Arizona State U Launches Civic Engagement Awareness Campaign
The university's McCain Institute for International Leadership rolled out a new initiative, called We Hold These Truths, designed to engage the public on human rights and to teach liberties. The campaign specifically targets young people in the U.S. who are interested in progress, safety and freedom. The institute hopes to educate and galvanize the public to explore and engage — through the lens of the First Amendment — in human rights in a meaningful way that’s relevant and resonant to their own experiences, and then act to protect and preserve rights for others across the country and globe.
Arizona State U Partners on Water Efficiency Research
The university will participate in research with the city's water services department through a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The water conservation research will use the university's 12 acres of soccer fields to test the efficacy of hydrogels, which can potentially absorb up to 400 percent of their water weight and release nearly all of it back into the turf as needed.
Washington Monthly Releases 'Best Colleges for Student Voting' List
The Washington Monthly ranking represents their second year for measuring how well colleges encourage their students to vote, boosting democratic participation and civic engagement. The ranking is based on data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).
U Maryland Signs 'Cool Food Pledge'
The pledge commits the university to reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030. It is an initiative from the World Resources Institute to fight climate change and bring more sustainable food to dining halls, campus cafes and event catering.
Southern Illinois U Receives Arboretum Accreditation
The university recently acquired Level II accreditation from the Arboretum Accreditation Program for its 1,200-acre main campus landscape that features nearly 5,200 trees, including 155 species and 72 genera of plants. The arboretum has a strategic plan, a governing board, public programming and a complete inventory of every tree and woody plant.
CAS Releases Standards for Sustainability Programs
The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) recently announced the release of a new set of standards for sustainability programs, which delineate expectations for practitioners and educators in related functional areas and complement the recent release of the 10th edition of CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education.
Virginia Tech Pilots E-Scooters
Starting in September, 1,300 electric scooters will be available at university ride-share stations for check out. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has partnered with the Ford-owned Spin company to conduct an 18-month pilot research initiative focused on micro-mobility. The research is intended to lead to recommendations for more effectively governing dockless programs on colleges and in cities.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Hires First DEI Vice Chancellor
Dr. Sean Garrick, formerly the associate vice provost in the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota, has become UIUC's first vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion. At Minnesota, Dr. Garrick lead efforts to engage faculty whose scholarship focused on diverse, underrepresented or marginalized populations. He is also a professor of mechanical engineering.
La Trobe U Invests $51M to Achieve Net Zero Emissions
(Australia) The university recently announced a $50.8 million ($75 million Australian dollars) project that will feature 7,000 photovoltaic panels across 27 buildings, 50,000 LED lights, a large-scale composter for 100 percent of the campus' organic waste, and an analytics platform for monitoring energy consumption.
Five Institutions Receive APPA 2019 Sustainability Innovation Award
College of Lake County, Stanford University Residential and Dining, University of California, Davis, University of Texas at Dallas, and Virginia Tech received the 2019 award on behalf of their programs and/or processes that enhance service delivery, lower costs, create a green and/or sustainable environment, or otherwise benefit the educational institution supporting student success and environmental stewardship. Additionally, Mikaela Schmitt-Harsh, Ph.D. at James Madison University, received the CFaR Research Award for the report, "Managing Trees on Campus: A Survey of North American College and University Tree Care Practices and Operations".
U Arizona to Offset Scope 2 GHG Emissions By 2020
In an agreement with a local electric company, the university plans to purchase solar and wind power that will offset all of its scope two greenhouse gas emissions (emissions resulting from the generation of electricity, heat or steam purchased from a utility provider). The agreement provides the university with access to energy from a 247-megawatt wind farm and a 100-megawatt solar array system for 20 years.
Western New Mexico U to Purchase Solar Electricity
The university aims to source electricity from a community solar project called PNM Community Solar Direct, which if approved, will site a 50-megawatt photovoltaic project on the Jicarilla Apache Nation land in northern New Mexico. The university’s purchase would meet 54 percent of its needs.
25 HEIs Earn Top Spots in 2019 Sustainable Campus Index
AASHE recently released the 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, which recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report also includes innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate’s), Colby College (baccalaureate), Thompson Rivers University (master’s), and Stanford University (doctoral/research). The full list of top-performing institutions for each impact area can be found within the report.
U California Berkeley Observes 400th Anniversary of Slavery With Year-Long Focus
The 400th anniversary of the forced arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies will be observed at the university through educational programming in the fall and spring semesters. Berkeley’s commemoration is in the spirit of “The 400 Years of African American History Commission Act,” federal legislation signed last year that called for a national commission to commemorate the anniversary of the forced arrival of Africans in the English colonies in 1619.
Simon Fraser U Reduces Single-Use Plastics
The university recently rolled out the “Re-use for Good” initiative, which is a multi-phase action plan to raise awareness and work towards eliminating the most common single-use plastics and products at the university. Phase one will be implemented this fall and includes adding reusable water bottles to campus vending machines, mapping the location of existing water bottle refill stations and deciding where to strategically locate additional stations, replacing plastic and compostable utensils and stir sticks with metal flatware, and removing plastic straws.
Berea College Science Building Earns LEED Gold & FSC Certification
In addition to being certified through LEED standards, the college's new Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building also received the Forest Stewardship Council’s Forest Stewardship Council’s Full Project Certification. The certification requires a full audit of all wood products used in construction to verify that they have been sourced responsibly.
U Liverpool to Divest From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) The university recently committed to sell its remaining $3.4 million (2.8 million British pounds) holdings in fossil fuel companies by July 2022, which represents 1.2 percent of the university’s investment portfolio. The move to fully divest from fossil fuels builds on the university’s ethical investment policy introduced last year, which also excludes companies that derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from the manufacture or sale of armaments; companies engaged in testing of cosmetic and non-pharmaceutical products on animals except where it is mandatory; companies that derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from the sale of tobacco products; and companies that manufacture tobacco products.
Harvard U Commits $20M on Affordable Housing Project
To help combat the growing housing crisis that is hitting lower-income and working-class residents particularly hard, the university recently announced a commitment of $20 million to an initiative aimed at increasing the amount of affordable housing in Greater Boston. Through the Harvard Local Housing Collaborative, the university has partnered with three local, nonprofit community-development lenders to create and preserve affordable housing, build and revitalize healthy communities, and create economic opportunities for low- and middle-income residents throughout the region.
U Technology Sydney Opens Plastic-Free Food Court
(Australia) As part of the UTS Plastic Free by 2020 strategy, the new food court is replacing single-use plastic items with reusable or certified compostable alternatives, like cardboard, paper, bamboo, sugarcane and bio-plastic.
AASHE Announces 2019 Sustainability Award Finalists
The AASHE Sustainability Awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 40 finalists were chosen from more than 300 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced mid-September.
U London Signs 'Social Mobility Pledge'
(U.K.) The Social Mobility Pledge is a campaign to improve social mobility in the U.K. In signing the pledge, the university commits to provide coaching to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances; provide structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities; and adopt employee recruitment practices that promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
SUNY New Paltz Earns Bee Campus USA Certification
The college’s new certification comes on the heels of the new Biodiversity Initiative, a collective of New Paltz students, faculty and staff who are developing pollinator-friendly spaces on campus, and educating peers and colleagues about the importance of these hardworking insects, birds and small mammals.
North Virginia CC Building Earns LEED Silver
The community college's renovated administration building features low-flow bathroom fixtures, water-efficient and native landscaping along with rainwater capture, LED lighting and occupancy sensors. Parking areas for bicycles, hybrid vehicles and carpool transport are now available.
Illinois Central College to Install Remediation Wetland
Currently under construction, the wetland will aid in removal of nitrate that is found in the runoff water from 50 acres of on-campus farmland demonstration fields. The water will move through drainage tiles underground and into streams that later end up in the Illinois River.
College Charleston Introduces Diversity Docuseries
A committee of faculty and staff are introducing a new documentary project titled “If These Walls Could Talk” as part of diversity training on campus. Birthed from a campus diversity workshop held in fall 2018, the documentary centers on how enslaved Africans contributed to the construction of college buildings and surrounding sites.
Goldsmiths U London Discontinues Beef Purchases
(U.K.) After having signed the Climate Emergency declaration and announcing a carbon neutral goal of 2025, the college will remove all beef products from campus food outlets by the start of the 2019 academic year and place a levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups. The announcement was accompanied by confirmation that starting December 2019, the university's endowment fund will no longer hold investments in companies that generate more than 10 percent of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels.
California State U San Marcos Adds Campus Grown Food to Pantry
The on-campus garden will be expanded and improved with the help of two grants - one $15,000 and the other a $3,000 - in an effort to produce more food for the Cougar pantry, an initiative to decrease food insecurity among students. The garden also served as an outdoor classroom for courses on food systems and emerging markets, and food justice.
George Washington U Partners to Improve Health Through Impact Investing
The university’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility and the Global Healthy Living Foundation recently announced their partnership to expand the role of impact investing to improve health. Initially, the two entities will convene a working group of stakeholders, including leaders from the private sector, philanthropy, and non-profit organizations, to define a global framework for healthcare impact investing and resources for funders and grantees.
U Glasgow & U West Indies Partner on Slavery Education
(U.K. & Jamaica) A memorandum of understanding was signed after a Report into Historical Slavery at the University of Glasgow was released in September 2018 that recommended the two universities collaborate. The report acknowledged that while the University of Glasgow played a leading role in the abolitionist movement in the 18th and 19th centuries, the institution also received significant financial support from people whose wealth was derived, in part, from slavery. The two universities have agreed to establish the Glasgow-Caribbean Center for Development Research, which will help to raise public awareness about the history of slavery and its impact around the world.
College William & Mary Receives Grant to Research School's Slave-Holding History
The Mellon Foundation recently gave the university a $1 million grant to research the school’s slave-holding history. Known as the Sharing Authority to Remember and Re-Interpret the Past, this initiative is a joint partnership of community-led research into the legacies of slavery at the school and James Monroe’s Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is a division of the university. The researchers are working to identify the slaves who built and maintained the main campus as well as their descendants. Part of what is uncovered will be incorporated into a memorial for enslaved African-Americans.
U Georgia to Study Its History of Early Slavery
The school allocated $100,000 in private discretionary funds from the Office of the President to sponsor research into the role of slavery between the university's founding in 1785 until the end of the Civil War in 1865. The goal of the project is to develop a definitive history on the role slavery played during the university's early years.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Wins 2019 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won first place as an organization in the 2019 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, avoiding an estimated 160,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received an honorable mention. Imperial College London's Reynold Lab won first place as an individual lab, and Ming Lab at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign received honorable mention. The International Laboratory Freezer Challenge promotes sample accessibility, sample integrity, reduced costs, and energy efficiency by harnessing a spirit of competition within and between laboratories.
U Massachusetts Dartmouth Installs Battery Storage System
The university recently installed a 520-kilowatt battery storage system that, along with other measures such as photovoltaic panels, will reduce the electric consumption from the grid during peak usage times by releasing the stored energy from the battery system.
Dickinson College Introduces Food Waste Reduction Program
The college's Dining Services is rolling out Pick Your Portion, a student-proposed program that aims to reduce food waste, as part of a greater initiative to become carbon-neutral by 2020. The program gives students, faculty and staff the opportunity to customize portion sizes at every meal.
U Guam to Launch Circular Economy Initiative
With the help of a $10,000 grant awarded to the Center for Island Sustainability, the university is launching the Guam Green Growth (G3) Initiative to contribute to a circular economy for Guam. The G3 Initiative will start in August by offering the first-ever Island Circular Economy Industry Workshop for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. It will stimulate new island circular economy industries by working with the regional economic development authority and a business incubator organization.
American College Greece Initiates Graduation Pledge
In combination with enacting many sustainable practices at commencement, including enforcing a 100 percent smoke-free event, the college launched a Sustainability Graduation Pledge, highlighting students commitment to help create a more sustainable world. Signatories of the pledge were given green ribbons to wear during graduation.
U North Carolina Greensboro Receives $100K for Sustainable Business Education
The university's Bryan School of Business and Economics has been awarded a $100,000 gift from VF Foundation in support of classroom projects and activities that engage Bryan School students in exploring sustainable approaches to business. Research will be supported by offering faculty seed money to begin addressing critical sustainability issues and developing innovative approaches to sustainable business and industry practices. Events, including speakers, panels, and workshops, will serve to connect faculty and students in the Bryan School with the broader business community.
Brandeis U Trials 780 KWH Battery
The university has partnered on a new electricity storage project that aims to save the university roughly $50,000 per year. A rechargeable, 780 kilowatt-hour battery-based system will be installed that will connect with Brandeis’ electrical power system and to the regional power grid. The battery will charge overnight when the regional power system’s demand is at its lowest, and will discharge during peak hours when electricity prices are high.
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.