Vanderbilt U Receives 2020 USGBC Leadership Award

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the university as a 2020 Leadership Award recipient in the outstanding companies, organizations and projects category. The university was among 10 companies, projects and individuals across the nation to earn an award. The annual awards recognize leadership in green building and commitment to advancing healthy, sustainable buildings and communities.

Concordia U Launches Sustainability Action Plan

The recently launched Sustainability Action Plan includes five-year plans around five topics: food, waste, climate, research and curriculum.

AASHE Announces Top Performers in 2020 SCI

The recently released Sustainable Campus Index (SCI) 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). The report also includes innovative and high-impact initiatives. Top performers overall by institution type are Nova Scotia Community College (associate), Colby College (baccalaureate), Thompson Rivers University (master’s), and Colorado State University (doctoral/research). Details about the 25 top-performing institutions for each impact area can be found within the report.

AASHE Announces 2020 Sustainability Award Finalists

The AASHE Sustainability Awards provide global recognition to the individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement through sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. Across 10 categories, 40 finalists were chosen from more than 400 submissions. Winners for all categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at the free, virtual 2020 AASHE Sustainability Awards Ceremony on Dec. 3 starting at noon U.S. Eastern time.

LSE Releases Sustainability Strategic Plan

(U.K.) The London School of Economics and Political Science launched the new plan focusing on six key themes: education, research, engagement and leadership, investment, carbon and environmental impact, and collaboration.

U Wisconsin Green Bay Creates Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability recently opened and the university named John Arendt as its director. The office will be housed in the Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI), where Arendt will also continue to serve as director.

U Guam Adopts 10-Year Sustainability Plan

Titled the Guam Green Growth (G3) Action Framework, the plan contains hundreds of goals and objectives focused on five categories: healthy and prosperous communities; educated, capable, and compassionate Island; sustainable homes, utilities and transportation; thriving natural resources; and sustainable alliances.

Lehigh U Releases 10-Year Sustainability Strategic Plan

The university's new 10-year sustainability plan focuses on 113 goals across six focus areas. The plan’s six focus areas include climate action, campus operations, educational experience, culture and engagement, health and wellness, and focused leadership. Each goal is tied to one or more of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Concordia U Joins SDG Networks

The university recently joined the University Global Coalition, a global platform of universities and other higher education organizations committed to working together in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through our education, research and service missions. The university also joined Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada, part of a movement of higher education institutions that aims to develop and promote practical solutions for sustainable development.

Princeton Review Releases 2021 Guide to Green Colleges

The Princeton Review "Guide to Green Colleges, 2021 Edition" profiles 416 colleges with a commitment to sustainability. Of the 416 institutions, 393 are in the U.S., 22 are in Canada, and one is in Greece. The 416 schools are listed alphabetically in the guide and not ranked. However, institutions that earned a score of 99 are recognized in The Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll.

Eight Institutions Form 'Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery'

British Columbia Institute of Technology, Okanagan College, SAIT Polytechnic, Mohawk College, Seneca College, Nergica, Nova Scotia Community College, and Holland College formed the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery. The Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery will help young people receive training needed to take part in a sustainable, climate-focused post-COVID-19 economic recovery. They will have quarterly online meetings to allow participating institutions to share their recovery solutions and will host webinars by faculty and researchers from the eight institutions.

Syracuse U Installs Solar-Electric on Student Center

A recent renovation of the university's Schine Student Center included installation of a 50-kilowatt, roof-mounted photovoltaic system.

U Virginia Publishes Sustainability Plan

The university’s new plan, the 2020-30 Sustainability Plan, includes these goals: carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil fuel-free by 2050; reducing waste to 30 percent of 2010 levels by 2030; reducing the nitrogen footprint by 30 percent by 2030; partnering to advance equity; building accountability in leadership; and enhancing sustainability research. The plan also provides seed funding for sustainability projects.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Publishes Climate Action Plan

The newest version of the Illinois Climate Action Plan led by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment commits the campus to divest from fossil fuels, switch to clean energy sources, and reduce net air travel emissions by 100 percent by fiscal year 2030. Its objectives are organized into eight key themes: energy, transportation, land & water, zero waste, education, engagement, resilience and implementation.

Catholic U America Unveils Campus Sustainability Plan

In celebration of Campus Sustainability Month, the Catholic University of America recently released a five-year sustainability plan. The initiatives and actions listed in the plan are intended to generate positive environmental change, promote education and research, preserve resources, raise awareness, reduce expenditures, generate dialogue and create new community engagement touchpoints.

U New Mexico Appoints Director of Sustainability Studies Program

In June, Dr. Melinda Morgan became the director of the sustainability studies program and now also holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Sustainable Environmental & Food Systems. In the role, Morgan aims to create a transdisciplinary research collaborative to look at the social-ecological system dynamics of water supply, climate change and wildfire in the Rio Grande watershed.

U Virginia Adopts Racial Equity Goals

The university's board of visitors recently endorsed goals recommended by the UVA Racial Equity Task Force. The goals include: doubling the number of underrepresented faculty by 2030; developing a plan for having the student population better reflect the racial and socioeconomic demographic of the state; reviewing policies related to staff hiring, wages, retention, promotion and procurement, in order to ensure equity; and developing a series of educational programs around racial equity and anti-racism, including leadership development programs.

Carnegie Mellon U Reports on SDGs

The university released a new report encompassing a voluntary review of the university's work across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The report also includes opportunities to further strengthen its efforts toward the goals.

Miami U Becomes Climate Commitment Signatory

In mid-September, the university's president signed Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments, which set the university on the path of adapting to climate change through campus and community engagement, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.

NC A&T to Rename Two Buildings

The North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University board of trustees voted recently to immediately remove the names from Morrison Hall and Cherry Hall, both named for former North Carolina governors who, in different ways, blocked civil rights and racial equity. University leaders said they plan to recommend new names for both buildings in early 2021.

U Sydney Publishes Sustainability Strategy

(Australia) Key targets in the university's new sustainability strategy are 100 percent renewable energy by 2025, cut air travel 20 percent by 2025, compost 80 percent of food waste by 2025, reduce single-use plastics to zero by 2030 and reduce potable drinking water 30 percent by 2030.

Princeton Review Publishes 2021 Green Honor Roll

The Princeton Review recently released the 2021 Green Honor Roll, ranking the 30 colleges and universities that received the highest possible Green Rating score (99). There were 695 higher education institutions evaluated. The rating system includes health and sustainability as quality of life indicators for students, employment preparation for the clean-energy economy, citizenship preparation, and institutional policies related to environmental responsibility.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Appoints CSO

Having served as director of the UNC Institute for the Environment since 2018, Mike Piehler was recently named the university’s chief sustainability officer and special assistant to the chancellor for sustainability. He is a coastal ecosystem ecologist at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and has joint appointments in the department of marine sciences, department of environmental sciences and engineering, and the environment, ecology and energy program. As chief sustainability officer, Mike will provide leadership and coordination of broad sustainability efforts on campus, develop a plan to reach short- and long-term goals and serve as chair of the university’s Sustainability Council.

Georgia Tech Introduces SDGs Initiative

The university recently announced that it will use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to implement its new strategic plan, advance organizational innovation, strengthen the university’s local and global collaborations, and address urgent challenges such as COVID-19 and racial injustice.

Pennsylvania HEIs Partner With Municipalities on Climate Action

Twelve Pennsylvania colleges and universities are participating in the state's Department of Environmental Protection's Local Climate Action Program, which pairs municipalities with college students for assistance in developing the components of their local climate action plans. The participants learn how to measure local greenhouse gas emissions, assess local climate-related vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce emissions and manage climate change impacts in their communities.

Indiana U Accepts 2020 'Excellence in Sustainability Award'

The university received the NACUBO 2020 Excellence in Sustainability Award for its Indiana Sustainability Development Program, which aims to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for sustainability jobs within the state. NACUBO's Excellence in Sustainability Award recognizes institutions for a specific campus innovation, process or program that advances environmental sustainability in higher education or progress toward a more environmentally sustainable future.

EAUC Announces 2020 International Green Gown Award Recipients

The small and large institution winners in the Benefitting Society category are, respectively, Ayrshire College (U.K.) and St. Ignatius of Loyola University (Peru). The small and large institution winners in the Student Engagement category are, respectively, Facens University (Brazil) and University of Strathclyde (U.K.). The small and large institutional winners for the Sustainability Institution of the Year award goes to the International Islamic University Malaysia and St. Ignatius of Loyola University (Peru) respectively. The International Green Gown Awards celebrate the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world and are endorsed by United Nations Environment Program.

Villanova U Professor Receives Environmental Health Award

Health Care Without Harm and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments recently announced Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy as the 2020 Charlotte Brody Award recipient. Dr. McDermott-Levy is an associate professor and director at the Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University. The Charlotte Brody Award is an annual award given to a nurse who promotes and protects environmental health. Dr. McDermott-Levy was recognized for environmental advocacy and climate change leadership.

Four Institutions Achieve STARS Platinum

Arizona State University, Cornell University, Université de Sherbrooke and University of Connecticut recently obtained Platinum ratings under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). These institutions join five other STARS Platinum institutions: Colorado State University, Stanford University, Thompson Rivers University, University of California, Irvine, and University of New Hampshire. The STARS assessment framework encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions, as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.

Instituto de Empresa U Announces Sustainability Strategy & Investment

(Spain) The university's new sustainability strategy, the "10 Year Challenge", will focus on specific annual projects from 2020 through 2030 and includes an $11 million (10 million euros) investment. The university's objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030. Additionally, the university aims to eliminate bottled water by 2021; and by the end of 2020, reduce paper consumption by 100 percent, reduce single-use packaging by 50 percent, increase recycling by 50 percent, increase purchased renewable energy to 70 percent; and increase sustainable transportation use by 50 percent.

Northern Illinois U Athletic Dept Enacts Social Justice Ed Plan

Geared toward student-athletes, coaches and staff, the social justice education plan seeks to create educational opportunities, support dialogue and encourage voting. The plan has already brought together African American student-athletes, a focus group of student-athlete leaders and an all-staff virtual town hall of NIU Athletics coaches and staff on the topics of social justice and race relations. Future sessions include a virtual meeting of all student-athletes led by NIU professors and individual team counseling sessions on the topic of race relations.

U Virginia Study Abroad Office Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Plan

The university International Studies Office's (ISO) first Sustainability Plan calls for offsetting all carbon emissions of air travel for education abroad programs administered and managed directly by the ISO, offsetting all carbon emissions for all ISO staff travel, working towards completing UVA’s Green Workplace Program, committing to 100 percent zero-waste and carbon neutral events, and prioritizing sustainable accommodation options where possible.

U Iowa Releases Six Sustainability Goals

The university's Office of Sustainability and the Environment recently announced a framework for campus-wide sustainability goals to be met by 2030. The six goals cover greenhouse gas emissions, campus culture, research and scholarship, campus as a lab, curriculum, and outreach and engagement.

University Climate Change Coalition Releases Strategic Plan

Moving into the third year since its launch, the UC3 (University Climate Change Coalition) recently released a five-year strategic plan, representing an updated vision and trajectory for the coalition. The plan lays out three goals, each related to a sphere of influence–campus, community and global.

College of the Holy Cross Appoints First Sustainability Director

Cathy Liebowitz began her work in April as the college’s first director of sustainability. Liebowitz joins Holy Cross from Emerson College, where she was the campus sustainability manager.

U Washington Releases Sustainability Strategy

The new plan, which spans five years and all three UW campuses, includes five guiding principles and 10 measurable targets, along with annual actions to reach those targets. The plan’s guiding principles are: ensure students achieve sustainability literacy; choose our research conscientiously; keep equity and inclusion at the center; use resources responsibly; and decarbonize.

U Buffalo Releases 2030 Climate Action Plan

The university's new plan, called the “10 in 10”, is a road map of 10 strategies that will guide the university’s climate mitigation efforts over the next decade. The 10 initiatives form a framework for implementation efforts, with each of the 10 categories corresponding to a working group that will advance action within the area.

THE Releases 2020 University Impact Rankings

The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings assess universities against the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The 2020 ranking includes 766 universities from 85 nations/regions.

Ohio State U Releases Climate Action Plan

The university's new Climate Action Plan outlines a 55 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 through improving building efficiency, diversifying sources of energy and addressing transportation-related emissions.

Arizona State U Achieves Carbon Neutrality

The university has recently achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations, six years earlier than its commitment of 2025. Increased energy efficiency in both new buildings and campus retrofits; on-site solar generation; renewable energy purchases from large-scale, off-site generation facilities; and purchase of carbon offsets and renewable energy were deployed. The carbon neutrality commitment date for emissions related to commuting and air travel is 2035.

Dickinson College Sustainability Expert Featured in People Magazine

Neil Leary, director of the college's Center for Sustainability Education, contributed three tips in People magazine's Earth Day anniversary issue featuring "50 things you should know and do to help the planet." Leary discusses the importance of keeping a refrigerator stocked, ditching the mini fridge, and composting.

ISCN Announces 2020 Sustainable Campus Award Winners

The International Sustainable Campus Network's 2020 Sustainable Campus Excellence award winners are Chalmers University of Technology and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) in the whole system approach category; LUT University (Finland) in the Partnerships for Progress category; and Thammasat University (Thailand) in the Cultural Change for Sustainability category. McGill University was recognized with an honorary member award. The International Sustainable Campus Excellence Awards recognize sustainable campus projects that demonstrate leadership, creativity, effectiveness and outstanding performance.

Dickinson College Achieves Carbon Neutrality

Dickinson recently achieved its carbon neutrality goal by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent from 2008 levels and purchasing carbon offsets to mitigate the remaining emissions. From 2020 forward, all the activities included in the college’s carbon footprint—like heating and cooling the campus, use of vehicles and air travel—will result in zero net emissions of greenhouse gases.

Curtin U Receives 6-Star Green Star – Communities Certification

(Australia) The university's Exchange hub earned the certification from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The Exchange is a large-scale development that brings together research with industry. Green Star is a sustainability rating that assesses the planning, design and construction of large-scale development projects across five categories including governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.

Utah State U Approves Recommendations to Lower GHG Emissions

The university recently committed to the following strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: dedicate $60,000 annually in ongoing funds to allow USU Facilities to purchase a renewable energy portfolio from an external power provider; facilities will invest $500,000 each year toward improving building energy efficiencies, and additional funding has been allocated within existing budgets for LED light conversions over the next two years; create a $10 per trip carbon fee on all university-sponsored airline flights, from which funds raised by this fee will be used to invest in on-campus projects that reduce USU’s carbon footprint; and enhance academic programs to raise awareness of sustainability and climate change.

U Pittsburgh Bradford Residence Hall Earns LEED Silver

The university's newly certified Alexander House features renewable energy, high-efficiency HVAC systems, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and low-VOC furnishings. The building has bike storage for students and parking places for electric vehicles.

Southern Illinois U Carbondale Signs Climate Commitment

In mid-February, the university's president signed Second Nature's Climate Commitment. Becoming a signatory means that the university will develop a campus plan that reduces greenhouse gases, create energy efficiencies and/or deploy alternative energy sources or other strategies that reduce its carbon footprint.

U Albany Receives $2M for Carbon Neutrality Planning

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently approved a $2 million grant for the university to research and implement solutions for the statewide 2050 net zero carbon emissions goal.

ACE Produces Series on Race in Higher Ed

The Let’s Talk About Race interview series captures the voices of prominent higher education scholars and leaders as they share their perspectives and experiences on race and ethnicity in higher education.

William & Mary Signs Power Purchase Agreement

The recently signed 20-year power purchase agreement is for the output of a 20-megawatt photovoltaic system that is projected to generate approximately 50 percent of the university’s electricity needs. The production of solar energy at the farm will likely begin in 2021. William & Mary expects the contract will begin to save the university money after about six years.