Hampshire College Appoints a Sustainability Officer as President
Miriam E. Nelson, PhD. comes to Hampshire College as its seventh president from the University of New Hampshire, where she has served as deputy director of the Sustainability Institute since 2016. Prior to the UNH, Nelson spent over three decades at Tufts University where she served on the faculty and was chair of the faculty at Tisch College of Civic Life, founded the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, published over 100 scholarly papers and presented at hundreds of conferences nationally and overseas, and was health and nutrition adviser to the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, and Agriculture.
U North Carolina Asheville Earns Tree Campus USA Recognition
The university recently earned the new designation by meeting five standards developed by the Arbor Day Foundation that promote healthy trees and student involvement on campus, including creating a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree plan, a campus tree program and a service learning project, and observing Arbor Day.
U North Carolina Wilmington Student Creates Wellness Campaign
UNCW sophomore Victoria Rause founded a new student organization called PERK, People Encouraging Random Kindness, that seeks to help students cope with stress by doing encouraging things for fellow students, like distributing notecards with nice thoughts written on them or passing out candy, all while teaching students to look for opportunities to promote kindness and rethink the way they view their perceived obstacles.
Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis Hosts Inaugural Sustainability Summit
The summit, which happened in late March, was a collaboration between the university and the City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability. The goals of the summit were to highlight the impact of community and collaborative efforts in advancing sustainability in Indianapolis and to engage the community in creating a vision of sustainability for Indianapolis.
U California Davis Releases Growth Plan Alongside an Environmental Impact Report
The university recently released an updated Long Range Development Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), which assesses the potential environmental impacts of the proposed development plan along with new housing projects. The goal of the new development scheme is to plan for future growth in programs while targeting environmental goals in areas such as energy and water use, transportation, and waste management.
DePauw U Dining Hall Receives LEED Gold
The university's Hoover Dining Hall is a 48,600 square-foot facility that seats more than 600 people in the main dining room with an array of smaller dining rooms that provide additional seating options. Food Services implements zero waste initiatives, such as reusable carry-out boxes, trayless dining, composting and using leftover fruit peels to make infused water. The university also donates leftover food to those in need and gives a portion of its scraps to local farmers for livestock feed.
Eastern Kentucky U Introduces Dockless Bike-Share System
Designed to help students get around the Richmond campus, the university recently contracted with LimeBike to introduce 100 brightly painted green and yellow bicycles at no cost to the university, with plans to increase the fleet to 250 in the upcoming weeks.
31 Colleges & Universities Begin Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative
The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative is a joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and The Democracy Collaborative aimed at developing and sharing new strategies for deploying higher education’s intellectual and place-based resources to enhance the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve. The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative builds on and expands the work of The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort, in which six urban universities—SUNY Buffalo State, Cleveland State University, Drexel University, Rutgers University-Newark, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Virginia Commonwealth University—collaborated in a multi-year process to pilot effective metrics for tracking anchor mission impact.
Cornell U Promotes Climate Literacy for Staff
Members of the university's Employee Assembly voted earlier this month to support staff involvement and participation in campus climate change literacy policy and programs, in an effort to ensure the success of the Climate Action Plan. Highlighting the scientific consensus of global climate change, the resolution notes the impact of climate change on employee happiness and well-being. Climate change literacy was defined in the resolution as an understanding of an individual’s influence on climate and climate’s influence on individuals.
California State U System Creates Healthy Food Working Group
In an effort to offer healthier food options on campus for students, the California State Universities' Food Systems Working Group convened had its inaugural meeting in March. The meeting was attended by students, professors, technical experts, dining management staff, food producers and administrators from all 23 campuses and their respective communities. Their goal is to get more real food, defined as local- and community-based, fair trade, ecologically sound and humane, on CSU campuses.
Western U Receives $11.6M Grant for Energy Upgrades
The grant will go toward a retrofit to modify heating systems from steam to hot water in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce the use of natural gas. The change is expected to result in a 12 percent reduction in emissions from 2016 levels and an estimated cost savings of $1.5 million annually. The funding is from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program of the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
Arizona State U Hosts 'Day Without Cars' Event
As part of a coordinated effort to further sustainable transportation efforts, nearly 400 university students and staff members signed a pledge to take an alternate, non-single occupancy vehicle mode of transit to campus on March 27.
Ball State U Students Create SGA Green Council
The Student Government Association voted recently to add a green council to its senate. This council will bring together environmentally-focused student organizations to collaborate on improving campus sustainability.
Stetson U to Launch Minor in Sustainable Food Systems
Courses in the new minor will be taught by professors of public health, chemistry and other environmental sciences, as well as media and communication. The new minor can be paired with any undergraduate degree, and requires five courses and 20 credit hours. The new program is expected to launch fall 2018.
Stetson U Students Compile ESG Stock Index
Five university seniors in the Roland George Investments Program (RGIP) created a new index focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. In total, $300,000 was approved from the RGIP Growth Fund for investment in four of the six stocks comprising the index.
U Richmond Receives $75K Grant for Energy Management Plan
A $75,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will support the development of a comprehensive energy conservation management plan, including an energy audit to document energy usage and identify measures to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
U Dayton Hires Executive Director of Sustainability Institute
Ben McCall was selected to be the first executive director of the University of Dayton's Hanley Sustainability Institute. Currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, McCall helped develop a project to verify carbon credits from campus emission reductions, raising nearly $1.5 million for campus sustainability efforts. He also coordinated design of and fundraising for a biomass boiler system; advocated for the first wind energy power purchase agreement for the campus; and facilitated the initiation of a student-led program to convert used cooking oil from dining halls into biodiesel. His appointment begins in mid-August.
Cornell U Students Redesign Regional Bus Signage for Accessibility, Clarity
Students of the Cornell University Sustainability Design (CUSD) collaborated with the county-wide campus and regional bus system to redesign over 560 signs to incorporate responsive mobile phone text messaging to help riders understand routes and delays. The new signs are also compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Northwestern U Earns Energy Star Partner of the Year Award
The award recognizes Northwestern’s achievements in energy efficiency, including its efforts to accurately track energy usage data and measure progress in reducing consumption. Northwestern recently completed a comprehensive energy audit of all 222 campus buildings in Evanston and Chicago, representing more than 14.5 million square feet of space. Northwestern is the first university in more than a decade to receive the award and the fourth university ever to be recognized. Previous higher education winners include the University of Michigan (2004), University of Virginia (2001) and University of Missouri-Columbia (1997).
Acadia U to Eliminate Plastic Straws
At the request of students, Chartwells, Acadia’s food service provider, committed to eliminating plastic straws from retail and dining hall operations. ASU food and bar services have also reduced straws in operations as part of a campaign led by several students in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.
Utah State U Offers Bike Sharing
Through a partnership with Spin, a new bike-share program is now available to the campus and surrounding community. The program costs students and those within the USU community 50 cents for 30 minutes. Logan City will also be deploying up to 100 bikes soon.
Ithaca College Moves to 100% Renewable Electricity
Working toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral, 100 percent of the college’s electricity has been purchased from Green-e certified national wind farms since February 2018. The purchase will offset around 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, roughly 35 percent of IC’s total emissions.
Cape Fear CC Receives $16.5K Grant for Solar Energy Program
Of the $16,500, $9,000 will be used for student scholarships and certification tests, such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certification exam, while $7,500 will be used for ongoing training for instructors. The grant was dispersed by Cypress Creek Renewables.
Cranfield U to Complete Large Solar Array
(U.K.) Covering roughly four acres, a total of 3,508 solar panels will generate five percent of the annual electricity at the campus and also provide a new renewable energy research facility to be used by students attending energy courses.
Hobart & William Smith Colleges Announce Completion of 5 MW Solar System
With support from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the completed five-megawatt solar project consists of two solar arrays, each providing 2.5 megawatts of clean energy. Containing more than 15,000 solar panels, the system will provide enough power for approximately 50 percent of the campus’ electric needs and provide students with hands-on experience in clean energy learning.
Ball State U Students Conduct Solar Assessment of Community Brownfield Sites
A group of second year urban planning students in the university's College of Architecture and Planning studied the brownfield redevelopment programs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and then analyzed the solar potential of 19 Delaware County brownfields as well as the existing conditions of many sites. Nine students authored a summary report of the process and output of this immersive learning project.
Mount Holyoke College Seeks Carbon Neutrality by 2037
The college's board of trustees recently announced the 2037 carbon neutrality goal, which is also the institution’s bicentennial. To achieve carbon neutrality, the college aims to invest in energy efficiency and conservation, retrofit historic buildings and transition to carbon-neutral heating and electricity sources. The decision to pursue carbon neutrality came after nearly a year of analysis and research by the college's Sustainability Task Force.
North Carolina State U Gregg Museum Addition Earns LEED Gold
The building’s native and water efficient plants will reduce water use by 52 percent, a reflective roof will reduce heat absorption from the sun, and there are preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as visitors who carpool or vanpool.
U North Carolina Charlotte Connects With City by Light Rail
The 9.3-mile stretch of extended light rail tracks offers 11 new stations providing service to the university’s main and uptown campuses. The campus added sidewalks, crosswalks, and bus stations to support pedestrian traffic from stations. For the station on the edge of campus, the university funded a pedestrian bridge over a highway.
U Washington Installs Solar Fins for Shade & Power Generation
In an effort to reduce heat gain and use renewable energy in the university's Life Sciences Building, the building, which is still under construction, will feature vertical glass fins that include embedded photovoltaic cells along the south side of the building.
U Virginia Tests Compostable Bed Linens for Orientation
The university recently used compostable sheets and pillowcases for overnight freshman orientations. The material is made from plants and is chemical-free, hypoallergenic and USDA Certified Bio-Based. A local composting business that picks up the university's food scraps will also take the bedding and compost it, returning a portion of the resulting compost back to UVA for use in their campus garden.
St. Lawrence U Publishes Campus Sustainability Map
The intention of the new map application is to provide the university community with information and locations related to sustainability points of interest on the main campus. The map allows viewers to navigate different layers of sustainability on campus ranging from where to bring organic waste to locations with renewable energy to information about outdoor air quality.
U Hawai'i Maui College to Generate 100% of Energy Needs with On-Site Solar
A new solar photovoltaic system coupled with battery storage will be capable of eliminating the campus’ fossil fuel-based energy use when it becomes operational in 2019. The project is part of a partnership with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current that will also allow four UH community college campuses on Oʻahu to significantly reduce their fossil fuel consumption through the combination of solar shade canopies, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures.
U Bristol Strengthens Divestment Commitment
(U.K.) The University has pledged to divest completely from all investments in fossil fuel companies within two years. The new commitment builds on its previous commitment to end investment in companies that derive more than five percent of turnover from the extraction of thermal coal or oil and gas from tar sands.
UNESCO Designates Chair of Global Understanding for Sustainability at University of Jena
(Germany) The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has established a Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Over the next four years, the new chair will primarily encourage getting social sciences and humanities to become more involved in sustainability research. Social geographer Dr. Benno Werlen will hold the position.
College of the Holy Cross to Phase Out Knight Mascot and Imagery
Noting that the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties the college to religious wars and the violence of the Crusade, it will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. It will instead use the interlocking HC on a purple shield as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising.
U Florida Launches Center for Public Interest Communications
The center is dedicated to developing, translating and applying the science of strategic communication to drive social change. Among other things, the center will promote scholarship that can advance the practice of public interest communications and will create undergraduate and graduate curricula for adoption by other institutions. The university's College of Journalism and Communications has also launched the Journal for Public Interest Communications, an open-access academic journal devoted to this emerging field.
U California Los Angeles to Offer Bachelors Degree in Climate Science
Housed in UCLA's department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, the program will be among first undergraduate degree programs in climate science worldwide. The degree program will provide undergraduates with the scientific understanding they need to assess the effects of climate change, both from human activity and from natural climate variability. It also will provide students with the knowledge and tools they need to communicate on the subject with decision-makers in the public and private sectors.
U Virginia Launches 'Shut the Sash' Competition
In late 2017, the university launched its first “Shut the Sash” competition to encourage safer, more efficient working standards under chemical fume hoods. Competition participants earned points by answering educational questions, watching videos on sustainable research practices, and submitting before and after photos of fume hoods.
Cornell U Adopts New Standards for Healthy Dining
As part of the university's participation in the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, Cornell Dining is focusing on whole, minimally processed food and transparency in menu items. More than 50 changes have been made, such as: eliminating trans fats, MSG, and artificial food coloring; serving whole muscle meat with no soy protein fillers; and avoiding artificial additives in pepperoni, breakfast sausage, most deli meats and pizza.
U Colorado Boulder to Assist City With Climate Justice & Conservation Work
CU Boulder's Foundations for Leaders Organizing for Water and Sustainability (FLOWS) program will work with the city of Longmont on a pilot project to help train Longmont employees and community members on climate justice, and energy and water conservation work. With a $15,000 Boulder County sustainability grant, the project will involve program development, community engagement, staff and resident training, supplies, equipment and evaluation, in addition to providing workforce development opportunities for underrepresented communities.