Campaign Calls on Food Contractors to Invest in Real Food
The Community Coalition for Real Meals recently launched a nationwide campaign urging the higher education divisions of Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo to commit to serve 25 percent "Real Food" as defined by Real Food Challenge, reduce carbon emissions and industrial animal products, invest in racial justice and equity, and increase transparency and accountability. The coalition will publish report cards on the progress of each company. The coalition is a grassroots alliance of farmers, ranchers, fishers, food workers, students and environmental advocates.
Chronicle of Higher Ed Showcases Sustainable Campus Index
In early September, The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted AASHE's 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, an impact report that spotlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall by institution type. The Chronicle piece features the top 10 schools by overall score for doctoral, master's, baccalaureate and associate institutions, along with seven of 10 subcategories, which are sortable by score.
Teams From Two Universities Win Affordable Housing Design Competition
Teams from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte won first and third, while a team from California College of the Arts won second place in the 2018 Steel Design Student Competition, put on by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The Affordable Housing category is socially oriented to challenge students to design affordable multi-family housing in an urban context.
U Washington Researchers Help Government Building Get Fitwel Certification
Two researchers in the university's Civil & Environmental Engineering department assisted the city of Bellevue with Fitwel certification of its city hall. Administered by the Center for Active Design, Fitwel encourages the adoption of 63 strategies that support healthy behavior by occupants. Out of a total possible 144 points, Bellevue City Hall earned 92 points, receiving a one-star rating.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Launches Green Laboratory Program
Launched in August 2018, the Certified Green Lab Program is for university labs that commit to sustainability through actions like reducing waste, conserving energy and abiding by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. The lab program is managed by the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.
U North Carolina Charlotte Adopts Air Quality Measures for Construction
The university, with assistance from Clean Air Carolina, recently changed its Design and Construction Manual to require contracted companies to reduce diesel fuel emissions while working on campus. These new standards, which apply to all future construction projects on campus, discourage prolonged idling of equipment on construction sites and require all equipment to use the lowest exhaust emissions possible.
U Missouri Announces Ban on All Tobacco Use
The new policy prohibits all use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on campus. The university applied for and won a grant from the American Cancer Society to help implement it.
U Tennessee Knoxville Initiates Smoke-Free Campus Policy
In an effort to protect the health and safety of university students, employees and visitors and to promote a healthy and safe work, educational and living environment, the university passed a smoke-free policy and procedure, which prohibits smoking in and on all university property, including smoking in private vehicles when parked or operated on university property. The policy also prohibits littering on university property with tobacco products or the remains of any tobacco products.
Lehigh U to Phase Out Plastic Straws
The university will be replacing plastic straws with paper ones across campus by Sept. 11. Plastic straw bans have raised concern among disability rights groups, which is why the university decided against a ban. Dining services staff will provide reasonable access to plastic straws for people who need them.
Sonoma State U Bans Plastic Straws
The university is enacting California's Assembly Bill 1884, which prohibits any sit-down food facility from providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless requested by the customer. Culinary services will switch to paper straws.
Baylor U Removes Plastic Straws From Cafeterias
This semester the university pulled plastic straws from routine use in cafeterias operating in Baylor’s four residence halls. Students wanting a plastic straw must request one. Straws will be available for take-out orders.
Goucher College Goes Smoke- & Tobacco-Free
As part of continuing efforts to improve the health and well-being of the Goucher community, Goucher College is a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus, as of mid-July. This policy applies not only to smoking any substance, but also to the use of e-cigarettes and any form of tobacco anywhere on campus.
Virginia Wesleyan U Installs Flower-Shaped Solar Array
The university held a ribbon cutting in late August for the solar electric system in the shape of a flower. The flower was designed with a dual-axis system, which allows the modular fan to follow the sun across the sky throughout the day, always maintaining the optimal angle.
George Washington U Expands Dining Representative Program
There are now six GW Dining representatives who tweet information about on-campus dining options for students with dietary restrictions. GW Dining debuted the dining representative program last September, using students with specific diets – Kosher, vegan and vegetarian, Halal and gluten-free – to advertise dining vendors and meal options for students.
Purdue U Receives $70M to Lead Research Consortium on International Development
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $70 million to the university to lead a multi-university consortium that aims to devise evidence-based solutions for pressing development challenges. The consortium will help USAID identify research challenges across all its technical sectors and geographical locations and identify experts worldwide to answer questions about the challenges, such as food security, global health and early childhood education. Purdue’s supporting partners in the consortium are Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.
U Wisconsin-Madison to Open Two Cultural Centers
The Latinx Cultural Center and the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Cultural Center will open this fall. Both spaces will be supported by the Multicultural Student Center. With the addition of the two new spaces, there will now be four cultural centers on campus.
Pueblo CC to Introduce Renewable Energy Living Lab
The community college recently announced a new partnership with NextEra Energy Resources where NextEra will deliver and install 52 photovoltaic solar panels to create a 20-kilowatt solar energy system on PCC’s Pueblo campus. NextEra also will provide training and curriculum to help the college create a pipeline of skilled workers into the solar industry.
U Louisiana Lafayette Adds Composting at Football Games
As part of a larger campus-wide effort to produce zero waste, the university is replacing trash cans inside Cajun Field with stations that hold separate bins for compost and recycling. The stadium will serve food on biodegradable plates or in reusable containers instead of plastic-lined paper products. Wooden spoons, forks and knives will replace plastic utensils. Fans will consume beverages from either aluminum cans or recyclable plastic cups, and they can request compostable straws.
RIT Inspires Climate Change Modification for Minecraft
After attending a course on climate change science, technology and policy last spring at Rochester Institute of Technology, Minecraft Developer Nick Porillo created a new plugin that adds climate change factors to the game. Different elements of gameplay affect the carbon dioxide levels in the game world’s atmosphere.
U Richmond Procures Solar Energy for 100% of Its Electricity
The university has announced a partnership with sPower to construct a 130-acre, 20 megawatt solar array 50 miles away from campus. Expecting to go online in 2020, the 47,000-panel array is projected to produce 41,000 megawatt-hours of solar energy.
U Iowa Residence Hall Earns LEED Gold
The Catlett Residence Hall includes energy efficient windows and the use of natural light throughout, high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems are controlled by occupancy sensors, and Energy Star-certified laundry, kitchen and dishwashing equipment, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Seventy-six percent of waste was diverted from the landfill.
Flinders U Installs 1.8 MW Photovoltaic Carport
(Australia) The solar electric system will go online in October and is projected to provide 20 percent of needed electricity for the university’s Bedford Park campus. It will include a charging dock for recharging planned autonomous shuttles and plug-in electric vehicles. Costing 4.895 million Australian dollars ($3.6 million) it is expected to pay for itself within seven years. Flinders' draft sustainability plan indicates its commitment to achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2020.
Lehigh U Installs Solar-Powered Recycling & Trash Receptacles
The university is removing more than 150 open-top trash cans and replacing them with Bigbelly trash and recycle bins in an effort to cut labor and waste costs. The bins have a sensor and compactor mechanism powered by the sun that allows the material inside to be compressed when it senses the trash level is too high. Then when the bin is full, a red light blinks and trash collectors are notified through an app on their phones.
Susquehanna U Becomes Bee Campus USA Certified
The new certification signifies that the university has taken strides to support pollinators, which includes maintaining landscape spaces that attract pollinators, hosting educational events and keeping bee hives. Next steps include Susquehanna's Department of Facilities Management drafting an integrated pest management plan to govern the use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
U Texas Rio Grande Valley Attains Bee Campus USA Designation
The new certification as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program means that the university provides healthy habitats with a variety of native plants and free of pesticides. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is an area that can especially help with butterflies, as it is home to nearly 40 percent of the 700 species of butterflies found in the U.S. The university recently added a butterfly garden on its Brownsville Campus.
U Iowa Launches Dorm Room Composting
The university launched a composting initiative for first-year and other students living in the residence halls after recent building trash audits revealed that about 30 percent of waste was organic material. The sustainability office made available 1,125 individual compost bins at a recent open house.
Pace U Moves Toward Plastic-Free Campus
The university's Elisabeth Haub School of Law will no longer use non-reusable water bottles, plastic straws, disposable plates or cutlery. Instead, paper straws, china and metal flatware will be used in the cafeteria. In addition, at all of its programs, the school will not use paper or plastic products and will provide water-bottle fill stations rather than individual plastic water bottles.
U Central Florida Introduces Bike Sharing
The bicycle-sharing company, Lime, will be providing the university with 500 bikes to start the school year. Lime will also provide maintenance without charge to the school. Bikes will be available for students, employees and visitors for 50 cents per half-hour.
Sierra Magazine Releases 2018 Cool Schools Full Ranking
This year, Sierra's Cool Schools ranking features 269 North American institutions, including, for the first time, community colleges. The annual ranking assesses colleges' environmental practices in food and transportation systems, water and waste management, purchasing procedures, academics, investments and more. Sierra based its ranking this year on scores from the AASHE Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).
18 Schools Earn Top Spots in 2018 Sustainable Campus Index
AASHE recently released the 2018 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 highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate’s), Dickinson College (baccalaureate), Green Mountain College (master’s), and University of California, Irvine (doctoral/research). The full list of top-performing institutions for each of the impact areas can be found within the report.
Oglethorpe U Matches Public Tuition Prices
Members of next year’s freshman class who meet certain benchmarks, such as cumulative grade point average and SAT or ACT test scores, will pay the in-state tuition rates of flagship universities in their home state. It’s a non-need-based scholarship program.
Portland State U to Offer Major In Indigenous Nations & Native American Studies
Starting this fall, students will have the option of majoring in Indigenous Nations and Native American Studies. The university says the major aims to offer native and non-native students alike with opportunities to study the history, values and contemporary issues of native peoples. The major will cover critical studies, tribal race theory, decolonizing methodologies, and traditional and cultural ecological knowledge, among other topics.
Yale U Adopts Policy Against Investing in Assault Weapon Retailers
The university's recently adopted policy regarding the investment of its endowment says that it will not invest in any retail outlets that market and sell assault weapons to the general public. The decision was based on the recommendation from its Corporation and Advisory Committees on Investor Responsibility.
U Iowa Allocates Benefits to Non-Tenure-Track Professors
Following months of protests and meetings with administrators, non-tenure-track faculty members at the university won expanded health insurance benefits, dependent coverage, retirement and sick leave. As of next month, visiting faculty members with half-time or greater appointments for a year or more are eligible for the same university benefits as full-time university employees.
Rollins College Bans Straws
Plastic straws have now been removed from all food services on campus. Paper and pasta straws will be available upon request and cups now have lids with openings to drink from directly.
California State U East Bay Approves First Climate Action Plan
In early May 2018, the campus completed one of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment milestones by approving its first Climate Action Plan. The plan, which includes immediate, near-, medium- and long- action steps, indicates the university has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.
APPA Selects Five 2018 Sustainability Innovation Award Recipients
Central Michigan University, James Madison University, Simon Fraser University, San Jose State University, and University of Calgary were recipients of this year's Sustainability Innovation Award given by APPA. This award is designed to recognize and advance sustainability in educational facilities.
U Texas Austin Grounds Goes Nearly 100% Organic
The university's 431 acres are now organic thanks to ongoing effort to discontinue the use of chemicals to fertilize and control weeds. The university grounds team makes and uses 250 gallons of compost tea each week to enrich the soil and make plants healthier, which nearly eliminates the use of chemicals and reduces water use for irrigation. The tea is made from compost, coffee grounds, molasses and seaweed. Some limited chemical treatments are used to manage invasive plants and fire ants.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Wins International Freezer Challenge
Earning first place in the 2018 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, the university had 45 labs from 17 buildings participate in the program. Researchers earned points for tasks such as eliminating fridge and freezer usage, cleaning lab spaces and moving samples to warmer storage. Combined efforts to conserve energy resulted in a 720 kilowatt-hours per day reduction of energy use.
Culver Academies Installs Solar Array
The 24-kilowatt solar-electric system recently installed on campus will be used for educational purposes. Since data for each panel will be available and the panels can be tilted individually, the school aims to determine the best angle for different times of the year in order to maximize the system's efficiency.
Ithaca College to Pilot Peer Program That Addresses Hunger
Students will soon have the option to anonymously donate their allotted guest passes on their college meal plan to fellow students facing food insecurity. The initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with Swipe Out Hunger, an organization that partners with higher education institutions to address student hunger. The program will begin with a yearlong trial phase, during which the college's Student Financial Services will collect data, including the number of passes donated and the number used, in order to assess its effectiveness.
New York U School of Medicine Goes Tuition Free
In an effort to address the rising costs of medical education, the school is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program regardless of need or merit. The yearly tuition costs covered by the scholarship are $55,018.
U Western Australia Tests Driverless Electric Bus
(Australia) The autonomous driving bus travels at 5 kilometers per hour (3.1 miles per hour) and can carry up to 14 passengers. Students and faculty will evaluate the accuracy and reliability of autonomous driving and the effects the vehicle has on other traffic, such as cyclists and pedestrians.
U Louisiana Lafayette Adopts Sustainability Strategic Plan
The 21-point plan enumerates goals through 2021 that seek to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy and water consumption. It is the institution's first comprehensive statement of environmental objectives.
U Hawaiʻi Mānoa Launches 2 MW Solar Installation
The installation includes a large photovoltaic canopy on the top deck of the university's main parking structure as well as several rooftop systems. The university is buying the electricity under a power purchase agreement that is expected to save between $2 million to $8 million over its lifetime, depending on future energy costs.
Danville Area CC Sustainability Land Learning Lab Receives Grant
The $20,000 gift from the Arconic Foundation includes funds to improve the honey bee project with new bees and hives, bee suits, and honey harvest equipment. Another portion of the funds will provide tools to aid in production and curriculum such as a solar powered remote weather station and agricultural drone. Finally, the grant provides funds for equipment to improve working conditions at the lab – a utility vehicle and gas generator.