U Virginia Dedicates $50M Toward Environmental Resilience & Sustainability Research

The university’s Great and Good 2030 Plan identifies five priority focus areas for research, one of which is environmental resilience and sustainability. The university recently announced plans to make a commitment of up to $50 million in the 2021-2022 academic year to focus on research opportunities that will have high impact. In early fall 2021, the university will host a conference panel to generate specific areas and projects for investment.

U Washington Releases Finalized Sustainability Action Plan

Covering all three UW campuses, the new Sustainability Action Plan includes five guiding principles and 10 measurable targets along with annual actions to reach those targets. The targets address campus operations, student experience, academic research and equity. The plan’s guiding principles are: ensure students achieve sustainability literacy; choose research conscientiously; keep equity and inclusion at the center; use resources responsibly; and decarbonize.

Dixie State U Changes University Name

The university's board of trustees voted in late June to recommend Utah Tech University as the new institutional name. The board’s recommending vote will go before the Utah Board of Higher Education for their vote and then to the Utah State Legislature.

Positive Impact Rating Releases 2021 Ranking

Recently launched at the U.N. Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Global Forum, the Positive Impact Rating 2021 Report catalogs the social impact levels of 46 business schools from 21 countries. Students assessed their business schools on how they perceive their positive impact for society.

Seven HEIs Receive 2021 USGBC Leadership Award

The USGBC Leadership Awards recognize the exemplary leadership of individuals and organizations contributing to the creation of sustainable, healthier, equitable and resilient buildings, cities and communities. Higher education institutions that were recognized include Harvard University; Stevens Institute of Technology; University of California, Merced; University Hospitals of Cleveland Rainbow Center for Women and Children; University of Monterrey; University of St. Thomas; and Washington University in St. Louis.

U Southern California Expands Sustainability Across Curriculum

After a recent university survey revealed that USC students are overwhelmingly interested in sustainability, the university announced a major expansion to its undergraduate curriculum. The new Sustainability Across the Curriculum program aims to educate the university’s 20,000 undergraduate students in how sustainability intersects with their major field of study.

MIT Unveils Climate Action Plan

The new plan commits MIT to net-zero direct carbon emissions by 2026. Five broad areas frame the university's action plan: sparking innovation, educating future generations, informing and leveraging government action, reducing MIT’s own climate impact, and uniting and coordinating all of MIT’s climate efforts.

American U Releases Sustainability Plan

The new five-year plan covers three sections—engagement, environment, administration—and includes 45 new goals written by the Sustainability Advisory Committee and the Office of Sustainability.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Receives $1M for 'Champion Sustainability Fund'

A new partnership between the university and Champion Athleticwear will launch the Champion Sustainability Fund with a $1 million investment from Champion. Once operational, the revolving fund will support several new programs, including the Champion Sustainability Research Accelerator, which will award $50,000 annually to Carolina faculty whose research programs are poised to improve sustainability and environmental outcomes, and the Sustainable Carolina Opportunity Fund, which will provide seed funding for scalable opportunities to advance sustainability.

THE Releases 2021 Impact Rankings

The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings assess universities on their contributions to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The 2021 ranking includes 1,115 universities from 94 countries/regions. The overall ranking is led by the University of Manchester (U.K.), followed by three Australian universities–University of Sydney, RMIT University and La Trobe University, and then Queen's University in Canada.

ISCN Announces 2021 Award Winners

The International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) recently announced the 2021 Excellence Award winners, which seek to recognize sustainable campus projects that demonstrate leadership, creativity, effectiveness and outstanding performance. Covenant University won the award for Whole Systems Approach; University of Leeds received the award in the Partnerships for Progress category, and National University of Singapore was selected for the award in Cultural Change for Sustainability.

75 HEIs Urge Biden Administration to Support a 2030 US Climate Target

Second Nature recently sent a letter to the White House signed by 75 higher education institutions calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to adopt a target of at least 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The 75 institutions span 29 different states, in all regions of the U.S., and represent a wide diversity of institution types.

Vanderbilt U Receives 2020 USGBC Leadership Award

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the university as a 2020 Leadership Award recipient in the outstanding companies, organizations and projects category. The university was among 10 companies, projects and individuals across the nation to earn an award. The annual awards recognize leadership in green building and commitment to advancing healthy, sustainable buildings and communities.

Concordia U Launches Sustainability Action Plan

The recently launched Sustainability Action Plan includes five-year plans around five topics: food, waste, climate, research and curriculum.

AASHE Announces Top Performers in 2020 SCI

The recently released Sustainable Campus Index (SCI) recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The report also includes innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate), Colby College (baccalaureate), Thompson Rivers University (master’s), and Colorado State University (doctoral/research). Details about the 25 top-performing institutions for each impact area can be found within the report.

AASHE Announces 2020 Sustainability Award Finalists

The AASHE Sustainability Awards provide global recognition to the individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement through sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 40 finalists were chosen from more than 400 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at the free, virtual 2020 AASHE Sustainability Awards Ceremony on Dec. 3 starting at noon U.S. Eastern time.

LSE Releases Sustainability Strategic Plan

(U.K.) The London School of Economics and Political Science launched the new plan focusing on six key themes: education, research, engagement and leadership, investment, carbon and environmental impact, and collaboration.

U Wisconsin Green Bay Creates Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability recently opened and the university named John Arendt as its director. The office will be housed in the Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI), where Arendt will also continue to serve as director.

U Guam Adopts 10-Year Sustainability Plan

Titled the Guam Green Growth (G3) Action Framework, the plan contains hundreds of goals and objectives focused on five categories: healthy and prosperous communities; educated, capable, and compassionate Island; sustainable homes, utilities and transportation; thriving natural resources; and sustainable alliances.

Lehigh U Releases 10-Year Sustainability Strategic Plan

The university's new 10-year sustainability plan focuses on 113 goals across six focus areas. The plan’s six focus areas include climate action, campus operations, educational experience, culture and engagement, health and wellness, and focused leadership. Each goal is tied to one or more of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Concordia U Joins SDG Networks

The university recently joined the University Global Coalition, a global platform of universities and other higher education organizations committed to working together in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through our education, research and service missions. The university also joined Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada, part of a movement of higher education institutions that aims to develop and promote practical solutions for sustainable development.

Princeton Review Releases 2021 Guide to Green Colleges

The Princeton Review "Guide to Green Colleges, 2021 Edition" profiles 416 colleges with a commitment to sustainability. Of the 416 institutions, 393 are in the U.S., 22 are in Canada, and one is in Greece. The 416 schools are listed alphabetically in the guide and not ranked. However, institutions that earned a score of 99 are recognized in The Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll.

Eight Institutions Form 'Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery'

British Columbia Institute of Technology, Okanagan College, SAIT Polytechnic, Mohawk College, Seneca College, Nergica, Nova Scotia Community College, and Holland College formed the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery. The Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery will help young people receive training needed to take part in a sustainable, climate-focused post-COVID-19 economic recovery. They will have quarterly online meetings to allow participating institutions to share their recovery solutions and will host webinars by faculty and researchers from the eight institutions.

Syracuse U Installs Solar-Electric on Student Center

A recent renovation of the university's Schine Student Center included installation of a 50-kilowatt, roof-mounted photovoltaic system.

U Virginia Publishes Sustainability Plan

The university’s new plan, the 2020-30 Sustainability Plan, includes these goals: carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil fuel-free by 2050; reducing waste to 30 percent of 2010 levels by 2030; reducing the nitrogen footprint by 30 percent by 2030; partnering to advance equity; building accountability in leadership; and enhancing sustainability research. The plan also provides seed funding for sustainability projects.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Publishes Climate Action Plan

The newest version of the Illinois Climate Action Plan led by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment commits the campus to divest from fossil fuels, switch to clean energy sources, and reduce net air travel emissions by 100 percent by fiscal year 2030. Its objectives are organized into eight key themes: energy, transportation, land & water, zero waste, education, engagement, resilience and implementation.

Catholic U America Unveils Campus Sustainability Plan

In celebration of Campus Sustainability Month, the Catholic University of America recently released a five-year sustainability plan. The initiatives and actions listed in the plan are intended to generate positive environmental change, promote education and research, preserve resources, raise awareness, reduce expenditures, generate dialogue and create new community engagement touchpoints.

U New Mexico Appoints Director of Sustainability Studies Program

In June, Dr. Melinda Morgan became the director of the sustainability studies program and now also holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Sustainable Environmental & Food Systems. In the role, Morgan aims to create a transdisciplinary research collaborative to look at the social-ecological system dynamics of water supply, climate change and wildfire in the Rio Grande watershed.

U Virginia Adopts Racial Equity Goals

The university's board of visitors recently endorsed goals recommended by the UVA Racial Equity Task Force. The goals include: doubling the number of underrepresented faculty by 2030; developing a plan for having the student population better reflect the racial and socioeconomic demographic of the state; reviewing policies related to staff hiring, wages, retention, promotion and procurement, in order to ensure equity; and developing a series of educational programs around racial equity and anti-racism, including leadership development programs.

Carnegie Mellon U Reports on SDGs

The university released a new report encompassing a voluntary review of the university's work across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The report also includes opportunities to further strengthen its efforts toward the goals.

Miami U Becomes Climate Commitment Signatory

In mid-September, the university's president signed Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments, which set the university on the path of adapting to climate change through campus and community engagement, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.