U Pennsylvania Provides Community Emergency Support
The university recently announced a series of new initiatives that total $4 million in emergency financial assistance to Penn employees, third-party contract workers and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The university’s dedication of $4 million for these new initiatives is in addition to the $1 million employee assistance fund announced earlier this month by Penn Medicine, for a total of $5 million in emergency.
Cornell U Releases Lab Shutdown Procedures
The university recently released a set of guidelines to assist lab managers in quickly identifying energy-saving measures to be implemented during the COVID-19 crisis.
Emerson College Creates COVID-19 Emergency Fund
The college recently created an emergency fund to help students pay their rent, transport themselves back home, rent learning equipment and more. Every member of the board of trustees, including the president, made gifts and pledges, bringing the total to $72,000.
Stony Brook U & U Massachusetts Amherst Win Energy Award
The two universities were recently highlighted as Customer Project Award winners of the 2020 Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Awards for exemplary use and implementation of innovative technologies and progressive practices that reflect new approaches to energy procurement and management. Stony Brook won for its data analytics platform and UMass Amherst was recognized for its 1.3-megawatt battery storage.
Emory U Receives Energy Dept Smart Labs Award
In the fall, the university received the Accelerating Smart Labs Award for Program Development and Implementation from the U.S. Department of Energy for having developed a comprehensive strategy based on the goals of the Smart Labs program. Some strategies include identifying lab energy conservation measures, estimating savings, seeking funding to expand the program, and starting to implement projects in seven of its lab buildings.
U Vermont to Receive $3M for Restorative Justice Center
The U.S Department of Justice recently announced a $3 million grant to establish a National Center on Restorative Justice within the Vermont Law School. The center will focus on engaging criminal justice professionals, community members, educators, and social service providers with incarcerated individuals and broadening their understanding of the justice system and restorative justice. Restorative justice practices seek to rehabilitate offenders through reconciliation with victims, their communities and other means.
Boston U Student Research to Aid Carbon Reductions From Landscaping
The university aims to convert some of its mulched spaces to plants and trees after research from the Campus Climate Lab and an earth and environment undergraduate student revealed that mulch and the maintenance of grass lawns negatively impacts the campus’ carbon cycle.
Pennsylvania State U Launches Student Emergency Fund
The university recently announced that all new contributions to its Student Care & Advocacy Emergency Fund will be used for those who are challenged to afford housing, transportation, basic needs and access to required resources for remote learning, or who are facing other unforeseen personal difficulties as a result of the new coronavirus outbreak.
Western Carolina U Makes Emergency Funds Available to Students
University administrators are currently urging students who are suffering extreme financial distress because of displacement caused by the coronavirus to apply for financial assistance from the university’s Student Emergency Fund. The funds may be used for rent, utilities, car repairs, medical and dental expenses, gas and other unexpected financial emergencies, but not university-related expenses.
Georgia Tech Announces COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Students
The new fund has been established to support students who have a demonstrated financial need related to the COVID-19 crisis and campus closures. Funding is available to all enrolled Georgia Tech students and can be used to alleviate financial challenges, including travel assistance, housing assistance, medical expenses, moving costs, financial support, and food insecurity.
Mt. San Antonio College Building Receives LEED Gold
The Student Success Center features curtain-wall glazing, and exterior louvers and overhangs for shading to reduce energy consumption. Ninety percent of stormwater runoff is captured and treated. In addition, the building utilizes natural daylight, with 75 percent of regularly occupied interior spaces receiving natural daylight.
Seattle U Earns Tree Campus USA Designation
The newly achieved certification signals the university's commitment to campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. It achieved 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 California Davis Dining Begins Sourcing Food From On-Campus
Student Housing and Dining Services, which oversees almost all on-campus dining options for students, is now sourcing Aggie Grown food. Aggie Grown refers to foods grown on university land. In addition to providing students with hyper-local food options, Aggie Grown also helps fund research departments on campus.
Stanford U Launches Zero Waste Campaign
Stanford's 2020 conservation campaign slogan is "Say Goodbye to Single Use: Reduce and Reuse", which encourages the campus community to use reusable drinking and dining items rather than ones designed to be used once and thrown away. In a new report, Stanford Sustainability Goal: Zero Waste by 2030, the university identified 45 campus programs that will guide the university along the path to zero waste, including new and existing programs.
SUNY ESF Pledges to Be Plastic-Free by 2025
In signing the Break Free From Plastic campus pledge, developed and maintained by Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN), the college must maintain its zero-waste task force, eliminate all non-essential, non-compostable, single-use disposable plastics with readily available alternatives, establish a purchasing policy that provides a framework for the long-term elimination of those products, and implement college-wide systems that facilitate the proper collection and management of non-disposable products.
Cornell U Reduces Chemical Use on Floors
The building services department now uses one floor-stripping chemical rather than eight; two floor finishing products down from 13; and one standard floor cleaner. The new products are free of odor, allowing staff to work during regular hours.
U Virginia to Support Local Affordable Housing
In an effort to keep housing costs down, the university announced recently its goal to support the development of 1,000 to 1,500 affordable housing units over the next decade on land owned by the university and the UVA Foundation. To address affordable housing needs and other areas of focus for the community, the university formed four working groups focused on affordable housing, the local economy, early childhood education and the employment pipeline.
Cornell U to Receive $1.65M to Reduce Building Energy Consumption
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will give the university $1.65 million in incentives for energy studies and project work to develop a smaller carbon footprint, accelerating the university toward net-zero carbon for the Ithaca campus by 2035. Over the next 3 ½ years, the Facilities and Campus Services Division will install heat recovery systems in order to reclaim warm air that is normally exhausted outdoors and will upgrade mechanical systems and controls in 25 buildings that manage heating, cooling, water and air conditioning throughout each building.
Curtin U Receives 6-Star Green Star – Communities Certification
(Australia) The university's Exchange hub earned the certification from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The Exchange is a large-scale development that brings together research with industry. Green Star is a sustainability rating that assesses the planning, design and construction of large-scale development projects across five categories including governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.
Medical U South Carolina Eliminates Single-Use Plastic
Following a city ordinance, the university has eliminated the use of plastic single-use carryout bags, polystyrene, and non-recyclable and non-compostable food containers and service wares, such as bowls, boxes, clamshells, cups, plates, stirrers and straws.
Utah State U Approves Recommendations to Lower GHG Emissions
The university recently committed to the following strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: dedicate $60,000 annually in ongoing funds to allow USU Facilities to purchase a renewable energy portfolio from an external power provider; facilities will invest $500,000 each year toward improving building energy efficiencies, and additional funding has been allocated within existing budgets for LED light conversions over the next two years; create a $10 per trip carbon fee on all university-sponsored airline flights, from which funds raised by this fee will be used to invest in on-campus projects that reduce USU’s carbon footprint; and enhance academic programs to raise awareness of sustainability and climate change.
Dixie State U Adds Environmental Science Degree
The new Bachelor of Science in earth, energy and environmental sciences aims to engage students in analyzing and solving problems around the use of energy, water and mineral resources, protection of the environment, planning for the impact of natural disasters, and learning sustainable approaches to societal development. In addition, an associate degree in earth and environmental sciences will be added. The programs will accept enrollees in fall 2020.
Cornell U Signs PPA for 1 MW Rooftop Solar
In December, Cornell finalized a 1-megawatt power-purchase agreement to construct rooftop solar arrays on all five buildings of the North Campus Residential Expansion project. The solar power from this project will reduce the university’s carbon footprint by providing about 35 percent of the power needed for the new buildings.
SUNY Geneseo Dining Facility Earns LEED Gold
The university's Red Jacket Dining Complex includes LED lighting, and heating, cooling, and plumbing systems that are more energy-efficient. Shutters from the original Red Jacket were used to decorate the ceiling, and other furnishings are made from reclaimed wood. During construction, 31 percent of all materials used were recycled, and more than 65 percent of all waste generated during construction was recycled.
U California Launches Institute for Organic Research & Education
The university system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in the UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources division with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano. The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic.
Indiana U Partners to Develop City-Level CAPs
The 2020 Resilience Cohort, along with 11 Indiana cities, will develop climate action plans that outline specific activities the communities will undertake to achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions targets. The plans will then be presented to elected officials for review and approval by the end of the year.
Wesleyan U to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The university recently announced its decision to not make any new investments in fossil fuels and to reduce current investments as quickly as possible. It expects to be fully divested from direct fossil fuel investments by the end of the decade.
Brown U Divests From Fossil Fuels
The university's president recently announced that 90 percent of Brown's investments in companies that extract fossil fuels have been sold, and the remainder (less than 1 percent of the portfolio) is being liquidated as it becomes possible to do so. The Investment Office has made no new investments in this area.
Arizona State U to Plant Carbon Sink & Learning Forest
The university will plant 1,000 desert trees on what is currently an empty plot of land to help meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. The forest will be used as a way of sequestering carbon and will be open for university researchers and classes.
U California Los Angeles to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics
The draft single-use plastics policy, announced in late January, is scheduled to begin in July of this year by officially phasing out plastic utensils, cup lids, bowls, and plastic bags and similar food accessory items. Locally compostable or reusable alternatives would be provided only on request, and would shift over time to only reusable alternatives for all dine-in eaters.
I2SL Announces 'Go Beyond' Award Winners
The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) announced at the end of 2019 the winners of the Go Beyond award, which recognizes excellence in sustainability in laboratory and other high-technology facility projects by going beyond the facility itself to consider shared resources and neighboring communities, as well as contributing to increased use of energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable designs, systems and products. The winners project winners are Bowie State University, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, and MIT.
Indiana U Releases Resilience Toolkit
The new Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit (ERIT) is an interactive resource to help local governments in the Midwest and beyond effectively deliver services to their communities even as the climate changes. Decision-makers can create an integrated package of information tailored specifically to their community and their needs.
Western Kentucky U Building Earns WELL Gold Certification
The university's science facility, Ogden Hall, received the Gold certification from the International WELL Building Institute. WELL is a performance-based rating system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of our buildings that impact human health and wellness, through air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, and mind and community.
Project to Enhance Sustainability Teaching With the Ecological Footprint Launched
(Greece) Aristotle U Thessaloniki and several partners have launched EUSTEPs (Enhancing Universities’ Sustainability Teaching and Practices), to promote the use of the ecological footprint concept to educate about the complexity of sustainability and its interdisciplinary nature in an engaging and captivating manner. The effort aims to develop an interactive online platform for learning about ecological footprint as well as a university footprint calculator. Other organizations involved in the initiative are the University of Aveiro and Universidade Aberta (Portugal), the University of Siena (Italy), and the Global Footprint Network.
U Pittsburgh Commits to Carbon Neutrality by 2037
The university recently selected its 250th anniversary in 2037 as the target date for carbon neutrality. Pitt’s progress toward carbon neutrality will be shared via a newly created online sustainability dashboard updated by the university’s Office of Sustainability.
Four Pennsylvania HEIs Partner on Renewable Energy Purchase
Lehigh University and Dickinson, Lafayette, and Muhlenberg Colleges recently signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for the production by a 45.9-megawatt share of a new 200-acre solar farm located in Texas. The partnership will enable all four institutions to mitigate 100 percent of their carbon emissions associated with electricity use.
U Pittsburgh Bradford Residence Hall Earns LEED Silver
The university's newly certified Alexander House features renewable energy, high-efficiency HVAC systems, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and low-VOC furnishings. The building has bike storage for students and parking places for electric vehicles.
Emerson College Eco Ambassadors Launch Thrift Store Pop Up
In an effort to raise awareness for the college's clothing exchange store, now the Tiny Thrift Store puts on a pop-up once per month. The store and pop-up give students a chance to donate, exchange and/or pick-up clothing free of charge.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Signs Climate Commitment
In mid-February, the university's president signed Second Nature's Climate Commitment. Becoming a signatory means that the university will develop a campus plan that reduces greenhouse gases, create energy efficiencies and/or deploy alternative energy sources or other strategies that reduce its carbon footprint.
Vanderbilt U Campus Dining Earns Allergen-Free Certification
Boasting the designation "Certified Free From", all commercial on-campus kitchens are free from tree nuts and peanuts. In addition, Rand Dining Center’s 2301 platform is also certified free from the top eight allergens–milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Certified Free From is a certification from Kitchens with Confidence, an external accreditation/certification business.
Columbia U Event Management Offers Food Menu With Reduced GHGs
Columbia Event Management now offers a menu of food items with lower greenhouse gas emissions than the traditional menu. Students from the sustainability management program capstone project found the new, mostly plant-based menu to be 63 percent less carbon-emitting than other menus. Columbia departments have the option to choose the "Sustainable Living" menu for their events at comparable prices to other menu options.
Carnegie Foundation Announces Community Engagement Classification Recipients
119 U.S. colleges and universities received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Of the 119 institutions classified in the 2020 cycle, 44 are receiving the classification for the first time while 75 are now re-classified, after being classified originally in 2010 or 2015. A total of 359 campuses are currently active holders of this designation.
U Miami Launches Urban Sustainability & Resilience Degree
This fall the university will launch the Master of Professional Science in Urban Sustainability and Resilience through its College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Architecture. Students can choose from one of two tracks: urban sustainability or urban resilience.
U Southern California Offers Free Tuition Based on Family Income
Students from the United States from families with annual incomes of $80,000 or less will be eligible for the full undergraduate tuition waiver starting in the fall. Additionally, owning a home will no longer be considered in the calculation used to determine a student’s financial need.
Brandeis U Launches Plastic Waste Reduction Initiative
The university's Office of Sustainability has partnered with Sodexo to reduce plastic waste from bags, straws and bottled water. Several retail locations are introducing paper bags in lieu of plastic and making straws available by request only. Additionally, water bottle refill stations are being installed near retail locations that are removing bottled water options.