US Senators Introduce Amendments to the 'Higher Education Sustainability Act'
In mid-November, four U.S. senators introduced amendments to the Higher Education Sustainability Act of 1965 that aim to reauthorize a competitive grant program called the University Sustainability Program. This program would make grants available to eligible institutions and associations, consortiums or collaborations that are working in partnership with at least one higher education institution to establish sustainability programs to design and implement the teaching and practice of sustainability.
Georgetown U Offers Discount on Bikeshare
A new low-cost partnership with the Capital Bikeshare University Program makes bicycling more financially accessible by decreasing annual membership costs from $85 to $25 for all Georgetown undergraduate, graduate, Law Center and Medical Center students.
Northern Kentucky U Joins Urban Collective for Sustainability
The university recently joined the Cincinnati 2030 District, which is part of an international network of cities developing a new model for urban sustainability. Facilitated locally by Green Umbrella, the Cincinnati 2030 District provides private-public partnerships and resources to help advance sustainability goals. The organization’s commitment to sustainability aligns with the university’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
U Virginia and William & Mary to Partner on Climate Change Initiatives
The two universities recently announced plans to work together on sustainability and climate change initiatives, including a shared goal for each institution to be carbon neutral by 2030. They intend to regularly share information and resources on their respective strategic climate action plans and implementation, and collaborate on outreach and engagement opportunities internally and with their surrounding localities.
Clarkson U & Region Receive LEED Gold for Cities & Communities
With the help of the executive officer of Clarkson University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Howard E. Lechler Endowed Director of Construction Engineering Management, Erik C. Backus, the region where Clarkson University is located–Lake Placid and the New York State Olympic region–is now USGBC LEED Gold for Cities and Communities. LEED-certified cities and communities measures and tracks outcomes and evaluates progress against key metrics, including energy, water, waste and transportation, and factors relating to quality of life.
Pennsylvania State U Abington Unveils Produce Distribution
A new partnership between the university's Abington campus and a regional hunger relief organization adds fresh, weekly produce distribution to the offerings available from the campus’ LionShare food pantry. The program kicked off in mid-November with the delivery of 1,000 pounds of cabbage, bananas, apples and cherry tomatoes.
Emory U Partners to Purchase Local Food
A new partnership between the university and The Conservation Fund aims to help break down barriers faced by farmers and supply campus with fresh, local, sustainably grown food. The Conservation Fund’s Working Farms Fund purchases farmland within a 100-mile radius of metro Atlanta, placing conservation easements on it to permanently protect it from development and harmful environmental practices, and leases the land to farmers with a 10-year path to ownership, selling it to them at the end of their lease. In turn, Emory enters into food purchase agreements with those farmers.
U Pittsburgh Launches 'Center for Sustainable Business'
Established with seed funding from The Heinz Endowments, the Center for Sustainable Business aims to engage global and regional companies in more effectively integrating environmental and societal concerns into their business models.
UK Students Launch Educational Reform Campaign
(U.K.) The U.K. Student Climate Network and Students Organising for Sustainability recently launched a joint campaign called Teach the Future to repurpose the education system around the climate emergency and ecological crisis, and lays out six demands as a path to achieve this goal.
U North Carolina Wilmington Begins Recycling Polystyrene
A new polystyrene densifier enables the university to recycle polystyrene products, such as to-go food containers, coffee cups and packing materials. The university is also inviting the general public to dropoff polystyrene for recycling.
Ashoka U Launches 'Student Changemaker Stories Campaign'
The new campaign launched by Ashoka U aims to shift the narrative around what it means to be a changemaker and who can be one, on campus and beyond. It seeks to accomplish this by publishing weekly stories of individuals who have navigated breakthroughs, overcome challenges, and embraced dynamic experiences during their time as student changemakers.
Ten HEI Projects Receive $25K From Ford College Community Challenge
Projects at the following universities and colleges were recently selected to receive a Ford College Community Challenge grant of $25,000: Centenary University, College for Creative Studies, Eastern Michigan University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, Salt Lake Community College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University (two projects selected). Each project will be led by students who will work with a nonprofit to address one of these categories: social mobility, smart mobility or building a sustainable community.
U Virginia Launches New Equity Center
The UVA Equity Center will foster partnerships between Charlottesville-area community leaders and university faculty in an effort to tangibly redress racial and socioeconomic inequality. The center hopes to change the way UVA scholars interact with members of the surrounding community, replacing the current model with one that is respectful, collaborative and beneficial to the communities.
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.
U Louisville Contributes Old Stadium Seating for City Bus Stops
A partnership between the University of Louisville's Urban Design Studio and Louisville Metro Council saved 120 seats from going to the landfill as the former Cardinal Stadium was demolished earlier this year. Instead, the seats are being installed at some of the city's bus stops.
Montclair State U Students Help Improve Polystyrene Recycling
A group of students through the university's Institute for Sustainability Studies Green Team program helped study and improve a local circular recycling system for polystyrene. In addition to calculating the savings from disposal charges and the return on investment, the team developed promotional strategies aimed at dispelling the myth that polystyrene cannot be recycled.
U California Santa Cruz Creates Campus Living Lab Map
The new website is an interactive map that catalogs the full range of university living lab projects, with program descriptions, links to websites, and contact information for students and faculty to learn more and/or get involved. It is organized by six categories: agroecology; design and engineering; environmental education; environmental justice and sustainability; UCSC natural reserves; and stewardship and natural history.
Caltech to Receive $750M Donation for Environmental Research
Philanthropists and entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick have announced an unprecedented $750 million pledge to the California Institute of Technology to support research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels, decomposable plastics, water and environmental resources, and ecology and biosphere engineering. In recognition of the investment, Caltech will construct a new 75,000-square-foot building, to be named the Resnick Sustainability Resource Center. The center will serve as the hub for energy and sustainability research on campus as well as the home of undergraduate teaching laboratories.
U Wisconsin Milwaukee Uses 'Green Suits' to Raise Awareness
The university's Office of Sustainability worked with artists from the Green Suits initiative to bring a playful energy to the topic of climate change by dressing up in green suits and having their picture taken with campus projects that advance sustainability. The Green Suits initiative is a project of Inside the Greenhouse, a University of Colorado-Boulder program that uses theater, dance, filmmaking and writing to connect a wider audience to discussions of climate change.
31 Institutions Form the Anchor Learning Network
The Anchor Learning Network is a joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and The Democracy Collaborative. Building on the success of the year-long pilot program launched in 2018, brings colleges and universities together to jointly explore how they can adopt an anchor mission: using their place-based assets—educational and operational—to advance the well-being of the communities they call home.
Hampton U Offers Enrollment to Displaced Bahamian Students
In an effort to help those students and families affected by Hurricane Dorian, Hampton University is entering into an agreement with the University of the Bahamas-North to allow students who have been displaced by the hurricane to continue their education on HU’s campus. Students from the University of the Bahamas-North will be able to attend classes at Hampton for the fall 2019 semester, receive room and board for one semester, and will have the option to stay at Hampton once the semester is over at regular rates for tuition and fees.
Arizona State U Launches Civic Engagement Awareness Campaign
The university's McCain Institute for International Leadership rolled out a new initiative, called We Hold These Truths, designed to engage the public on human rights and to teach liberties. The campaign specifically targets young people in the U.S. who are interested in progress, safety and freedom. The institute hopes to educate and galvanize the public to explore and engage — through the lens of the First Amendment — in human rights in a meaningful way that’s relevant and resonant to their own experiences, and then act to protect and preserve rights for others across the country and globe.
Arizona State U Partners on Water Efficiency Research
The university will participate in research with the city's water services department through a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The water conservation research will use the university's 12 acres of soccer fields to test the efficacy of hydrogels, which can potentially absorb up to 400 percent of their water weight and release nearly all of it back into the turf as needed.
Washington Monthly Releases 'Best Colleges for Student Voting' List
The Washington Monthly ranking represents their second year for measuring how well colleges encourage their students to vote, boosting democratic participation and civic engagement. The ranking is based on data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).
Harvard U Commits $20M on Affordable Housing Project
To help combat the growing housing crisis that is hitting lower-income and working-class residents particularly hard, the university recently announced a commitment of $20 million to an initiative aimed at increasing the amount of affordable housing in Greater Boston. Through the Harvard Local Housing Collaborative, the university has partnered with three local, nonprofit community-development lenders to create and preserve affordable housing, build and revitalize healthy communities, and create economic opportunities for low- and middle-income residents throughout the region.
George Washington U Partners to Improve Health Through Impact Investing
The university’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility and the Global Healthy Living Foundation recently announced their partnership to expand the role of impact investing to improve health. Initially, the two entities will convene a working group of stakeholders, including leaders from the private sector, philanthropy, and non-profit organizations, to define a global framework for healthcare impact investing and resources for funders and grantees.
U Glasgow & U West Indies Partner on Slavery Education
(U.K. & Jamaica) A memorandum of understanding was signed after a Report into Historical Slavery at the University of Glasgow was released in September 2018 that recommended the two universities collaborate. The report acknowledged that while the University of Glasgow played a leading role in the abolitionist movement in the 18th and 19th centuries, the institution also received significant financial support from people whose wealth was derived, in part, from slavery. The two universities have agreed to establish the Glasgow-Caribbean Center for Development Research, which will help to raise public awareness about the history of slavery and its impact around the world.
U Guam to Launch Circular Economy Initiative
With the help of a $10,000 grant awarded to the Center for Island Sustainability, the university is launching the Guam Green Growth (G3) Initiative to contribute to a circular economy for Guam. The G3 Initiative will start in August by offering the first-ever Island Circular Economy Industry Workshop for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. It will stimulate new island circular economy industries by working with the regional economic development authority and a business incubator organization.
UC3 Launches 'Research for Policy Platform'
The University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) launched the Research for Policy Platform at their inaugural event in July. The joint research and development platform will establish a unified set of principles and policies in order to directly support higher education leaders in local, national and international, 1.5 degree-aligned climate policy engagement. The coalition now includes 20 research universities with the recent addition of Queen’s University and The University of Utah.
U Kentucky Receives Award for HR Wellness Initiatives
The Human Resources department's community-supported agriculture (CSA) program received the HR Innovation Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) for reducing the cost of buying organic produce and supporting local farms. The CSA benefit provides participants with a voucher for either $200 toward a large share or $100 toward a small share of weekly produce from a participating local organic farm of their choice. The program had 470 participants in 2019.
U Basque Country Creates SDG Roadmap
(Spain) The university recently launched a website that maps the university's efforts to 12 of the 17 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and includes an additional commitment to linguistic and cultural diversity, and uses the 12+1 as a roadmap for its work. Each goal includes targets and key indicators that enable monitoring and measurement.
Second Nature Receives $303K to Support Cross-Sector Climate Action
Second Nature recently received $303,000 from a private donor to further the organization’s work advancing collaboration and partnerships across sectors for scalable climate solutions. Second Nature’s cross-sector climate programs are part of its newly released core strategy to exponentially accelerate climate action through higher education over the next decade.
Chatham U Launches Community Food Bank Farm
Students at Chatham University’s Falk School of Sustainability and Environment are now growing a variety of crops for local communities in need through a partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Green Grocer mobile farmers market program.
U Iowa Connects Scientists With Community
The university's Office of Sustainability launched the Sustainability Scientists and Scholars database at the start of the summer to help connect researchers and professors with each other and the local community. The database currently holds 42 different profiles for all faculty levels, scientists, research staff, research administration and graduate students. It hosts over 200 topics and fields ranging from water quality to geological processes, economics, and climate change.
Indiana U Bloomington Initiates Resilience Cohort Program
This summer as part of the Indiana Sustainability Development Program, eight students in the first Resilience Cohort will be hosted by cities, towns and counties to complete greenhouse gas inventories, which will provide data on topics such as the amount of energy consumed, the diversity of the energy supplied to their grid, and residents' vehicle types and fuel usages. The result of a new partnership with the Environmental Resilience Institute, the Resilience Cohort is a new project under Sustain IU's extern program, supported by the McKinney Family Foundation.
Appalachian State U Donates Toward Solar Energy for Local Nonprofit
With help of a $13,500 grant from the university, a photovoltaic system was recently installed on the barn of a local nonprofit that rescues horses. The newly installed solar panels will help power the barn’s lights, fans and heated rooms, and the farm’s approximately 2 acres of fencing.
U Arkansas Receives Acclaim for Homeless Housing Project
The university's Community Design Center and its collaborators were recently recognized by three awards programs for a homeless transition village project. The project, which seeks to provide cost-effective housing for low-income and extreme low-income populations and codify best practices, received accolades from the 2019 Green GOOD DESIGN by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design; the 2019 Great Places Award in the Place Planning category from the Environmental Design Research Association; and the PLAN Awards 2019, an international design awards program sponsored by The Plan magazine.
G7 President Launches U7 Alliance
The Group of Seven (G7), seven nations that represent the world's most advanced economies, this year led by the President Emmanuel Macron of France, recently announced the formation of the U7 Alliance. The U7 Alliance is an international alliance of university presidents who will engage both in discussion and in concrete action to address the most pressing global challenges in its first global summit in Paris on July 9 - 10, 2019. This inaugural summit, being attended by 46 university presidents, will tackle five major global challenges: the key role of universities in a global world, climate change and cleaner energy, inequality and polarized societies, technological transformations, and community engagement and impact.
Pac-12 Announces Winners of Zero Waste Challenge
The Pac-12 Conference recently announced honorees of the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge for the 2018-19 basketball season with the University of California, Berkeley being selected as both the overall winner as well as winner of the student-athlete engagement category. Also recognized as subcategory winners include Arizona State University (fan engagement) and the University of California, Los Angeles (most improved).
NOAA Awards $175M to U Maryland for Earth System Studies
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded a five-year, $175 million cooperative funding agreement to the University of Maryland for collaborative research in Earth system science called the Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies. Led by two principal investigators from the UMD and one from N.C. State University, this institute will be a national consortium of more than two dozen academic and nonprofit institutions aimed at research activities covering three themes: satellite services, Earth system observations and services, and Earth system research.
Southern Connecticut State U Declares Climate Change Global Emergency
In response to student advocacy, the university's president, Joe Bertolino, recently declared climate change a global emergency. The emergency declaration is based on the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report; unprecedented acceleration of atmospheric carbon levels that as of May 2019; and local community health, environmental, and economic risk.
NOAA Selects Seven Institutions to Conduct Sea Ecosystem Research
NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (CINAR), hosted by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has partnered with the University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Rhode Island, Rutgers University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to carry out innovative, multidisciplinary research that will help inform decisions for sustainable and beneficial management of the U.S. Northeast continental shelf ecosystem.
U Maryland Receives $2.3M for GHG Reduction Research
Former mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg, committed $2.3 million to the university's Center for Global Sustainability to evaluate and analyze current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reductions. As the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Bloomberg will submit the findings to the U.N. to demonstrate U.S. progress in meeting carbon reduction commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Furman U Approves Slavery & Justice Committee Actions
Approved at the university's board of trustees May meeting were a number of recommendations made by the board’s Special Committee on Slavery and Justice, including erecting a statue and creating day of celebration to honor the late Joseph Vaughn, the university’s first African-American student. Furman is a member of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium headquartered at the University of Virginia, along with 10 other universities.
U California Davis Gets Grant for Water-Conserving Landscapes
The University of California, Davis’ California Center for Urban Horticulture recently received a donation from TreeTown USA to help develop water-conserving landscapes through the center's SmartLandscape Initiative. By combining low water-use plants with the latest available irrigation technology, the horticultural innovation center will be an educational tool focused on measuring and monitoring water use data and reducing urban landscape water waste.