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.
Universities Help Launch 'Intentional Endowments Network'
Nearly 20 universities recently announced the formal launch of the Intentional Endowments Network. To support the development of intentionally designed endowments, the network facilitates peer-to-peer connection and learning, thought leadership and collaborative action. This peer-learning network engages senior decision-makers and key stakeholders in dialogue around the full range of options related to sustainable investing.
Dickinson College Presents Prize to Pulitzer Prize-Winning Elizabeth Kolbert
The college will present Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert with The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. The $100,000 prize was created to focus attention on the need to reduce the impact of human lives on the planet, particularly given the rising population predictions for this century. Kolbert's most recent book, The Sixth Extinction, won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2015.
100 Geoscientists Urge AGU to Drop Exxon Sponsorship
Recently more than 100 geoscientists sent a letter to the president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world’s largest association of Earth scientists, urging the association to end its sponsorship deal with ExxonMobil because of the companies role in providing misinformation about climate change and polarizing the American public. Geoscientists that have not yet signed the letter are invited to do so.
California State U Fresno Partners on Sustainable Parks
Fresno State is partnering with the city to offer 19 new courses as part of its Sustainable Parks and Recreation Community Initiative. The new initiative will promote student success by providing recreation administration classes with opportunities for applied learning, service in local communities and research
U Central Florida Students to Participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University
Seventeen students were recently selected to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). CGI U will mentor and assist students with their individual and group projects to create positive change. The CGI U has five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.
Middlebury College Asks Fans to Practice Sustainability
The Green Panther Challenge is a new program through Middlebury College's Office of Sustainability Integration (OSI) and Athletics that seeks to engage student athletes and their fans by challenging them to practice sustainability. With a theme of waste reduction this year, a series of Perfect Sort Gamedays asks fans correctly sort all their waste during the game into recycling, compost and trash in order to reduce what goes into the landfill. Student athletic teams will set their own team goals for better practices, such as increasing recycling in the locker rooms.
Georgia State U Receives $400K to Support Community Health
In an effort to address the impacts of urban food deserts, the university's School of Public Health's Center of Excellence on Health Disparities Research was recently granted $400,000 to implement a Healthy Corner Stores Initiative that encourages corner store owners to carry healthier food options. The funding comes from the Center for Disease Control's Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Health.
Northwestern U Community Initiative Tackles Food Insecurity
Plates Over Waste is a new university initiative involving the surrounding city's youth to address food insecurity. Inspired by a unanimous decision by the French National Assembly that obliges supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity or repurpose as animal feed, Plates Over Waste co-founder, Devon Malcolm Reid, is seeking similar changes in his community where one in seven residents suffer from food insecurity.
U South Carolina Honors Individuals for Community and Social Work
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. memorial holiday, the university honored Bobby Donaldson for his role in the university's recently established Center for Civil Rights History and Research, Alysha Baratta for her work to establish a community garden for refugees, and Lemuel Watson for efforts to raise awareness about barriers for underrepresented groups in the field of education.
Energy Dept. Announces 16 Collegiate Teams to Compete in Solar Decathlon 2017
The U.S. Department of Energy selected the teams from colleges and universities across the U.S. and around the world that will now begin the nearly two-year process of building solar-powered houses that are affordable, innovative and highly energy-efficient. The 16 teams include eight returning teams and eight new teams.
AASHE Appoints 43 Community Members to Governance Bodies
After AASHE's first governance election, Jay Antle with Johnson County Community College and Ben Champion from University of Arizona now hold two member-elected seats on the AASHE Board of Directors. Four members were appointed to the STARS Steering Committee, 17 and 22 were appointed or reappointed to the STARS Technical Advisors group and Advisory Council, respectively.
U Maryland to Jointly Host Climate Action 2016 Summit
The university recently announced Climate Action 2016: Catalyzing a Sustainable Future, a global summit to be held at the College Park campus and in downtown Washington, D.C., in May 2016. With global and multi-sector stakeholders, including World Bank and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the summit's focus will be in developing methodologies for global climate implementation.
U Oregon Pilots Bulk Solar Purchasing for Employees and Community
The university's Sustainability Office partnered with Northwest SEED to work with local solar panel installers to negotiate a group rate and develop a streamlined design and installation process resulting in discounted rates to university employees and community members.
Indiana State U Creates Solar Art Installation
In honor of the university's 25th anniversary of its Recycle Center, two local arts organizations designed and constructed the Solar Sycamore, a leaf-shaped sculpture that includes grid-tied solar panels that power LED lights. Additionally, the surrounding grounds will be planted with native prairie grasses, include a water retention system and sidewalks will be completed using a porous surface.
Johns Hopkins U Commits to Reduce Local Economic Disparities
In an effort to reduce economic divisions in the Baltimore area, the university recently announced a commitment to direct 17 percent of construction projects to minority and women-owned or disadvantaged businesses, and hire 60 people each year from ZIP codes with high unemployment or poverty rates.
U District Columbia Builds Urban Farm Food Hub
This fall, over 1,000 volunteers united to build the East Capitol Urban Farm as part of a D.C community improvement day. A model for temporary use of vacant lots, the transformed, three-acre parcel of land will provide local residents with a food production, food preparation and distribution, water management and targeted community education programs.
Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Announces Finalists
The first food system-focused Biomimicry Global Design Challenge selected University of Oregon as top finalist with a design to help keep nutrients in the soil. In the student-only competition, a team from University of Calgary claimed first, University of California second and Wageningen University won third.
North Carolina State U Students Help Businesses Become More Sustainable
Through the Business Sustainability Collaborative of the university's Poole College of Management, the university launched the B Corp Clinic that assigns student teams to companies aiming to attain B Corp status. Students volunteer four to six hours a week evaluating their assigned company and present interim and final presentations with recommendations on how to achieve B Corp certification.
Indiana U Bloomington Sustainability Office Hosts Students from Istanbul
Following a 2014 program that brought together Turkish and American students from five universities, seven Turkish students spent time with sustainability offices at the Indiana University and University of Chicago to learn about campus gardens and composting, fossil fuel consumption and alternative utility initiatives, and first year experiences that incorporate sustainability.
U Maryland Partners with Community on Renewable Energy Awareness
The university's Center for Young Children and the Energy Research Center recently hosted 14 students, ages 4 and 5 years old, offering them the opportunity to see how the university uses clean and renewable energy. The children visit photovoltaic panels, an electric car and a research lab.
Inside Higher Ed 'Town-Gown With a Global Twist'
The recent article from Inside Higher Ed cites research conducted on attitudes of owners and employees of local business and service providers toward the presence of international students in the community. This research was presented recently at a NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference session focused on integrating international students into the broader community.
U Minnesota Students Turn Lawn Into Community Garden
Dozens of students and community members gathered with shovels, rakes and hoes to transform the vacant piece of land into a project that will increase community members' access to affordable, healthy food and to serve as a teaching tool for students and faculty members.
U Manitoba Takes Action to Save Local Lake
The university formally joined the growing coalition to improve water quality in Lake Winnipeg, the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world, by signing the Lake Friendly Accord. The university's commitment in the agreement integrates research, education, planning and operations.
Champlain College Organizes Community Service Day
The college's faculty, staff and leadership team recently took an afternoon off from their regular duties to give back to the Burlington community with its second annual Dare to Contribute Day of Service that included social and equity initiatives.
U North Carolina Greensboro Tackles Local Food Access Issues
University students, staff, faculty and community members recently took part in FOODSTORM, a local brainstorm about Greensboro’s food needs. The purpose of the event was to host interdisciplinary conversations about local food needs and then to catalyze action to gear up for the local growing season.
Rice U Faculty Lead Guerilla Environmental Public Art Campaign
To raise awareness of climate change and its impact on the world’s species, two university faculty organized the Fossilized in Houston art campaign that hosts 15 local artists' represenations of species that are expected to go extinct as a result of climate change in the near future. With the help of dozens of concerned Houstonians, they’ve been placing these images around the city.
U Illinois Chicago Promotes Transboundary Water Sharing
The university's Institute for the Humanities & Institute for Environmental Science & Policy sponsored Water after Borders: Global Stakes, Local Politics, a summit that brought humanities scholars into dialogue with international policy to explore the political, ethical, cultural, economic and environmental dimensions of water management. The focus was on transboundary waters.
The George Washington U Announces Winners of Eco-Equity Challenge
On Earth Day, the university celebrated the Power of Partnerships by announcing the winners of the new Eco-Equity Challenge initiative, funded by Siemens, that provides up to $15,000 in grants for students to partner with community organizations and pursue original environmental and social justice projects during the 2015-16 academic year.
Morehead State U Hosts Community Earth Day Festival
The university's Sustainability Committee hosted a Community Earth Day Festival at the city park that included local food and craft vendors. The purpose of the festival was to bring awareness to the community of environmental & sustainability issues in the community. Information on local watershed protection programs, bicycle safety, local food, and energy conservation were provided.
Emory U Program Partners with Farmworkers to Give Healthcare
A service-learning project that includes more than 200 students, faculty members, and community volunteers, the annual South Georgia Farmworker Health Project clinics use teams of students and faculty from different Emory School of Medicine programs to treat people who have never seen a doctor before, women in labor, and workers with acute illnesses and chronic conditions.
Paul Smith's College Students Communicate About Climate Change
A climate communication class recently organized a science, art and music festival, where students developed creative, place-based presentations on climate change in the Adirondacks for influential members of the region who can pass the information along to their constituents.
Northern Arizona U Helps Feed Food Insecure Population
(U.S.): University students recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Campus Dining and the campus' Food Recovery Network chapter to make sandwiches that were delivered to a local food center whose mission is to feed those who face food insecurity.
Seattle Pacific U Opens Campus to Homeless
(U.S.): For three months, the university will house about 80 homeless people in a tent city. The university has added educational and service programs so that students can learn about the issue of homelessness and provide direct help to those who are living on campus.
Penn State U Students Initiate Community Projects
Projects selected through the university's Sustainable Communities Collaborative include an exploration of net-zero energy strategies from an engineering and a human resources perspective, stormwater mitigation tools for residential neighborhoods, composting evaluation and marketing studies, communication strategies to increase participation in recycling, and marketing strategies for a farmer’s market. Sustainable Communities partnerships are formed through agreements developed between local governments and the university's Sustainability Institute to link community-based sustainability projects with existing courses across the university.
Carnegie Foundation Designates 'Community Engagement' Schools
(U.S.): The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. Of this number, 83 institutions are receiving the classification for the first time, while 157 are now re-classified. These 240 institutions join the 121 institutions that earned the classification during the 2010 selection process.