U Otago Discontinues Using Disposable Cups
(New Zealand) Three cafes at the university's Dunedin campus have recently discontinued offering single-use cups. Patrons can bring their own or choose to borrow a cup, which will be free for about two weeks, then will be offered for a deposit fee.
Pennsylvania State U Offers Business Sustainability Strategy Certificate
A new, nine-credit graduate certificate in business sustainability strategy is being offered online by the Penn State World Campus and led by the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Students will take courses in sustainability strategy development, strategy implementation and organizational change, and sustainable supply chain management.
Energy Dept Announces Collegiate Wind Competition Results
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the first place overall winner as The Pennsylvania State University, while Virginia Tech clinched second and California State Maritime Academy third. The Collegiate Wind Competition aims to prepare college and university students from multiple disciplines to enter the wind energy workforce by providing real-world technology experience. The competition challenges participants with tasks including business plan development, wind plant siting, and wind turbine design, building, and testing.
EAUC Announces International Green Gown Winners
Announced in mid-July, the winners of the International Green Gown Awards are Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) in the category of Benefitting Society; Ndejje University (Uganda) in the category of Student Engagement; and McGill University in the category of Sustainability Institution of the Year. For each category, three schools were also highly commended.
U Texas Austin Expands Tuition Assistance
The Board of Regents recently voted to establish a $160 million endowment that will be used to expand the university's Texas Advance Commitment program for in-state undergraduate students. Students of families earning up to $65,000 will have all tuition and fees covered by new endowment. Students of families with incomes up to $125,000 will have some assured tuition support.
U Virginia Earns Sustainable Fleet Accreditation
The university's Facilities Management Fleet recently garnered tier 2 of the Sustainable Fleet Accreditation, recognizing its efforts to build a fleet of cleaner and more sustainable vehicles. In the last year, facilities replaced 10 of its older, less efficient vehicles with electric and hybrid vehicles, and reduced the number of older diesel vehicles. The accreditation is a joint program between the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) and Calstart, both transportation-related nonprofits.
Cleveland State U Receives $1M for Students-in-Need Support
A new $1 million gift will support the work of the university’s Lift Up Vikes! program, which supplies students with food and support services. The gift will also establish a student resource center and create an emergency grant fund for individuals facing unforeseen circumstances that impact their ability to remain enrolled in school. The resource center will connect students with resources that will assist them in overcoming financial emergencies, meeting basic needs, providing personal finance education and creating comprehensive, sustainable plans for individual students’ success.
Arizona State U Creates Socially Responsible Investment Fund
In late June, the university's foundation established a socially responsible investment fund that endowment donors can select for their money rather than the traditional endowment pool. The investments will be in public and private companies with strong racial and gender equality, good governance and a focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Elon U Building Earns LEED Silver
Sankey Hall features low-flow plumbing fixtures and energy-efficient systems. Compared to standard plumbing fixtures, the low-flow fixtures in the building are expected to reduce water usage by 31 percent. The energy cost savings for the buildings is about 23 percent compared to buildings that just meet the standard building energy code.
U Kentucky Receives Award for HR Wellness Initiatives
The Human Resources department's community-supported agriculture (CSA) program received the HR Innovation Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) for reducing the cost of buying organic produce and supporting local farms. The CSA benefit provides participants with a voucher for either $200 toward a large share or $100 toward a small share of weekly produce from a participating local organic farm of their choice. The program had 470 participants in 2019.
James Madison U Adopts Living Wage
The university determined the living wage using information published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a single adult in Rockingham County, which came out to be $11.38 per hour. Those JMU employees who received the living wage increase, a total of 109 employees, now earn $12 per hour.
U Northern Colorado Installs Solar Flower
The artificial plant, nicknamed the Solar Flower, was installed in front of the university's cultural center and is sized at 2,500 watts, nearly enough power to meet the majority of the cultural center's needs. The project was funded through the Student Leadership for Environmental Action Fund (LEAF), which is a student fee that brings in $1 per enrolled credit, and up to $10 per student per semester.
U Basque Country Creates SDG Roadmap
(Spain) The university recently launched a website that maps the university's efforts to 12 of the 17 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and includes an additional commitment to linguistic and cultural diversity, and uses the 12+1 as a roadmap for its work. Each goal includes targets and key indicators that enable monitoring and measurement.
Pennsylvania State U to Develop Living Lab for Stormwater Infrastructure Research
A proposal to develop a living laboratory for green stormwater infrastructure research, education and innovation on campus was recently funded through the university’s Strategic Plan Seed Grant program. The goal of the proposal is to implement long-term, cost-effective solutions to water quality and quantity. Expanding the current relevant courses at Penn State on stormwater management to include green stormwater infrastructure practices is one of the priorities of this project.
Tufts U Installs Solar Arrays
Two new roof-mounted solar photovoltaic installations on buildings located on the Medford/Somerville campus will generate 161,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy for the university and surrounding community and are expected to save the university approximately $187,000 over the next 20 years. One array was installed on Lewis Hall, a residence hall, while the other was installed on the Science and Engineering Complex.
U Kentucky Begins Food Waste Composting
In an effort to reduce the amount of material going into the landfill and to produce an organic, nutrient-rich soil amendment for use at the university’s Organic Research Farm and by UK Grounds, the new program will accept food waste from certain dining areas and turn it into compost.
Carleton U Recycling Program Wins National Award
The university's recycling program in the University Center Food Court recently won a Quality and Productivity Award from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO). The program was cited for improving recycling behaviors through innovative recycling stations and realigned consumer packaging with less wasteful material. Throughout the transition, Carleton trained staff on best use of the new stations, resulting in a waste diversion rate of 90 percent, up from 12 percent, in less than a year.
Black Hills State U Dorm Receives Solar Electric Array
A solar array on the university's Thomas Hall was completed in May, featuring 186 370-watt photovoltaic panels. The cost of construction and installation was approximately $125,000 and has a payback time of less than 15 years.
Washington U St. Louis to Raise Minimum Wage to $15
The university's chancellor recently announced that the minimum hourly wage for regular employees and basic service contractors will be raised to $15 by July 1, 2021. The decision affects about 1,200 workers.
Elizabeth City State U Earns Approval for Sustainability Studies Program
The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors recently approved a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Studies at Elizabeth City State University, which is planned for a fall 2020 launch, pending review and approval of the university accrediting agency (SACSCOC) and the U.S. Department of Education. The program will provide broad interdisciplinary knowledge and skills that are required to address the inherent collaboration between environmental, human and technological systems that affect sustainability-related problems in the world today.
Second Nature Receives $303K to Support Cross-Sector Climate Action
Second Nature recently received $303,000 from a private donor to further the organization’s work advancing collaboration and partnerships across sectors for scalable climate solutions. Second Nature’s cross-sector climate programs are part of its newly released core strategy to exponentially accelerate climate action through higher education over the next decade.
U British Columbia Purchases Only Ocean Wise Seafood
As of July 1, the university will purchase and offer only 100 percent Ocean Wise recommended seafood. The change will include every food service location on both the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses, excluding franchises.
Rutgers U Announces Endowment to Help Neediest Students
Beginning in academic year 2020-21, the university will begin efforts to raise a $3 million endowment to support the Scarlet Promise Grants, formerly called Rutgers Assistance Grants, in perpetuity. The renewed focus on this grant program grew out of two task forces commissioned by Rutgers’ Board of Trustees – the Task Force on Student Aid and the Task Force on Philanthropy. The student aid task force found that a growing number of students are unable to complete their degrees because of limited resources, while others can graduate but leave college saddled with significant debt.
Augusta U Appoints Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Tiffany G. Townsend has been named chief diversity officer effective Sept. 1. Townsend previously served as the senior director of the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs at the American Psychological Association. Prior to that, she served as chair of community liaison/outreach in the Center for Trauma and the Community and adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine.
U Texas Dallas Building Earns LEED Gold
The new Engineering and Computer Science West building is 200,000 square feet and hosts research and teaching labs, faculty offices, student workspaces and a 300-seat auditorium. The building, which opened in August 2018, combines passive design strategies, high-performance assemblies and calibrated shading elements to reduce overall solar heat gain while maximizing daylight. R&D Magazine honored the building with a 2019 Lab of the Year Award-Special Mention for Engineering Labs.
U Southern Denmark to Focus SDG Integration Across University
(Denmark) In mid-June, the Executive Board of the university decided that the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to become the focal point for its work as a university. The basis of the transformation will be research and education, and will include 17 new, one-year master programs as well as integration of the SDGs in courses.
Rice U Forms University Task Force on Racial Injustice
University president David W. Leebron and provost Marie Lynn Miranda recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice that will begin in the fall semester. The group is charged with discovering, documenting, acknowledging and disseminating Rice’s past with respect to slavery, segregation, and racial injustice; developing campus-wide programming to support discussion on this topic; and identifying suggestions for the furthering a diverse and inclusive university.
Mount Holyoke College Dining Achieves Green Restaurant Certification
Certified by the Green Restaurant Association, the college's dining facilities have been certified as Level 1 Certified Green Restaurants. The Green Restaurant Association awards points in seven categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, energy, disposables, sustainable food, sustainable furnishings and building materials, and chemical and pollution reduction.
Georgia State U & U Massachusetts Dartmouth Win EPA WasteWise Awards
The two universities won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise awards in the college/university category for reducing select industrial wastes that would otherwise be disposed in landfills or incinerated. The program recognizes organizations that have the best overall improvement in waste prevention and recycling activities when compared to the previous year.
Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis Launches Seed Library
The IUPUI University Library debuted its new seed library in mid-June allowing patrons to take small envelopes of non-GMO seeds of culinary herbs. The project was made possible by a Greening IUPUI grant from the Office of Sustainability. The first year of the grant will concentrate on the easy-to-grow herbs, with vegetables, flowers and other native plant species expected to be added in 2020.
U Colorado Boulder Building Obtains LEED Platinum
The university's Village Center Dining and Community Commons is a 113,225-square-foot student hub featuring an aeroponic garden, a rooftop photovoltaic array, electrochromic glass windows, a biodigester, a bicycle-powered smoothie station, and LED lighting throughout. An efficient irrigation system for the native and adaptive landscaping plants coupled with water-efficient fixtures in the building is expected to result in more than 450,000 gallons of reduced water use each year.
U Pittsburgh Displays Art Using Nonconventional Materials
A collaborative, new art project between architecture and engineering students seeks to better understand how nonconventional materials – bamboo, cardboard, plywood and recycled plastic bottles – perform in the elements. A plywood bench supported by the cardboard tubes marks the center of the piece and invites passersby to sit and take a look.
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 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.
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.