RIT to Launch Ph.D. in Sustainability

The Rochester Institute of Technology has received New York state approval for its doctoral degree in sustainability. The Ph.D. program will focus on sustainable production and will seek to advance research and education in alternative energy development, sustainable design, green product development, industrial ecology, and pollution prevention. The program will be offered through RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability. RIT plans to admit students into the program immediately and is also recruiting additional faculty and research associates. The development of the program was made possible through an initial grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

RMI Announces 'Campus Climate-Change Initiatives' Winners

The Rocky Mountain Institute has invited 12 U.S. campuses to host a two-day site visit by RMI this fall and later to collaborate with each other, RMI and AASHE in a workshop to reduce the barriers to becoming a carbon neutral campus. Participating institutions, which had to apply to be invited, include Harford Community College (MD), Richland College (TX), Lakeshore Technical College (WI), the University of Minnesota, Morris, Furman University (SC), Unity College (ME), Luther College (IA), Colorado State University,the University of Vermont, the University of Missouri, Tufts University (MA), and Yale University (CT).

Ryerson U Kiosks Promote Environmental Goals

Ryerson University (ON) has installed three new touch screen kiosks on campus that promote Ryerson's environmental goals. Students can click on the large blue information kiosks to find out more about RU's environmental initiatives and what they can do to help Ryerson achieve its green goals. More kiosks are scheduled to be built in the coming months.

Simon Fraser U Unveils Green Building

Simon Fraser University (BC) has opened Blusson Hall, a green building that will house the Faculty of Health Sciences. The $56.9-million, 12,000 square meter complex features a green roof, sustainably harvested wood products, limited use of off-gassing construction materials, storm-water collection for irrigation, radiant-floor heating, and abundant natural light. The structure has been built to exceed LEED Silver standards.

Spring Arbor U Receives Biodiesel Grant

Spring Arbor University (MI) has received a $400 Innovative Activities Grant from the American Chemical Society to fund a student project that will seek to produce gallons of biodiesel for use on campus. The team of students hopes to create enough biodiesel to power the maintenance department's utility vehicles and lawnmowers that currently run on diesel. The University plans to match the grant.

Sustainable Endowments Institute Announces Innovator Awards

The Sustainable Endowments Institute has announced the winners of its Sustainability Innovator Awards. These awards serve to recognize sustainability innovators among colleges and universities with smaller endowments that also merit recognition. This year's winners include Green Mountain College (VT), Northland College (WI), and the University of Prince Edward Island.

Trinity College Launches BYOB Initiative

Trinity College (CT) has launched its Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) initiative. The program, which is funded by a donation from the Student Government Association, purchases brightly colored aluminum bottles for students to use in dining halls on campus. The purpose of the program, which was started by a student on campus, aims to challenge students to think about the waste created by using plastic water bottles.

U Arizona Establishes Institute for the Environment & Society

The University of Arizona has established the Institute for Environment and Society. The new institute's primary goal is to facilitate partnerships among university scientists and society in developing environmentally sustainable technologies, strategies, and policies that will strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life in Arizona and beyond. Diana Liverman of Oxford University has been recruited to co-direct the institute with Jonathan Overpeck, UA professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences. Overpeck has been director of UA's Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, which will be replaced by the new institute.

U Arizona Makes Biosphere 2 More Sustainable

The University of Arizona Biosphere 2 has begun offering opportunities for UA faculty and students who work on sustainability research or who are involved in a sustainability-relevant course to do experiments or projects within the biosphere. Additionally, Biosphere two currently features an on-site recycling program and will soon contain a rainwater catchment system. In addition, landscape architecture students are developing designs for a new master site plan to better serve visitors and incorporate new sustainable systems in Biosphere 2 operations.

U Colorado, Colorado Springs to Install Solar Thermal System

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has announced plans to install a 68-panel solar thermal system for pool heating on its new Recreation Center. The new solar thermal system will offset more than 60 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The system will be installed this fall. The Recreation Center is registered for LEED Silver certification.

U Minnesota Morris Dedicates Biomass Gasification Facility

The University of Minnesota Morris has dedicated its new biomass gasification facility. The new facility will use approximately 9,000 tons of biomass per year, which will include local corn residue, wood chips, and possibly grasses to offset roughly 80 percent of UMM’s fossil fuel usage. The University plans to purchase energy sources from area farmers and producers. The new facility is part of the University's plan to be energy self-sufficient by 2010. The project also received one of 12 energy grants from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy for $1.89 million to conduct research on carbon sequestration. Additionally, during the dedication ceremony, the American Council on Renewable Energy presented the University with a Campus Excellence Award. UMM received the award for “Outstanding Use of Renewable Energy.

U Oregon Launches Bike Loan Program

The University of Oregon Outdoor Program has started a bike-loan program on campus. The initiative has started with a fleet of 30 bikes, which were originally abandoned on the UO campus. The program allows students to rent a bike for the semester or academic year for a $65 deposit. Students can get the deposit back as long as they return the bike undamaged. The program has been funded by an $18,000 grant from the Associated Students of the University of Oregon and a $5,000 grant from PowerBar.

U System of Georgia Challenges Institutions to Reduce Energy

The University System of Georgia has challenged its 35 institutions to take immediate measures to reduce utility consumption in an effort to reduce costs. As a result, East Georgia College has adopted a goal of reducing energy consumption by 6% during Fiscal Year 09 and of continuing to reduce water consumption in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order issued in October of 2007. To help meet this goal, East Georgia College has moved to a condensed work week. East Georgia College's new hours of operations are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

UT Arlington Expands Free Tuition Program

The University of Texas at Arlington’s Maverick Promise financial aid program has expanded its offerings to include free tuition for students whose household income is $65,000 or less and are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. The expanded program will begin in January of 2009 for the spring semester. The current threshold is $40,000, which was increased from $25,000 earlier this year. New freshmen students are eligible for the Maverick Promise for up to 5 years and new transfer students are eligible for up to 3 years.

UW River Falls Survey Shows that Students Support Going off the Grid

A recent survey completed by students at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls showed that 95 percent of students support the University's plan to go off the grid by 2012 by lobbying the state for funds. Additionally, 65 percent of students were in favor of raising student tuition to cover the cost of the plan.

Vanderbilt U to Expand Financial Aid

Vanderbilt University (TN) has announced plans to replace all need-based student loans with Vanderbilt grant and scholarship assistance starting in the fall of 2009. Funded through a combination of strategic budget allocations and Vanderbilt’s Shape the Future fund-raising campaign, the initiative – designed to increase access to a Vanderbilt education across all income levels – has already reduced the average overall indebtedness of graduating seniors by 17 percent. This program will apply to all undergraduates with demonstrated need who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. In addition, all seniors set to graduate in May 2009 will have their need-based loans for the spring 2009 semester replaced with Vanderbilt grant and scholarship assistance.

Washington State U, U Washington Compete in 'One Thing' Challenge

Washington State University and University of Washington residence hall students have begun the "One Thing" Challenge, a competition in which students make a personal commitment to doing one thing to help the environment. The campus with the most participants will receive bragging rights and a ceremonial awarding of the One Thing Cup, a trophy made of recycled material. The competition ends November 22, 2008, the day of the annual rival football game between WSU and UW.

Wheaton College Breaks Ground for Green Science Center

Wheaton College (MA) has broken ground on the Center for Scientific Inquiry and Innovation. The 99,000 square-foot, $50 million project, which will include the construction of a new, three-story building and the renovation of the first floor of the existing Science Center, will feature a green roof. The structure will be registered for LEED certification.

Whitman College Hires Campus Sustainability Coordinator

Whitman College (WA) has hired senior Karlis Rokpelnis as Campus Sustainability Coordinator. Working under the chair of the conservation committee, Rokpelnis serves as a liaison between faculty, staff, and students and is the administrator of Whitman's new $100,000 Revolving Loan Fund. As the first Whitman Campus Sustainability Coordinator, Rokpelnis works 10 hours per week.

2 Community Colleges Break Ground on Green Expansions

The Community College of Philadelphia (PA) has broken ground on its $31 million green expansion of the Northeast Regional Center. The 58,000 square-foot expansion will feature a green roof, a rainwater collection system, and a geothermal heating and cooling system. The addition is registered for LEED Silver certification. Bucks County Community College (PA) has also broken ground on a new expansion. Its addition will be registered for LEED certification and will feature a geothermal heating system, tinted and insulated windows, and a green roof. At the groundbreaking, members of the student-run Environmental Club planted a tree to commemorate the project’s concern for the natural surroundings.

3 PA Schools Receive Green Power Awards

Dickinson College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburg Medical Center have each received a “2008 Green Power: Turn It On!” award from Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture). Dickinson received the award for purchasing 50 percent of its electricity from wind power and installing a 60-kilowatt solar array. The University of Pennsylvania received the award for purchasing 200,000 MWh per year of its electricity from wind energy. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center received the award for leadership in pursuing environmentally sustainable practices within the healthcare industry and for purchasing 10 percent of its electricity from green energy sources. 26 organizations and individuals in the state received recognition at PennFuture’s ninth annual Green Power Awards ceremony.

Anderson U Receives Recycling Grant

Anderson University has received a $25,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to convert itself into a more recycling-friendly campus, with plans to use the grant to fund recycling trailers, bins and totes, and a campaign to inform students and faculty about the new recycling opportunities on campus. Anderson students, faculty, and staff aim to keep an estimated 384 tons of recyclables out of landfills as a direct result of the IDEM grant. The grant money comes from the Indiana Solid Waste Management Fund, an account generated by a per-ton fee on solid waste disposed at Indiana landfills.

Barry U Launches Single-Stream Recycling

Barry University (FL) has introduced single-stream recycling on campus. The new program will make it easier for Barry students, faculty, and staff to recycle by placing all their recyclable items – paper, plastic, aluminum – in a single container for collection and processing.

Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley Partner with India to Reduce GHGs

The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley have announced a joint research and development program in which researchers will work with the government and private sector of India to develop paths toward reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases while maintaining sustained economic growth. Scientists of the initiative, named the Berkeley-India Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment, will conduct research on basic science and engineering, new technology development, and policies to promote market transformation to further energy efficiency, clean energy sources, and smart growth.

Boston U Expands Local Scholarship to Include Full Tuition Grants

Boston University (MA) President Robert A. Brown and Mayor Thomas M. Menino have announced that Boston University is expanding its program for providing scholarships to graduates of Boston Public Schools. Under the expansion, BU will award 20–25 full-tuition academic scholarships each year to qualified Boston residents graduating from Boston Public Schools. The initiative is a continuation of the merit-based Boston Scholars Program, through which 1,719 graduates of the Boston Public Schools have received nearly $126 million in scholarships from Boston University. BU has also expanded its need-based awards for Boston Public School graduates who are admitted to the University. BU plans to meet these students’ eligibility for assistance in its entirety without reliance on loans.

Cornell Receives $10 M for Computational Sustainability Institute

Cornell University (NY) has received a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Computational Sustainability Institute, a center that will focus on computational methods for a sustainable environment, economy, and society. The Institute will work on such projects as optimizing the design of land corridors for grizzlies that now live in three separate areas in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana to find a viable route while reducing the cost of land acquisition; developing models to transition to an ethanol economy; and preserving bird habitats and designing bird corridors by analyzing hemispheric-scale bird migrations involving billions of birds. The Institute will involve 14 Cornell faculty members along with scientists at Oregon State University, Howard University (DC), Bowdoin College (ME), the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Conservation Fund.

Florida Golf Coast U Begins Reef Construction, Restoration

Florida Gulf Coast University scientists and local volunteers have begun oyster reef construction and restoration in Estero Bay. The project will improve water quality, habitat availability, and protect shoreline and mangrove erosion. Work involves loading fossil oyster shells into wire mesh bags, transporting them and placing them in strategic points in the estuaries that attract natural oyster spat (larvae) and eventually form reefs. Within one year, the 400 square meters of oyster reef created at this event will produce more than 1,000 oysters per square meter, filter at least 10 liters of water and particulates per oyster per hour from the water column, provide stability to mangrove shorelines by minimizing the impact of boat wakes, and provide food, shelter and habitat to nearly 300 species of invertebrates, fishes and birds.

Green Mountain College Receives Farm & Food Grant

Green Mountain College’s (VT) Farm and Food Project has received a $110,000 grant from the Jensen/Hinman Family Fund, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The funding, which will be matched by GMC, supports research aimed at running the College’s Cerridwen Farm with as few fossil-derived resources as possible with the ultimate target of using no fossil fuels at all. Research will be incorporated into GMC’s new summer intensive program in sustainable agriculture beginning in 2009.

Kent State U Stark, U Miami to Launch Env'l Media Initiative

Kent State University, Stark (OH) has received a gift from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation to establish the Herbert W. Hoover Initiative for Environmental Media Activism. The Initiative, the result of collaboration between Kent State University, Stark and the University of Miami (FL), is designed to develop generations of scholars who understand science and are able to produce new media that is fair, highly educational, and effective in triggering change on individual and social levels. The Initiative will also sponsor at least one project a year to create an educational campaign for an environmental issue related to Ohio, and, where applicable, Stark County; provide grants for Kent State Stark faculty members to research and design collaborative courses that incorporate environmental issues; sponsor frequent screenings of environmental films from celebrated filmmakers; and sponsor an annual environmental short film/new media festival for student filmmakers with cash awards for the winners.

Oregon State U Selected for Marine Renewable Energy Center

Oregon State University has been selected as the site for the Northwest Marine Renewable Energy Center. The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded OSU a $1.25 million annual grant, which can be renewed for up to five years. This will be combined with funds from the Oregon legislature, OSU, the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, the University of Washington and other sources to create a total of $13.5 million over five years that will help create the Center. This monetary support will primarily be used to build a floating “test berth” to test wave energy technology on the Oregon coast. Construction of the new floating test berth should begin in 2010.

Saint Xavier U Purchases 1,200,000 kWh of Clean Energy

Saint Xavier University (IL) has purchased 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of “Clean Source” renewable energy over the next two years to compensate for electricity to be used in a new student residence hall. The “Clean Source” energy used in the soon-to-be-dedicated Mother Agatha O’Brien Hall is expected to prevent the emission of more than 817,000 pounds of CO2. SXU's purchase helped to fund a biomass cogeneration facility, a hydroelectric operation that does not obstruct fish migration; and 128 wind turbines.

Syracuse U Launches Several Sustainable Commuting Initiatives

Syracuse University (NY) has launched a new "Flexible Work and Sustainability Initiative" to encourage the use of flexible work options that support the University's commitment to energy conservation and sustainability. SU has also launched the One-Seat Rides Program, the Central Fare Deal program/Guaranteed Ride Home Service, a carpool parking program, the SU Ride Share program, and a University-wide Zipcar option. In related news, SU has also launched its second annual Campus Commuter Challenge. As par

U Arizona Hires Social Justice Education Coordinator

The University of Arizona Residence Life has hired Mohammed Naser as the Social Justice Education Coordinator to teach students living in campus housing about diversity and social justice issues. One of Naser’s tasks is to form a peer advisory group called Advocates Coming Together, or ACT, that will be responsible for instituting new programs in the residence halls and on campus. Residence Life will be testing students’ knowledge about diversity and justice-oriented topics and themes before and after the academic year to gauge student learning.

U Arkansas, College of William & Mary Go Trayless

Three University of Arkansas dining halls have gone trayless. The University estimates that it will reduce food waste from 433,500 to 225,000 pounds, save 200,000 gallons of water, and thousands of kilowatt-hours of electricity per academic year. The College of William and Mary (VA) Sadler Center has adopted a tray-free program as well. The dining hall is the second on campus to do so.

UC Riverside Launches Sustainable Dev & Green Design Certificate

The University of California, Riverside has launched a new certificate in Sustainable Development and Green Design. In the program, students will learn about the concepts and principles of sustainability through green building design, clean technologies and innovative approaches to achieving economic, environmental, and social sustainability. The courses required to complete the certificate are offered using distance education and online technology, coupled with classroom and interactive real-time computer systems.

UC San Diego Appoints Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives

The University of California, San Diego has appointed Byron Washom as its first Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives. Washom is tasked with providing strategic leadership in the establishment of an innovative energy plan. Future projects include energy storage systems that adjust to the intermittency of renewable energy and provide permanent load shifting; strategic purchasing of renewable energy from the grid during periods of surpluses; co-production of hydrogen from its fuel cell system; utilizing cold ocean water from the adjacent La Jolla Trench; and converting the campus vehicle transportation fleet into cleaner, alternative fuels.

U Delaware Launches Energy Institute

The University of Delaware has launched its new Energy Institute. The purpose of the new institute is to create and integrate new solutions to challenges in energy sufficiency and sustainability. University President Patrick Harker has also announced the establishment of the Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration, which will explore connection and storage issues related to wind and other intermittent energy sources.

U Florida Launches 'Erase the Waste' Campaign

The University of Florida has launched "Erase the Waste," a new campaign designed to help the University with its goal of producing zero waste by 2015. The main component of the “Erase the Waste” campaign is getting students, faculty, and staff to sign a pledge online and at campus dining halls that commits them to taking only what they know they will eat and going back for seconds, properly planning trips to the grocery store to avoid over-buying, composting food scraps at home, growing their own produce

U Memphis Students Construct Eco-Friendly House

The University of Memphis' (TN) Center for Sustainable Design has started construction on an eco-friendly house called TERRA, which stands for Technologically and Environmentally Responsive Residential Architecture. Involved in the project, which is funded by a grant from the FedEx Institute of Technology, are students from architecture, interior design, graphic design and photography. The house will feature solar panels, cork floors, water-saving toilets, an insulated concrete form, energy-efficient lights, and a greywater recovery system. The two-story, 1,680-square-foot house should be completed in January of 2009.

Utah State U Adds Hybrids to its Fleet

Utah State University has purchased eight new hybrid sedans for the University. Three of the new sedans will go into the central rental fleet and will be available for use by all campus departments. USU began incorporating hybrid vehicles into its fleet of nearly 700 in 2006.

U Texas Austin Receives $5M for Renewable Energy Initiative

The University of Texas at Austin Center for Electrochemistry has received a $5 million grant from the Welch Foundation to start the Renewable Energy Initiative (REI), a multi-disciplinary, collaborative effort to promote advances in renewable energy technologies. The initiative will focus on developing new kinds of photovoltaic and photoelectrochemical materials that could eventually make solar power competitive with fossil fuels; creating better batteries that can store energy over long periods of time; and developing better catalysts for fuel cells and water electrolysis.

U Vermont Purchases Green Certified Toilet Paper

The University of Vermont has signed a contract to purchase "green certified" toilet paper and paper towels made from 100 percent recycled paper and bleached without chlorine. The paper is certified by Green Seal, an independent green certification organization. The new initiative is the result of Forest Crimes Unit, a student group on campus that drew attention to UVM's use of Kimberly-Clark toilet paper. The group raised concerns about allegations that Kimberly-Clark harvests wood from old-growth fores

UW Green Bay Announces Institute for Env'l Mgmt & Business

The University of Wisconsin, Green Bay has announced plans to establish the UW-Green Bay Institute for Environmental Management and Business. Key goals of the institute will include strengthening and connecting academic programs that analyze environmental problems and seek practical, cost-effective solutions to these problems; providing outreach services to businesses and agencies that seek options for addressing environmental problems; promoting research by faculty and students aimed at solving local, regional, and global environmental problems; and serving as an academic resource for improving environmental sustainability of the UW-Green Bay campus.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Establishes Community Garden

Students at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh have established a community garden on campus. The project started in 2006, and the students broke ground on the garden in June of 2008. The UW Oshkosh Community Gardens is managed by a student organization on campus named “Community Gardens.” The purpose of the organization is to maintain and promote the campus garden while engaging students in activities that encourage self-sufficiency, sustainability, and community connection. The Oshkosh Community Gardens will provide workshops in composting, irrigation, permaculture, “Sprouts for Sprouts” and Master Gardeners, as well as internships, summer school, and Service-Learning opportunities. There will also be regular farmers’ markets with proceeds going to local charities. The garden is currently only open to student participation, but the University hopes to open it up to the community next year.

2 Schools Partner to Prepare American Indians for Green Jobs

The University of North Texas has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Haskell Indian Nations University (KS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work together to increase the number of American Indian students pursuing professional careers in environmental fields, including policy, economics and science. The agreement establishes a direct track for graduates of Haskell to continue graduate studies in environmental sciences at UNT, where they will have the opportunity to earn Master's and doctoral degrees. The EPA will provide guidance on student employment and volunteer programs, collaboration on research opportunities, lectures and seminars on environmental issues, and outreach to local, tribal, national and international communities. In addition to preparing American Indians for careers in environment sciences, the memorandum seeks to familiarize the communities about American Indian concerns, improve the environmental conditions, support cultural preservation and promote economic development.

Babson College Hires Clean Technology Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Babson College (MA) has appointed Mart T. Donohue as its first Clean Technology Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Donohue will help design and teach Babson’s Clean Technology, Sustainability, and Social Entrepreneurship programs. Donohue will also teach in the MBA and Executive Education programs, as he conducts research in the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship. His research will focus on developing a breadth of case studies on the key lessons learned from the Cleantech sector. The case study series intends to be a tool for colleges and executive education programs.

California State U Monterey Bay Receives 2 Energy Awards

California State University, Monterey Bay has received two awards for its work in energy conservation. The University was honored with the Monterey County Business Council's Public/Private Partnership award for projects implemented in the last three years which include lighting retrofits, heating and ventilation retrofits and controls upgrades. These projects resulted in an annual savings of 16 percent of the University's electricity consumption and 11 percent of natural gas consumption.

Chronicle of Higher Ed Covers Sustainable Food Movement

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published an article on the sustainable food movement currently taking place on campuses in the U.S. The article highlights Emory University's (GA) community gardens, farmers' markets, and goal to have 75 percent of the 25,000 meals served each day feature regional or sustainable sources of food by 2015, and Cornell University's (NY) 30 percent to 50 percent local food initiative.

Eastern Kentucky U Expands Energy Efficiency Contract

Eastern Kentucky University has expanded its contract with Siemens Building Technologies to further increase energy efficiency through additional upgrades. An energy audit of EKU facilities revealed an additional $5 million in possible upgrades to energy-intensive systems would yield significantly higher savings. The new $27 million performance-based sustainability contract guarantees EKU will save 24,665,190 kWh of electricity, 1,729 tons of coal, 102,585 cubic feet of water and 138,584 cubic feet of seweage.

Emory & Henry College Opens Green Building

Emory & Henry College (VA) has opened the recently renovated Byars Hall, which houses the Division of Visual and Performing Arts. The LEED certified building features sustainable site development, water saving and energy efficient materials, and high indoor environmental quality.