Washington Monthly Publishes 'Best Colleges for Student Voting' List
Compiled from information through All In Campus Democracy Challenge and the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) at Tufts University, the Washington Monthly ranking measures how well colleges encourage their students to vote, boosting democratic participation and civic engagement. This year, a total of 157 schools made the list, which was ordered by the voter registration rate.
Aarhus U Approves 44 Actions to Reduce Emissions
(Denmark) The university recently announced 44 activities to reduce carbon emissions, some of which are waste-sorting pilot projects in study areas, libraries and canteens, electricity meters on IT equipment, assessing the feasibility of solar-electric, and using fixed temperature settings for all university buildings in the winter. The four focus areas of the actions are campus, transportation, procurement and waste.
City Glasgow College Purchases Food Composter
(U.K.) The college recently invested in equipment to allow it to compost food waste on campus rather than hauling it to a facility. The new process allows food waste to be collected by staff in the on-campus kitchens, then processed through their dewatering system, before the substance is fed into the composter to create a nutritious compost resource in 14 days.
U Nebraska Lincoln Initiates Recycling Improvement Changes
The university will launch a new pilot program designed to make recycling processes universal in all campus buildings. It will be tested in eight buildings before being offered university-wide. The change comes after a survey of nearly 9,000 students, faculty and staff revealed that 95 percent of the campus community want improvements to the recycling process. Overall, the project aims to purchase 450 recycling stations. Along with setting campus guidelines for recycling and solid waste management, it will include standardized signage, posters and messaging; and a campaign to engage and educate students, faculty and staff about the benefits of pro-environmental behaviors.
Rutgers U Offers Electric Scooters
In an effort to relieve overcrowded buses, the university recently introduced 300 electric scooters on campus. The e-scooters connect to an app and cost $1 to begin the ride plus 28 cents per minute.
SUNY Cortland Installs EV Charging Stations
Starting this fall, the university began offering campus community members the option to recharge personal electric vehicle (EV) batteries on campus for a small fee. The cost to add four chargers to campus was $115,000, much of which was covered by two grants.
Austin CC Switches to Solar & Wind Power
The community college district launched its 100 percent renewable energy program with the Texas General Land Office, and now its Round Rock and Elgin campuses use 100 percent renewable energy from wind and solar.
Dumfries Galloway College Launches Sustainable Energy Hub
(U.K.) Called the Green Energy Hub, the new initiative aims to provide practical solutions to the challenges of heating, power and water supply faced by the college as well as creating a valuable teaching tool for students. Technologies of the hub will include a wind turbine, heat pumps, solar arrays, battery storage and electric vehicle charging points.
U Illinois Chicago to Lead Consortium of HSIs
The university recently announced its role as lead university of Crossing Latinidades, a new consortium of 16 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) with the R1 designation in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Supported by a $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the consortium will feature four pilot collaborative working groups that will develop proposals of comparative research, scholarship, teaching and resource sharing built around the themes of material culture, language and identity, climate change and inequality, and poetry.
U North Carolina Charlotte Creates Scholarship for Social Justice
The new scholarship provides annual support to returning undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, potential for academic success in their chosen program of study and a record of service or social action either at UNC Charlotte, in the greater Charlotte community or in their hometown. Each recipient will receive a minimum award of $1,500.
Northwestern U Research Center Earns LEED Gold
The university's Biomedical Research Center features a vegetated roof, a rainwater collection system, a double-skin facade on the south-facing side to reduce heat and glare, energy recovery wheels in laboratory exhaust and water-efficient fixtures.
Lane CC Building Earns LEED Silver
The community college's Center for Learning and Student Success building was recently renovated to include energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, automatic lighting systems, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, reflective material to reduce heat island effect, low-emission finishes and construction materials, and raised planter beds for fruits and herbs to be grown in accordance with the college's integrated pest management plan.
Princeton Review Publishes 2021 Green Honor Roll
The Princeton Review recently released the 2021 Green Honor Roll, ranking the 30 colleges and universities that received the highest possible Green Rating score (99). There were 695 higher education institutions evaluated. The rating system includes health and sustainability as quality of life indicators for students, employment preparation for the clean-energy economy, citizenship preparation, and institutional policies related to environmental responsibility.
U Houston Gets Grant for Carbon Management Projects
The university's Center for Carbon Management in Energy recently awarded $275,000 in research funding to cover a range of projects from converting carbon to fuel and other useful products to a proposed new wireless monitoring system for carbon capture storage. The Center for Carbon Management in Energy was launched as a University research center in 2019 to form an academic-industry consortium to reduce industry’s carbon footprint and find new business opportunities for carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions.
U Oregon Launches Black Studies Minor
The university's College of Arts and Sciences is offering the Black studies minor beginning in fall of 2020. It will serve at the academic home of its Umoja Residential Community, which takes its name from the Swahili word for unity.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Appoints CSO
Having served as director of the UNC Institute for the Environment since 2018, Mike Piehler was recently named the university’s chief sustainability officer and special assistant to the chancellor for sustainability. He is a coastal ecosystem ecologist at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and has joint appointments in the department of marine sciences, department of environmental sciences and engineering, and the environment, ecology and energy program. As chief sustainability officer, Mike will provide leadership and coordination of broad sustainability efforts on campus, develop a plan to reach short- and long-term goals and serve as chair of the university’s Sustainability Council.
Ball State U Building Obtains LEED Gold
The university's new Health Professions building includes green roofs, photovoltaic solar panels, an underground stormwater retention system, low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient LED lighting, a design that enhances daylight to reduce energy consumption, and ground-source heating and cooling.
CaGBC Announces 2020 Building Award Winners
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently announced the winners of the 2020 Leadership and Green Building Excellence Awards. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate outstanding industry leadership and have made significant contributions to CaGBC’s mission to advance green building in Canada. The University of Calgary won the Green Building Excellence Zero Carbon Award. The Humber College Building Nx won in the Green Building Excellence Existing Building category. The Inspired Educator award went to Mohawk College. Colin Pinchin, a fourth-year student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, won the Students Leading Sustainability: Andy Kesteloo Memorial Project Award.
Loyola U Spain Campus Receives LEED Platinum
(Spain) Loyola University campus in Seville, Spain, features facades and windows that were designed to minimize sizable energy losses, photovoltaic panels and a water recovery system. More than 20 percent of the building materials were reused materials, and more than 30 percent of the materials were locally extracted.
Cleveland State U Achieves LEED Gold
The university's College of Engineering building, Washkewicz Hall, features low-flow toilets and faucets, energy-efficient mechanical systems, light-colored roof material to reflect heat and maintain a cooler temperature within the building, and paints, flooring and wall materials containing no- or low-volatile organic compounds.
Duke U to Purchase 101 MW of Solar Energy
The university will soon bolster its renewable energy portfolio through the purchase of 101 megawatts of solar electricity from three facilities expected to be online by 2022. The purchase is projected to meet about 50 percent of Duke's annual electricity needs.
San Diego State U Building Earns LEED Gold
The university’s newest residential community building, Huaxyacac Hall, includes advanced energy and water metering to optimize energy efficiency and support water management, low-flow toilets, showers and faucets to promote water conservation, and trickle vents in resident rooms to improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption. Additional sustainable elements include an expansive outdoor space with water-efficient landscaping, covered bicycle storage and water bottle refill stations.
Columbia U Announces Building Name Change
The university's president recently emailed the campus community alerting them to the renaming of Bard Hall, a dormitory for clinical students. The building was named after an 18th century physician, Samuel Bard, who owned enslaved people. A new name was not given, however at the president's behest, a group will convene to consider campus names and symbols associated with race and racism and provide recommendations.
U North Carolina Asheville to Change Building Names
The university's board of trustees recently voted to remove the names of two campus buildings, Vance and Hoey Halls, immediately. Zebulon Baird Vance was a Confederate military officer during the Civil War and owned enslaved people, and Clyde R. Hoey was a segregationist and actively opposed civil rights legislation. The resolution also requested that the university's chancellor appoint a task force to study and review all UNC Asheville campus buildings and to suggest renaming options.
Environment America Releases Higher Ed Renewable Energy Report
Environment America's newly released report, "America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020: Who Is Leading the Transition to 100% Renewable Energy on Campus?", catalogs the efforts of 127 colleges and universities that reported data through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership. The report lists the top 10 colleges and universities obtaining 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable sources, with Georgetown University leading all schools, generating and purchasing more than 1.3 times as much electricity from renewable sources as it consumes. It also lists the top five schools for renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy produced per student, with Colby College listed first.
Georgia Tech Introduces SDGs Initiative
The university recently announced that it will use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to implement its new strategic plan, advance organizational innovation, strengthen the university’s local and global collaborations, and address urgent challenges such as COVID-19 and racial injustice.
HKUST Announces Large-Scale Solar-Electric System
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) recently announced a renewable energy project that will include the installation of up to 8,000 solar panels at over 50 locations on campus. The system will generate up to 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Part of the system will be dedicated as a living laboratory for the university’s faculty and students to test out ideas and projects related to solar energy systems.
U Illinois Chicago Receives $5M for Public Health Clinics
The university recently received $5 million to support the UIC-Shawnee Health Service Black Lung Clinics Program for five more years. The program provides diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and compensation counseling services to coal miners living in Illinois and Indiana. Additionally, a $625,000 grant will support its Black Lung Data and Resource Center, which serves as a national resource, and a $400,000 grant will allow the center to expand its research on health outcomes among former coal miners.
Portland State U Police Discontinue Carrying Firearms
In an effort to reimagine how best to address the continuum of safety on its campus, the university's Campus Public Safety Office recently decided to patrol campus without carrying firearms beginning this fall. Additionally, the university announced the creation of a safety committee tasked with assessing how to keep campus safe without relying on officers carrying firearms and provide innovative solutions to an array of safety and security needs, including providing basic security and assisting those who are in crisis.
Davidson College Issues Apology for Benefiting From Slavery
The college recently issued a public apology for its support of slavery during the college’s first 30 years and its embrace of the unjust laws and false ideas that upheld racist systems and practices after slavery was outlawed. In tandem with the apology, the college released a report from the Commission on Race and Slavery, which proposes funding and action steps for building name changes, anti-racism training, auditing admissions and hiring with a racial equity lens, and further research and public education about the college's history where intertwined with slavery.
William & Mary Establishes Social Justice Policy Initiative
Starting this fall, the new Social Justice Policy Initiative in the sociology department is a faculty-student collaborative project to engage in policy-oriented and community-based research and advocacy. The initiative aims to bring sociological and interdisciplinary research to community-based and advocacy organizations and policy-makers at local, state, national and global levels. The initial projects are affordable housing, educational equity, eviction crisis, racial and partisan gerrymandering, food justice, and local black histories.
U Pittsburgh Requires Racial Justice Course for First Year Students
The course, Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance, will be a required, asynchronous, one-credit offering for first-year students on the Pittsburgh campus starting this fall. Students at the regional campuses, as well as any other interested students, may also register.
U California to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics
As part of a commitment to achieve zero waste, the university recently adopted a policy that will transition UC away from plastic bags in retail and dining locations (by January 2021) and eventually eliminate single-use plastic food service items (by July 2021) and plastic bottles (by January 2023).
Pennsylvania HEIs Partner With Municipalities on Climate Action
Twelve Pennsylvania colleges and universities are participating in the state's Department of Environmental Protection's Local Climate Action Program, which pairs municipalities with college students for assistance in developing the components of their local climate action plans. The participants learn how to measure local greenhouse gas emissions, assess local climate-related vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce emissions and manage climate change impacts in their communities.
U Virginia Opens 'Memorial to Enslaved Laborers'
Designed by Thomas Jefferson and built by enslaved people, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville recently completed the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, recognizing Black workers subjected to slavery and racism and offers a place of healing as well as learning. The circular shape of the memorial echoes broken shackles and also the “ring shout,” a traditional dance of enslaved African Americans.
Insight Into Diversity Announces STEM Award
The 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award, presented by Insight Into Diversity, recognizes unique and innovative programs for improving access to science, technology, engineering and math for underrepresented students. This year's accolade spotlights over 65 programs at higher education institutions.
U Oregon to Remove Murals With Racist Imagery
Four murals in the university's Knight Library that contain racist, exclusionary language and imagery will be covered by Oct. 1. Dating to the library's construction in 1937, the murals convey a racial hierarchy that places white people at the top through imagery and words.
College of the Holy Cross Launches Environmental Justice Prize
The college's environmental studies program recently announced the creation of the Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao Prize for work that addresses environmental racism and justice. The prize aims to recognize faculty who design their courses and research around the program's objectives.
Tuskegee U Receives $100K to Increase African American Access
The university’s Department of Architecture recently received a $100,000 contribution from the Cooper Carry Charitable Foundation, Inc., to increase access to the architecture profession for African American students. A need-based scholarship for undergraduate students will use $80,000 while the remaining $20,000 is designated for a student technology scholarship that will allow students to receive technology assistance by providing laptops and/or architecture design software.
U Hawai'i Receives $1.5M for Food & Ag Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced a $1.5 million grant to the university to expand education programs focused on food, agriculture and natural resources. Nine campuses will share $1.04 million for education and training resources for underrepresented individuals and businesses to break the cycle of resource and employment insecurity. UH Maui College will receive close to $500,000 to support a research methods and communications course and internships with local industry and nonprofit organizations to prepare students for science-based careers, particularly in food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences.
Pace U Earns Bee Campus USA Designation
The university's Pleasantville campus is now a certified affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program. The program is designed to increase public awareness of the role that pollinators in the ecosystem play, which the university aims to do by posting educational signage and hosting pollinator-focused events.
Five International Universities Receive $20K for Civic Engagement
The Talloires Network recently awarded a total of $100,000 to five university-community partnerships around the world responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The grantees are Meridian Global University (Cameroon) and the Access Care Foundation; Mount Kenya University (Kenya) and Partners for Care; Veracruz University (Mexico) and the Veracruz State Department of the Environment; National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (Nicaragua) in Managua in collaboration with municipal mayors and non-profit community institutions; and University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) and the Glen Norah Community Cooperative. The grants are part of the University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement, a program established by the Talloires Network in partnership with Open Society Foundations.
U Kentucky Launches Civil Rights & Education Initiative
The university recently announced a collaboration between its College of Education and the NAACP to develop an education and research initiative focused on educational equity, civil rights and social justice. Advancing and protecting education for all students in preschool through higher education will be the initiative’s focus, with particular emphasis on race-based discrimination. The initiative will also focus on students who are marginalized in the education sector based on ability, gender, ethnicity, age, class, religion, sexuality, and other markers.
Mid-State Tech College Installs Solar Array
Mid-State’s Renewable Energy Technician students recently installed 135 solar panels on the roof of the downtown Stevens Point campus. The array will supply approximately 15 percent of the campus’s energy usage. The project was incorporated into an advanced solar installation course this June and made possible thanks to a Solar on Schools grant the college received from the Couilliard Solar Foundation to purchase the solar panels.
Fort Lewis College Installs EV Chargers
Spearheaded by the Campus Sustainability Council, a project to connect two electric vehicle charging stations is now complete. The chargers allow for four vehicles to charge at once. The Campus Sustainability Council received $18,000 in funding from Charge Ahead Colorado, a program of the Colorado Energy Office, for the purchase and installation of the stations.
Cornell U Explores Ground Source Heating With $7.2M Grant
The university recently secured a $7.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to fund exploratory research on the feasibility of using a novel geothermal energy system to heat campus buildings. Ground source heating is part of Cornell's Climate Action Plan as a potential means for carbon neutrality by eliminating fossil fuels for heating.
Ohio U Installs Planted Roof
The Schoonover Center for Communication now harbors a partially vegetated roof, which will serve as a home to research projects, replete with equipment to track temperature, ultraviolet radiation, air quality, biodiversity, water runoff and water quality. The initiative was funded through a series of grants that engaged faculty from numerous departments interested in research data from the project.
Bentley U Announces Racial Justice Initiatives
A set of strategic initiatives were announced recently that are aimed at overturning policies, practices and structures that enable systemic racism on campus. They include promoting diversity-based learning and development for faculty; assessing support for students of color; supporting professional development focused on racial justice, diversity and inclusion; expanding bias training in hiring; developing plans to avoid bias in admissions; launching a racial justice plan; and mandatory training for university police.