U Edinburgh Joins Electronics Watch

(U.K.): The university will now encourage electronics suppliers to disclose factory locations so that labor conditions can be monitored by thematic research, factory surveys and investigative reports.

Cornell U Stops Sale of Apparel Linked to Labor Abuse

After an incident killing 1,120 Bangladeshi workers, the university now requires its apparel licensees to abide by the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a five year agreement between apparel companies and Bangladeshi unions that legally binds its signatories to create safe working environments.

Cornell U Students Vote to Change Campus Printing System

(United States): Encouraging environmental benefits and saving students money, the new resolution calls for lowering the cost of printing on the back side of paper, procurement of 100 percent post-consumer waste paper, and changing the default settings on all printers to double-sided.

Cornell U Strengthens Sustainable Purchasing Commitment

The university's Presidents' Sustainable Campus Committee Purchasing Team has introduced new resources and targeted campaigns resulting in an online list of sustainable products, a letter-writing campaign to departments purchasing paper from virgin sources encouraging procurement of recycled-content paper, and a new section in the Buying Manual that defines green certified, recycled, and Energy Star standards and promotes energy-efficient purchasing decisions.

Lehigh U Transitions to 100% Recycled Paper

(U.S.): An initiative by the university's Purchasing Sustainability group, the transition to 100 percent recycled paper at all public computing sites comes after a request by the student community.

U California Santa Cruz Transitions to 100% Recycled Paper

(U.S.): As of summer 2013, the university's Copy Center now procures strictly post-consumer waste paper for student course reading packets. It is currently transitioning to this type of paper for all copy machines and printers it services across campus.

U Otago Joins Fairtrade Movement

(New Zealand): The university was recently accredited as one that procures certain products that are ethically, socially and environmentally responsible.

Virginia Tech Students Push for Fair-Trade Apparel

Students recently partnered with United Students Against Sweatshops to work with the university to adopt the Bangladesh Fire and Factory Safety Accord into its licensee code of conduct. The policy aims to improve the safety of factory practices and conditions.

Portland State U Joins 'Healthy Purchasing Coalition'

After a recent report indicating a high level of concern about better purchasing practices the university joined the coalition, which fosters the goal to create demand for non-toxic products and better disclosure of product information. The group also provides a forum for sharing best practices in purchasing and procurement.

Villanova U Awarded Fair Trade Status

Firming up its commitment to partnerships that promote greater social equity, the university's new designation strengthens its efforts to shore up equity in purchasing decisions. Dining Services has increased the fair trade options available in all dining halls and cafes, and the University Shop has added a line of apparel manufactured in a socially-responsible manner.

Selkirk College Achieves Fair Trade Designation

Over two years in the making, students helped the college earn the designation, which promotes fair working conditions for those who are in the coffee, tea and chocolate growing industries.

McGill U Earns Fair Trade Designation

(Canada): In an attempt to eradicate poverty through systemic change and investments in people, students led the movement to certify that all coffee sold in university-owned stores is Fair Trade. Fair Trade certified tea and chocolate are also available.

Michigan State U Declares June as 'Green Purchasing Month'

The campaign is designed to encourage the campus community to buy local products, eat local foods and make offices more environmentally friendly. Specific actions available include buying office supplies with recycled content, shopping at the campus surplus store and organic farm stand, and eating at campus food trucks that feature local food.

Responsible Purchasing On the Rise Among Higher Ed Students

With $147 billion in spending power, according to a recent USA Today article, students have the financial power to make an impact when it comes to the responsible purchasing practices of campuses. Students, says the article, are becoming increasingly aware and active about choosing products that support workers with living wages and reduce environmental impacts.

Drake U Campaign Leads to Restriction of Bottled Water Sales

The university has announced plans to restrict sales of plastic single-serving water bottles next fall. A student-led campaign worked for months to raise support for the initiative. To ease the transition, every new student will receive a reusable bottle that can be filled at hydration stations.

Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture to Launch Farm to Campus Program

Under the Farm to Campus program, the state agriculture department will partner with Eastern Kentucky University and other state colleges to assist with buy-local efforts. Over the next two years, the department will target college campuses to increase Kentucky Proud products in their bookstores, gift shops, cafeterias and food service systems.

Santa Clara U to Ban School Branded Bottle Water

The university has finalized a petition to ban the sale of Santa Clara labeled plastic water bottles on campus. The petition received over 800 signatures and student organizers are currently working with Bon Appétit to replace plastic with glass bottles.

Universities Cut Ties with Adidas Over Labor Concerns

(U.S.): Several institutions including Cornell University, Oberlin College, Georgetown University, Rutgers University, and the University of Washington have ended their relationships with Adidas over accusations that the company owed money to workers at an overseas manufacturing plant that closed in 2011.

U Guelph Earns Fair Trade Status

The university has received Fair Trade Campus status from Fairtrade Canada. The certification is a result of the university’s commitment to purchase fair-trade products that uphold social and environmental standards to protect food producers and the environment.

Yale U Printing Certified by Forest Stewardship Council

Yale Printing and Publishing Services has received Chain-of-Custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council. This certification traces the path of products from forests through the supply chain, verifying that FSC-certified paper pulp is identified and kept separate from non-certified paper pulp.

Ohio State U to Purchase Wind Energy

The university has announced its signing of a letter of intent with Iberdrola Renewables to purchase 50 megawatts of wind energy capacity from the Blue Creek Wind Farm. The purchase equates to approximately 25 percent of the entire campus electricity load and will also create new opportunities for research.

Pomona College Earns Fair Trade Status

The designation from Fair Trade Colleges & Universities recognizes the college’s commitment to using goods produced according to standards that address fair prices and wages, safe working conditions and environmental sustainability. The commitment also includes integrating fair trade educational and advocacy efforts into the school’s culture.

Gonzaga U Partners with Socially Responsible Apparel Company

The university has announced that its bookstore will sell a brand of clothing that has committed to higher standards of social responsibility. Alta Gracia manufactures collegiate apparel in overseas factories that provide all employees with benefits and a living wage sufficient to cover monthly costs for a family of four.

Vanderbilt U Announces Environmentally Friendly Paper Practices

(U.S.): The university’s parking map will be the first campus publication to carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified mark, and will be printed on paper containing 50 percent recycled content and 30 percent post-consumer waste. The university aims to certify 99 percent of its printed publications.

Duke U Partners with ClimeCo to Offset Carbon Footprint

The university has purchased carbon credits from ClimeCo America Corporation. The credits are part of a fertilizer manufacturing nitrous oxide abatement project. This is the first purchase of offsets from a third party developer for the university. ClimeCo plans to invest proceeds from the university’s participation to fund its long-term goal of developing carbon-offset opportunities within the agricultural sector.

U San Diego, Penn State Brandywine Earn Fair Trade Status

The designation from Fair Trade Colleges & Universities recognizes both universities' commitment to using goods produced according to standards that address fair prices and wages, safe working conditions and environmental sustainability. The commitment also includes integrating fair trade educational and advocacy efforts into the school’s culture. The Fair Trade TrailBlazers at Pennsylvania State University's Brandywine campus, for example, are working to include an educational component to the university’s Fair Trade Live festival.

George Washington U Graduates Wear Recycled Bottle Gowns

Graduates from George Washington University (D.C.) donned gowns made from recycled plastic bottles at the university's recent commencement ceremony. The environmentally friendly fashion statement is "part of a larger effort by colleges and universities to reduce the carbon footprint of commencement ceremonies," reports a recent Seattle Times story. The article also points to Unity College's (Maine) practice of sending online invitations; Pace University's (New York) programs that are printed on recycled paper with soy ink; Boston University's (Massachusetts) compostable tableware; and organic refreshments and seasonal flowers at Southwestern University (Texas) and New York's New School, respectively.

Simon Fraser U Earns Fair Trade Status

The university has received Fair Trade Campus status from Fairtrade Canada. The certification is a result of its support for ethical purchasing including coffee, tea and chocolate.

Cal State Monterey Bay Graduates to Wear Recycled Bottle Gowns

(U.S.): Every pound of yarn in the gowns that will be worn by this year's graduates saves one-half gallon of gasoline and produces half of the carbon dioxide emissions of the typical polyester manufacturing process.

Rhode Island College Graduates to Sport Recycled Plastic Gowns

Each cap and gown will keep 23 used plastic bottles from winding up in landfills. Students will also have an opportunity to donate their gowns to be recycled into carpets.

U North Carolina Partners to Keep Mattresses from Landfill

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte's new mattress provider for on-campus housing uses a recycling and re-manufacturing process that includes the on-site removal and collection of old mattresses. The company deconstructs the mattresses and reuses or recycles all components. The university is saving 30 percent per mattress with the new contract, and expects to replace 800 mattresses annually; a savings of $20,000 per year.

Washington U St. Louis Adopts 'Blue' Cleaning Practices

Washington University in St. Louis (MO) is profiled in a recent College Planning & Management article for its pilot "blue cleaning" program. Coined by ARAMARK, the phrase refers to the elimination of chemical cleaners in favor of electrically activated water. After a successful year, the college is in the midst of a comprehensive training program to aid its transition entirely away from chemical cleaners.

Purdue U Students Push Bookstore to Sell 'Green' Essay Books

Purdue University’s (IN) student government, with support from the provost's office, is encouraging the campus bookstore to sell environmentally friendly essay books instead of the standard blue books. The "green" books are made with a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled materials and cost a penny more. While some classes administer quizzes online, the university doesn't have the technology yet to administer tests online that include essay questions.

Oklahoma State U to Purchase Wind Power

Oklahoma State University has reached a 20-year agreement with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to buy wind energy to power its campus. The agreement is part of an overarching sustainability initiative aimed at saving money, reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency. The utility company will partner with NextEra Energy to build a new 60-megawatt wind farm to support the university project.

Central Michigan U Earns National Green Cleaning Recognition

Central Michigan University has received the "Grand Award" in the higher education category of the 2011 Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities, sponsored by American School & University magazine, the Green Cleaning Network and Healthy Schools Campaign. The award recognizes educational institutions that have exemplary green cleaning programs and practices among custodial staff. Over a five-year period, the university has reduced its chemical inventories throughout campus buildings by more than half.

U System of Maryland to Purchase Wind Farm Share

The University System of Maryland has announced plans to purchase 20 percent of a wind farm that will result in about 100,000 megawatt hours of energy per year. Through a partnership with the Maryland Energy Administration and other state agencies, universities across Maryland are working to become carbon neutral by 2050, a goal they set as signatories to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Florida A&M U Debuts Socially Responsible Apparel

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s bookstore has introduced a new socially responsible clothing line by School House. The company’s founder started the company as a student while studying ethical manufacturing in Sri Lanka. School House’s founding mission is to pay workers a fair living wage. All of the company’s production takes place in the U.S.

U Kentucky Partners with Socially Responsible Apparel Company

The University of Kentucky has announced that its bookstore will sell a brand of clothing that has committed to higher standards of social responsibility. Alta Gracia manufactures collegiate apparel in overseas factories committed to providing all employees with benefits and a living wage sufficient to cover monthly costs for a family of four.

Naropa U Named as EPA Green Power Partner

Naropa University (CO) has announced its recognition as a Green Power Partner by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One of 20 colleges and universities nationwide officially recognized for offsetting 100 percent of their emissions using green power and renewable energy, the university is purchasing more than 1 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually.

Park U Initiates Campus Green Cleaning Program

Park University (MO) has partnered with Aramark to implement an environmentally friendly "Blue Cleaning" program. The university will use electrically activated water in place of general purpose cleaning chemicals. The program includes extensive staff training and an education and engagement component.

U Notre Dame Switches to 100% Recycled Stationery

Starting this November, letterhead, envelopes and business cards at the University of Notre Dame (IN) will be printed on 100 percent recycled content paper. The conversion is expected to save 29,000 pounds of wood and 43,000 gallons of water, as well as avoid 8,900 pounds of carbon emissions annually.

USA Today Highlights Student Push for 'Real Food'

Students at 216 campuses in 46 states and five countries are asking their campuses for healthier and sustainable foods, reports a recent USA Today article. The student groups are a part of the national The Real Food Challenge movement, which calls for institutions to serve more organic, locally grown foods that don't come from industrial farms. The challenge recently launched the Real Food Campus Commitment, a pledge for institutions to spend 20 percent of their food purchasing budget on "real foods."

U Montana Partners with Socially Responsible Apparel Supplier

The University of Montana has announced that its bookstore will sell a brand of clothing that has committed to higher standards of social responsibility. Knights Apparel, which created the Alta Gracia brand, manufactures collegiate apparel in overseas factories committed to providing all employees with benefits and a living wage sufficient to cover the monthly costs for a family of four. The new partnership is a result of years of campus demonstrations led by members of Students for Economic and Social Justice.

Elon U Graduates to Sport Recycled Plastic Gowns

Commencement apparel for Elon University (NC) graduates this month will be made of recycled plastic bottles. Each cap and gown, spun from molten plastic pellets, will keep 23 used plastic bottles from winding up in landfills. Using recycled plastic instead of virgin polyester cuts carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 55 percent.

Oregon State U Offsets Nearly 100% of Energy Use

Oregon State University has purchased $430,000 in renewable energy certificates for a total offset of nearly 100 percent of its campus energy use. The certificates were initially purchased from student green fees but the students wanted to redirect the money to fund local energy projects. The university administration agreed to continue to purchase renewable energy off-site. The certificates were purchased from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, which reinvests profits from the sale of carbon offsets into watershed restoration and renewable energy programs.

New San Diego State U Bookstore Promotes 'Sweat-Free' Products

The new San Diego State University (CA) bookstore will sell clothes made by Alta Gracia, a company that guarantees its clothes are not made in sweatshop conditions. The university student movement, “Bring ‘Sweat-Free’ Clothes to SDSU Bookstore,” encouraged the bookstore to offer sweatshop-free products. Alta Gracia pays its workers in the Dominican Republic more than three times the nation's minimum wage.

Emory U Works to Consolidate Office Supply Orders

In an effort to shrink the campus carbon footprint generated by vendors who make deliveries by truck to campus, Emory University's (GA) Office of Sustainability, in collaboration with its procurement office, is working to consolidate office orders to a minimum of $50 per order. The university found in a 2010 analysis that it placed nearly 5,000 orders under $50. Had all orders under $50 been eliminated, the reduction could have saved about 15 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Delta College Printing Certified by Forest Stewardship Council

After conducting an internal assessment to determine how they could make their operations more sustainable including detailing processes related to purchasing, Delta College's (MI) Printing Services Department has received a Chain-of-Custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council. This certification ensures that the paper used for printing is guaranteed to have been harvested, manufactured and distributed only by organizations that also have Chain-of Custody certification.

Duke U Graduation Gowns to be Made of Recycled Plastic Bottles

Commencement apparel for Duke University (NC) graduates this May will be made of material produced from recycled plastic bottles. Made of fabric spun from molten plastic pellets, each cap and gown will keep 23 used plastic bottles from winding up in landfills. The caps and gowns from Salem, Va.-based Oak Hall Cap & Gown Company will be shipped in boxes made of recycled cardboard and in storage bags made from recycled plastic.

Loyola U Offers Sweatshop Free Apparel

Loyola University (MD) has partnered with Alta Gracia Apparel to offer sweatshop free apparel in the college bookstore. The clothing manufacturing company implements responsible labor practices and pays its workers, who are free to unionize, a living wage. Alta Gracia's wages were standardized by the Workers Right Consortium, a labor rights watchdog organization that includes the involvement of more than 180 collegiate apparel factories. The university's Center for Community Service and Justice has been involved with several initiatives on campus to support unionized factories and tries to spark interest in the fair trade initiative among students, groups and offices on campus.