Columbia U Staff Complete Energy Efficiency Training
Forty-five Columbia residential operations and maintenance staff completed the 30-hour New York City Building Operator Training program to help improve energy efficiency of residential buildings and reduce operating costs. The curriculum provides participants with energy and resource conservation techniques related to a building’s heating, electrical and water systems.
Cornell U Joins Supply Chain Greening Group
The university's Center for Sustainability announced its new partnership with The Sustainability Consortium. With more than 100 corporate, academic and nongovernmental organization members, the consortium explores paths to address environmental, social and economic imperatives in business supply chains. Specifically, the partnership seeks to connect faculty, students and staff with projects that could translate Cornell research into business tools that spur consumer product sustainability, to initiate new projects that influence corporate and policy-level decision-making, and to advance conservation finance to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices and investment.
Marymount Manhattan College Purchases 100% Renewable Energy
The college now purchases all of its power from renewable sources. Additionally, after consulting with an energy and water management company, the college has installed a building management system for heating, cooling and electricity, and installed energy-efficient windows in its Carson Hall.
Indiana State U Begins Sustainability Partnership With City
The university's Office of Sustainability and the municipality in which it resides, Sullivan, have launched a partnership to develop collaborative community-based sustainability projects and to find proactive ways to incorporate ecological operations at the city level. The projects will be completed by Sustainable Cities faculty and ISU students.
Two Universities Join Consortium to Study Slavery
The University of Georgia and the University of Nottingham (U.K.) recently joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium. Universities Studying Slavery (USS) is dedicated to organizing multi-institutional collaboration to facilitate mutual support in the pursuit of common goals around the core theme of universities studying slavery.
Vanderbilt U Announces Zero Waste By 2030 Goal
The university recently announced its commitment to achieving a 90 percent diversion rate from the landfill and reducing the amount of waste generated on campus by 30 percent, both by 2030. Additionally, the institution committed to addressing emissions related to waste disposal and recycling.
Ohio U Building Scores LEED Gold Certification
Ellis Hall, a 115-year-old building, was recently renovated and now features LED lighting, low-flow toilets and sinks, new insulation, new windows, and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system. Exterior landscaping includes drought-tolerant trees and shrubs.
Haverford College Launches Student Loan Debt Relief Program
The Student Loan Debt Relief Program is designed to assist graduates for whom $4,000 to $12,000 in student debt would be a burden, particularly those pursuing careers of high societal value and low remuneration. The Class of 2019 was the first that was eligible to apply for its debt relief. Twelve awards were given, ranging from $900 to $1500 per applicant.
Windward CC Gets $30K Grant to Plant Trees
Thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Arbor Day Foundation, the community college will be able to plant 31 new trees: two different species of banyans, and a variety of native and Polynesian trees.
Rutgers U Engineering Hall Receives LEED Gold
The 106,000-square-foot, four-story facility features solar orientation, mechanical systems with ventilation controlled by occupancy and carbon dioxide sensors, and energy-efficient LED lighting with automatic lighting controls that use daylight photo and occupancy sensors.
CUNY Announces $1M Food Insecurity Pilot Program
Through this new program, eligible students can receive $400 vouchers to use for any food item in campus cafeterias. To qualify, students must be enrolled at a CUNY community college for at least nine credits, live in the five boroughs, be working towards their first college degree, show significant financial need, and not currently receiving SNAP benefits.
Clarkson U Receives Grant for Food Waste Education
The university has recently received a $35,000 grant as a part of their E² Energy to Educate grant program. The funding will allow Clarkson to expand its current partnership with Canton Central School and engage more than 1,000 K-12 students in a district-wide food waste collection system and education program.
U Utah Hires Chief Sustainability Officer
Kerry Case recently accepted the university's offer to serve as its chief sustainability officer. Case is currently assistant provost for Integrative Learning at Westminster College and has led its sustainability initiatives for 13 years. As chief sustainability officer, Case is tasked with the development of a sustainability action plan, updating the 2010 Climate Action Plan and looking for external funding opportunities that could support sustainability efforts.
National Taiwan U Divests From Polluters
(Taiwan) The university recently announced that it is divesting from six companies, accounting for 22 percent of the university’s investments. It has already divested from four of them and plans to divest from the remaining two by the end of 2020.
AASHE Publishes 2019 Annual Report
AASHE recently released its annual report detailing accomplishments and progress throughout 2019 in STARS, education and professional development, AASHE Sustainability Awards, the annual conference and expo, and more.
U Iowa Enters Public-Private Energy Partnership
The University of Iowa recently received approval from the board of regents to enter into a 50-year, nearly $1 billion partnership with Engie North America and Meridiam. Under the agreement, the university will maintain ownership of the UI utility system and Engie will perform all operations with respect to steam, cooling, water and electricity. Engie and Meridiam will work with the university to ensure that the university meets its goal of being coal-free by Jan. 1, 2025, if not sooner; that sources of renewable fuels and incorporating sustainable, lower-cost fuel options into the existing utility systems will be explored; and that experiential learning and research opportunities are available to students, faculty and staff.
Santa Clara U Wins Reusable Water Bottle Competition
A competition hosted by Hyundai challenged the campus communities of Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University and Santa Clara University to opt for reusable instead of plastic water bottles. Santa Clara University prevailed with 60,022 water bottle refills. Hyundai presented a $100,000 grant to Santa Clara University’s Office of Sustainability.
Stockton U Installs Window Art to Reduce Bird Strikes
To reduce the number of bird strikes on one of the university's buildings at its Galloway campus, a vinyl mural was recently installed featuring the message, "Art should be striking. Not birds," along with an explanation of how the art saves birds by eliminating reflections.
U British Columbia Board Agrees to Fossil Fuel Divestment
After recently declaring a Climate Emergency, the university's board of governors agreed to divest the main endowment pool ($1.71B) from fossil fuels and directed the administration to conduct analysis necessary to support such action. Also, the board agreed to financial and legal reviews of transferring $380 million of endowed university funds to the university’s sustainable future pool, a fossil-free and low carbon fund established in 2017.
McGill U Building Receives LEED Gold for Existing Buildings
The McGill University Health Center was recently awarded LEED Gold for Existing Buildings after receiving LEED Gold for New Construction in 2016 by the Canada Green Building Council. The center utilizes energy-efficient lighting and water technology, and its site contains 79 charging stations for electric vehicles, a bicycle path linked to the city of Montreal’s network and more than 400 parking spaces for cyclists as well as showers for cyclists.
U Georgia SGA Opens Professional Clothing Shop
After two years of student-led planning, the Student Government Association Professional Clothing Closet recently opened. The Professional Clothing Closet provides professional attire to students at no cost and on short notice. Students may keep the clothing for future use.
U Wollongong Building Certified as Living Building
(Australia) The university's Sustainable Buildings Research Center recently achieved full marks in all seven performance areas under the Living Building Challenge and is now designated as Living Certified. The research center features 468 solar panels to support net zero energy, an onsite rainwater system to enable net zero water performance, and use of environmentally safe and reused building materials.
Southwestern U Becomes Bee Campus Certified
Now certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, the university supports pollinators by caring for pollinator-friendly, drought-resistant plants in the campus community garden, protecting native habitat, minimizing the use of dangerous pesticides and disseminating information to the campus and external communities.
Sonoma State U Bans Glyphosate Products
The university recently banned all glyphosate-based chemicals on campus, including those used in weed-killing products such as Roundup. Instead, the university will primarily use organic-based herbicides on its 269-acre campus.
McGill U Reduces Carbon Footprint of Portfolio
At a recent meeting, the university's board of governors approved all the proposed recommendations from the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility. The report recommends decreasing McGill’s endowment portfolio exposure to carbon-intensive investments, including those within the fossil fuel industry. The report also recommends increasing the university's low-carbon holdings through impact investments, such as those in clean technologies, renewable energy infrastructure and fossil-fuel-free funds.
U Washington Begins Reusable To-Go Container Pilot
The student organization Students Expressing Environmental Dedication (SEED) recently implemented the Ozzi reusable container pilot project. The goal of the project is to reduce single-use compostable containers. Students can obtain reusable containers with their to-go food. Once they finish using the containers, they can return them to select machines, where they are given a token. Students can then use the token in exchange for another reusable container for their next to-go purchase.
Quinnipiac U Partners to Reduce Hunger
Quinnipiac Dining is now donating its excess food directly to local residents through Haven’s Harvest, a non-profit organization that currently provides food to those facing food insecurity throughout Greater New Haven. Starting in January, Quinnipiac students will work with Haven’s Harvest to deliver the food throughout Hamden each weekday during the academic year.
William & Mary Receives $19M for Environmental Institute
The college recently received a $19.3 million gift from an alumna who wishes to remain anonymous to establish the Institute for Integrative Conservation. To be launched in 2020, the institute will be a cross-disciplinary and cross-sector institute to advance solutions to the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges.
U Tennessee Partners on Forest Conservation
The UT Institute of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy recently signed an agreement to manage the university's forested research properties under The Nature Conservancy's Working Woodlands Program, which was established in 2009 to engage landowners in securing and sustainably managing their forestlands to benefit the environment and local livelihoods. Through Working Woodlands, the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center will work to achieve Forest Stewardship Council certification for 11,400 acres of forested properties that spread across four counties. In addition to forest certification, as part of the agreement, The Nature Conservancy will provide a conduit for the university to access carbon offset markets.
U Georgia Receives $7.46M for Electric Buses
The Federal Transit Administration’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will allocate $7.46 million to the university to purchase an additional 13 electric buses. The funding, along with UGA’s 30 percent matching share, will grow the university’s fleet to 33 electric buses.
U Cincinnati Launches Environmental Literacy Certificate
The university's new certificate program in environmental literacy is administered by the Office of Sustainability. Through the co-curricular, self directed program, students are exposed to systems thinking, ecological principles, and fundamental sustainability competencies with the aim of enhancing a culture of sustainability.
Fitzwilliam College Adopts ESG Investment Principles
(U.K.) In late November, the college's governing body adopted a new investment policy prioritizing environmental, social and governance principles. Indirect investments in fossil fuels, tobacco manufacturers, or weapons manufacturers will also be minimized and kept under constant review.
U North Texas Opens Allergen-Free Dining hall
The university recently opened a dining hall that is completely free of major allergenic foods often referred to as the "Big 8". They are milk, eggs, fish, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and shellfish.
Washington U St. Louis Opens Active Commuter Hub
Offered by the Office of Sustainability and Parking & Transportation Services, the new Active Commuter Hub supports staff, faculty, students and contractor employees that bike, walk, use public transit or other active forms of transportation by offering access to showers and lockers. The space is also accessible to people wanting to exercise over breaks or at lunchtime.
US Senators Introduce Amendments to the 'Higher Education Sustainability Act'
In mid-November, four U.S. senators introduced a bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 that would reauthorize a competitive grant program called the University Sustainability Program. As proposed, eligible institutions and associations, consortiums or collaborations that are working in partnership with at least one higher education institution could receive grants for the purpose of establishing 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.