Stanford U Announces Climate & Sustainability School
The university president in a recent address to the Academic Council announced the creation of a school focused on climate and sustainability that will help the university address the challenges facing the planet. In addition to leveraging the university's climate and sustainability research areas, the school is also to include a sustainability neighborhood providing place-based education and sustainability across the curriculum, and an accelerator, which would drive new sustainability solutions through external partnerships with government, industry and nongovernmental organizations.
Cornell U Announces Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Investments
The university's board of trustees voted in May to institute a moratorium on new private investments focused on fossil fuels and to grow its investments in alternative energy technologies. The moratorium emerged from the university's Investment Committee review of its $6.9 billion endowment portfolio; the near- and medium-term financial outlook for the coal, oil and gas industries; and the potential threat posed by climate change. The percentage of long-term investments focused on fossil fuels is expected to dwindle to zero over time as existing investments mature.
U Illinois System Invests $160M Using ESG Lens
The university system recently invested nearly $160 million of the system endowment into a new environmentally and socially focused strategy launched by a global asset manager. The three-university system’s investment decision was rooted in its Guiding Principles, which include financial and environmental sustainability.
Greenville U Completes Solar Installation
The university's recently completed photovoltaic project will cover approximately 75 percent of the university's electricity needs. The project was feasible thanks to an Illinois renewable energy program that allowed the school to acquire the system at no up-front cost and pay over six years with the money that would have been spent on electricity.
Northwestern U to Support 16 Community Solar Projects
The university recently signed an agreement with a community solar provider to support the development and construction of 16 community solar projects in Illinois, totalling 11.9 megawatts. Additionally, the partnership will provide hands-on experiential learning for students. Community solar allows customers to subscribe to a local solar project, receive credits on their utility bill and reduce their overall electricity costs.
Lafayette College Building Receives LEED Platinum
The college's Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center features renewable energy that meets 70 percent of the building's electricity needs, a reflective roof, ample daylighting, and bird-safe window glazing.
U Rhode Island Farm Receives Organic Certification
Three acres used to conduct crop research at the university was recently certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organics Program. Now the acreage will be used to conduct research on organic production methods and for comparison studies of organic and conventional crop production. The land will also be used in classes on sustainable crop production.
Appalachian State U Building Earns LEED Silver
The university's new Hall of Health Sciences includes rooftop solar panels, water-efficient fixtures and landscaping, pollution-reducing lighting, and access to public transportation.
Clemson U Introduces Virtual Map of Food Resources
University faculty and staff, in coordination with the United Way and Ten at the Top, recently released an interactive map that provides information on different food resources for individuals and families facing food insecurity. The regional map includes nearly 400 providers across 10 counties complete with information on the type of assistance they provide as well as operating hours and availability.
Macquarie U Signs Hydroelectricity Agreement
(Australia) The new seven-year contract allows the university to source hydroelectricity for its North Ryde campus. Under the contract, the university will purchase approximately 54,422 megawatt-hours of electricity per year.
Emory U to Install 5.5 MW of Solar
The university will install more than 15,000 solar panels across 16 buildings on its Druid Hills campus, which will generate approximately 10 percent of Emory’s peak energy requirements. The project is part of a 20-year agreement to install 5.5 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity across campus.
SUNY ESF & Syracuse U Win $5K Waste Reduction Grant
The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3), and NYS Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) recently awarded the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University with $5,000 each for projects that focus on source reduction, reuse or recycling. SUNY ESF is developing a menstrual product accessibility and sustainability program, and Syracuse researchers will be studying incoming freshmen behaviors and attitudes toward waste and material use.
Energy Dept. Announces Solar Decathlon Winners
For the first time, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Challenge recognized and awarded two grand winners. The winners were University of Oregon in the commercial building division and Miami University in the residential division. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.
Partnership Results in Student Emergency Aid Effort
A new initiative from an alliance of educational technology companies and education-focused nonprofits will distribute emergency aid to college students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, building on $1.1 million in initial funding. In the first phase of the initiative, Course Hero will work with five education-related nonprofits to raise awareness and distribute funds. The second phase involves a partnership with Edquity, which developed an app through which students can apply for emergency aid from their colleges and receive funds directly in their bank accounts, and the nonprofit organization Believe in Students, which focuses on alleviating poverty among college students.
Four Canadian Institutions to Enhance Support for Indigenous Students
A total of $380,000 from the Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program will be evenly divided between Coast Mountain College, the College of New Caledonia, Northern Lights College, and the University of Northern British Columbia to enhance support for Indigenous students and invest in technological solutions to improve access for remote education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous students studying at the four institutions can receive academic mentoring and mental health counselling to help navigate the barriers and challenges that come with isolation at home.
Washington U St. Louis Helps City Adopt Building Standards
Staff from the WashU Office of Sustainability worked closely with the City of St. Louis since the fall of 2019 to develop a strategy for ambitious and achievable building energy performance standards, which were adopted in April and signed into law in May. The Building Energy Performance Standards set energy-efficiency targets for all new and existing buildings in St. Louis, while working towards a goal of reducing emissions 100 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, and improving indoor and outdoor air quality by reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
U Iowa Releases Six Sustainability Goals
The university's Office of Sustainability and the Environment recently announced a framework for campus-wide sustainability goals to be met by 2030. The six goals cover greenhouse gas emissions, campus culture, research and scholarship, campus as a lab, curriculum, and outreach and engagement.
University Climate Change Coalition Releases Strategic Plan
Moving into the third year since its launch, the UC3 (University Climate Change Coalition) recently released a five-year strategic plan, representing an updated vision and trajectory for the coalition. The plan lays out three goals, each related to a sphere of influence–campus, community and global.
U Washington Releases Sustainability Strategy
The new plan, which spans five years and all three UW campuses, includes five guiding principles and 10 measurable targets, along with annual actions to reach those targets. The plan’s guiding principles are: ensure students achieve sustainability literacy; choose our research conscientiously; keep equity and inclusion at the center; use resources responsibly; and decarbonize.
U Chicago to Launch Green Fund
Starting in autumn 2020, the university will open a $50,000 pool of grant money known as the Green Fund for student-led research and projects to improve campus sustainability. Undergraduate and graduate students will be able to apply for funding by submitting project proposals to a review board. The board will be composed of student, faculty and staff representatives.
U Wisconsin Oshkosh Opens Food Pantry
A McNair Scholar at the university successfully organized and opened a campus food pantry in mid-February after delving into research focused on food insecurity and students of color.
U Chicago Sets More Ambitious GHG Reduction Date
The university recently announced a new goal of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The previous goal was 20 percent by 2025. To meet the new GHG emissions goal, the university will focus on increasing the purchase of electricity generated from renewable sources, making new and existing buildings more energy efficient, increasing the university’s landfill diversion rate, and reducing fleet vehicle gasoline use.
U Buffalo Releases 2030 Climate Action Plan
The university's new plan, called the “10 in 10”, is a road map of 10 strategies that will guide the university’s climate mitigation efforts over the next decade. The 10 initiatives form a framework for implementation efforts, with each of the 10 categories corresponding to a working group that will advance action within the area.
U New Mexico to Install Solar Array on Library
A joint effort between the Associated Students of UNM and UNM’s Facilities Management has resulted in approval of a $400,000 solar array to be built atop the university's Zimmerman Library. With an estimated peak output of 429 kilowatts, the solar array is expected to meet the electricity needs of the library. Any surplus electricity will be fed onto the grid. The university is expected to save $25,000 per year in avoided costs for electricity.
California State U Northridge Launches Victory Garden Program
The university's Institute for Sustainability recently launched a Seeds of Victory campaign to encourage people to grow their own food. To support people in this endeavor, the institute will provide free vegetable and herb seeds to the campus community and offer online workshops with expert gardeners to teach people how to grow their own food.
U Iowa Becomes Fair Trade University
The university has been named an official Fair Trade University upon the passing of a student-led resolution that calls for a university commitment to procure and sell fair trade items. The university will now offer fair trade products in residence halls, convenience stores and catered events sponsored by the university.
THE Releases 2020 University Impact Rankings
The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings assess universities against the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The 2020 ranking includes 766 universities from 85 nations/regions.
U Alabama Birmingham to Certify 110 Laboratories
An ongoing effort at the university seeks to have over 110 laboratories My Green Lab certified by the end of 2020. The My Green Lab certification serves as a sustainability benchmark for laboratories addressing best practices in energy use, water use, chemical use, waste generation and procurement.
Ohio State U Releases Climate Action Plan
The university's new Climate Action Plan outlines a 55 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 through improving building efficiency, diversifying sources of energy and addressing transportation-related emissions.
Bronx CC Installs EV Charger
The newly installed electric vehicle (EV) charger is available to the campus community for free. The unit did not require any on-site construction, as it is designed to be a stand-alone unit sitting on top of the parking surface.
Oxford U Bans Fossil Fuel Investments
The university recently passed a motion requiring its endowment fund be divested from all direct investments in fossil fuel companies, and end future investment in funds that primarily hold stock in fossil fuel companies. The motion further requires endowment managers to request evidence of plans to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions from companies across Oxford’s entire portfolio of investments.
Cornell U Connects 18 MW Solar Farm
In mid-January, the university flipped the switch on its largest solar project, totaling 18-megawatts. The new solar farm will generate approximately 20 percent of Cornell’s electricity use.
U Illinois Chicago Contributes 5,000 Masks
As part of a new partnership between the UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, costume fabricators are making COVID-19 patient masks. This partnership already has resulted in the manufacture of 5,000 facemasks, which were delivered to the University of Illinois Hospital in early April.
Emory U Water Reclamation Project Surpasses 300M Gallons
Since April 2015, Emory’s WaterHub has reclaimed and recycled more than 300 million gallons of campus wastewater for use in Emory’s steam plant and three campus chiller plants, as well as select residence hall toilets. It provides more than 40 percent of the university's total campus water needs.
American U Eliminates Fossil Fuel Investments
While the university has had no direct investments in fossil fuel funds for several years, in a series of transactions over the last few months, the board of trustees eliminated the remaining $12.9 million of fossil fuel exposure within the public endowment portfolio. This action was executed through the sale of $350 million in commingled and index funds, with the proceeds reinvested in investments that do not include any fossil fuel holdings.
Arizona State U Achieves Carbon Neutrality
The university has recently achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations, six years earlier than its commitment of 2025. Increased energy efficiency in both new buildings and campus retrofits; on-site solar generation; renewable energy purchases from large-scale, off-site generation facilities; and purchase of carbon offsets and renewable energy were deployed. The carbon neutrality commitment date for emissions related to commuting and air travel is 2035.
U Nebraska to Offer Free Tuition
In an effort to make higher education more accessible, the university is launching a program that guarantees a tuition-free education for all Nebraska students with family incomes of $60,000 or less. The program begins in fall 2020.
Brandeis U Kitchens Make Meals for Healthcare Workers
Meals for doctors, nurses and administrative staff at five Boston-area hospitals are now being prepared in Brandeis University kitchens. Sodexo runs the kitchens and has hired additional staff — including some students who are still on campus — to prepare meals for hospital workers. Brandeis kitchens recently prepared and sent 2,200 meals to area hospitals.
U California Berkeley to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
The university recently adopted a single-use elimination policy that seeks to eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic, both non-recyclable and recyclable, by 2030. The ban focuses on food-ware and plastic bags, and addresses the spectrum of products and packaging used in campus academics, research, administration and events.
Dickinson College Sustainability Expert Featured in People Magazine
Neil Leary, director of the college's Center for Sustainability Education, contributed three tips in People magazine's Earth Day anniversary issue featuring "50 things you should know and do to help the planet." Leary discusses the importance of keeping a refrigerator stocked, ditching the mini fridge, and composting.