of data-driven solutions that reduced electricity use by over 25 percent in the pilot project.

Wesleyan U Receives $4M Gift for College of the Environment

An alumnus and his wife recently donated $4 million to the university’s College of the Environment. The endowment will fund seminars, workshops and faculty-student research grants, internship learning opportunities for students with financial need who are pursuing studies related to environmental research, and an endowed scholarship for those who have demonstrated exceptional academic accomplishment and are pursuing the environmental studies linked major or the environmental studies certificate through the College of the Environment.

U Colorado Boulder Uses New Steam Process for Weed Control

Grounds personnel at the university are now using saturated steam to control weeds in landscape beds and natural areas. Using an Australian company's patented technology, Weedtechnics, the system helps the university reduce herbicide use and lost workdays due to the traditional weather-dependent weed control method of using chemicals, which can’t be applied when it’s too windy, too wet or too hot outside.

U Vermont Reaches Real Food Challenge Goal Three Years Early

In an April 17 announcement, members of the Real Food Challenge and UVM Dining confirmed the university is serving 21 percent "real food", three years ahead of its goal of 20 percent by 2020. It has established a new goal of 25 percent "real food" as determined by the Real Food Challenge by 2020.

Northern Arizona U Installs Solar Canopy

The new photovoltaic system will generate enough renewable energy to power up to 100 homes and will save an estimated $1 million in electricity costs during the 25-year life cycle of the solar panels. It is expected to produce 1.2 percent of the campus’ projected annual electric consumption.

Roxbury CC Completes Solar Canopy, Geothermal Wells & EV Stations

As part of a $20.1 million energy savings performance contract, 115 geothermal wells, six electric car charging stations and a solar canopy with approximately 3,000 solar panels representing nearly a megawatt of power were recently unveiled at the community college.

Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski U Launches MA in Sustainability Studies

(Poland) Beginning May 2017, students can enroll in the new Sustainability Studies Masters program, which aims to ensure that the graduates know how to deal with the complex sustainability issues. The curriculum is specially designed to enable students to experience interdisciplinary learning over various fields of the humanities and natural sciences.

U Adelaide Announces Multi-Million Dollar Sustainability Plan

(Australia) The university's new Campus Sustainability Plan earmarks 14.4 million Australian dollars ($10.7 million) over four years to sustainability, with more than AU$12.8 million dedicated to carbon emissions reduction projects at the university's three campuses. While the university's goal is net zero emissions by 2050, its interim 2020 goals include two megawatts of installed solar, a 15 percent improvement in energy performance and a 50 percent reduction in waste to landfill.

Strathmore U Connects 600KW Photovoltaic System

(Kenya) In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the university took advantage of a green line of financial support created by the French Government to installed a 600-kilowatt roof-top, grid connected photovoltaic system to meet its electricity needs. The system is designed so that extra power can be sold to the utility via a power purchase agreement.

UK Student Union Renews Efforts to Fight Climate Change

(U.K.) Delegates at National Union of Students National Conference voted in favor of a motion to renew the drive for student action against climate change. One of the two key resolutions in the motion is to support protests against the President Donald J. Trump's rollback of progress on climate change.

30 College Presidents Back Carbon Pricing Campaign

College and university presidents from over thirty U.S. higher education institutions have given their support to the Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative, a student-driven effort to endorse carbon pricing as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The letter calls on state and federal lawmakers to proactively work to enact a carbon price at the state and federal level. Signatures are still welcomed.

MIT Opens Energy Dashboard Data to Students, Faculty & Staff

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched a new website that makes available detailed information about energy use and carbon emissions on campus. This resource is available to the institute’s students, faculty and staff, for education, research and decision-making purposes. The rollout of this central data dashboard, called Energize_MIT, helps the school meet the goals and commitments set out in its 2015 Plan for Action on Climate Change.

Sheridan College to Construct 500KW Solar Array

This summer the college will begin construction on a 500-kilowatt photovoltaic project that will provide shelter for approximately 260 parking spots. The project is estimated to generate about 700,000 kilowatt-hours per year and avoid producing 29 tons of emissions.

U Hong Kong Introduces Green Revolving Fund

(Hong Kong) The university's new Green Revolving Fund (GRF) supports improvement initiatives on campus with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. The fund will invest in energy-efficiency projects in university buildings, returning the utility and maintenance cost savings back to the fund for further projects. Initial funding of approximately $1 million Hong Kong dollars ($128,000) will be allocated this year in the GRF’s pilot phase. The seed capital will fund two lighting projects.

Nanyang Technological U Opens Sustainable Building

(Singapore) The university's new sports complex features LED lighting, solar powered systems, and a special cooling system that chills the air as it enters the hall so that no conventional air-conditioning systems are needed. The complex hosts three full-sized basketball courts or 13 badminton courts.

U California Connects Public to Research-Based Sustainability Solutions

The university is now hosting a new web portal called Sustainable California that broadcasts stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and students. The new resource attempts to connect educators and the public to the science-based, real-world sustainability solutions.

Education Dept Announces '2017 Green Ribbon Schools' Recipients

Nine post-secondary institutions were among 63 honorees nationally to receive the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools award, an awards program that acknowledges a commitment to sustainable practices among schools, districts and institutions of higher education. Recipients of the award demonstrated leadership across three pillars: reduced environmental impact and costs, improved health and wellness, and effective environmental and sustainability education.

Pennsylvania State U Earns Top Honors at Collegiate Wind Competition

The Pennsylvania State University earned the top spot, followed by Kansas State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in the collegiate competition involving university students designing and testing their small-scale models in a wind tunnel, as well as presenting their designs to industry professionals.

Santa Fe CC Wins '2017 Climate Leadership Award'

The American Association of Community Colleges and ecoAmerica’s Solution Generation program announced Santa Fe Community College was recognized for its commitment to addressing climate change as a component of the city’s 25-year Sustainability Plan. Also mentioned were the college's sustainability programs in 19 high schools and its outreach efforts with local tribes and rural communities. The college will be awarded $10,000 to continue its sustainability initiatives.

Central Carolina CC Receives $199K to Expand Sustainable Tech Curriculum

The community college has been awarded a $199,612 grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Small Grant program. The goal of the project, which includes recruitment from underrepresented populations, is to provide technician skills, competencies and hands-on experiences needed for employment in the fields of energy-efficiency verification and building performance analysis.

West Virginia State U to Sue Dow Chemical for Polluting Groundwater

The university announced in early May that it is pursuing litigation against Dow Chemical Company, among others, for contaminating the groundwater under the university’s campus. Though the pollution does not pose a direct threat to anyone on campus, the university says the company should be responsible for cleanup of the contaminants.

U Hong Kong Bans Disposable Plastic Water Bottles

(Hong Kong) Ditch Disposable, a university-wide waste reduction and awareness campaign, was launched in spring 2017 on behalf of World Water Day with the announcement of a new policy that seeks to eliminate on-campus sale and distribution of single-use water bottles of one liter or less in volume.

Minnesota Two-Year Schools Receive $1M for College Readiness Program

A 2016 report from Minnesota's Office of Higher Education found 26 percent of Minnesota high school graduates enrolled in at least one developmental course when they got to college. The new $1 million donation will create the Summer Scholars Academy, a program aimed at closing the opportunity gap in underserved communities by offering new students tutoring in math, reading, writing and study skills during the summer months before the fall semester. Officials hope improving college readiness will result in higher graduation rates for students of color.

Chemeketa CC Opens Press to Reduce Burden of Textbook Cost

The community college recently started a publishing peer-reviewed textbooks with original content authored by the college’s faculty in an effort to reduce the financial burden to students. In addition to savings, the Chemeketa Press supports collaboration and professional development across the university. The Chemeketa Press published 13 titles in 2016, with over 20 new titles planned to be released for fall 2017.

Seattle Colleges' Students Participate in Campus Infrastructure and Energy Charette

As part of a partnership to identify and prioritize energy, water and greenhouse gas reduction projects across all Seattle colleges, a charette was held with students to identify opportunities to integrate the building systems audit into student learning and professional development for faculty and staff.

North Carolina State U Hosts Sponsored Apiary

Thanks to a public-private partnership, a new community apiary with seven honeybee hives was inaugurated for Earth Day 2017. The new apiary will create opportunities for pollinator-related education.

U California Merced Class Commissions Campus Building for LEED O+M Silver

The university's LEED Lab Engineering Service Learning class, in its fourth semester, has commissioned its first building on campus, which earned a silver LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating. The one-unit, LEED Lab class gives students from all majors the opportunity to assess the performance of existing campus facilities through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED O+M program.

Smith College Upgrades Lighting in Athletic Facilities

The new lighting upgrade in three buildings will change fluorescent tubes to energy-efficient LED bulbs. The upgrade will generate an estimated $34,000 in cost avoidance.

Harvard U Takes Pause on Some Fossil Fuel Investments

Harvard Management Company’s head of natural resources Colin Butterfield said recently at a Business School event that Harvard is “pausing” investments in some fossil fuels. Butterfield added that Harvard indirectly invests in fossil fuels through outside funds, however he also said that Harvard's natural resources portfolio will not likely invest in the fossil fuel industry in the future because those funds do not perform that well financially.

Pennsylvania State U Names Chief Sustainability Officer

Paul Shrivastava, recent executive director of Future Earth, a global environmental change research program, and researcher in the fields of sustainability, risk and crisis management, has been named the university’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Penn State Sustainability Institute. Shrivastava received his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

U Vermont Receives $6M Donation for Environment Institute

A $6 million gift from the Gund family will create the university's first university-wide sustainability institute. Designed to catalyze interdisciplinary research at UVM, the Gund Institute for Environment will help address urgent global issues highlighted in the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals.

Pennsylvania State U Begins Reforestation Project

To help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, erosion and pollution of waterways, the university's Hershey campus will add almost 2,400 native trees across a 13-acre area that will be planted by community residents, school groups and other local volunteers.

Energy Dept Names Student Building-Design Competition Winners

The U.S. Department of Energy announced winners of its fourth annual Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a collegiate competition engaging university students to design high-performance homes that offset all or most of annual energy consumption with renewable energy. Four contests had first and second place finishers with the grand prize winners announced as Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. An aim of the competition is to advance building science curricula in university programs across the country.

US EPA Declares Winners of Green Power Challenge

The Big Ten beat 36 other athletic conferences to become the Conference Champion in the 2016-2017 College and University Green Power Challenge. Procuring nearly 246 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville was recognized as the top individual green power user in the challenge.

American U Building Receives LEED Silver

The university's new residence hall features nearly 5,000-square-feet of ground-level green roof and a 46 percent decrease in water use relative to standard buildings of similar size. A rooftop solar thermal system heats water and the entire building is powered with renewable energy. Over 90 percent of the building has a view of the outdoors.

Maharishi U Management Receives $10K Grant for New Trees

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Alliant Energy, a local electric power distribution company, volunteers were able to plant 100 trees on campus. This is the third such grant from Alliant, bringing the total number of new trees planted in the past two years to approximately 240.

U Montreal Receives Fair Trade Campus Designation

The university recently earned the Fair Trade Campus designation by serving certified Fair Trade coffee at all locations where coffee is served and offering three certified Fair Trade tea choices and one chocolate option at every food service outlet.

Saint Michael's College Earns Bee Campus USA Certification

The college has become the 23rd educational institution in the nation to be certified under the Bee Campus USA program. The Bee Campus USA designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds and bats.

Portland CC Helps Students Save $1M in Textbook Costs

In response to the skyrocketing cost of textbooks, the community college's staff, faculty and students came together to establish an open educational resources (OER) program that has reduced the cost of books, saving students $1 million since the program began in 2015. Open educational resources involve open textbooks, which are texts released under flexible copyright licenses, such as Creative Commons, that facilitate copying, printing and adapting at no cost. They are often written by scholars and published by grant-funded projects or universities.

U Maine System Announces ESG Investment Policy

Maine’s public universities celebrated Earth Day 2017 with an announcement of a change to their investment policy that gives consideration to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles when completing asset allocation and investment manager reviews. The system's managed investment pool's market value is currently $287 million. The universities also heralded the release of a report that details a 34 percent decline in total gross emissions across the seven-campus system over the last decade.

Dartmouth College Sets Goals for Low-Carbon Future

Dartmouth’s president has announced new principles, standards and commitments in the areas of energy, waste and materials, water, food, transportation, and landscape and ecology. Based on a report developed by the Sustainability Task Force, these commitments include a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations by 50 percent by 2025, and by 80 percent by 2050.

Brown U to Waive Application Fee for Low-Income Students

Beginning with prospective undergraduates who apply for admission to the class entering in fall 2018, the university will automatically waive the application fee for any high school student eligible for free and reduced price lunch through the National School Lunch Program, as well as students enrolled in federal, state or local programs that aid students from low-income families. This achievement comes after a coalition of undergraduate student governments and first-generation, low-income student groups advocated for waived fees for first-generation and low-income applicants.

Pac-12 Releases Zero Waste Bowl Results

The Pac-12 Road Zero Waste Bowl provides a friendly and spirited platform for Pac-12 universities to engage on best practices in waste diversion and to learn how each campus strives toward zero waste goals. The winners of the Zero Waste Bowl for the 2016-17 basketball season, in order of rank, are the University of California, Berkeley, diversion rate of 94 percent; the University of Colorado, Boulder, diversion rate of 92 percent; and University of Arizona, with a diversion rate of 65 percent.

Chatham U Aims to Invest Endowment in Sustainable Energy

At a recent meeting of the university's investment committee of the board of trustees, members voted to approve two new investment opportunities that are specifically aimed at excluding fossil fuels and supporting sustainable energy. With those changes, 96 percent of its endowment will be fossil fuel-free. Currently, about five percent of the $80 million endowment fund is invested in fossil fuels.

Bard College Unveils Environmental Education Degree Program

Beginning fall 2018, the college's Center for Environmental Policy will host the new Master of Education degree program in environmental education, which aims to prepare educators to create an informed and engaged citizenry that will support progress toward a sustainable future.

Columbia U Releases First Sustainability Plan

The university's inaugural Sustainability Plan, released for Earth Day 2017, is its first formalized document bringing together sustainability efforts. It is the result of a 16-month focused collaboration with students, faculty, administrators and scientists working across departments to create a three-year, operations-focused roadmap to a more sustainable campus. The plan’s overarching goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent in the next three years through focusing on energy use and conservation, transportation and waste management.