Virginia Tech Launches Climate Action Living Laboratory

The new Climate Action Living Laboratory seeks to more deeply integrate the university's climate action commitment efforts into the university's educational mission and engage more students in hands-on learning opportunities around sustainability.

Pennsylvania State U Approves New $250K Sustainability Fund

With the approval of the university’s budget by the board of trustees last month, a new yearly $250,000 Environmental Sustainability Fund from the University Park Student Fee Board will take effect in the 2021-22 academic year. Establishment of this fund will not increase student fees.

Nine Georgia HEIs Receive $300K for State Climate Consortium

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to the next phase of the Georgia Climate Project, a state-wide consortium of nine colleges and universities working to strengthen Georgia’s ability to prepare for and respond to a changing climate. With this new grant, the project will engage a diverse network of experts to develop and disseminate knowledge on climate impacts and solutions through webinars, workshops, and an online Georgia climate information portal.

U Bristol Certifies 990 Labs Through LEAF Program

(U.K.) Each of the 990 laboratories at the university have gained certification through the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) Program, administered by the University College London. The program focuses on the reduction of environmental impact of labs by promoting actions that save water, plastic, energy and other resources through better waste management, equipment efficiency, chemical management and procurement.

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 Virginia Publishes Sustainability Plan

The university’s new plan, the 2020-30 Sustainability Plan, includes these goals: carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil fuel-free by 2050; reducing waste to 30 percent of 2010 levels by 2030; reducing the nitrogen footprint by 30 percent by 2030; partnering to advance equity; building accountability in leadership; and enhancing sustainability research. The plan also provides seed funding for sustainability projects.

Miami U Becomes Climate Commitment Signatory

In mid-September, the university's president signed Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments, which set the university on the path of adapting to climate change through campus and community engagement, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.

Cornell U Students Build Solar-Charging Trailer for Landscaping Equipment

Members of the university's Sustainable Design student group recently delivered to the grounds department a 7-by-12-foot trailer that will cart and power electric string trimmers, hedge clippers, chainsaws and an electric, heavy-duty commercial mower. The trailer will help Cornell reduce carbon emissions while raising awareness of its environmental initiatives, aimed at helping the campus achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

I2SL Announces Lab Freezer Challenge Winners

The organizational and individual laboratory winners of the 2020 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge are, respectively, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Learning and Research Laboratory at the University of Bristol. Honorable mentions include the University of Alabama Birmingham in the organizational category and, in the individual lab category, the BioSpecimen Processing Facility at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the Biology Teaching Laboratories at the University of California Santa Cruz; and the Van Der Pol Lab at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Together, the 2020 challenge participants saved a combined total of roughly 3.2 million kilowatt-hours per year.

Aarhus U Approves 44 Actions to Reduce Emissions

(Denmark) The university recently announced 44 activities to reduce carbon emissions, some of which are waste-sorting pilot projects in study areas, libraries and canteens, electricity meters on IT equipment, assessing the feasibility of solar-electric, and using fixed temperature settings for all university buildings in the winter. The four focus areas of the actions are campus, transportation, procurement and waste.

U Nebraska Lincoln Initiates Recycling Improvement Changes

The university will launch a new pilot program designed to make recycling processes universal in all campus buildings. It will be tested in eight buildings before being offered university-wide. The change comes after a survey of nearly 9,000 students, faculty and staff revealed that 95 percent of the campus community want improvements to the recycling process. Overall, the project aims to purchase 450 recycling stations. Along with setting campus guidelines for recycling and solid waste management, it will include standardized signage, posters and messaging; and a campaign to engage and educate students, faculty and staff about the benefits of pro-environmental behaviors.

Georgia Tech Introduces SDGs Initiative

The university recently announced that it will use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to implement its new strategic plan, advance organizational innovation, strengthen the university’s local and global collaborations, and address urgent challenges such as COVID-19 and racial injustice.

Pace U Earns Bee Campus USA Designation

The university's Pleasantville campus is now a certified affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program. The program is designed to increase public awareness of the role that pollinators in the ecosystem play, which the university aims to do by posting educational signage and hosting pollinator-focused events.

Georgia Tech Expands Recycling Program

The AWARE program (Actively Working to Achieve Resource Efficiency), which allows faculty and staff to understand their waste footprint by having them sort their materials as recycling or landfill, is now active across the entire campus. Building custodians will no longer service deskside or individual office waste containers.

Three HEIs Sign Onto Sports for Climate Action Framework

The Ohio State University, Wake Forest University and the University of Miami recently signed onto the U.N.'s Sports for Climate Action Framework joining the University of Colorado Boulder. Signatories of the framework commit to five core principles in environmental responsibility, climate impact, education, consumption, and advocating and communication. Globally over 120 athletics programs have signed onto the framework.

U Hull Enters Carbon Neutrality Partnership

(U.K.) The university recently announced a partnership with Siemens that will create a detailed strategic master plan for carbon neutrality by 2027. Siemens has been commissioned by the university to undertake an evaluation of its energy consumption, focused on reducing emissions and finding new, renewable ways to power the campus. The elements of the plan will include reduction of current energy consumption, energy production using renewable energy, and conversion of the university's campus into a living lab that enables researchers and students to trial new technologies.

Indiana U Accepts 2020 'Excellence in Sustainability Award'

The university received the NACUBO 2020 Excellence in Sustainability Award for its Indiana Sustainability Development Program, which aims to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for sustainability jobs within the state. NACUBO's Excellence in Sustainability Award recognizes institutions for a specific campus innovation, process or program that advances environmental sustainability in higher education or progress toward a more environmentally sustainable future.

U Pittsburgh Becomes Bee Campus USA Certified

Earning the certification through the nonprofit Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the university has committed to educating the community on pollinator conservation and to supporting pollinators by establishing native-plant habitats, providing nesting sites and reducing pesticide use. Efforts already underway include the student-led Bee Friendly Pitt project that placed seven bee houses around campus to shelter solitary bees; the existence of four student-designed pollinator gardens; and the university’s practice of prioritizing native varieties of perennials, shrubs and trees in campus plantings.

Recyclemania Announces 2020 Results

Across nearly 300 campuses in 43 states, more than 48 million pounds of waste was recycled, donated or composted over a five-week term (originally the term was eight weeks, but it was cut short due to COVID-19 closings). There were nine winners across nine categories this year. Additionally, in celebration of Recyclemania's 20th anniversary, the program announced a name change to Campus Race to Zero Waste.

Stanford U Announces Climate & Sustainability School

The university president in a recent address to the Academic Council announced the creation of a school focused on climate and sustainability that will help the university address the challenges facing the planet. In addition to leveraging the university's climate and sustainability research areas, the school is also to include a sustainability neighborhood providing place-based education and sustainability across the curriculum, and an accelerator, which would drive new sustainability solutions through external partnerships with government, industry and nongovernmental organizations.

SUNY ESF & Syracuse U Win $5K Waste Reduction Grant

The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3), and NYS Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) recently awarded the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University with $5,000 each for projects that focus on source reduction, reuse or recycling. SUNY ESF is developing a menstrual product accessibility and sustainability program, and Syracuse researchers will be studying incoming freshmen behaviors and attitudes toward waste and material use.

U Iowa Releases Six Sustainability Goals

The university's Office of Sustainability and the Environment recently announced a framework for campus-wide sustainability goals to be met by 2030. The six goals cover greenhouse gas emissions, campus culture, research and scholarship, campus as a lab, curriculum, and outreach and engagement.

U Chicago to Launch Green Fund

Starting in autumn 2020, the university will open a $50,000 pool of grant money known as the Green Fund for student-led research and projects to improve campus sustainability. Undergraduate and graduate students will be able to apply for funding by submitting project proposals to a review board. The board will be composed of student, faculty and staff representatives.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Opens Food Pantry

A McNair Scholar at the university successfully organized and opened a campus food pantry in mid-February after delving into research focused on food insecurity and students of color.

U Connecticut Honors Women's History Month With Free Menstrual Cups

The university's Office of Sustainability and Undergraduate Student Government partnered with OrganiCup, a Danish company that manufactures reusable menstrual cups, to give out 500 free menstrual cups to students during Women’s History Month.

California State U Northridge Launches Victory Garden Program

The university's Institute for Sustainability recently launched a Seeds of Victory campaign to encourage people to grow their own food. To support people in this endeavor, the institute will provide free vegetable and herb seeds to the campus community and offer online workshops with expert gardeners to teach people how to grow their own food.

U Alabama Birmingham to Certify 110 Laboratories

An ongoing effort at the university seeks to have over 110 laboratories My Green Lab certified by the end of 2020. The My Green Lab certification serves as a sustainability benchmark for laboratories addressing best practices in energy use, water use, chemical use, waste generation and procurement.

U Illinois Chicago Contributes 5,000 Masks

As part of a new partnership between the UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, costume fabricators are making COVID-19 patient masks. This partnership already has resulted in the manufacture of 5,000 facemasks, which were delivered to the University of Illinois Hospital in early April.

Raritan Valley CC Creates 3D-Printed Face Shields

The college’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering programs and the Arts & Design Department have teamed up with a local vocational school to create 3D-printed face-shields for area hospitals. Approximately 30 shields per day are being created.