Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition Launches Energy Campaign
The Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition recently announced the launch of the Energy Future Campaign at a press conference at the state capitol. During the event, the MSSC dropped off Valentine's Day cards to the Michigan Legislature in support of the Energy Future Campaign. The cards, along with the online cards sent by youth through cleanenergylove.com, called for a renewable energy standard of at least 25% by 2025 and an energy efficiency standard that would require 2% annual energy efficiency increases in this state between now and 2015, with a commitment to the renegotiation of a stronger standard after 2015. The letters also asked for a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Michigan and Integrated Resource Planning, which would require state regulators to consider demand-side options like energy efficiency programs as well as supply-side options in their efforts to meet Michigan's needs for energy, equity, and the environment.
Occidental C Offers Green Alternative to Dry Cleaning
The Occidental College (CA) Urban and Environmental Policy Institute recently began a program that offers an on-campus professional environmentally friendly wet cleaning service. Wet cleaning is an alternative to dry cleaning that uses energy efficient computer controlled washers and dryers, nontoxic biodegradable detergents, and finishing equipment to safely clean garments that have a dry clean label. To kick off the green cleaning service, Occidental will be hosting a fashion show featuring green designers and an informational session about alternatives to toxic dry cleaning. The program is offered by the UEPI's Pollution Prevention Center and a local clothes cleaning service, Sunny Brite Natural Cleaners.
Stanford U Eliminates Student Loans
Stanford University (CA) recently announced a new undergraduate financial aid program that will eliminate the need for student loans. Under the new program, parents with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer pay tuition. Parents with incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to pay tuition or contribute to the costs of room, board and other expenses. Students will still be expected to contribute their earnings from work during the summer and academic year. The plan will go into effect in fall 2008.
U.S. House Passes Higher Education Sustainability Act
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, HR 4137, which includes all the provisions of the Higher Education Sustainability Act with a few minor amendments. The final higher education act will now be addressed in the conference between the House and the Senate. So far, Senators Kennedy, Dodd, Bingaman and Kerry have co-sponsored Senator Murray's Senate version of HESA, and are looking for more support. These Senators are asking for colleges and universities to contact their senators about the importance of HESA.
Wellesley College Increases Financial Aid
Wellesley College (MA) recently announced a new initiative in its financial aid policies which will replace loans with grants for students from families who have calculated annual incomes below $60,000 and will reduce loans by one-third for those with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000. Under the new plan, eligible students from families with higher incomes will continue to benefit from Wellesley’s low loan packages, which will continue to cap the four-year maximum debt at $12,825. The new initiative will increase Wellesley’s spending on financial aid to about $40 million per year, 80 percent of which comes directly from its endowment.
George Washington U Launches Affordability Program
The George Washington University (DC) Board of Trustees recently approved a five-year plan to address affordability and costs for undergraduates. The program includes moderating tuition increases, improving fund-raising efforts for student-aid, providing additional funding for institutional grants to incoming freshman, lowering the average student debt burden upon graduation, and continuing its fixed-tuition guaranteed financial aid program. Under the plan, GWU will provide $118 million in institutional financial assistance for undergraduates in 2008-2009, offer 50% tuition discounts for siblings, and reduce average student debt to $20,000.
Senator Sanders Discusses Campus Sustainability
AASHE recently posted an interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about the campus sustainability related provisions that he introduced into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In the interview, Sanders talks about how the legislation will offer $1 million and $500,000 grants for renewable energy projects and innovative energy sustainability projects respectively to higher education institutions. The programs has been authorized and is awaiting appropriation.
AASHE Announces Campus Sustainability Rating System Pilots
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recently announced the launch of its pilot rating system for sustainability in higher education. Over ninety college and universities will test the self-assessment tool, called STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System). Over the course of 2008, they will provide feedback to AASHE and inform STARS version 1.0, planned for release in spring 2009. The 90-plus participating campuses were selected to represent a wide range of institutional types, sizes, and geography. They include public and private schools, and community colleges and research universities. STARS is designed to help gauge the progress of colleges and universities toward sustainability in all sectors, from governance and operations to academics and community engagement; enable meaningful comparisons across institutions as well as benchmarking within institutions; create incentives for continuous improvement toward sustainability; facilitate information sharing about sustainability practices and performance in higher education; and build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.
Holy Cross Announces Financial Aid Initiative
The College of the Holy Cross (MA) recently announced that, beginning with the 2008-09 academic year, Worcester residents who are admitted to the college and who come from families with incomes below $50,000 will receive four years of free tuition. The new initiative was catalyzed by established alumni-funded scholarship programs that benefit Worcester students.
Inside Higher Ed Begins Getting to Green Blog
Inside Higher Ed recently started a new blog, entitled "Getting to Green," that will to discuss topics related to greening the higher education. The start of the blog coincided with Focus the Nation.
Macalester C Senior Gift to Fund Sustainability on Campus
The Macalester College (MN) Senior Class Gift Committee recently announced that the 2008 senior gift will fund sustainability initiatives on campus. The 10 seniors on the committee sent out a survey to their class to gauge what type of contribution the class would like to make and, based on the results, decided to fund campus sustainability projects. The class will attempt to raise $38,000 for the fund. Sustainability Coordinator Suzanne Hansen will ultimately decide how the money is used.
Northwestern U Increases Financial Aid
Northwestern University (IL) recently announced that it will replace loans with grants for its 450 neediest undergraduates. When choosing who will qualify for the grant, Northwestern will consider family income as well as other financial pressures such as extensive medical expenses and multiple sibling families. The University will also cap the amount of federal loans undergraduates can take out over four years to $20,000.
Casper College to Launch Renewable Energy Program
Casper College (WV) recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to launch a program in renewable energy. The majority of the funding will support the construction of a small wind generator testing and training site, which will serve as a laboratory for students in the program. The program will also include courses such as electrical power, electrical machines, and alternative energy.
U Texas at Austin Launches Campus Sustainability Newsletter
The University of Texas at Austin recently launched 'Synergies,' a monthly newsletter devoted to sustainability-based campus events, activities and achievements. The goal of the newsletter is to publicize sustainability initiatives on campus, create a broader understanding of sustainability at UT, and help connect individuals who wish to get involved with campus projects. 'Synergies' is designed for UT faculty, staff, and students and is distributed primarily online.
Bowdoin Converts Student Loans to Grants
Bowdoin College (ME) has announced that, starting in the 2008-09 academic year, it will replace loans with grants for all new and current students receiving financial aid. Bowdoin President Barry Mills assured that the program would not cause the college to abandon its commitment to educate lower-income students. The initiative is part of The Bowdoin Campaign, a five-year effort that seeks to raise $250 million for the college.
Colby Replaces Student Loans with Grants
Colby College (ME) recently announced that, beginning in the fall of 2008, the school will replace all student loans with grants. The loan elimination program will apply to new and currently enrolled students and will take about $1.5 million per year to implement.
Dartmouth Announces New Financial Aid Program
Dartmouth College (NH) recently announced a new financial aid initiative that will begin in the fall of 2008. The program includes: free tuition for students who come from families with annual incomes below $75,000, replacing loans with scholarships, need-blind admission for international students, and scholarships of $2,950 to allow financial aid recipients to take advantage of research or internship opportunities in their junior year. The new initiative will cost an additional $10 million per year, which will be paid for through the reallocation of resources and the use of funds generated by an increase in the distribution from endowment.
U Penn Eliminates Student Loans
The University of Pennsylvania announced a new initiative that will replace student loans with grants for undergraduates, making it possible for students from a broad range of economic backgrounds to graduate debt-free. The new program will be phased in beginning September 2008, and will include all eligible undergraduates, not just entering freshmen. Students with family incomes under $100,000 will receive loan-free aid packages, while families above that level will receive a 10 percent reduction in need-based loans. By fall 2009, all undergraduate students eligible for financial aid will receive loan-free aid packages, regardless of family income level.
Ohio U to Reduce Off-Campus Energy Use
Ohio University has received a $50,000 grant from the Sugar Bush Foundation for a project that aims to reduce energy waste in off-campus student housing. The grant will support the University's Green House Project, which provides energy-efficiency audits of residential properties and disseminates information, recommendations, and financial support to students and landlords interested in making related improvements. The project will offset a portion of OU's carbon footprint as part of the University's participation in the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.
Stony Brook U's 'Earthstock' Receives Student Affairs Award
The EarthStock program series at Stony Brook University (NY) received the 2007 Outstanding Student Affairs Award for Emerging Programs. EarthStock is a series of programs that educate the campus and local community on the environment and sustainability. The event, chosen from more than 40 entries, is designed to raise awareness and help provide solutions for climate change and global warming by involving local, regional and national government and business leaders in the discussion. It was started as a grassroots effort by students and staff to celebrate Earth Day in 2002, and is now a weeklong event featuring 32 departments on campus.
Ferrum College Creates Environmental Science Scholarship Fund
Ferrum College (VA)has established a scholarship fund for high school students planning to pursue studies in environmental science. West Development Group, a manufacturer of roofing products, made the initial contribution to the "Scientia Terrae Causa" (Knowledge for the Earth) Environmental Science Scholarship Fund and will donate a percentage of all future sales of its environmental products to the fund.
NJIT to Promote Green Chemistry in Local Schools
New Jersey Institute of Technology has committed to spend at least $125,000 to showcase greener lab practices and to measure the amount of solvents and energy reductions that can be achieved when such practices are used in school laboratory experiments rather than traditional chemistry practices. As part of the initiative, NJIT will purchase equipment to help three local high schools get started using enhanced microwave technology, and will promote this faster, cleaner and less polluting lab technique to science educators throughout New Jersey through publications, seminars and the Internet. This initiative is a result of a settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NJIT.
U Oregon Promises Free Tuition to Low-Income Incoming Freshman
University of Oregon has announced PathwayOregon, a plan to cover tuition and fees for lower-income Oregonians entering the University as freshmen next fall. The plan guarantees that qualified Oregonians from lower income families can attend the UO tuition-free by covering any remaining tuition costs not picked up by federal and state financial aid. It also provides students with comprehensive academic support and in some cases room and board. Lower income Oregonians who are eligible for Federal Pell Grants and are entering the UO next fall as freshman qualify for the program.
Case Western Reserve U Receives $3.6M for Institute for Energy Innovation
Case Western Reserve University (OH) has received a $3.6 million grant from the Cleveland Foundation to support the University's new Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation. Based at the Case School of Engineering, the Institute will work to develop economically viable, reliable, and sustainable energy resources. Three major areas of research are envisioned: renewable power, energy storage, and efficiency of larger energy systems. The Cleveland Foundation funds will support recruitment of new faculty for the Institute.
Energy Bill Authorizes $750M in Assistance for Campus Energy
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was signed into law in late December, authorizes $250 million annually in grants and another $500 million in direct loans for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at higher education institutions as well as public schools, or local governments. The legislation allows for grants of up to $1 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and grants of up to $500,000 for innovative energy sustainability projects. Smaller grants for feasibility studies and other technical assistance are also authorized. The law directs that at least 50 percent for the grant money be awarded to higher education institutions, and at least half of that go to institutions with endowments of less than $100 million. The law also authorizes another $100 million in annual funding for higher education research on renewable energy, including $50 million for marine renewable energy, and $25 million for biofuels.
Haverford to Replace Loans With Grants
In an effort to make a Haverford College (PA) education as accessible as possible, Haverford's Board of Managers has approved a sweeping overhaul of the College's financial aid program that will eliminate student loans for all incoming freshmen and to reduce the loan burden for continuing students. The College is chartering a new endowment fund -- called the Next Generation Fund -- to help pay for the plan. All students who receive grants will be asked to make a pledge to support the Fund throughout their lives as their means allow, with no pre-set expectation of how much they contribute.
Missouri, Auburn and Clemson Universities Join to Protect Tigers
University of Missouri, Auburn University (AL) and Clemson University (SC) have initiated a friendly competition to see which school and its alumni can raise the most money to protect tigers around the world. Beginning December 13, 2007, and running through December 13, 2008; students, faculty and alumni from all three schools - each of which has a tiger for its mascot - are being encouraged to make donations in their schools' name for the "Tigers for Tigers Challenge." The competition is being carried o
Swarthmore Eliminates Loans in Financial Aid Awards
In an effort to reduce the financial pressures facing students and their families, Swarthmore College's (PA) Board of Managers has decided to replace all loans with scholarships in financial aid awards, effective the 2008-09 academic year, for both continuing and new students.
Tufts U Eliminates Loans for Lower Income Students
Tufts University (MA) has announced that it is replacing loans with scholarship grants for all undergraduates whose annual family income is below $40,000, starting with the class of 2011. The new program is expected to help Tufts achieve a more socio-economically diverse student body.
U Central Oklahoma Receives Award from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful
Keep Oklahoma Beautiful has awarded University of Central Oklahoma with a "Vanguard Award" in recognition of the University's efforts to protect the environment. Specifically, UCO received the award for mitigating 100 percent of its electricity consumption through wind power purchases, producing and using biodiesel fuel, making energy efficient improvements to its physical plant, moving to paperless processes, and comprehensive campus-wide recycling.
Unity College Offers $2,000 Scholarships to All Maine Students
Unity College (ME) has announced that it will offer $2,000 scholarships to all Maine students who apply for enrollment in 2008. The move is intended to improve access to higher education and help increase the number of Maine residents who go to college.
Vermont Campus Sustainability Network Formed
The Vermont Campus Energy Group has launched the Vermont Campus Sustainability Network (VCSN) and an associated website. VCSN aims to serve as a clearinghouse for sustainability-related information for Vermont's college and university communities. The Network's overarching objective is to create a cohesive community among Vermont's colleges and universities based on environmental sustainability. The VCSN website features a comprehensive sustainability profile for each Vermont campus, highlights projects and achievements. The website also features state and national news and events related to campus sustainability; a sign-up for VCEG's monthly newsletter; links to campus sustainability resources and project ideas; and an online forum that allows the website's users to discuss sustainability issues and ideas.
Walsh U Receives Grant for Green Chemistry
Walsh University (OH) has been awarded an $111,795 grant from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation to develop, implement, and disseminate protocols for environmentally friendly chemistry labs. The project has been designed to involve students, under the supervision of trained faculty researchers/educators, in the development of each lab procedure. This initiative will create a system of teaching green chemistry that participants hope will be used at other colleges and universities.