21 New York Universities Form RE Purchasing Coalition
Called New York Campuses’ Aggregate Renewable Energy Solutions (NYCARES), the newly formed consortium is comprised of 21 private and public higher education institutions and is working towards a goal of purchasing or producing electricity from 100 percent zero-net-carbon sources.
Vanderbilt U Science Building Earns LEED Gold
The building includes LED bulbs as well as occupancy sensors, windows that optimize natural solar light and help prevent bird strikes, and a 10,000 gallon cistern to capture rain water for irrigation.
Concordia U Issues “Sustainable Bond” for New Green Building
The $25-million bond will help finance a new Science Hub that is expected to receive LEED Gold certification. Slated for completion in fall 2019, the building is projected to be 35 percent more efficient than an average non-certified research facility.
Dickinson College Building Reaches LEED Platinum
The college's new residence hall features energy-efficient exterior walls and high-efficiency windows. An upgraded stormwater management system, including four rain gardens, will minimize impacts to the existing community systems.
Central College Receives Tree Campus USA Recognition
The college is now Tree Campus USA certified, thanks to students who spearheaded the efforts to complete the requirements. Students now produce a Tree of the Week column for the college’s sustainability blog, profiling the diverse tree species on campus.
Sorority Pledges $10M to 96 HBCUs
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, in partnership with the Educational Advancement Foundation, recently announced the establishment of the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund. Toward the end of February, presidents from 32 of the participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will receive the first installment of the endowment gift in the amount of $50,000. The fund was created in an effort to assist in the financial stability of HBCUs.
Grand Valley State U Trustees Approve Environmental & Sustainability Studies Major
During the university’s Feb. 8 Board of Trustees meeting, trustees approved the creation of an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major, which builds on the structure of the preexisting minor and will go into effect fall 2019. According to the program proposal, the major will be available both as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science and span 35-37 credits. Students will be able to choose an area of focus such as sustainable food resources or water management.
Carnegie Mellon U Building Achieves LEED Gold
The university's home for the Tepper School of Business features a 120,000-gallon cistern to collect rainwater for reuse and the floor of its four-story atrium uses radiant slabs to heat or cool the space.
U Texas San Antonio Hires Sustainability Director
Lani May, who for the past seven months has served as the university's interim sustainability director, has been hired as the new university sustainability director. For the last nine years, May has served as a senior environmental planner in the UTSA Office of Facilities. Prior to joining UTSA, May spent more than six years as the natural resources coordinator. She earned a bachelor's degree in geography and a master’s degree in environmental science from UTSA and is currently working on her Ph.D. at UTSA in civil and environmental engineering.
Eastern Connecticut State U Program Supports African American & Hispanic Students
The new PASS (Promoting Academically Successful Students) program ensures that African American and Hispanic students who end up on academic probation are provided support. The program uses a hands-on advising model and an active career development program to inform students of available support services. Funded through a $75,000 grant from the Connecticut State Office of Higher Education, the program requires weekly advising sessions, skill development workshops, and group meetings for all participating students to review their schedules and make any necessary adjustments.
U Bath Receives Living Wage Employer Accreditation
(U.K.) The university received the accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation. Accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation is reserved for employers that pay the independently-calculated living wage rates to all staff in the U.K., or those committed to an agreed timetable of implementation.
U Wisconsin–Madison Launches Reusable Takeout Container Program
Beginning in fall 2018, the university's dining services started a reusable to-go container program in order to reduce single-use disposable waste in dining facilities. Tokens for the containers are $5 each. After containers have been used, students can return them via a vending machine-like drop-off where, in exchange, they are given a new token.
Pennsylvania State U Announces 70 MW Solar Project
The university recently announced a partnership to develop a 70-megawatt solar-electric project that is estimated to provide 25 percent of Penn State’s state-wide electricity requirements over a 25-year term. The project will be ground-mounted using over 150,000 solar panels in three locations encompassing roughly 500 acres. The targeted completion date is set for July 2020.
Rhode Island College Installs 110 KW Solar-Electric System
The university's Donovan Dining Center and the Student Union now house a 110.9-kilowatt solar system. The $300,000 project is expected to save the college more than $231,000 in energy costs over the next 15 years, and is expected to generate 132,502 kilowatt-hours in the first operating year.
CSU System Adopts Policy on Single-Use Plastics
The California State University system released a new policy on single-use plastics that aims to eliminate the distribution and sale of plastic straws, bottled water, plastic carryout bags, and styrofoam food packaging by designated phase-out dates that align with recent state legislation. Plastic straws and single-use plastic carryout bags were eliminated in January 2019. Single-use plastic water bottles are to be banned no later than Jan. 1, 2023.
University-CC Partnership Addresses Homelessness
As part of a statewide plan to address youth homelessness in Massachusetts, the governor recently announced a pilot program to house a small group of homeless community college students at nearby four-year colleges and universities. Up to 20 homeless students at four community colleges will receive dormitory housing through partnerships. The university-community college matches are Massasoit Community College and Bridgewater State University, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State University, Middlesex Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and MassBay Community College and Framingham State University.
U St. Thomas to Open Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice
The center will provide law students the opportunity to leverage legal training to address social justice challenges. Students will interface with lawyers in the community who are fighting for justice and equity to gain in-depth insights related to civil rights, human rights law and advocacy. It will also collaborate with the entire university and share its expertise on racial equity and social justice.
Amherst College Announces Climate Plan for Neutrality by 2030
At its January 2019 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the college's Climate Action Plan, which calls for changing the campus energy infrastructure from a traditional fossil-fuel powered steam system to renewable electric heat pumps that use geothermal energy sources. The plan does not rely on the purchase of carbon offsets.
Brown U to Offset All Electricity Use With Solar & Wind
As a major part of a campus-wide effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the university has finalized agreements for two renewable energy projects. Projected to offset around about 70 percent of Brown’s annual electricity consumption generated through fossil fuels, the first project is a 50-megawatt photovoltaic facility that will be constructed on an old gravel pit. The second renewable energy project is an 8-megawatt wind power project being developed in Texas, which will offset the remaining electricity use.
Parul U Bans Gas & Diesel Vehicles on Campus
In an effort to reduce pollution on campus and protect the health of teachers and students, the university recently banned the use of gasoline and diesel vehicles inside campus boundaries. To facilitate transportation across campus, one hundred bicycles have been placed across the campus, which the campus community can rent at a minimal cost.
Rider U Wins Electric Vehicle Challenge
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection named the university a winner of the New Jersey Charging Challenge: Electrify Your Workplace recognition program in December 2018. Rider received a certificate of recognition for its installation of five single-port, level-two EV charging stations and the use of smartphone applications that provide information on proper charging etiquette.
Danish Academics Call for Climate Leadership
Over 650 Danish academics from multiple research fields in Denmark signed a letter at the end of 2018 calling on universities to immediately develop and implement a series of far-reaching policies to drastically reduce the universities’ carbon emissions. The letter was signed by researchers both inside and outside of climate research and has been sent to all management and boards of universities in Denmark.
U California Merced Introduces Student Climate Resiliency Program
Students participated in the new Student Leadership Institute for Climate Resilience, a three-day residential program that introduced students to the campus’ carbon neutrality, sustainability, food action and environmental justice communities through activities and tours. Students were instructed on ways scholarship and practice at the UC level address issues of climate and ecological crisis, social equity and regenerative economy.
Southern Oregon U Implements Audio Wayfinding App
The university is now more friendly to those who are sight impaired after partnering with an outside vendor to provide an audio wayfinding app. The university has placed 200 beacons across campus as waypoints that communicate with the free app, which allows users to locate both outdoor and indoor destinations.
Middlebury College Releases Plan for Energy, Investments & Engagement
The college's new 10-year commitment, Energy2028, puts the institution on a path toward a complete shift to renewable energy to power and heat its central campus by 2028, sets goals to reduce energy consumption, phases out direct fossil fuel investments in the endowment, and creates new educational programs and opportunities.
Three Universities Win Energy Innovation Awards
The University of Maryland, University of Virginia, and University of California San Diego were recently recognized as the 2019 Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Award winners. The objective of the Innovation Awards program is to recognize the individual and collective efforts of large electric power users, their suppliers, and their utilities in support of the energy transformation currently taking place.
UK Government Allocates $22M for Nitrogen Pollution Research
The U.K. government recently announced a $22 million (17.1 million British pounds) commitment for an international research program to tackle the challenge that nitrogen pollution poses for the environment, food security, human health and the economy in South Asia. The South Asian Nitrogen Hub will study the impacts of the different forms of pollution to form a coherent picture of the nitrogen cycle. Comprising around 50 organizations from across the U.K. and South Asia, partners include the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Bristol, plus research institutes and universities in South Asia.
Delta College Professors Form Union
The faculty at the Michigan college voted to unionize 145 to 24. The new bargaining unit is affiliated with the National Education Association.
California State U, Northridge Obtains Bee Campus Designation
Joining 57 other U.S. campuses in improving college landscapes for pollinators, the university will form a campus committee to provide a forum for the campus community to get involved in providing pollinator education, and establishing or restoring habitat that provides food, nesting sites and sites for pollinators. The university will be responsible for developing and maintaining a campus pollinator habitat plan, hosting an annual campus event to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, and offering workshops to students who are interested in learning more about these topics.
U Cincinnati Clermont College Becomes 100% Wind Powered
The university recently signed an agreement to purchase 100 percent of its electric supply with Green-e certified wind power renewable energy credits. This action is projected to reduce the university's total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent.
Ohio State U Announces Creation of Sustainability Institute
At the opening of the Ohio State Community Engagement Conference, the university president announced the Sustainability Institute, which aims to promote the teaching of sustainability; drive research; work with public and private partners to develop sustainable solutions; engage students in learning about sustainability through research and experiences; and help the university in attracting students, talent and resources.
SUNY ESF to Launch Degree in Sustainability Management
The new Bachelor of Science degree program in sustainability management emphasizes environmental dimensions of sustainability and their interdependence with socially and economically viable policies and practices. Enrolling its first students in the fall of 2019, the program is designed for transfer students.
Rowan-Cabarrus CC to Install 1 MW Solar-Electric System
The 1-megawatt photovoltaic plant is expected to be completed by the end of January 2019. The community college will receive power-generation revenues and ground-lease payments, which will be used to fund programs such as student scholarships and professional development.
U North Carolina Pembroke Receives $100K for Water Runoff Research
A $100,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will allow the Lumber River Conservancy and its partners in the UNC Pembroke biology department to study the effects of agricultural runoff, drought and recent hurricanes on the river’s overall health. The results will help the Lumber River Conservancy, regulatory agencies and members of the community make decisions to protect the river and improve its water quality.
U Connecticut Dining Stops Using Plastic Grocery Bags
Plastic bags are no longer used at Grab & Go locations on campus, a decision made by the university's Department of Dining Services in collaboration with a zero waste campaign. Brown paper bags that are 100 percent recyclable and reusable will now be available at the cost of ten cents each. Dining Services will be working with the zero waste group this semester to establish drop-off containers for paper bags that can then be reused by other customers at no cost. Additionally, reusable pocket size shopping bags will be available for sale.
U Maine Presque Isle Receives Composting Grant
The new grant project, in collaboration with the university’s Agricultural Science and Environmental Science and Sustainability faculty, Green Committee, Facilities crew, and campus food service vendor Sodexo, will allow the university to establish an on-campus, year-round food composting effort. The $5,650 grant came from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
New England HEIs Receive $250K for Local Food Solutions
The Henry P. Kendall Foundation announced the 2018 winners of the New England Food Vision prize, a $250,000 award designed to raise awareness of the environmental, economic and health impacts of our food choices, support regional agricultural resiliency, and use the purchasing power of institutions to influence consumers. Institutions were asked to partner with a peer institution to identify collaborative solutions to offer more regionally-produced food on their menus. Five winning teams will receive a $250,000 prize to implement their proposed projects.
GreenMetric Releases 2018 Ranking
The GreenMetric World University Ranking, administered by the University of Indonesia, recently released its sustainability ranking for 719 universities participating from 81 countries. The information is organized under six main categories: Settings and Infrastructure, Energy and Climate Change, Waste, Water, Transportation, and Education and Research.
U California Berkeley Building Earns True Zero Waste Platinum & LEED Platinum Certification
Chou Hall at the Haas School of Business now has two Platinum certifications, one covering waste reduction efforts and the other for the building's energy-efficient design and operation. The True Zero Waste certification comes after more than a year of dedicated waste sorting, composting and other waste reduction efforts to divert over 90 percent of the building's landfill waste.
U Pittsburgh Conducts Tree Inventory
The tree inventory of campus trees is underway in an effort to track progress toward the university's goal of increasing the campus tree canopy 50 percent by 2030. The inventory will also provide data for on-campus biological and environmental science research, and inform the design of new landscapes.
AASHE Releases 2018 Annual Report
AASHE recently released a report detailing its accomplishments and progress throughout 2018. It spotlights STARS, educational and professional development opportunities, the Sustainability Awards, the conference and expo, and outreach and advocacy. The report also includes information about new initiatives: AASHE Connect–an online community for members, AASHE’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion statement, and a partnership with Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) to advance STARS.
Grand Valley State U Names New Sustainability Director
Beginning January 1, Yumiko Jakobcic, who served as campus sustainability coordinator since 2014, assumed the role of director of the university's Office of Sustainability Practices. Jakobcic earned a bachelor's degree in natural resources management from Grand Valley in 2006 and a master's degree in environmental management from Duke University. She is in the process of earning a doctoral degree in natural resources from the University of Vermont.
Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis to Open Inclusion & Social Policy Center
Announced by the university's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the IU Public Policy Institute, the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, or CRISP, will serve as a centralized resource for reliable, nonpartisan data, research and analysis on interrelated issues that make up the elements of social policy.
Corporate Knights Releases 2018 Ranking of Sustainable Business Schools
To determine the 2018 Better World MBA Ranking, Corporate Knights assessed 141 business schools across 25 countries. The schools were graded on five indicators: the number of institutes and centers dedicated to sustainable development (up to a maximum of five); the percentage of core courses that integrate sustainable development; faculty research publications and citations on sustainable development themes; and faculty gender and racial diversity (new in 2018).
Yale U Pilots Charging Fee for Waste Disposal
This month, Yale launched a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) pilot program in select locations across campus. The pilot includes three different tactics for waste reduction, with two of them containing “test bills," which show how much the building would be charged for the quantity of trash produced. The third approach is comprised of sending monthly waste data and engaging in competition to encourage positive behavior change. The PAYT approach differs from the current protocol, whereby buildings are charged based on square footage, regardless of the amount of waste produced. The program supports the university's diversion goal to achieve a diversion rate of 60 percent by 2024.
AASHE Adopts Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement
Developed over the course of a year with input from the Advisory Council and board of directors, the new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) statement reaffirms AASHE's resolve to advancing DEI as a core value. As a result, AASHE will be providing DEI training for AASHE staff, offering professional development opportunities for members, and continuing to emphasize equity and social justice throughout AASHE programs and partnerships.
Jefferson CC Receives Funding for Stormwater Management
The community college was recently selected to receive $980,000 from the latest round of New York State Regional Economic Development Council funds. The funding will be used on the main entry corridor to campus to install bio-retention medians, porous roadway shoulders and educational signage with ongoing monitoring.