U California to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics

As part of a commitment to achieve zero waste, the university recently adopted a policy that will transition UC away from plastic bags in retail and dining locations (by January 2021) and eventually eliminate single-use plastic food service items (by July 2021) and plastic bottles (by January 2023).

Pennsylvania HEIs Partner With Municipalities on Climate Action

Twelve Pennsylvania colleges and universities are participating in the state's Department of Environmental Protection's Local Climate Action Program, which pairs municipalities with college students for assistance in developing the components of their local climate action plans. The participants learn how to measure local greenhouse gas emissions, assess local climate-related vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce emissions and manage climate change impacts in their communities.

U Virginia Opens 'Memorial to Enslaved Laborers'

Designed by Thomas Jefferson and built by enslaved people, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville recently completed the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, recognizing Black workers subjected to slavery and racism and offers a place of healing as well as learning. The circular shape of the memorial echoes broken shackles and also the “ring shout,” a traditional dance of enslaved African Americans.

Insight Into Diversity Announces STEM Award

The 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award, presented by Insight Into Diversity, recognizes unique and innovative programs for improving access to science, technology, engineering and math for underrepresented students. This year's accolade spotlights over 65 programs at higher education institutions.

U Oregon to Remove Murals With Racist Imagery

Four murals in the university's Knight Library that contain racist, exclusionary language and imagery will be covered by Oct. 1. Dating to the library's construction in 1937, the murals convey a racial hierarchy that places white people at the top through imagery and words.

College of the Holy Cross Launches Environmental Justice Prize

The college's environmental studies program recently announced the creation of the Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao Prize for work that addresses environmental racism and justice. The prize aims to recognize faculty who design their courses and research around the program's objectives.

Tuskegee U Receives $100K to Increase African American Access

The university’s Department of Architecture recently received a $100,000 contribution from the Cooper Carry Charitable Foundation, Inc., to increase access to the architecture profession for African American students. A need-based scholarship for undergraduate students will use $80,000 while the remaining $20,000 is designated for a student technology scholarship that will allow students to receive technology assistance by providing laptops and/or architecture design software.

U Hawai'i Receives $1.5M for Food & Ag Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced a $1.5 million grant to the university to expand education programs focused on food, agriculture and natural resources. Nine campuses will share $1.04 million for education and training resources for underrepresented individuals and businesses to break the cycle of resource and employment insecurity. UH Maui College will receive close to $500,000 to support a research methods and communications course and internships with local industry and nonprofit organizations to prepare students for science-based careers, particularly in food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences.

Pace U Earns Bee Campus USA Designation

The university's Pleasantville campus is now a certified affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program. The program is designed to increase public awareness of the role that pollinators in the ecosystem play, which the university aims to do by posting educational signage and hosting pollinator-focused events.

Five International Universities Receive $20K for Civic Engagement

The Talloires Network recently awarded a total of $100,000 to five university-community partnerships around the world responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The grantees are Meridian Global University (Cameroon) and the Access Care Foundation; Mount Kenya University (Kenya) and Partners for Care; Veracruz University (Mexico) and the Veracruz State Department of the Environment; National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (Nicaragua) in Managua in collaboration with municipal mayors and non-profit community institutions; and University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) and the Glen Norah Community Cooperative. The grants are part of the University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement, a program established by the Talloires Network in partnership with Open Society Foundations.

U Kentucky Launches Civil Rights & Education Initiative

The university recently announced a collaboration between its College of Education and the NAACP to develop an education and research initiative focused on educational equity, civil rights and social justice. Advancing and protecting education for all students in preschool through higher education will be the initiative’s focus, with particular emphasis on race-based discrimination. The initiative will also focus on students who are marginalized in the education sector based on ability, gender, ethnicity, age, class, religion, sexuality, and other markers.

Mid-State Tech College Installs Solar Array

Mid-State’s Renewable Energy Technician students recently installed 135 solar panels on the roof of the downtown Stevens Point campus. The array will supply approximately 15 percent of the campus’s energy usage. The project was incorporated into an advanced solar installation course this June and made possible thanks to a Solar on Schools grant the college received from the Couilliard Solar Foundation to purchase the solar panels.

Fort Lewis College Installs EV Chargers

Spearheaded by the Campus Sustainability Council, a project to connect two electric vehicle charging stations is now complete. The chargers allow for four vehicles to charge at once. The Campus Sustainability Council received $18,000 in funding from Charge Ahead Colorado, a program of the Colorado Energy Office, for the purchase and installation of the stations.

Cornell U Explores Ground Source Heating With $7.2M Grant

The university recently secured a $7.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to fund exploratory research on the feasibility of using a novel geothermal energy system to heat campus buildings. Ground source heating is part of Cornell's Climate Action Plan as a potential means for carbon neutrality by eliminating fossil fuels for heating.

Ohio U Installs Planted Roof

The Schoonover Center for Communication now harbors a partially vegetated roof, which will serve as a home to research projects, replete with equipment to track temperature, ultraviolet radiation, air quality, biodiversity, water runoff and water quality. The initiative was funded through a series of grants that engaged faculty from numerous departments interested in research data from the project.

New Mexico Highlands U Established George Floyd Memorial Scholarship

The university's newly established scholarship fund to support African American students will begin awarding funds for spring 2021 semester.

Bentley U Announces Racial Justice Initiatives

A set of strategic initiatives were announced recently that are aimed at overturning policies, practices and structures that enable systemic racism on campus. They include promoting diversity-based learning and development for faculty; assessing support for students of color; supporting professional development focused on racial justice, diversity and inclusion; expanding bias training in hiring; developing plans to avoid bias in admissions; launching a racial justice plan; and mandatory training for university police.

Palomar College Completes 442 KW Solar Installation

In late July, the college activated the largest photovoltaic system on the San Marcos campus, a 442-kilowatt array on top of a four-story parking structure.

Vanderbilt U Receives $8.4M for Transportation Initiatives

The Tennessee Department of Transportation's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program recently awarded the university $8.4 million to scale up its MoveVU sustainability transportation program. Over three years, the funding will enable the launch of a bikeshare service, improvements to shuttle service transit, installation of traffic-detection technologies, data analytics to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of system operations, and development of curbside management and micromobility policies and practices.

U Pittsburgh Offers Bike Service for Free

With support from the university's Office of Sustainability, Office of Parking, Transportation and Services and a grant from Pepsi, the university recently announced an expansion of the Healthy Ride program, which will provide unlimited, free 30-minute rides to students, faculty and staff throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

Georgia Tech Expands Recycling Program

The AWARE program (Actively Working to Achieve Resource Efficiency), which allows faculty and staff to understand their waste footprint by having them sort their materials as recycling or landfill, is now active across the entire campus. Building custodians will no longer service deskside or individual office waste containers.

MIT Launches Climate Change & Global Poverty Initiative

With a founding $25 million gift from King Philanthropies, MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is launching the King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI). The new initiative will study programs reducing the effects of climate change on vulnerable populations, and then work with policymakers to scale up the most successful interventions. K-CAI intends to help improve the lives of at least 25 million people over the next decade. Its first funded projects will be selected by the end of 2020.

U Wisconsin Stout Begins Using Enviro-Friendly Weed Control Technology

The new technology uses 200-degree water and a biodegradable foaming agent comprised of a blend of coconut and palm kernel oils, rapeseed oil, glucose, polysaccharides derived from the natural fermentation of glucose, and glutamic acid derived from sugar beets. The Stout Student Association Sustainability Council paid for a portion of the cost of the machine.

U Queensland Completes 64 MW Solar Farm

(Australia) The 64-megawatt, single-axis tracking solar farm now enables the university to receive 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy.

La Trobe U Connects 2.5 MW Solar Project

(Australia) As part of its Net Zero plan, a project to install 7,500 solar panels across 25 university buildings was recently completed.

U Kentucky Park Earns LEED Certification

Kentucky Proud Park, the home of University of Kentucky baseball, achieved LEED certification for reducing potable water use by 30 percent, diverting 76 percent of on-site generated construction waste from landfills, implementing energy saving measures and using recycled materials in building materials.

California State U to Launch Social Justice Requirement

Going into effect for the 2023-24 academic year across all 23 campuses, the newly approved, one-course ethnic studies and social justice requirement will be grounded in the traditional Ethnic Studies discipline, comprised of African American, Asian American, Latinx and Native American studies.

Three HEIs Sign Onto Sports for Climate Action Framework

The Ohio State University, Wake Forest University and the University of Miami recently signed onto the U.N.'s Sports for Climate Action Framework joining the University of Colorado Boulder. Signatories of the framework commit to five core principles in environmental responsibility, climate impact, education, consumption, and advocating and communication. Globally over 120 athletics programs have signed onto the framework.

U Hull Enters Carbon Neutrality Partnership

(U.K.) The university recently announced a partnership with Siemens that will create a detailed strategic master plan for carbon neutrality by 2027. Siemens has been commissioned by the university to undertake an evaluation of its energy consumption, focused on reducing emissions and finding new, renewable ways to power the campus. The elements of the plan will include reduction of current energy consumption, energy production using renewable energy, and conversion of the university's campus into a living lab that enables researchers and students to trial new technologies.

U California Berkeley Students Win the Student Corporate Engagement Competition

A panel of judges recently selected a team from the University of California, Berkeley as the inaugural winners of the SIILK Corporate Engagement Competition. They were recognized for preparing strong investment recommendations and shareholder engagement strategy to improve company performance (and investment returns) through better environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. Hosted by the Intentional Endowments Network, the Student Corporate Engagement Competition invites student teams to write and present an investment recommendation for a publicly-traded company listed on any major exchange, and include in the investment recommendation a proposed shareholder engagement strategy that aims to improve company financial and sustainability performance.

Leeward CC Becomes Net-Zero Campus

In addition to reducing consumption through various energy efficiency measures, the campus is now generating 97 percent of its energy through on-site photovoltaic systems, including solar shade canopies and distributed energy storage.

Cornell U Announces Racial Justice Initiatives

In a recent address to the campus body, the university's president asked the Faculty Senate to, as soon as possible, create and implement an educational requirement on racism, bias and equity for all students; create an anti-racism center; and launch an institution-wide themed semester focused on issues of racism in the U.S. through relevant readings and discussions. Additional announced changes include oversight of the university's police department; the creation new professional development programs with a focus on staff of color; make diversity, equity and inclusion part of the performance dialogue process; implement equity and cultural competency trainings for all staff; and make Juneteenth a permanent university holiday.

NACUFS Announces Sustainability Award Winners

National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) recently announced the 2020 gold, silver and bronze winners in five operational categories–procurement practices, energy and water conservation, waste management, materials and resources, and outreach and education. The annual NACUFS Sustainability Awards recognize member institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations.

Arizona State U Building Earns 'Excellence in Sustainability Award'

The university's Biodesign Institute C, a new, multi-functional research facility designed specifically to promote and enable the creation of cutting-edge research clusters, won Lab Manager’s Excellence in Sustainability prize, given as part of the Lab Design Excellence Awards. The Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building at the Metropolitan State University of Denver received honorable mention for sustainability.

15 Winners Receive $1.6M to Support Student Parents

Imaginable Futures and Lumina Foundation recently announced 15 winners of the Rise Prize, which awarded $1.55 million in combined prizes to innovative ideas for supporting the postsecondary success of student parents by addressing the systemic barriers they face.

Three Massachusetts HEIs Receive Funding for Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Study

The Massachusetts governor's office recently allocated three awards, totaling $300,000, to Salem State University, and to University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) and Lowell (UML). The grant funding is for feasibility studies that will help these three Massachusetts state universities achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Fairmont State U Obtains $27K Grant for Waste Solutions

The university’s Creative Sustainability Council (CSC), a campus organization focused on sustainability initiatives for the university and community, has been awarded a grant of $27,120 from the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation to implement two sustainability initiatives on campus this summer. The first initiative, a glass recycling program, will introduce a glass crusher to campus. The second initiative will introduce a composting program on campus.

Indiana U Accepts 2020 'Excellence in Sustainability Award'

The university received the NACUBO 2020 Excellence in Sustainability Award for its Indiana Sustainability Development Program, which aims to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for sustainability jobs within the state. NACUBO's Excellence in Sustainability Award recognizes institutions for a specific campus innovation, process or program that advances environmental sustainability in higher education or progress toward a more environmentally sustainable future.

U Vermont Divests From Fossil Fuels

The university's board of trustees voted unanimously in mid-July to immediately end new direct investment in fossil fuels, to fully divest from public investments in fossil fuels by July 2023 and to allow pre-existing multi-year private investments, which it stopped acquiring in 2017, to lapse without renewal. It will also accelerate an engagement campaign with managers of its commingled funds, asking that they factor the financial risks of climate change into their investment decision-making process and share their framework for doing so with the university.

U Pittsburgh Creates Justice Initiative

Anchored in the university's School of Education, the PittEd Justice Collective is a three-year working group that will engage in anti-racist, justice-directed initiatives within the education community as well as the surrounding community. Year one is focused on definitions and clarifying the scope of work and will also include a school-wide book read focused on anti-racism, along with lunch and learns, professional development opportunities and a virtual series on justice.

U Minnesota Morris Achieves Electricity Carbon Neutrality

Roughly 70 percent of the campus' electricity is generated by renewable energy–two university-owned, 1.65-megawatt wind turbines and several photovoltaic systems. To achieve carbon neutrality, the campus recently purchased renewable energy credits equal to the fossil-fuel produced electricity the campus uses.

LeMoyne-Owen College Receives $40 Million

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis recently announced the college as the recipient of a $40 million endowment. The college will receive 5 percent of the average balance of the fund each year. With nearly 90 percent of students qualifying for financial aid, much of the money will be put toward scholarships as well as academic innovations that prepare students for the job market.

U Notre Dame Announces Anti-Racist Initiative

The university's Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights has announced a year-long initiative called Building an Anti-Racist Vocabulary. The project seeks to educate students and members of the broader Notre Dame community, helping them explore and deconstruct concepts that support racism.

HKUST Reduces Waste With Digital Diploma/Transcript System

In an effort to reduce paper waste and thwart academic forgery, the university recently launched the Blockcerts platform, a user-friendly blockchain-based degree authentication system for documents such as graduation diplomas and academic transcripts. Saving time for graduates and staff, the system now allows graduates to receive cryptographically signed and tamper-proof electronic versions of their graduation diploma certificates. Starting in November, the university will begin providing electronic transcripts.

Shaw U Launches 'Center for Racial and Social Justice'

The purpose of the new Center for Racial and Social Justice is to enable meaningful social change by fostering engagement around civil and human rights, spiritual formation, discernment and social justice. Featuring research activities and academic programs that celebrate the university’s heritage of racial and social justice advocacy, the center will introduce a series of certificate programs that promote activism, strategic thinking and leadership development to confront the nation and world’s great challenges related to racial and ethnic differences.

EAUC Announces 2020 International Green Gown Award Recipients

The small and large institution winners in the Benefitting Society category are, respectively, Ayrshire College (U.K.) and St. Ignatius of Loyola University (Peru). The small and large institution winners in the Student Engagement category are, respectively, Facens University (Brazil) and University of Strathclyde (U.K.). The small and large institutional winners for the Sustainability Institution of the Year award goes to the International Islamic University Malaysia and St. Ignatius of Loyola University (Peru) respectively. The International Green Gown Awards celebrate the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world and are endorsed by United Nations Environment Program.

Villanova U Professor Receives Environmental Health Award

Health Care Without Harm and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments recently announced Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy as the 2020 Charlotte Brody Award recipient. Dr. McDermott-Levy is an associate professor and director at the Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University. The Charlotte Brody Award is an annual award given to a nurse who promotes and protects environmental health. Dr. McDermott-Levy was recognized for environmental advocacy and climate change leadership.

Four Institutions Achieve STARS Platinum

Arizona State University, Cornell University, Université de Sherbrooke and University of Connecticut recently obtained Platinum ratings under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). These institutions join five other STARS Platinum institutions: Colorado State University, Stanford University, Thompson Rivers University, University of California, Irvine, and University of New Hampshire. The STARS assessment framework encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions, as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.

Pennsylvania State U Plants Wildflowers on Solar Farm

In early June, National Pollinators Month, 32 million seeds were planted around and under 10 acres of solar panels. The wildflower varieties are highly attractive to pollinators such as native bees, honey bees and butterflies, playing a vital role in supporting food and flowering plants.

U Pittsburgh Signs Solar PPA for Electricity

Through a new, 20-year solar power purchase agreement, the university will purchase all of the renewable electricity produced by a planned 20-megawatt solar power facility. It will cover approximately 13 percent of the Pittsburgh campus’ annual electricity usage.