US Senators Introduce Amendments to the 'Higher Education Sustainability Act'

In mid-November, four U.S. senators introduced amendments to the Higher Education Sustainability Act of 1965 that aim to reauthorize a competitive grant program called the University Sustainability Program. This program would make grants available to eligible institutions and associations, consortiums or collaborations that are working in partnership with at least one higher education institution to establish sustainability programs to design and implement the teaching and practice of sustainability.

Georgetown U Offers Discount on Bikeshare

A new low-cost partnership with the Capital Bikeshare University Program makes bicycling more financially accessible by decreasing annual membership costs from $85 to $25 for all Georgetown undergraduate, graduate, Law Center and Medical Center students.

MIT Constructs Garden Space

Designed as a garden that will be, in part, maintained by students, the new garden hosts nearly 40 varieties of plants to attract and support pollinators like bees, birds, butterflies, and moths. The Hive Garden also serves as a test bed for co-designing outdoor spaces to connect to, and learn from, nature in an urban setting.

Selkirk College Installs Solar Array

In October, the college installed a solar array on the roof of the library that includes 275 panels with the capacity to produce an estimated 112,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The project will produce approximately 10 percent of the electricity needed on an annual basis at the college's Castlegar campus.

Teams of New England Institutions Win Funding for Food Economies

The Henry P. Kendall Foundation recently announced six teams of college and university dining programs, along with their community partners, as winners of the 2019 New England Food Vision Prize. The $250,000 awards to each team will support innovative ideas designed to improve the health, sustainability and vitality of the region’s food system by increasing the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus.

Northern Kentucky U Joins Urban Collective for Sustainability

The university recently joined the Cincinnati 2030 District, which is part of an international network of cities developing a new model for urban sustainability. Facilitated locally by Green Umbrella, the Cincinnati 2030 District provides private-public partnerships and resources to help advance sustainability goals. The organization’s commitment to sustainability aligns with the university’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

League of American Bicyclists Recognizes Bicycle Friendly HEIs

The fall 2019 cohort in the Bicycle Friendly University program included 16 universities and colleges earning the award for the first time, 12 that earned upgraded awards, and 20 renewing institutions, plus four earning honorable mentions. Among those upgrading are three universities certified as Platinum for the first time–the University of California Irvine, the University of California Santa Barbara, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

EAUC Announces 2019 Green Gown Award Winners

(U.K.) This year, there were 20 winners across 14 categories in the Green Gown Awards. Administered by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC), the Green Gown Awards recognizes the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.

U Hawai'i Mānoa to Install 20 Water Bottle Refill Stations

The Office of Planning and Facilities plans to install 20 water bottle refill stations, after a campus survey revealed that one of the top three issues concerning the campus community is plastic waste.

U Virginia and William & Mary to Partner on Climate Change Initiatives

The two universities recently announced plans to work together on sustainability and climate change initiatives, including a shared goal for each institution to be carbon neutral by 2030. They intend to regularly share information and resources on their respective strategic climate action plans and implementation, and collaborate on outreach and engagement opportunities internally and with their surrounding localities.

California State U Channel Islands Receives Grant for Plastic Pollution Research

The university recently received a grant for a special microscope that will aid undergraduates in identifying the chemical fingerprint of microplastics, which is used to determine the sources of plastic pollution. The aim of the research is to measure the effectiveness of microplastic reduction programs.

Loyola U Dance Program Centers Laudato Si Sentiment

This year's dance program, “Ecstatic Earth: Dancing Laudato Si”, is dedicated to the environment as its inspiration came from Pope Francis' encyclical letter on the environment, Laudato Si.

Pace U Installs Solar Tree

The new tree-shaped design holds seven solar panels and is nearly 15 feet tall, providing seating for six, wireless internet, six USB ports and an interactive display.

Vanderbilt U Pilots Reusable To Go Containers

Vanderbilt Campus Dining will pilot the new Choose to Reuse program that will provide students reusable to-go containers. The campaign aims to eliminate disposable containers. Organizers hope to launch the program campus-wide in fall 2020.

Yale U Releases Sustainability Pledge

Earlier this month, the Yale College Council, along with the Yale Student Environmental Coalition and the Office of Sustainability, released a pledge to encourage students to live in a more sustainable way. The pledge is the first of a monthly series of new commitments onto which students can sign.

Northwestern U Resilience Research Project Wins $150K

The Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs awarded roughly $150,000 to support an interdisciplinary project called “Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges”. The project, involving 12 Northwestern scholars and practitioners and outside experts, is aimed at mitigating climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, deforestation, pollution and other global environmental challenges that will require unprecedented community-based cooperation and research creativity.

Chatham U & Davis and Elkins College Partner on Sustainability Studies Pipeline

The college recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Chatham University offering acceptance to Davis & Elkins graduates pursuing master’s degrees in sustainability or food studies with the option of also obtaining a Master of Business Administration.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Building Achieves LEED Platinum

The building that houses the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering features a rooftop solar-panel installation, a stormwater storage and release system, and several passive heating and cooling features, including a terra cotta exterior and sun shades.

Franklin Pierce U Creates Institute Focused on Combating Climate Change

The new Institute for Climate Action will focus on community outreach, education on campus, finding ways to make campus operations more sustainable and partnering with local organizations.

Clarkson U & Region Receive LEED Gold for Cities & Communities

With the help of the executive officer of Clarkson University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Howard E. Lechler Endowed Director of Construction Engineering Management, Erik C. Backus, the region where Clarkson University is located–Lake Placid and the New York State Olympic region–is now USGBC LEED Gold for Cities and Communities. LEED-certified cities and communities measures and tracks outcomes and evaluates progress against key metrics, including energy, water, waste and transportation, and factors relating to quality of life.

Pennsylvania State U Abington Unveils Produce Distribution

A new partnership between the university's Abington campus and a regional hunger relief organization adds fresh, weekly produce distribution to the offerings available from the campus’ LionShare food pantry. The program kicked off in mid-November with the delivery of 1,000 pounds of cabbage, bananas, apples and cherry tomatoes.

15 Collegiate Teams Selected for Marine Energy Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office recently announced 15 collegiate teams to embark on the first-ever Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. This competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of programs to develop new marine energy solutions.

Shenandoah U Connects 500KW Photovoltaic System

The university now boasts a rooftop solar power system that is shared across three buildings. The university expects to save a total of $3.1 million in avoided costs for electricity from producing its own solar power over the 35-year lifespan of the equipment.

Emory U Partners to Purchase Local Food

A new partnership between the university and The Conservation Fund aims to help break down barriers faced by farmers and supply campus with fresh, local, sustainably grown food. The Conservation Fund’s Working Farms Fund purchases farmland within a 100-mile radius of metro Atlanta, placing conservation easements on it to permanently protect it from development and harmful environmental practices, and leases the land to farmers with a 10-year path to ownership, selling it to them at the end of their lease. In turn, Emory enters into food purchase agreements with those farmers.

Hope College Launches Reusable Cup Campaign

Through the new Cupanion Cup Initiative, students, faculty and staff can purchase a reusable cup for $5 and use the Fill it Forward app to track the impact of using the cup on waste, power and emissions.

10 Quebec Universities Declare a Climate Emergency

By signing the declaration, these 10 universities are making three commitments: to become carbon-neutral by 2030, or 2050 at the latest; allocate more resources for research aiming to fight climate change and develop related skills; and increase the availability of environmental and sustainability education in academic programs, on campuses and in community-awareness programs.

Ball State U Building Earns LEED O+M Certification

Thanks to Ball State students in a LEED Lab class, the David Letterman Communication and Media Building is now certified LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M). The building was certified as LEED Silver in 2007.

San Francisco State U Building Achieves LEED Platinum

The university’s Mashouf Wellness Center features rooftop solar panels and a gray-water system that uses pool runoff and the water from the sinks and showers for toilets and landscaping. Landscaping focuses on drought-tolerant native plants.

ACTS Announces Australasian Green Gown Award Winners

The Green Gown Awards Australasia is an awards program dedicated to recognizing Australasian institutions for their sustainability actions and initiatives. Six universities were named winners across the same amount of categories and two individuals were recognized as winners in the individual categories.

Concordia U Divests & Commits to Sustainable Investments

The university's foundation recently committed to end investments in the coal, oil and gas sector within five years. The foundation also announced a target of 100 percent sustainable investments by 2025.

Smith College Tests Ground-Source Energy Exchange System

A $30,000 grant aided the college in drilling a 1,000-foot-deep vertical borehole and connect it to a ground-source heating and cooling system. The system will be used for faculty research, coursework and co-curricular initiatives to determine the feasibility of using this technology to reduce the college's greenhouse gas emissions.

Cornell U Undergoes Lighting Upgrade

The Cornell Energy Conservation Initiative recently completed a multi-phase comprehensive lighting upgrade earlier this year that replaced lighting in indoor and outdoor spaces with LED bulbs. With the project fully completed, the new lighting reduces the campus carbon footprint by nearly 3 percent annually. The upgrades, which began in 2014, have a cost avoidance of $2.9 million-to-date.

Cleveland State U Installs 3 EV Charging Stations

The three new electric vehicle charging stations, located in the Student Center Garage, are provided at no additional charge to the campus community.

Appalachian State U Adds Vegan Dining Station

The new, completely vegan food station, Terra Verde, has a menu of in-house made meals featuring whole-food ingredients and designed around a five-week rotation that changes each semester.

Auraria Higher Education Center to Complete 779 KW Solar Array Installation

A 779-kilowatt solar array installation atop the Auraria Library is nearly complete. It will supply 2.5 percent of the annual campus-wide power consumption. The 150-acre Auraria Campus serves the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver, a collective population of approximately 43,000 students, faculty, and staff.

Portland State U Pilots E-Tricycles for Mail Delivery

The package delivery service UPS has teamed up with the university to use electric tricycles to deliver packages on campus. Especially meant for the final leg of delivery routes, the pilot is testing to see if e-trikes can supplement or even replace traditional gas-powered trucks.

Marymount Manhattan College Launches Social Justice Ambassadors Program

The new Social Justice Ambassador Program is a five-session program that invites participants from different backgrounds and experiences to come together to assess the ways societal structures perpetuate privilege and oppression through institutions and individuals. At the end of the program, ambassadors present in groups on what they have learned.

Pennsylvania State U Launches Endowment for Math & Sustainability

Honoring the late John Roe, a professor in the Department of Mathematics at Penn State for more than 20 years before his death in 2018, Roe's wife created a $300,000 endowment that will help ensure the continuation of Roe’s unique approach to teaching mathematics through applications to sustainability. The endowment will be collaboratively managed by Penn State Outreach and the Sustainability Institute to fund student engagement opportunities across the university, to support faculty members who integrate sustainability into their coursework, and to establish a Student Sustainability Award to recognize student leadership and service related to sustainability on campus and beyond.

Northern New Mexico College to Construct 1.5 MW Solar Array

Located on Northern’s El Rito campus, the 1.5-megawatt photovoltaic array will be completed in partnership with the local electric co-op.

Colorado State U Purchases RECs

The university recently purchased enough renewable energy certificates to offset 25 percent of the total electricity use for the university, while university Housing and Dining Services bought enough to offset 100 percent of the electricity use in their buildings, including residence halls and dining areas, for the 2019 fiscal year.

California State U Los Angeles Opens Center on Urban Sustainability

The new Sikand Center for Sustainable and Intelligent Infrastructure (Sikand SITI Center) was established through a five-year, $1.25 million gift from The Sikand Foundation to the university’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. The gift and the center will expand the university’s research in urban sustainability.

Duke U Students Receive $100K for Impact Investing

A student group, Duke Impact Investing Group (DIIG), recently secured $100,000 from the university administration to invest in impact-oriented businesses. The student-driven group hopes to educate the Duke community on the field of impact investing and drive growth for socially- and environmentally-conscious businesses through their investments.

U Toronto Releases 'Low-Carbon Action Plan'

The new five-year Low-Carbon Action Plan (2019-2024) was developed to further implement carbon reduction strategies across the university's three campuses—accelerating efforts as the campus community works towards its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 37 percent by 2030, compared to its 1990 baseline level.

Syracuse U Offers Free Meditation App

Through a new partnership, university students, faculty and staff have free premium access to the mobile meditation app Sanvello. The app provides daily tools to help manage mental health based on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation.

U Pittsburgh Staff Wins PLAN Award

Erika Ninos, sustainability program coordinator in the Office of PittServes, received this year's Supportive Staff Member Award from Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN). This national award recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond in supporting students.

California State U Channel Islands Library Turns Fines to Food

The university's John Spoor Broome Library is now turning late fees into donations for the campus food pantry by offering $1 for every can or non-perishable, non-expired food or personal care item donated, up to $10. All items donated go to the campus' food and commodity pantry.

U Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Encourages Air Travel Offsets

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment recently published a quick four-step guide to help community members calculate the amount of carbon to offset and where to purchase high-standard offsets.

U Pittsburgh Launches 'Center for Sustainable Business'

Established with seed funding from The Heinz Endowments, the Center for Sustainable Business aims to engage global and regional companies in more effectively integrating environmental and societal concerns into their business models.

Eastern Kentucky U Professor Brings Solar Energy & Research to Campus

An assistant professor in the chemistry department recently launched a plan for the university to lease around 1,000 solar panels from a local business owned by an EKU alum. The project will add solar energy to the grid while providing educational research platforms for students.

UK Students Launch Educational Reform Campaign

(U.K.) The U.K. Student Climate Network and Students Organising for Sustainability recently launched a joint campaign called Teach the Future to repurpose the education system around the climate emergency and ecological crisis, and lays out six demands as a path to achieve this goal.