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.
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.
Portland State U Police Discontinue Carrying Firearms
In an effort to reimagine how best to address the continuum of safety on its campus, the university's Campus Public Safety Office recently decided to patrol campus without carrying firearms beginning this fall. Additionally, the university announced the creation of a safety committee tasked with assessing how to keep campus safe without relying on officers carrying firearms and provide innovative solutions to an array of safety and security needs, including providing basic security and assisting those who are in crisis.
U Pittsburgh Offers Bike Service for Free
With support from the university's Office of Sustainability, Office of Parking, Transportation and Services and a grant from Pepsi, the university recently announced an expansion of the Healthy Ride program, which will provide unlimited, free 30-minute rides to students, faculty and staff throughout the 2020-21 academic year.
Cornell U Announces Racial Justice Initiatives
In a recent address to the campus body, the university's president asked the Faculty Senate to, as soon as possible, create and implement an educational requirement on racism, bias and equity for all students; create an anti-racism center; and launch an institution-wide themed semester focused on issues of racism in the U.S. through relevant readings and discussions. Additional announced changes include oversight of the university's police department; the creation new professional development programs with a focus on staff of color; make diversity, equity and inclusion part of the performance dialogue process; implement equity and cultural competency trainings for all staff; and make Juneteenth a permanent university holiday.
15 Winners Receive $1.6M to Support Student Parents
Imaginable Futures and Lumina Foundation recently announced 15 winners of the Rise Prize, which awarded $1.55 million in combined prizes to innovative ideas for supporting the postsecondary success of student parents by addressing the systemic barriers they face.
12 HEIs Recognized Among Canada's Greenest Employers
Now in its 13th year, Canada's Greenest Employers is an editorial competition organized by the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. Employers were evaluated in terms of: the unique environmental initiatives and programs they have developed; the extent to which they have been successful in reducing the organization's environmental footprint; the degree to which their employees are involved in these programs and whether they contribute any unique skills; and the extent to which these initiatives have become linked to the employer's public identity.
NCAA Expands Confederate Flag Policy
The NCAA Board of Governors has expanded the association’s Confederate flag policy to prevent any NCAA championship events from being played in states where the symbol has a prominent presence. Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the association’s policy.
Harvard U Graduate Students Reach Union Agreement
Bargaining teams for the university and its graduate student union reached a tentative one-year contract recently, which they will unanimously recommend to union members for ratification. If ratified, the contract would be the first in university history to provide more than 4,000 student workers at Harvard with workplace protections. Among other things, the new contract includes pay increases for graduate student workers, childcare subsidies, new procedures to address discrimination and harassment, and the provision of personal protective equipment.
U Minnesota Limits Relationship With Minneapolis Police Department
As a result of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), the University of Minnesota president recently announced changes to how the university police department will work with the MPD. The university's police department will no longer contract with the MPD for additional law enforcement support needed for large events, such as football games, concerts and ceremonies, or for when specialized services are needed for university events, such as K-9 Explosive detection units.
U Louisville Initiates Equity Changes
In an effort to confront police brutality and building names with ties to slavery, representatives from the Black Student Union recently provided a list of demands to the university leadership. Following the meeting, the university committed to the following: ensure that the university police department is the lead law enforcement agency when dealing with a member of the campus community; perform an equity audit on all criminal justice academic programs; reduce the need for external law enforcement support at athletic events; provide de-escalation and cultural sensitivity training for officers working university events or hired by the university police department, and remove the term "overseer" from the name of its Honors House.
Emory U to Install 5.5 MW of Solar
The university will install more than 15,000 solar panels across 16 buildings on its Druid Hills campus, which will generate approximately 10 percent of Emory’s peak energy requirements. The project is part of a 20-year agreement to install 5.5 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity across campus.
U New Hampshire Creates Student Hardship Fund
The university's newest student assistance program helps undergraduate and graduate students dealing with a temporary or unexpected hardship. The Student Emergency Assistance Fund offers short-term assistance, ranging from $100 to $500, for such things as emergency travel, medical costs, safety and security needs, auto repairs and academic supplies.
U Pittsburgh Launches Student Emergency Fund
The Student Government Association recently announced the launch of the Student Emergency Assistance Fund. Students can apply for a grant from the fund to cover expenses such as medical necessities, food insecurity and unexpected travel expenses. The maximum request that can be made by a student is $600.
Missouri U Science & Technology Launches Emergency Fund
The new Miner Resilience Fund aims to help students meet basic needs with short-term financial assistance, allow the university to expand counseling and wellness programs online, and ease technology difficulties for students in remote areas where internet access can be a problem.
U Pennsylvania Provides Community Emergency Support
The university recently announced a series of new initiatives that total $4 million in emergency financial assistance to Penn employees, third-party contract workers and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The university’s dedication of $4 million for these new initiatives is in addition to the $1 million employee assistance fund announced earlier this month by Penn Medicine, for a total of $5 million in emergency.
Emerson College Creates COVID-19 Emergency Fund
The college recently created an emergency fund to help students pay their rent, transport themselves back home, rent learning equipment and more. Every member of the board of trustees, including the president, made gifts and pledges, bringing the total to $72,000.
Pennsylvania State U Launches Student Emergency Fund
The university recently announced that all new contributions to its Student Care & Advocacy Emergency Fund will be used for those who are challenged to afford housing, transportation, basic needs and access to required resources for remote learning, or who are facing other unforeseen personal difficulties as a result of the new coronavirus outbreak.
Western Carolina U Makes Emergency Funds Available to Students
University administrators are currently urging students who are suffering extreme financial distress because of displacement caused by the coronavirus to apply for financial assistance from the university’s Student Emergency Fund. The funds may be used for rent, utilities, car repairs, medical and dental expenses, gas and other unexpected financial emergencies, but not university-related expenses.
Georgia Tech Announces COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Students
The new fund has been established to support students who have a demonstrated financial need related to the COVID-19 crisis and campus closures. Funding is available to all enrolled Georgia Tech students and can be used to alleviate financial challenges, including travel assistance, housing assistance, medical expenses, moving costs, financial support, and food insecurity.
Cornell U Reduces Chemical Use on Floors
The building services department now uses one floor-stripping chemical rather than eight; two floor finishing products down from 13; and one standard floor cleaner. The new products are free of odor, allowing staff to work during regular hours.
Oregon State U Bans All Tobacco Products
The university recently enacted an expanded policy that prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco products on all university campuses and university-controlled properties.
Appalachian State U Adds Vegan Dining Station
The new, completely vegan food station, Terra Verde, has a menu of in-house made meals featuring whole-food ingredients and designed around a five-week rotation that changes each semester.
Syracuse U Offers Free Meditation App
Through a new partnership, university students, faculty and staff have free premium access to the mobile meditation app Sanvello. The app provides daily tools to help manage mental health based on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation.
California State U Channel Islands Library Turns Fines to Food
The university's John Spoor Broome Library is now turning late fees into donations for the campus food pantry by offering $1 for every can or non-perishable, non-expired food or personal care item donated, up to $10. All items donated go to the campus' food and commodity pantry.
Princeton Theological Seminary Addresses Ties to Slavery
A year-long historical audit uncovered that, while the seminary did not own slaves and its buildings were not constructed with slave labor, it benefited from the slave economy. Therefore, the religious college's board of trustees unanimously endorsed a series of new initiatives, ranging from increased student financial assistance to curriculum changes to added support for the Center for Black Church Studies. To support the more than 20 approved initiatives in perpetuity, $27.6 million will be reserved in the endowment.
U Virginia Raises Contractors Wage to $15 Per Hour
The university’s major contractors, working in partnership with UVA, will raise the wages of their full-time employees to at least $15 per hour, effective Jan. 1. The move will increase the wages of more than 800 full-time contracted employees, which represents nearly 90 percent of full-time contracted employees who work regularly on the university grounds.
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.