U Pittsburgh Launches 'Sustaining Sustainability' Podcast

Produced by the university's Center for Sustainable Business, the new podcast series Sustaining Sustainability explores sustainability lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Various societal challenges magnified by the COVID-19 crisis are explored weekly through 10-minute interviews.

U Pennsylvania Signs 220 MW Solar PPA

Consisting of two contracts, the agreement will result in two new solar energy facilities with combined capacity of 220 megawatts, which will produce an estimated 450,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. The purchased electricity will be equal to approximately 75 percent of the total electricity demand of the academic campus and Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

U California Santa Cruz Formalizes Land Acknowledgement

The recently released land acknowledgement was developed in partnership with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman and the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program. University community members are encouraged to read the land acknowledgement at the beginning of gatherings and events.

Keene State College Launches Sustainability Studies Program

The new Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Studies focuses on food systems, energy, natural resources and biodiversity. The program will begin fall 2020.

Open Society University Network Launches COV-AID

The Open Society University Network, in partnership with the Talloires Network, recently announced the launch of COV-AID: Communities of Virtual Alliance & Inter-Dependence, to support universities engaged in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COV-AID seeks to collect and share stories of institutions and individuals who are taking action to mitigate the crisis, document practical steps and strategies that may be of use elsewhere, provide uplifting content, and strengthen public support for engaged universities.

U Southern California Manufactures Medical Equipment for Area Medical Practitioners

Members of the university community are now building face shields and respirator masks using laser cutters and 3D printers, and sewing medical gowns. In less than one week, 208 printers have churned out 1,228 N95-equivalent face masks and 655 face shields.

Community Colleges Retool to Make PPE

A growing number of community colleges are now manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) to help with the shortage among hospitals due to a surge of patients infected with the novel coronavirus. Ashland Community and Technical College is using its 3D printers to make face shields and respirators masks. Metropolitan Community College has a goal to make 2,000 face shields. Patrick Henry Community College announced a prototype face shield and is making arrangements to mass produce them using its large 3D printers. Pellissippi State Community College is manufacturing face shield headbands. Red Rocks Community College is producing parts to make one ventilator serve two patients.

Dickinson College Achieves Carbon Neutrality

Dickinson recently achieved its carbon neutrality goal by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent from 2008 levels and purchasing carbon offsets to mitigate the remaining emissions. From 2020 forward, all the activities included in the college’s carbon footprint—like heating and cooling the campus, use of vehicles and air travel—will result in zero net emissions of greenhouse gases.

U New Hampshire Creates Student Hardship Fund

The university's newest student assistance program helps undergraduate and graduate students dealing with a temporary or unexpected hardship. The Student Emergency Assistance Fund offers short-term assistance, ranging from $100 to $500, for such things as emergency travel, medical costs, safety and security needs, auto repairs and academic supplies.

U Virginia Launches Green Lab Certification Program

Launched in 2019, the Green Labs Certification program allows researchers to tailor action items to their specific processes. Five focus areas, including Cold Storage, Electronics and Appliances, Chemicals and Reagents, Materials and Refuse, and Engagement, provide 45 different opportunities to earn points towards Bronze (14 actions), Silver (16 actions), or Gold certifications (20 actions).

California State U Channel Islands Makes & Donates PPE

Faculty, staff and students from several different academic programs recently used university-owned and personal 3D printers to print protective face shields. Their goal is to print and provide 3,000 face shields to regional healthcare facilities.

Hope College Building Earns LEED Certification

The college's Campus Ministries house includes a vegetated roof, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, LED lights and occupancy sensors. In addition, the building was built atop a site that was already in use rather than on a parcel of undeveloped land.

Iowa State U Releases Land Acknowledgement

In collaboration with the university's director of American Indian Studies, the university developed and recently released an official land acknowledgement recognizing Indigenous Peoples that were stewards of the land on which the university now exists.

Boston U Partnership Produces Comparison Guide for Sustainable Products

University Sourcing & Procurement, in partnership with W.B. Mason and a team of university stakeholders, announced the new Swap and Save Program. The program provides an easy way for departments to compare recycled and/or sustainable products as well as lower cost items without the hassle of manual product comparison. The goal of this effort is to help departments maximize their budgets while fulfilling their office supply needs and sustainability goals.

Four American U Buildings Achieve LEED Gold

Four buildings on the university's East Campus feature computerized thermostats, low VOC building materials and ultra-low-flow faucets, toilets, and urinals. Ninety-seven percent of the on-site construction waste was diverted from the landfill and 21 percent of materials used were from sources within a 500-mile radius.

Cardiff U to Discontinue Investments in Fossil Fuels

(U.K.) Following a recent meeting about the university's draft ethical investment policy, the university announced its decision to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021.

U Pittsburgh Launches Student Emergency Fund

The Student Government Association recently announced the launch of the Student Emergency Assistance Fund. Students can apply for a grant from the fund to cover expenses such as medical necessities, food insecurity and unexpected travel expenses. The maximum request that can be made by a student is $600.

Northwestern U Receives Sustained Excellence Award

The university recently received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Award for energy efficiency and energy conservation solutions.

Miami U Donates PPE to Health Care Facilities

Unused personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, goggles, N95 respirators, and surgical masks and gowns, were recently collected from across the university’s Oxford and Regionals campuses for donation to area hospitals and medical centers.

Missouri U Science & Technology Launches Emergency Fund

The new Miner Resilience Fund aims to help students meet basic needs with short-term financial assistance, allow the university to expand counseling and wellness programs online, and ease technology difficulties for students in remote areas where internet access can be a problem.

U Pennsylvania Provides Community Emergency Support

The university recently announced a series of new initiatives that total $4 million in emergency financial assistance to Penn employees, third-party contract workers and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The university’s dedication of $4 million for these new initiatives is in addition to the $1 million employee assistance fund announced earlier this month by Penn Medicine, for a total of $5 million in emergency.

Smith College Publishes Alumnae Magazine Focused on Sustainability

As a part of college's "Year on Climate Change", the Smith Alumnae Quarterly focused its Spring 2020 issue on personal and institutional sustainability.

Cornell U Releases Lab Shutdown Procedures

The university recently released a set of guidelines to assist lab managers in quickly identifying energy-saving measures to be implemented during the COVID-19 crisis.

Emerson College Creates COVID-19 Emergency Fund

The college recently created an emergency fund to help students pay their rent, transport themselves back home, rent learning equipment and more. Every member of the board of trustees, including the president, made gifts and pledges, bringing the total to $72,000.

Stony Brook U & U Massachusetts Amherst Win Energy Award

The two universities were recently highlighted as Customer Project Award winners of the 2020 Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Awards for exemplary use and implementation of innovative technologies and progressive practices that reflect new approaches to energy procurement and management. Stony Brook won for its data analytics platform and UMass Amherst was recognized for its 1.3-megawatt battery storage.

Emory U Receives Energy Dept Smart Labs Award

In the fall, the university received the Accelerating Smart Labs Award for Program Development and Implementation from the U.S. Department of Energy for having developed a comprehensive strategy based on the goals of the Smart Labs program. Some strategies include identifying lab energy conservation measures, estimating savings, seeking funding to expand the program, and starting to implement projects in seven of its lab buildings.

U Vermont to Receive $3M for Restorative Justice Center

The U.S Department of Justice recently announced a $3 million grant to establish a National Center on Restorative Justice within the Vermont Law School. The center will focus on engaging criminal justice professionals, community members, educators, and social service providers with incarcerated individuals and broadening their understanding of the justice system and restorative justice. Restorative justice practices seek to rehabilitate offenders through reconciliation with victims, their communities and other means.

Boston U Student Research to Aid Carbon Reductions From Landscaping

The university aims to convert some of its mulched spaces to plants and trees after research from the Campus Climate Lab and an earth and environment undergraduate student revealed that mulch and the maintenance of grass lawns negatively impacts the campus’ carbon cycle.

Pennsylvania State U Launches Student Emergency Fund

The university recently announced that all new contributions to its Student Care & Advocacy Emergency Fund will be used for those who are challenged to afford housing, transportation, basic needs and access to required resources for remote learning, or who are facing other unforeseen personal difficulties as a result of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Western Carolina U Makes Emergency Funds Available to Students

University administrators are currently urging students who are suffering extreme financial distress because of displacement caused by the coronavirus to apply for financial assistance from the university’s Student Emergency Fund. The funds may be used for rent, utilities, car repairs, medical and dental expenses, gas and other unexpected financial emergencies, but not university-related expenses.

Georgia Tech Announces COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Students

The new fund has been established to support students who have a demonstrated financial need related to the COVID-19 crisis and campus closures. Funding is available to all enrolled Georgia Tech students and can be used to alleviate financial challenges, including travel assistance, housing assistance, medical expenses, moving costs, financial support, and food insecurity.

Mt. San Antonio College Building Receives LEED Gold

The Student Success Center features curtain-wall glazing, and exterior louvers and overhangs for shading to reduce energy consumption. Ninety percent of stormwater runoff is captured and treated. In addition, the building utilizes natural daylight, with 75 percent of regularly occupied interior spaces receiving natural daylight.

Seattle U Earns Tree Campus USA Designation

The newly achieved certification signals the university's commitment to campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. It achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.

U California Davis Dining Begins Sourcing Food From On-Campus

Student Housing and Dining Services, which oversees almost all on-campus dining options for students, is now sourcing Aggie Grown food. Aggie Grown refers to foods grown on university land. In addition to providing students with hyper-local food options, Aggie Grown also helps fund research departments on campus.

Stanford U Launches Zero Waste Campaign

Stanford's 2020 conservation campaign slogan is "Say Goodbye to Single Use: Reduce and Reuse", which encourages the campus community to use reusable drinking and dining items rather than ones designed to be used once and thrown away. In a new report, Stanford Sustainability Goal: Zero Waste by 2030, the university identified 45 campus programs that will guide the university along the path to zero waste, including new and existing programs.

U Southern California Residence Halls Offer Composting

Sixty compost collection bins are now installed at university-owned housing. The materials are sorted and eventually transformed into biofuels for transportation or energy production.

U Southern California Installs Solar on Athletics Arena

The university's Galen Center will soon house 1,500 solar-electric panels that are expected to supply as much as 15 percent of the center’s electricity.

SUNY ESF Pledges to Be Plastic-Free by 2025

In signing the Break Free From Plastic campus pledge, developed and maintained by Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN), the college must maintain its zero-waste task force, eliminate all non-essential, non-compostable, single-use disposable plastics with readily available alternatives, establish a purchasing policy that provides a framework for the long-term elimination of those products, and implement college-wide systems that facilitate the proper collection and management of non-disposable products.

Cornell U Reduces Chemical Use on Floors

The building services department now uses one floor-stripping chemical rather than eight; two floor finishing products down from 13; and one standard floor cleaner. The new products are free of odor, allowing staff to work during regular hours.

U Virginia to Support Local Affordable Housing

In an effort to keep housing costs down, the university announced recently its goal to support the development of 1,000 to 1,500 affordable housing units over the next decade on land owned by the university and the UVA Foundation. To address affordable housing needs and other areas of focus for the community, the university formed four working groups focused on affordable housing, the local economy, early childhood education and the employment pipeline.

Cornell U to Receive $1.65M to Reduce Building Energy Consumption

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will give the university $1.65 million in incentives for energy studies and project work to develop a smaller carbon footprint, accelerating the university toward net-zero carbon for the Ithaca campus by 2035. Over the next 3 ½ years, the Facilities and Campus Services Division will install heat recovery systems in order to reclaim warm air that is normally exhausted outdoors and will upgrade mechanical systems and controls in 25 buildings that manage heating, cooling, water and air conditioning throughout each building.

Curtin U Receives 6-Star Green Star – Communities Certification

(Australia) The university's Exchange hub earned the certification from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The Exchange is a large-scale development that brings together research with industry. Green Star is a sustainability rating that assesses the planning, design and construction of large-scale development projects across five categories including governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.

U California Santa Cruz Switches to Recycled Commencement Gowns

The bookstore will now offer commencement gowns made from 100 percent recyclable materials.

Medical U South Carolina Eliminates Single-Use Plastic

Following a city ordinance, the university has eliminated the use of plastic single-use carryout bags, polystyrene, and non-recyclable and non-compostable food containers and service wares, such as bowls, boxes, clamshells, cups, plates, stirrers and straws.

Utah State U Approves Recommendations to Lower GHG Emissions

The university recently committed to the following strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: dedicate $60,000 annually in ongoing funds to allow USU Facilities to purchase a renewable energy portfolio from an external power provider; facilities will invest $500,000 each year toward improving building energy efficiencies, and additional funding has been allocated within existing budgets for LED light conversions over the next two years; create a $10 per trip carbon fee on all university-sponsored airline flights, from which funds raised by this fee will be used to invest in on-campus projects that reduce USU’s carbon footprint; and enhance academic programs to raise awareness of sustainability and climate change.

Dixie State U Adds Environmental Science Degree

The new Bachelor of Science in earth, energy and environmental sciences aims to engage students in analyzing and solving problems around the use of energy, water and mineral resources, protection of the environment, planning for the impact of natural disasters, and learning sustainable approaches to societal development. In addition, an associate degree in earth and environmental sciences will be added. The programs will accept enrollees in fall 2020.

Cornell U Signs PPA for 1 MW Rooftop Solar

In December, Cornell finalized a 1-megawatt power-purchase agreement to construct rooftop solar arrays on all five buildings of the North Campus Residential Expansion project. The solar power from this project will reduce the university’s carbon footprint by providing about 35 percent of the power needed for the new buildings.

SUNY Geneseo Dining Facility Earns LEED Gold

The university's Red Jacket Dining Complex includes LED lighting, and heating, cooling, and plumbing systems that are more energy-efficient. Shutters from the original Red Jacket were used to decorate the ceiling, and other furnishings are made from reclaimed wood. During construction, 31 percent of all materials used were recycled, and more than 65 percent of all waste generated during construction was recycled.

U California Launches Institute for Organic Research & Education

The university system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in the UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources division with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano. The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic.

Indiana U Partners to Develop City-Level CAPs

The 2020 Resilience Cohort, along with 11 Indiana cities, will develop climate action plans that outline specific activities the communities will undertake to achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions targets. The plans will then be presented to elected officials for review and approval by the end of the year.