Connecticut College Adopts GHG Emissions Reduction Target
The college recently adopted a new goal to achieve a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To reach the new goal, the college will undertake a multi-phased process beginning with a Utility Master Plan that will lay out a long-term strategy for transforming energy production and use on campus. This will be followed by a Climate Action Plan, laying out specific projects and a timeline to meet or exceed the goal. Both plans are to be executed in the coming year.
Texas A&M Regents Create $100M Diversity Scholarship Fund
The university system's board of regents recently announced a $100 million scholarship fund to address diversity issues as well as concerns of students who are first-generation and/or from low-income families in the wake of economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19. The program provides $10 million annually over 10 years for scholarships to students from particularly low income, first-generation and geographically underrepresented regions of the state.
U Colorado Boulder Adopts Anti-Racism Actions
Immediate actions that were announced to transform the campus experience for Black students, faculty and staff, and for all students, faculty and staff of color and other marginalized individuals and groups include updating and enhancing faculty and staff hiring practices to achieve greater representation of persons of color; implementing mandatory bystander training for all campus members; examining its procurement practices with Colorado Correctional Industries, a division of the Colorado Department of Corrections; review campus police policies and procedures; and charge faculty with development of a first-year course in anti-racism.
U Kentucky to Remove Mural With Disturbing Imagery
The university's president in a recent message announced that a mural that has been the subject of years of debate will be removed. The mural depicts scenes from Kentucky's history and includes enslaved black people planting tobacco.
South Dakota State U Adds 20 KW Photovoltaic Array
In early June, 54 solar panels were installed on the university's Facilities & Services roof. The 20.25-kilowatt solar-electric array provides approximately 18 percent of the total building energy usage.
Paul Smith’s College Receives $60K for Energy Audit & STARS Fellows
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently awarded a $56,000 REV Campus Challenge Technical Assistance for Roadmaps grant to the university that will be used to hire third-party energy consultants to assess campus infrastructure and energy use. Additionally, $4,000 in bonus funding will support sustainability fellowship positions for students working on Sustainability Tracking and Rating Systems (STARS) projects.
Ferris State U Announces Wege Prize Winners
First place winner of the Wege Prize 2020 Design Competition is Georgia Tech and Makerere University (Uganda) for creating biodegradable materials while mitigating the threat of invasive species. Second place is Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Oakland University for closing the loop on campus food waste. Third place is Ashesi University (Ghana), Earth University (Costa Rica) and Trinity College for turning waste streams into economic opportunity while nurturing soil health. The Wege Prize 2020 Design Competition is an annual international design competition organized by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.
Alabama A&M U Receives $2.2M for Electric Buses
The university's Bulldog Transit System (BTS) has been awarded over $2.2 million from the Federal Transit Administration to further increase its total number of electric buses, as well as to work toward its goal of providing needed infrastructure upgrades, charging stations, and a bus storage facility.
California CC Presidents Form Alliance to Combat Racism
More than 60 community colleges in California have joined the California Community College Equity Leadership Alliance to actively combat racism on their campuses. The alliance will be managed out of the University of Southern California’s Race & Equity Center. Colleges in the alliance will each pay the center $25,000 a year to be part of the alliance. In return, they will have access to specialized tools, resources and guidance, such as racial equity strategic action planning and an equity resource portal with equity-focused rubrics, readings, case studies, slide shows, videos and conversation scripts.
U Minnesota Limits Relationship With Minneapolis Police Department
As a result of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), the University of Minnesota president recently announced changes to how the university police department will work with the MPD. The university's police department will no longer contract with the MPD for additional law enforcement support needed for large events, such as football games, concerts and ceremonies, or for when specialized services are needed for university events, such as K-9 Explosive detection units.
U Virginia Study Abroad Office Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Plan
The university International Studies Office's (ISO) first Sustainability Plan calls for offsetting all carbon emissions of air travel for education abroad programs administered and managed directly by the ISO, offsetting all carbon emissions for all ISO staff travel, working towards completing UVA’s Green Workplace Program, committing to 100 percent zero-waste and carbon neutral events, and prioritizing sustainable accommodation options where possible.
U Virginia Partnership Increases Adoption of Solar Energy
In an effort to help the state reach its carbon neutrality goal of 2050, the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has partnered with the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to host an advisory program, SolSmart, aimed to help local governments implement and embrace solar energy.
U Louisville Initiates Equity Changes
In an effort to confront police brutality and building names with ties to slavery, representatives from the Black Student Union recently provided a list of demands to the university leadership. Following the meeting, the university committed to the following: ensure that the university police department is the lead law enforcement agency when dealing with a member of the campus community; perform an equity audit on all criminal justice academic programs; reduce the need for external law enforcement support at athletic events; provide de-escalation and cultural sensitivity training for officers working university events or hired by the university police department, and remove the term "overseer" from the name of its Honors House.
U Manchester to Decarbonize Its Investment Portfolio
(U.K.) The university recently announced that it will end investments in fossil fuel reserve and extraction companies by 2022, and decarbonize its investment portfolio by 2038. Its decarbonization commitment seeks to not only divest from fossil fuel companies but redirect its investments from carbon-intensive companies to companies that are more carbon efficient (emit less carbon for their level of activity).
Big Ten Announces 'Anti-Hate & Anti-Racism Coalition'
The Big Ten Conference commissioner, Kevin Warren, announced at the end of May the creation of the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition, an initiative that seeks to partner with campus diversity councils to create the conditions where student athletes possess their rights to free speech and peaceful protest.
Boston U Announces Center for Antiracist Research
The university recently announced that Ibram X. Kendi, author of "How To Be an Antiracist" and 2012’s "The Black Campus Movement", will join and launch the BU Center for Antiracist Research. While the details of the center have not yet been finalized, Dr. Kendi outlined its broader mission: foster collaborations across the university; build multidisciplinary problem-centered research teams; assist faculty from all corners of BU with converting racial research into media pitches and books; collect, organize and utilize data on racial inequity; and organize public events, including the Antiracist Book Festival. Photo by Stephen Voss
DePauw U Installs Photovoltaic Array
The roof of the university's Indoor Tennis and Track Center now holds 860 photovoltaic panels. More than 40 donors gave toward the installation of the panels, which cost $460,000.
EPA Announces Winners Campus RainWorks Challenge
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced Florida International University as the first place winner in the Master Plan category, with University of Arizona placing second. In the Demonstration Project category, University of California at Los Angeles placed first while Arizona State University came in second. The EPA also recognized Michigan State University for honorable mention in the Master Plan category and the University of California at Berkeley for honorable mention in the Demonstration Project category. The Campus RainWorks Challenge a national competition that engages college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to help address stormwater pollution.
U Puerto Rico Receives $1.4M to Reduce Diesel Emissions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a grant of $1.4 million to the university that will provide funding to replace 15 old, heavy-duty trucks. The university will also develop seminars for diesel vehicle owners and the general public in Puerto Rico to raise awareness about the harmful environmental impacts of diesel emissions, including those from idling, and resources available to help reduce diesel emissions.
U Toledo Installs 332 KW Solar Array
A new 332-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the university's Health Science Campus is expected to save the university approximately $30,000 per year in avoided electricity costs. A senior student design team worked with the university's Facilities and Construction to identify the site and prepare construction engineering drawings. The Student Green Fund approved spending $350,000 to cover the costs to install the array.
Recyclemania Announces 2020 Results
Across nearly 300 campuses in 43 states, more than 48 million pounds of waste was recycled, donated or composted over a five-week term (originally the term was eight weeks, but it was cut short due to COVID-19 closings). There were nine winners across nine categories this year. Additionally, in celebration of Recyclemania's 20th anniversary, the program announced a name change to Campus Race to Zero Waste.
Three Universities Collaborate on Waste Research
Princeton University, the University at Albany (lead university) and the University of Michigan, along with the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, recently announced a research collaboration to transform how organic waste, such as food waste, is handled. The goal is to develop economically viable methods to convert wet organic waste into high value products. The DOE has allocated $2.7 million to the project, and the consortium is adding an additional $709,550 to bring the total budget to more than $3.4 million.
Bucknell U Building Achieves LEED Platinum O+M
The university's academic and office building, Academic West, includes room occupancy sensors, large windows and glass interior walls that allow natural light to permeate the building, a green roof that helps the building stay cool and serves as a laboratory for student and faculty research, rain gardens, and a smart metering system that logs data on energy, temperature, water flow and HVAC settings every five minutes.
Climate Science Research Universities Form Alliance
The International Universities Climate Alliance is a new collaborative of over 40 climate research universities aiming to increase access to research-based facts on climate change science, impacts, adaptation and mitigation. UNSW Sydney is currently spearheading the alliance.
U Buffalo Produces Map of Food Resources
Researchers at the university recently released a map of food resources in Buffalo to help people access food amid the coronavirus pandemic. The map includes grocery stores and sources of free food like food pantries, soup kitchens and schools offering meal pickup for students.
North Carolina State U Installs Thermal Energy Storage Tank
Equivalent to a seven-story swimming pool holding more than 3 million gallons of water, the thermal energy storage tank enables the university to create chilled water for campus buildings at night when electricity rates are lowest and store the chilled water for use during the day when electricity rates are highest. The system is designed to supply chilled water for mechanical systems at more than 20 buildings.
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.