University Climate Change Coalition Releases Strategic Plan
Moving into the third year since its launch, the UC3 (University Climate Change Coalition) recently released a five-year strategic plan, representing an updated vision and trajectory for the coalition. The plan lays out three goals, each related to a sphere of influence–campus, community and global.
U Washington Releases Sustainability Strategy
The new plan, which spans five years and all three UW campuses, includes five guiding principles and 10 measurable targets, along with annual actions to reach those targets. The plan’s guiding principles are: ensure students achieve sustainability literacy; choose our research conscientiously; keep equity and inclusion at the center; use resources responsibly; and decarbonize.
U Chicago to Launch Green Fund
Starting in autumn 2020, the university will open a $50,000 pool of grant money known as the Green Fund for student-led research and projects to improve campus sustainability. Undergraduate and graduate students will be able to apply for funding by submitting project proposals to a review board. The board will be composed of student, faculty and staff representatives.
U Wisconsin Oshkosh Opens Food Pantry
A McNair Scholar at the university successfully organized and opened a campus food pantry in mid-February after delving into research focused on food insecurity and students of color.
U Chicago Sets More Ambitious GHG Reduction Date
The university recently announced a new goal of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The previous goal was 20 percent by 2025. To meet the new GHG emissions goal, the university will focus on increasing the purchase of electricity generated from renewable sources, making new and existing buildings more energy efficient, increasing the university’s landfill diversion rate, and reducing fleet vehicle gasoline use.
U Buffalo Releases 2030 Climate Action Plan
The university's new plan, called the “10 in 10”, is a road map of 10 strategies that will guide the university’s climate mitigation efforts over the next decade. The 10 initiatives form a framework for implementation efforts, with each of the 10 categories corresponding to a working group that will advance action within the area.
U New Mexico to Install Solar Array on Library
A joint effort between the Associated Students of UNM and UNM’s Facilities Management has resulted in approval of a $400,000 solar array to be built atop the university's Zimmerman Library. With an estimated peak output of 429 kilowatts, the solar array is expected to meet the electricity needs of the library. Any surplus electricity will be fed onto the grid. The university is expected to save $25,000 per year in avoided costs for electricity.
California State U Northridge Launches Victory Garden Program
The university's Institute for Sustainability recently launched a Seeds of Victory campaign to encourage people to grow their own food. To support people in this endeavor, the institute will provide free vegetable and herb seeds to the campus community and offer online workshops with expert gardeners to teach people how to grow their own food.
U Iowa Becomes Fair Trade University
The university has been named an official Fair Trade University upon the passing of a student-led resolution that calls for a university commitment to procure and sell fair trade items. The university will now offer fair trade products in residence halls, convenience stores and catered events sponsored by the university.
THE Releases 2020 University Impact Rankings
The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings assess universities against the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The 2020 ranking includes 766 universities from 85 nations/regions.
U Alabama Birmingham to Certify 110 Laboratories
An ongoing effort at the university seeks to have over 110 laboratories My Green Lab certified by the end of 2020. The My Green Lab certification serves as a sustainability benchmark for laboratories addressing best practices in energy use, water use, chemical use, waste generation and procurement.
Ohio State U Releases Climate Action Plan
The university's new Climate Action Plan outlines a 55 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 through improving building efficiency, diversifying sources of energy and addressing transportation-related emissions.
Bronx CC Installs EV Charger
The newly installed electric vehicle (EV) charger is available to the campus community for free. The unit did not require any on-site construction, as it is designed to be a stand-alone unit sitting on top of the parking surface.
Oxford U Bans Fossil Fuel Investments
The university recently passed a motion requiring its endowment fund be divested from all direct investments in fossil fuel companies, and end future investment in funds that primarily hold stock in fossil fuel companies. The motion further requires endowment managers to request evidence of plans to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions from companies across Oxford’s entire portfolio of investments.
Cornell U Connects 18 MW Solar Farm
In mid-January, the university flipped the switch on its largest solar project, totaling 18-megawatts. The new solar farm will generate approximately 20 percent of Cornell’s electricity use.
U Illinois Chicago Contributes 5,000 Masks
As part of a new partnership between the UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, costume fabricators are making COVID-19 patient masks. This partnership already has resulted in the manufacture of 5,000 facemasks, which were delivered to the University of Illinois Hospital in early April.
Emory U Water Reclamation Project Surpasses 300M Gallons
Since April 2015, Emory’s WaterHub has reclaimed and recycled more than 300 million gallons of campus wastewater for use in Emory’s steam plant and three campus chiller plants, as well as select residence hall toilets. It provides more than 40 percent of the university's total campus water needs.
American U Eliminates Fossil Fuel Investments
While the university has had no direct investments in fossil fuel funds for several years, in a series of transactions over the last few months, the board of trustees eliminated the remaining $12.9 million of fossil fuel exposure within the public endowment portfolio. This action was executed through the sale of $350 million in commingled and index funds, with the proceeds reinvested in investments that do not include any fossil fuel holdings.
Arizona State U Achieves Carbon Neutrality
The university has recently achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations, six years earlier than its commitment of 2025. Increased energy efficiency in both new buildings and campus retrofits; on-site solar generation; renewable energy purchases from large-scale, off-site generation facilities; and purchase of carbon offsets and renewable energy were deployed. The carbon neutrality commitment date for emissions related to commuting and air travel is 2035.
U Nebraska to Offer Free Tuition
In an effort to make higher education more accessible, the university is launching a program that guarantees a tuition-free education for all Nebraska students with family incomes of $60,000 or less. The program begins in fall 2020.
Brandeis U Kitchens Make Meals for Healthcare Workers
Meals for doctors, nurses and administrative staff at five Boston-area hospitals are now being prepared in Brandeis University kitchens. Sodexo runs the kitchens and has hired additional staff — including some students who are still on campus — to prepare meals for hospital workers. Brandeis kitchens recently prepared and sent 2,200 meals to area hospitals.
U California Berkeley to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
The university recently adopted a single-use elimination policy that seeks to eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic, both non-recyclable and recyclable, by 2030. The ban focuses on food-ware and plastic bags, and addresses the spectrum of products and packaging used in campus academics, research, administration and events.
Dickinson College Sustainability Expert Featured in People Magazine
Neil Leary, director of the college's Center for Sustainability Education, contributed three tips in People magazine's Earth Day anniversary issue featuring "50 things you should know and do to help the planet." Leary discusses the importance of keeping a refrigerator stocked, ditching the mini fridge, and composting.
U Illinois Chicago Leads Working Group to Protect Monarch Butterflies
A partnership between the university and 45 energy and transportation agencies resulted in the release of a formal agreement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that seeks to protect monarch butterflies. Using the agreement, public and private property owners and land managers can voluntarily adopt conservation measures that are beneficial to the monarch, which is currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The development of the agreement was undertaken by the university's Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group and facilitated by the UIC Energy Resources Center, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
New York U Helps Feed Food Insecure
In an effort to combat increased food insecurity caused by the pandemic, NYU Dining Services and Chartwells Higher Education dining donated nearly 1,300 pounds of food in early April to a New York City food rescue organization.
Raritan Valley CC Creates 3D-Printed Face Shields
The college’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering programs and the Arts & Design Department have teamed up with a local vocational school to create 3D-printed face-shields for area hospitals. Approximately 30 shields per day are being created.
Allegheny College Becomes Carbon Neutral
Allegheny set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020 as part of a climate action plan adopted by the college’s board of trustees in 2010. Three key efforts contributed to the college’s achievement of this goal: reducing emissions through implementing efficiency measures; decarbonizing energy sources by shifting from fossil fuel to renewable energy; and offsetting emissions through projects that offset or remove carbon.
ISCN Announces 2020 Sustainable Campus Award Winners
The International Sustainable Campus Network's 2020 Sustainable Campus Excellence award winners are Chalmers University of Technology and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) in the whole system approach category; LUT University (Finland) in the Partnerships for Progress category; and Thammasat University (Thailand) in the Cultural Change for Sustainability category. McGill University was recognized with an honorary member award. The International Sustainable Campus Excellence Awards recognize sustainable campus projects that demonstrate leadership, creativity, effectiveness and outstanding performance.
Five University Hospitals Receive Tree Campus Designation
The Medical University of South Carolina, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmington Hospital, and University of Kentucky Healthcare earned the new designation by demonstrating a commitment to improving community wellness through tree planting, education and community engagement. This is demonstrated by distributing free trees to community members and using trees to create therapeutic landscapes on campus.
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.
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.
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.