North Carolina State U Awards $161,000 to Sustainability Projects

Fifteen sustainability projects will be implemented on campus over the next year after $161,000 in grants were recently awarded by the student-led advisory board of the university's Sustainability Fund. Some of the projects include raising awareness for political and social issues through music, stormwater management and water treatment, pollinator-friendly landscaping and a new Alternative Spring Break trip to install solar-electric panels in underserved communities.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Starts Styrofoam Recycling Program

Styrecycle, a specialty recycling program created in 2016 by the university, aims to reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene headed to the landfill by using a Styrofoam densifier, a machine that grinds the plastic into small beads and extrudes it in a very dense tube. A local company in Urbana houses and operates the University-owned densifier for free in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of densified Styrofoam.

U Manitoba Concludes International Bee House Design Competition

The university's international bee house design competition called BEE / HOUSE / LAB aimed to address the rapid decline in bee populations due to pesticide use and severe winters brought on by climate change. Participants were challenged to design a bee house for 80-100 solitary nesting bees. In the Open category, first place went to a team from University of Manitoba and McGill University, and Ryerson University placed second. In the Student Competition category, a student from University of Toronto won top honors, with two students from Carleton University taking second.

Indiana U Completes Student-Funded Rain Garden

The newly completed rain garden installation was funded by the Student Sustainability Council and facilitated by one of the working groups of the Office of Sustainability. The garden was conceptualized, proposed, funded and installed by students.

Stanford U Students Reduce Team Travel Emissions

The university recently announced that all of last year's (2015) varsity team air travel emissions were offset through Stanford Carbon Offsets to Reduce Emissions (SCORE), a collaborative effort to reduce Stanford Athletics’ carbon footprint from air travel by purchasing carbon offsets.

Wilfrid Laurier U and CQUniversity Join Ashoka U Changemaker Campus List

Joining 35 other campuses across seven countries, Ashoka U recently named Wilfrid Laurier U and CQUniversity (Australia) as Ashoka Changemaker Campuses. Ashoka U, an initiative of Ashoka, is a global network that strives to foster a campus-wide culture of social innovation in higher education.

California State U, Northridge Partners on Mobile Solar

In an agreement with DC Solar Freedom, the university will receive 39 mobile solar units at no cost to the campus. Funding for this program is provided through a third-party power purchase agreement, allowing the third-party to utilize vacant space on the unit for additional brand recognition.

Michigan State U Unveils Tiny House

A first for the university, the tiny house project, for which a ribbon-cutting ceremony happened on Earth Day to emphasize sustainability, was a student-led, collaborative project that took over six weeks with more than 100 people from across the campus and community contributing. The 177-square foot house features materials from the university's Sustainable Wood Recovery Program, recycled newspaper insulation and a composting toilet.

84 US Universities Join Second Nature's Climate Commitment

Second Nature recently announced that 84 charter college and university signatories across the U.S. have signed onto its Climate Commitment, which requires higher education institutions to set targets, report on progress publicly and collaborate with their surrounding community, all while integrating sustainability across the curriculum.

Penn State Students Plant 200 Trees in State Forest

In honor of Earth Day, students from the university's Positive Energy student organization planted the 200 trees in Rothrock State Forest.

RecycleMania Reports 2016 Tournament Results

Richland College, a two-year community college was recently crowned Grand Champion of the 2016 competition with a recycling rate of 82 percent. Loyola Marymount University won in the Per Capita Classic category with the highest total weight of recyclables per person, and North Lake College won in the Waste Minimization category with the least overall waste per person. Overall, 350 schools across North America recycled or composted a combined total of 79.3 million pounds of materials.

Indiana U Faculty Mentors & Students Collaborate in Sustainability Scholar Program

The university's inaugural 2020 Sustainability Scholar program paired undergraduates with faculty mentors from multiple disciplines to conduct high-quality research in the area of sustainability. As part of the program, students were required to complete a research work plan and enroll in a class that explores sustainability research methods.

U British Columbia Concludes Yearlong Sustainability Challenge

The yearlong student competition, which sought to engage students to develop new ideas that would help the university address campus sustainability challenges, ends with three top project submissions out of 11 total. Two projects focus on the university's non-disposable to-go container program, while the project that won top honors seeks to target faculty as agents of change by increasing the number that bike to work.

Northern Arizona U Becomes a Tree Campus

The university's Office of Sustainability recently announced the 2015 Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. As part of the designation, the university's campus landscape inventory is about 40 percent complete and will be enlisting the aid of students to finalize.

Illinois State U Students Work to Site Large Solar Array

The student-led initiative, known as Solar Pathways Project, is currently exploring possible sites for solar panels to be installed at the university. The effort is sponsored by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and part of a multi-university effort organized by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

Portland State U Offers Free Art Supplies

University art students looking for free supplies and materials have a new outlet on campus that is populated with unused and donated art supplies. Called the Supply Studio, the initiative is a collaboration between the School of Art + Design and the Campus Sustainability Office.

Colorado State U Releases Web Platform for Sustainability Efforts

Celebrating its recent AASHE STARS Platinum rating, the university unveiled a new interactive website that communicates its sustainability ecosystem using rotating info-graphs, videos and research stories in a user-friendly format.

Cornell U Hosts Diet Education Events

The university will have a series of events designed to help participants improve their diet and reduce carbon emissions associated with food. The events will feature plant-based dishes and prizes for attendees.

Brandeis U Hosts Food and Sustainability Dialogue

Students recently organized a series of panel discussions for interested participants to discuss what role food choices can make in fighting climate change. Called the Brandeis Food Tank: The Think Tank on Food and Sustainability, the series explored food production, insecurity, waste, diets and education.

San Francisco State U Launches Cigarette Butt Recycling Program

The university's Office of Sustainability partnered with the Surfrider Foundation to install new ashcans in an effort to curb cigarette butt litter and pollution. The containers will be monitored by students who will send the butts to a recycling company, TerraCycle.

Virginia Commonwealth U Builds Learning Garden

With funding from a community engagement grant, the university's learning garden received new infrastructure from leftover renovation materials and is used to grow food as donation crops and rented by community members.

Nine Universities Receive $450K for Low-Income Students

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities awarded nine public urban research universities a total of $450,000 to launch or expand pilot programs that inhibit low-income college students nearing graduation from dropping out. The recipients are Cleveland State University, Florida International University, Kent State University, The Ohio State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Central Florida, University of Houston, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and Wayne State University. The APLU and USU released a report on the success of these micro-grants at 10 universities that includes an implementation guide for universities.

Harvard Law School to Retire Shield

The Harvard Corporation has approved the recommendation of the Harvard Law School Shield Committee to retire the HLS shield, which is modeled on the family crest of an 18th century slaveholder, Isaac Royall. Because of its ties to slave labor, the shield came under fire in October 2015, when a group of law school students formed "Royall Must Fall" to demand that HLS discontinue using the Royall family crest as its symbol. The HLS has the opportunity to propose a new shield.

Frostburg State U Allocates Funding to 12 Sustainability Projects

Twelve projects, about half of which were student proposals, recently received grant funding from the university’s President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability. Funded projects include increasing sustainability awareness, performing environmental research, presenting research at academic conferences and making direct environmental impacts on campus. Funding preference was given to those projects that involve and benefit students, are linked to an academic class offering experiential learning, provide long-term campus benefits and address the university's Climate Action Plan.

Johns Hopkins U Adds Sustainability to Challenge Initiative

The university's Idea Lab, an initiative that seeks collective input to shape the trajectory of the university, now includes the Hopkins Eco-Smart Acorn Grants. This new challenge provides an opportunity to identify and submit ideas that advance the university's mission to encourage responsible actions that prioritize people, natural resources and finances to safeguard the health of future generations. The other two challenges of Idea Lab are community and diversity.

Dalhousie U Releases Bike Safety Video

The university recently debuted a comedic bike safety video with 12 tips for safe cycling. Students and alumni appear in the film, which was co-funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Health.

U British Columbia Bolsters City's Climate Action Potential

Student participants of the 2015 Greenest City Scholars cohort have worked with the city of Vancouver on specific sustainability projects including water and food challenges. The projects target the city's ability to be resilient in the face of climate challenges. Since 2010, the Greenest City Scholars Program has brought together a total of 79 graduate students from the University of British Columbia.

MIT Initiates Crowdsourcing for Climate Mitigation Ideas

The university recently launched a crowdsourcing contest to identify projects that reduce campus emissions and highlight the potential for scaleable, educational solutions as a living laboratory. The challenge is part of a new series of contests launched by the MIT Climate CoLab, a crowdsourcing platform of over 50,000 members. The series seeks high-impact proposals that tackle major climate change challenges.

Penn State Students Help Peers Make Healthy Food Choices

Thanks to a new blog, the RHEAL Deal (Residential Healthy Eating and Living Deal), university student nutrition assistants communicate weekly posts highlighting healthy items in the dining commons. The blog posts include information about the nutrients in the featured food, different ways it can be prepared and where it can be found in the dining commons. Food that meets the healthy qualifications of RHEAL are also marked by a carrot icon on the entrée card.

Penn State Grounds Become Bat Habitat

Biology and engineering students collaborated to research, design and build bat houses that will be placed at two campus locations that were identified as suitable bat habitats.

Morehead State U Obtains Bee Campus Honor

A Bee Campus USA certification now adorns the university after the campus developed a Pollinator Protection Plan for its 1,200-acre landscape that includes locally native and pollinator friendly plants.

U Missouri to House Two Beehives

With planning that began over one year ago, Sustain Mizzou wants to install the beehives to teach students about bee behavior and the importance of bees for food production.

Penn State Building Collects LEED Gold Designation

After a three-year effort, the university's Smeal College is now adorned with the USGBC LEED-EB (Existing Building) Gold certification. Since the building will need to be re-certified every five years to keep its designation, business building will act as a living laboratory for students to conduct research and participate in experiential learning.

Michigan State U Courses Conduct Waste Audits

Two of four of the university's Introduction to Sustainability courses provide students with the opportunity to partner with the university's Recycling Center team to conduct a hands-on waste audit of a campus building. The Recycling Center team will use the data to improve signage and outreach materials.

U California Santa Cruz Organizes Paper Recycle Day

The Records and Information Management, and Policy Coordination Office sponsored a Disposition Day event, offering secure shredding and recycling of confidential and restricted paper documents to university business offices. This year, 10 offices participated and 5,034 pounds of paper were securely recycled.

Portland CC Earns Bee Campus USA Status

The community college recently announced its acquisition of the Bee Campus USA certification. In keeping with certification, the campus implements an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan, staff are regularly trained on best IPM practices and chemical use, and the college is expected to use signage in appropriate places that explain the role of pollinators. There are currently plans to develop a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan.

U South Carolina Students Provide Hydroponics to Campus Dining

Sustainable Carolina students spearheaded a hydroponics business, and as a result, are providing homegrown lettuce to campus dining facilities.

SUNY Oneonta Creates Sustainability Living and Learning Community

Beginning in fall 2016, the college will offer two new living, learning communities for incoming freshman. The Sustainability Living Learning Community will focus on management of environmental and financial resources, and finding harmony with the natural environment. The Social Justice Living Learning Community will enable students to engage diverse perspectives and views, critically examine issues that cause oppression related to race, gender, age and other differences, and form connections to other community members interested in social justice issues.

U California Santa Cruz Hosts Climate Science and Policy Conference

Climate scientists, policymakers and practitioners, including former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, recently participated in a national conference on climate science and climate change. Presented by the divisions of Social Sciences, and Physical and Biological Sciences, the theme of the third annual climate science & policy conference was Earth's Climate Future: Uncharted Territory. Three panels focused on public health, geoengineering and geopolitics.

Portland State U Launches Seed Library

The Student Sustainability Center has launched a new seed library where any university student, staff or faculty member can take free seeds to plant and grow. Participants are invited to harvest seeds from the plants they grow and return some of these next generation seeds to the library for others to borrow and to keep the library going. The 2016 seed inventory includes 270 different seed varieties.

U Central Florida Holds Energy Competition

One of the largest campaigns hosted by the university's Sustainability Initiatives is underway for its ninth year, the Kill-A-Watt Energy Conservation Competition. This competition uses scholarship incentives (up to $750) to encourage university residents to lower their energy consumption over a two-and-a-half month timeline.

Six Universities to Host Climate Leadership Summits

National Campus Leadership Council recently announced the six sites to host a 2016 Climate Leadership Summit as Arizona State University (April 16), Cal Poly Pomona and Claremont McKenna College (April 22-23), Florida International University (April 30), Georgia State University (April 6), and University of Wisconsin-River Falls (April 9). In partnership with Defend Our Future, the regional summits provide a platform to address energy challenges and climate change.

Penn State Approves One-Acre Plot for Student Farm

In the works for nearly two years, the university recently set aside a one-acre plot for the Student Farm Club to grow food and operate a community-supported agriculture program for three years. The farm will operate as a laboratory where students will have the opportunity to study food production and marketing.

North Carolina State U Students Compete in 45-Hour Sustainability Challenge

The university's first Make-a-thon, a 45-hour challenge to create solutions to campus sustainability challenges, brought together 42 students on 11 teams to compete in one of three categories: energy, waste or water. Armed with actual campus utility, waste and recycling data, student teams researched, designed and prototyped sustainability innovations. Some projects may get funded through the university Sustainability Fund.

Inside Higher Ed 'Get Ready for More Protests'

About nine percent of freshmen indicated in a recent annual survey that they have a very good chance of participating in student protests while in college, an increase of 2.9 percentage points from last year's survey, reported Inside Higher Ed. Conducted by the American Freshman Survey, the survey collected responses from more than 141,000 first-year students during their first few weeks of college.

Georgia State U Launches Green Office Certification Program

This new program offers university departments and offices the opportunity to gain recognition for sustainable practices already in place and learn additional sustainable practices. The program is entirely voluntary and requires buy in from the majority staff and faculty in each unit applying. Scoring is tiered and based on level of difficulty to achieve certain tasks in categories including energy conservation, waste reduction, recycling, communications, and occupant health and comfort.

Georgia Southern U Opens Campus Community Garden

Opened in summer 2015, the organic garden has six beds for student teams to grow edible plants and vegetables. One member of each team is required to attend a bi-weekly workshop to learn various gardening techniques and skills. The garden was funded by the student sustainability fee.

Emory U Students Launch Interactive Sustainability Map

After three semesters researching and mapping the university’s sustainability network of over 700 staff, faculty and undergraduate and graduate students, the university's Graduate Sustainability Group has launched an interactive Emory Sustainability Ecosystem map. The map affords current and future community members interested in sustainability an avenue to identify a range of existing initiatives to plug into their work. The map is freely available on the Graduate Sustainability Group website through a project that was funded by the Emory Sustainability Incentives Fund.

SUNY Student Assembly Passes Resolution to Adopt STARS Across 64 Campuses

The Sustainability Committee of the State University of New York (SUNY) Student Assembly recently passed the resolution calling for all campuses to "gauge, monitor, and enhance the overall sustainability of its campuses and entities" by using AASHE STARS as the standard. The resolution calls for campuses to maximize each category with the intent of obtaining a Gold rating and potentially allowing campuses to be awarded grant money through Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), a New York State clean energy initiative that aims to spur clean energy innovation.

U Georgia Awards $40K to Interdisciplinary Sustainability Projects

Ten interdisciplinary student projects were recently awarded $40,000 to implement project proposals that align with the university's 2020 Strategic Plan to promote stewardship of natural resources and advance sustainability research and education.