PGMS Announces 2019 Green Star Award Winners
The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) recently awarded 19 colleges and universities with its Green Star Award, which recognizes grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence.
U Virginia Raises Contractors Wage to $15 Per Hour
The university’s major contractors, working in partnership with UVA, will raise the wages of their full-time employees to at least $15 per hour, effective Jan. 1. The move will increase the wages of more than 800 full-time contracted employees, which represents nearly 90 percent of full-time contracted employees who work regularly on the university grounds.
Vassar College Board Endorses $13M Carbon Neutrality Plan
In mid-October, the college's board of trustees endorsed a $13-million package of renovations and upgrades to the college’s heating system and other energy-saving projects that altogether is expected to reduce Vassar's carbon footprint to less than 25 percent of its benchmark year emissions. The plan calls for retrofitting all lighting fixtures with LED bulbs; upgrading the central boiler to use renewable fuel oil; upgrading the HVAC in several buildings; and an energy awareness campaign.
Syracuse U Becomes Bee Campus Certified
Now certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, the university has minimized hazards to pollinators and created native pollinator habitats across campus.
U Virginia Pilots Electric Cargo Bikes
In a year-long pilot program, the university is testing out the viability of electric bikes with a trailer for moving items such as tools and annual plants.
U North Carolina Wilmington Begins Recycling Polystyrene
A new polystyrene densifier enables the university to recycle polystyrene products, such as to-go food containers, coffee cups and packing materials. The university is also inviting the general public to dropoff polystyrene for recycling.
Sierra College Dedicates 2 MW Solar Array
The 2-megawatt solar parking canopy structure plus energy storage system will provide electricity to the campus over a 20-year term. The project is expected to meet 60 to 65 percent of the Rocklin campus' electricity consumption.
Grinnell College Signs 4 MW Solar Contract
The college recently signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for a 4-megawatt, single axis tracker photovoltaic system. The project is expected to save around $3 million over the 20-year contract and to reduce the college's carbon footprint by 18 percent.
Ashoka U Launches 'Student Changemaker Stories Campaign'
The new campaign launched by Ashoka U aims to shift the narrative around what it means to be a changemaker and who can be one, on campus and beyond. It seeks to accomplish this by publishing weekly stories of individuals who have navigated breakthroughs, overcome challenges, and embraced dynamic experiences during their time as student changemakers.
U College London Adopts Ambitious Sustainability Strategy
Among other targets, the university's new Sustainability Strategy 2019-2024 includes the following commitments: it will not to invest in companies involved in fossil fuel extraction or production and will make public its portfolio of investments; all buildings will be net zero carbon by 2024 and the whole institution will be net zero carbon by 2030; and it will have a single-use-plastic free campus by 2024.
Ten HEI Projects Receive $25K From Ford College Community Challenge
Projects at the following universities and colleges were recently selected to receive a Ford College Community Challenge grant of $25,000: Centenary University, College for Creative Studies, Eastern Michigan University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, Salt Lake Community College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University (two projects selected). Each project will be led by students who will work with a nonprofit to address one of these categories: social mobility, smart mobility or building a sustainable community.
Smith College Board Approves Divestment
The college's board of trustees voted recently to direct Smith's endowment management firm to exclude from the endowment all future investments with fossil fuel specific managers. The college will also begin an immediate phaseout of all current investments with fossil fuel specific managers in its endowment. This phaseout will be achieved through the sale, maturity or liquidation of investments held by fossil fuel specific managers over a projected period of 15 years.
U Pennsylvania Releases Climate & Sustainability Plan
Ten years after releasing its original Climate Action Plan, the university released the Climate & Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 (CSAP 3.0), outlining Penn’s goals for improved environmental performance from 2019 to 2024. CSAP 3.0 highlights ongoing efforts to improve the ecological health of the region, with expanded academic offerings and research, reduced waste, responsible purchasing and sustainable transit.
Acadia U Growing Greens Via Hydroponic System
The university recently partnered with its food service provider, Chartwells, to bring a hydroponic, vertical growing system housed inside a repurposed shipping container to campus. It will produce greens and microgreens year-round and employ students.
U Virginia Launches New Equity Center
The UVA Equity Center will foster partnerships between Charlottesville-area community leaders and university faculty in an effort to tangibly redress racial and socioeconomic inequality. The center hopes to change the way UVA scholars interact with members of the surrounding community, replacing the current model with one that is respectful, collaborative and beneficial to the communities.
Pennsylvania State U to Launch Center for Business Sustainability
The Penn State Smeal College of Business will launch the Center for the Business of Sustainability (CBoS) in 2020 to support business in meeting the growing demand for resources in a socially just and environmentally sustainable manner. CBoS will be oriented toward the challenges of scaling up technological solutions, promoting and strategically deploying new products and services, and devising a regulatory framework that fosters sustainability.
20 UK Universities Partner to Purchase Wind Energy
(U.K.) Twenty universities in the U.K. have signed a joint power purchase agreement to buy electricity from wind farms across Scotland and Wales for $63 million (50 million British pounds). The 10-year deal ensures the cost stability of electricity while simultaneously reducing the universities' carbon footprint.
Princeton U Pilots Reusable Utensil Kit Opt-In
As a part of its zero-waste campus goal, the university's Office of Sustainability is piloting a reusable utensil kit opt-in for the Class of 2023. The reusable utensil kit, which is free to students who opt-in, consists of a fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks, all made of bamboo. A total of 350 students have opted-in, 88 percent of who are from Class of 2023.
Miami U Buildings Earn LEED Certification
Minnich and Scott Halls, which reopened in fall 2018 after major renovations, were certified LEED Gold in September. Presidents and Withrow Halls, new residence halls that opened in fall 2018, were certified LEED Silver in June. Both the Minnich and Scott Halls achieved a 44 percent improvement on baseline building energy performance rating over a non-LEED building. Presidents and Withrow Halls achieved a 28 and 26 percent improvement, respectively, on baseline building energy performance rating over a non-LEED building.
California State U Stanislaus Hires First Sustainability Coordinator
The university's first sustainability coordinator, Wendy Olmsted, recently completed the Campus Sustainability Leadership Professional Certificate program via the University of Vermont and has a Master's in Ecology and Sustainability from California State University, Stanislaus.
Guilford College Professor Wins Campus Compact Faculty Award
Diya Abdo, an associate professor of English at Guilford College, won the Campus Compact 2019 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, which recognizes one senior faculty member each year for exemplary engaged scholarship. Abdo founded the Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) initiative, which advocates for housing refugee families on campuses, based on the idea that colleges and universities have all the resources necessary–housing, food, care, skill-building–to take in refugees and support them as they begin their lives in their new homes.
U Louisville Contributes Old Stadium Seating for City Bus Stops
A partnership between the University of Louisville's Urban Design Studio and Louisville Metro Council saved 120 seats from going to the landfill as the former Cardinal Stadium was demolished earlier this year. Instead, the seats are being installed at some of the city's bus stops.
Environment America Launches Higher Ed Energy Campaign
To kick off Campus Sustainability Month, Environment America Research & Policy Center launched 30 campaigns in 11 states, pressing colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The initiative aims to get 150 schools to commit by 2021 to exclusively use renewable energy.
U Coimbra Discontinues Serving Beef
(Portugal) The university announced at the end of September that it would stop serving beef in an effort to combat the climate crisis. The university was consuming around 20 tons of beef per year.
Stanford U Wins Corporate Social Responsibility Award
Stanford was recently recognized in PR Daily’s Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in the Green and Environmental Stewardship category for significantly reducing the university's environmental footprint by targeting infrastructure and behavior.
Carnegie Mellon U Enters Multi-Year Wind Energy Agreement
After more than a decade of offsetting 100 percent of its electric power consumption with renewable energy certificates, the university recently entered a series of multi-year wind energy agreements. Under the agreements, the university will source all of its electricity from a wind farm in Illinois and will secure the renewable energy certificates from the project.
Texas A&M U Bans Vaping
Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the university system chancellor directed each of the 11 universities and the directors of eight state agencies with the TAMU system to ban the use of e-cigarettes and vaping as soon as practical.
Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Harvard U in Affirmative Action Lawsuit
The U.S. district-court judge ruled at the beginning of October that Harvard's race-conscious admissions process is legal. The university's admissions practices were on trial after the plaintiffs accused Harvard of favoring black and Hispanic applicants at the expense of Asian American applicants.
Montclair State U Students Help Improve Polystyrene Recycling
A group of students through the university's Institute for Sustainability Studies Green Team program helped study and improve a local circular recycling system for polystyrene. In addition to calculating the savings from disposal charges and the return on investment, the team developed promotional strategies aimed at dispelling the myth that polystyrene cannot be recycled.
Brown U Removes GRE Requirement for 24 PhD Programs
The university will no longer require Graduate Records Examination (GRE) test scores for admission to 24 of its Ph.D. programs, beginning with applications for the 2020-21 academic year. The university hopes this will remove barriers that can reduce applications from students who are historically underrepresented in higher education and from low-income backgrounds.
Princeton U Drops GRE for 14 Graduate Programs
In an effort to diversify the faculty pipeline and enroll a diverse pool of graduate students, 14 Princeton University departments will no longer require the GRE test for graduate admission, making it optional for graduate applicants.
Emory U Student Center Earns LEED Platinum
The university's new 117,000-square-foot, three-story student center features ground-source heating and cooling, a rooftop solar thermal system and LED lighting coupled with occupancy sensors.
U Oregon Unveils Sustainable Business Minor
This fall, the university rolled out a new minor in sustainable business. The program is designed for non-business majors and is open to any UO student who wants to apply business solutions to address a variety of social and environmental challenges.
Colorado State U Launches 'Impact MBA'
The new Impact MBA through the university's College of Business offers two distinct tracks – the Corporate Sustainability Track and the Social Entrepreneurship Track. The Corporate Sustainability Track of the program aims to equip students with the analytical skills to lead change within an organization by presenting the business case for sustainability projects. The Social Entrepreneurship Track was previously offered as the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA.
U Pittsburgh Signs 'Cool Food Pledge'
The Cool Food Pledge is an initiative of the World Resources Institute. All signatories will work together to reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030. The university recently signed the pledge alongside the U.N. Climate Action Summit.
U California Santa Cruz Creates Campus Living Lab Map
The new website is an interactive map that catalogs the full range of university living lab projects, with program descriptions, links to websites, and contact information for students and faculty to learn more and/or get involved. It is organized by six categories: agroecology; design and engineering; environmental education; environmental justice and sustainability; UCSC natural reserves; and stewardship and natural history.
George Mason U Receives $250,000 to Increase Access
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently announced a $250,000 award to support ADVANCE and the Early Identification Program (EIP)—two programs designed to give educational access to diverse student populations. The ADVANCE program, the university's partnership with Northern Virginia Community College, will receive $150,000 in scholarships to help alleviate financial burdens for high-achieving students in financial need. EIP will receive $100,000, enabling more first generations students to attend the university's Honors College.
Caltech to Receive $750M Donation for Environmental Research
Philanthropists and entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick have announced an unprecedented $750 million pledge to the California Institute of Technology to support research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels, decomposable plastics, water and environmental resources, and ecology and biosphere engineering. In recognition of the investment, Caltech will construct a new 75,000-square-foot building, to be named the Resnick Sustainability Resource Center. The center will serve as the hub for energy and sustainability research on campus as well as the home of undergraduate teaching laboratories.
Carnegie Mellon U Announces New 'Sustainability Initiative'
The new campus-wide initiative seeks to strengthen the university’s commitment to sustainability; elevate Carnegie Mellon’s engagement with the SDGs; and improve coordination of our sustainability education, research and practices among CMU students, faculty, staff and local community members.
George Mason U to Erect Memorial for Enslaved People
In 2021, the university will erect a memorial that honors more than 100 people enslaved by George Mason. When the memorial opens, it will contain several markers, including a bronze statue of George Mason and silhouettes of two specific enslaved people, as well as an inscription with the names of the men, women and children whom Mason enslaved.
George Mason U to Offer E-Scooters
Dockless, electric scooters will soon be introduced on campus for faculty, staff and students to rent. Parking and Transportation plans to partner with academic departments to facilitate research related to the use of scooters.
U Oregon Residential Dining to Focus on Reusable Dishware
Beginning fall quarter, all residential dining centers at the university will serve meals on reusable plates, bowls and silverware. This change from single-use, disposable dishes and cutlery will affect approximately 15,000 meals each day when school is in session. This change was prompted by compost collectors discontinuing any collection of plant-based plasticware, wood and paper products.
U Wisconsin Milwaukee Uses 'Green Suits' to Raise Awareness
The university's Office of Sustainability worked with artists from the Green Suits initiative to bring a playful energy to the topic of climate change by dressing up in green suits and having their picture taken with campus projects that advance sustainability. The Green Suits initiative is a project of Inside the Greenhouse, a University of Colorado-Boulder program that uses theater, dance, filmmaking and writing to connect a wider audience to discussions of climate change.
U St. Thomas Launches Inaugural Sustainability Strategic Plan
The new five-year plan centers on a vision of catalyzing university-wide engagement to create a culture that prepares students to be sustainability leaders during their university years and beyond. It outlines two main goals: achieving an AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Gold rating by 2025 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. The plan further identifies opportunities to advance sustainability on campus in the areas of academics, student engagement, employee engagement, dining services, facilities management, investment, procurement, transportation and mission.