Portland State U Authors Book on University-Community Engagement
Released August 2016 and written by more than 25 university faculty and staff, the book shares the university’s collective successes and challenges in building collaborative campus-community sustainability programs. It aims to help other schools develop programs that connect students and faculty with the needs of local communities.
Georgetown U President Responds to Its History of Slavery
After a new report was published by the university's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which cites the school's involvement in the institution of slavery when it sold 272 enslaved people in 1838, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced that it will issue an apology, give the descendent community the same admissions process considerations as the Georgetown community, develop a public memorial to the enslaved, and establish a new Institute for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies. In addition, two campus buildings will be renamed.
U Washington Partners Students with Local Governments
In the year-long partnership with the City of Auburn, students and professors will work on 15-20 projects that seek to advance the city’s goals for livability and sustainability. Called the Livable City Year program, the initiative is a cross-university collaboration that connects local governments with university classes to address community-identified areas of need.
U Arizona Holds First Salvage Sale
In an effort to reduce the landfill waste, the Office of Sustainability and Residence Life coordinated an end-of-year move-out campaign to capture unwanted materials and recently held a sale of those items that collected over $9,000. Of the materials that were obtained at the end of the year, some of the items were donated to local charities, such as a women's resource center, a veteran center and homeless shelter.
Energy Action Coalition Becomes the Power Shift Network
After the Energy Action Coalition's newly hired (2015) executive director, Lydia Avila, completed a listening tour with stakeholders, it was decided that along with a name change, the Power Shift Network will decentralize itself into "a national network of climate, clean energy, and social justice organizations, including student-led groups, who, together, mobilize the collective power of young people to mitigate climate change and create a just, clean energy future and resilient, thriving communities for all", Avila says.
Loyola U Students Support Composting at National Festival
In an effort to minimize its environmental impact, Lollapalooza hired 46 Loyola students to guide festival-goers to compost food scraps, recycle appropriate materials and use refillable bottles instead of one-time use containers. The four-day festival included over 400,000 attendees.
U British Columbia Publishes 'Carbon Neutral Action Report'
The newly released report summarizes the school's emissions profile, actions to reduce emissions, total offsets and ongoing and future strategies for continued emissions reductions. Highlights include greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 30 percent below 2007 levels despite a 16 percent increase in floor space and 22 percent increase in student enrollment. Reductions were primarily due to a steam to hot water conversion project (District Energy), displacement of natural gas through the Bio-energy Research and Demonstration Facility and optimizing academic building performance.
Eastern Mennonite U & Partners Launch Climate Center
The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions launched in August with a $1 million donation. Led by the university, the center will focus on connecting with a national and global network of like-minded organizations, researching best practices and innovation. Goshen College is a founding partner institution.
Pennsylvania State U Institutes Civic Engagement Program
The university's new Scholarship, Sustainability and Civic Engagement Program had 11 students pilot the program in the 2015-16 academic year, which included two semesters of classwork and summer fieldwork. The students worked with various cities across the state to find creative and innovative solutions to various issues, from food access to urban development. The program made a three year commitment to the cities, whereby future groups of students will build upon the work that began this year.
Swarthmore College Assists in Community Solar Array
A satellite ministry of Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia is now using photovoltaic energy thanks to a collective of North Philadelphia residents and Swarthmore College students and faculty, who obtained funding for the project through a series of grants and crowdfunding. Funding is also being used for an apprenticeship program for young people in the community to learn about renewable energy.
Williams College Partners on Capped Landfill Solar Array
Supporting the college's climate change response plan, Williams College and the Town of Williamstown have signed an agreement to invest approximately $6 million to complete construction of a 1.9-megawatt solar array on the town's capped landfill. Williams will provide the initial $6 million investment to construct the project while seeking a tax equity partner that would co-own the solar array and provide $2 million toward the project during the final stages of construction.
College of the Atlantic Opens Community Energy Center
The college's new Community Energy Center builds on existing sustainability and renewable energy efforts and aims to work with residents, organizations and business owners to research, develop and implement innovative projects that enable people and business owners to reap the financial and social benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels. The first project will provide 30 or more local farms and businesses with solar energy assessments and in-depth information on funding mechanisms.
U Maryland Eastern Shore Receives $1M to Boost Green Workforce
Delmarva Power announced a pledge of $1 million to help the university launch the Green Collar Initiative, a series of energy conservation projects that include crafting a sustainable curriculum using research, development and training assistance targeting rural businesspeople, especially those in agribusiness.
Western Washington U Begins Sustainable Cities Partnership
Applying its academic expertise to strengthen communities beyond the campus, the new Sustainable Cities Partnership with the city of Edmonds will focus student energy and ideas on a variety city issues oriented toward sustainability.
Scientific Organizations Write Congress Regarding Climate Change
The June letter to U.S. policymakers, representing 31 scientific organizations, reaffirmed human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources and human health. The letter provides objective, authoritative information to policymakers.
U Maryland System to Direct Endowment Away from Fossil Fuels
Following a student-led movement to direct more of its portfolio toward clean energy, the University System of Maryland Foundation, which oversees the state university system's $1 billion endowment, said that it will stop investing directly in the 200 coal, oil and gas-related companies on a list complied by Fossil Free Indexes. Students at University of Maryland, College Park began the push to divest from fossil fuels in 2013, circulating a petition with nearly 600 signatures from within and outside the university.
Yale U Nursing Students Connect with Food Systems to Improve Patient Wellbeing
Students in their first year of the school's Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing program work with Yale Landscape Lab for a series of workshops that focus on the importance of creating meaningful connections with their patients as they work with them to learn to access and eat healthy foods. These sessions combined with hands-on growing and cooking exercises help the students explore their personal connections with food as a way to empower them to promote healthy lifestyles.
U Washington Plans to Host Homeless Encampment
After hundreds of supporters came forward, the university is moving forward with plans to host a tent city for homeless people on its Seattle campus next year. President Ana Mari Cauce, who presented the idea in March, said the school is working toward obtaining a permit from the city and planning to host the encampment for three months in early 2017.
U California Receives $300K for Carbon Neutrality Project
With a $300,000 gift from the TomKat Foundation, established by Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor, the university recently launched the TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project. UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency will lead the project and bring together working groups of researchers, practitioners and students with wide-ranging areas of expertise from diverse disciplines in order to advance UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels through major investments in energy efficiency, behavioral incentives, the development of alternatives to natural gas and the widespread deployment of renewable energy.
Tufts U Releases Student Voting Analysis
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) at the university’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life released a new analysis of the voting patterns of 7.4 million college students at 783 institutions, examining voter rates by region of the country, field of study and type of institution. Results indicate higher participation among education, humanities and social science majors whereas STEM fields lag. Voting rates at four-year institutions were slightly higher than at two-year institutions, though there was little difference between private and public colleges and universities.
Twelve Schools Become Pilots for Clean Technology
Second Nature, Clean Energy Trust and twelve higher education institutions created a new partnership that aims to accelerate clean energy technology commercialization by using their campus as testing and demonstration platforms for startup companies. Through this partnership, facilitated in part by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the 12 schools will develop and implement a strategy for using existing campus infrastructure to test emerging energy-related technologies.
North Carolina State U Tours State with Diversity & Social Justice Lens
Partially funded by the University Diversity Mini-Grant program, the College of Natural Resources and the University Sustainability Office coordinated a recent tour of eastern North Carolina to raise student awareness about the environmental, societal and economic dimensions of sustainability.
Green Mountain College and Audubon International Announce Partnership
Graduate students at Green Mountain College can apply their place-based education by exploring and implementing Audubon International’s programs alongside professional staff. Staff at any of Audubon International's member facilities will receive discounts to enroll in the college’s online graduate curriculum in one of four sustainability disciplines. The goal of the partnership is to improve training opportunities for sustainability professionals and students, and lead to new research on sustainability practices.
NextGen Climate Mobilizes Young Voters at 203 Campuses
NextGen Climate launched a national campaign to register and mobilize young voters at 203 college campuses in seven key battleground states to help elect climate champions to the White House and the Senate this fall. The campaign aims to show the size and scope of the enthusiasm for climate action among young voters.
U Maryland & City Launch Bike-Share Program
The university and City of College Park, in partnership with Zagster, Inc., launched mBike, a bike sharing program for students, faculty, staff, visitors and community members that includes 120 bikes at 14 stations throughout campus and the city.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale to Open Sustainability Display
The new Innovation and Sustainability Hub will feature informational displays about current and future innovation and sustainability efforts on campus and serve as a collaborative space to share information and increase awareness and student participation.
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 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.
U Louisville Removes Confederate Monument After 120 Years
The university's President James Ramsey and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the removal of a Confederate monument on the university's Belknap Campus. Student, faculty and staff members of the Diversity Committee listed the removal of the statue as one of their highest priorities to improve diversity and inclusion on campus. The statue was gifted by the Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association in 1895 to commemorate the Kentuckians who fought and died for the Confederacy.
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.
U South Carolina Enters Partnership with Biofuels Company
Through the new partnership, Midland Biofuels takes used cooking oil produced by the school and turns it into biofuel that they then sell. A portion of each gallon sold will then be donated to the university program. Midland Biofuels recently presented the university with $1,239 that will be used for sustainability programs on campus.
Wilfrid Laurier U Curbs End-of-Year Waste
The university's newest effort to reduce unwanted, end-of-year move-out material from going to the landfill includes a temporary drop-off site where students can deposit unwanted items to be recycled and reused.
Johns Hopkins U Partnership Invests Millions in Baltimore
The university is part of a plan called BLocal, a coalition of 25 organizations in Baltimore that have pledged to invest $69 million in Baltimore through design and construction contracts with local and minority- and women-owned businesses and hiring residents from the city’s most distressed communities.
Penn State Behrend College Earns 'Sea Grant College' Status
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Sea Grant College Program have awarded Sea Grant College status to Penn State Behrend College based on its Pennsylvania Sea Grant work. Pennsylvania Sea Grant has coordinated nearly $3.4 million in applied research projects and has worked with partner organizations to address issues such as climate adaptation, aquatic invasive species and fish consumption advisories. The Sea Grant College designation indicates a sustained commitment to managing marine and coastal resources.
U Connecticut and Yale U Win $54M in Resilience Competition
The National Disaster Resilience Competition, held by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, awarded the two universities and several partners $54.3 million to build on a project that began after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. A coalition of regulators, municipalities and university researchers designed a demonstration project in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that works with the ecology and shoreline geography to protect critical energy infrastructure and residents in one of the state’s poorest, most vulnerable neighborhoods. Most of the federal money will go toward elevating a street that runs through the University of Bridgeport and constructing a greenway earthen berm to protect the community against storm surges.
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.
U Oregon Earns National Accolades for Sustainable Event Planning
The university events staff helped the football game earn Gold certification from the Council for Responsible Sports, which advocates for environmentally and socially responsible events. Highlights include 40-plus percent waste diversion, 100 percent renewable resources for electricity, reduced water use and food donation totaling 850 pounds.
Public Universities’ Group Unveils Plan to Improve Food System & Human Health
A group of leading experts from public universities across the U.S. recently announced a comprehensive research agenda and action plan that seeks to integrate agriculture, nutrition, food and health care systems to holistically improve human health outcomes and help prevent chronic disease. The new research agenda and action plan, Healthy Food Systems, Healthy People, is the product of a joint initiative coordinated by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
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.
Kentucky State U Director Earns Environmental Education Honor
Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez, director of the center for environmental education at Kentucky State University in Frankfort and state specialist for sustainable programs, was selected from nominees across the U.S. as one of five Outstanding Educators by Project Learning Tree. Hubbard-Sánchez connects Kentuckians with a special interest in teaching about climate change. Project Learning Tree is the national environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation.
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.