DOE Announces University-led Solar Power Projects

As part of its SunShot Initiative, which aims to drive solar energy to be cost-competitive with other energy sources by 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy has announced new investments totaling $10 million over five years for two university-led projects to advance solar power system technologies. The University of California, Los Angeles will lead a team of researchers from Yale University and the University of California, Berkley to investigate liquid metals as potential heat transfer fluids. The University of Arizona will partner with researchers from Arizona State University and Georgia Tech to develop and demonstrate new, molten salt-based fluids as possible alternatives to traditional heat transfer fluids.

Arizona State U to Receives $3 M for Alternative Energy Program

The National Science Foundation grant will go toward the development of a doctoral program in energy and establishing the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Solar Utilization Network (SUN) program. Focusing on biological conversion, photovoltaics, solar thermal and sustainable policy, the program will provide the groundwork for the Global Institute of Sustainability's planned doctoral program by 2016.

Bellevue College Awarded $815K for Campus Energy Makeover

The Washington State Department of Commerce grant will go toward campus-wide lighting retrofits, low-flow water fixtures and HVAC improvements. The project will also include a solar array and an energy-monitoring dashboard, both funded in partnership with the student environmental sustainability fund.

UC Santa Cruz Receives USDA Grant for Organic Farming Curriculum

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be used to teach organic farming techniques to students enrolled in the university’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems apprenticeship program. The grant will also allow the Ecological Farming Association, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, and the California Certified Organic Farmers to collaborate on the apprenticeship project.

Hartwick College Receives Watershed Education Grant

The Pine Lake Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Studies has received a three-year, $201,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to engage faculty and students in efforts to increase knowledge, understanding and action in order to protect and maintain the Upper Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds.

Southern Oregon U Receives Grant to Explore Biomass Generation

The $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow the university to determine the feasibility of using wood pellets, slash and other byproducts from nearby forests to generate heat and electricity on its Ashland campus. The study will also determine whether the recommended 1.2 megawatt biomass co-generation system will meet Department of Environmental Quality and other regulatory agency requirements. If built, the power plant could generate 100 percent of the current campus electrical need.

Catawba College Creates Clean Energy Revolving Fund

Over the next four years, the college will set aside $400,000 to provide the principal for a new green revolving fund that will loan money to finance on-campus investments in clean energy and efficiency projects. The college has also joined the Sustainable Endowments Institute's (SEI) Billion Dollar Green Challenge, which promotes turning energy efficiency projects into long-term financial investments.

Higher Ed Endowments Lagging in Sustainable Investments

Once a leader in adopting environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in their investments, higher education endowments in the U.S. are now lagging behind mainstream institutional investors, reports a recent GreenBiz.com article. Informed by a new, joint report from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and Tellus Institute, the article says one indicator of the failure of college and university endowments to keep up is the absence of these institutions as signatories to key institutional networks like the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment and the Council of Institutional Investors. U.S. college and university endowments control more than $400 billion in combined assets.

U Texas El Paso to Develop Green Energy Manufacturing Courses

A $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant will fund a five-year collaboration between the university's Department of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering and Drexel University that will integrate green energy manufacturing courses into the curriculum at both universities. The courses will incorporate technology-based and real-world problem solving.

Concordia U Receives $1.6 M for Renewable Energy Research

The university’s Institute in Energy, Water and Sustainability has received a $1,643,700 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to train approximately 20 students a year in research areas including the production of renewable energy and the optimization of water usage in industry.

SUNY Canton Receives $6.6 M for Wind Turbine Project

Funded by the New York Power Authority, the university will design and, if approved, construct a 2.8-megawatt wind turbine. The project is expected to provide up to one-third of the electricity needed to power the campus and provide educational opportunities for students.

Cornell U Announces Funding for Sustainable Projects

Provided by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s academic venture fund, the university has announced $735,000 in awards for 10 cross-disciplinary sustainability science research projects. Winning proposals include the sustainable production of green vegetable crops in sub-Saharan Africa; improving energy costs and scalability of algal biofuels; developing species-specific and environmentally friendly insect control; energy harvesting from high-density, small-scale turbines in urban areas; assessing mycotoxin exposure in pregnant Zimbabwean women; and climate protection as a driver for job creation for New York state.

Duke U Adopts Investment Guidelines on Conflict Minerals

A student-led effort to tie the university’s investment guidelines to the issue of conflict minerals has received the backing of the Board of Trustees. A resolution was approved that authorizes the university’s investment arm to adopt a proxy voting guideline for investments in which the university has direct ownership. The guideline stipulates that the university will vote in favor of "well-written and reasonable shareholder resolutions that ask companies for reports on their policies and efforts regarding their avoidance of conflict minerals and conflict mineral derivatives."

Energy Department Announces $56 M toward Solar Research

Spanning 13 states for a total of $56 million over three years, the research projects will be conducted in partnership with universities, private industry and national laboratories. The awards support the department's SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar power cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade.

Report Calls for Sustained Investment in Higher Education

In the face of major challenges including decreased state funding, a recent National Research Council report argues that a larger commitment is needed from state and federal governments in public and private universities. Including policy principles like revitalizing and redefining the partnership between the federal government, state governments, research universities, and businesses, "Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security" calls for a larger commitment from state and federal governments in exchange for greater efficiency and more openness to collaboration with businesses on the part of universities.

6 Students Awarded Community Sustainability Fellowships

Furman University (South Carolina), Duke University (North Carolina) and Vanderbilt University (Tennessee) will share a $75,000 grant from the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation to support student fellowships in community sustainability, research and service. Two undergraduate Duke fellows will work with the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative to install energy efficiency upgrades in 15 local homes; two Furman fellows will help implement a Sustainability Action Plan for the City of Greenville and work with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to advance sustainable forestry; and two Vanderbilt fellows will provide research and recommendations for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) in the Office of Sustainable Practices, and work with the Green Initiatives division of TDEC to create a Governor’s Sustainability Statement.

Texas A&M Announces Green Fee Projects

(U.S.): The university has announced $335,000 in awards for campus sustainability projects including the installation of bike racks, high-tech recycling bins and more water-bottle filling stations; the creation of an educational organic agriculture facility that will use solar and rainwater technologies; and a project to recapture and preserve open green spaces. The funding comes from a $3 per semester student green fee.

U Plymouth Receives Funding to Start Local Food-Growing Network

(U.K.): The National Union of Students has received more than £260,000 in funding from Local Food, a £57.5 million program supported by the Big Lottery Fund, which provides funding for projects working to make local food more accessible and affordable to communities. The money will be spent on creating a network of 18 new local food-growing projects on campuses across the country.

Western Michigan U Announces Student Sustainability Grants

(U.S.): The university’s Student Sustainability Grant Program has awarded $10,928 to four projects including carbon-neutral USB-drives, a sustainability-focused student orientation, and a prototype of a hybrid solar updraft tower.

Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis Awards 2012 Green Grants

The university’s Office of Sustainability has awarded a total of $46,000 in Greening IUPUI grants. The nine projects, including native and urban gardens, increasing sustainability-related educational opportunities and developing sustainable best practices, will begin this spring.

Slippery Rock U Receives $15K for Energy Dashboards

The West Penn Power Sustainability Fund grant will enable the university to purchase six energy dashboard touch screens to track energy consumption in residence halls and act as an energy conservation education and awareness tool. If successful in meeting a 3 percent energy usage savings projection, the university could save an estimated $1.5 million over 10 years.

Southern Alberta Institute of Tech to Debut Green Design Lab

With an $800,000 grant from the federal College-Industry Innovation Fund, the institute will construct a new lab from reclaimed shipping containers for environmentally friendly construction research. The lab will include solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, a green roof and rainwater collection basin.

NSF Provides $3.3 M for Solar Energy Research, Curriculum

(U.S.): The National Science Foundation has given $3.3 million to the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Texas at El Paso to establish a materials science and engineering program that will focus on solar energy research. The partnership will give students the opportunity to pursue photovoltaic materials research at either campus.

U California Berkeley Announces 2012 TGIF Awards

Twenty-two projects will receive a total of $308,630 from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) this year, the most funding awarded in one grant year. TGIF provides funding for projects that reduce the university's negative impact on the environment and make the campus more sustainable. This year’s amount puts TGIF over the million dollar mark in total grant funding awarded over five years.

U California Santa Barbara Receives $50 M for Energy Research

The private donation will be used to help construct an interdisciplinary Institute for Energy Efficiency research center.

Slippery Rock U Announces Latest Round of Green Grant Funds

Four new Green Fund grants totaling $39,590 will go toward the purchase of energy monitors for residence halls; the installation of an electric meter to measure the effectiveness of energy initiatives in campus buildings; and fund two projects titled “Harnessing Human Energy” and "2012 Campus Conversation on Climate Change and Regional Policy: An Exercise in Deliberative Democracy."

U Pennsylvania Announces Green Fund Award Recipients

Ranging from a comprehensive recycling center within the School of Engineering and Applied Science to a behavior change project focusing on water conservation, the university's Green Campus Partnership has named five sustainability projects that will receive spring funding.

U Michigan Planet Blue Announces Student Project Grants

Out of 22 concept proposals submitted for consideration, four student-led sustainability projects have received financial support from the university’s Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund. Selected projects include a reusable containers program, bicycle repair station, sustainable food kiosk and a student-run campus farm.

Washington State U Receives $5M Donation to Expand Campus Farm

The gift from alumni and natural foods entrepreneurs Chuck and Louanna Eggert will expand the university’s organic farm from four acres to nearly 30 acres.

Udall Foundation Announces 2012 Scholars

(U.S.): Eighty students from 70 colleges and universities will receive up to $5,000 each and assemble in August to meet policymakers and community leaders in environmental fields, tribal health care and governance. Sixty-eight of this year's scholars intend to pursue careers related to the environment and 12 Native American/Alaska Native scholars intend to pursue careers in tribal public policy and health care.

U Queensland Awarded $10 M for Sustainability Research Center

(Australia): Funded through a Dow Chemical Company contribution worth $10 million over the next six years, the university will establish the Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation. The center will pursue research and collaborations aimed at confronting large-scale sustainability challenges.

U South Florida Announces Green Energy Fund Awards

The university's Student Green Energy Fund Council has awarded a total of $269,510 to five approved proposals for energy-conserving projects around campus. Projects include the installation of lighting controls; software that will put computers in sleep mode when not in use; and upgrades to a campus building's heating, ventilation and cooling system.

Arizona State U Receives $27.5 M for Sustainability Efforts

The university’s Global Institute for Sustainability will use the gift from the Rob and Melani Walton Fund to develop and deploy solutions to sustainability challenges including energy, water, environment, climate, urbanization, social transformation and decision-making in local, national and global contexts. The fund will support sustainability efforts, which also include educating future leaders in sustainability, over the next five years.

U California Santa Barbara Announces Green Grant Awards

Thirteen projects were selected to receive awards totaling $172,932 including four solar power array installations, a website that will allow the campus community to track energy use, hydration stations and a Green Gateway procurement program.

U Florida Student Senate Passes Green Energy Fund

The unanimously passed fund will be used for student-proposed projects to lower energy consumption and electricity costs on campus. The $6 per semester fee is expected to generate $600,000 annually.

Arizona State U Announces Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund

Individuals or departments at Arizona State University can submit proposals for its new Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund. The funds will be invested in campus projects like community gardens, motion-detecting lighting systems, energy metering projects and thermal insulations for cooling and heating pipes.

U Michigan Receives $10 M for New Sustainability Fellowship

(U.S.): The university plans to host 300 sustainability scholars over the next six years to study sustainability as it relates to energy, climate change, water, food, housing, transportation and health. The Dow Chemical Company gift will help launch one- and two-year fellowships for master's, doctoral and postdoctoral students, and support a lecture series focused on sharing sustainability research and best practices.

U Iowa Receives Grant to Explore Biofuels for Campus Power Plant

A $25,000 grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will help the University of Iowa locate and procure sources of biomass fuel to replace coal at the main power plant. Several working groups will study different types of renewable biofuels including invasive plants, switchgrass and miscanthus grass.

U Maryland College Park Announces Sustainability Fund Awards

The University of Maryland College Park has announced $130,000 in Sustainability Fund awards. Supported by a student sustainability fee, the fund will aid composting, wind, green roof, food recovery and aquaponics research this year, among other projects.

Florida A&M U Passes Student Green Energy Fund

Florida A&M University has passed a new Student Green Energy Fund. Between 25 cents and $1 per credit hour will be paid by each student toward energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on campus. The fund is sponsored by the university’s Green Coalition, which works with campus officials to create a more sustainable campus.

Ohio State U Announces Student Sustainability Grant Winners

The Ohio State University's Office of Student Life has announced the winners of its Student Sustainability Grant. Funded through a partnership with Coca-Cola, the grant provides seed funding to undergraduate, graduate and professional students for projects that directly contribute to reducing environmental impacts on campus. Winning projects include a campus garden that will provide local, sustainably grown fare to the campus cafe; a mobile bike repair station; and a project to examine savings from the use of smart power strips.

Georgetown U Broadens Socially Responsible Investing

Georgetown University (DC) has expanded the scope of its Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility to consider investment proposals written by members of the university community. It also plans to broaden the constituency of the committee by the fall to foster open dialogue and diverse perspectives.

Meredith College Awarded $380K Grant to Support Sustainability Ed

Meredith College (NC) has received a gift of more than $380,000 from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation to support new and existing programs in environmental sustainability including research opportunities and sustainability curriculum.

Portland State U Announces 'Solutions Generator' Student Projects

Portland State University (OR) has announced the 13 projects selected for funding through its Solutions Generator student award program. Initiatives include a testing ground for processing compost; treating wastewater with a living wetland; and feasibility studies for a universal transit pass to encourage students to take mass transportation and a new bicycle route to campus.

Luther College Receives $384K for Sustainability Education

Luther College (IA) has received a $383,612 grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation toward sustainability education including student internships, environmental education outreach programs and a new staff coordinator to oversee these efforts. The college is also launching the Luther Sustainability Grant Fund, which will award $3,500 per year to student projects.

Northwest Technical College Gets $250K for Green Job Training

Northwest Technical College (MN) has received a $250,000 Minnesota State Energy Sector Partnership Grant to teach students about new green energy products and services. The college will partner with the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program and other local organizations to provide training in the installation and maintenance of solar panels, wind turbines and energy-efficient heating units.

Obama Seeks $8 B for Community College Job Training Programs

In his budget for the 2013 fiscal year, President Obama has proposed $10 billion for job training programs including an $8 billion "Community College to Career Fund," reports a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article. The fund would provide money to community colleges and states to form partnerships with businesses to train an estimated two million workers in high-growth and in-demand areas. The budget would also raise the maximum Pell Grant by $85, double the number of work-study jobs and reward colleges and states that slow their tuition growth and sustain their higher-education budgets.

Seattle U Awarded $100K to Create Urban Farm

Seattle University (WA) has received $100,000 from Wells Fargo Bank to transform an unused wastewater treatment site into an urban farm. Biosolids compost and reclaimed water recovered from the wastewater treatment process will be used to nourish the soil and vegetables. The produce harvested at the farm will go to local food banks.

Sault College Awarded $1.8 M for Renewable Energy Education

Sault College (ON) has received $1.79 million to establish programs that will provide aboriginal students with employment skills in renewable energy. Through partnerships with First Nations communities, participants will receive accreditation and certification through a selection of green training initiatives.

U Vermont Commits $13 M to Billion Dollar Green Challenge

The University of Vermont has announced a $13 million commitment to the Sustainable Endowment Institute's Billion Dollar Green Challenge, bringing the to-date total of the challenge to nearly $80 million. Launched in October 2011, the program invites colleges to invest a total of one billion dollars in energy efficiency upgrades delivered through self-managed revolving funds. Potential projects at the university include the installation of demand-controlled ventilation systems in buildings and the upgrade of external lighting across campus with energy-efficient LED fixtures.