Sterling College Adopts Vision Focused on Ecological Crisis

The college's new Strategic Vision 2020-2030 names the forces causing the climate emergency and offers five overarching commitments to advance ecological thinking and action through learning. In order to hold themselves accountable, the Board of Trustees structure will change into five councils. Progress in fulfilling each of the five commitments included in the strategic initiative will be assessed by these five newly established councils with membership that is composed of trustees, faculty, staff and students.

U North Carolina Asheville Begins Using ESG Investing Lens

Following a multi-year effort initiated by UNC Asheville student leaders, the university's Board of Trustees recently approved using environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria for approximately 10 percent (roughly $5 million) of its endowment that will be divested from fossil fuel investments.

Chatham U Launches Community Food Bank Farm

Students at Chatham University’s Falk School of Sustainability and Environment are now growing a variety of crops for local communities in need through a partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Green Grocer mobile farmers market program.

Falmouth U Declares Climate and Ecological Emergency

(U.K.) In recognition of the threat that climate change poses to the environment and communities, both locally and globally, the university hopes to galvanize its resources, research and knowledge for the protection and benefit of the planet.

U Cincinnati Releases Sustainability and Climate Action Plan

Within the new plan, the university proposes new strategies for improving water conservation and greenhouse emissions as well as progress toward sustainability education, research, landscape and new LEED-certified infrastructure.

U Pittsburgh–Johnstown Attains Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Designation

To be certified, the university's 655-acre grounds and 15 miles of trails met environmental management standards in five key areas: environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water quality and conservation, resource management, and outreach and education. Recertification is required every three years to maintain the designation.

Portland State U Buildings Receive LEED O+M Certification

In just over two years, four university buildings were certified under LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance. Two were certified Silver while two were certified Gold. The Campus Sustainability Office oversaw the certification process, including coordinating the performance periods with partners in Facilities & Property Management.

U Pittsburgh Students Install Bee Houses

A team of undergraduates, called Bee Friendly Pitt, has installed seven bee houses near plantings and pollinator gardens throughout the Pittsburgh campus. Bee Friendly Pitt was conceived during the spring term as part of an environmental studies program sustainability course, which focuses on developing impactful sustainability projects on campus and in the community.

St. Joseph's College Earns Bee Campus Certification

The college now hosts a pollinator garden on its nearly 500-acre campus, offers educational outreach programming about pollinators, and complies with other requirements of the Bee Campus USA.

Education Dept Announces 2019 Green Ribbon Schools

The U.S. Department of Education recently named the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Across the U.S., there are 35 schools including 25 public schools, 3 magnet schools, 2 charter schools, 10 non-public schools, and four postsecondary institutions that are recognized. These honorees employ innovative practices and policies to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

Center for Technical and Higher Education to Install 1.2 MW of Solar

(Mexico) The university recently announced plans to install two solar photovoltaic systems of 1.2 megawatts in total at its Mexicali and Tijuana campuses. The 2,873 panels in Mexicali will generate enough power to cover around 50 percent of the campus’ electricity needs. The campus in Tijuana, where the installation already began, will have a total of 226 panels on its premises.

U Alabama Birmingham Launches Staff Sustainability Program

More than 70 employees are now a part of the university's new Sustainability Ambassadors program. The ambassadors create a network among buildings to promote sustainable actions to their colleagues and help implement educational programming tailored to the needs of the units they serve. Ambassadors serve a one year term.

U Iowa Connects Scientists With Community

The university's Office of Sustainability launched the Sustainability Scientists and Scholars database at the start of the summer to help connect researchers and professors with each other and the local community. The database currently holds 42 different profiles for all faculty levels, scientists, research staff, research administration and graduate students. It hosts over 200 topics and fields ranging from water quality to geological processes, economics, and climate change.

Udall Foundation Announces 2019 Udall Scholars

The Udall Foundation recently announced that 55 students from 50 colleges and universities have been selected as 2019 Udall Scholars. A 14-member independent review committee selected this year's group of Udall Scholars on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care, or Tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. Thirty-eight scholars intend to pursue careers related to the environment. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year.

Duke U Launches Program to Make Engineering School More Sustainable

Called GREENgineering, the new community-wide initiative is focused on high-impact and achievable projects related to improving sustainability awareness, increasing recycling, and reducing waste and energy use. Initial projects include switching to vending machines that dispense only aluminum cans; working with facilities to install more bottle-filing water coolers; and creating an online guide for staff members on planning sustainable events and compiling a list of sustainable event vendors.

Emory U Names Chief Diversity Officer

The university has named Carol E. Henderson vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and advisor to the president. Henderson will join Emory from the University of Delaware, where she is currently still serving as vice provost for diversity. Henderson will partner with the campus community to re-imagine and strengthen comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the university and create mechanisms for communicating the institution’s commitment to these principles and practices. She will assume her new role at Emory on August 1.

Pennsylvania State U Initiates Drawdown Scholars Program

Fifty-five undergraduate students from across the U.S. have arrived at Penn State to take part in the first-ever Drawdown Scholars Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. Dubbed Drawdown Scholars, the students will spend eight weeks embedded in research programs across the university, with the aim of investigating positive solutions-oriented paths to take action on climate change. The scholars are paired with faculty mentors and together will model the solutions, investigate their feasibility, and develop an outreach curriculum to educate others.

CaGBC Announces 2019 Green Building Award Winners

The Canada Green Building Council announced at the recent Building Lasting Change conference in Vancouver the 2019 winners of its Leadership and Green Building Excellence Awards. Cheryl Fryers, professor at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, won the Inspired Educator Award, and Western University’s engineering building in London, Ontario, won the New Construction Award.

U Denver to Install Approximately 2 MW of Solar

Beginning this summer, the university will install roughly 2 megawatts of solar electricity across 18 DU buildings, including two new buildings opening in 2020. The panels will account for an estimated 7-8 percent of DU’s energy consumption.

Indiana U Bloomington Initiates Resilience Cohort Program

This summer as part of the Indiana Sustainability Development Program, eight students in the first Resilience Cohort will be hosted by cities, towns and counties to complete greenhouse gas inventories, which will provide data on topics such as the amount of energy consumed, the diversity of the energy supplied to their grid, and residents' vehicle types and fuel usages. The result of a new partnership with the Environmental Resilience Institute, the Resilience Cohort is a new project under Sustain IU's extern program, supported by the McKinney Family Foundation.

U Kentucky Releases Interactive Materials Resource Map

A student helped the university's recycling department develop and publish an interactive resource map, which includes all the local thrift, repair and resell stores, as well as all the donation and recycling centers. This map is designed to serve as a one-stop resource for students, faculty, and staff looking to curb their wasteful habits and to do more than just recycle.

Appalachian State U Donates Toward Solar Energy for Local Nonprofit

With help of a $13,500 grant from the university, a photovoltaic system was recently installed on the barn of a local nonprofit that rescues horses. The newly installed solar panels will help power the barn’s lights, fans and heated rooms, and the farm’s approximately 2 acres of fencing.

U Arkansas Receives Acclaim for Homeless Housing Project

The university's Community Design Center and its collaborators were recently recognized by three awards programs for a homeless transition village project. The project, which seeks to provide cost-effective housing for low-income and extreme low-income populations and codify best practices, received accolades from the 2019 Green GOOD DESIGN by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design; the 2019 Great Places Award in the Place Planning category from the Environmental Design Research Association; and the PLAN Awards 2019, an international design awards program sponsored by The Plan magazine.

Emory U Hospital Tower Earn LEED Silver

The building features low-flow indoor water fixtures and energy-efficient exterior glazing systems, and is a lead- and mercury-free facility. A special focus was put on indoor environmental quality for improved occupant health and well-being. Over 95 percent of the construction waste was recycled.

U Buffalo Library Earns LEED Silver

The renovation of the 24-hour library included using locally-produced or recycled building materials, reusing materials, such as light fixtures, and the installation of an air station to monitor fresh air intake and improve air quality.

G7 President Launches U7 Alliance

The Group of Seven (G7), seven nations that represent the world's most advanced economies, this year led by the President Emmanuel Macron of France, recently announced the formation of the U7 Alliance. The U7 Alliance is an international alliance of university presidents who will engage both in discussion and in concrete action to address the most pressing global challenges in its first global summit in Paris on July 9 - 10, 2019. This inaugural summit, being attended by 46 university presidents, will tackle five major global challenges: the key role of universities in a global world, climate change and cleaner energy, inequality and polarized societies, technological transformations, and community engagement and impact.

Carleton College to Install Ground Source HVAC

By 2021, the college will have switched its east and west sides of campus from steam to hot water with the aid of geothermal bore fields. The geothermal transformation across campus will reduce Carleton’s energy use by 40 percent and its emissions by 15 percent compared to the current steam plant operation.

Pac-12 Announces Winners of Zero Waste Challenge

The Pac-12 Conference recently announced honorees of the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge for the 2018-19 basketball season with the University of California, Berkeley being selected as both the overall winner as well as winner of the student-athlete engagement category. Also recognized as subcategory winners include Arizona State University (fan engagement) and the University of California, Los Angeles (most improved).

NOAA Awards $175M to U Maryland for Earth System Studies

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded a five-year, $175 million cooperative funding agreement to the University of Maryland for collaborative research in Earth system science called the Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies. Led by two principal investigators from the UMD and one from N.C. State University, this institute will be a national consortium of more than two dozen academic and nonprofit institutions aimed at research activities covering three themes: satellite services, Earth system observations and services, and Earth system research.

Southern Connecticut State U Declares Climate Change Global Emergency

In response to student advocacy, the university's president, Joe Bertolino, recently declared climate change a global emergency. The emergency declaration is based on the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report; unprecedented acceleration of atmospheric carbon levels that as of May 2019; and local community health, environmental, and economic risk.

U Illinois Chicago to Offers In-State Tuition for Native Americans

Beginning this fall, the university will offer in-state tuition to students who are members of any of the 573 tribal nations recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Rather than being charged the base non-resident tuition of $23,800, the eligible students will be charged $10,584 as a base tuition before federal Pell grants as well as any other aid they may have received. Eligible students will still have to meet all of UIC’s admission standards, including test scores and grade point averages.

U New Hampshire Places $37M in ESG Investments

The university foundation recently completed the transition of 16 percent of its investable assets—$37 million­—into ESG-qualified (environmental, social and governance) investments. This latest transition in UNH’s sustainable investing practices has been guided by the Committee on Investor Responsibility (CIR), established in 2017. The university has also dedicated $5 million to community impact investing.

NOAA Selects Seven Institutions to Conduct Sea Ecosystem Research

NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (CINAR), hosted by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has partnered with the University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Rhode Island, Rutgers University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to carry out innovative, multidisciplinary research that will help inform decisions for sustainable and beneficial management of the U.S. Northeast continental shelf ecosystem.

U Maryland Receives $2.3M for GHG Reduction Research

Former mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg, committed $2.3 million to the university's Center for Global Sustainability to evaluate and analyze current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reductions. As the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Bloomberg will submit the findings to the U.N. to demonstrate U.S. progress in meeting carbon reduction commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Georgetown U Opens Student Equity & Inclusion Office

The university recently announced the creation of the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion. The office aims to improve resources for first-generation and minority students on campus. Dr. Adanna Johnson, currently the senior associate dean of students and director of Diversity, Equity and Student Success, will lead the office as associate vice president.

80 Institutions Recognized for Advancing First-Gen Student Success

The Center for First Generation Student Success recently recognized 80 higher education institutions as the inaugural First Forward cohort. First Forward institutions are selected for their demonstrated commitment to advancing first-generation student success. The institutions will share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the U.S. The Center for First Generation Student Success is an initiative of NASPA and the Suder Foundation.

College of the Atlantic to Eliminate All Disposable Plastic

The first campus to sign onto Post-Landfill Action Network's (PLAN) Break Free From Plastic Campus Pledge, the college is now committed to eliminate all single-use disposable plastics by 2025, which includes utensils, cups, plates, lids, polystyrene, shopping bags, clamshells and to-go containers, and condiment, sauce and seasoning packets, among other types.

U Kentucky Athletics Building Earns LEED Silver

The Joe Craft Football Training Facility features energy-efficient HVAC, thermal comfort and lighting systems. Additionally, it consumes 40 percent less water and 21 percent less energy than other buildings of its type.

Doane U Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment

At the beginning of May, the university’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to end all future investments in fossil fuel companies. Doane currently holds 1.6 percent of its endowment in two direct oil and gas investments.

Castleton U Announces Solar Partnership

A new partnership will allow the university to purchase net-metering credits from local community solar. Combined, the sites will include a 500-kilowatt array. The university is not responsible for insurance, maintenance or other obligations with regard to the solar project itself.

EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Announces Winners

The Ohio State University has been named The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year One champion. Rounding out the top three are Virginia Tech in second place and the University of Alabama in third place. Ohio State will take home an extra $10,000 to further support the university’s advanced vehicle technology program. EcoCAR is a U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition that challenges 12 North American universities to improve the energy efficiency of a Chevrolet Blazer while balancing factors such as emissions, safety and consumer acceptability.

Furman U Approves Slavery & Justice Committee Actions

Approved at the university's Board of Trustees May meeting were a number of recommendations made by the board’s Special Committee on Slavery and Justice, including erecting a statue and creating day of celebration to honor the late Joseph Vaughn, the university’s first African-American student. Furman is a member of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium headquartered at the University of Virginia, along with 10 other universities.

Bladen CC Opens Food Bank

The community college's new faculty-run food bank, the Eagle’s Nest Food Bank, supplies food to food insecure students.

U California Davis Gets Grant for Water-Conserving Landscapes

The University of California, Davis’ California Center for Urban Horticulture recently received a donation from TreeTown USA to help develop water-conserving landscapes through the center's SmartLandscape Initiative. By combining low water-use plants with the latest available irrigation technology, the horticultural innovation center will be an educational tool focused on measuring and monitoring water use data and reducing urban landscape water waste.

U Oxford Unveils Initiatives for Underrepresented Backgrounds

(U.K.) Two new programs that expand access to academically talented students from underrepresented groups were recently announced. Opportunity Oxford is aimed at students from more disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, while Foundation Oxford is open to students who have personally experienced severe disadvantage or educational disruption. Both schemes are free and students’ residential and living costs will be fully funded. When fully up and running, these major new programs will offer paths to education for up to 250 state school students a year, representing 10 percent of Oxford’s U.K. undergraduate intake.

NCAR Launches Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research Program

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching the Early Career Faculty Innovator Program this summer, naming nine early-career faculty members from U.S. universities to conduct interdisciplinary research into the impacts of climate change and natural hazards on U.S. coasts. Each faculty member will bring a graduate student to assist with research. Faculty were selected from Columbia University, New York University, Stanford University, Stony Brook University, University of Central Florida, University of Connecticut, University of Oregon, University of South Carolina and Virginia Tech.

Mohawk College & U British Columbia Win Awards for Sustainable Built Environments

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada announced in mid-May the 2019 recipients of its Awards of Excellence, which reflect outstanding achievement in architecture through innovation, green building, allied arts, advocacy and journalism. Mohawk College's Joyce Center for Partnership & Innovation won the Innovation in Architecture category for its net-zero institutional building on the Fennel campus that is helping to set the standards for the Canada Green Building Council Zero Carbon Buildings Framework. The University of British Columbia's Campus Energy Center won in the Green Building category for its hot water facility that uses almost 63 percent less energy and 31 percent less water than a baseline building of its type.

Occidental College Adjunct Faculty Vote to Unionize

Of those non-tenured faculty who recently cast ballots, the vote was 61 to 16 in favor of representation, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

Mercy College Adjuncts Vote to Form Union

Following a recent referendum, 540 adjunct professors out of a possible 853 voted in favor of forming a union.

Bates College Achieves Carbon Neutrality

Measured against a 2001 baseline, Bates has eliminated 95 percent of its campus greenhouse gas emissions, and will purchase carbon offsets for the remainder. In its Climate Action Plan, announced nine years ago, Bates committed to hitting this milestone by 2020.