Mount Holyoke College Seeks Carbon Neutrality by 2037
The college's board of trustees recently announced the 2037 carbon neutrality goal, which is also the institution’s bicentennial. To achieve carbon neutrality, the college aims to invest in energy efficiency and conservation, retrofit historic buildings and transition to carbon-neutral heating and electricity sources. The decision to pursue carbon neutrality came after nearly a year of analysis and research by the college's Sustainability Task Force.
St. Lawrence U Publishes Campus Sustainability Map
The intention of the new map application is to provide the university community with information and locations related to sustainability points of interest on the main campus. The map allows viewers to navigate different layers of sustainability on campus ranging from where to bring organic waste to locations with renewable energy to information about outdoor air quality.
College of the Holy Cross to Phase Out Knight Mascot and Imagery
Noting that the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties the college to religious wars and the violence of the Crusade, it will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. It will instead use the interlocking HC on a purple shield as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising.
GUPES Announces 2017 Green Gown Awards Winners
The U.N. Environment Program and the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) recently announced Chiba University in Japan as this year’s GUPES Green Gown Awards Winner for its pioneering Student Committee-led achievement of international Environmental and Energy Management Systems certifications, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, respectively. A collective of five universities in Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich University of Teacher Education, Zurich University of the Arts, and Zurich University of Applied Sciences, won the Highly Commended Award for their Sustainability Week Zurich, a large student run sustainability project in Switzerland.
Durham U to Divest From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Following a year-long review of divestment options and the impact divestment would have on the university’s finances, the university’s highest governing body recently decided to withdraw financial investments from companies involved in fossil fuel extraction. These currently total less than $2.1 million (1.5 million British pounds).
U South Florida Adjuncts Form Union
Adjuncts at the university recently voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The tally was 326 in favor of unionization and 91 opposed, out of 900 part-time professors on the university’s three campuses eligible to vote.
Cameron U Establishes Social Change Endowed Lectureship
The establishment of the Albert Johnson Sr. and Josephine Johnson Endowed Lectureship in Social Change aims to advance the study of social justice, racial and ethnic cultures and human interaction. The funds will be used to bring distinguished lecturers and workshops to campus, to support faculty development related to civil rights and social justice, and to aid faculty and students in providing services to the community.
University of Maryland Green Terp Program Expands to 13 Residence Halls
The Office of Sustainability and the Department of Resident Life partnered to expand a one-year-old pilot program, Green Terps, into 13 dorms. The Green Terps program helps students adopt sustainable practices by asking them to pick 10 different sustainable behaviors and submit their progress. Once completed, their name is written on a pledge board in the lobby of their dorm.
Emory U, Georgia Tech & Spelman College Lead Regional Center for Expertise on Sustainability
Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Spelman College will lead the newly designated regional sustainability network, RCE Greater Atlanta. Seven sustainable development goals were deemed to be priority for the Greater Atlanta region. Designated by the United Nations University, the Regional Centers of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development are networks of multidisciplinary stakeholders committed to implementing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals at the local level. Other higher education institutions collaborating on the RCE Greater Atlanta include Agnes Scott College, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Morehouse College and University of Georgia.
New York U Appoints Assistant Vice President for Sustainability
Cecil Scheib returns to NYU after nearly six years during which he served as the managing director of the Building Resiliency Task Force for the City of New York and chief program officer at Urban Green Council. He previously served as director of Energy and Sustainability at NYU from 2007 to 2012. Scheib holds a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University, is a New York State licensed professional engineer, and is a LEED Accredited Professional.
U St. Thomas Hires First Sustainability Director
The university recently welcomed Amir Nadav as its new assistant director of campus sustainability. Nadav’s first task will be assessing the full scope of St. Thomas’ current sustainability work and using that to inform a sustainability plan.
Ohio Wesleyan U Adopts Sustainability Plan
The university's new sustainability plan was seeded by student research on sustainability initiatives at the university. It contains four overarching goals, each of which contains measurable objectives.
U Bergen Announces Plans to Go Carbon Neutral by 2030
(Norway) At a recent sustainable development goals conference held at the University of Bergen, the university announced a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030. It also committed to holding an annual Sustainable Development Goals conference.
U California Merced Releases Sustainability Plan
The university's new strategic sustainability plan highlights campus sustainability goals through 2022 and defines the roles of campus stakeholders. It was designed as a living document that will be reviewed at least annually, with a progress report that outlines accomplishments distributed each spring. Designed as a living document, it covers academics, research, engagement and operations, all of which have action items, metrics and implementation strategies.
Creighton U Welcomes Inaugural VP for Institutional Diversity & Inclusion
Christopher M. Whitt, Ph.D., joins the university this month as the its first vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Most recently, Whitt served as an associate professor and department chair in Political Science at Augustana College. He also founded and directed the Center for Inclusive Leadership and Equity at Augustana.
U Helsinki Establishes Institute of Sustainability Science
(Finland) The newly formed Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science seeks to solve global sustainability issues by focusing primarily on the study of cities, the global south and Arctic areas, systems of sustainable consumption and production, and the theory and methods of sustainability science. Ten new professorships are being established in conjunction with the new institute, connecting nearly 200 researchers from six different faculties.
AASHE Publishes 2017 Annual Report
AASHE’s recently released annual report details accomplishments and progress throughout 2017, spotlighting STARS, educational and professional development opportunities, the AASHE Sustainability Awards, the 2017 conference and expo, resources, a membership profile and information about two news initiatives launched last year – a mentorship program and the AASHE Affiliates program.
Bucknell U Names New Director of Sustainability Center
The Bucknell Center for Sustainability and the Environment's new director is Peter Mark Jansson, a Bucknell professor of electrical and computer engineering. Being active in many of the university's sustainability initiatives, Jansson is a co-founder of the Institute for Leadership in Sustainable Technology, an interdisciplinary experiential-learning summer program in which student teams act as sustainability consultants in residential and commercial settings. He is also an adviser to the Renewable Energy Scholars. His research and teaching interests include solar energy engineering, smart electric grids, sustainable transportation, and problems related to energy and the environment.
SUNY Announces Partnership to Support Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency Advancements
In her State of the University address earlier this year, SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson called for purchasing 100 percent of SUNY’s electricity from zero-carbon sources and deep energy retrofits at SUNY campuses, which represent 40 percent of state-owned buildings. To support this effort, she announced a partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to support eligible SUNY campuses to develop energy master plans and provide access to on-site energy managers who can identify areas for improvement and engage in strategic planning and feasibility studies.
EAUC Releases Sustainability in Education Report
(U.K.) The Sustainability in Education report, recently released by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and others, is based on research from a sample of 500 staff members from universities, colleges and students’ unions in the U.K. Some of the key findings include one in three respondents reported sustainability as a strategic priority for the institution they work at, up seven percent from 2016, yet one percent of respondents felt their institution was doing all it could to progress environmental and social responsibility.
U California Los Angeles Reduces Travel Emissions With Fee
A new university program reduces the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from university business-related air travel by assessing a carbon mitigation fee for these flights. A $9 fee will be applied to each domestic round-trip flight and a $25 fee to each international round-trip flight. Air travel mitigation fees will be placed into a fund, which will then be made available annually to the campus to finance university projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot program will run from January 2018 through December 2020.
Northwestern U Earns LEED Platinum for School of Management Building
The university's new Kellogg School of Management building features a geothermal system, LED lighting throughout the facility and low-flow plumbing fixtures in restrooms and kitchens. Its landscaping is designed for efficient irrigation and contains plants that require minimal watering. The building's location offers occupants various forms of public transportation, and cyclists have access to bike racks, showers and changing rooms.
Western Washington U Releases Sustainability Action Plan
The new plan, which was drafted with campus-wide input including three public input sessions, will serve as the university’s roadmap for protecting local and global ecology, upholding social equity, creating economic vitality, and maintaining human health.
U Virginia to Facilitate Governor's Environmental Justice Panel
Representatives from UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation will serve as facilitators for the 15-member Environmental Justice Advisory Council, established by Virginia Govenor Terry McAuliffe in October. The mission of the council is to ensure that environmental policies around major issues like air quality or sea-level rise serve the interest of every Virginian, and that no area or group bears a disproportionate share of the burden.
Boston U Approves Climate Action Plan
The Boston University board of trustees recently approved a Climate Action Plan that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions across both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus and fund broad infrastructure improvements in preparation for flooding or heat surges in the coming decades. The plan calls for capital improvements estimated to cost about $141 million over 10 years and the reduction of carbon emissions on the campuses to zero by 2040.
Cornell U Launches Staff Sustainability Champions Program
The university's Employee Assembly and Campus Sustainability Office staff created the new recognition program as a way to capture and better recognize the hundreds of daily acts that staff demonstrate to reduce waste, create a more welcoming environment, save resources and champion new ideas for sustainability.
U Nottingham Agrees to Living Wage to Low-Paid Staff
(U.K.) Two weeks after protesters asked the university to pay a living wage, the university agreed to do so for the 2017-18 academic year. The agreement guarantees the lowest-paid staff 8.75 pounds ($11.72) an hour.
U Waterloo Publishes Environmental Sustainability Strategy
After two years of consultation and planning, the president's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability released the university's first environmental sustainability strategy, which seeks to strengthen organizational sustainability across academics, operations, and student and employee engagement.
AASHE Asks Elected Officials to Protect the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver
AASHE has joined more than 30 other organizations in opposing the repeal of the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver that is included in the House of Representatives' Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). Reclassifying these waivers as taxable income will significantly increase the cost of a graduate education and make it even more difficult for working class and low income students to pursue advanced degrees.
York U Releases Inaugural Institutional Sustainability Strategy
The university's first published sustainability strategy was led by a working group comprised of members of the university president’s Sustainability Council and included participation from more than 1,000 community members. The goals of the strategy are divided into three key categories: people, focusing on a culture of collaboration; knowledge, using its strengths in sustainability research to inform teaching; and place, creating a pedestrian-oriented campus.
McGill U Releases Climate & Sustainability Action Plan
In its new plan, the university commits to carbon neutrality by 2040 and sets a long-term goal of earning AASHE STARS Platinum by 2030. The result of an extensive consultation process, the plan includes offsetting air travel emissions and recruiting an Indigenous scholar or artist-in-residence.
Colgate U Initiates Green Fund for Sustainability Projects
The university's new Green Revolving Loan Fund was seeded with $230,000 and aims to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Funded projects must reduce carbon and provide a return on investment. Colgate has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2019, the university’s bicentennial.
Medical U South Carolina Converts Street to Greenway
The university and a team of partners are reclaiming a street on campus to establish it as a space for people to walk, sit and relax. Called the Charleston Medical District Greenway, it will become a natural area with trees and gardens that enables patients to heal more quickly, as well as a gathering place for people visiting and working in the hospitals.
Hampshire College Chronicles Its Mission-Based Endowment Investing
A case study released by Intentional Endowments Institute describes Hampshire College's policy and process for aligning its endowment investments with its nonprofit mission and values. The case study also reveals how the college developed its investment policies with staff and student engagement.
Corporate Knights Releases 2017 Greenest Campuses in Canada Index
A new index released in October used data from AASHE STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) to produce a top 10 ranking of Canadian institutions of higher education. The ranking was based on 13 indicators: building area and clean air management, green certified building space, environment friendly dining certification, clean energy, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool score, green purchases on cleaning products and office paper, green transportation, commuting, waste and water management, and sustainable investing.
U Virginia to Open Community Food Space
The Morven Food Lab at the university's Morven Farm will be both a physical space and an organizational structure that aims to bring together food-related initiatives across the university, including the UVA Food Collaborative, the University’s Sustainable Food Strategy Task Force, the Morven Summer Institute and the Morven Kitchen Garden, and from within the community.
U Washington Supports Labor Rights in New Nike Contract
With pressure from the student-led group United Students Against Sweatshops, the university signed a renegotiated contract with Nike that gives the Worker Rights Consortium the right to inspect Nike's overseas factories. Under the terms of the contract, Nike must withdraw orders from a factory if workplace violations are discovered and the company is unable to get the factory to agree to a remediation plan.
Portland State U Integrates Sustainability Mission Into Hiring Process
As part of the university’s ongoing effort to institutionalize sustainability into the culture of the campus community, Human Resources has added an environmental stewardship statement to all job postings and created an orientation video highlighting the university’s commitment to sustainability. The statement emphasizes PSU’s sustainability values and goals and states that employees will, “contribute to a culture of environmental stewardship, practice resource conservation, and actively work toward achieving long-term sustainability goals.”
U New Hampshire Launches New Carbon/Nitrogen Measurement Tool
The university recently announced the launch of the Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP), a tool that offers campuses an online platform for tracking, reporting and managing their carbon and nitrogen footprints. The platform will also help identify trends across campus sustainability by tracking and sharing aggregated campus sustainability data.
Princeton U Files Lawsuit Regarding DACA
In early November, Princeton University and Microsoft joined together to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A DACA-protected student at Princeton, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is also listed as a plaintiff.
2017 Sustainable Campus Index Lists Top Performers
The 2017 Sustainable Campus Index 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). Top performers overall by institution type are Appalachian State University (master’s); Nova Scotia Community College (associate); Stanford University (doctoral/research); and Sterling College (baccalaureate). Also included in the report are innovative and high-impact initiatives.
Bucknell U Launches Sustainability Website
As part of increased sustainability programming, the university recently launched its first sustainability website as resource to the campus community. The website serves as a centralized place for the campus community to explore the institution's academic, research, engagement and operational goals.
U California Berkeley Partners to Improve Animal Welfare Through Purchasing
Cal Dining at the University of California Berkeley and Farm Forward recently announced the launch of the Leadership Circle, a program that leverages the buying power of institutions to change the way animals are raised for food. Members of the Leadership Circle commit to purchase only third-party certified, higher-welfare products in at least one product category within two years.
AASHE Announces 2017 Sustainability Award Winners
Announced at the annual AASHE Conference & Expo, 10 awards were handed out to those that rose to the top in the juried program. The three award categories were Campus Sustainability Achievement, Student Sustainability Leadership and Campus Sustainability Research. There were 230 total entries in 2017.
Blackburn College to Meet 100% of Student Financial Need
The Blackburn Promise is a new program that meets the full amount of each individual student's financial need after they have paid their estimated family contribution as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Direct college costs covered by the Blackburn Promise financial aid package include tuition, fees, room and board.
Saint Joseph’s U & PRME to Develop Business Education Assessment Tool
In mid-October, Saint Joseph’s University’s Erivan K. Haub School of Business announced a partnership with the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative. Both organizations will develop a new data analytics tool, the PRME SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) Dashboard, to assess business schools’ success in delivering socially and environmentally sustainable management education. The tool will measure the participating business schools’ fulfillment of the SDGs based on its curriculum, academic research, community and global outreach, and campus integration of the goals.
U Maryland Celebrates 2 MW Solar Carport Installations
More than 7,000 solar panels now sit atop Regents Drive, Terrapin Trail and Mowatt Lane parking garages, with a combined capacity of 2 megawatts. The project was funded by a $250,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration and matched funding from the university's Facilities Management.