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.
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.
U Virginia Launches Green Lab Certification Program
Launched in 2019, the Green Labs Certification program allows researchers to tailor action items to their specific processes. Five focus areas, including Cold Storage, Electronics and Appliances, Chemicals and Reagents, Materials and Refuse, and Engagement, provide 45 different opportunities to earn points towards Bronze (14 actions), Silver (16 actions), or Gold certifications (20 actions).
Cornell U Releases Lab Shutdown Procedures
The university recently released a set of guidelines to assist lab managers in quickly identifying energy-saving measures to be implemented during the COVID-19 crisis.
U California Davis Dining Begins Sourcing Food From On-Campus
Student Housing and Dining Services, which oversees almost all on-campus dining options for students, is now sourcing Aggie Grown food. Aggie Grown refers to foods grown on university land. In addition to providing students with hyper-local food options, Aggie Grown also helps fund research departments on campus.
Arizona State U to Plant Carbon Sink & Learning Forest
The university will plant 1,000 desert trees on what is currently an empty plot of land to help meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. The forest will be used as a way of sequestering carbon and will be open for university researchers and classes.
I2SL Announces 'Go Beyond' Award Winners
The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) announced at the end of 2019 the winners of the Go Beyond award, which recognizes excellence in sustainability in laboratory and other high-technology facility projects by going beyond the facility itself to consider shared resources and neighboring communities, as well as contributing to increased use of energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable designs, systems and products. The winners project winners are Bowie State University, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, and MIT.
Emerson College Eco Ambassadors Launch Thrift Store Pop Up
In an effort to raise awareness for the college's clothing exchange store, now the Tiny Thrift Store puts on a pop-up once per month. The store and pop-up give students a chance to donate, exchange and/or pick-up clothing free of charge.
Stanford U Recommends Civic Engagement During Registration
As part of a broader push by the organization StanfordVotes to increase participation in the 2020 elections, a new action is required by students when they are enrolling for classes. During enrollment, there is now an embedded form through which they can register to vote and requires students to check a box saying that they “acknowledge the recommendation of civic engagement” before they can enroll in classes. It doesn't require that they register to vote and it will not store any data on whether or not they do.
U Pittsburgh Launches Textile Recycling Program
The university recently launched a textile recycling program to prevent clothing that is unsuitable for donation and other worn-out textiles from going to the landfill. The new program aims to help move the campus closer to its Pitt Sustainability Plan goal of reducing landfill waste 25 percent by 2030.
Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge Announces 2019-20 Football Season Winners
The University of Colorado Boulder was recently announced as the overall winner of the 2019-20 Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge held during the football season. Earning subcategory wins across the challenge were the University of California, Berkeley (most-improved), Oregon State University (best student-athlete engagement) and Stanford University (best fan engagement). The competition, which happens for both the football and basketball season, encourages campuses to move towards zero waste and be creative on developing best practices, whether it be directly through reuse, recycling, and composting or by working with partners to drive impactful changes.
U Oregon Introduces Sustainability Open Houses
The new Sustainability Open House meetings include brief presentations from pre-selected staff, faculty members and student groups, as well as time for casual networking to build collaborations between faculty and staff units. The quarterly meetings are hosted in partnership by the Environmental Studies Program, the Student Sustainability Center and the Office of Sustainability.
U Cincinnati Launches Environmental Literacy Certificate
The university's new certificate program in environmental literacy is administered by the Office of Sustainability. Through the co-curricular, self directed program, students are exposed to systems thinking, ecological principles, and fundamental sustainability competencies with the aim of enhancing a culture of sustainability.
MIT Constructs Garden Space
Designed as a garden that will be, in part, maintained by students, the new garden hosts nearly 40 varieties of plants to attract and support pollinators like bees, birds, butterflies, and moths. The Hive Garden also serves as a test bed for co-designing outdoor spaces to connect to, and learn from, nature in an urban setting.
League of American Bicyclists Recognizes Bicycle Friendly HEIs
The fall 2019 cohort in the Bicycle Friendly University program included 16 universities and colleges earning the award for the first time, 12 that earned upgraded awards, and 20 renewing institutions, plus four earning honorable mentions. Among those upgrading are three universities certified as Platinum for the first time–the University of California Irvine, the University of California Santa Barbara, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Yale U Releases Sustainability Pledge
Earlier this month, the Yale College Council, along with the Yale Student Environmental Coalition and the Office of Sustainability, released a pledge to encourage students to live in a more sustainable way. The pledge is the first of a monthly series of new commitments onto which students can sign.
Hope College Launches Reusable Cup Campaign
Through the new Cupanion Cup Initiative, students, faculty and staff can purchase a reusable cup for $5 and use the Fill it Forward app to track the impact of using the cup on waste, power and emissions.
Marymount Manhattan College Launches Social Justice Ambassadors Program
The new Social Justice Ambassador Program is a five-session program that invites participants from different backgrounds and experiences to come together to assess the ways societal structures perpetuate privilege and oppression through institutions and individuals. At the end of the program, ambassadors present in groups on what they have learned.
U Pittsburgh Staff Wins PLAN Award
Erika Ninos, sustainability program coordinator in the Office of PittServes, received this year's Supportive Staff Member Award from Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN). This national award recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond in supporting students.
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.
U Pittsburgh Launches 'Center for Sustainable Business'
Established with seed funding from The Heinz Endowments, the Center for Sustainable Business aims to engage global and regional companies in more effectively integrating environmental and societal concerns into their business models.
U Virginia Pilots Electric Cargo Bikes
In a year-long pilot program, the university is testing out the viability of electric bikes with a trailer for moving items such as tools and annual plants.