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.
U Virginia Collaborates With City & County to Reduce Emissions
The city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the university will soon embark on a collaborative community outreach effort as each entity begins to update their greenhouse gas reduction targets and develop climate action plans. To enable broad community engagement and participation in informing these commitments, the three organizations are coordinating their outreach efforts across their sustainability offices and encouraging residents, businesses and area stakeholders to get involved.
Central College Receives Tree Campus USA Recognition
The college is now Tree Campus USA certified, thanks to students who spearheaded the efforts to complete the requirements. Students now produce a Tree of the Week column for the college’s sustainability blog, profiling the diverse tree species on campus.
U California Merced Introduces Student Climate Resiliency Program
Students participated in the new Student Leadership Institute for Climate Resilience, a three-day residential program that introduced students to the campus’ carbon neutrality, sustainability, food action and environmental justice communities through activities and tours. Students were instructed on ways scholarship and practice at the UC level address issues of climate and ecological crisis, social equity and regenerative economy.
Middlebury College Releases Plan for Energy, Investments & Engagement
The college's new 10-year commitment, Energy2028, puts the institution on a path toward a complete shift to renewable energy to power and heat its central campus by 2028, sets goals to reduce energy consumption, phases out direct fossil fuel investments in the endowment, and creates new educational programs and opportunities.
California State U, Northridge Obtains Bee Campus Designation
Joining 57 other U.S. campuses in improving college landscapes for pollinators, the university will form a campus committee to provide a forum for the campus community to get involved in providing pollinator education, and establishing or restoring habitat that provides food, nesting sites and sites for pollinators. The university will be responsible for developing and maintaining a campus pollinator habitat plan, hosting an annual campus event to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, and offering workshops to students who are interested in learning more about these topics.
U Connecticut Dining Stops Using Plastic Grocery Bags
Plastic bags are no longer used at Grab & Go locations on campus, a decision made by the university's Department of Dining Services in collaboration with a zero waste campaign. Brown paper bags that are 100 percent recyclable and reusable will now be available at the cost of ten cents each. Dining Services will be working with the zero waste group this semester to establish drop-off containers for paper bags that can then be reused by other customers at no cost. Additionally, reusable pocket size shopping bags will be available for sale.
EPA Announces Food Recovery Challenge Winners
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Challenge highlights outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. California State University, Northridge and University of Texas at Arlington, Texas were 2018 national winners. In addition to national awards, EPA regional offices across the country provided recognition to Food Recovery Challenge participants for outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. Regional winners include Boston College, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Skidmore College, and the University of Pittsburgh.
St. Joseph's College Switches to Biodegradable Straws
The college recently switched from plastic straws to biodegradable straws through an agreement between Student Government, the college’s Mission-Aligned Businesses, and Sustainable Enterprises. Additionally, in an effort to reduce single-use cups, one of the college's coffee stations now offers free coffee to students and employees who bring their own reusable cups.
Central Michigan U Begins Composting Pizza Boxes
Because grease and food toppings on pizza boxes largely exempt the material from being recycled, the university began a program to compost pizza boxes. The initiative was spearheaded by Residence Life.
U Massachusetts Amherst Launches Student-Run Organic Vineyard
The new vineyard received an initial $3,000 grant from the university's Sustainability Innovation and Engagement Fund in spring 2017, which supported preparatory steps such as soil analysis and installing an irrigation system. The professor that teaches viticulture received a Sustainable Curriculum Initiative award from UMass Libraries to enhance the sustainability aspect of viticulture courses.
Hope College Student Completes Campus & City Tree Inventory
A Hope College sophomore student completed a summer research project that was a collaboration between the city of Holland, Hope College Biology Department, and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute. Taking 10 weeks, 3,500 trees on public property in the city of Holland were inventoried. The inventoried trees are projected to provide more than $16,166 in environmental value annually, according to preliminary calculations that do not factor in electricity offset yet. Using information from the trees, a faculty member and two students of computer science released a phone app that helps users identify Holland trees.
U Maryland Begins Emergency Meal Initiative
The university launched the Emergency Meal Fund following growing recognition of the variety of challenges faced by food-insecure students, such as physical health problems, lower self-esteem, anxiety and depression. A partnership between the Student Government Association and Dining Services, the program offers 10 meals in any of the university’s three dining halls to students in crisis.
East Carolina U Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Plan
The university's inaugural Sustainability Plan, covering 2019-2023, outlines goals in the areas of climate change mitigation, academics and research, campus grounds, and materials management. More than 60 faculty, staff, students and members of the community participated in developing the plan over the past year.
Salem State U Receives $100K Grant for Open Textbook Resources
To reduce the impact of textbook costs on students and make college more affordable in general, a new grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund will fund a range of professional development opportunities to engage 25 percent of faculty in Open Educational Resources (OER) use and development, achieve $500,000 in textbook cost savings, and develop a community of OER innovators among faculty.
Boston U Partners With Rocky Mountain Institute on Internship
The new, year-long internship program, exclusively for BU students, allows student interns to work with the communications teams at both sustainability@BU and at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Students will assist staff in communicating complex issues around sustainability, energy and climate change and develop skills in public relations, digital marketing, and media.
Western Carolina U Students Develop Campus Tree App
Students from natural resources and conservation management classes, environmental science, computer information systems and graphic design, with the guidance of faculty and the assistance of an alumnus, have collaborated to produce a smartphone app called WCUTrees. The app allows users to view and identify nearly every tree on WCU’s developed campus. Users can search for them by name or by using the interactive map. The app also provides information on each species of tree.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Launches Green Office Program
The new Green Office SLEUTH (Student-Led Energy-Use Treasure Hunts) program is a joint project of the university's Sustainability Office and the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center. Selected students will work with campus offices to find ways to reduce energy use and adopt good recycling techniques. At the end of the program, students receive $500 and a certificate at the completion of the assignment.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Opens Free Store
The Cougar Cupboard is a new initiative that stocks food and important hygiene products free of charge for students. Patrons of the cupboard receive enough food for each family member residing in their household to eat for approximately three days.
Purdue U Studies Best Practices for E-Scooters on Campus
In the coming weeks, 40 scooters will be distributed across Purdue's campus to begin the initial four-week research project to study how e-scooters can best be incorporated into an urban environment. While the research results are intended to be used by civil engineering and city planners worldwide, Purdue will be using the information for future decisions about whether to allow scooters on campus and how they should be used.
U Manitoba Launches Single-Use Cup Reduction Campaign
Following a waste audit that resulted in a public disposable cup display to raise awareness for how many cups are used, the Office of Sustainability launched a Choose to Refuse Single-Use Cups campaign in an effort to reduce the nearly 1.2 million disposable coffee cups used in an academic year.
U Notre Dame to Close Coal Plant One Year Early
Last month, the senior director of Utilities and Maintenance said the campus power plant will cease burning coal sometime in 2019, one year ahead of the initially predicted deadline in 2020. This recent decision is a direct result of the Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, a multi-pronged plan for a more sustainable campus. The strategy, created by a standing committee of faculty, administrators, undergraduates, graduate students and campus staff, is organized into six areas of focus: energy and emissions; water; building and construction; waste; procurement, licensing and food sourcing; and education, research and community outreach.
Case Western Reserve U Students Compile Business Innovation Case Studies
The university's Weatherhead School of Management recently announced a student learning initiative co-sponsored by the city called Aim2FlourishNEO. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as their lens, students research and identify a business innovation and interview a business about it. Students then publish case studies to the Aim2FlourishNEO site that are also shared at an annual forum.
Real Food Challenge Initiates 'Uprooted & Rising' Campaign
The Real Food Challenge recently launched Uprooted and Rising, a movement that seeks to end higher education’s support for "Big Food" corporations and white supremacy in the food system and to direct the energy of students' towards food sovereignty. Uprooted & Rising aims to create a culture shift through public action, digital organizing and creative storytelling that uplifts and centers the ideas and experiences of those who have been marginalized in the food system.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Earns Bee Campus USA Certification
Making the world safer for pollinators through extensive habitat improvements, awareness efforts, and engagement strategies earned the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recognition as a certified Bee Campus USA. The Bee Campus USA program is designed to amass the strengths of educational campuses across the country for the benefit of native bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, beetles and flies that 90 percent of the world's wild plant species rely on for pollination.
McGill U Provides Staff With Resources to Incorporate Sustainability
The McGill Office of Sustainability has released two new resources that encourage staff to make sustainability a part of their everyday work life. One resource is for new employees while the other outlines many different ways to engage with sustainability practices, programs and initiatives on campus.