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.

People & Planet Publishes UK University Ranking

The 11th annual list released by People & Planet ranked all 154 U.K. universities on over 100 indicators that test for commitment, policy and performance in sustainable development.

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.

U Virginia Dining Venue Earns Green Restaurant Certification

A new dining venue, called the Castle, was recently certified as a 3 Star Green Restaurant for having implemented 43 environmental actions, including front-of-house composting and eliminating all single-use plastics.

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.

St. John's College Building Receives Renovation

The college's McDowell Hall was recently renovated to include an energy-efficient HVAC unit and reclaimed heart pine flooring.

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.

Wilmington College Offers Concentration in Ecological Ethics

Beginning this fall, the new humanities concentration in Ecological Ethics allows students of any major to take a deeper dive into ethics, culture and philosophy regarding the environment.

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.

U London Releases Handbook on Zero Carbon Built Environments

(U.K.) The recently released document is intended to be a living document and aims to help higher education professionals in the U.K. and Ireland reduce carbon emissions through the built environment.

Rice U Forms University Task Force on Racial Injustice

University president David W. Leebron and provost Marie Lynn Miranda recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice that will begin in the fall semester. The group is charged with discovering, documenting, acknowledging and disseminating Rice’s past with respect to slavery, segregation, and racial injustice; developing campus-wide programming to support discussion on this topic; and identifying suggestions for the furthering a diverse and inclusive university.

Mount Holyoke College Dining Achieves Green Restaurant Certification

Certified by the Green Restaurant Association, the college's dining facilities have been certified as Level 1 Certified Green Restaurants. The Green Restaurant Association awards points in seven categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, energy, disposables, sustainable food, sustainable furnishings and building materials, and chemical and pollution reduction.

Georgia State U & U Massachusetts Dartmouth Win EPA WasteWise Awards

The two universities won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise awards in the college/university category for reducing select industrial wastes that would otherwise be disposed in landfills or incinerated. The program recognizes organizations that have the best overall improvement in waste prevention and recycling activities when compared to the previous year.

Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis Launches Seed Library

The IUPUI University Library debuted its new seed library in mid-June allowing patrons to take small envelopes of non-GMO seeds of culinary herbs. The project was made possible by a Greening IUPUI grant from the Office of Sustainability. The first year of the grant will concentrate on the easy-to-grow herbs, with vegetables, flowers and other native plant species expected to be added in 2020.

U Colorado Boulder Building Obtains LEED Platinum

The university's Village Center Dining and Community Commons is a 113,225-square-foot student hub featuring an aeroponic garden, a rooftop photovoltaic array, electrochromic glass windows, a biodigester, a bicycle-powered smoothie station, and LED lighting throughout. An efficient irrigation system for the native and adaptive landscaping plants coupled with water-efficient fixtures in the building is expected to result in more than 450,000 gallons of reduced water use each year.

U Pittsburgh Displays Art Using Nonconventional Materials

A collaborative, new art project between architecture and engineering students seeks to better understand how nonconventional materials – bamboo, cardboard, plywood and recycled plastic bottles – perform in the elements. A plywood bench supported by the cardboard tubes marks the center of the piece and invites passersby to sit and take a look.

Sterling College Adopts Vision Focused on Ecological Crisis

The college's new Strategic Vision 2020-2030 names the forces causing the climate emergency and offers five overarching commitments to advance ecological thinking and action through learning. In order to hold themselves accountable, the board of trustees structure will change into five councils. Progress in fulfilling each of the five commitments included in the strategic initiative will be assessed by these five newly established councils with membership that is composed of trustees, faculty, staff and students.

U North Carolina Asheville Begins Using ESG Investing Lens

Following a multi-year effort initiated by UNC Asheville student leaders, the university's board of trustees recently approved using environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria for approximately 10 percent (roughly $5 million) of its endowment that will be divested from fossil fuel investments.