New Issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record
The latest issue of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.'s Sustainability: The Journal of Record looks at what a sustainability degree is worth and the impetus behind green residence halls. Christopher J. Noonan also examines the human response to climate change and Mary Hoff reviews Mark Hertsgaard's "Hot: Living through the Next Fifty Years on Earth."
Inside Higher Ed 'Academic Minute': Geothermal Power
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst's J. Michael Rhodes discusses the techniques and benefits of geothermal power in this Inside Higher Ed "Academic Minute." In contrast to wind or solar energy, says Rhodes, "it's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week" and "is not obtrusive nor does it take up large amounts of space." While "prevailing wisdom writes off New England as a source of geothermal energy," says Rhodes, the region is "blessed with granite; compared with other rocks, granites contain large amounts of potassium, uranium and thorium, all of which produce heat through radioactive decay. This makes the granite hotter at depth than the surrounding rocks and a possible source of geothermal energy."
Inside Higher Ed 'Academic Minute': Green Energy Storage
This Inside Higher Ed Academic Minute features Raymond Orbach, director of the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute. In an attempt to meet President Barack Obama's goal of producing 80 percent of our country's electricity from clean energy sources within 25 years, researchers at the university are focused on creating a means to efficiently store green energy for on-demand use. The problem with clean energy sources, says Orbach, is that "when you turn on your light switch, you expect your lights to come on and that could be in the middle of the day when the wind isn't blowing." The university is developing a "flow battery," which converts electrical energy into chemical energy that can be pumped it into a tank. When the energy is needed, it can be reconverted into electrical energy.
USGBC Paid-from-Savings Guide to Green Existing Buildings
For a limited time, community colleges and minority serving institutions may request a free copy of "The Paid-from-Savings Guide to Green Existing Buildings." Produced by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and founding sponsor United Technologies Corporation, the guide is normally valued at $50. The guide is designed to help building facilities managers and energy service companies leverage utility cost savings to fund comprehensive green building retrofits. In addition, the resource provides detailed information on how to aggregate green improvement measures to optimize project economics and achieve LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance certification. To request a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AASHE List of E-Waste Programs, Policies and Events
AASHE has published a collection of institutions that have e-waste recycling and/or reuse programs, policies or events. Computers, cellphones and other electronic materials can be donated or re-sold at a reduced cost to nonprofit organizations and community groups. The list recognizes examples of the items that an institution is recycling with links to the school's website for more details. This resource is available to AASHE members only.
UNECE Education for Sustainable Development Report
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Steering Committee on Education for Sustainable Development has released the report, “Learning for the Future: Competences in Education for Sustainable Development.” A result of 18 months of discussions and negotiations among academics, government officials and experts from international and non-governmental organizations, the paper makes recommendations for the development of education for sustainable development across all sectors of education including guidelines and tools for integration.
Environmental Paper Network RePaper Challenge
Campuses across North America are invited to take part in the Environmental Paper Network's RePaper Campus Challenge. The project challenges campuses, companies and individuals to show support for increasing the paper recovery rate for recycling to 75 percent by the year 2015. The Campus Challenge will teach students, faculty and staff on higher education campuses about the impacts of paper, and how best to recover it for effective recycling. Participating campus organizations currently include the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), National Wildlife Federation's Campus Ecology, RecycleMania! and Recycling Organizations of North America Higher Education Program.
New Journal of Sustainability Education Content
The Journal of Sustainability Education, a peer-reviewed, open access interdisciplinary e-journal from the Institute for Sustainable Social Change and the Prescott College (AZ) Ph.D. Program in Sustainability Education, has posted updated content including an interview with Cloud Institute for Sustainability Founder and President Jaimie Cloud, who makes the case for the prime importance of Education for Sustainability (EfS). Also featured is the article, "Bomb Threats, Global Warming and Decision Making: An Educational Experience," which explores how statistics tells us that we must address climate change.
AASHE Interview Series: NIRSA Executive Director
AASHE recently interviewed Kent Blumenthal, executive director of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) in Corvallis, Ore. Blumenthal talks about how NIRSA is promoting sustainability and the areas that he sees the biggest room for growth in the campus sustainability field.
Algae Industry Q&A with Cal Poly Professor: Wastewater to Biofuel
Algae Industry Magazine recently interviewed California Polytechnic State University environmental engineering professor Dr. Tryg Lundquist about how wastewater can make algae biofuel and how algae biofuel can be the impetus for better, low-cost, wastewater treatment.
May Issue of Mother Pelican Journal
Themed "The Coupling of Gender Equality & Clean Energy," the May issue of the Mother Pelican: A Journal of Sustainable Human Development looks at the need for gender equality during the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. The influence of a patriarchal religious mindset in reinforcing gender inequities and exploitation of natural resources is discussed in this issue, which calls for radical reforms in both social and religious institutions to resolve gender and sustainability issues.
Northwest Earth Institute Sustainability Salon Series
The Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) has debuted its Spring/Summer 2011 Sustainability Salon Series, the first in a series of quarterly free sustainability curriculum resources. The resource includes article excerpts from NWEI course books and accompanying discussion questions on a variety of sustainability topics. This short, informal resource is intended as a way to engage students in discussion and critical thinking on complex sustainability topics, as a discussion starter amongst faculty or staff during sustainability-focused meetings, as a tool for curriculum trainings and workshops around how to integrate sustainability into the curriculum, and as a way to spark conversation and introduce key concepts of sustainability.
AASHE Releases 2010 Annual Report
AASHE has released its AASHE 2010 Annual Report, an annual summary of highlights from the association's national efforts to make higher education institutions more sustainable. Of note in 2010 was AASHE's increased emphasis on working with the academic side of campuses to address education for sustainability in the curriculum. Also notable, AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) awarded its first STARS rating, and by the end of the year had recognized two STARS Bronze institutions, two STARS Silver institutions and one STARS Gold institution. The report is available free from the AASHE website.
Inside Higher Ed 'Academic Minute': Sustainability & Business Ed
"My mantra this entire year has been that before long, all competent management will be sustainability management, and all competent managers must be sustainability managers," says Columbia University's (NY) Earth Institute Executive Director Steven Cohen in this Inside Higher Ed Academic Minute. Addressing the necessity of incorporating an environmental sustainability component into all business and public policy degrees, Cohen says: "One only needs to think about the challenges facing BP last summer in the Gulf of Mexico to acknowledge that sustainability is central to business management. And in the larger picture, government and business leaders will have to develop energy sources that look beyond fossil fuels, otherwise we just can't compete."
Academic Impressions: Greening Your Dining Services
Academic Impressions recently interviewed Georgia Tech Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator Nell Fry for a comprehensive look at how campuses can green their dining services. Fry provides advice and tips in areas including carbon footprint assessment, staff training, campus communication and vendor communication.
Academic Impressions Sustainability Road Map Program
In partnership with University of Colorado at Boulder Environmental Center Director Dave Newport, Academic Impressions has released a new Sustainability Road Map Program. Informed by AASHE's STARS program and ongoing research on factors and benchmarks that influence the health and competitiveness of higher education institutions, the program tackles six core components that any institution needs to address in order to move toward a comprehensive sustainability initiative. The road map is designed to help leaders assess where their campus is with regard to achieving total sustainability and devise a meaningful and actionable plan for effectively prioritizing sustainability.
New Issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., has published Vol. 4, No. 2 of Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The latest issue includes a profile of a new master's program, sustainability in the urban environment, at City College of New York; a look at campuses that are thinking on the neighborhood scale with EcoDistricts; and an editorial by Monty Hempel, director of the Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands (CA), that embraces sustainability as a concept and practice that transcends environmental stewardship, and invites readers to take Blue Planet United's Sustainability Test.
AASHE Earth Day Special Report
While higher education students, faculty and staff make significant strides in the campus sustainability movement year-round, Earth Day is a chance to step back and celebrate these achievements, to be inspired by sustainability leaders and success stories, and to recognize the work still ahead. This AASHE special report provides a snapshot of some of the campus sustainability efforts initiated in honor of Earth Day including e-waste collection drives, water footprint awareness events, local food photography exhibits, free item and clothing swaps, and many more.
Princeton Review Releases 2011 Guide to Green Colleges
The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has announced the release of "The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges." The guidebook profiles higher education institutions that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The publication, which is available for free download, includes statistics and facts on each institution's use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs, availability of environmental studies programs and green jobs career guidance.
Sustainability Engineering and Ecological Design Curriculum
An interdisciplinary group of faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz has developed the online Sustainability Engineering and Ecological Design resource, a collection of undergraduate sustainability curriculum labs and courses. The initiative is supported by the National Science Foundation's Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvements (CCLI) and the National Corporation for Service Learning's Learn and Serve America grant programs.
AASHE Releases 'STARS: A Year in Review’
AASHE has released its first annual “STARS: A Year in Review.” From sustainability research opportunities to sustainable dining efforts to campus-wide social justice initiatives, this report details the sustainability efforts found in the inaugural submissions to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). In addition to the broad range of information provided in the institutional reports submitted by STARS Participants, the report captures the insights and knowledge gained by those institutions during the reporting process.
April Issue of Mother Pelican Journal
Themed "Gender Equality for Human Development," the April issue of the Mother Pelican: A Journal of Sustainable Human Development aims to provide a snapshot of where we are along the path of overcoming patriarchal systems and attaining gender equality. Articles include "Basic Education and Gender Equality" and "Gender Equality for Human Development."
Ometeca Journal: Educating for Ecological Sustainability
Produced by the Ometeca Institute, a nonprofit devoted to the study of the relationship of the humanities and science, the Ometeca Journal has released a special edition devoted to educating for ecological sustainability. The issue aims to provide readers with a compendium of insights and strategies for transforming academic disciplines, pedagogical practices and the larger educational vision. Authors were invited to explore their specific disciplines or specialty areas in relation to the pursuit of ecological sustainability, and to highlight and explore interdisciplinary connections.
AASHE Guest Blog: Lessons From a Solar Decathlon Team Leader
In a new AASHE guest blog article, John Clinton, associate professor of environmental policy and sustainability management at Milano - The New School for Management and Urban Policy in New York City, talks about his experience as a team leader for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition. The team used a community-based approach with broad partnerships to achieve the social impact they desired with their design, inevitably heightening process and structural challenges. Clinton describes the organizational lessons learned in tackling this kind of interdisciplinary, collaborative sustainability curricula.
ACUPCC Web Page: Financing Sustainability Projects on Campus
The American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) has announced the launch of a new “Financing Sustainability Projects on Campus” web page. The page is intended as a clearinghouse of information on financing mechanisms for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, as well as funding sources for other sustainability-related projects on campus. New content will be added to the site over the next few months.
New Article: When to Go Green with Data Centers
"When it comes to greening' a data center, the problems can be especially daunting, given institutional inertia, budgetary concerns and politics," says a recent article from Campus Technology. The key to success, says the article, "often lies in understanding when those very same problems can be used to press the advantage." The article highlights Loyola University Chicago (IL), who jumped on the opportunity to build a new, energy-efficient data center after being forced out of their old one. The article also looks at a 2010 Energy Efficient IT Report that reveals that more than 78 percent of higher education institutions either have or are developing a plan to consolidate their data centers.
Second Nature Video Advocates for Sustainability Education
Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow recalls a conversation with a New York Times reporter in this four-minute video recently released by Second Nature: "Who cares whether or not the colleges and universities reduce their carbon footprint? You only got 2 or 3 percent of the carbon footprint in the country," the reporter said to Crow. "Well, yeah, that's true," Crow answered the reporter. "But we have 100 percent of the student footprint." The video is a compilation of this and other sound bites and statistics that illustrate the need to tackle a sustainable society at the higher education level.
New Earthscan Sustainability Curricula
Earthscan has released a new Curricula for the 21st Century microsite with free downloads and webinars on the theme of education and training for a low-carbon economy. Each curriculum provides a course outline developed with Earthscan authors that includes suggestions for core books and recommended reading for each module. Sustainable development curriculum resources are available now and the site will soon host a forum to help source upcoming curricula on the topics of climate change and energy, sustainable business and sustainability leadership.
New Issue of Journal of Sustainability Education
Themed "Learning and Leading Sustainability," the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Sustainability Education has been released. The latest content of this peer-reviewed, open access interdisciplinary e-journal from the Institute for Sustainable Social Change and the Prescott College (AZ) Ph.D. Program in Sustainability Education includes a "Sustainability Education in the Interior Design Curriculum" case study and a "Teaching Sustainability in Graduate Education: A Call to Leadership Development" opinion piece.
ACUPCC Implementer Newsletter
Not subscribed to the ACUPCC Implementer yet? Faculty, staff and students from sustainability teams and the campus community at large are invited to subscribe to this monthly e-newsletter of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). For ACUPCC signatories and non-signatories alike, the newsletter is free and contains original articles from national experts on a variety of timely topics, as well as announcements and updates on resources, discounts and events.
Inside Higher Ed 'Academic Minute': Green Jobs
"A sustained national effort to rewire the country with clean energy will mobilize large-scale private sector investment and initiative a positive feedback process whereby investment leads to jobs, which create higher income and demand, thereby generating greater investment job creation and economic growth," says Bard College's (NY) Eban Goodstein in this Inside Higher Ed Academic Minute. "Green investment does have a critical role to play in bringing an end to this current recession."
SEED Strategic Report: Community Colleges in the Green Economy
The American Association of Community College's (AACC) Sustainability Education & Economic Development (SEED) initiative has released its strategic plan, "Community Colleges in the Emerging Green Economy: Charting a Course and Leadership Role." Driven by AACC's Sustainability Task Force, a group of community college presidents from across the country, the document describes the national community college network's shared vision for advancing a green economy and will be used to guide expanded SEED offerings over the next several years.
'Carbon Nation: A Climate Change Solutions Movie'
"I see the United States having almost a full employment economy based on retrofitting a nation," says green jobs innovator Van Jones in the trailer of the new movie, "Carbon Nation: A Climate Change Solutions Movie." Billed as a movie "that doesn't even care if you believe in climate change," this solutions-based, non-partisan documentary illustrates how being a part of the new, low-carbon economy can be good business, embolden national and energy security, and improve health and the environment. The movie delves into creative solutions to combat climate change being created by entrepreneurs, visionaries, scientists and the everyday man. Campuses across the country will screen the documentary on April 12, 2011.
Education for Sustainable Development Report
Commissioned by UNESCO, this "Education for Sustainable Development: An expert review of processes and learning" report identifies which commonly accepted learning processes are aligned with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and should be promoted through ESD-related programs and activities. It also seeks to examine which learning opportunities contribute to sustainable development. The publication will inform the choice of tools and specific questions that need to be asked as part of the 2011 DESD (United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development) monitoring and evaluation report.
New Facebook Group for Student Eco-Reps
EcoRepCentral.com has launched a Facebook-based resource for Eco-Reps, also known as student sustainability educators, to share best practices across campuses.
GreenerU Guides and Toolkits for Campus Sustainability
GreenerU, a Massachusetts-based sustainability and energy efficiency company that partners with colleges and students to assist with energy, sustainability, climate and facilities challenges, has a collection of free guides and toolkits available for greening campuses. Examples include the "The GreenerU GreenerEvent Planning Guide: The Basics" and "The GreenerU Carbon & Energy Translation Kit: kWh?! CO2?! BTUs?!"
NWF's 'Going Underground on Campus'
The National Wildlife Federation has released "Going Underground On Campus: Tapping the Earth for Clean, Efficient Sources of Heating and Cooling." Featuring case studies of geothermal installations on more than 160 campuses in 42 states, this publication reveals that energy savings over conventional heating and cooling systems on campus range from 50 to 75 percent for ground-source heat pumps, 30 to 40 percent for earth-sheltered buildings, and even more for direct use geothermal. The guide was produced by the National Wildlife Federation in partnership with the Geothermal Energy Association, GEOExchange: The Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium and APPA: Leadership in Educational
Parlez-Vous Green Campus Blog: Education City in Qatar
Former Ohio University Director of Sustainability Sonia Marcus interviews Chris Silva, sustainability education coordinator for Qatar's Education City, in the first post of her new blog, Parlez-Vous Green Campus? In addition to being one of the only institutions outside of North America participating in this year's RecycleMania, Education City is building 12 new residence halls designed to meet LEED Platinum status. This interview captures the ethics and initiatives of a campus sustainability movement in one of the most resource intensive nations on the planet.
AASHE '2010 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey'
AASHE has released the results of its "2010 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey." Despite national unemployment rates that hovered near 10 percent in 2010, this survey reveals a workforce of people who report a sense of job security and feel satisfied with the work they are doing. With 433 completed surveys, the results offer a comprehensive look at the demographics, roles, salaries and positions of college and university sustainability-related staff in the U.S. and Canada.
AASHE Events Forum
AASHE has created an Events Forum for discussions about upcoming campus sustainability events. This is a place for the campus sustainability community to continue conversations and/or collaborate with others prior to, or after, an event takes place. This forum can be used for a variety of purposes including continued conversations about a topic from a session attended, to find speakers for an upcoming presentation or to discuss an upcoming conference.
Responsible Endowments Coalition's STARS Companion Guide
As a partner on the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), the Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC) has released a companion guide to the STARS sustainable investment section. The guide can be accessed by STARS member institutions in the "Additional Resources" section of the STARS Reporting Tool website as well as in the Handbooks section of the REC website. From difficulty evaluating investments to a lack of understanding of a Committee on Socially Responsible Investment or a Committee on Investor Responsibility, this guide is intended to help institutions understand how best to answer questions and score points in this STARS section. The guide also features a worksheet tool.
EPA Renewable Energy Cost Database
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a database of existing cost data for wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and geothermal energy technologies, including historical costs and projected costs for each. Despite the rapid growth of the renewable energy sector, there are few publicly available compilations of the data on renewable energy costs. This database is an attempt to fill this void of renewable energy - specifically for electricity generation - cost information.
New AASHE Guest Blog Series: Sustainable Study Abroad
Studying abroad can promote sustainability if programs adhere to higher standards of sustainable practices, says Living Routes Director Daniel Greenberg. In a mini-series that AASHE will publish in four installments over the next month, Greenberg uses Living Routes as a case study to flesh out four identified strategies for sustainable study abroad including program design and management, student learning, staff training and office management, and promotion. The first installment of this series examines the program design and management of a study abroad program.
AASHE Debuts New Events Newsletter
AASHE has recently launched a new and improved Events Newsletter. Subscribe to this monthly communication to stay up-to-date on AASHE events and professional development opportunities such as workshops, conferences, webinars, talks and more. The AASHE Events Newsletter includes dates and times of events, registration deadlines, guidelines for conference abstract submissions, special offers and discounts.
A Blueprint for Advancing Education for Sustainability
The result of a November 2010 gathering of representatives from 23 national organizations, including AASHE, that work with the U.S. higher education sector to promote Education for Sustainability (EfS), this blueprint is intended to synergize efforts, avoid duplication and accelerate the EfS movement. The blueprint aims to promote broad participation and leadership from a diverse spectrum of racial, geographic and socio-economic communities.
Bon Appetit Student Garden Guide
Based on its work with numerous student organizers on higher education campuses to serve student-grown produce in its campus cafes, Bon Appetit has composed a Student Garden Guide to help students establish a successful relationship between their campus food service provider and their student garden.
'Greening the Bottom Line' Report: Green Revolving Funds
In collaboration with 11 partner organizations including AASHE, the Sustainable Endowments Institute has released a new report, "Greening the Bottom Line: The Trend toward Green Revolving Funds on Campus." The publication brings to light current trends based on a 2010 survey of green revolving funds that included 52 institutions with at least $66 million invested through green revolving funds. The report details how these funds help cut operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions and how cost savings are used to replenish the fund for investment in the next round of green upgrades.
New AASHE Guest Blog Series: Sustainability Groundhog Cycle
Over the next month, guest bloggers from WAP Sustainability will look at what they refer to as the “sustainability groundhog cycle.” For professionals trying to implement sustainability in a university setting who feel like they are reliving the same experiences and not making progress in their fight to create a more sustainable campus community, this blog series will include insights uncovered from WAP’s sustainability experience in government, industry and higher education. Topics covered will include effective engagement by removing barriers of departmental segregation; purchasing and the power of life cycle thinking in the supply chain; success stories from the world of effective messaging; building momentum from the local community and business leaders; and the integration of sustainability and traditional curriculum.
STARS Unveils 1.1 Technical Manual
AASHE has released STARS 1.1, a version of STARS with minor substantive changes to the previous version, STARS 1.0. Minor substantive changes include changing reporting fields associated with a credit; modifying criteria or definitions within a credit; and modifying how points are calculated for individual credits. Minor changes do not include adding or deleting credits, point allocation and overall scoring calculations. The STARS Steering Committee approved the changes, which were recommended by Technical Advisor Work Groups and STARS staff in response to STARS participants' questions and comments regarding STARS 1.0. New STARS Participants should use the most recent version of the Technical Manual, which is available for free download at the STARS website. All institutions registering after Feb. 9, 2011 will be required to use STARS 1.1.
Inside Higher Ed 'Academic Minute': Green Construction
By 2030, 35 billion square feet of the current U.S. building stock will have been demolished and replaced, requiring enough energy to power the state of California for 10 years, says Liliane Wong of the Rhode Island School of Design in this Inside Higher Ed "Academic Minute" feature. "Efforts to reverse this trend have brought about a new focus on the practice of adaptive reuse in which an existing building is transformed and reused for a new purpose," she says. "Endeavors to achieve a net zero 2030 are part of a continuum that extends many centuries back, connecting an unlikely group that includes Roman emperors, popes, Renaissance architects, present day architects and designers from around the world."