Texas A&M U Bans Vaping
Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the university system chancellor directed each of the 11 universities and the directors of eight state agencies with the TAMU system to ban the use of e-cigarettes and vaping as soon as practical.
U Buffalo Raises PhD Student Stipend to $20K
The university will raise all Ph.D. teaching assistant, research assistant and graduate assistant stipends to a baseline of $20,000 for the 2019-20 academic year. The stipend announcement came with the launch of a Ph.D. Excellence Initiative which will examine issues related to Ph.D. programs in order to enhance Ph.D. students’ educations. Some departments’ stipends were already close to, or above, $20,000, while others will see a 30-40 percent increase in their stipends.
Cleveland State U Receives $1M for Students-in-Need Support
A new $1 million gift will support the work of the university’s Lift Up Vikes! program, which supplies students with food and support services. The gift will also establish a student resource center and create an emergency grant fund for individuals facing unforeseen circumstances that impact their ability to remain enrolled in school. The resource center will connect students with resources that will assist them in overcoming financial emergencies, meeting basic needs, providing personal finance education and creating comprehensive, sustainable plans for individual students’ success.
U Kentucky Receives Award for HR Wellness Initiatives
The Human Resources department's community-supported agriculture (CSA) program received the HR Innovation Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) for reducing the cost of buying organic produce and supporting local farms. The CSA benefit provides participants with a voucher for either $200 toward a large share or $100 toward a small share of weekly produce from a participating local organic farm of their choice. The program had 470 participants in 2019.
James Madison U Adopts Living Wage
The university determined the living wage using information published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a single adult in Rockingham County, which came out to be $11.38 per hour. Those JMU employees who received the living wage increase, a total of 109 employees, now earn $12 per hour.
Washington U St. Louis to Raise Minimum Wage to $15
The university's chancellor recently announced that the minimum hourly wage for regular employees and basic service contractors will be raised to $15 by July 1, 2021. The decision affects about 1,200 workers.
Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis Launches Seed Library
The IUPUI University Library debuted its new seed library in mid-June allowing patrons to take small envelopes of non-GMO seeds of culinary herbs. The project was made possible by a Greening IUPUI grant from the Office of Sustainability. The first year of the grant will concentrate on the easy-to-grow herbs, with vegetables, flowers and other native plant species expected to be added in 2020.
California State U Awards Grants to Support Student Well-Being
Part of the Basic Needs Initiative, the CSU Chancellor’s Office awarded seven student researchers, 10 faculty members and 14 campuses inaugural mini-grants that will go toward identifying ways to connect students with available campus resources and removing barriers to a degree.
12 HEIs Make Canada's Greenest Employers List
Canada's Greenest Employers is an editorial competition organized by the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. This designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations. The higher education institutions that won this achievement in 2019 are the Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology, Humber College, McGill University, Mohawk College, Red River College, the Universities of Alberta, British Columbia, Calgary, Toronto and Victoria, Wilfrid University and York University.
Rutgers U Commits $20M to Faculty Diversity
An additional $20 million on top of a 2016 commitment of $22 million has been allocated to extend the Rutgers Faculty Diversity Hiring Initiative through June 2024. Under the initiative, the university has agreed to provide half the salary support for the first three years of each newly hired faculty member’s service at Rutgers, along with additional funds to support mentoring and retention.
U California Academic Researchers to Form Union
The UC system and United Auto Workers 5810 have reached an agreement on the composition of a new collective bargaining unit covering professional researchers and other academics at UC campuses and Schools of Medicine. Once the collective bargaining has been certified, bargaining is expected to begin in early may.
Miami Dade College Adjuncts Vote to Form Union
The part-time professors, who make up a majority of MDC’s total faculty, recently voted 587-to-573 in favor of forming a union with the Florida arm of the Service Employees International Union. The adjuncts hope to lobby for increased wages, health benefits and added transparency in course assignment. About 42 percent of the eligible voters casted ballots in the month-long election.
82 US Schools Receive Grants to Create Smoke/Tobacco-Free Policies
The CVS Health Foundation, in partnership with the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative, is awarding more than $1.4 million total to 82 U.S. colleges and universities to help them advocate for, adopt and implement 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies, including limiting the use of e-cigarettes.
Elon U Adjuncts Vote to Form Union
In mid-March, adjunct professors at the university voted 112-to-68 in favor of forming a union with the Service Employees International Union. The successful vote means that Elon’s adjunct faculty can begin negotiations with university leaders over pay, benefits, working conditions and other work-related issues.
U Virginia Raises Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour
UVA recently announced that it will pay all full-time, benefits-eligible employees in its academic division and medical center a living wage of at least $15 an hour, beginning Jan. 1. Of the university's more than 17,400 full-time, benefits-eligible workers, 1,400 paychecks will be affected.
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.
Delta College Professors Form Union
The faculty at the Michigan college voted to unionize 145 to 24. The new bargaining unit is affiliated with the National Education Association.
U New Hampshire Pilots Employee Bike Program
A total of 30 facilities department staff members have been trained to participate in the new bike program. They are replacing trips to meetings that previously would have included the use of a car with bike travel. To support the program, UNH purchased six bikes, lights, racks, lock, and helmets. The facilities team plans to share information with new groups across campus that want to adopt the program.
U California System Researchers Vote to Unionize
The 5,000-member union of researchers who are not faculty members or postdoctoral fellows filed representation petitions with California’s Public Employment Relations Board in September, with about two-thirds supporting unionization. The state board must certify the union before collective bargaining can begin.
Pennsylvania State U Goes Tobacco- & Smoke-Free
The university updated one of its policies this fall to prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco in and on all university owned or leased properties, facilities and vehicles. The university will offer support for students and employees who are current tobacco users and those who may be working toward quitting.
North Country CC to Go Tobacco-Free With Aid of Grant
With the aid of an $18,800 grant from the Truth Initiative, the community college will go tobacco-free on its three campuses by 2020. The college will create a Tobacco-Free Task Force to assess tobacco-related issues on campus, educate and engage students and staff on the need for and benefits of going tobacco-free, identify a plan to address treatment for those who are interested in quitting, and develop a tobacco-free policy recommendation.
Pennsylvania State U Gets Nearly $4M Grant for Community Wellness Program
Penn State College of Medicine has received a nearly $4 million grant to promote healthy lifestyles and improve nutrition for Hispanic people living in nearby Berks and Lebanon counties. Awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s REACH project, the grant will help establish healthy nutrition standards, provide healthier food access at community venues and increase electronic benefit transfer acceptance. It will also help create a bilingual hospital-based breastfeeding program.
McGill U Provides Staff With Resources to Incorporate Sustainability
The McGill Office of Sustainability has released two new resources that encourage staff to make sustainability a part of their everyday work life. One resource is for new employees while the other outlines many different ways to engage with sustainability practices, programs and initiatives on campus.
Columbia U Postdoc Students Vote to Unionize
The National Labor Relations Board announced recently that postdoctoral workers and associate research scientists voted 729-339 in favor of joining the Columbia Postdoctoral Workers-United Auto Workers Union. This is the first certified postdoctoral union at a private university.
Duke U No Longer Requires Job Applicants to Disclose Criminal History
Effective Nov. 1, 2018, the university and its healthcare system will no longer ask individuals whether they have ever been convicted of a crime as part of the process of applying for employment. Duke will continue to conduct background checks on criminal history, government sanctions and driving records when relevant at the offer stage for finalists of staff and faculty positions who have been recommended for hire, although a criminal record does not necessarily preclude someone from being hired.
Indiana U Boosts Wellness With 3-Week Challenge
The three-week challenge will start at the beginning of October and aims to encourage everyday physical activities that benefit human health and the environment. Free for all members of the IU community to participate, the challenge focuses on one form of sustainable physical activity per week.
U Strathclyde Begins Employee Well-Being & Sustainability Program
(U.K.) Following a successful five-month pilot period, the employee well-being and sustainability program will be offered to all employees in October 2018. Employees can earn points for tracking activity in areas such as fitness, commuting and waste. Employees who receive the most points are able to win individual voucher prizes, while teams with the most points can award a charity donation.
U Washington Researchers Help Government Building Get Fitwel Certification
Two researchers in the university's Civil & Environmental Engineering department assisted the city of Bellevue with Fitwel certification of its city hall. Administered by the Center for Active Design, Fitwel encourages the adoption of 63 strategies that support healthy behavior by occupants. Out of a total possible 144 points, Bellevue City Hall earned 92 points, receiving a one-star rating.
U Missouri Announces Ban on All Tobacco Use
The new policy prohibits all use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on campus. The university applied for and won a grant from the American Cancer Society to help implement it.
U Tennessee Knoxville Initiates Smoke-Free Campus Policy
In an effort to protect the health and safety of university students, employees and visitors and to promote a healthy and safe work, educational and living environment, the university passed a smoke-free policy and procedure, which prohibits smoking in and on all university property, including smoking in private vehicles when parked or operated on university property. The policy also prohibits littering on university property with tobacco products or the remains of any tobacco products.
Goucher College Goes Smoke- & Tobacco-Free
As part of continuing efforts to improve the health and well-being of the Goucher community, Goucher College is a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus, as of mid-July. This policy applies not only to smoking any substance, but also to the use of e-cigarettes and any form of tobacco anywhere on campus.
U Iowa Allocates Benefits to Non-Tenure-Track Professors
Following months of protests and meetings with administrators, non-tenure-track faculty members at the university won expanded health insurance benefits, dependent coverage, retirement and sick leave. As of next month, visiting faculty members with half-time or greater appointments for a year or more are eligible for the same university benefits as full-time university employees.
U South Carolina Health Center Earns LEED Gold
The Center for Health and Well-Being's sustainability features include a central automation system for the HVAC equipment, occupancy sensors for lights, recycled content materials, and water efficient fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens.
U Bristol to Pilot Well-Being & Sustainability Program
(U.K.) The three-month Be the Change pilot program started in July 2018 and encourages the university’s 6,000 staff members to adopt well-being behaviors, such as volunteering, mindfulness and keeping active. It also promotes sustainable travel, energy and water conservation, and sustainable purchasing.
Nazareth College Adjuncts Form Union
In an effort to improve their working conditions, adjuncts who taught in the 2017-2018 academic year recently voted 3-to-1 in favor of unionizing through Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Education Dept Announces 2018 Green Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Education's 2018 Green Ribbon Schools program selected six postsecondary institutions, 46 schools, and six districts as honorees. They are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
Emory U Opens Biking & Pedestrian Trail
Developed through a partnership with Emory and the Path Foundation and opened on Earth Day, a new, 12-foot wide, paved bicycle and pedestrian trail opened that will eventually link Emory’s Clairmont Campus to a scenic, off-road trail system. The new trail replaces a previous section of narrow sidewalk.
U Washington Postdoctoral Researchers Form Union
Postdoctoral researchers recently voted to form a union affiliated with United Auto Workers. More than 700 of the campus’ 1,100 postdocs participated in the election, with 89 percent of unchallenged ballots being cast in favor of unionization.
Wesleyan U Offers Bike Sharing Service
In mid-April, the university placed 100 orange bikes on campus through a company called Spin, a bike sharing program that allows students to use the bikes for a small fee. The system works with an app that allows registered users to scan a QR code on any bike, which unlocks the bike for use. In the first seven days, nearly 1,000 individuals used the bikes for 2,082 total trips.
U Bath to Pay Voluntary Living Wage
(U.K.) The university is applying for formal accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation to reinforce its commitment to ensure salaries keep pace with the cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announces living wage rates in the first week of November each year and, once accredited, the university will be committed to implementing that rate.
Harvard U Graduate Assistants Vote for Union
Graduate students at Harvard University voted 1,931 to 1,523 to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The election, held earlier this month, was the second on the union issue, as a 2016 vote proved inconclusive.
U North Carolina Wilmington Student Creates Wellness Campaign
UNCW sophomore Victoria Rause founded a new student organization called PERK, People Encouraging Random Kindness, that seeks to help students cope with stress by doing encouraging things for fellow students, like distributing notecards with nice thoughts written on them or passing out candy, all while teaching students to look for opportunities to promote kindness and rethink the way they view their perceived obstacles.
Cornell U Promotes Climate Literacy for Staff
Members of the university's Employee Assembly voted earlier this month to support staff involvement and participation in campus climate change literacy policy and programs, in an effort to ensure the success of the Climate Action Plan. Highlighting the scientific consensus of global climate change, the resolution notes the impact of climate change on employee happiness and well-being. Climate change literacy was defined in the resolution as an understanding of an individual’s influence on climate and climate’s influence on individuals.
Harvard U Installs Rails on Trucks to Protect Cyclists & Pedestrians
After a successful pilot to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, university fleet technicians have begun installing side guards on all existing, eligible Harvard-owned trucks, including box trucks, and solid waste and recycling trucks. Harvard has also begun asking vendors that drive large trucks to campus to install side guards on eligible trucks as quickly as possible.
California State U Northridge Rolls Out Bike Rental Program
In mid-January, LimeBike delivered 400 bicycles to the campus that are now part of a rental program to provide an alternative mode of transportation to the campus community. There is no membership fee required, however the rental fee is 50 cents per half hour with no time limit. Solar-powered GPS units will allow the university to determine where bike lanes are most needed.