Energy Department Recognizes U California, Berkeley Energy Efficiency
The U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge program recognized the university for its Energy Management Initiative, an approach to linking energy costs to building occupants in its Jacobs Hall facility, an interdisciplinary learning hub. After just five months in operation, the building expects energy savings of 65 percent, or $41,000 dollars. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the Department of Energy aims to achieve the goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030 while motivating leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments.
U Washington to Receive $210M for Its 'Population Health Initiative'
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced its $210 million gift to the university's Population Health Initiative, which aims to bring together the research and resources of the university and its partners to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world. The gift will fund construction of a new building to house the Department of Global Health, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and portions of the School of Public Health, all of which are currently spread across Seattle.
McGill U Creates Advisory Council on Sustainability
The new Advisory Council on Sustainability, co-chaired by senior academic members, is charged with making recommendations on the implementation and evolution of the university's sustainability strategy and related plans, policies, and performance indicators. Consisting of 17 individuals, including administrators, staff, students and external members, the council will meet for the first time in early November 2016.
Amherst College Sets Up Green Revolving Fund with $2M Gift from Alumnus
The college recently joined the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, an initiative of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, after Prince Albert Grimaldi ’81 of Monaco gifted $2 million toward the establishment of a fund to support operational and facilities environmental initiatives. The overarching purpose of the green revolving fund is to aid the college in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing the resources to implement energy conservation measures.
Cleveland State U Partners to Conduct Energy Audits in Community
The university partnered with the State of Ohio to conduct free energy audits of area buildings that help identify simple fixes and low-cost recommendations that could conserve energy and reduce operating costs. The initiative was made possible through a grant that the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering received through the Ohio Lean Building Program, which is managed by the University of Dayton.
Southern Oregon U Class Explores Sustainability Through Art
A class on art as activism encourages students to learn about art, race, ethnicity and ability, while examining both the ecological and cultural components of sustainability. Their task is to listen for what’s needed from a community, for example, a domestic violence shelter, then respond with a creative action.
North Carolina State U Reaches State-Mandated Energy & Water Goal
Despite a more than 50 percent increase in campus square footage, the university reduced campus energy use by 33 percent and water use by 50 percent per gross square-foot, as indicated by a piece of legislation that became law in 2007. The legislation calls for a 30 percent reduction in energy use per gross square foot from the 2003 baseline and a 50 percent reduction in water use per gross square foot from the 2002 baseline.
U Iowa to Launch Water Sustainability Graduate Program with $3M Grant
The university has received a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship grant that will be used to develop a Sustainable Water Development graduate program. With a planned launch of fall 2017, the program will train about 50 master's and doctoral students to address water, food and energy challenges facing resource-limited communities.
Pontifical Catholic U Valparaíso Wins Inaugural $100K 'Ray of Hope' Prize
A team from the university's Ceres Regional Center for Fruit and Vegetable Innovation in Chile has won the first-ever $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, an international design competition and accelerator program that crowdsources nature-inspired solutions to big sustainability challenges, such as climate change, food system issues, water management and alternative energy. The team's winning concept provides a new way to protect seedlings and restore soils back to health.
Southern Illinois U Gives Food Assistance to Hungry Students
Having opened in fall 2016, an estimated 300 students have already visited the new food pantry. Visits are limited to once per month and the amount visitors can take depends on the number of people in their family. Managed by a graduate student studying social work, the food pantry is sustained by donations.
Yale to Release New 2025 Sustainability Plan
The university announced that it will soon release the new university sustainability plan, Yale Sustainability Plan 2025, that aims to connect the broader Yale community under one long-term Yale Sustainability Vision. Expanding the scope of the previous two plans, the Yale Sustainability Plan 2025 is the result of broad stakeholder engagement across the university community.
Yale U Audits Curriculum for Overlap with U.N. SDGs
The Yale Office of Sustainability started auditing faculty scholarship to see how teaching and research aligns with the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a goal of identifying pathways for collaboration between disciplines. Preliminary results show that every department has at least one faculty member whose scholarship relates to the SDGs.
Pennsylvania State U Brandywine Opens Food Pantry Service
After a student-initiated investigation revealed that peers needed food assistance, the CUB-Board was born, providing food and necessities such as soap, detergent and paper towels for students in need. Students can claim up to seven bags of groceries per month or, if they have a one-time need for lunch or a snack, they can come to the CUB-Board without a full application.
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.
U Buffalo Receives Green Power Partner of the Year Award
The university was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for procuring more than 212 million kilowatt-hours of wind-sourced renewable energy, making it one of the largest purchasers of green power of any New York State agency, along with on-site solar installations. The U.S. EPA's Green Power Leadership Awards recognize Green Power Partners for achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Occidental College Institute Reports on U California Employee Food Insecurity
Occidental College’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, in collaboration with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 2010, sent a survey to more than 13,600 clerical, administrative and support employees at the University of California System with a response rate of 21 percent over a two-week period revealed that 70 percent struggle to put adequate food on the table and are considered food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition. The survey was developed by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics of the USDA. Another finding indicates the level of food insecurity among these UC employees is one-and-a-half times higher than the level of food insecurity among UC students.
Minneapolis College Art & Design Faculty Vote to Form Union
Two years after a national union began organizing in the state, nearly two-thirds of college's faculty voted for the union, which will represent about 100 full- and part-time instructors, according to the Service Employees International Union, which sponsored the organizing effort.
MIT Announces 44MW Renewable Energy Purchase
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation have formed an alliance to purchase electricity from a large, new solar power installation through an agreement that will enable the construction of a roughly 650-acre, 60-megawatt photovoltaic power plant on farmland in North Carolina. MIT’s purchase of energy (44-megawatts) from this facility’s 255,000 solar panels is equivalent to 40 percent of the school’s current electricity use.
AASHE Announces Top Performers in 2016 Sustainable Campus Index
AASHE’s newly released 2016 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Additionally, the report highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from over 60 institutions.
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.
U South Carolina & Clemson U Students Engage with Industry to Reduce Manufacturing Waste
A new partnership with Michelin North America will select up to 12 students from each school to take two courses that will prepare students to research sustainability and come up with a plan to reduce the amount of waste in tire manufacturing. Students will visit Michelin headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, a few times throughout the semester to work alongside Michelin employees.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Announces Three Zeros Initiative
The university's new Three Zeros Initiative strives to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality, water neutrality and zero waste by addressing individual behaviors, teaching and how the campus can model new, innovative approaches while having a global impact. Three Zeros stemmed from the new Sustainability Plan, which is the university's framework for examining campus-wide sustainability efforts and identifying ways to integrate them into teaching, research and engagement activities.
Rice U Dining Halls Receive Sustainable Restaurant Certification
All six of the university's undergraduate dining halls were recently named Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. The Green Restaurant Association evaluates restaurants and awards points in seven sustainability categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable durable goods and building materials, sustainable food, energy, reusables and environmentally preferable disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction.
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.
IUPUI & Butler U Win Sustainable Campus Competition
A joint project between Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Butler University won $50,000 from Kimberly-Clark Professional* in the Sustainable Campus Competition. The funds will go toward a large-scale, commercial composting collection initiative as a means to catalyze a city-wide composting collection program. Their plan will begin with both universities sharing the cost of having a trash hauler cart away the food waste from dining halls at both campuses. The hope is to eventually bring other Indianapolis organizations on board to share and ultimately lower the cost of hauling.
Ohio Northern U Begins Construction on 2MW Solar Array
Projected to meet approximately 10 percent of the university electricity demand, the two-megawatt photovoltaic system is expected to be complete in 2016. Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, the university will purchase electricity directly from the array without needing to invest capital in construction and maintenance.
Oregon State U-Cascades Offers Car Sharing
A new partnership with Zipcar now allows campus and surrounding community members to check out one of two vehicles on a daily or hourly basis. This additional transportation option for students and employees is an alternative to bringing a car to campus.
Texas A&M U Completes Glowing-Paint Bike Lane
Initiated by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Texas A&M Transportation Services after conducting a campus bike study that concluded in 2015, one of the campus' busiest intersections now has photo-luminescent paint to illuminate the bicycle lane to ensure safety amongst cyclists, motorists, vehicles and pedestrians as well as amplify protection and mobility. The solar-powered paint will store energy during the daytime and emit the light at night.
U Iowa Residence Hall Receives LEED Gold
The newly constructed building uses water-efficient landscaping and plumbing fixtures, was built to allow 75 percent of spaces to have an outdoor view, contains 22 percent local materials and recycled 51 percent of construction waste.
Champlain College Students Investigate Corporate Social Responsibility
During the spring 2016, the college held an event that allowed students to explore Ben & Jerry’s social responsibility policy by creating an ice cream that would benefit a charity, nonprofit or other sustainable organization that had a social mission. The challenge also served as a way for business faculty to collaborate while designing an activity to educate students on business practices.
Harvard U Partners on Building Materials Tool
The university is the first founding partner from the higher education community to sign on to Portico, a web-based application designed to simplify the analysis, selection and specification of building products that meet health and transparency objectives. Harvard’s Office for Sustainability and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment will partner with Healthy Building Network and Google to foster opportunities for faculty and students to use the data available to generate new research and support existing initiatives on healthy buildings that are already underway at the university.
U South Carolina Introduces Global Studies Degree
The new Bachelor of Arts degree program in Global Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that aims to familiarize students with the complex historical and contemporary relationships that link together people and places. By focusing on themes related to globalization, aim of the degree is to foster in students a critical, global outlook that will allow them to engage with pressing global questions and to thrive in an interconnected world.
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.
Cornell U Releases Report on Carbon-Reducing Solutions
Released in September 2016, Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035 - Analysis of Solutions is a set of recommendations for that will inform decision-making to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. The report focuses on solutions to reducing energy demands and providing low carbon energy supply, such as ensuring all students graduate with a basic understanding of climate literacy and pursuing energy solutions in partnership with local and regional entities.
Harvard U Funds Climate Solutions Course and Research Project
The multi-year Climate Solutions Living Lab course and research project is designed to bring together students from across the university in interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Harvard and beyond. The strategies are intended to be scalable for potential adoption by other similarly situated institutions that want to reduce their emissions and improve public health in and around their buildings.
Cleveland State U Appoints New Director of Sustainability
Jennifer McMillin will manage the university’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions and waste, enhance alternative energy use and increase overall environmental quality on campus. McMillin will also lead multiple education and training initiatives designed to enhance sustainability among students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community. McMillin comes to CSU from the Australian National University where she led the development of the university’s internationally-recognized student and staff sustainability outreach program.
Keene State College Heats with Waste Vegetable Oil
In a Campus Sustainability Month announcement, Keene stated it is using 100 percent purified waste vegetable oil to heat approximately 36 percent of campus. During August 2016, the college met the demand for heat and hot water using this fuel, which is helping the college reduce carbon emissions.
Rice U Sets New Waste Diversion Goal
After a study conducted by the student interns during the summer of 2016, the university ordered $3,000 worth of recycling bins and announced a new recycling goal that aims to divert 40 percent of all waste to recycling by the year 2020. Recycling rates were last measured at around 28 percent of total waste in 2015.
Yale U Reduces Waste Burden
Building on its momentum to reduce waste from end-of-year move-out and potentially reduce expenses of a first-time move to campus, suite common rooms that have traditionally been bare are now furnished with a combination of a sofa, chair, coffee table and/or computer table.
U California Berkeley Enters $4M Partnership with Brita
The 10-year, $4 million partnership beginning in the 2016-17 academic year bolsters the university's Refills not Landfills program, an effort to encourage students and the campus community to drink from reusable containers. The partnership includes distribution of Brita products, monetary support to departments and an on-campus Brita filter-recycling program.
Union College Installs EV Charging Stations
Two electric vehicle charging stations are now available to students, faculty and staff for use in four-hour blocks. A Planning and Priorities grant, awarded each year for projects that support the college’s strategic plan, will pay for the stations and will cover electricity use during the first year.
U Alabama Birmingham Installs Solar Electric System
The 100-panel system sits atop the UAB Campus Recreation Center and will be utilized for coursework and research by students and faculty, including by the university's U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon team.
Rhode Island Sets Goal to Save Students $5M on Textbooks
Responding to concerns about the rising cost of textbooks being a barrier to a degree, Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced a new challenge that seeks to save college students $5 million over the next five years by transitioning to openly licensed textbooks. The announcement was made at Rhode Island College, which launched a pilot program that has already saved students $100,000 by replacing the traditional textbook for all sections of its Biology 108 with an openly licensed text.
NCAA Encourages Divisions to Sign Diversity Pledge
The NCAA’s diversity and inclusion pledge, gaining approval from the NCAA's board of governors in August 2016, is now available online for presidents and chancellors to affirm their commitment to ethnic, racial and gender diversity in the hiring process for athletics. Colleges, universities and athletics conferences that commit to the pledge will be recognized in a public listing on the NCAA’s website. This comes after a 2014-15 NCAA employment survey shows slow progress toward addressing diversity initiatives.
Dalhousie U Adopts Sustainable Food Plan
The newly released framework from the university's Food Services and Office of Sustainability supports and adheres to the vision and principles identified in the Dalhousie University Sustainability Plan. The plan is primarily focused on but not limited to the food procurement, preparation, kitchen operation and end use, for which there are 11 goals spanning these four areas.