Sonoma State U Bans Glyphosate Products
The university recently banned all glyphosate-based chemicals on campus, including those used in weed-killing products such as Roundup. Instead, the university will primarily use organic-based herbicides on its 269-acre campus.
McGill U Reduces Carbon Footprint of Portfolio
At a recent meeting, the university's board of governors approved all the proposed recommendations from the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility. The report recommends decreasing McGill’s endowment portfolio exposure to carbon-intensive investments, including those within the fossil fuel industry. The report also recommends increasing the university's low-carbon holdings through impact investments, such as those in clean technologies, renewable energy infrastructure and fossil-fuel-free funds.
U Washington Begins Reusable To-Go Container Pilot
The student organization Students Expressing Environmental Dedication (SEED) recently implemented the Ozzi reusable container pilot project. The goal of the project is to reduce single-use compostable containers. Students can obtain reusable containers with their to-go food. Once they finish using the containers, they can return them to select machines, where they are given a token. Students can then use the token in exchange for another reusable container for their next to-go purchase.
Quinnipiac U Partners to Reduce Hunger
Quinnipiac Dining is now donating its excess food directly to local residents through Haven’s Harvest, a non-profit organization that currently provides food to those facing food insecurity throughout Greater New Haven. Starting in January, Quinnipiac students will work with Haven’s Harvest to deliver the food throughout Hamden each weekday during the academic year.
William & Mary Receives $19M for Environmental Institute
The college recently received a $19.3 million gift from an alumna who wishes to remain anonymous to establish the Institute for Integrative Conservation. To be launched in 2020, the institute will be a cross-disciplinary and cross-sector institute to advance solutions to the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges.
U Tennessee Partners on Forest Conservation
The UT Institute of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy recently signed an agreement to manage the university's forested research properties under The Nature Conservancy's Working Woodlands Program, which was established in 2009 to engage landowners in securing and sustainably managing their forestlands to benefit the environment and local livelihoods. Through Working Woodlands, the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center will work to achieve Forest Stewardship Council certification for 11,400 acres of forested properties that spread across four counties. In addition to forest certification, as part of the agreement, The Nature Conservancy will provide a conduit for the university to access carbon offset markets.
U Georgia Receives $7.46M for Electric Buses
The Federal Transit Administration’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will allocate $7.46 million to the university to purchase an additional 13 electric buses. The funding, along with UGA’s 30 percent matching share, will grow the university’s fleet to 33 electric buses.
U Cincinnati Launches Environmental Literacy Certificate
The university's new certificate program in environmental literacy is administered by the Office of Sustainability. Through the co-curricular, self directed program, students are exposed to systems thinking, ecological principles, and fundamental sustainability competencies with the aim of enhancing a culture of sustainability.
Fitzwilliam College Adopts ESG Investment Principles
(U.K.) In late November, the college's governing body adopted a new investment policy prioritizing environmental, social and governance principles. Indirect investments in fossil fuels, tobacco manufacturers, or weapons manufacturers will also be minimized and kept under constant review.
U North Texas Opens Allergen-Free Dining hall
The university recently opened a dining hall that is completely free of major allergenic foods often referred to as the "Big 8". They are milk, eggs, fish, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and shellfish.
Washington U St. Louis Opens Active Commuter Hub
Offered by the Office of Sustainability and Parking & Transportation Services, the new Active Commuter Hub supports staff, faculty, students and contractor employees that bike, walk, use public transit or other active forms of transportation by offering access to showers and lockers. The space is also accessible to people wanting to exercise over breaks or at lunchtime.
US Senators Introduce Amendments to the 'Higher Education Sustainability Act'
In mid-November, four U.S. senators introduced a bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 that would reauthorize a competitive grant program called the University Sustainability Program. As proposed, eligible institutions and associations, consortiums or collaborations that are working in partnership with at least one higher education institution could receive grants for the purpose of establishing sustainability programs to design and implement the teaching and practice of sustainability.
Georgetown U Offers Discount on Bikeshare
A new low-cost partnership with the Capital Bikeshare University Program makes bicycling more financially accessible by decreasing annual membership costs from $85 to $25 for all Georgetown undergraduate, graduate, Law Center and Medical Center students.
MIT Constructs Garden Space
Designed as a garden that will be, in part, maintained by students, the new garden hosts nearly 40 varieties of plants to attract and support pollinators like bees, birds, butterflies, and moths. The Hive Garden also serves as a test bed for co-designing outdoor spaces to connect to, and learn from, nature in an urban setting.
Selkirk College Installs Solar Array
In October, the college installed a solar array on the roof of the library that includes 275 panels with the capacity to produce an estimated 112,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The project will produce approximately 10 percent of the electricity needed on an annual basis at the college's Castlegar campus.
Teams of New England Institutions Win Funding for Food Economies
The Henry P. Kendall Foundation recently announced six teams of college and university dining programs, along with their community partners, as winners of the 2019 New England Food Vision Prize. The $250,000 awards to each team will support innovative ideas designed to improve the health, sustainability and vitality of the region’s food system by increasing the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus.
Northern Kentucky U Joins Urban Collective for Sustainability
The university recently joined the Cincinnati 2030 District, which is part of an international network of cities developing a new model for urban sustainability. Facilitated locally by Green Umbrella, the Cincinnati 2030 District provides private-public partnerships and resources to help advance sustainability goals. The organization’s commitment to sustainability aligns with the university’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
League of American Bicyclists Recognizes Bicycle Friendly HEIs
The fall 2019 cohort in the Bicycle Friendly University program included 16 universities and colleges earning the award for the first time, 12 that earned upgraded awards, and 20 renewing institutions, plus four earning honorable mentions. Among those upgrading are three universities certified as Platinum for the first time–the University of California Irvine, the University of California Santa Barbara, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
EAUC Announces 2019 Green Gown Award Winners
(U.K.) This year, there were 20 winners across 14 categories in the Green Gown Awards. Administered by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC), the Green Gown Awards recognizes the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.
U Virginia and William & Mary to Partner on Climate Change Initiatives
The two universities recently announced plans to work together on sustainability and climate change initiatives, including a shared goal for each institution to be carbon neutral by 2030. They intend to regularly share information and resources on their respective strategic climate action plans and implementation, and collaborate on outreach and engagement opportunities internally and with their surrounding localities.
Pace U Installs Solar Tree
The new tree-shaped design holds seven solar panels and is nearly 15 feet tall, providing seating for six, wireless internet, six USB ports and an interactive display.
Vanderbilt U Pilots Reusable To Go Containers
Vanderbilt Campus Dining will pilot the new Choose to Reuse program that will provide students reusable to-go containers. The campaign aims to eliminate disposable containers. Organizers hope to launch the program campus-wide in fall 2020.
Yale U Releases Sustainability Pledge
Earlier this month, the Yale College Council, along with the Yale Student Environmental Coalition and the Office of Sustainability, released a pledge to encourage students to live in a more sustainable way. The pledge is the first of a monthly series of new commitments onto which students can sign.
Northwestern U Resilience Research Project Wins $150K
The Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs awarded roughly $150,000 to support an interdisciplinary project called “Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges”. The project, involving 12 Northwestern scholars and practitioners and outside experts, is aimed at mitigating climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, deforestation, pollution and other global environmental challenges that will require unprecedented community-based cooperation and research creativity.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Building Achieves LEED Platinum
The building that houses the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering features a rooftop solar-panel installation, a stormwater storage and release system, and several passive heating and cooling features, including a terra cotta exterior and sun shades.
Clarkson U & Region Receive LEED Gold for Cities & Communities
With the help of the executive officer of Clarkson University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Howard E. Lechler Endowed Director of Construction Engineering Management, Erik C. Backus, the region where Clarkson University is located–Lake Placid and the New York State Olympic region–is now USGBC LEED Gold for Cities and Communities. LEED-certified cities and communities measures and tracks outcomes and evaluates progress against key metrics, including energy, water, waste and transportation, and factors relating to quality of life.
Pennsylvania State U Abington Unveils Produce Distribution
A new partnership between the university's Abington campus and a regional hunger relief organization adds fresh, weekly produce distribution to the offerings available from the campus’ LionShare food pantry. The program kicked off in mid-November with the delivery of 1,000 pounds of cabbage, bananas, apples and cherry tomatoes.
15 Collegiate Teams Selected for Marine Energy Competition
The U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office recently announced 15 collegiate teams to embark on the first-ever Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. This competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of programs to develop new marine energy solutions.
Shenandoah U Connects 500KW Photovoltaic System
The university now boasts a rooftop solar power system that is shared across three buildings. The university expects to save a total of $3.1 million in avoided costs for electricity from producing its own solar power over the 35-year lifespan of the equipment.
Emory U Partners to Purchase Local Food
A new partnership between the university and The Conservation Fund aims to help break down barriers faced by farmers and supply campus with fresh, local, sustainably grown food. The Conservation Fund’s Working Farms Fund purchases farmland within a 100-mile radius of metro Atlanta, placing conservation easements on it to permanently protect it from development and harmful environmental practices, and leases the land to farmers with a 10-year path to ownership, selling it to them at the end of their lease. In turn, Emory enters into food purchase agreements with those farmers.
Hope College Launches Reusable Cup Campaign
Through the new Cupanion Cup Initiative, students, faculty and staff can purchase a reusable cup for $5 and use the Fill it Forward app to track the impact of using the cup on waste, power and emissions.
10 Quebec Universities Declare a Climate Emergency
By signing the declaration, these 10 universities are making three commitments: to become carbon-neutral by 2030, or 2050 at the latest; allocate more resources for research aiming to fight climate change and develop related skills; and increase the availability of environmental and sustainability education in academic programs, on campuses and in community-awareness programs.
Ball State U Building Earns LEED O+M Certification
Thanks to Ball State students in a LEED Lab class, the David Letterman Communication and Media Building is now certified LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M). The building was certified as LEED Silver in 2007.
San Francisco State U Building Achieves LEED Platinum
The university’s Mashouf Wellness Center features rooftop solar panels and a gray-water system that uses pool runoff and the water from the sinks and showers for toilets and landscaping. Landscaping focuses on drought-tolerant native plants.
ACTS Announces Australasian Green Gown Award Winners
The Green Gown Awards Australasia is an awards program dedicated to recognizing Australasian institutions for their sustainability actions and initiatives. Six universities were named winners across the same amount of categories and two individuals were recognized as winners in the individual categories.
Smith College Tests Ground-Source Energy Exchange System
A $30,000 grant aided the college in drilling a 1,000-foot-deep vertical borehole and connect it to a ground-source heating and cooling system. The system will be used for faculty research, coursework and co-curricular initiatives to determine the feasibility of using this technology to reduce the college's greenhouse gas emissions.
Cornell U Undergoes Lighting Upgrade
The Cornell Energy Conservation Initiative recently completed a multi-phase comprehensive lighting upgrade earlier this year that replaced lighting in indoor and outdoor spaces with LED bulbs. With the project fully completed, the new lighting reduces the campus carbon footprint by nearly 3 percent annually. The upgrades, which began in 2014, have a cost avoidance of $2.9 million-to-date.
Appalachian State U Adds Vegan Dining Station
The new, completely vegan food station, Terra Verde, has a menu of in-house made meals featuring whole-food ingredients and designed around a five-week rotation that changes each semester.
Auraria Higher Education Center to Complete 779 KW Solar Array Installation
A 779-kilowatt solar array installation atop the Auraria Library is nearly complete. It will supply 2.5 percent of the annual campus-wide power consumption. The 150-acre Auraria Campus serves the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver, a collective population of approximately 43,000 students, faculty, and staff.
Portland State U Pilots E-Tricycles for Mail Delivery
The package delivery service UPS has teamed up with the university to use electric tricycles to deliver packages on campus. Especially meant for the final leg of delivery routes, the pilot is testing to see if e-trikes can supplement or even replace traditional gas-powered trucks.
Marymount Manhattan College Launches Social Justice Ambassadors Program
The new Social Justice Ambassador Program is a five-session program that invites participants from different backgrounds and experiences to come together to assess the ways societal structures perpetuate privilege and oppression through institutions and individuals. At the end of the program, ambassadors present in groups on what they have learned.
Pennsylvania State U Launches Endowment for Math & Sustainability
Honoring the late John Roe, a professor in the Department of Mathematics at Penn State for more than 20 years before his death in 2018, Roe's wife created a $300,000 endowment that will help ensure the continuation of Roe’s unique approach to teaching mathematics through applications to sustainability. The endowment will be collaboratively managed by Penn State Outreach and the Sustainability Institute to fund student engagement opportunities across the university, to support faculty members who integrate sustainability into their coursework, and to establish a Student Sustainability Award to recognize student leadership and service related to sustainability on campus and beyond.