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.
U Buffalo Raises PhD Student Stipend to $20K
The university will raise all Ph.D. teaching assistant, research assistant and graduate assistant stipends to a baseline of $20,000 for the 2019-20 academic year. The stipend announcement came with the launch of a Ph.D. Excellence Initiative which will examine issues related to Ph.D. programs in order to enhance Ph.D. students’ educations. Some departments’ stipends were already close to, or above, $20,000, while others will see a 30-40 percent increase in their stipends.
U Memphis Professor Creates Green Living App
Green Fee, developed by Susan Elswick, a professor in the social work department at the university, is a game-based app that allows users to track their green-living efforts, as well as green-living issues they encounter. Users can identify and geotag a green-living issue or problem they see, such as trash on the ground, then users may opt to address the issue and tag that activity.
U Northern Colorado Completes 172 KW Solar Array
A 172-kilowatt photovoltaic array funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was recently connected, along with an interactive dashboard to track the performance. The array is part of a $8.9 million energy saving contract.
U Arizona Announces Pell Pledge Grant
Beginning with the fall 2020 semester, all Arizona-resident, Pell-eligible freshmen attending the main campus will have the full cost of their tuition covered for four years.
U California Merced Launches 'No Food Left Behind' Initiative
The No Food Left Behind initiative provides the campus community with two ways to help ensure there is no food waste for catered events on campus. Students, faculty and staff can sign up for text alerts when leftover food might be available after a catered event, and event attendees may bring food containers to take remaining food after the event is over.
U Pittsburgh Deploys Electric Box Trucks
The university added four new zero-emission electric box trucks to its fleet. Designed to travel 60 to 80 miles on a single charge, the light-duty trucks are used for campus moving and delivery services.
Smith College Adopts 'Year on Climate Change' for 2019-20 Academic Year
The college has designated the 2019-20 academic year as the Year on Climate Change, a college-wide initiative to critically examine the complex and urgent issue of climate change. This program encourages the campus community to engage in deep and authentic critical thinking, collaboration, listening and action. The initiative opens in October with the Climate Equity and Justice: Solutions in Action conference that will bring more than a dozen speakers to campus.
Vanderbilt U Eliminates Single-Use Plastic Water & Soda Bottles
The university recently announced it will eliminate all single-use plastic water and soda bottles in its operations throughout dining facilities, markets and vending machines. Starting this academic year, all undergraduate students will be given a reusable aluminum Vanderbilt tumbler for use at hydration stations throughout campus.
U Sunshine Coast Installs Solar Energy & Thermal Storage Tank
(Australia) The university recently installed a 2.1-megawatt photovoltaic system, the energy from which will be used to cool water in a three-story tank. The chilled water will then be used for air conditioning, which is currently the single biggest user of electricity at the campus.
Hampton U Offers Enrollment to Displaced Bahamian Students
In an effort to help those students and families affected by Hurricane Dorian, Hampton University is entering into an agreement with the University of the Bahamas-North to allow students who have been displaced by the hurricane to continue their education on HU’s campus. Students from the University of the Bahamas-North will be able to attend classes at Hampton for the fall 2019 semester, receive room and board for one semester, and will have the option to stay at Hampton once the semester is over at regular rates for tuition and fees.
Ohio U Receives Grant to Expand Zero Waste Efforts
The university was recently awarded an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Recycling Grant of nearly $130,000 that, combined with internal matching funds, will allocate more than $160,000 toward a 12-month project to improve the collection and processing of organic waste on campus. The grant money will be used for three main improvements, which include installing stationary co-located bins in the Convocation Center and using a portable conveyer to assist with sorting.
University Grants Commission of India Encourages Ban on Single-Use Plastics
(India) The University Grants Commission of India has issued guidelines to higher education institutions across the country to impose a ban on single-use plastic, including in their canteens, hostels and shopping complexes. The higher education regulator, while issuing the guidelines, said that plastic waste has emerged as one of the biggest environmental concerns adversely impacting the soil, water, health and well-being of citizens at large and that time has come for a systematic campaign to reduce the usage of plastics.
U Colorado Boulder Introduces Aluminum Cup at Stadium
A new partnership was recently announced that will bring Ball Corporation's recyclable aluminum cup to the university's Folsom Field during the 2019 football season. The CU Athletic Department hopes to significantly reduce plastic use in the stadium during the 2019 season, with the university's goal of becoming plastic-free in sports venues by 2020.
AASHE Congratulates 2019 Sustainability Award Winners
Across four categories including the Lifetime Achievement Award, 11 winning submissions were selected as winners from nearly 350 total peer-reviewed applications and nominations in this year’s awards program. There were two honorable mentions. Some award recipients will be presenting their award-winning work at AASHE 2019, happening in Spokane, Washington, from Oct. 27 - 30.
Sierra Magazine Releases 2019 Cool Schools List
Sierra's 13th annual Cool Schools ranking features 282 North American institutions, including community colleges for the second year. The annual ranking uses data from the AASHE STARS platform to assess colleges' environmental practices across a myriad of categories. Sierra's scoring system reflects the priorities of the Sierra Club.
Villanova U Opens Sustainable Apartment-Style Buildings
The Commons is a new apartment-style complex featuring six residence halls. Outside of the buildings are light fixtures that are dark sky compliant, two underground cisterns to collect stormwater from the roofs that will be used to cool the buildings, and three bioswales to remove debris and pollution from surface water runoff. These areas will also be used as stormwater test sites for students and faculty in the College of Engineering. The buildings feature energy-efficient and motion sensor light fixtures and low-flow plumbing fixtures.