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 five 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.
U Miami Business School Achieves LEED Gold EBOM
The building that houses the Miami Business School includes LED lighting, in-room air quality sensors, audio/visual and tele-presence technology, automatic window shading, and caters to occupants' ergonomics and comfort with furniture, indoor foliage and views to the outside in nearly every occupied space.
Oakland U Building Receives LEED Gold
Hillcrest Hall, the university's newest student housing complex, features high-efficiency lighting, climate controls and window glazing to help reduce energy costs. The area around the building features bike racks, preferred parking for low-emission vehicles and native vegetation.
Ancilla College Installs 556 KW of Solar Power
A newly connected 515-kilowatt ground-mounted photovoltaic array will supply 75 percent of the needed electricity for college's residence halls and classrooms. An additional 41 kilowatts will be installed at its retreat and conference center.
U Adelaide Breaks Ground on 1.2 MW Solar Farm
(Australia) The university will soon have over 40 percent of its energy needs met through a 1.2-megawatt solar-electric farm and battery storage system. The system is expected to be operational by May 2020.
Arizona State U Launches Civic Engagement Awareness Campaign
The university's McCain Institute for International Leadership rolled out a new initiative, called We Hold These Truths, designed to engage the public on human rights and to teach liberties. The campaign specifically targets young people in the U.S. who are interested in progress, safety and freedom. The institute hopes to educate and galvanize the public to explore and engage — through the lens of the First Amendment — in human rights in a meaningful way that’s relevant and resonant to their own experiences, and then act to protect and preserve rights for others across the country and globe.
Arizona State U Partners on Water Efficiency Research
The university will participate in research with the city's water services department through a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The water conservation research will use the university's 12 acres of soccer fields to test the efficacy of hydrogels, which can potentially absorb up to 400 percent of their water weight and release nearly all of it back into the turf as needed.
Washington Monthly Releases 'Best Colleges for Student Voting' List
The Washington Monthly ranking represents their second year for measuring how well colleges encourage their students to vote, boosting democratic participation and civic engagement. The ranking is based on data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).
U Maryland Signs 'Cool Food Pledge'
The pledge commits the university to reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030. It is an initiative from the World Resources Institute to fight climate change and bring more sustainable food to dining halls, campus cafes and event catering.
Southern Illinois U Receives Arboretum Accreditation
The university recently acquired Level II accreditation from the Arboretum Accreditation Program for its 1,200-acre main campus landscape that features nearly 5,200 trees, including 155 species and 72 genera of plants. The arboretum has a strategic plan, a governing board, public programming and a complete inventory of every tree and woody plant.
CAS Releases Standards for Sustainability Programs
The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) recently announced the release of a new set of standards for sustainability programs, which delineate expectations for practitioners and educators in related functional areas and complement the recent release of the 10th edition of CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education.
Virginia Tech Pilots E-Scooters
Starting in September, 1,300 electric scooters will be available at university ride-share stations for check out. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has partnered with the Ford-owned Spin company to conduct an 18-month pilot research initiative focused on micro-mobility. The research is intended to lead to recommendations for more effectively governing dockless programs on colleges and in cities.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Hires First DEI Vice Chancellor
Dr. Sean Garrick, formerly the associate vice provost in the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota, has become UIUC's first vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion. At Minnesota, Dr. Garrick lead efforts to engage faculty whose scholarship focused on diverse, underrepresented or marginalized populations. He is also a professor of mechanical engineering.
La Trobe U Invests $51M to Achieve Net Zero Emissions
(Australia) The university recently announced a $50.8 million ($75 million Australian dollars) project that will feature 7,000 photovoltaic panels across 27 buildings, 50,000 LED lights, a large-scale composter for 100 percent of the campus' organic waste, and an analytics platform for monitoring energy consumption.
Five Institutions Receive APPA 2019 Sustainability Innovation Award
College of Lake County, Stanford University Residential and Dining, University of California, Davis, University of Texas at Dallas, and Virginia Tech received the 2019 award on behalf of their programs and/or processes that enhance service delivery, lower costs, create a green and/or sustainable environment, or otherwise benefit the educational institution supporting student success and environmental stewardship. Additionally, Mikaela Schmitt-Harsh, Ph.D. at James Madison University, received the CFaR Research Award for the report, "Managing Trees on Campus: A Survey of North American College and University Tree Care Practices and Operations".
U Arizona to Offset Scope 2 GHG Emissions By 2020
In an agreement with a local electric company, the university plans to purchase solar and wind power that will offset all of its scope two greenhouse gas emissions (emissions resulting from the generation of electricity, heat or steam purchased from a utility provider). The agreement provides the university with access to energy from a 247-megawatt wind farm and a 100-megawatt solar array system for 20 years.
Western New Mexico U to Purchase Solar Electricity
The university aims to source electricity from a community solar project called PNM Community Solar Direct, which if approved, will site a 50-megawatt photovoltaic project on the Jicarilla Apache Nation land in northern New Mexico. The university’s purchase would meet 54 percent of its needs.
25 HEIs Earn Top Spots in 2019 Sustainable Campus Index
AASHE recently released the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, which recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report also includes innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate’s), Colby College (baccalaureate), Thompson Rivers University (master’s), and Stanford University (doctoral/research). The full list of top-performing institutions for each impact area can be found within the report.
U California Berkeley Observes 400th Anniversary of Slavery With Year-Long Focus
The 400th anniversary of the forced arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies will be observed at the university through educational programming in the fall and spring semesters. Berkeley’s commemoration is in the spirit of “The 400 Years of African American History Commission Act,” federal legislation signed last year that called for a national commission to commemorate the anniversary of the forced arrival of Africans in the English colonies in 1619.
Simon Fraser U Reduces Single-Use Plastics
The university recently rolled out the “Re-use for Good” initiative, which is a multi-phase action plan to raise awareness and work towards eliminating the most common single-use plastics and products at the university. Phase one will be implemented this fall and includes adding reusable water bottles to campus vending machines, mapping the location of existing water bottle refill stations and deciding where to strategically locate additional stations, replacing plastic and compostable utensils and stir sticks with metal flatware, and removing plastic straws.
Berea College Science Building Earns LEED Gold & FSC Certification
In addition to being certified through LEED standards, the college's new Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building also received the Forest Stewardship Council’s Forest Stewardship Council’s Full Project Certification. The certification requires a full audit of all wood products used in construction to verify that they have been sourced responsibly.
U Liverpool to Divest From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) The university recently committed to sell its remaining $3.4 million (2.8 million British pounds) holdings in fossil fuel companies by July 2022, which represents 1.2 percent of the university’s investment portfolio. The move to fully divest from fossil fuels builds on the university’s ethical investment policy introduced last year, which also excludes companies that derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from the manufacture or sale of armaments; companies engaged in testing of cosmetic and non-pharmaceutical products on animals except where it is mandatory; companies that derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from the sale of tobacco products; and companies that manufacture tobacco products.
Harvard U Commits $20M on Affordable Housing Project
To help combat the growing housing crisis that is hitting lower-income and working-class residents particularly hard, the university recently announced a commitment of $20 million to an initiative aimed at increasing the amount of affordable housing in Greater Boston. Through the Harvard Local Housing Collaborative, the university has partnered with three local, nonprofit community-development lenders to create and preserve affordable housing, build and revitalize healthy communities, and create economic opportunities for low- and middle-income residents throughout the region.
U Technology Sydney Opens Plastic-Free Food Court
(Australia) As part of the UTS Plastic Free by 2020 strategy, the new food court is replacing single-use plastic items with reusable or certified compostable alternatives, like cardboard, paper, bamboo, sugarcane and bio-plastic.
AASHE Announces 2019 Sustainability Award Finalists
The AASHE Sustainability Awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 40 finalists were chosen from more than 300 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced mid-September.
U London Signs 'Social Mobility Pledge'
(U.K.) The Social Mobility Pledge is a campaign to improve social mobility in the U.K. In signing the pledge, the university commits to provide coaching to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances; provide structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities; and adopt employee recruitment practices that promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
SUNY New Paltz Earns Bee Campus USA Certification
The college’s new certification comes on the heels of the new Biodiversity Initiative, a collective of New Paltz students, faculty and staff who are developing pollinator-friendly spaces on campus, and educating peers and colleagues about the importance of these hardworking insects, birds and small mammals.
North Virginia CC Building Earns LEED Silver
The community college's renovated administration building features low-flow bathroom fixtures, water-efficient and native landscaping along with rainwater capture, LED lighting and occupancy sensors. Parking areas for bicycles, hybrid vehicles and carpool transport are now available.
Illinois Central College to Install Remediation Wetland
Currently under construction, the wetland will aid in removal of nitrate that is found in the runoff water from 50 acres of on-campus farmland demonstration fields. The water will move through drainage tiles underground and into streams that later end up in the Illinois River.
College Charleston Introduces Diversity Docuseries
A committee of faculty and staff are introducing a new documentary project titled “If These Walls Could Talk” as part of diversity training on campus. Birthed from a campus diversity workshop held in fall 2018, the documentary centers on how enslaved Africans contributed to the construction of college buildings and surrounding sites.
Goldsmiths U London Discontinues Beef Purchases
(U.K.) After having signed the Climate Emergency declaration and announcing a carbon neutral goal of 2025, the college will remove all beef products from campus food outlets by the start of the 2019 academic year and place a levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups. The announcement was accompanied by confirmation that starting December 2019, the university's endowment fund will no longer hold investments in companies that generate more than 10 percent of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels.