Colorado State U Purchases RECs
The university recently purchased enough renewable energy certificates to offset 25 percent of the total electricity use for the university, while university Housing and Dining Services bought enough to offset 100 percent of the electricity use in their buildings, including residence halls and dining areas, for the 2019 fiscal year.
California State U Los Angeles Opens Center on Urban Sustainability
The new Sikand Center for Sustainable and Intelligent Infrastructure (Sikand SITI Center) was established through a five-year, $1.25 million gift from The Sikand Foundation to the university’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. The gift and the center will expand the university’s research in urban sustainability.
Duke U Students Receive $100K for Impact Investing
A student group, Duke Impact Investing Group (DIIG), recently secured $100,000 from the university administration to invest in impact-oriented businesses. The student-driven group hopes to educate the Duke community on the field of impact investing and drive growth for socially- and environmentally-conscious businesses through their investments.
U Toronto Releases 'Low-Carbon Action Plan'
The new five-year Low-Carbon Action Plan (2019-2024) was developed to further implement carbon reduction strategies across the university's three campuses—accelerating efforts as the campus community works towards its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 37 percent by 2030, compared to its 1990 baseline level.
Syracuse U Offers Free Meditation App
Through a new partnership, university students, faculty and staff have free premium access to the mobile meditation app Sanvello. The app provides daily tools to help manage mental health based on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation.
U Pittsburgh Staff Wins PLAN Award
Erika Ninos, sustainability program coordinator in the Office of PittServes, received this year's Supportive Staff Member Award from Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN). This national award recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond in supporting students.
California State U Channel Islands Library Turns Fines to Food
The university's John Spoor Broome Library is now turning late fees into donations for the campus food pantry by offering $1 for every can or non-perishable, non-expired food or personal care item donated, up to $10. All items donated go to the campus' food and commodity pantry.
U Pittsburgh Launches 'Center for Sustainable Business'
Established with seed funding from The Heinz Endowments, the Center for Sustainable Business aims to engage global and regional companies in more effectively integrating environmental and societal concerns into their business models.
Eastern Kentucky U Professor Brings Solar Energy & Research to Campus
An assistant professor in the chemistry department recently launched a plan for the university to lease around 1,000 solar panels from a local business owned by an EKU alum. The project will add solar energy to the grid while providing educational research platforms for students.
UK Students Launch Educational Reform Campaign
(U.K.) The U.K. Student Climate Network and Students Organising for Sustainability recently launched a joint campaign called Teach the Future to repurpose the education system around the climate emergency and ecological crisis, and lays out six demands as a path to achieve this goal.
Princeton Review Releases Guide to 413 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review recently released its tenth annual Guide to Green Colleges, a free resource for environmentally aware college applicants that highlights sustainability initiatives and commitments at 413 universities and colleges. The edition also includes a Top 50 Green Colleges list.
Princeton Theological Seminary Addresses Ties to Slavery
A year-long historical audit uncovered that, while the seminary did not own slaves and its buildings were not constructed with slave labor, it benefited from the slave economy. Therefore, the religious college's board of trustees unanimously endorsed a series of new initiatives, ranging from increased student financial assistance to curriculum changes to added support for the Center for Black Church Studies. To support the more than 20 approved initiatives in perpetuity, $27.6 million will be reserved in the endowment.
Virginia Tech Offsets Air Travel
The university's Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability will begin mitigating the carbon emissions from the air travel of both its students and faculty. Working with the company Terrapass, the center will contribute to a portfolio that invests in renewable energy and methane recapture.
Thammasat U Initiates Rooftop Solar & Plastic Elimination
The university is installing a 10-megawatt photovoltaic system that is projected to generate approximately one-third of the electricity it consumes. Additionally, all convenience stores on the campus will stop using single-use plastic containers and will discontinue using plastic bags on January 1, 2020.
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.