THE Releases 2021 Impact Rankings

The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings assess universities on their contributions to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The 2021 ranking includes 1,115 universities from 94 countries/regions. The overall ranking is led by the University of Manchester (U.K.), followed by three Australian universities–University of Sydney, RMIT University and La Trobe University, and then Queen's University in Canada.

Smith College Pledges $200,000 to Community Resilience Hub

The university's $200,000 pledge towards the Community Resilience Hub aims to support residents who face chronic and acute stress due to natural and human-caused disasters, climate change and social and economic challenges.

ISCN Announces 2021 Award Winners

The International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) recently announced the 2021 Excellence Award winners, which seek to recognize sustainable campus projects that demonstrate leadership, creativity, effectiveness and outstanding performance. Covenant University won the award for Whole Systems Approach; University of Leeds received the award in the Partnerships for Progress category, and National University of Singapore was selected for the award in Cultural Change for Sustainability.

Northwestern U & U Chicago Receive EPA Energy Star Award

Northwestern University was honored with the Partner of the Year: Sustained Excellence award for the second year. The University of Chicago received the Partner of the Year award for the first time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Partner of the Year awards recognize institutions and organizations for their year-over-year commitment to energy efficiency.

Stevens Institute Technology to Source 100% Renewable Energy

The institution will purchase all electricity needed from regional wind, hydropower or solar energy sources beginning on Oct. 1, 2021.

U Pennsylvania Announces Zero GHG Emissions From Investments

The University of Pennsylvania Office of Investments recently announced the goal of reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions from Penn’s endowment investments to zero by 2050.

75 HEIs Urge Biden Administration to Support a 2030 US Climate Target

Second Nature recently sent a letter to the White House signed by 75 higher education institutions calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to adopt a target of at least 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The 75 institutions span 29 different states, in all regions of the U.S., and represent a wide diversity of institution types.

Lehigh U Achieves Real Food Challenge Goal

The university recently announced meeting the Real Food Challenge goal by purchasing 20.3 percent of its food from local, organic, fair trade and humane sources in the 2019-2020 academic year. Lehigh’s Office of Sustainability, Dining Services and Purchasing Services, and Sodexo have collaborated on the challenge for the past seven years.

Vanderbilt U Receives 2020 USGBC Leadership Award

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the university as a 2020 Leadership Award recipient in the outstanding companies, organizations and projects category. The university was among 10 companies, projects and individuals across the nation to earn an award. The annual awards recognize leadership in green building and commitment to advancing healthy, sustainable buildings and communities.

U Virginia Uses HVAC Systems to Cull Spread of COVID

A group of specialists at the university recently began studying how best to use heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus. They are focused on three areas: HVAC enhancements, such as the use of filters and increased ventilation; mitigating airborne transmission based on new research and technologies; and serving as a resource to the campus community about airborne transmission and HVAC mitigation.

U Michigan Expands Anti-Racism Initiative Through Hiring Initiative

The university recently announced that it will hire at least 20 tenure-track faculty, versed in academic work on structural racism and racial inequality, over the next three years as part of its new anti-racism initiative. For this anti-racism initiative, the provost’s office will be partnering with the school’s National Center for Institutional Diversity and the Office of Research.

Howard U Receives $1M for Women & Gender Leadership Center

A $1 million gift aims to elevate women of color into leadership roles across all sectors through the launch of the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership. The center's academic focus will include producing theoretically grounded research and creating a data center on issues of women and gender in the United States and the global Black diaspora.

Ohio State U Tests Waste Diversion Strategies

A new partnership between the university and a local entity will divert waste from the landfill by using the campus as a living laboratory to test waste diversion projects ranging from education and behavioral change to new recycling technologies. The aim of the collaboration is to scale up waste reduction solutions across central Ohio.

Luther College Connects Solar Array

A new solar array that includes a battery storage system will provide 10 percent of the college's current electricity consumption. Luther is leasing the land and will purchase power from the facility over the next 10 years.

Vanderbilt U to Purchase 25 MW of Solar Energy

Through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Invest program, the university has contracted to be a 25-megawatt co-subscriber to a Tennessee solar farm scheduled for completion in 2023.

U Sheffield Pledges Carbon Neutrality

(U.K.) As part of its recently released five-year sustainability strategy, the University of Sheffield pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions on campus by 2030 and across all activities by 2038. The strategy also includes plans to embed education for sustainable development into all courses.

Maine HEIs Join Renewable Energy Consortium

Bowdoin College, Colby College, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, and the University of Maine have joined with 18 other Maine businesses, schools and towns in signing long-term energy contracts with 33 new renewable projects in the state.

U Pennsylvania Pledges $100M for Environmental Remediation

The University of Pennsylvania will donate $100 million over 10 years to the School District of Philadelphia to help remove asbestos, lead, and other environmental hazards from the district’s buildings.

U California Adopts Gender Pronoun & Lived Name Policy

Under the new policy, university students, employees, alumni, retirees, vendors, medical center patients and other affiliates completing university-issued documents may choose from man, woman or nonbinary gender identification options. In addition to gender identification, individuals may also state a lived name, i.e., a personal or preferred professional name, that differs from their legal name. Legal names will be kept confidential and not published on documents not requiring a person’s legal name.

21 HEIs to Receive $1M Each for Academic Success of Students of Color

In an effort to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to be successful in today’s workforce, Bank of America announced in mid-November a plan to give $1 million each to 21 higher education institutions including community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions. Each partner institution will develop or enhance existing programs to meet specific skill gaps in their communities, while Bank of America will work alongside major employers to ensure these programs target specific hiring needs and create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.

Six HEIs Launch Racial Equity Leadership Alliance

The presidents of Depauw University, and Macalester, Oberlin, Occidental, Pomona and Skidmore colleges are co-founding the Liberal Arts Colleges and Racial Equity Leadership Alliance to address racial inequities at liberal arts colleges. They have been joined by the presidents of 45 other institutions, and are collaborating with the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Southern California.

U California Santa Barbara Announces Racial Justice Fellowship

In light of recent protests against police violence directed at Black communities and the persistence of systemic racism, the university's Graduate Division and multiple deans have launched an initiative designed to enhance the recruitment of graduate students committed to teaching, research and mentorship around racial justice. The Racial Justice Fellowships will provide recipients $8,000 in summer funding for three years on top of a five-year package of full funding.