Earth Day Ecochallenge
Earth Day Ecochallenge is a 30-day environmental and social engagement program, developed and managed by Northwest Earth Institute. From April 1 - 30, participants select actions to take that align with their values and make a 30-day commitment to complete those actions, while reinforcing more sustainable habits.
Request to Help Support the Student Sustainability Survey
Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS) International is organizing a survey of student opinions and attitudes towards sustainability. The survey is intended for all students, not just students involved in or learning about sustainability. SOS is seeking universities and student organizations to communicate the survey to students in return for the data. The survey will be open from April 1 - 30, 2020. SOS International will provide support (promotional materials, response rate updates, etc.) to organizations that can help share this survey with students. Those able to help distribute the survey should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AASHE Centers for Sustainability Across the Curriculum Workshops
There are nine curriculum workshops to choose from on topics ranging from climate anxiety in the classroom to environmental justice to food and health. Additionally, there are workshops designed for any faculty to introduce sustainability content in any course or to develop a new course. Event types also vary from online to in-person.
Defend Our Future Campus Ambassador
Defend Our Future's Campus Ambassador program encourages applications from students who want to help build networks by recruiting new volunteers and supporters, deepen relationships with allies and local businesses alike, and encourage lawmakers to act boldly to solve one of the greatest challenges of our time. Selected ambassadors will receive a stipend, support with organizing and communication, and afforded an opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., to meet lawmakers.
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.
2020 Artists & Climate Change Incubator
The Artists & Climate Change Incubator, happening May 5 - 9, is open to artists, activists, scientists and educators who want to engage or further their engagement with climate change through artistic practices. During this five-day intensive think-tank workshop, participants will interact with guest speakers from the natural and social sciences who have in-depth knowledge of the Florida climate context, with a special focus on the built environment.
Second Nature Climate Solutions Acceleration Fund
Colleges and universities who are Second Nature Climate Leadership Network signatories and/or members of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) are eligible to apply for small-grant funding ($5,000-$10,000) through the Climate Solutions Acceleration Fund. The fund is dedicated to supporting the scaling of climate action acceleration activities of colleges and universities. This round will fund between 5-10 proposals. The deadline to apply is April 3.
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.
Net Impact Food Solutions Challenge
The 2020 Food Solutions Challenge is an event series and case competition using target 2.3 of goal 2 of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, which states, "by 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women". Students anywhere are invited to host a campus or community event to find solutions to this challenge. Net Impact will provide training, resources and support to successfully develop solutions that impact female smallholder farmers worldwide. There is a $10,000 grand prize, and $2,500 and $1,000 prize to runners-up.
2020 Ford College Community Challenge
The 2020 Ford College Community Challenge encourages college students to develop creative community-building projects that address local needs, around the theme Making Lives Better by Building Sustainable Communities. Up to 10 winning proposals will be selected to receive $25,000 each. Winning student proposals must consider, in a unique way, a tangible, unmet community need, tied to one or more of the following categories: mobility, water, social enterprise, safety, workforce development and community need. Proposals are due April 1.
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.
2020 ALPINE Summer Institute
The ALPINE (Academics for Land Protection in New England) Summer Institute program is designed for undergraduates, graduate students and young professionals to learn more about the theory and practice of large land conservation in the early twenty-first century. Staffed by experts in the field of land conservation, the institute is also designed to encourage the students to consider how land conservation might become a significant focus of their professional careers and volunteer commitments over the course of their lives.
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.
Call for Submissions: 'Sustainability' Journal
Submissions are encouraged for a special issue in the journal Sustainability called “The Role of Universities in Regional Transitions towards Sustainability”. The special issue aims to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to contribute to the theoretical and practical understanding of the role of universities in regional transitions towards sustainability. The manuscript deadline is Dec. 31.
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.
AASHE Sustainability Awards: Call for Submissions
Each year, AASHE bestows 11 awards across four categories to institutions and individuals who demonstrate a commitment to higher education sustainability. The award categories recognize sustainability achievements by institutions and individuals as well as high impact research on campus sustainability. Submissions and nominations are due on May 15. The deadline for submissions and nominations will not be extended.