U Wisconsin Madison Approves Health Promotion & Health Equity Degree Program

The university system’s Board of Regents voted recently to approve a new undergraduate degree program, which will train students to practice as health educators. The program is broadly designed to provide students with the skills and perspectives to facilitate healthy practices at the individual and societal levels.

U California Berkeley Commits to 100% Renewables by 2050

The University of California, Berkeley's chancellor recently signed a memorandum of understanding committing the Berkeley campus to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. This commitment covers purchased electricity as well as energy used for transportation and heating.

School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Creates Climate Change Curriculum Project

Doctors and staff at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are working to integrate climate and health concepts into existing medical courses through their Climate Change Curriculum Infusion Project. By weaving the material into existing course lectures, rather than having a standalone “climate change module,” they hope to better highlight the interconnectedness of climate and health concepts with current medical school competencies.

Colorado College Becomes Tree Campus USA Certified

The college was recently honored by the Arbor Day Foundation with a 2018 Tree Campus USA recognition. It achieved the title by completing Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program, and hosting an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.

Higher Education Leaders Announce a Call to Action

In response to the recent scientific reports that strongly advise unprecedented action in the next decade, 21 higher education leaders announced a call to action for accelerating equitable and just climate solutions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The declaration, which was released at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, provides guiding principles for higher education institutions to accelerate climate leadership and concludes with signatories' belief that leveraging their institutional strengths is critical to doing more.

U Maryland Unveils 'Do Good Accelerator' Program

The Do Good Accelerator program supports student teams by providing space and assistance to develop ventures and projects aimed both at tackling societal problems and building successful companies and nonprofits.

Indiana U Bloomington Receives LEED Gold on Three Buildings

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs addition, Ray E. Cramer Marching Hundred Hall and Hodge Hall all received gold certification in late 2018 and early 2019.

Murray State U Unveils BS in Civil and Sustainability Engineering

The new Bachelor of Science degree in civil and sustainability engineering includes the study of transportation systems, stormwater control, wastewater treatment and site remediation.

SUNY Fredonia Creates Endowment to Promote Diversity Ed

The Collingwood Distinguished Lecture for Diversity was recently established with a $250,000 gift from an anonymous Fredonia graduate. The donation will provide annual support for an honorarium to bring a nationally recognized speaker of diversity to the Fredonia campus each year. The lecture is an effort to promote leadership, education, advocacy and outreach for underrepresented groups or issues in society, and support the integration of diversity, as a whole, into the academic community.

West Chester U Implements Bike Sharing

The Office of Sustainability at the university implemented a bike-share program across campus through a company called Zagster. The program allows students to rent bicycles with a one-time, annual fee for up to three hours at a time.

Ohio State U Introduces Eco-Friendly Search Engine

A group of Ohio State graduate students and their faculty adviser were awarded $40,000 in funding to install Ecosia as the default search engine onto 30,000 campus computers. Ecosia is a search engine where 80 percent of ad revenue generated by internet searches is used to fund organizations that plant trees around the world. The team plans to spend the $40,000 on different marketing initiatives, including widespread advertisement campaigns on campus and through social media channels, and hiring support staff to manage programming and development, track usage, and handle public relations and social media.

U Maryland Installs Indoor Vertical Garden

With the help of a University Sustainability Fund grant, students, faculty and staff can now reap the health and well-being benefits of a 240-square-foot, vertical garden installed on the ground-floor patio inside the Student Union.

College Lake County Building Earns LEED Platinum

The 42,000 square-foot Science & Engineering Building features photovoltaic solar panels, LED lighting, ample natural light, vegetated rooftops, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and energy-efficient fume hoods in chemistry labs.

Methodist Theological School Ohio Announces Masters in Social Justice

The new professional master's degree provides a core curriculum drawing from ethics, religion and public leadership. Students engage in a cross-cultural immersion experience and a customizable 280-hour internship. The program aims to help students develop skills and strategies for leading, organizing, educating and collaborating in diverse social, political, religious and educational contexts.

U Victoria Launches Campus Cycling Plan

The university's inaugural Campus Cycling Plan provides a comprehensive and coordinated approach to support cycling as a safe, enjoyable and convenient mode of transportation on campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors. It includes bicycle parking, cycling paths and end-of-trip facilities, as well as policy direction on strategies to improve levels of comfort and safety on shared paths and roads.

U San Diego Introduces PhD in Education for Social Justice

The School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego will welcome its first cohort of students in fall 2019 for the Education for Social Justice Ph.D. and Ed.S. programs. The online program offers a course of study that allows students to develop research, teaching and advocacy skills by using local, national and international contexts to construct more equitable, tolerant and socially just societies and institutions.

Three Schools Selected for Free Carbon Neutrality Program

The College of Saint Benedict, the University of Minnesota Morris and the University of St. Thomas have been selected to participate in Ever-Green Energy's pilot program: Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality. As part of this pilot program, the institutions will receive free energy and carbon neutrality planning services over the next year that will help them map out plans, evaluate feasibility and lay out next steps.

Muhlenberg College Announces Sustainability Studies Major

Beginning in fall 2019, a new sustainability studies major and newly revised minor will offer students an interdisciplinary approach to understanding complex environmental-human challenges and developing solutions to effect real change. Exploring how issues related to sustainability impact, and are addressed at, the local, national and global levels, the program addresses the intersectional nature of environmental and social issues in relation to human difference, power relations and equity.

U Colorado Boulder Building Earns LEED Gold

The Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) features LED lighting throughout, low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient HVAC and glazing on some south-facing windows that self-dims as sun exposure increases, minimizing heat gain and glare. Also significant was construction of the building atop an existing parking garage, avoiding consumption of green space and introducing new sources of vegetation to the site on the north-facing slope.

New York U Announces Plastic Bottle Policy

As part of an institution-wide drive toward creating a more sustainable campus, the university president recently announced that NYU will no longer purchase single-use plastic water bottles, effective January 1, 2020. The new policy is expected to reduce waste by over 330,000 plastic water bottles per year. The plastic bottle policy was one of several sustainability-focused initiatives. Other initiatives include replacing fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles, reducing "k-cup" waste, and making events more sustainable.

U Virginia Collaborates With City & County to Reduce Emissions

The city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the university will soon embark on a collaborative community outreach effort as each entity begins to update their greenhouse gas reduction targets and develop climate action plans. To enable broad community engagement and participation in informing these commitments, the three organizations are coordinating their outreach efforts across their sustainability offices and encouraging residents, businesses and area stakeholders to get involved.

U Hawai'i Repurposes 4K Misprinted Mugs

The university redistributed 4,000 brand new reusable mugs that were headed to the landfill due to a misprint to the Mānoa, West Oʻahu, and Maui College campuses of the University of Hawai'i, and Honolulu, Windward, and Kapiʻolani Community Colleges. UH Mānoa Dining Services is subsequently launching a bring-your-own-cup campaign while distributing the rescued mugs to students.

Bowdoin College Building Achieves LEED Platinum

The college's Roux Center for the Environment features a rooftop garden that absorbs stormwater runoff and adds insulation, a roof-mounted photovoltaic solar system, and a 1,500-gallon storage tank that collects filtered rainwater to flush toilets.

21 New York Universities Form RE Purchasing Coalition

Called New York Campuses’ Aggregate Renewable Energy Solutions (NYCARES), the newly formed consortium is comprised of 21 private and public higher education institutions and is working towards a goal of purchasing or producing electricity from 100 percent zero-net-carbon sources.

Vanderbilt U Science Building Earns LEED Gold

The Engineering and Science Building includes LED bulbs as well as occupancy sensors, windows that optimize natural solar light and help prevent bird strikes, and a 10,000 gallon cistern to capture rain water for irrigation.

Concordia U Issues “Sustainable Bond” for New Green Building

The $25-million bond will help finance a new Science Hub that is expected to receive LEED Gold certification. Slated for completion in fall 2019, the building is projected to be 35 percent more efficient than an average non-certified research facility.

Dickinson College Building Reaches LEED Platinum

The college's new residence hall features energy-efficient exterior walls and high-efficiency windows. An upgraded stormwater management system, including four rain gardens, will minimize impacts to the existing community systems.

Central College Receives Tree Campus USA Recognition

The college is now Tree Campus USA certified, thanks to students who spearheaded the efforts to complete the requirements. Students now produce a Tree of the Week column for the college’s sustainability blog, profiling the diverse tree species on campus.

Sorority Pledges $10M to 96 HBCUs

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, in partnership with the Educational Advancement Foundation, recently announced the establishment of the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund. Toward the end of February, presidents from 32 of the participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will receive the first installment of the endowment gift in the amount of $50,000. The fund was created in an effort to assist in the financial stability of HBCUs.

Grand Valley State U Trustees Approve Environmental & Sustainability Studies Major

During the university’s Feb. 8 board of trustees meeting, trustees approved the creation of an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major, which builds on the structure of the preexisting minor and will go into effect fall 2019. According to the program proposal, the major will be available both as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science and span 35-37 credits. Students will be able to choose an area of focus such as sustainable food resources or water management.

Carnegie Mellon U Building Achieves LEED Gold

The university's home for the Tepper School of Business features a 120,000-gallon cistern to collect rainwater for reuse and the floor of its four-story atrium uses radiant slabs to heat or cool the space.

U Texas San Antonio Hires Sustainability Director

Lani May, who for the past seven months has served as the university's interim sustainability director, has been hired as the new university sustainability director. For the last nine years, May has served as a senior environmental planner in the UTSA Office of Facilities. Prior to joining UTSA, May spent more than six years as the natural resources coordinator. She earned a bachelor's degree in geography and a master’s degree in environmental science from UTSA and is currently working on her Ph.D. at UTSA in civil and environmental engineering.

Eastern Connecticut State U Program Supports African American & Hispanic Students

The new PASS (Promoting Academically Successful Students) program ensures that African American and Hispanic students who end up on academic probation are provided support. The program uses a hands-on advising model and an active career development program to inform students of available support services. Funded through a $75,000 grant from the Connecticut State Office of Higher Education, the program requires weekly advising sessions, skill development workshops, and group meetings for all participating students to review their schedules and make any necessary adjustments.

U Bath Receives Living Wage Employer Accreditation

(U.K.) The university received the accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation. Accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation is reserved for employers that pay the independently-calculated living wage rates to all staff in the U.K., or those committed to an agreed timetable of implementation.

U Wisconsin Madison Launches Reusable Takeout Container Program

Beginning in fall 2018, the university's dining services started a reusable to-go container program in order to reduce single-use disposable waste in dining facilities. Tokens for the containers are $5 each. After containers have been used, students can return them via a vending machine-like drop-off where, in exchange, they are given a new token.

Pennsylvania State U Announces 70 MW Solar Project

The university recently announced a partnership to develop a 70-megawatt solar-electric project that is estimated to provide 25 percent of Penn State’s state-wide electricity requirements over a 25-year term. The project will be ground-mounted using over 150,000 solar panels in three locations encompassing roughly 500 acres. The targeted completion date is set for July 2020.

Rhode Island College Installs 110 KW Solar-Electric System

The university's Donovan Dining Center and the Student Union now house a 110.9-kilowatt solar system. The $300,000 project is expected to save the college more than $231,000 in energy costs over the next 15 years, and is expected to generate 132,502 kilowatt-hours in the first operating year.

CSU System Adopts Policy on Single-Use Plastics

The California State University system released a new policy on single-use plastics that aims to eliminate the distribution and sale of plastic straws, bottled water, plastic carryout bags, and styrofoam food packaging by designated phase-out dates that align with recent state legislation. Plastic straws and single-use plastic carryout bags were eliminated in January 2019. Single-use plastic water bottles are to be banned no later than Jan. 1, 2023.

University-CC Partnership Addresses Homelessness

As part of a statewide plan to address youth homelessness in Massachusetts, the governor recently announced a pilot program to house a small group of homeless community college students at nearby four-year colleges and universities. Up to 20 homeless students at four community colleges will receive dormitory housing through partnerships. The university-community college matches are Massasoit Community College and Bridgewater State University, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State University, Middlesex Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and MassBay Community College and Framingham State University.

U St. Thomas to Open Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice

The center will provide law students the opportunity to leverage legal training to address social justice challenges. Students will interface with lawyers in the community who are fighting for justice and equity to gain in-depth insights related to civil rights, human rights law and advocacy. It will also collaborate with the entire university and share its expertise on racial equity and social justice.

Amherst College Announces Climate Plan for Neutrality by 2030

At its January 2019 meeting, the board of trustees unanimously approved the college's Climate Action Plan, which calls for changing the campus energy infrastructure from a traditional fossil-fuel powered steam system to renewable electric heat pumps that use geothermal energy sources. The plan does not rely on the purchase of carbon offsets.

Brown U to Offset All Electricity Use With Solar & Wind

As a major part of a campus-wide effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the university has finalized agreements for two renewable energy projects. Projected to offset around about 70 percent of Brown’s annual electricity consumption generated through fossil fuels, the first project is a 50-megawatt photovoltaic facility that will be constructed on an old gravel pit. The second renewable energy project is an 8-megawatt wind power project being developed in Texas, which will offset the remaining electricity use.

Parul U Bans Gas & Diesel Vehicles on Campus

In an effort to reduce pollution on campus and protect the health of teachers and students, the university recently banned the use of gasoline and diesel vehicles inside campus boundaries. To facilitate transportation across campus, one hundred bicycles have been placed across the campus, which the campus community can rent at a minimal cost.

Rider U Wins Electric Vehicle Challenge

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection named the university a winner of the New Jersey Charging Challenge: Electrify Your Workplace recognition program in December 2018. Rider received a certificate of recognition for its installation of five single-port, level-two EV charging stations and the use of smartphone applications that provide information on proper charging etiquette.

Environment America Launches 100% Renewable Energy Campaign

Environment America, along with students across the country, will launch 50 campaigns in 15 states this year, imploring colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The nationwide initiative will include educational forums, petition drives and direct engagement with administration officials to press for 100 percent renewable energy. In support of these efforts, more than 950 faculty and campus leaders have signed a statement calling for higher education administrators to make a clear commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy for all operations.

SJOR Features AASHE Sustainability Award Winners

Sustainability: The Journal of Record (SJOR) highlights each of the 11 winners of the 2018 AASHE Sustainability Awards program. The winners were recognized for their campus sustainability research, campus achievements and student leadership. Award submissions for 2019 are accepted on a rolling basis.

Danish Academics Call for Climate Leadership

Over 650 Danish academics from multiple research fields in Denmark signed a letter at the end of 2018 calling on universities to immediately develop and implement a series of far-reaching policies to drastically reduce the universities’ carbon emissions. The letter was signed by researchers both inside and outside of climate research and has been sent to all management and boards of universities in Denmark.

U California Merced Introduces Student Climate Resiliency Program

Students participated in the new Student Leadership Institute for Climate Resilience, a three-day residential program that introduced students to the campus’ carbon neutrality, sustainability, food action and environmental justice communities through activities and tours. Students were instructed on ways scholarship and practice at the UC level address issues of climate and ecological crisis, social equity and regenerative economy.

Southern Oregon U Implements Audio Wayfinding App

The university is now more friendly to those who are sight impaired after partnering with an outside vendor to provide an audio wayfinding app. The university has placed 200 beacons across campus as waypoints that communicate with the free app, which allows users to locate both outdoor and indoor destinations.

Middlebury College Releases Plan for Energy, Investments & Engagement

The college's new 10-year commitment, Energy2028, puts the institution on a path toward a complete shift to renewable energy to power and heat its central campus by 2028, sets goals to reduce energy consumption, phases out direct fossil fuel investments in the endowment, and creates new educational programs and opportunities.