Southern Illinois U Carbondale Signs Climate Commitment

In mid-February, the university's president signed Second Nature's Climate Commitment. Becoming a signatory means that the university will develop a campus plan that reduces greenhouse gases, create energy efficiencies and/or deploy alternative energy sources or other strategies that reduce its carbon footprint.

Vanderbilt U Campus Dining Earns Allergen-Free Certification

Boasting the designation "Certified Free From", all commercial on-campus kitchens are free from tree nuts and peanuts. In addition, Rand Dining Center’s 2301 platform is also certified free from the top eight allergens–milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Certified Free From is a certification from Kitchens with Confidence, an external accreditation/certification business.

SUNY ESF Implements Tobacco/Smoke-Free Policy

Effective January 1, the campus is tobacco- and smoke-free. The new policy covers students, faculty, staff, visitors, contractors and vendors.

Columbia U Event Management Offers Food Menu With Reduced GHGs

Columbia Event Management now offers a menu of food items with lower greenhouse gas emissions than the traditional menu. Students from the sustainability management program capstone project found the new, mostly plant-based menu to be 63 percent less carbon-emitting than other menus. Columbia departments have the option to choose the "Sustainable Living" menu for their events at comparable prices to other menu options.

Carnegie Foundation Announces Community Engagement Classification Recipients

119 U.S. colleges and universities received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Of the 119 institutions classified in the 2020 cycle, 44 are receiving the classification for the first time while 75 are now re-classified, after being classified originally in 2010 or 2015. A total of 359 campuses are currently active holders of this designation.

U Miami Launches Urban Sustainability & Resilience Degree

This fall the university will launch the Master of Professional Science in Urban Sustainability and Resilience through its College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Architecture. Students can choose from one of two tracks: urban sustainability or urban resilience.

U Southern California Offers Free Tuition Based on Family Income

Students from the United States from families with annual incomes of $80,000 or less will be eligible for the full undergraduate tuition waiver starting in the fall. Additionally, owning a home will no longer be considered in the calculation used to determine a student’s financial need.

Brandeis U Launches Plastic Waste Reduction Initiative

The university's Office of Sustainability has partnered with Sodexo to reduce plastic waste from bags, straws and bottled water. Several retail locations are introducing paper bags in lieu of plastic and making straws available by request only. Additionally, water bottle refill stations are being installed near retail locations that are removing bottled water options.

U Pittsburgh Renovation Receives LEED Silver

Clapp Hall, the building that houses the department of biological sciences, features energy-efficient lighting, water-saving plumbing fixtures, a demand-control ventilation system and a lab exhaust energy-recovery system. More than 95 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills, 90 percent of existing building elements were reused, and 36 percent of building materials were regionally manufactured. Clapp Hall also has bike storage and changing rooms for commuters.

U Albany Receives $2M for Carbon Neutrality Planning

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently approved a $2 million grant for the university to research and implement solutions for the statewide 2050 net zero carbon emissions goal.

Bowie State U Opens Nutrition Lounge & Food Pantry

In partnership with Food Lion Feeds' hunger relief initiative, the university opened a new on-campus nutrition lounge that provides a place for students to relax, study and have a place to access and enjoy free, healthy foods.

Vassar College to Purchase 100% Renewable Electricity

In a new contract with its energy supplier, the college plans to purchase electricity generated solely by renewable sources, effective July 2021.

Pennsylvania State U Launches AI for Social Good Research Center

A new, multi-unit research center launched this spring aims to promote the thoughtful development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) and study its impact on all areas of human endeavor. The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence will encourage that all AI research and development activities consider social and ethical implications as well as intended and possible unintended consequences.

U Nevada Reno Building Achieves LEED Gold

The new Great Basin Hall features low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient windows, and heating and cooling systems, and a heat-reflective roof.

Cornell U Building Earns LEED Gold

Cornell’s Mui Ho Fine Arts Library building now has energy-efficient windows, and an insulated roof with a reflective lining that improves the building's thermal performance.

Michigan State U to Install 20 MW Solar Array

The university's board of trustees recently approved a 20-megawatt solar-electric array that will span nearly 145 acres. The project is expected to cost about $2.3 million and will be funded with university utility reserve funds. It is estimated that the array will begin producing power by the end of 2022 and save the university at least $27 million in the next 25 years.

Illinois State U Elevates Diversity & Inclusion

The university's president recently announced the creation of a new position to move diversity initiatives forward on campus, naming Professor Doris Houston as the interim assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. Houston currently serves as chair of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

Imperial College Partners on Climate Change Risk Management Projects

(U.K.) The Center for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College Business School is working with international banking group Standard Chartered to help translate academic science into effective solutions for businesses in order to mitigate financial risks presented by climate change.

Yale U Receives $15M for Living Building Community

The university's Divinity School recently accepted a $15 million contribution in support of the Living Village, a 155-unit community that will consist of buildings that are constructed to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. All building energy will come from the sun and all water from on-site precipitation. Waste will be processed on-site.

Northland College Finalizes Fossil Fuel Divestment

In 2017, the college's board of trustees voted to divest all investments in the fossil fuel industry within five years, but did so in less than three. The college now no longer has fossil fuel-related investments.

Thirteen Institutions Become 'Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers'

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) selected 13 institutions as Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers. Organized around the five pillars of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation framework by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation—narrative change, separation, law, economy, and racial healing and relationship building—the centers seek to prepare the next generation of leaders to confront racism and to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value.

EPA Releases Top 30 List of Green Power Users

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Top 30 College & University list highlights the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined green power use of these organizations amounts to more than 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually.

U Maine Receives Grant to Recycle Greenhouse Plastic

The university's Cooperative Extension has been awarded $38,764 by a State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection Waste Diversion Grant to develop a statewide pilot program to recycle agricultural greenhouse plastic. The program’s goal is to collect at least one-third of Maine’s annual waste greenhouse plastic, and partner with an end-user who can convert the collected plastic into resin feedstock used in the manufacture of new plastic products.

North Carolina State U Pilots Driverless E-Shuttle

Thanks to a partnership with the N.C. Department of Transportation, the university is conducting a six-month pilot test of an autonomous electric vehicle that can ferry 12 passengers. The vehicle completes a one-mile route in about 12 minutes and is designed to be a first- and last-mile solution for commuters and those with mobility challenges.

U Michigan Center to Focus on Equity in Computing Tech

A new Center for Ethics, Society and Computing will research inequality, exclusion, racism and sexism in digital media and computing technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

Colorado State U Pueblo Signs Solar Power PPA

The university recently signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a $17 million solar project that will be the main electricity source for the campus.

Stanford U Recommends Civic Engagement During Registration

As part of a broader push by the organization StanfordVotes to increase participation in the 2020 elections, a new action is required by students when they are enrolling for classes. During enrollment, there is now an embedded form through which they can register to vote and requires students to check a box saying that they “acknowledge the recommendation of civic engagement” before they can enroll in classes. It doesn't require that they register to vote and it will not store any data on whether or not they do.

ACE Produces Series on Race in Higher Ed

The Let’s Talk About Race interview series captures the voices of prominent higher education scholars and leaders as they share their perspectives and experiences on race and ethnicity in higher education.

Georgetown U Adopts Fossil Fuel Investments Policy

Under the new policy, the university will continue to make investments that target a market rate of return in renewable energy, energy efficiency and related areas while freezing new endowment investments in companies or funds whose primary business is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels. Georgetown will also divest from public securities of fossil fuel companies within the next five years and divest from existing private investments in those companies over the next 10 years.

Rochester IT Bans Single-Use Plastics

Ahead of a state ban on plastic bags that begins March 1, the university is launching a Ditch the Disposables campaign that will eliminate plastic bags, straws and stirrers. The campaign will also encourage campus members to reduce plastic waste. There are no immediate plans to replace plastic spoons, forks and knives on campus, but alternatives are being studied.

U Southern California Hotel Achieves Green Seal Certification

The USC Hotel underwent a full year of an in-depth audit of purchasing records, practices and on-site inspections to meet Green Seal’s GS-33 lodging standard. Sustainability measures at the hotel include an elimination of single-use plastics, using shower curtains made of recycled plastic water bottles, and staff training in waste reduction, water conservation and energy savings.

Colorado State U Receives $20M for Community Resilience

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has renewed a $20 million partnership for a Colorado State University engineering center designed to improve community resilience planning for natural hazards. The funding will extend the center of work for another five years, allowing its researchers to apply the modeling system they’ve developed to actual communities.

Clarkson U Purchases Electricity From Hydro

In its effort to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, the university signed a new agreement to purchase over half of its electricity needs from hydro energy.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Introduces Recyclable Aluminum Cups

The university's Department of Athletics recently announced a partnership to bring a recyclable aluminum cup to fans at sporting events, beginning with the men’s basketball game at the beginning of February. The 20-ounce recyclable drink cups will serve soft drinks for $5 per cup at men and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, and men and women’s lacrosse games as part of a pilot program.

U Pittsburgh Launches Textile Recycling Program

The university recently launched a textile recycling program to prevent clothing that is unsuitable for donation and other worn-out textiles from going to the landfill. The new program aims to help move the campus closer to its Pitt Sustainability Plan goal of reducing landfill waste 25 percent by 2030.

Catholic U America Building Earns LEED Gold

Maloney Hall, the recently renovated home to the Busch School of Business, now includes rainwater recovery system, low-flow bathroom fixtures, and energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems. Landscaping features such as native plants and trees were carefully chosen to not rely on permanent irrigation systems.

William & Mary Eliminates Single-Use Plastics

In addition to becoming certified by the Green Restaurant Association, Dining Services recently eliminated single-use plastics in two dining halls by changing behaviors, such as not putting straws out and using larger bulk containers made out of non-plastic material rather than offering individual jelly, butter and cream cheese servings.

William & Mary Signs Power Purchase Agreement

The recently signed 20-year power purchase agreement is for the output of a 20-megawatt photovoltaic system that is projected to generate approximately 50 percent of the university’s electricity needs. The production of solar energy at the farm will likely begin in 2021. William & Mary expects the contract will begin to save the university money after about six years.

Three Universities Form Racial Justice Consortium

As the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University and Queens University of Charlotte will collaborate to understand their history of race and racism, and develop student, university and community leaders who work across the region toward truth, racial healing and equity. The effort is supported by the consortium’s selection as a Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center by the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).

U Rochester Joins 'Climate Action 100+' Coalition

The university recently joined the Climate Action 100+, a coalition of investment firms, pension funds, and institutional investors influencing the corporations that are the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to agree to lowering emissions, being transparent about their operations, and taking necessary action on climate change. Additionally, the university's investment committee approved two recommendations: no direct investments in thermal coal production or in the production of oil from tar sands.

Balliol College Reduces Fossil Fuel Investments

(U.K.) The college announced a number of steps it will soon take in order to reduce the fossil fuel exposure of its endowment, from approximately 2.4 percent of its total endowment to a target of less than 1 percent. The college is also working with students on a climate change action plan.

George Soros Launches Global Network to Transform Higher Education

George Soros, the billionaire financier and philanthropist, recently announced that he is creating a new university network to better prepare students for current and future global challenges. The Open Society University Network (OSUN) will be a global network that integrates learning and the advancement of knowledge across geographic and demographic boundaries, promotes civic engagement on behalf of open societies, and expands access of underserved communities to higher education. Soros is endowing the network with $1 billion.

Inaugural 'Positive Impact Rating' Ranks Business Schools

The Positive Impact Rating for business schools uses surveys of students to assess and rate business schools on their contributions to solving societal challenges. Out of the 51 business schools participating in the rating, nine were featured as transforming schools, and another 21 were recognized as progressing schools.

Syracuse U Announces New Initiatives on Racial Equity

The university recently announced several new actions to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. The new actions include allocating space for multicultural students, working with Native American students to determine how to recognize the university's presence on ancestral Onondaga lands, conducting a security assessment of Hillel, launching a fund aimed at competitive recruitment of faculty from underrepresented minority groups, and allocating $5.6 million for diversity and inclusion initiatives, with 16 new staff members added to work on new and improved diversity programming.

Johnson & Wales U to Launch BS in Sustainable Food Systems

The new bachelor of science degree in Sustainable Foods Systems will launch in the fall of 2020. It is a four-year program serving as a platform for students to develop sustainable solutions.

Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge Announces 2019-20 Football Season Winners

The University of Colorado Boulder was recently announced as the overall winner of the 2019-20 Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge held during the football season. Earning subcategory wins across the challenge were the University of California, Berkeley (most-improved), Oregon State University (best student-athlete engagement) and Stanford University (best fan engagement). The competition, which happens for both the football and basketball season, encourages campuses to move towards zero waste and be creative on developing best practices, whether it be directly through reuse, recycling, and composting or by working with partners to drive impactful changes.

Colorado College Achieves Carbon Neutrality

The college recently achieved carbon neutrality through a variety of initiatives that include efficiency upgrades, building renovations, campus engagement initiatives, on-site renewable energy, local renewable energy purchases, and carbon offsets.

U Tennessee Knoxville Commits to 2030 Waste Goal

The university recently committed to diverting half of its waste from landfills by 2030 as part of a larger goal of becoming a zero waste institution. The diversion rate in 2018 was 33 percent.

Brandeis U Includes Caste in Non-Discrimination Policy

Discrimination based on caste, a system of inherited social class, is now expressly prohibited at the university, just as discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, genetic information, disability, military or veteran status, or any other category protected by law is prohibited.

Lumina Foundation Grants American Indian College Fund $650K

The recently announced grant will be used to examine the barriers affecting Native American students' higher education success. Under the grant, the American Indian College Fund will establish a two-part and 30-month project aimed at analyzing completion rates under factors such as the rising cost of college and high rates of poverty among American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Additionally, the research will focus on the sustainability of tribal colleges and universities, both academically and financially.