U Memphis Professor Creates Green Living App
Green Fee, developed by Susan Elswick, a professor in the social work department at the university, is a game-based app that allows users to track their green-living efforts, as well as green-living issues they encounter. Users can identify and geotag a green-living issue or problem they see, such as trash on the ground, then users may opt to address the issue and tag that activity.
Smith College Adopts 'Year on Climate Change' for 2019-20 Academic Year
The college has designated the 2019-20 academic year as the Year on Climate Change, a college-wide initiative to critically examine the complex and urgent issue of climate change. This program encourages the campus community to engage in deep and authentic critical thinking, collaboration, listening and action. The initiative opens in October with the Climate Equity and Justice: Solutions in Action conference that will bring more than a dozen speakers to campus.
Southern Illinois U Receives Arboretum Accreditation
The university recently acquired Level II accreditation from the Arboretum Accreditation Program for its 1,200-acre main campus landscape that features nearly 5,200 trees, including 155 species and 72 genera of plants. The arboretum has a strategic plan, a governing board, public programming and a complete inventory of every tree and woody plant.
California State U San Marcos Adds Campus Grown Food to Pantry
The on-campus garden will be expanded and improved with the help of two grants - one $15,000 and the other a $3,000 - in an effort to produce more food for the Cougar pantry, an initiative to decrease food insecurity among students. The garden also served as an outdoor classroom for courses on food systems and emerging markets, and food justice.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Wins 2019 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won first place as an organization in the 2019 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, avoiding an estimated 160,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received an honorable mention. Imperial College London's Reynold Lab won first place as an individual lab, and Ming Lab at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign received honorable mention. The International Laboratory Freezer Challenge promotes sample accessibility, sample integrity, reduced costs, and energy efficiency by harnessing a spirit of competition within and between laboratories.
American College Greece Initiates Graduation Pledge
In combination with enacting many sustainable practices at commencement, including enforcing a 100 percent smoke-free event, the college launched a Sustainability Graduation Pledge, highlighting students commitment to help create a more sustainable world. Signatories of the pledge were given green ribbons to wear during graduation.
Lane CC Becomes Bee Campus Certified
Although efforts to promote healthy pollinator habitat on campus have been ongoing for quite some time, the campus recently acquired the Bee Campus USA certification, signifying efforts to create habitats that support pollinators and educating the community on their importance.
American College Greece Holds Plastic Free Day
The first ever Plastic Free Day aimed to raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution and encouraged the community use reusable items when ordering at all on-campus locations.
Lawrence U Earns Bee Campus Designation
The university recently achieved Bee Campus USA certification for its efforts to support pollinators across campus. Through the process of supporting pollinators, the campus is also being used as a living lab to study how to keep populations healthy in an urban environment.
Northeastern U Plants Herb Gardens Across Campus
In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and promote healthy eating, eight organic herb gardens have been planted across campus. A sign posted next to each garden prompts people to “Snip it. Take it. Enjoy it.”
East Carolina U Obtains Bee Campus USA Certification
The university's new certification was attained after it established a Bee Campus USA committee, developed a list of pollinator-friendly native plant species, hosted a film screening and other awareness events, set up bee hives on its Health Sciences Campus, and posted signage to educate campus and the broader community. To raise awareness about projects on campus, ECU has published a webpage to disseminate information such as the Integrated Pest Management Plan, student and faculty research into pollinator issues, and information about upcoming events.
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 Northern Colorado Installs Solar Flower
The artificial plant, nicknamed the Solar Flower, was installed in front of the university's cultural center and is sized at 2,500 watts, nearly enough power to meet the majority of the cultural center's needs. The project was funded through the Student Leadership for Environmental Action Fund (LEAF), which is a student fee that brings in $1 per enrolled credit, and up to $10 per student per semester.
U Basque Country Creates SDG Roadmap
(Spain) The university recently launched a website that maps the university's efforts to 12 of the 17 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and includes an additional commitment to linguistic and cultural diversity, and uses the 12+1 as a roadmap for its work. Each goal includes targets and key indicators that enable monitoring and measurement.
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.
U Pittsburgh Displays Art Using Nonconventional Materials
A collaborative, new art project between architecture and engineering students seeks to better understand how nonconventional materials – bamboo, cardboard, plywood and recycled plastic bottles – perform in the elements. A plywood bench supported by the cardboard tubes marks the center of the piece and invites passersby to sit and take a look.
U Pittsburgh Students Install Bee Houses
A team of undergraduates, called Bee Friendly Pitt, has installed seven bee houses near plantings and pollinator gardens throughout the Pittsburgh campus. Bee Friendly Pitt was conceived during the spring term as part of an environmental studies program sustainability course, which focuses on developing impactful sustainability projects on campus and in the community.
U Alabama Birmingham Launches Staff Sustainability Program
More than 70 employees are now a part of the university's new Sustainability Ambassadors program. The ambassadors create a network among buildings to promote sustainable actions to their colleagues and help implement educational programming tailored to the needs of the units they serve. Ambassadors serve a one year term.
Udall Foundation Announces 2019 Udall Scholars
The Udall Foundation recently announced that 55 students from 50 colleges and universities have been selected as 2019 Udall Scholars. A 14-member independent review committee selected this year's group of Udall Scholars on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care, or Tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. Thirty-eight scholars intend to pursue careers related to the environment. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year.
Duke U Launches Program to Make Engineering School More Sustainable
Called GREENgineering, the new community-wide initiative is focused on high-impact and achievable projects related to improving sustainability awareness, increasing recycling, and reducing waste and energy use. Initial projects include switching to vending machines that dispense only aluminum cans; working with facilities to install more bottle-filing water coolers; and creating an online guide for staff members on planning sustainable events and compiling a list of sustainable event vendors.
U New Hampshire Places $37M in ESG Investments
The university foundation recently completed the transition of 16 percent of its investable assets—$37 million—into ESG-qualified (environmental, social and governance) investments. This latest transition in UNH’s sustainable investing practices has been guided by the Committee on Investor Responsibility (CIR), established in 2017. The university has also dedicated $5 million to community impact investing.
Georgetown U Opens Student Equity & Inclusion Office
The university recently announced the creation of the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion. The office aims to improve resources for first-generation and minority students on campus. Dr. Adanna Johnson, currently the senior associate dean of students and director of Diversity, Equity and Student Success, will lead the office as associate vice president.
Furman U Approves Slavery & Justice Committee Actions
Approved at the university's board of trustees May meeting were a number of recommendations made by the board’s Special Committee on Slavery and Justice, including erecting a statue and creating day of celebration to honor the late Joseph Vaughn, the university’s first African-American student. Furman is a member of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium headquartered at the University of Virginia, along with 10 other universities.
Bladen CC Opens Food Bank
The community college's new faculty-run food bank, the Eagle’s Nest Food Bank, supplies food to food insecure students.
Ripon College Selects Environment-Focused Commencement Theme
Since 1957, the college has selected a theme for its commencement and this year's theme was Caring for Our Environment. The theme was highlighted with 100 percent biodegradable plastic cups, utensils and napkins. Perennial plants were used in ceremony decor and then replanted on campus afterward. Caps and gowns were made from 23 recycled water bottles. Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering that helped uncover the Flint, Mich., water crisis, was a speaker.
RecycleMania Tournament Reveals 2019 Winners
Loyola Marymount U took top place in the Diversion and Per Capita Classic, while Knox College clinched first in Food Organics. Winners in one-time reporting categories included The Ohio State University, Rutgers University, Saint Louis University, Southwestern College and Union College. The 2019 competition engaged students and staff at 300 colleges in the U.S. and Canada who recycled and composted 69.8 million pounds of materials.
U Maryland Launches Green Lab Program
A new collaborative effort between the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Engineering & Energy called the Green Labs Program serves as a resource for labs to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations.
Pennsylvania State U Launches Student Sustainability Awards
In the launch of its inaugural Student Sustainability Awards, the university recently honored five undergraduate and graduate students from four different Penn State campuses. Students were nominated on the following criteria: exhibiting service to the Penn State community and beyond; building awareness of sustainability on campus; executing an exemplary project with a lasting impact; demonstrating leadership in a sustainability-related student organization; and/or creating involvement at the institutional level to affect change.
EPA Releases 2019 Top 30 List of Green Power Users
The Environmental Protection Agency's Top 30 College & University list highlights the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined green power use of these organizations amounts to more than 3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Eight of the top 30 institutions are meeting 100 percent (or more) of their electricity demand with green power.
Washington U St. Louis Launches Student RE Program
The for-credit experiential learning program called RESET (Renewable Energy Student Engagement Team) explores engineering, policy and business aspects of solar projects. In mid-April, the 19 students that comprise the cohort pitched to senior university leadership a feasible solar-electric project on five buildings. The proposal would add 120 kilowatts of solar-generating capacity and have a cost avoidance of $500,000 during the 20-year life of the arrays.
Eight Presidents Commit to Island Sustainability
At the Presidential Summit on Island Sustainability, the presidents of eight island colleges and universities committed to seek indigenous/island solutions to island problems, connect heads of research and workforce development with one another, create an inventory or website of best practices and solutions, and foster exchange visits of faculty, staff and students. The leaders present for the summit were from the University of Guam, Guam Community College, Northern Marianas College, the College of the Marshall Islands, the University of Hawaii, Western Philippines University in Palawan, Jeju National University in South Korea, and the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
Georgetown U Students Endorse Slavery Reconciliation Fund
Students recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum to establish a semesterly fee of $27.20 that would go toward a fund to benefit descendants of the GU272, the 272 enslaved people sold by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1838 to financially sustain the university. If approved by the university, the referendum would create a reconciliation fund, which would be presided over by a board of trustees including five students and five descendants.
Northwestern U Receives Energy Star Award
The 2019 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award recognizes the university’s achievements in energy efficiency, including efforts to accurately track energy usage data and measure progress in reducing consumption. Northwestern’s notable accomplishments include completing a comprehensive building energy consumption audit of all 222 campus buildings and implementing a new dashboard system that supplies key departmental contacts across campus with monthly utility consumption reports.
HKUST Launches Living Lab Program With $6.7M Pledge
(Hong Kong) The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has pledged $6.37 million ($50 million Hong Kong dollars) toward a new initiative aimed at transforming the campus into a testing ground for real-life challenges. Called the Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab, nine inaugural projects were selected that will be carried out in collaboration with the sustainability office.
Ohio U Introduces Faculty-Led Sustainability Hubs
The new Sustainability Hubs advance initiatives in 12 thematic areas to further progress the university’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plans. The three, faculty-led hubs are the Sustainable Infrastructure Hub, focusing on buildings, energy, water and waste; the Sustainable Living Hub Coordinator concentrating on food, transportation, grounds and student affairs; and a hub focusing on climate, procurement, investments and human resources.
Bowie State U STEM Research Center Earns LEED Platinum
The university's Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing is a 149,000-square-foot, four-floor building that features dynamic glazed windows that tint on-demand to lower energy usage and a computerized and automated ventilation system for laboratories. Sloped landscaping prevents rainwater from running off onto paved surfaces, and native deciduous shade trees in the building's plaza serve as a natural buffer from the sun's rays.
SUNY New Paltz Renames Six Buildings With Slavery Linkage
Following a 19-month research and investigative process, the university's College Council unanimously passed a resolution at the beginning of March 2019 to assign new names to the Hasbrouck Complex buildings, named for the original Huguenot patentees of the Village of New Paltz who also owned enslaved Africans. The selected new names carry local meaning, a theme that drew strong support from campus-wide survey responses from more than 3,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, including Huguenot descendants.
Pennsylvania State U Expands EcoCoin Program
Launched at the University Park campus bookstore last summer, the EcoCoin program offers patrons the option of receiving a plastic bag at checkout, or forgoing the bag and instead donating the nickel the store would have spent on their bag to a student philanthropic organization engaged in sustainable development. Now the EcoCoin program is expanding to a total of 22 retail locations - the Penn State Bookstore, Market East at University Park, and 19 commonwealth campus bookstore locations.
Pennsylvania State U Sustainability Institute Introduces Affiliate Program
Open to Penn State community members from all colleges and at all 24 campuses, the Affiliate Program is a new initiative for faculty, staff and students interested in becoming affiliates of the institute in order to build stakeholder communities with common interests in issues of sustainability in researching, teaching and engagement.
U Colorado Boulder Offers Scholarships for Sustainable Actions
Students can now earn scholarships for tuition and fees by taking sustainable actions on campus with PIPs for School, a program offered by the PIPs Rewards app. PIPs Rewards is a mobile app that rewards users for verifiable behaviors that benefit personal wellness, the environment and community good, such as biking, recycling and volunteering. Starting in spring 2019, students can also convert their PIPs into a PIPs for School scholarship toward next semester’s school expenses.
Santa Clara U Releases Sustainability Strategic Plan
The university's new sustainability plan is a living, people-oriented plan that includes three focus areas: climate action, responsible consumption, and quality education. Additionally, the plan includes "Playbooks", which are guides for action that are based on campus roles, such as students, staff, supervisors, etc.
U Maryland Unveils 'Do Good Accelerator' Program
The Do Good Accelerator program supports student teams by providing space and assistance to develop ventures and projects aimed both at tackling societal problems and building successful companies and nonprofits.
West Chester U Implements Bike Sharing
The Office of Sustainability at the university implemented a bike-share program across campus through a company called Zagster. The program allows students to rent bicycles with a one-time, annual fee for up to three hours at a time.
Ohio State U Introduces Eco-Friendly Search Engine
A group of Ohio State graduate students and their faculty adviser were awarded $40,000 in funding to install Ecosia as the default search engine onto 30,000 campus computers. Ecosia is a search engine where 80 percent of ad revenue generated by internet searches is used to fund organizations that plant trees around the world. The team plans to spend the $40,000 on different marketing initiatives, including widespread advertisement campaigns on campus and through social media channels, and hiring support staff to manage programming and development, track usage, and handle public relations and social media.