Washington Monthly Publishes 'Best Colleges for Student Voting' List
Compiled from information through All In Campus Democracy Challenge and the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) at Tufts University, the Washington Monthly ranking measures how well colleges encourage their students to vote, boosting democratic participation and civic engagement. This year, a total of 157 schools made the list, which was ordered by the voter registration rate.
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.
U Illinois Chicago Receives $5M for Public Health Clinics
The university recently received $5 million to support the UIC-Shawnee Health Service Black Lung Clinics Program for five more years. The program provides diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and compensation counseling services to coal miners living in Illinois and Indiana. Additionally, a $625,000 grant will support its Black Lung Data and Resource Center, which serves as a national resource, and a $400,000 grant will allow the center to expand its research on health outcomes among former coal miners.
Davidson College Issues Apology for Benefiting From Slavery
The college recently issued a public apology for its support of slavery during the college’s first 30 years and its embrace of the unjust laws and false ideas that upheld racist systems and practices after slavery was outlawed. In tandem with the apology, the college released a report from the Commission on Race and Slavery, which proposes funding and action steps for building name changes, anti-racism training, auditing admissions and hiring with a racial equity lens, and further research and public education about the college's history where intertwined with slavery.
William & Mary Establishes Social Justice Policy Initiative
Starting this fall, the new Social Justice Policy Initiative in the sociology department is a faculty-student collaborative project to engage in policy-oriented and community-based research and advocacy. The initiative aims to bring sociological and interdisciplinary research to community-based and advocacy organizations and policy-makers at local, state, national and global levels. The initial projects are affordable housing, educational equity, eviction crisis, racial and partisan gerrymandering, food justice, and local black histories.
Pennsylvania HEIs Partner With Municipalities on Climate Action
Twelve Pennsylvania colleges and universities are participating in the state's Department of Environmental Protection's Local Climate Action Program, which pairs municipalities with college students for assistance in developing the components of their local climate action plans. The participants learn how to measure local greenhouse gas emissions, assess local climate-related vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce emissions and manage climate change impacts in their communities.
U Virginia Opens 'Memorial to Enslaved Laborers'
Designed by Thomas Jefferson and built by enslaved people, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville recently completed the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, recognizing Black workers subjected to slavery and racism and offers a place of healing as well as learning. The circular shape of the memorial echoes broken shackles and also the “ring shout,” a traditional dance of enslaved African Americans.
U Hawai'i Receives $1.5M for Food & Ag Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced a $1.5 million grant to the university to expand education programs focused on food, agriculture and natural resources. Nine campuses will share $1.04 million for education and training resources for underrepresented individuals and businesses to break the cycle of resource and employment insecurity. UH Maui College will receive close to $500,000 to support a research methods and communications course and internships with local industry and nonprofit organizations to prepare students for science-based careers, particularly in food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences.
Five International Universities Receive $20K for Civic Engagement
The Talloires Network recently awarded a total of $100,000 to five university-community partnerships around the world responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The grantees are Meridian Global University (Cameroon) and the Access Care Foundation; Mount Kenya University (Kenya) and Partners for Care; Veracruz University (Mexico) and the Veracruz State Department of the Environment; National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (Nicaragua) in Managua in collaboration with municipal mayors and non-profit community institutions; and University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) and the Glen Norah Community Cooperative. The grants are part of the University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement, a program established by the Talloires Network in partnership with Open Society Foundations.
MIT Launches Climate Change & Global Poverty Initiative
With a founding $25 million gift from King Philanthropies, MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is launching the King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI). The new initiative will study programs reducing the effects of climate change on vulnerable populations, and then work with policymakers to scale up the most successful interventions. K-CAI intends to help improve the lives of at least 25 million people over the next decade. Its first funded projects will be selected by the end of 2020.
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 California Berkeley Students Win the Student Corporate Engagement Competition
A panel of judges recently selected a team from the University of California, Berkeley as the inaugural winners of the SIILK Corporate Engagement Competition. They were recognized for preparing strong investment recommendations and shareholder engagement strategy to improve company performance (and investment returns) through better environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. Hosted by the Intentional Endowments Network, the Student Corporate Engagement Competition invites student teams to write and present an investment recommendation for a publicly-traded company listed on any major exchange, and include in the investment recommendation a proposed shareholder engagement strategy that aims to improve company financial and sustainability performance.
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.
Williams College Invests in Local Carbon Reduction Projects
Through a partnership with the environmental nonprofit Center for EcoTechnology, the college is investing in the Community Climate Fund, a portfolio of projects that yields a measurable carbon reduction, significant social and financial benefits in the local community, and curricular and research opportunities for students and faculty. The initial $100,000 investment is being used toward building materials recovery, a solar wall for a local childcare center, and energy-efficient heating system upgrades for low-income homes.
15 Canadian HEIs Sign Investment Charter
A group of 15 Canadian higher education institutions in mid-June signed onto a charter pledging each school to follow responsible investment practices. The charter calls on all signatories to adopt a responsible investment framework to guide investment decision-making, regularly measure the carbon intensity of investment portfolios, evaluate their progress regularly, and share assessments publicly.
NCAA Expands Confederate Flag Policy
The NCAA Board of Governors has expanded the association’s Confederate flag policy to prevent any NCAA championship events from being played in states where the symbol has a prominent presence. Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the association’s policy.
Ferris State U Announces Wege Prize Winners
First place winner of the Wege Prize 2020 Design Competition is Georgia Tech and Makerere University (Uganda) for creating biodegradable materials while mitigating the threat of invasive species. Second place is Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Oakland University for closing the loop on campus food waste. Third place is Ashesi University (Ghana), Earth University (Costa Rica) and Trinity College for turning waste streams into economic opportunity while nurturing soil health. The Wege Prize 2020 Design Competition is an annual international design competition organized by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.
U Minnesota Limits Relationship With Minneapolis Police Department
As a result of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), the University of Minnesota president recently announced changes to how the university police department will work with the MPD. The university's police department will no longer contract with the MPD for additional law enforcement support needed for large events, such as football games, concerts and ceremonies, or for when specialized services are needed for university events, such as K-9 Explosive detection units.
U Virginia Partnership Increases Adoption of Solar Energy
In an effort to help the state reach its carbon neutrality goal of 2050, the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has partnered with the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to host an advisory program, SolSmart, aimed to help local governments implement and embrace solar energy.
U Louisville Initiates Equity Changes
In an effort to confront police brutality and building names with ties to slavery, representatives from the Black Student Union recently provided a list of demands to the university leadership. Following the meeting, the university committed to the following: ensure that the university police department is the lead law enforcement agency when dealing with a member of the campus community; perform an equity audit on all criminal justice academic programs; reduce the need for external law enforcement support at athletic events; provide de-escalation and cultural sensitivity training for officers working university events or hired by the university police department, and remove the term "overseer" from the name of its Honors House.
U Puerto Rico Receives $1.4M to Reduce Diesel Emissions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a grant of $1.4 million to the university that will provide funding to replace 15 old, heavy-duty trucks. The university will also develop seminars for diesel vehicle owners and the general public in Puerto Rico to raise awareness about the harmful environmental impacts of diesel emissions, including those from idling, and resources available to help reduce diesel emissions.
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.
Clemson U Introduces Virtual Map of Food Resources
University faculty and staff, in coordination with the United Way and Ten at the Top, recently released an interactive map that provides information on different food resources for individuals and families facing food insecurity. The regional map includes nearly 400 providers across 10 counties complete with information on the type of assistance they provide as well as operating hours and availability.
Four Canadian Institutions to Enhance Support for Indigenous Students
A total of $380,000 from the Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program will be evenly divided between Coast Mountain College, the College of New Caledonia, Northern Lights College, and the University of Northern British Columbia to enhance support for Indigenous students and invest in technological solutions to improve access for remote education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous students studying at the four institutions can receive academic mentoring and mental health counselling to help navigate the barriers and challenges that come with isolation at home.
Washington U St. Louis Helps City Adopt Building Standards
Staff from the WashU Office of Sustainability worked closely with the City of St. Louis since the fall of 2019 to develop a strategy for ambitious and achievable building energy performance standards, which were adopted in April and signed into law in May. The Building Energy Performance Standards set energy-efficiency targets for all new and existing buildings in St. Louis, while working towards a goal of reducing emissions 100 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, and improving indoor and outdoor air quality by reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
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.
Brandeis U Kitchens Make Meals for Healthcare Workers
Meals for doctors, nurses and administrative staff at five Boston-area hospitals are now being prepared in Brandeis University kitchens. Sodexo runs the kitchens and has hired additional staff — including some students who are still on campus — to prepare meals for hospital workers. Brandeis kitchens recently prepared and sent 2,200 meals to area hospitals.
U California Berkeley to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
The university recently adopted a single-use elimination policy that seeks to eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic, both non-recyclable and recyclable, by 2030. The ban focuses on food-ware and plastic bags, and addresses the spectrum of products and packaging used in campus academics, research, administration and events.
U Illinois Chicago Leads Working Group to Protect Monarch Butterflies
A partnership between the university and 45 energy and transportation agencies resulted in the release of a formal agreement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that seeks to protect monarch butterflies. Using the agreement, public and private property owners and land managers can voluntarily adopt conservation measures that are beneficial to the monarch, which is currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The development of the agreement was undertaken by the university's Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group and facilitated by the UIC Energy Resources Center, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
New York U Helps Feed Food Insecure
In an effort to combat increased food insecurity caused by the pandemic, NYU Dining Services and Chartwells Higher Education dining donated nearly 1,300 pounds of food in early April to a New York City food rescue organization.
U Pittsburgh Launches 'Sustaining Sustainability' Podcast
Produced by the university's Center for Sustainable Business, the new podcast series Sustaining Sustainability explores sustainability lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Various societal challenges magnified by the COVID-19 crisis are explored weekly through 10-minute interviews.
Open Society University Network Launches COV-AID
The Open Society University Network, in partnership with the Talloires Network, recently announced the launch of COV-AID: Communities of Virtual Alliance & Inter-Dependence, to support universities engaged in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COV-AID seeks to collect and share stories of institutions and individuals who are taking action to mitigate the crisis, document practical steps and strategies that may be of use elsewhere, provide uplifting content, and strengthen public support for engaged universities.
Community Colleges Retool to Make PPE
A growing number of community colleges are now manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) to help with the shortage among hospitals due to a surge of patients infected with the novel coronavirus. Ashland Community and Technical College is using its 3D printers to make face shields and respirators masks. Metropolitan Community College has a goal to make 2,000 face shields. Patrick Henry Community College announced a prototype face shield and is making arrangements to mass produce them using its large 3D printers. Pellissippi State Community College is manufacturing face shield headbands. Red Rocks Community College is producing parts to make one ventilator serve two patients.
California State U Channel Islands Makes & Donates PPE
Faculty, staff and students from several different academic programs recently used university-owned and personal 3D printers to print protective face shields. Their goal is to print and provide 3,000 face shields to regional healthcare facilities.
Iowa State U Releases Land Acknowledgement
In collaboration with the university's director of American Indian Studies, the university developed and recently released an official land acknowledgement recognizing Indigenous Peoples that were stewards of the land on which the university now exists.
Boston U Partnership Produces Comparison Guide for Sustainable Products
University Sourcing & Procurement, in partnership with W.B. Mason and a team of university stakeholders, announced the new Swap and Save Program. The program provides an easy way for departments to compare recycled and/or sustainable products as well as lower cost items without the hassle of manual product comparison. The goal of this effort is to help departments maximize their budgets while fulfilling their office supply needs and sustainability goals.
Miami U Donates PPE to Health Care Facilities
Unused personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, goggles, N95 respirators, and surgical masks and gowns, were recently collected from across the university’s Oxford and Regionals campuses for donation to area hospitals and medical centers.
U Pennsylvania Provides Community Emergency Support
The university recently announced a series of new initiatives that total $4 million in emergency financial assistance to Penn employees, third-party contract workers and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The university’s dedication of $4 million for these new initiatives is in addition to the $1 million employee assistance fund announced earlier this month by Penn Medicine, for a total of $5 million in emergency.
U Vermont to Receive $3M for Restorative Justice Center
The U.S Department of Justice recently announced a $3 million grant to establish a National Center on Restorative Justice within the Vermont Law School. The center will focus on engaging criminal justice professionals, community members, educators, and social service providers with incarcerated individuals and broadening their understanding of the justice system and restorative justice. Restorative justice practices seek to rehabilitate offenders through reconciliation with victims, their communities and other means.
U Virginia to Support Local Affordable Housing
In an effort to keep housing costs down, the university announced recently its goal to support the development of 1,000 to 1,500 affordable housing units over the next decade on land owned by the university and the UVA Foundation. To address affordable housing needs and other areas of focus for the community, the university formed four working groups focused on affordable housing, the local economy, early childhood education and the employment pipeline.
Curtin U Receives 6-Star Green Star – Communities Certification
(Australia) The university's Exchange hub earned the certification from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The Exchange is a large-scale development that brings together research with industry. Green Star is a sustainability rating that assesses the planning, design and construction of large-scale development projects across five categories including governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.
U California Launches Institute for Organic Research & Education
The university system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in the UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources division with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano. The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic.
Indiana U Partners to Develop City-Level CAPs
The 2020 Resilience Cohort, along with 11 Indiana cities, will develop climate action plans that outline specific activities the communities will undertake to achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions targets. The plans will then be presented to elected officials for review and approval by the end of the year.
Indiana U Releases Resilience Toolkit
The new Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit (ERIT) is an interactive resource to help local governments in the Midwest and beyond effectively deliver services to their communities even as the climate changes. Decision-makers can create an integrated package of information tailored specifically to their community and their needs.
Carnegie Foundation Announces Community Engagement Classification Recipients
119 U.S. colleges and universities received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Of the 119 institutions classified in the 2020 cycle, 44 are receiving the classification for the first time while 75 are now re-classified, after being classified originally in 2010 or 2015. A total of 359 campuses are currently active holders of this designation.
Imperial College Partners on Climate Change Risk Management Projects
(U.K.) The Center for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College Business School is working with international banking group Standard Chartered to help translate academic science into effective solutions for businesses in order to mitigate financial risks presented by climate change.
Thirteen Institutions Become 'Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers'
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) selected 13 institutions as Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers. Organized around the five pillars of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation framework by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation—narrative change, separation, law, economy, and racial healing and relationship building—the centers seek to prepare the next generation of leaders to confront racism and to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value.