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.

Villanova U Receives Gift for Interdisciplinary Initiative on Poverty & Inequality

Spurred by a $1 million gift from Villanova alum, a new interdisciplinary initiative will support programmatic efforts to generate ideas and policy solutions to address the systemic issues of inequality. The initiative will also include an annual symposium focused on identifying the most promising approaches to eradicating poverty and eliminating disparities associated with race, disability and difference.

U Virginia Launches 'Energy Transition Initiative'

The Energy Transition Initiative is a merger between the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service's Virginia Clean Energy Project and its Virginia Solar Initiative. The new collaboration aims to analyze energy systems to identify roadblocks and reduce barriers to achieving a net-zero carbon electric sector by 2050, and to promote informed, engaged and inclusive decision-making.

U Tasmania Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment

The university announced in mid-October during Global Climate Change Week that it will divest from fossil fuel-exposed investment funds by the end of 2021. The university has committed to applying a negative investment screen to fossil fuels and a positive screen to companies and funds that contribute to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

California Community Colleges Receive $100M for Students Facing Financial Hardships

The California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, in partnership with the Foundation for California Community Colleges, announced a $100 million pledge over 20 years to help eliminate regional educational gaps by providing scholarships to students who are on their way toward completion of a certificate or degree at a California community college or transferring to a university. The pledge also provides emergency financial aid to students facing unexpected financial hardships. The initiative is supported by a donation from the Jay Pritzker Foundation.

Loyola U Maryland Creates Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice

Loyola University Maryland’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and Loyola College of Arts and Sciences are launching the Karson Institute for Race, Peace and Social Justice to address racial inequities locally and nationally. The institute aims to provide a space for researchers, students, social justice workers and activists to come together to research, discuss, debate and explore answers to critical questions on inequality, injustice and racial inequity in the United States.

American U Announces Wellness Platform for Students

All students at American now have access to a personalized wellness platform, You@American, with self-checks and evaluations to help each student assess their challenges, set their own goals, and support their emotional well-being. The portal provides tools, content and resources specifically for college students.

Georgetown U Signs Renewable Energy PPA

A new 15-year agreement allows the university to buy 100,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually from 11 existing solar plants. Georgetown will purchase the electricity from the solar facilities without the associated renewable energy credits (RECs), and through a second financial transaction, purchase Green-e certified RECs through a broker for an equivalent amount of power for the first five of the 15-year agreement.

U Wisconsin Green Bay to Offer Sustainability Certificate

The new non-credit, online only Sustainability Certificate Program launching in January 2021 aims to educate business professionals to implement sustainable decisions into their everyday roles to make a positive impact on both their organization as well as the world around them.

U Oklahoma Building Earns LEED Gold

Gallogly Hall features energy-efficient HVAC systems, recycled and locally available materials, roof and hardscape materials that mitigate the heat island effect, and a storm water and condensate recovery system for reuse in the building purified water system. The landfill diversion rate of the on-site construction waste was 80 percent.

U California San Diego Receives $39M for Renewables Integration Research

The National Science Foundation recently awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at UCSD to build a testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries, into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.

Illinois Wesleyan U Earns Bee Campus USA Designation

A coalition of students, faculty and Bloomington residents transformed the university's Peace Garden into a safe haven for bees and other native pollinators, enabling the university to become a newly designated affiliate of Bee Campus USA.

U Pittsburgh Partners to Deliver Meal Kits to Community

Pitt’s Dining Services and the Office of Community and Governmental Relations recently partnered with Pitt’s dining services provider to hand out 5,000 meal boxes provided through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. The meal kits, made up of meat, dairy and produce boxes, plus a gallon of milk, are designed to provide enough food for 10 family meals. Items inside included chicken, butter, cheese, eggs, apples, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Bowie State U Install Edible Landscaping

At the end of October, students, faculty and staff planted a fruit tree orchard on campus consisting of 25 apple and pear trees donated by a non-profit charity. Food from the trees will be used by dining services, while also combating hunger and enhancing plant services curriculum.

U Massachusetts Amherst Begins Equity & Climate Change Project

The new project called Elevating Equity Values in the Transition of the Energy System (ELEVATE) unites scholars from across disciplines to conduct research at the intersection of electricity technology, climate science, social equity, and energy economics and policy, with the aim of ensuring transformation of the electric grid is both sustainable and benefits all members of society equitably. The program was awarded two grants totaling $6.3 million from the National Science Foundation.

U North Carolina Charlotte Uses $20M Grant to Expand Center for Youth With Disabilities

With a five-year award of more than $20 million from the U.S. Department of Education, the university's National Technical Assistance Center on Transition for Students and Youth with Disabilities will expand their national effort to improve employment, education and community integration for students and youth with disabilities.

Concordia U Launches Sustainability Action Plan

The recently launched Sustainability Action Plan includes five-year plans around five topics: food, waste, climate, research and curriculum.

AASHE Announces Top Performers in 2020 SCI

The recently released Sustainable Campus Index (SCI) 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 also includes innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate), Colby College (baccalaureate), Thompson Rivers University (master’s), and Colorado State University (doctoral/research). Details about the 25 top-performing institutions for each impact area can be found within the report.

AASHE Announces 2020 Sustainability Award Finalists

The AASHE Sustainability Awards provide global recognition to the individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement through sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 40 finalists were chosen from more than 400 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at the free, virtual 2020 AASHE Sustainability Awards Ceremony on Dec. 3 starting at noon U.S. Eastern time.

LSE Releases Sustainability Strategic Plan

(U.K.) The London School of Economics and Political Science launched the new plan focusing on six key themes: education, research, engagement and leadership, investment, carbon and environmental impact, and collaboration.

U Edinburgh Pilots Plastic Reduction Lab Initiative

(U.K.) A research group replaced single-use plastics, such as tools used to collect and transfer samples, with reusable equipment incorporating wood or metal. Where alternatives were not available, the group decontaminated plastic equipment for reuse with chemical cleaning before a second level of decontamination under heat and pressure. In implementing these practices, they avoided using 3,000 plastic items of equipment during a four-week period and saved more than $500 (400 British pounds) over a three-month period.

Colorado State U Signs On-Campus Solar Agreement

The university recently signed a formal agreement with two companies to identify campus site feasibility for installation on rooftops, carports and ground mounts. Construction and installation is slated to begin in the first half of 2021 with project completion set for late 2022. Photo by William A. Cotton/CSU Photos.

Illinois State U Rolls Out Water Sustainability Studies Minor

Available for student enrollment in fall 2021, the minor is through the Center for a Sustainable Water Future and is meant to include all departments with interest and expertise on water issues, including overlap with climate change.

U Wisconsin Green Bay Creates Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability recently opened and the university named John Arendt as its director. The office will be housed in the Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI), where Arendt will also continue to serve as director.

Loyola U Maryland Offers Sustainability Management Degree

The Loyola University Maryland Sellinger School of Business and Management recently introduced a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in sustainability management. In addition to liberal arts and business foundations courses, sustainability management students will take four business management courses and four courses addressing topics including poverty, human rights, justice and equality, the climate crisis, biodiversity, and scarcity of natural resources.

U Guam Adopts 10-Year Sustainability Plan

Titled the Guam Green Growth (G3) Action Framework, the plan contains hundreds of goals and objectives focused on five categories: healthy and prosperous communities; educated, capable, and compassionate Island; sustainable homes, utilities and transportation; thriving natural resources; and sustainable alliances.

Lehigh U Releases 10-Year Sustainability Strategic Plan

The university's new 10-year sustainability plan focuses on 113 goals across six focus areas. The plan’s six focus areas include climate action, campus operations, educational experience, culture and engagement, health and wellness, and focused leadership. Each goal is tied to one or more of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

HEC Paris Launches Waste Reduction Initiatives

(France) The university rolled out a new initiative aimed at supporting a zero waste campus. It is sorting non-biodegradable from biodegradable waste in a 200 square meter space known as the Greenzone.

Concordia U Joins SDG Networks

The university recently joined the University Global Coalition, a global platform of universities and other higher education organizations committed to working together in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through our education, research and service missions. The university also joined Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada, part of a movement of higher education institutions that aims to develop and promote practical solutions for sustainable development.

Princeton Review Releases 2021 Guide to Green Colleges

The Princeton Review "Guide to Green Colleges, 2021 Edition" profiles 416 colleges with a commitment to sustainability. Of the 416 institutions, 393 are in the U.S., 22 are in Canada, and one is in Greece. The 416 schools are listed alphabetically in the guide and not ranked. However, institutions that earned a score of 99 are recognized in The Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll.

NCAA Hosts Diversity & Inclusion Social Media Campaign

The Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign, happening Oct. 26 - 29, is a social media initiative aimed at raising awareness and engagement, and educating about importance of inclusive environments in college sports.

Frostburg State U Launches Life Cycle Facilities Management Major

A new a bachelor degree in lifecycle facilities management will educate students about the application of environmental, societal and long-term sustainability goals in the construction and management of buildings, manufacturing processes and products. The interdisciplinary program builds on knowledge in project management, finance, engineering and sustainability.

New York U Commits to Reduce Food-Related GHGs

In honor of World Food Day 2020, the university announced that it has committed to reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions on all its campuses by 25 percent by the year 2030. Through a comprehensive, 10-year plan devised in partnership with its dining services partner, NYU dining halls and catering operations will gradually promote a shift to more sustainable food products through a combination of enhanced plant-based offerings and educational outreach.

MIT Building Earns LEED Platinum

The MIT.nano building, a research facility for nanoscience and nanotechnology, features extensive indoor environmental controls and monitoring systems, open space, use of low-emitting materials, and design efforts to increase natural light throughout the building.

Eight Institutions Form 'Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery'

British Columbia Institute of Technology, Okanagan College, SAIT Polytechnic, Mohawk College, Seneca College, Nergica, Nova Scotia Community College, and Holland College formed the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery. The Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery will help young people receive training needed to take part in a sustainable, climate-focused post-COVID-19 economic recovery. They will have quarterly online meetings to allow participating institutions to share their recovery solutions and will host webinars by faculty and researchers from the eight institutions.

Syracuse U Installs Solar-Electric on Student Center

A recent renovation of the university's Schine Student Center included installation of a 50-kilowatt, roof-mounted photovoltaic system.