Princeton Review Publishes 2021 Green Honor Roll
The Princeton Review recently released the 2021 Green Honor Roll, ranking the 30 colleges and universities that received the highest possible Green Rating score (99). There were 695 higher education institutions evaluated. The rating system includes health and sustainability as quality of life indicators for students, employment preparation for the clean-energy economy, citizenship preparation, and institutional policies related to environmental responsibility.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Appoints CSO
Having served as director of the UNC Institute for the Environment since 2018, Mike Piehler was recently named the university’s chief sustainability officer and special assistant to the chancellor for sustainability. He is a coastal ecosystem ecologist at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and has joint appointments in the department of marine sciences, department of environmental sciences and engineering, and the environment, ecology and energy program. As chief sustainability officer, Mike will provide leadership and coordination of broad sustainability efforts on campus, develop a plan to reach short- and long-term goals and serve as chair of the university’s Sustainability Council.
Georgia Tech Introduces SDGs Initiative
The university recently announced that it will use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to implement its new strategic plan, advance organizational innovation, strengthen the university’s local and global collaborations, and address urgent challenges such as COVID-19 and racial injustice.
Pennsylvania HEIs Partner With Municipalities on Climate Action
Twelve Pennsylvania colleges and universities are participating in the state's Department of Environmental Protection's Local Climate Action Program, which pairs municipalities with college students for assistance in developing the components of their local climate action plans. The participants learn how to measure local greenhouse gas emissions, assess local climate-related vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce emissions and manage climate change impacts in their communities.
Indiana U Accepts 2020 'Excellence in Sustainability Award'
The university received the NACUBO 2020 Excellence in Sustainability Award for its Indiana Sustainability Development Program, which aims to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for sustainability jobs within the state. NACUBO's Excellence in Sustainability Award recognizes institutions for a specific campus innovation, process or program that advances environmental sustainability in higher education or progress toward a more environmentally sustainable future.
EAUC Announces 2020 International Green Gown Award Recipients
The small and large institution winners in the Benefitting Society category are, respectively, Ayrshire College (U.K.) and St. Ignatius of Loyola University (Peru). The small and large institution winners in the Student Engagement category are, respectively, Facens University (Brazil) and University of Strathclyde (U.K.). The small and large institutional winners for the Sustainability Institution of the Year award goes to the International Islamic University Malaysia and St. Ignatius of Loyola University (Peru) respectively. The International Green Gown Awards celebrate the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world and are endorsed by United Nations Environment Program.
Villanova U Professor Receives Environmental Health Award
Health Care Without Harm and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments recently announced Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy as the 2020 Charlotte Brody Award recipient. Dr. McDermott-Levy is an associate professor and director at the Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University. The Charlotte Brody Award is an annual award given to a nurse who promotes and protects environmental health. Dr. McDermott-Levy was recognized for environmental advocacy and climate change leadership.
Four Institutions Achieve STARS Platinum
Arizona State University, Cornell University, Université de Sherbrooke and University of Connecticut recently obtained Platinum ratings under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). These institutions join five other STARS Platinum institutions: Colorado State University, Stanford University, Thompson Rivers University, University of California, Irvine, and University of New Hampshire. The STARS assessment framework encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions, as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.
Instituto de Empresa U Announces Sustainability Strategy & Investment
(Spain) The university's new sustainability strategy, the "10 Year Challenge", will focus on specific annual projects from 2020 through 2030 and includes an $11 million (10 million euros) investment. The university's objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030. Additionally, the university aims to eliminate bottled water by 2021; and by the end of 2020, reduce paper consumption by 100 percent, reduce single-use packaging by 50 percent, increase recycling by 50 percent, increase purchased renewable energy to 70 percent; and increase sustainable transportation use by 50 percent.
Northern Illinois U Athletic Dept Enacts Social Justice Ed Plan
Geared toward student-athletes, coaches and staff, the social justice education plan seeks to create educational opportunities, support dialogue and encourage voting. The plan has already brought together African American student-athletes, a focus group of student-athlete leaders and an all-staff virtual town hall of NIU Athletics coaches and staff on the topics of social justice and race relations. Future sessions include a virtual meeting of all student-athletes led by NIU professors and individual team counseling sessions on the topic of race relations.
U Virginia Study Abroad Office Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Plan
The university International Studies Office's (ISO) first Sustainability Plan calls for offsetting all carbon emissions of air travel for education abroad programs administered and managed directly by the ISO, offsetting all carbon emissions for all ISO staff travel, working towards completing UVA’s Green Workplace Program, committing to 100 percent zero-waste and carbon neutral events, and prioritizing sustainable accommodation options where possible.
U Iowa Releases Six Sustainability Goals
The university's Office of Sustainability and the Environment recently announced a framework for campus-wide sustainability goals to be met by 2030. The six goals cover greenhouse gas emissions, campus culture, research and scholarship, campus as a lab, curriculum, and outreach and engagement.
University Climate Change Coalition Releases Strategic Plan
Moving into the third year since its launch, the UC3 (University Climate Change Coalition) recently released a five-year strategic plan, representing an updated vision and trajectory for the coalition. The plan lays out three goals, each related to a sphere of influence–campus, community and global.
U Washington Releases Sustainability Strategy
The new plan, which spans five years and all three UW campuses, includes five guiding principles and 10 measurable targets, along with annual actions to reach those targets. The plan’s guiding principles are: ensure students achieve sustainability literacy; choose our research conscientiously; keep equity and inclusion at the center; use resources responsibly; and decarbonize.
U Buffalo Releases 2030 Climate Action Plan
The university's new plan, called the “10 in 10”, is a road map of 10 strategies that will guide the university’s climate mitigation efforts over the next decade. The 10 initiatives form a framework for implementation efforts, with each of the 10 categories corresponding to a working group that will advance action within the area.
THE Releases 2020 University Impact Rankings
The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings assess universities against the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The 2020 ranking includes 766 universities from 85 nations/regions.
Ohio State U Releases Climate Action Plan
The university's new Climate Action Plan outlines a 55 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 through improving building efficiency, diversifying sources of energy and addressing transportation-related emissions.
Arizona State U Achieves Carbon Neutrality
The university has recently achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations, six years earlier than its commitment of 2025. Increased energy efficiency in both new buildings and campus retrofits; on-site solar generation; renewable energy purchases from large-scale, off-site generation facilities; and purchase of carbon offsets and renewable energy were deployed. The carbon neutrality commitment date for emissions related to commuting and air travel is 2035.
Dickinson College Sustainability Expert Featured in People Magazine
Neil Leary, director of the college's Center for Sustainability Education, contributed three tips in People magazine's Earth Day anniversary issue featuring "50 things you should know and do to help the planet." Leary discusses the importance of keeping a refrigerator stocked, ditching the mini fridge, and composting.
ISCN Announces 2020 Sustainable Campus Award Winners
The International Sustainable Campus Network's 2020 Sustainable Campus Excellence award winners are Chalmers University of Technology and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) in the whole system approach category; LUT University (Finland) in the Partnerships for Progress category; and Thammasat University (Thailand) in the Cultural Change for Sustainability category. McGill University was recognized with an honorary member award. The International Sustainable Campus Excellence Awards recognize sustainable campus projects that demonstrate leadership, creativity, effectiveness and outstanding performance.
Dickinson College Achieves Carbon Neutrality
Dickinson recently achieved its carbon neutrality goal by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent from 2008 levels and purchasing carbon offsets to mitigate the remaining emissions. From 2020 forward, all the activities included in the college’s carbon footprint—like heating and cooling the campus, use of vehicles and air travel—will result in zero net emissions of greenhouse gases.
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.
Utah State U Approves Recommendations to Lower GHG Emissions
The university recently committed to the following strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: dedicate $60,000 annually in ongoing funds to allow USU Facilities to purchase a renewable energy portfolio from an external power provider; facilities will invest $500,000 each year toward improving building energy efficiencies, and additional funding has been allocated within existing budgets for LED light conversions over the next two years; create a $10 per trip carbon fee on all university-sponsored airline flights, from which funds raised by this fee will be used to invest in on-campus projects that reduce USU’s carbon footprint; and enhance academic programs to raise awareness of sustainability and climate change.
U Pittsburgh Bradford Residence Hall Earns LEED Silver
The university's newly certified Alexander House features renewable energy, high-efficiency HVAC systems, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and low-VOC furnishings. The building has bike storage for students and parking places for electric vehicles.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Signs Climate Commitment
In mid-February, the university's president signed Second Nature's Climate Commitment. Becoming a signatory means that the university will develop a campus plan that reduces greenhouse gases, create energy efficiencies and/or deploy alternative energy sources or other strategies that reduce its carbon footprint.
U Albany Receives $2M for Carbon Neutrality Planning
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently approved a $2 million grant for the university to research and implement solutions for the statewide 2050 net zero carbon emissions goal.
ACE Produces Series on Race in Higher Ed
The Let’s Talk About Race interview series captures the voices of prominent higher education scholars and leaders as they share their perspectives and experiences on race and ethnicity in higher education.
William & Mary Signs Power Purchase Agreement
The recently signed 20-year power purchase agreement is for the output of a 20-megawatt photovoltaic system that is projected to generate approximately 50 percent of the university’s electricity needs. The production of solar energy at the farm will likely begin in 2021. William & Mary expects the contract will begin to save the university money after about six years.
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.
U Tennessee Knoxville Commits to 2030 Waste Goal
The university recently committed to diverting half of its waste from landfills by 2030 as part of a larger goal of becoming a zero waste institution. The diversion rate in 2018 was 33 percent.
Vanderbilt U Announces Zero Waste By 2030 Goal
The university recently announced its commitment to achieving a 90 percent diversion rate from the landfill and reducing the amount of waste generated on campus by 30 percent, both by 2030. Additionally, the institution committed to addressing emissions related to waste disposal and recycling.
U Utah Hires Chief Sustainability Officer
Kerry Case recently accepted the university's offer to serve as its chief sustainability officer. Case is currently assistant provost for Integrative Learning at Westminster College and has led its sustainability initiatives for 13 years. As chief sustainability officer, Case is tasked with the development of a sustainability action plan, updating the 2010 Climate Action Plan and looking for external funding opportunities that could support sustainability efforts.
AASHE Publishes 2019 Annual Report
AASHE recently released its annual report detailing accomplishments and progress throughout 2019 in STARS, education and professional development, AASHE Sustainability Awards, the annual conference and expo, and more.
EAUC Announces 2019 Green Gown Award Winners
(U.K.) This year, there were 20 winners across 14 categories in the Green Gown Awards. Administered by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC), the Green Gown Awards recognizes the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.
10 Quebec Universities Declare a Climate Emergency
By signing the declaration, these 10 universities are making three commitments: to become carbon-neutral by 2030, or 2050 at the latest; allocate more resources for research aiming to fight climate change and develop related skills; and increase the availability of environmental and sustainability education in academic programs, on campuses and in community-awareness programs.
ACTS Announces Australasian Green Gown Award Winners
The Green Gown Awards Australasia is an awards program dedicated to recognizing Australasian institutions for their sustainability actions and initiatives. Six universities were named winners across the same amount of categories and two individuals were recognized as winners in the individual categories.
U Toronto Releases 'Low-Carbon Action Plan'
The new five-year Low-Carbon Action Plan (2019-2024) was developed to further implement carbon reduction strategies across the university's three campuses—accelerating efforts as the campus community works towards its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 37 percent by 2030, compared to its 1990 baseline level.
Princeton Review Releases Guide to 413 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review recently released its tenth annual Guide to Green Colleges, a free resource for environmentally aware college applicants that highlights sustainability initiatives and commitments at 413 universities and colleges. The edition also includes a Top 50 Green Colleges list.
Vassar College Board Endorses $13M Carbon Neutrality Plan
In mid-October, the college's board of trustees endorsed a $13-million package of renovations and upgrades to the college’s heating system and other energy-saving projects that altogether is expected to reduce Vassar's carbon footprint to less than 25 percent of its benchmark year emissions. The plan calls for retrofitting all lighting fixtures with LED bulbs; upgrading the central boiler to use renewable fuel oil; upgrading the HVAC in several buildings; and an energy awareness campaign.
U College London Adopts Ambitious Sustainability Strategy
Among other targets, the university's new Sustainability Strategy 2019-2024 includes the following commitments: it will not to invest in companies involved in fossil fuel extraction or production and will make public its portfolio of investments; all buildings will be net zero carbon by 2024 and the whole institution will be net zero carbon by 2030; and it will have a single-use-plastic free campus by 2024.
U Pennsylvania Releases Climate & Sustainability Plan
Ten years after releasing its original Climate Action Plan, the university released the Climate & Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 (CSAP 3.0), outlining Penn’s goals for improved environmental performance from 2019 to 2024. CSAP 3.0 highlights ongoing efforts to improve the ecological health of the region, with expanded academic offerings and research, reduced waste, responsible purchasing and sustainable transit.
California State U Stanislaus Hires First Sustainability Coordinator
The university's first sustainability coordinator, Wendy Olmsted, recently completed the Campus Sustainability Leadership Professional Certificate program via the University of Vermont and has a Master's in Ecology and Sustainability from California State University, Stanislaus.
Guilford College Professor Wins Campus Compact Faculty Award
Diya Abdo, an associate professor of English at Guilford College, won the Campus Compact 2019 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, which recognizes one senior faculty member each year for exemplary engaged scholarship. Abdo founded the Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) initiative, which advocates for housing refugee families on campuses, based on the idea that colleges and universities have all the resources necessary–housing, food, care, skill-building–to take in refugees and support them as they begin their lives in their new homes.
Stanford U Wins Corporate Social Responsibility Award
Stanford was recently recognized in PR Daily’s Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in the Green and Environmental Stewardship category for significantly reducing the university's environmental footprint by targeting infrastructure and behavior.
Carnegie Mellon U Announces New 'Sustainability Initiative'
The new campus-wide initiative seeks to strengthen the university’s commitment to sustainability; elevate Carnegie Mellon’s engagement with the SDGs; and improve coordination of our sustainability education, research and practices among CMU students, faculty, staff and local community members.
U St. Thomas Launches Inaugural Sustainability Strategic Plan
The new five-year plan centers on a vision of catalyzing university-wide engagement to create a culture that prepares students to be sustainability leaders during their university years and beyond. It outlines two main goals: achieving an AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Gold rating by 2025 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. The plan further identifies opportunities to advance sustainability on campus in the areas of academics, student engagement, employee engagement, dining services, facilities management, investment, procurement, transportation and mission.
AASHE Congratulates 2019 Sustainability Award Winners
Across four categories including the Lifetime Achievement Award, 11 winning submissions were selected as winners from nearly 350 total peer-reviewed applications and nominations in this year’s awards program. There were two honorable mentions. Some award recipients will be presenting their award-winning work at AASHE 2019, happening in Spokane, Washington, from Oct. 27 - 30.