Northwestern U & U Chicago Receive EPA Energy Star Award
Among this year’s 206 total winners, two were institutions of higher education. Northwestern University was honored with the Partner of the Year: Sustained Excellence award for the second year. The University of Chicago received the Partner of the Year award for the first time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Partner of the Year awards recognize institutions and organizations for their year-over-year commitment to energy efficiency.
75 HEIs Urge Biden Administration to Support a 2030 US Climate Target
Second Nature recently sent a letter to the White House signed by 75 higher education institutions calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to adopt a target of at least 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The 75 institutions span 29 different states, in all regions of the U.S., and represent a wide diversity of institution types.
Lehigh U Achieves Real Food Challenge Goal
The university recently announced meeting the Real Food Challenge goal by purchasing 20.3 percent of its food from local, organic, fair trade and humane sources in the 2019-2020 academic year. Lehigh’s Office of Sustainability, Dining Services and Purchasing Services, and Sodexo have collaborated on the challenge for the past seven years.
Vanderbilt U Receives 2020 USGBC Leadership Award
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the university as a 2020 Leadership Award recipient in the outstanding companies, organizations and projects category. The university was among 10 companies, projects and individuals across the nation to earn an award. The annual awards recognize leadership in green building and commitment to advancing healthy, sustainable buildings and communities.
U Virginia Uses HVAC Systems to Cull Spread of COVID
A group of specialists at the university recently began studying how best to use heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus. They are focused on three areas: HVAC enhancements, such as the use of filters and increased ventilation; mitigating airborne transmission based on new research and technologies; and serving as a resource to the campus community about airborne transmission and HVAC mitigation.
U Michigan Expands Anti-Racism Initiative Through Hiring Initiative
The university recently announced that it will hire at least 20 tenure-track faculty, versed in academic work on structural racism and racial inequality, over the next three years as part of its new anti-racism initiative. For this anti-racism initiative, the provost’s office will be partnering with the school’s National Center for Institutional Diversity and the Office of Research.
Howard U Receives $1M for Women & Gender Leadership Center
A $1 million gift aims to elevate women of color into leadership roles across all sectors through the launch of the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership. The center's academic focus will include producing theoretically grounded research and creating a data center on issues of women and gender in the United States and the global Black diaspora.
Ohio State U Tests Waste Diversion Strategies
A new partnership between the university and a local entity will divert waste from the landfill by using the campus as a living laboratory to test waste diversion projects ranging from education and behavioral change to new recycling technologies. The aim of the collaboration is to scale up waste reduction solutions across central Ohio.
Luther College Connects Solar Array
A new solar array that includes a battery storage system will provide 10 percent of the college's current electricity consumption. Luther is leasing the land and will purchase power from the facility over the next 10 years.
Vanderbilt U to Purchase 25 MW of Solar Energy
Through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Invest program, the university has contracted to be a 25-megawatt co-subscriber to a Tennessee solar farm scheduled for completion in 2023.
U Sheffield Pledges Carbon Neutrality
(U.K.) As part of its recently released five-year sustainability strategy, the University of Sheffield pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions on campus by 2030 and across all activities by 2038. The strategy also includes plans to embed education for sustainable development into all courses.
Maine HEIs Join Renewable Energy Consortium
Bowdoin College, Colby College, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, and the University of Maine have joined with 18 other Maine businesses, schools and towns in signing long-term energy contracts with 33 new renewable projects in the state.
U California Adopts Gender Pronoun & Lived Name Policy
Under the new policy, university students, employees, alumni, retirees, vendors, medical center patients and other affiliates completing university-issued documents may choose from man, woman or nonbinary gender identification options. In addition to gender identification, individuals may also state a lived name, i.e., a personal or preferred professional name, that differs from their legal name. Legal names will be kept confidential and not published on documents not requiring a person’s legal name.
21 HEIs to Receive $1M Each for Academic Success of Students of Color
In an effort to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to be successful in today’s workforce, Bank of America announced in mid-November a plan to give $1 million each to 21 higher education institutions including community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions. Each partner institution will develop or enhance existing programs to meet specific skill gaps in their communities, while Bank of America will work alongside major employers to ensure these programs target specific hiring needs and create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.
Six HEIs Launch Racial Equity Leadership Alliance
The presidents of Depauw University, and Macalester, Oberlin, Occidental, Pomona and Skidmore colleges are co-founding the Liberal Arts Colleges and Racial Equity Leadership Alliance to address racial inequities at liberal arts colleges. They have been joined by the presidents of 45 other institutions, and are collaborating with the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Southern California.
U California Santa Barbara Announces Racial Justice Fellowship
In light of recent protests against police violence directed at Black communities and the persistence of systemic racism, the university's Graduate Division and multiple deans have launched an initiative designed to enhance the recruitment of graduate students committed to teaching, research and mentorship around racial justice. The Racial Justice Fellowships will provide recipients $8,000 in summer funding for three years on top of a five-year package of full funding.
Villanova U Receives Gift for Interdisciplinary Initiative on Poverty & Inequality
Spurred by a $1 million gift from Villanova alum, a new interdisciplinary initiative will support programmatic efforts to generate ideas and policy solutions to address the systemic issues of inequality. The initiative will also include an annual symposium focused on identifying the most promising approaches to eradicating poverty and eliminating disparities associated with race, disability and difference.
U Virginia Launches 'Energy Transition Initiative'
The Energy Transition Initiative is a merger between the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service's Virginia Clean Energy Project and its Virginia Solar Initiative. The new collaboration aims to analyze energy systems to identify roadblocks and reduce barriers to achieving a net-zero carbon electric sector by 2050, and to promote informed, engaged and inclusive decision-making.
U Tasmania Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment
The university announced in mid-October during Global Climate Change Week that it will divest from fossil fuel-exposed investment funds by the end of 2021. The university has committed to applying a negative investment screen to fossil fuels and a positive screen to companies and funds that contribute to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
California Community Colleges Receive $100M for Students Facing Financial Hardships
The California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, in partnership with the Foundation for California Community Colleges, announced a $100 million pledge over 20 years to help eliminate regional educational gaps by providing scholarships to students who are on their way toward completion of a certificate or degree at a California community college or transferring to a university. The pledge also provides emergency financial aid to students facing unexpected financial hardships. The initiative is supported by a donation from the Jay Pritzker Foundation.
Loyola U Maryland Creates Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice
Loyola University Maryland’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and Loyola College of Arts and Sciences are launching the Karson Institute for Race, Peace and Social Justice to address racial inequities locally and nationally. The institute aims to provide a space for researchers, students, social justice workers and activists to come together to research, discuss, debate and explore answers to critical questions on inequality, injustice and racial inequity in the United States.
American U Announces Wellness Platform for Students
All students at American now have access to a personalized wellness platform, You@American, with self-checks and evaluations to help each student assess their challenges, set their own goals, and support their emotional well-being. The portal provides tools, content and resources specifically for college students.
Georgetown U Signs Renewable Energy PPA
A new 15-year agreement allows the university to buy 100,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually from 11 existing solar plants. Georgetown will purchase the electricity from the solar facilities without the associated renewable energy credits (RECs), and through a second financial transaction, purchase Green-e certified RECs through a broker for an equivalent amount of power for the first five of the 15-year agreement.
U Wisconsin Green Bay to Offer Sustainability Certificate
The new non-credit, online only Sustainability Certificate Program launching in January 2021 aims to educate business professionals to implement sustainable decisions into their everyday roles to make a positive impact on both their organization as well as the world around them.
U Oklahoma Building Earns LEED Gold
Gallogly Hall features energy-efficient HVAC systems, recycled and locally available materials, roof and hardscape materials that mitigate the heat island effect, and a storm water and condensate recovery system for reuse in the building purified water system. The landfill diversion rate of the on-site construction waste was 80 percent.
U California San Diego Receives $39M for Renewables Integration Research
The National Science Foundation recently awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at UCSD to build a testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries, into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.
Illinois Wesleyan U Earns Bee Campus USA Designation
A coalition of students, faculty and Bloomington residents transformed the university's Peace Garden into a safe haven for bees and other native pollinators, enabling the university to become a newly designated affiliate of Bee Campus USA.
U Pittsburgh Partners to Deliver Meal Kits to Community
Pitt’s Dining Services and the Office of Community and Governmental Relations recently partnered with Pitt’s dining services provider to hand out 5,000 meal boxes provided through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. The meal kits, made up of meat, dairy and produce boxes, plus a gallon of milk, are designed to provide enough food for 10 family meals. Items inside included chicken, butter, cheese, eggs, apples, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Bowie State U Install Edible Landscaping
At the end of October, students, faculty and staff planted a fruit tree orchard on campus consisting of 25 apple and pear trees donated by a non-profit charity. Food from the trees will be used by dining services, while also combating hunger and enhancing plant services curriculum.
U Massachusetts Amherst Begins Equity & Climate Change Project
The new project called Elevating Equity Values in the Transition of the Energy System (ELEVATE) unites scholars from across disciplines to conduct research at the intersection of electricity technology, climate science, social equity, and energy economics and policy, with the aim of ensuring transformation of the electric grid is both sustainable and benefits all members of society equitably. The program was awarded two grants totaling $6.3 million from the National Science Foundation.
LSE Releases Sustainability Strategic Plan
(U.K.) The London School of Economics and Political Science launched the new plan focusing on six key themes: education, research, engagement and leadership, investment, carbon and environmental impact, and collaboration.