Pennsylvania State U to Launch Center for Business Sustainability
The Penn State Smeal College of Business will launch the Center for the Business of Sustainability (CBoS) in 2020 to support business in meeting the growing demand for resources in a socially just and environmentally sustainable manner. CBoS will be oriented toward the challenges of scaling up technological solutions, promoting and strategically deploying new products and services, and devising a regulatory framework that fosters sustainability.
20 UK Universities Partner to Purchase Wind Energy
(U.K.) Twenty universities in the U.K. have signed a joint power purchase agreement to buy electricity from wind farms across Scotland and Wales for $63 million (50 million British pounds). The 10-year deal ensures the cost stability of electricity while simultaneously reducing the universities' carbon footprint.
Princeton U Pilots Reusable Utensil Kit Opt-In
As a part of its zero-waste campus goal, the university's Office of Sustainability is piloting a reusable utensil kit opt-in for the Class of 2023. The reusable utensil kit, which is free to students who opt-in, consists of a fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks, all made of bamboo. A total of 350 students have opted-in, 88 percent of who are from Class of 2023.
Miami U Buildings Earn LEED Certification
Minnich and Scott Halls, which reopened in fall 2018 after major renovations, were certified LEED Gold in September. Presidents and Withrow Halls, new residence halls that opened in fall 2018, were certified LEED Silver in June. Both the Minnich and Scott Halls achieved a 44 percent improvement on baseline building energy performance rating over a non-LEED building. Presidents and Withrow Halls achieved a 28 and 26 percent improvement, respectively, on baseline building energy performance rating over a non-LEED building.
California State U Stanislaus Hires First Sustainability Coordinator
The university's first sustainability coordinator, Wendy Olmsted, recently completed the Campus Sustainability Leadership Professional Certificate program via the University of Vermont and has a Master's in Ecology and Sustainability from California State University, Stanislaus.
Guilford College Professor Wins Campus Compact Faculty Award
Diya Abdo, an associate professor of English at Guilford College, won the Campus Compact 2019 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, which recognizes one senior faculty member each year for exemplary engaged scholarship. Abdo founded the Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) initiative, which advocates for housing refugee families on campuses, based on the idea that colleges and universities have all the resources necessary–housing, food, care, skill-building–to take in refugees and support them as they begin their lives in their new homes.
U Louisville Contributes Old Stadium Seating for City Bus Stops
A partnership between the University of Louisville's Urban Design Studio and Louisville Metro Council saved 120 seats from going to the landfill as the former Cardinal Stadium was demolished earlier this year. Instead, the seats are being installed at some of the city's bus stops.
Environment America Launches Higher Ed Energy Campaign
To kick off Campus Sustainability Month, Environment America Research & Policy Center launched 30 campaigns in 11 states, pressing colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The initiative aims to get 150 schools to commit by 2021 to exclusively use renewable energy.
U Coimbra Discontinues Serving Beef
(Portugal) The university announced at the end of September that it would stop serving beef in an effort to combat the climate crisis. The university was consuming around 20 tons of beef per year.
Stanford U Wins Corporate Social Responsibility Award
Stanford was recently recognized in PR Daily’s Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in the Green and Environmental Stewardship category for significantly reducing the university's environmental footprint by targeting infrastructure and behavior.
Carnegie Mellon U Enters Multi-Year Wind Energy Agreement
After more than a decade of offsetting 100 percent of its electric power consumption with renewable energy certificates, the university recently entered a series of multi-year wind energy agreements. Under the agreements, the university will source all of its electricity from a wind farm in Illinois and will secure the renewable energy certificates from the project.
Texas A&M U Bans Vaping
Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the university system chancellor directed each of the 11 universities and the directors of eight state agencies with the TAMU system to ban the use of e-cigarettes and vaping as soon as practical.
Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Harvard U in Affirmative Action Lawsuit
The U.S. district-court judge ruled at the beginning of October that Harvard's race-conscious admissions process is legal. The university's admissions practices were on trial after the plaintiffs accused Harvard of favoring black and Hispanic applicants at the expense of Asian American applicants.
Montclair State U Students Help Improve Polystyrene Recycling
A group of students through the university's Institute for Sustainability Studies Green Team program helped study and improve a local circular recycling system for polystyrene. In addition to calculating the savings from disposal charges and the return on investment, the team developed promotional strategies aimed at dispelling the myth that polystyrene cannot be recycled.
Brown U Removes GRE Requirement for 24 PhD Programs
The university will no longer require Graduate Records Examination (GRE) test scores for admission to 24 of its Ph.D. programs, beginning with applications for the 2020-21 academic year. The university hopes this will remove barriers that can reduce applications from students who are historically underrepresented in higher education and from low-income backgrounds.
Princeton U Drops GRE for 14 Graduate Programs
In an effort to diversify the faculty pipeline and enroll a diverse pool of graduate students, 14 Princeton University departments will no longer require the GRE test for graduate admission, making it optional for graduate applicants.
Emory U Student Center Earns LEED Platinum
The university's new 117,000-square-foot, three-story student center features ground-source heating and cooling, a rooftop solar thermal system and LED lighting coupled with occupancy sensors.
U Oregon Unveils Sustainable Business Minor
This fall, the university rolled out a new minor in sustainable business. The program is designed for non-business majors and is open to any UO student who wants to apply business solutions to address a variety of social and environmental challenges.
Colorado State U Launches 'Impact MBA'
The new Impact MBA through the university's College of Business offers two distinct tracks – the Corporate Sustainability Track and the Social Entrepreneurship Track. The Corporate Sustainability Track of the program aims to equip students with the analytical skills to lead change within an organization by presenting the business case for sustainability projects. The Social Entrepreneurship Track was previously offered as the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA.
U Pittsburgh Signs 'Cool Food Pledge'
The Cool Food Pledge is an initiative of the World Resources Institute. All signatories will work together to reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030. The university recently signed the pledge alongside the U.N. Climate Action Summit.
U California Santa Cruz Creates Campus Living Lab Map
The new website is an interactive map that catalogs the full range of university living lab projects, with program descriptions, links to websites, and contact information for students and faculty to learn more and/or get involved. It is organized by six categories: agroecology; design and engineering; environmental education; environmental justice and sustainability; UCSC natural reserves; and stewardship and natural history.
George Mason U Receives $250,000 to Increase Access
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently announced a $250,000 award to support ADVANCE and the Early Identification Program (EIP)—two programs designed to give educational access to diverse student populations. The ADVANCE program, the university's partnership with Northern Virginia Community College, will receive $150,000 in scholarships to help alleviate financial burdens for high-achieving students in financial need. EIP will receive $100,000, enabling more first generations students to attend the university's Honors College.
Caltech to Receive $750M Donation for Environmental Research
Philanthropists and entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick have announced an unprecedented $750 million pledge to the California Institute of Technology to support research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels, decomposable plastics, water and environmental resources, and ecology and biosphere engineering. In recognition of the investment, Caltech will construct a new 75,000-square-foot building, to be named the Resnick Sustainability Resource Center. The center will serve as the hub for energy and sustainability research on campus as well as the home of undergraduate teaching laboratories.
Carnegie Mellon U Announces New 'Sustainability Initiative'
The new campus-wide initiative seeks to strengthen the university’s commitment to sustainability; elevate Carnegie Mellon’s engagement with the SDGs; and improve coordination of our sustainability education, research and practices among CMU students, faculty, staff and local community members.
George Mason U to Erect Memorial for Enslaved People
In 2021, the university will erect a memorial that honors more than 100 people enslaved by George Mason. When the memorial opens, it will contain several markers, including a bronze statue of George Mason and silhouettes of two specific enslaved people, as well as an inscription with the names of the men, women and children whom Mason enslaved.
George Mason U to Offer E-Scooters
Dockless, electric scooters will soon be introduced on campus for faculty, staff and students to rent. Parking and Transportation plans to partner with academic departments to facilitate research related to the use of scooters.
U Oregon Residential Dining to Focus on Reusable Dishware
Beginning fall quarter, all residential dining centers at the university will serve meals on reusable plates, bowls and silverware. This change from single-use, disposable dishes and cutlery will affect approximately 15,000 meals each day when school is in session. This change was prompted by compost collectors discontinuing any collection of plant-based plasticware, wood and paper products.
U Wisconsin Milwaukee Uses 'Green Suits' to Raise Awareness
The university's Office of Sustainability worked with artists from the Green Suits initiative to bring a playful energy to the topic of climate change by dressing up in green suits and having their picture taken with campus projects that advance sustainability. The Green Suits initiative is a project of Inside the Greenhouse, a University of Colorado-Boulder program that uses theater, dance, filmmaking and writing to connect a wider audience to discussions of climate change.
U St. Thomas Launches Inaugural Sustainability Strategic Plan
The new five-year plan centers on a vision of catalyzing university-wide engagement to create a culture that prepares students to be sustainability leaders during their university years and beyond. It outlines two main goals: achieving an AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Gold rating by 2025 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. The plan further identifies opportunities to advance sustainability on campus in the areas of academics, student engagement, employee engagement, dining services, facilities management, investment, procurement, transportation and mission.
Northwestern U to Launch Master’s Degree in Energy & Sustainability
The university will welcome its first class in fall 2020 of the Energy and Sustainability Master of Science degree program. Led by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, the program seeks to prepare graduates to navigate the intersection of technology, economics and regulation in the sustainability and energy innovation industries.
Harvard U Joins 'Climate Action 100+'
The university announced that its endowment has joined Climate Action 100+, an investor-led initiative to ensure that the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take steps to address climate change. As a member of this global network, Harvard Management Company (HMC) will join other investors in direct engagement with more than 100 oil and gas companies, utilities, and other important emitters, that account for two-thirds of annual global industrial emissions. HMC plans to engage with these companies to encourage efforts that curb carbon emissions, strengthen climate-related financial disclosures, and improve corporate governance and risk management.
Virginia Institute Marine Science Receives Research Funding for Estuaries
The university's Center for Coastal Resources Management recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to better track the amount of organic matter stored in coastal ecosystems. Researchers will develop a model for mapping and quantifying organic matter in the coastal habitats of Virginia and North Carolina, such as seagrass meadows and tidal marshes. The new model is expected to improve carbon-stock records and coastal soil maps.
U Texas Rio Grande Unveils Free Tuition Program
The university recently announced the new tuition program, Tuition Advantage, that begins in fall 2020 and will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying students who have an adjusted gross family income of $75,000 or less.
Iowa State U Initiates Waste Reduction Changes
Working towards their zero waste by 2025 goal, the university recently began shredding cardboard for animal bedding at its farm rather than having it hauled to a recycling company. The reused cardboard will then be composted and used across campus. Beginning in fall 2019, all on-campus student residents will have in-room recycling containers.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign to Purchase 20 GWH of Solar Electricity
The construction of a new 12.1-megawatt solar farm that was recently approved by the university's board of trustees is projected to generate approximately 20 gigawatt-hours (20,000 megawatt-hours) annually. The university will be the sole buyer of the electricity, almost tripling the university’s existing on-site renewable energy generation. As part of the agreement, the university will receive the renewable energy certificates.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Receives $900K for Solar Plus Storage Project
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Energy recently issued a $900,000 grant award to the university for a photovoltaic-plus-energy-storage and communication resiliency project. The project will feature more than 150-kilowatts of solar generation and 310 kilowatt-hours of storage capacity. The project intends to demonstrate that photovoltaic systems with energy storage provide a viable alternative when selecting backup power sources for small-scale applications.
U California System Divests From Fossil Fuels
Believing that fossil fuel investments pose a long-term risk to generating strong returns, the University of California system announced a decision to completely divest its $13.4-billion endowment of holdings in fossil fuel companies by the end of September 2019. Its $70-billion pension fund will also be divested.
31 Institutions Form the Anchor Learning Network
The Anchor Learning Network is a joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and The Democracy Collaborative. Building on the success of the year-long pilot program launched in 2018, brings colleges and universities together to jointly explore how they can adopt an anchor mission: using their place-based assets—educational and operational—to advance the well-being of the communities they call home.
Virginia Theological Seminary Designates $1.7M for Reparations Fund
Recognizing that enslaved persons worked on the campus, and that even after slavery ended, VTS participated in segregation, the seminary recently announced that it will create an endowment fund from which the income will fund reparations. The income from the endowment will be allocated annually in conversation with key stakeholders for designated purposes.
U Miami to Offer Electric Scooters
The university recently partnered with a company that offers ride-and-park electric bikes. Users can pick up a scooter through a free app, which tracks where scooters are located to make finding transportation easy.
Ohio U Introduces Food From Student Farm
The university has begun sourcing food from its Student Farm, which has also been running a weekly produce sale. Money earned from the sale of produce goes back to funding food studies-themed internships for students.