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.

U Southern California Manufactures Medical Equipment for Area Medical Practitioners

Members of the university community are now building face shields and respirator masks using laser cutters and 3D printers, and sewing medical gowns. In less than one week, 208 printers have churned out 1,228 N95-equivalent face masks and 655 face shields.

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.

Smith College Publishes Alumnae Magazine Focused on Sustainability

As a part of college's "Year on Climate Change", the Smith Alumnae Quarterly focused its Spring 2020 issue on personal and institutional sustainability.

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.

U Maine Receives Grant to Recycle Greenhouse Plastic

The university's Cooperative Extension has been awarded $38,764 by a State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection Waste Diversion Grant to develop a statewide pilot program to recycle agricultural greenhouse plastic. The program’s goal is to collect at least one-third of Maine’s annual waste greenhouse plastic, and partner with an end-user who can convert the collected plastic into resin feedstock used in the manufacture of new plastic products.

Colorado State U Receives $20M for Community Resilience

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has renewed a $20 million partnership for a Colorado State University engineering center designed to improve community resilience planning for natural hazards. The funding will extend the center of work for another five years, allowing its researchers to apply the modeling system they’ve developed to actual communities.

Three Universities Form Racial Justice Consortium

As the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University and Queens University of Charlotte will collaborate to understand their history of race and racism, and develop student, university and community leaders who work across the region toward truth, racial healing and equity. The effort is supported by the consortium’s selection as a Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center by the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).

George Soros Launches Global Network to Transform Higher Education

George Soros, the billionaire financier and philanthropist, recently announced that he is creating a new university network to better prepare students for current and future global challenges. The Open Society University Network (OSUN) will be a global network that integrates learning and the advancement of knowledge across geographic and demographic boundaries, promotes civic engagement on behalf of open societies, and expands access of underserved communities to higher education. Soros is endowing the network with $1 billion.

Inaugural 'Positive Impact Rating' Ranks Business Schools

The Positive Impact Rating for business schools uses surveys of students to assess and rate business schools on their contributions to solving societal challenges. Out of the 51 business schools participating in the rating, nine were featured as transforming schools, and another 21 were recognized as progressing schools.

Cornell U Joins Supply Chain Greening Group

The university's Center for Sustainability announced its new partnership with The Sustainability Consortium. With more than 100 corporate, academic and nongovernmental organization members, the consortium explores paths to address environmental, social and economic imperatives in business supply chains. Specifically, the partnership seeks to connect faculty, students and staff with projects that could translate Cornell research into business tools that spur consumer product sustainability, to initiate new projects that influence corporate and policy-level decision-making, and to advance conservation finance to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices and investment.

Indiana State U Begins Sustainability Partnership With City

The university's Office of Sustainability and the municipality in which it resides, Sullivan, have launched a partnership to develop collaborative community-based sustainability projects and to find proactive ways to incorporate ecological operations at the city level. The projects will be completed by Sustainable Cities faculty and ISU students.

Clarkson U Receives Grant for Food Waste Education

The university has recently received a $35,000 grant as a part of their E² Energy to Educate grant program. The funding will allow Clarkson to expand its current partnership with Canton Central School and engage more than 1,000 K-12 students in a district-wide food waste collection system and education program.

Quinnipiac U Partners to Reduce Hunger

Quinnipiac Dining is now donating its excess food directly to local residents through Haven’s Harvest, a non-profit organization that currently provides food to those facing food insecurity throughout Greater New Haven. Starting in January, Quinnipiac students will work with Haven’s Harvest to deliver the food throughout Hamden each weekday during the academic year.

William & Mary Receives $19M for Environmental Institute

The college recently received a $19.3 million gift from an alumna who wishes to remain anonymous to establish the Institute for Integrative Conservation. To be launched in 2020, the institute will be a cross-disciplinary and cross-sector institute to advance solutions to the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges.

U Tennessee Partners on Forest Conservation

The UT Institute of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy recently signed an agreement to manage the university's forested research properties under The Nature Conservancy's Working Woodlands Program, which was established in 2009 to engage landowners in securing and sustainably managing their forestlands to benefit the environment and local livelihoods. Through Working Woodlands, the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center will work to achieve Forest Stewardship Council certification for 11,400 acres of forested properties that spread across four counties. In addition to forest certification, as part of the agreement, The Nature Conservancy will provide a conduit for the university to access carbon offset markets.

US Senators Introduce Amendments to the 'Higher Education Sustainability Act'

In mid-November, four U.S. senators introduced a bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 that would reauthorize a competitive grant program called the University Sustainability Program. As proposed, eligible institutions and associations, consortiums or collaborations that are working in partnership with at least one higher education institution could receive grants for the purpose of establishing sustainability programs to design and implement the teaching and practice of sustainability.

Georgetown U Offers Discount on Bikeshare

A new low-cost partnership with the Capital Bikeshare University Program makes bicycling more financially accessible by decreasing annual membership costs from $85 to $25 for all Georgetown undergraduate, graduate, Law Center and Medical Center students.

Northern Kentucky U Joins Urban Collective for Sustainability

The university recently joined the Cincinnati 2030 District, which is part of an international network of cities developing a new model for urban sustainability. Facilitated locally by Green Umbrella, the Cincinnati 2030 District provides private-public partnerships and resources to help advance sustainability goals. The organization’s commitment to sustainability aligns with the university’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

U Virginia and William & Mary to Partner on Climate Change Initiatives

The two universities recently announced plans to work together on sustainability and climate change initiatives, including a shared goal for each institution to be carbon neutral by 2030. They intend to regularly share information and resources on their respective strategic climate action plans and implementation, and collaborate on outreach and engagement opportunities internally and with their surrounding localities.