U Florida Establishes Institute to Study Resilience in Built Environment
The Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience, housed in the university's College of Design, Construction and Planning, will focus on research that helps communities respond to complex environmental challenges by improving the way they plan, design and build the physical environment.
21 HEIs Launch the Public Interest Technology University Network
With the support of the Ford Foundation, New America, and the Hewlett Foundation, 21 colleges and universities recently announced the creation of the Public Interest Technology University Network. The network is a new partnership dedicated to defining and building the field of public interest technology, as well as growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent policy leaders. Public interest technology is a broadly defined and emerging area of study that combines digital innovation and public policy.
Western Washington U Receives $1M to Support Low-Income Engineering Students
The university's Engineering and Design Department has been awarded a five-year, $1 million National Science Foundation grant to help low-income students in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Aiming to address challenges in recruiting and retaining academically-talented, low-income students from diverse backgrounds into the undergraduate engineering programs, the Becoming Engaged Engineering Scholars (BEES) program will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 a year to about 48 students over the life of the five-year program.
Michigan Governor Proposes Tuition-Free Community College
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a tuition-free community college plan that would start in 2021 and include a $2,500 scholarship for eligible students who attend a four-year college. The proposal offers financial aid for students after all other federal aid and grants are applied to a student's tuition bill. Whitmer also proposed a tuition-free program for adults called Michigan Reconnect. The program would allow residents age 25 and older to enroll in the state's two-year institutions, career certificate programs and union apprenticeships for free.
U Wisconsin-Madison Approves Health Promotion & Health Equity Degree Program
The university system’s Board of Regents voted recently to approve a new undergraduate degree program, which will train students to practice as health educators. The program is broadly designed to provide students with the skills and perspectives to facilitate healthy practices at the individual and societal levels.
School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Creates Climate Change Curriculum Project
Doctors and staff at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are working to integrate climate and health concepts into existing medical courses through their Climate Change Curriculum Infusion Project. By weaving the material into existing course lectures, rather than having a standalone “climate change module,” they hope to better highlight the interconnectedness of climate and health concepts with current medical school competencies.
SUNY Fredonia Creates Endowment to Promote Diversity Ed
The Collingwood Distinguished Lecture for Diversity was recently established with a $250,000 gift from an anonymous Fredonia graduate. The donation will provide annual support for an honorarium to bring a nationally recognized speaker of diversity to the Fredonia campus each year. The lecture is an effort to promote leadership, education, advocacy and outreach for underrepresented groups or issues in society, and support the integration of diversity, as a whole, into the academic community.
Methodist Theological School Ohio Announces Masters in Social Justice
The new professional master's degree provides a core curriculum drawing from ethics, religion and public leadership. Students engage in a cross-cultural immersion experience and a customizable 280-hour internship. The program aims to help students develop skills and strategies for leading, organizing, educating and collaborating in diverse social, political, religious and educational contexts.
U San Diego Introduces PhD in Education for Social Justice
The School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego will welcome its first cohort of students in fall 2019 for the Education for Social Justice Ph.D. and Ed.S. programs. The online program offers a course of study that allows students to develop research, teaching and advocacy skills by using local, national and international contexts to construct more equitable, tolerant and socially just societies and institutions.
Muhlenberg College Announces Sustainability Studies Major
Beginning in fall 2019, a new sustainability studies major and newly revised minor will offer students an interdisciplinary approach to understanding complex environmental-human challenges and developing solutions to effect real change. Exploring how issues related to sustainability impact, and are addressed at, the local, national and global levels, the program addresses the intersectional nature of environmental and social issues in relation to human difference, power relations and equity.
Grand Valley State U Trustees Approve Environmental & Sustainability Studies Major
During the university’s Feb. 8 Board of Trustees meeting, trustees approved the creation of an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major, which builds on the structure of the preexisting minor and will go into effect fall 2019. According to the program proposal, the major will be available both as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science and span 35-37 credits. Students will be able to choose an area of focus such as sustainable food resources or water management.
U St. Thomas to Open Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice
The center will provide law students the opportunity to leverage legal training to address social justice challenges. Students will interface with lawyers in the community who are fighting for justice and equity to gain in-depth insights related to civil rights, human rights law and advocacy. It will also collaborate with the entire university and share its expertise on racial equity and social justice.
U California Merced Introduces Student Climate Resiliency Program
Students participated in the new Student Leadership Institute for Climate Resilience, a three-day residential program that introduced students to the campus’ carbon neutrality, sustainability, food action and environmental justice communities through activities and tours. Students were instructed on ways scholarship and practice at the UC level address issues of climate and ecological crisis, social equity and regenerative economy.
Ohio State U Announces Creation of Sustainability Institute
At the opening of the Ohio State Community Engagement Conference, the university president announced the Sustainability Institute, which aims to promote the teaching of sustainability; drive research; work with public and private partners to develop sustainable solutions; engage students in learning about sustainability through research and experiences; and help the university in attracting students, talent and resources.
SUNY ESF to Launch Degree in Sustainability Management
The new Bachelor of Science degree program in sustainability management emphasizes environmental dimensions of sustainability and their interdependence with socially and economically viable policies and practices. Enrolling its first students in the fall of 2019, the program is designed for transfer students.
U Pittsburgh Conducts Tree Inventory
The tree inventory of campus trees is underway in an effort to track progress toward the university's goal of increasing the campus tree canopy 50 percent by 2030. The inventory will also provide data for on-campus biological and environmental science research, and inform the design of new landscapes.
Indiana U-Purdue U Indianapolis to Open Inclusion & Social Policy Center
Announced by the university's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the IU Public Policy Institute, the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, or CRISP, will serve as a centralized resource for reliable, nonpartisan data, research and analysis on interrelated issues that make up the elements of social policy.
Corporate Knights Releases 2018 Ranking of Sustainable Business Schools
To determine the 2018 Better World MBA Ranking, Corporate Knights assessed 141 business schools across 25 countries. The schools were graded on five indicators: the number of institutes and centers dedicated to sustainable development (up to a maximum of five); the percentage of core courses that integrate sustainable development; faculty research publications and citations on sustainable development themes; and faculty gender and racial diversity (new in 2018).
Georgetown U Offers Master's Degree to Inform Environmental Policy
The new interdisciplinary Master of Science in Environmental Metrology and Policy degree, offered nights and weekends, is designed to equip scientists and engineers to measure and analyze potential hazardous substances in the earth’s atmosphere or on its surface so they can make sound environmental decisions.
U Minnesota Receives $5M for Sustainability Research
A $5 million gift from the Ecolab Foundation will support environmental sustainability research and education. A cornerstone of the Ecolab Foundation gift is $2 million to establish an endowed chair for the Institute on the Environment. The foundation will also invest more than $1 million in undergraduate scholarships in science, engineering and related environmental and sustainability-focused majors and minors, providing renewable awards of $7,500 for diverse and talented students beginning in their sophomore year. Through the Institute on the Environment, the gift also will support immersive student experiences with global and local partners focused on energy, water quality and supply, sustainable development and public health.
Sterling College Accepts $350K to Establish Ecology Center
Sterling College recently announced the new Robert B. Annis Center for Ecology, thanks to a $350,000 grant from the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation. Construction will begin in spring 2019, and $50,000 of the award will be for scholarships for ecology students.
Appalachian State U Introduces Community Meal Program
A new partnership between the university's Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management and a local nonprofit is addressing local food insecurity through the new Grab and Go Meal Program. Students in the department use the nonprofit's Food Recovery Kitchen to prepare hot meals that are paired with donated food and distributed to those in need.
Maharishi U Management Students Tackle Local Food Insecurity
The new program, “Global Solutions: Consciousness and the Challenges of the 21st Century,” engages students in projects that range from encouraging farmers and gardeners to grow extra food to contacting retailers to reclaim unsold food rather than having it go into a landfill.
Yale U Maps Teaching to SDGs
According to a new report by the Yale Office of Sustainability, 44 percent of its teaching and research relates to at least two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using the database that was created for the report, the Office of Sustainability can generate multidisciplinary lists of faculty and researchers by SDG or by interdisciplinary interests.
Cloud County CC Students to Install 200 KW Solar Array
Students enrolled in the college's Solar Energy Technology program will install a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic array on single-axis solar trackers, which will increase electricity production efficiency. The system will be installed on campus-owned land.
U Massachusetts Amherst Launches Student-Run Organic Vineyard
The new vineyard received an initial $3,000 grant from the university's Sustainability Innovation and Engagement Fund in spring 2017, which supported preparatory steps such as soil analysis and installing an irrigation system. The professor that teaches viticulture received a Sustainable Curriculum Initiative award from UMass Libraries to enhance the sustainability aspect of viticulture courses.
Hope College Student Completes Campus & City Tree Inventory
A Hope College sophomore student completed a summer research project that was a collaboration between the city of Holland, Hope College Biology Department, and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute. Taking 10 weeks, 3,500 trees on public property in the city of Holland were inventoried. The inventoried trees are projected to provide more than $16,166 in environmental value annually, according to preliminary calculations that do not factor in electricity offset yet. Using information from the trees, a faculty member and two students of computer science released a phone app that helps users identify Holland trees.
U Arkansas Launches Interdisciplinary Sustainability Minor
Open to all undergraduate students, the sustainability minor is an 18-credit program drawing instruction from faculty and courses across all colleges and schools at the university. The purpose of the minor in sustainability is to provide foundational knowledge and skills related to the discipline of sustainability and to prepare students to become innovators within their diverse fields.
Salem State U Receives $100K Grant for Open Textbook Resources
To reduce the impact of textbook costs on students and make college more affordable in general, a new grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund will fund a range of professional development opportunities to engage 25 percent of faculty in Open Educational Resources (OER) use and development, achieve $500,000 in textbook cost savings, and develop a community of OER innovators among faculty.
Boston U Partners With Rocky Mountain Institute on Internship
The new, year-long internship program, exclusively for BU students, allows student interns to work with the communications teams at both sustainability@BU and at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Students will assist staff in communicating complex issues around sustainability, energy and climate change and develop skills in public relations, digital marketing, and media.
Western Carolina U Students Develop Campus Tree App
Students from natural resources and conservation management classes, environmental science, computer information systems and graphic design, with the guidance of faculty and the assistance of an alumnus, have collaborated to produce a smartphone app called WCUTrees. The app allows users to view and identify nearly every tree on WCU’s developed campus. Users can search for them by name or by using the interactive map. The app also provides information on each species of tree.
Keele U Opens 'Institute for Sustainable Futures'
(U.K.) Based around six themes each mapped to the SDGs, the new institute will bring together academics, students and other stakeholders to identity sustainability challenges and work together on solutions.
U Wisconsin-Platteville Receives $270K for Sustainable Ag Research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded $270,000 to the university to continue collaboratively exploring best practices for sustainable agriculture. Plots of land at a local enterprise will be used to evaluate alternative cropping practices and their effect on improved production and sustainability before potentially upscaling the methods. The project intends to take a comprehensive approach to integrating the research with education and outreach components, which will help ensure its value to the local farming community.
Case Western Reserve U Students Compile Business Innovation Case Studies
The university's Weatherhead School of Management recently announced a student learning initiative co-sponsored by the city called Aim2FlourishNEO. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as their lens, students research and identify a business innovation and interview a business about it. Students then publish case studies to the Aim2FlourishNEO site that are also shared at an annual forum.
Tufts U to Offer Master’s Degree in Sustainability
Tufts has announced a new graduate program offered by the department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning that will begin in fall 2019. Students can pursue a sustainability solutions approach or a natural systems emphasis, or craft a program that includes elements of both. The thirty-six-credit program is designed for full-time completion in twelve months, although students may also pursue the program part-time.
Stanford U Launches Sustainable Finance Research Program
The university’s Precourt Institute for Energy is launching a new research program, supported by Bank of America, that will fund research to develop finance and policy tools for financing sustainable infrastructure. The program, called the Sustainable Finance Initiative, seeks to accomplish this by engaging public and private financial institutions, companies and governments with Stanford researchers in economics, law, business and computer science to create solutions that support the transition to a climate-resilient global economy.
Cornell U Launches Environment & Sustainability Sciences Major
A new interdisciplinary program for environmental and sustainability sciences launched with the support of Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences this fall. The major also includes a brand-new concentration in humanities, opening opportunities for students to explore how art, literature, music and communication influence how humans perceive and respond to environmental issues.
U Exeter Launches Center for Circular Economy
(U.K.) The new center, hosted by the university's business school, aims to support the circular economy research agenda through new educational programs including MOOCs, executive and leadership programs, undergraduate courses and doctoral training. The current research focus is on farming and food, building and construction, waste, and regional approaches to circular economic regeneration.
12-Institution Consortium Receives $4.9M for Open Textbook Pilot Program
The Education Department recently announced that a consortium of 12 universities, led by the University of California Davis, will receive $4.9 million to expand a STEM-focused open textbook repository called LibreTexts by adding publications on STEM, career and technical topics. The other schools are American River College, Contra Costa College, Cosumnes River College, Diablo Valley College, Folsom Lake College, Hope College, Los Medanos College, Prince George's Community College, Sacramento City College, Saint Mary's College, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
U Hawai'i Mānoa Launches Institute for Sustainability and Resilience
The new Institute for Sustainability and Resilience will promote environmental sustainability and community resilience in Hawaiʻi through sustainability-focused curricula and solution-oriented approaches to research and community partnerships. The university has appointed professor Makena Coffman as director, who currently serves as chair of the city and county of Honolulu Climate Change Commission.
U Kentucky Launches Sustainability Pitch Competition
The university's Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and its Student Sustainability Council announced the new competition for teams interested in pitching sustainable startup ideas to a panel of judges. The startup idea must be related to one or more of the three pillars of sustainability and can be for profit or nonprofit. A total of $2,000 will be awarded to the top three finalists, with the first-place team receiving $1,000 to help make their startup a reality.
New Partnership Aims to Increase Diversity of Solar Industry
With a goal of making the solar workforce more diverse, the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition have signed a memorandum of understanding to begin a comprehensive effort to help the solar industry recruit and employ more students from the nation’s 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This will include hosting a national jobs fair and individual jobs fairs at the HBCU schools.
Western State Colorado U Partners on Environmental Management Degree Expansion
The university's new partnership with Earthship Biotecture Academy allows students in its Environmental Management degree program to learn how to build an Earthship while earning their degree. Participants in the academy might also earn undergraduate credit to be applied to their bachelor’s degrees at other universities.
U Tennessee Knoxville Opens Outdoor Garden Classroom
The Grow Lab is a new campus garden that serves as an outdoor classroom and hub for community engagement while working to address local food insecurity. The garden’s harvest will be donated to a food pantry to provide free, nutritious food for students in need. This living laboratory includes 12 garden beds. Classes and clubs can reserve plots to conduct research and engage in community service.
Syracuse U to Open Center for Social Justice With $5M Gift
A Syracuse University alumni couple is providing a $5 million donation to support the creation of the Lender Center for Social Justice, which will include research support, symposia, and faculty and student fellowships. The center aims to support innovative and multidisciplinary research of contemporary social problems while providing proactive and concrete approaches and solutions.