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.

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.