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.
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.