Five Universities Partner to Address Food, Health, Climate Change Challenges

A new partnership involving North Carolina State University, Makerere University, Gulu University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda, and Mount Kenya University in Kenya seeks to engage students at the institutions to find solutions to persistent global challenges such as food shortages, health challenges and the effects of climate change. The partnership is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with initial support of $14 million.

U Minnesota Morris Introduces Minor in Sustainability Leadership

As part of UMN Morris's Sustainability Leaders for the Future program, which prepares students to solve environmental, social and economic challenges, the new minor aims to help students from any major develop the skills they need to grow as sustainability leaders in their personal and professional lives. The plan includes topics and activities in environmental problems and public policy; communication and the environment; political ethics; and indigenous sovereignty and federal policy.

Bowie State U STEM Research Center Earns LEED Platinum

The university's Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing is a 149,000-square-foot, four-floor building that features dynamic glazed windows that tint on-demand to lower energy usage and a computerized and automated ventilation system for laboratories. Sloped landscaping prevents rainwater from running off onto paved surfaces, and native deciduous shade trees in the building's plaza serve as a natural buffer from the sun's rays.

Yale U Implements Smart Irrigation Systems

Yale Grounds Maintenance implemented sprinkler and irrigation systems that use weather-based automated technology, which is controlled using a smartphone app. The app, which is connected to local meteorology forecasts, will pause if rain is predicted, thus limiting waste by complementing what is naturally occurring. In addition, lawns in four residential colleges utilize flow-sensing smart technology in order to limit excessive water use. A flow-sensing valve in the main pipe will automatically close if unusually-high water output is found.

Arizona State U Initiates Well-Being Research Center

In partnership with and funded by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), the Global KAITEKI Center will focus on research aimed at realizing the concept of KAITEKI, that is, the sustainable well-being of people, society and planet Earth. It is an original concept of the MCHC that proposes a way forward in the sustainable development of society and the planet, and serves as a guide for solving environmental and social issues. The first four research projects, announced in early April, will be: Visualizing and Quantifying the Social Value of Future Business; Developing a Shared Roadmap for the Circular Economy in the Chemical Industry; Design, Development and Testing of Innovative Materials for Urban Cooling; and Food Waste Reduction and Well-Being for a Sustainable Future.

SUNY New Paltz Renames Six Buildings With Slavery Linkage

Following a 19-month research and investigative process, the university's College Council unanimously passed a resolution at the beginning of March 2019 to assign new names to the Hasbrouck Complex buildings, named for the original Huguenot patentees of the Village of New Paltz who also owned enslaved Africans. The selected new names carry local meaning, a theme that drew strong support from campus-wide survey responses from more than 3,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, including Huguenot descendants.

Georgia Tech Launches Master of Sustainable Energy & Environmental Mgmt

Housed in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, the program will begin in August 2019. Students in the program will study topics such as sustainable energy and voluntary environmental commitments, cost-benefit analysis, utility regulation and policy, Earth systems, economics of environmental policy, big data and policy analytics, climate policy, and environmental management. They also will learn analytical techniques used to estimate and evaluate sustainability metrics, be able to assess the context of energy and environmental problems, and understand environmental ethics and its implications for sustainability practice.

U North Carolina Charlotte Dining Halls Become GRA Certified

Both dining halls at the university have been certified as 3 Star Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. Highlights of the certification include being polystyrene-free, and composting food waste and recycling plastics, glass, aluminum, cardboard, and paper. Rather than providing bottled water, bottle-filling stations are available. Over 40 percent of the main dishes are vegetarian.

Harvard U Business School Joins Farm Forward

Recently joining Farm Forward’s Leadership Circle, Harvard Business School has committed to buying 100 percent of its eggs—including both liquid and shell—from certified higher welfare farms aligned with Farm Forward's sourcing requirements. An impact assessment found that switching to a higher welfare products did not increase costs to Harvard Business School. The change will impact more than 15,000 hens over the next 10 years.

East Tennessee State U Installs 62.6 KW Solar Array on Library

The university's Sherrod Library now dons a 62.6-kilowatt photovoltaic array. The solar array project cost approximately $150,000 and was funded by the $7-per-semester Campus Sustainability Fee paid by ETSU students.

U Bath Introduces Recycling for Bags & Oral Care Products

(U.K.) A new recycling scheme on campus collects snack packaging, such as chip and pretzel bags, and oral hygiene products, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes.

Miami Dade College Adjuncts Vote to Form Union

The part-time professors, who make up a majority of MDC’s total faculty, recently voted 587-to-573 in favor of forming a union with the Florida arm of the Service Employees International Union. The adjuncts hope to lobby for increased wages, health benefits and added transparency in course assignment. About 42 percent of the eligible voters casted ballots in the month-long election.

East Sussex College Installs Community-Funded Solar

(U.K.) East Sussex College recently completed a community-funded solar-electric project that will supply approximately 72 percent of the college's electricity. Partial funding came from local residents who will receive a 5 percent per year return. The array will generate a community fund over its 25-year lifespan that will be used by the college for renewable energy education and community projects.

U Notre Dame Installs Food Waste-to-Energy System

The new food waste system converts non-consumable food waste to renewable energy by composting it anaerobically. The gas is used for energy while the solid byproduct is used as a fertilizer at a local farm. Two additional systems will be installed in the near future that will reduce non-consumable food waste by 99 percent.

U Maryland Baltimore Building Achieves LEED Gold

The university's School of Medicine building now features a green roof planted with native and adaptive plants, a cistern water collection system, high-performance glazing on the south façade, natural ventilation, high-efficiency flush fixtures, low-flow sinks, secure bike storage spaces and shower facilities.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Classroom & Research Building Receives LEED Gold

A recent $79 million renovation of the historic building includes energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, high levels of daylight for natural lighting, occupancy sensors and continual energy monitoring. More than 76 percent of the construction waste was recycled. The building was able to reduce its water usage by at least 20 percent. The project also received high marks for using an existing site, having convenient access to public transportation and incorporating bicycle parking.

Pennsylvania State U Expands EcoCoin Program

Launched at the University Park campus bookstore last summer, the EcoCoin program offers patrons the option of receiving a plastic bag at checkout, or forgoing the bag and instead donating the nickel the store would have spent on their bag to a student philanthropic organization engaged in sustainable development. Now the EcoCoin program is expanding to a total of 22 retail locations - the Penn State Bookstore, Market East at University Park, and 19 commonwealth campus bookstore locations.

Pennsylvania State U Sustainability Institute Introduces Affiliate Program

Open to Penn State community members from all colleges and at all 24 campuses, the Affiliate Program is a new initiative for faculty, staff and students interested in becoming affiliates of the institute in order to build stakeholder communities with common interests in issues of sustainability in researching, teaching and engagement.

Dalhousie U Sexton Campus Undergoes Green Renovation

The university's redesign of its downtown campus was a $64-million project, with $4 million earmarked for specific green features, including ground-source heating and cooling, photovoltaic electricity tied to a 180-kilowatt battery bank, and a 6,600-gallon underground cistern that will capture and treat rainwater for toilet and urinal flushing.

U Colorado Boulder Offers Scholarships for Sustainable Actions

Students can now earn scholarships for tuition and fees by taking sustainable actions on campus with PIPs for School, a program offered by the PIPs Rewards app. PIPs Rewards is a mobile app that rewards users for verifiable behaviors that benefit personal wellness, the environment and community good, such as biking, recycling and volunteering. Starting in spring 2019, students can also convert their PIPs into a PIPs for School scholarship toward next semester’s school expenses.

Southern Oregon U Student Rec Center Earns LEED Gold

The athletic pavilion and recreation center complex, which opened last spring, was recognized for bike-friendly infrastructure and electric vehicle charging stations, lighting that minimizes disturbances to night skies and wildlife, plumbing fixtures that reduce water usage by 39 percent and efficiency measures that reduce energy consumption by almost 23 percent. Other elements include a rooftop solar installation that offsets 10 percent of the facility’s annual electricity consumption, the use of sustainable lumber products and recycled building materials, and the use of substances such as paints and sealants that emit only low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC).

82 US Schools Receive Grants to Create Smoke/Tobacco-Free Policies

The CVS Health Foundation, in partnership with the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative, is awarding more than $1.4 million total to 82 U.S. colleges and universities to help them advocate for, adopt and implement 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies, including limiting the use of e-cigarettes.

U Mississippi to Relocate Confederate Statue

This month, the university's Associated Student Body, Graduate Student Council, Faculty Senate and Staff Council all voted to relocate the Confederate monument to a nearby cemetery that’s also on university grounds. The administration was in agreement.

Tufts U Bolsters Carpooling With App

In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the university entered a partnership with the carpooling app miles2share in early March, which allows students, faculty and staff within the Tufts community to connect with riders and drivers with overlapping routes.

Lackawanna College Introduces Online Certificate in Sustainable Leadership

Offered through the college's Environmental Education Center, the new certificate program develops broad leadership and management skills through exploring issues involving sustainability.

Lafayette College Trustees Approve Carbon Neutrality Plan

The recently approved plan sets the college on a path of carbon neutrality by 2035 and outlines specific steps to be investigated and implemented over a three-phase timeline. Recommendations cover the areas of energy, waste and transportation, with a focus on immediate, high-impact actions that can reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency on campus.

Chalmers U Tech Professor Contributes to New Environmental Cost ISO Standard

(Sweden) Over the past three years, Bengt Steen, professor emeritus at Chalmers, has led the development of a new ISO standard that will help companies evaluate and manage the impact of their environmental damage, by providing a clear figure for the cost of their goods and services to the environment. The ISO standard contains a guide for how monetary valuation should be made, defines terms and sets requirements for documentation.

Purdue U Eliminates Plastic Straws

Beginning March 18, Purdue Dining & Catering is making the switch from plastic to paper straws in its residential and retail outlets.

U Florida Establishes Institute to Study Resilience in Built Environment

The Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience, housed in the university's College of Design, Construction and Planning, will focus on research that helps communities respond to complex environmental challenges by improving the way they plan, design and build the physical environment.

21 HEIs Launch the Public Interest Technology University Network

With the support of the Ford Foundation, New America, and the Hewlett Foundation, 21 colleges and universities recently announced the creation of the Public Interest Technology University Network. The network is a new partnership dedicated to defining and building the field of public interest technology, as well as growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent policy leaders. Public interest technology is a broadly defined and emerging area of study that combines digital innovation and public policy.

Illinois State U Names Director of Office of Sustainability

As program director for Sustainability, effective June 3, Elisabeth Reed will be responsible for facilitating sustainability programs initiated by students, faculty and staff members; serving as advisor and fiscal agent for the Student Sustainability Committee and associated fund; reporting on the university’s efforts through STARS; and managing interns and graduate assistants who perform research or work on sustainability projects. Reed is currently an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Elon U Adjuncts Vote to Form Union

In mid-March, adjunct professors at the university voted 112-to-68 in favor of forming a union with the Service Employees International Union. The successful vote means that Elon’s adjunct faculty can begin negotiations with university leaders over pay, benefits, working conditions and other work-related issues.

Santa Clara U Releases Sustainability Strategic Plan

The university's new sustainability plan is a living, people-oriented plan that includes three focus areas: climate action, responsible consumption, and quality education. Additionally, the plan includes "Playbooks", which are guides for action that are based on campus roles, such as students, staff, supervisors, etc.

Western Washington U Receives $1M to Support Low-Income Engineering Students

The university's Engineering and Design Department has been awarded a five-year, $1 million National Science Foundation grant to help low-income students in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Aiming to address challenges in recruiting and retaining academically-talented, low-income students from diverse backgrounds into the undergraduate engineering programs, the Becoming Engaged Engineering Scholars (BEES) program will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 a year to about 48 students over the life of the five-year program.

Mills College Offers Car Sharing

At the end of January, the college placed two Zipcar vehicles on campus that can be used by any student or staff member at a discounted rate.

U Texas Arlington Creates UN Regional Center of Expertise

In an effort to unify sustainability efforts across North Texas, the university was recently approved to establish a U.N. Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. Called the North Texas RCE, the center aims to address how to advance sustainability in the face of a booming population.

Portland State U Receives $2M Research Grant for Ocean-Generated Electricity

The U.S. Department of Energy has approved a $2 million, three-year grant to a PSU engineering professor to study a new method of generating electricity from ocean waves.

Florida A&M U Trustees Give Green Light to 75 MW Solar-Electric Project

The university's board of trustees approved a 25-year lease agreement for a 74.9-megawatt, grid-tied photovoltaic project to be constructed at its Agricultural and Environmental Research Station. The solar facility would occupy between 600 and 800 acres of property and feature approximately 270,000 tracking solar panels.

Michigan Governor Proposes Tuition-Free Community College

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a tuition-free community college plan that would start in 2021 and include a $2,500 scholarship for eligible students who attend a four-year college. The proposal offers financial aid for students after all other federal aid and grants are applied to a student's tuition bill. Whitmer also proposed a tuition-free program for adults called Michigan Reconnect. The program would allow residents age 25 and older to enroll in the state's two-year institutions, career certificate programs and union apprenticeships for free.

U Virginia Raises Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

UVA recently announced that it will pay all full-time, benefits-eligible employees in its academic division and medical center a living wage of at least $15 an hour, beginning Jan. 1. Of the university's more than 17,400 full-time, benefits-eligible workers, 1,400 paychecks will be affected.

McGill U Receives $1.8M for Energy Upgrades

The Canadian Federal government recently announced that it will be investing up to $1.8 million in support of the university’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. With the investment, McGill plans to upgrade its heating equipment and distribution system.

U California Riverside to Place Solar Trash Compactors

The Office of Sustainability and Transportation and Parking Services have ordered several BigBelly bins to be placed in high traffic areas across campus in an effort to increase the rate of recycling and streamline the amount of time crews spend checking waste and recycling bins.

Northwest Missouri State U to Install 18 KW Solar System on Library

The 18.5-kilowatt solar-electric system will power a floor of the library and all of its outside lights. The library was chosen as the location for the solar panels because it has a lot of roof space and the panels will be easily seen.

U Maryland Professor Reports to Congress on Carbon Emissions

Speaking before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Nathan Hultman, director of the university's Center for Global Sustainability in the School of Public Policy, outlined findings about how universities, businesses, states and cities are making important contributions to cutting carbon emissions in the U.S., even without the federal government’s support of the Paris Agreement’s goals on climate change. The findings Hultman reported on were from the most recent America's Pledge Initiative report, an assessment of how leaders are driving the U.S. toward a low-carbon future.

U Massachusetts Boston Building Earns LEED Gold

The university's Dining and Residence Hall includes low-flow showers, faucets, toilets and urinals, a high performance building envelope, energy recovery units, and LED lighting throughout.

California College of Arts to Complete Green Residence Hall

The new, five-story student housing building, which will provide housing for more than 500 students, will feature rooftop photovoltaic arrays and solar water heating systems, 167 indoor bike parking spaces and high-performance floor-to-ceiling windows. The building infrastructure has also been designed to enable the eventual connection of campus energy systems to a microgrid. All rooms will be ADA accessible.

Williams College Highlights Sustainability With Interactive Map & Audio Tour

A newly created map and self-guided audio tour of Williams’ campus highlights the college’s sustainability initiatives in an effort to help raise visibility about how sustainability is integrated into the campus.

Binghamton U to Establish Institute for Social Justice for Women & Girls

A large donation from Ellyn Uram Kaschak '65 will be used to fund an institute focused on equality for women and girls. The institute will support faculty affiliates, practitioners-in-residence and student fellows at the graduate and undergraduate levels, all while fostering public engagement and outreach.

U Washington Press Receives $1.2M to Diversify Academic Publishing

A four-year, $1,205,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Washington Press to support the continued development and expansion of the pipeline program designed to diversify academic publishing. This new grant will provide for three annual cycles of editorial fellows at six university presses: Northwestern University Press, the University of Washington Press, the MIT Press, Cornell University Press, the Ohio State University Press and the University of Chicago Press.

Mercer U Students Grow Food for Local Food Bank

Two third-year students at the university's School of Medicine are growing fresh produce for a local food bank to combat a lack of access to fresh, local food. They also create and donate health resource pamphlets with the food they donate.