Pennsylvania State U Expands EcoCoin Program

Launched at the University Park campus bookstore last summer, the EcoCoin program offers patrons the option of receiving a plastic bag at checkout, or forgoing the bag and instead donating the nickel the store would have spent on their bag to a student philanthropic organization engaged in sustainable development. Now the EcoCoin program is expanding to a total of 22 retail locations - the Penn State Bookstore, Market East at University Park, and 19 commonwealth campus bookstore locations.

Pennsylvania State U Sustainability Institute Introduces Affiliate Program

Open to Penn State community members from all colleges and at all 24 campuses, the Affiliate Program is a new initiative for faculty, staff and students interested in becoming affiliates of the institute in order to build stakeholder communities with common interests in issues of sustainability in researching, teaching and engagement.

Dalhousie U Sexton Campus Undergoes Green Renovation

The university's redesign of its downtown campus was a $64-million project, with $4 million earmarked for specific green features, including ground-source heating and cooling, photovoltaic electricity tied to a 180-kilowatt battery bank, and a 6,600-gallon underground cistern that will capture and treat rainwater for toilet and urinal flushing.

U Colorado Boulder Offers Scholarships for Sustainable Actions

Students can now earn scholarships for tuition and fees by taking sustainable actions on campus with PIPs for School, a program offered by the PIPs Rewards app. PIPs Rewards is a mobile app that rewards users for verifiable behaviors that benefit personal wellness, the environment and community good, such as biking, recycling and volunteering. Starting in spring 2019, students can also convert their PIPs into a PIPs for School scholarship toward next semester’s school expenses.

Southern Oregon U Student Rec Center Earns LEED Gold

The athletic pavilion and recreation center complex, which opened last spring, was recognized for bike-friendly infrastructure and electric vehicle charging stations, lighting that minimizes disturbances to night skies and wildlife, plumbing fixtures that reduce water usage by 39 percent and efficiency measures that reduce energy consumption by almost 23 percent. Other elements include a rooftop solar installation that offsets 10 percent of the facility’s annual electricity consumption, the use of sustainable lumber products and recycled building materials, and the use of substances such as paints and sealants that emit only low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC).

82 US Schools Receive Grants to Create Smoke/Tobacco-Free Policies

The CVS Health Foundation, in partnership with the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative, is awarding more than $1.4 million total to 82 U.S. colleges and universities to help them advocate for, adopt and implement 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies, including limiting the use of e-cigarettes.

U Mississippi to Relocate Confederate Statue

This month, the university's Associated Student Body, Graduate Student Council, Faculty Senate and Staff Council all voted to relocate the Confederate monument to a nearby cemetery that’s also on university grounds. The administration was in agreement.

Tufts U Bolsters Carpooling With App

In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the university entered a partnership with the carpooling app miles2share in early March, which allows students, faculty and staff within the Tufts community to connect with riders and drivers with overlapping routes.

Lackawanna College Introduces Online Certificate in Sustainable Leadership

Offered through the college's Environmental Education Center, the new certificate program develops broad leadership and management skills through exploring issues involving sustainability.

Lafayette College Trustees Approve Carbon Neutrality Plan

The recently approved plan sets the college on a path of carbon neutrality by 2035 and outlines specific steps to be investigated and implemented over a three-phase timeline. Recommendations cover the areas of energy, waste and transportation, with a focus on immediate, high-impact actions that can reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency on campus.

Chalmers U Tech Professor Contributes to New Environmental Cost ISO Standard

(Sweden) Over the past three years, Bengt Steen, professor emeritus at Chalmers, has led the development of a new ISO standard that will help companies evaluate and manage the impact of their environmental damage, by providing a clear figure for the cost of their goods and services to the environment. The ISO standard contains a guide for how monetary valuation should be made, defines terms and sets requirements for documentation.

Purdue U Eliminates Plastic Straws

Beginning March 18, Purdue Dining & Catering is making the switch from plastic to paper straws in its residential and retail outlets.

U Florida Establishes Institute to Study Resilience in Built Environment

The Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience, housed in the university's College of Design, Construction and Planning, will focus on research that helps communities respond to complex environmental challenges by improving the way they plan, design and build the physical environment.

21 HEIs Launch the Public Interest Technology University Network

With the support of the Ford Foundation, New America, and the Hewlett Foundation, 21 colleges and universities recently announced the creation of the Public Interest Technology University Network. The network is a new partnership dedicated to defining and building the field of public interest technology, as well as growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent policy leaders. Public interest technology is a broadly defined and emerging area of study that combines digital innovation and public policy.

Illinois State U Names Director of Office of Sustainability

As program director for Sustainability, effective June 3, Elisabeth Reed will be responsible for facilitating sustainability programs initiated by students, faculty and staff members; serving as advisor and fiscal agent for the Student Sustainability Committee and associated fund; reporting on the university’s efforts through STARS; and managing interns and graduate assistants who perform research or work on sustainability projects. Reed is currently an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Elon U Adjuncts Vote to Form Union

In mid-March, adjunct professors at the university voted 112-to-68 in favor of forming a union with the Service Employees International Union. The successful vote means that Elon’s adjunct faculty can begin negotiations with university leaders over pay, benefits, working conditions and other work-related issues.

Santa Clara U Releases Sustainability Strategic Plan

The university's new sustainability plan is a living, people-oriented plan that includes three focus areas: climate action, responsible consumption, and quality education. Additionally, the plan includes "Playbooks", which are guides for action that are based on campus roles, such as students, staff, supervisors, etc.

Western Washington U Receives $1M to Support Low-Income Engineering Students

The university's Engineering and Design Department has been awarded a five-year, $1 million National Science Foundation grant to help low-income students in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Aiming to address challenges in recruiting and retaining academically-talented, low-income students from diverse backgrounds into the undergraduate engineering programs, the Becoming Engaged Engineering Scholars (BEES) program will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 a year to about 48 students over the life of the five-year program.

Mills College Offers Car Sharing

At the end of January, the college placed two Zipcar vehicles on campus that can be used by any student or staff member at a discounted rate.

U Texas Arlington Creates UN Regional Center of Expertise

In an effort to unify sustainability efforts across North Texas, the university was recently approved to establish a U.N. Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. Called the North Texas RCE, the center aims to address how to advance sustainability in the face of a booming population.

Portland State U Receives $2M Research Grant for Ocean-Generated Electricity

The U.S. Department of Energy has approved a $2 million, three-year grant to a PSU engineering professor to study a new method of generating electricity from ocean waves.

Florida A&M U Trustees Give Green Light to 75 MW Solar-Electric Project

The university's Board of Trustees approved a 25-year lease agreement for a 74.9-megawatt, grid-tied photovoltaic project to be constructed at its Agricultural and Environmental Research Station. The solar facility would occupy between 600 and 800 acres of property and feature approximately 270,000 tracking solar panels.

Michigan Governor Proposes Tuition-Free Community College

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a tuition-free community college plan that would start in 2021 and include a $2,500 scholarship for eligible students who attend a four-year college. The proposal offers financial aid for students after all other federal aid and grants are applied to a student's tuition bill. Whitmer also proposed a tuition-free program for adults called Michigan Reconnect. The program would allow residents age 25 and older to enroll in the state's two-year institutions, career certificate programs and union apprenticeships for free.

U Virginia Raises Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

UVA recently announced that it will pay all full-time, benefits-eligible employees in its academic division and medical center a living wage of at least $15 an hour, beginning Jan. 1. Of the university's more than 17,400 full-time, benefits-eligible workers, 1,400 paychecks will be affected.

McGill U Receives $1.8M for Energy Upgrades

The Canadian Federal government recently announced that it will be investing up to $1.8 million in support of the university’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. With the investment, McGill plans to upgrade its heating equipment and distribution system.

U California Riverside to Place Solar Trash Compactors

The Office of Sustainability and Transportation and Parking Services have ordered several BigBelly bins to be placed in high traffic areas across campus in an effort to increase the rate of recycling and streamline the amount of time crews spend checking waste and recycling bins.

Northwest Missouri State U to Install 18 KW Solar System on Library

The 18.5-kilowatt solar-electric system will power a floor of the library and all of its outside lights. The library was chosen as the location for the solar panels because it has a lot of roof space and the panels will be easily seen.

U Maryland Professor Reports to Congress on Carbon Emissions

Speaking before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Nathan Hultman, director of the university's Center for Global Sustainability in the School of Public Policy, outlined findings about how universities, businesses, states and cities are making important contributions to cutting carbon emissions in the U.S., even without the federal government’s support of the Paris Agreement’s goals on climate change. The findings Hultman reported on were from the most recent America's Pledge Initiative report, an assessment of how leaders are driving the U.S. toward a low-carbon future.

U Massachusetts Boston Building Earns LEED Gold

The university's Dining and Residence Hall includes low-flow showers, faucets, toilets and urinals, a high performance building envelope, energy recovery units, and LED lighting throughout.

California College of Arts to Complete Green Residence Hall

The new, five-story student housing building, which will provide housing for more than 500 students, will feature rooftop photovoltaic arrays and solar water heating systems, 167 indoor bike parking spaces and high-performance floor-to-ceiling windows. The building infrastructure has also been designed to enable the eventual connection of campus energy systems to a microgrid. All rooms will be ADA accessible.

Williams College Highlights Sustainability With Interactive Map & Audio Tour

A newly created map and self-guided audio tour of Williams’ campus highlights the college’s sustainability initiatives in an effort to help raise visibility about how sustainability is integrated into the campus.

Binghamton U to Establish Institute for Social Justice for Women & Girls

A large donation from Ellyn Uram Kaschak '65 will be used to fund an institute focused on equality for women and girls. The institute will support faculty affiliates, practitioners-in-residence and student fellows at the graduate and undergraduate levels, all while fostering public engagement and outreach.

U Washington Press Receives $1.2M to Diversify Academic Publishing

A four-year, $1,205,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Washington Press to support the continued development and expansion of the pipeline program designed to diversify academic publishing. This new grant will provide for three annual cycles of editorial fellows at six university presses: Northwestern University Press, the University of Washington Press, the MIT Press, Cornell University Press, the Ohio State University Press and the University of Chicago Press.

Mercer U Students Grow Food for Local Food Bank

Two third-year students at the university's School of Medicine are growing fresh produce for a local food bank to combat a lack of access to fresh, local food. They also create and donate health resource pamphlets with the food they donate.

U Wisconsin-Madison Approves Health Promotion & Health Equity Degree Program

The university system’s Board of Regents voted recently to approve a new undergraduate degree program, which will train students to practice as health educators. The program is broadly designed to provide students with the skills and perspectives to facilitate healthy practices at the individual and societal levels.

U California Berkeley Commits to 100% Renewables by 2050

The University of California, Berkeley's chancellor recently signed a memorandum of understanding committing the Berkeley campus to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. This commitment covers purchased electricity as well as energy used for transportation and heating.

School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Creates Climate Change Curriculum Project

Doctors and staff at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are working to integrate climate and health concepts into existing medical courses through their Climate Change Curriculum Infusion Project. By weaving the material into existing course lectures, rather than having a standalone “climate change module,” they hope to better highlight the interconnectedness of climate and health concepts with current medical school competencies.

Colorado College Becomes Tree Campus USA Certified

The college was recently honored by the Arbor Day Foundation with a 2018 Tree Campus USA recognition. It achieved the title by completing Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program, and hosting an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.

Higher Education Leaders Announce a Call to Action

In response to the recent scientific reports that strongly advise unprecedented action in the next decade, 21 higher education leaders announced a call to action for accelerating equitable and just climate solutions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The declaration, which was released at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, provides guiding principles for higher education institutions to accelerate climate leadership and concludes with signatories' belief that leveraging their institutional strengths is critical to doing more.

U Maryland Unveils 'Do Good Accelerator' Program

The Do Good Accelerator program supports student teams by providing space and assistance to develop ventures and projects aimed both at tackling societal problems and building successful companies and nonprofits.

Indiana U Bloomington Receives LEED Gold on Three Buildings

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs addition, Ray E. Cramer Marching Hundred Hall and Hodge Hall all received gold certification in late 2018 and early 2019.

Murray State U Unveils BS in Civil and Sustainability Engineering

The new Bachelor of Science degree in civil and sustainability engineering includes the study of transportation systems, stormwater control, wastewater treatment and site remediation.

SUNY Fredonia Creates Endowment to Promote Diversity Ed

The Collingwood Distinguished Lecture for Diversity was recently established with a $250,000 gift from an anonymous Fredonia graduate. The donation will provide annual support for an honorarium to bring a nationally recognized speaker of diversity to the Fredonia campus each year. The lecture is an effort to promote leadership, education, advocacy and outreach for underrepresented groups or issues in society, and support the integration of diversity, as a whole, into the academic community.

West Chester U Implements Bike Sharing

The Office of Sustainability at the university implemented a bike-share program across campus through a company called Zagster. The program allows students to rent bicycles with a one-time, annual fee for up to three hours at a time.

Ohio State U Introduces Eco-Friendly Search Engine

A group of Ohio State graduate students and their faculty adviser were awarded $40,000 in funding to install Ecosia as the default search engine onto 30,000 campus computers. Ecosia is a search engine where 80 percent of ad revenue generated by internet searches is used to fund organizations that plant trees around the world. The team plans to spend the $40,000 on different marketing initiatives, including widespread advertisement campaigns on campus and through social media channels, and hiring support staff to manage programming and development, track usage, and handle public relations and social media.

U Maryland Installs Indoor Vertical Garden

With the help of a University Sustainability Fund grant, students, faculty and staff can now reap the health and well-being benefits of a 240-square-foot, vertical garden installed on the ground-floor patio inside the Student Union.

College Lake County Building Earns LEED Platinum

The 42,000 square-foot Science & Engineering Building features photovoltaic solar panels, LED lighting, ample natural light, vegetated rooftops, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and energy-efficient fume hoods in chemistry labs.

Methodist Theological School Ohio Announces Masters in Social Justice

The new professional master's degree provides a core curriculum drawing from ethics, religion and public leadership. Students engage in a cross-cultural immersion experience and a customizable 280-hour internship. The program aims to help students develop skills and strategies for leading, organizing, educating and collaborating in diverse social, political, religious and educational contexts.

U Victoria Launches Campus Cycling Plan

The university's inaugural Campus Cycling Plan provides a comprehensive and coordinated approach to support cycling as a safe, enjoyable and convenient mode of transportation on campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors. It includes bicycle parking, cycling paths and end-of-trip facilities, as well as policy direction on strategies to improve levels of comfort and safety on shared paths and roads.

U San Diego Introduces PhD in Education for Social Justice

The School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego will welcome its first cohort of students in fall 2019 for the Education for Social Justice Ph.D. and Ed.S. programs. The online program offers a course of study that allows students to develop research, teaching and advocacy skills by using local, national and international contexts to construct more equitable, tolerant and socially just societies and institutions.