U St Andrews Embarks on Energy Retrofit
(U.K.) Thirty of the university's highest energy consuming buildings will undergo a $4.55 million (3.75 million British pounds) energy conservation project, which will include new energy-efficient LED lighting, a 100-kilowatt solar-electric system, and upgrades to fume hoods and heat distribution systems.
Lincoln Land CC to Install Rooftop Solar
The college's Litchfield campus will soon house a 124.5-kilowatt system while a 156.4-kilowatt system will be installed on its Jacksonville campus. The solar panels are expected to offset 95 percent of electrical consumption at Litchfield and 75 percent of its electrical consumption at Jacksonville.
UC3 Launches 'Research for Policy Platform'
The University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) launched the Research for Policy Platform at their inaugural event in July. The joint research and development platform will establish a unified set of principles and policies in order to directly support higher education leaders in local, national and international, 1.5 degree-aligned climate policy engagement. The coalition now includes 20 research universities with the recent addition of Queen’s University and The University of Utah.
Lane CC Becomes Bee Campus Certified
Although efforts to promote healthy pollinator habitat on campus have been ongoing for quite some time, the campus recently acquired the Bee Campus USA certification, signifying efforts to create habitats that support pollinators and educating the community on their importance.
U Saskatchewan Begins Using Compost On Campus
For the first time, grounds crews at the university are using compost from campus food waste, that is dehydrated and composted together with landscaping waste, to fertilize campus gardens, flower beds and athletic fields.
American College Greece Holds Plastic Free Day
The first ever Plastic Free Day aimed to raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution and encouraged the community use reusable items when ordering at all on-campus locations.
Lawrence U Earns Bee Campus Designation
The university recently achieved Bee Campus USA certification for its efforts to support pollinators across campus. Through the process of supporting pollinators, the campus is also being used as a living lab to study how to keep populations healthy in an urban environment.
U Virginia Releases Nitrogen Action Plan
The institution's new plan sets an official nitrogen reduction goal: reduce the university’s reactive nitrogen losses by 25 percent below 2010 levels by 2025. The plan, published in May 2019, outlines changes in the food and energy sectors, including strategies such as replacing gasoline fleet vehicles for electric, encouraging plant-forward dining options in dining halls, and reducing food waste.
U Cambridge Adopts Science Based Target for Carbon Reduction
The university recently adopted a 1.5 degrees science-based target for carbon reduction, committing itself to reduce its energy-related carbon emissions to absolute zero by 2048, with a 75 percent decrease on 2015 emissions by 2030. Cambridge’s target is focused on scope 1 (direct emissions from university-owned or controlled sources) and scope 2 (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy) emissions. Targets are provided by the Science Based Targets Initiative and the International Energy Agency.
Northeastern U Plants Herb Gardens Across Campus
In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and promote healthy eating, eight organic herb gardens have been planted across campus. A sign posted next to each garden prompts people to “Snip it. Take it. Enjoy it.”
Northeastern U Earns Arboretum Status By ArbNet
Northeastern’s Boston campus was named a Level II arboretum, which means it has more than 100 different species of trees, a policy that documents how the trees are maintained and acquired, and educational programming for the public. More than 1,400 individual trees, representing 143 different species, shelter the walkways between buildings and surround the open green spaces.
Harvard U Installs Rain Gardens
In an effort to curb impacts from flooding on campus, two pilot rain gardens were installed that will help absorb storm water overflow and filter out chemicals and pollutants. The university hopes to add more of them if they prove effective at flood reduction.
Cornell U Removes Plastic Bag Recycle Stations
Campus plastic bag recycling collection sites will be phased out of Cornell’s campus after New York State legislation passed a law effectively banning consumer plastic bags. The ban is set to go into effect no later than March 2020. Citing concerns about difficulty recycling this type of material and restrictions from China, the college encourages the campus community to redirect clean bags back to their original source for recycling.
U Manitoba Opens Farmers Market
The new outdoor farmers market has begun as a biweekly event with about 15 vendors carrying produce, preserves, flowers, and handcrafts.
Humber College Retrofit Achieves Zero Carbon Certification
The college's NX building was recently awarded with the Zero Carbon Building - Design Certification by the Canada Green Building Council. A zero-carbon building is highly energy-efficient and offsets the annual carbon emissions using renewable energy. The retrofit focused on making the building envelope insulated and air-tight, and included upgrades to the lighting, heating and cooling systems and a new 25-kilowatt solar-electric system.
East Carolina U Obtains Bee Campus USA Certification
The university's new certification was attained after it established a Bee Campus USA committee, developed a list of pollinator-friendly native plant species, hosted a film screening and other awareness events, set up bee hives on its Health Sciences Campus, and posted signage to educate campus and the broader community. To raise awareness about projects on campus, ECU has published a webpage to disseminate information such as the Integrated Pest Management Plan, student and faculty research into pollinator issues, and information about upcoming events.
U St Andrews Reduces Plastic Bottle Use
(U.K.) More than 40,000 plastic bottles will be removed from circulation annually from the local community thanks to a new partnership with Brita. A glass bottling system has been installed to provide bottled water for catering across the campus and self-service still and sparkling water dispensing units have been installed in its three retail cafes.
Hope College Receives Tree Campus USA Recognition
The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus tree management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Hope, which has 500 documented trees in its central campus, earned 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 South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Appoints DEI Officer
Corey L. Posey was recently appointed to the to the newly created position of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at the university and began his duties on July 8. Posey has spent 19 years in higher education, most recently as director of the Office of Student Life at Chesapeake College.
U Otago Discontinues Using Disposable Cups
(New Zealand) Three cafes at the university's Dunedin campus have recently discontinued offering single-use cups. Patrons can bring their own or choose to borrow a cup, which will be free for about two weeks, then will be offered for a deposit fee.
Pennsylvania State U Offers Business Sustainability Strategy Certificate
A new, nine-credit graduate certificate in business sustainability strategy is being offered online by the Penn State World Campus and led by the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Students will take courses in sustainability strategy development, strategy implementation and organizational change, and sustainable supply chain management.
Energy Dept Announces Collegiate Wind Competition Results
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the first place overall winner as The Pennsylvania State University, while Virginia Tech clinched second and California State Maritime Academy third. The Collegiate Wind Competition aims to prepare college and university students from multiple disciplines to enter the wind energy workforce by providing real-world technology experience. The competition challenges participants with tasks including business plan development, wind plant siting, and wind turbine design, building, and testing.
EAUC Announces International Green Gown Winners
Announced in mid-July, the winners of the International Green Gown Awards are Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) in the category of Benefitting Society; Ndejje University (Uganda) in the category of Student Engagement; and McGill University in the category of Sustainability Institution of the Year. For each category, three schools were also highly commended.
U Texas Austin Expands Tuition Assistance
The Board of Regents recently voted to establish a $160 million endowment that will be used to expand the university's Texas Advance Commitment program for in-state undergraduate students. Students of families earning up to $65,000 will have all tuition and fees covered by new endowment. Students of families with incomes up to $125,000 will have some assured tuition support.
U Virginia Earns Sustainable Fleet Accreditation
The university's Facilities Management Fleet recently garnered tier 2 of the Sustainable Fleet Accreditation, recognizing its efforts to build a fleet of cleaner and more sustainable vehicles. In the last year, facilities replaced 10 of its older, less efficient vehicles with electric and hybrid vehicles, and reduced the number of older diesel vehicles. The accreditation is a joint program between the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) and Calstart, both transportation-related nonprofits.
Cleveland State U Receives $1M for Students-in-Need Support
A new $1 million gift will support the work of the university’s Lift Up Vikes! program, which supplies students with food and support services. The gift will also establish a student resource center and create an emergency grant fund for individuals facing unforeseen circumstances that impact their ability to remain enrolled in school. The resource center will connect students with resources that will assist them in overcoming financial emergencies, meeting basic needs, providing personal finance education and creating comprehensive, sustainable plans for individual students’ success.
Arizona State U Creates Socially Responsible Investment Fund
In late June, the university's foundation established a socially responsible investment fund that endowment donors can select for their money rather than the traditional endowment pool. The investments will be in public and private companies with strong racial and gender equality, good governance and a focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Elon U Building Earns LEED Silver
Sankey Hall features low-flow plumbing fixtures and energy-efficient systems. Compared to standard plumbing fixtures, the low-flow fixtures in the building are expected to reduce water usage by 31 percent. The energy cost savings for the buildings is about 23 percent compared to buildings that just meet the standard building energy code.
U Kentucky Receives Award for HR Wellness Initiatives
The Human Resources department's community-supported agriculture (CSA) program received the HR Innovation Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) for reducing the cost of buying organic produce and supporting local farms. The CSA benefit provides participants with a voucher for either $200 toward a large share or $100 toward a small share of weekly produce from a participating local organic farm of their choice. The program had 470 participants in 2019.
James Madison U Adopts Living Wage
The university determined the living wage using information published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a single adult in Rockingham County, which came out to be $11.38 per hour. Those JMU employees who received the living wage increase, a total of 109 employees, now earn $12 per hour.
U Northern Colorado Installs Solar Flower
The artificial plant, nicknamed the Solar Flower, was installed in front of the university's cultural center and is sized at 2,500 watts, nearly enough power to meet the majority of the cultural center's needs. The project was funded through the Student Leadership for Environmental Action Fund (LEAF), which is a student fee that brings in $1 per enrolled credit, and up to $10 per student per semester.
U Basque Country Creates SDG Roadmap
(Spain) The university recently launched a website that maps the university's efforts to 12 of the 17 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and includes an additional commitment to linguistic and cultural diversity, and uses the 12+1 as a roadmap for its work. Each goal includes targets and key indicators that enable monitoring and measurement.
Pennsylvania State U to Develop Living Lab for Stormwater Infrastructure Research
A proposal to develop a living laboratory for green stormwater infrastructure research, education and innovation on campus was recently funded through the university’s Strategic Plan Seed Grant program. The goal of the proposal is to implement long-term, cost-effective solutions to water quality and quantity. Expanding the current relevant courses at Penn State on stormwater management to include green stormwater infrastructure practices is one of the priorities of this project.
Tufts U Installs Solar Arrays
Two new roof-mounted solar photovoltaic installations on buildings located on the Medford/Somerville campus will generate 161,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy for the university and surrounding community and are expected to save the university approximately $187,000 over the next 20 years. One array was installed on Lewis Hall, a residence hall, while the other was installed on the Science and Engineering Complex.
U Kentucky Begins Food Waste Composting
In an effort to reduce the amount of material going into the landfill and to produce an organic, nutrient-rich soil amendment for use at the university’s Organic Research Farm and by UK Grounds, the new program will accept food waste from certain dining areas and turn it into compost.
Carleton U Recycling Program Wins National Award
The university's recycling program in the University Center Food Court recently won a Quality and Productivity Award from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO). The program was cited for improving recycling behaviors through innovative recycling stations and realigned consumer packaging with less wasteful material. Throughout the transition, Carleton trained staff on best use of the new stations, resulting in a waste diversion rate of 90 percent, up from 12 percent, in less than a year.
Black Hills State U Dorm Receives Solar Electric Array
A solar array on the university's Thomas Hall was completed in May, featuring 186 370-watt photovoltaic panels. The cost of construction and installation was approximately $125,000 and has a payback time of less than 15 years.
Washington U St. Louis to Raise Minimum Wage to $15
The university's chancellor recently announced that the minimum hourly wage for regular employees and basic service contractors will be raised to $15 by July 1, 2021. The decision affects about 1,200 workers.
Elizabeth City State U Earns Approval for Sustainability Studies Program
The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors recently approved a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Studies at Elizabeth City State University, which is planned for a fall 2020 launch, pending review and approval of the university accrediting agency (SACSCOC) and the U.S. Department of Education. The program will provide broad interdisciplinary knowledge and skills that are required to address the inherent collaboration between environmental, human and technological systems that affect sustainability-related problems in the world today.
Second Nature Receives $303K to Support Cross-Sector Climate Action
Second Nature recently received $303,000 from a private donor to further the organization’s work advancing collaboration and partnerships across sectors for scalable climate solutions. Second Nature’s cross-sector climate programs are part of its newly released core strategy to exponentially accelerate climate action through higher education over the next decade.
U British Columbia Purchases Only Ocean Wise Seafood
As of July 1, the university will purchase and offer only 100 percent Ocean Wise recommended seafood. The change will include every food service location on both the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses, excluding franchises.
Rutgers U Announces Endowment to Help Neediest Students
Beginning in academic year 2020-21, the university will begin efforts to raise a $3 million endowment to support the Scarlet Promise Grants, formerly called Rutgers Assistance Grants, in perpetuity. The renewed focus on this grant program grew out of two task forces commissioned by Rutgers’ board of trustees – the Task Force on Student Aid and the Task Force on Philanthropy. The student aid task force found that a growing number of students are unable to complete their degrees because of limited resources, while others can graduate but leave college saddled with significant debt.
Augusta U Appoints Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Tiffany G. Townsend has been named chief diversity officer effective Sept. 1. Townsend previously served as the senior director of the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs at the American Psychological Association. Prior to that, she served as chair of community liaison/outreach in the Center for Trauma and the Community and adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine.
U Texas Dallas Building Earns LEED Gold
The new Engineering and Computer Science West building is 200,000 square feet and hosts research and teaching labs, faculty offices, student workspaces and a 300-seat auditorium. The building, which opened in August 2018, combines passive design strategies, high-performance assemblies and calibrated shading elements to reduce overall solar heat gain while maximizing daylight. R&D Magazine honored the building with a 2019 Lab of the Year Award-Special Mention for Engineering Labs.
U Southern Denmark to Focus SDG Integration Across University
(Denmark) In mid-June, the Executive Board of the university decided that the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to become the focal point for its work as a university. The basis of the transformation will be research and education, and will include 17 new, one-year master programs as well as integration of the SDGs in courses.