U California Irvine Renews STARS Platinum

The university's STARS Platinum rating was first achieved in 2018 and renewed in mid-October 2021. Points of distinction include a campus sustainability engagement strategy during the pandemic, sustainability content in over 48 percent of courses during the 2020-21 academic year, and 21 LEED Platinum and 11 LEED Gold certifications for new construction.

Rutgers U to Establish Office of Climate Action

Toward the end of September, the university's president announced a new Climate Action Plan and the formation of a new Office of Climate Action, which will lead the university's efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. The office will be housed in the Office of University Strategy, and will work to achieve key milestones, including ensuring that Rutgers removes more greenhouse gases than it emits by its 275th anniversary in 2041.

Virginia Tech Launches Climate Action Living Laboratory

The new Climate Action Living Laboratory seeks to more deeply integrate the university's climate action commitment efforts into the university's educational mission and engage more students in hands-on learning opportunities around sustainability.

AASHE ED Appointed to Times Higher Ed Advisory Board

AASHE's executive director, Meghan Fay Zahniser, is now one of 10 Times Higher Education (THE) advisory board members who were selected to advise THE on how to improve THE's Impact Rankings. The rankings capture higher education institutions' impact on society based on delivery of the SDGs.

Georgetown U Hires Inaugural VP of Sustainability

Meghan Chapple, Georgetown’s first vice president of sustainability, will oversee Georgetown’s Office of Sustainability and lead the university’s strategic sustainability actions. Chapple most recently served as sustainability director and senior advisor on sustainability at The George Washington University.

Sierra Magazine Announces 2021 Cool Schools

Sierra's 15th annual Cool Schools ranking highlights 328 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada, and classifies the top 20 as the Coolest Schools. To assess colleges' environmental practices, the annual ranking uses data from AASHE STARS and an additional questionnaire about fossil fuel divestment.

Princeton Review Releases 2022 Green Honor Roll

The recently released the 2022 Green Honor Roll by The Princeton Review ranks 27 colleges and universities that received the highest possible Green Rating score (99), out of the 835 higher education institutions evaluated. The ranking takes into account metrics related to student campus quality of life, career preparation for employment in the clean energy economy, citizenship in a world defined by environmental concerns and opportunities, and the degree to which the institution's policies are environmentally responsible.

Ryerson U to Change Name

The university's board of governors recently accepted 22 recommendations, which include renaming the institution, sharing materials to recognize the legacy of Egerton Ryerson, and providing more opportunities to learn about Indigenous history and Indigenous and colonial relations. The recommendations come from a task force who conducted research into the university's namesake's life and legacy, and the role of commemoration in the community.

Tulane U Increases Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

In an effort to support income growth and greater equity and economic well-being in the community, the university recently announced an increase in minimum wage for all staff from $10.82 per hour to $15 per hour, effective Oct. 1. The university will also standardize student wages by raising the minimum hourly rate to $10, and is giving special consideration to outside contractors who pay a $15 per hour minimum wage or who have a documented plan within a reasonable timeframe to achieve that rate.

U Virginia to Reduce Single-Use Plastics

Following a state executive order requiring state agencies to stop buying, selling and distributing certain plastics, the university stopped purchasing single-use plastic bags, plastic cutlery, plastic food containers and plastic straws as of July 21. The university will also phase out plastic water bottles and plastic bag liners over the coming year to the extent possible.

Pennsylvania State U Approves New $250K Sustainability Fund

With the approval of the university’s budget by the board of trustees last month, a new yearly $250,000 Environmental Sustainability Fund from the University Park Student Fee Board will take effect in the 2021-22 academic year. Establishment of this fund will not increase student fees.

U Southern California Hires Chief Sustainability Officer

Michael “Mick” Dalrymple was recently named USC’s first chief sustainability officer. Dalrymple comes to USC from Arizona State University, where he served as the director of University Sustainability Practices for five years. Dalrymple’s position as USC’s first chief sustainability officer comes with a charge of implementing a forthcoming 2028 sustainability plan that contains such goals as achieving carbon neutrality and zero waste.

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.