U Connecticut Dining Stops Using Plastic Grocery Bags
Plastic bags are no longer used at Grab & Go locations on campus, a decision made by the university's Department of Dining Services in collaboration with a zero waste campaign. Brown paper bags that are 100 percent recyclable and reusable will now be available at the cost of ten cents each. Dining Services will be working with the zero waste group this semester to establish drop-off containers for paper bags that can then be reused by other customers at no cost. Additionally, reusable pocket size shopping bags will be available for sale.
EPA Announces Food Recovery Challenge Winners
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Challenge highlights outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. California State University, Northridge and University of Texas at Arlington, Texas were 2018 national winners. In addition to national awards, EPA regional offices across the country provided recognition to Food Recovery Challenge participants for outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. Regional winners include Boston College, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Skidmore College, and the University of Pittsburgh.
St. Joseph's College Switches to Biodegradable Straws
The college recently switched from plastic straws to biodegradable straws through an agreement between Student Government, the college’s Mission-Aligned Businesses, and Sustainable Enterprises. Additionally, in an effort to reduce single-use cups, one of the college's coffee stations now offers free coffee to students and employees who bring their own reusable cups.
Central Michigan U Begins Composting Pizza Boxes
Because grease and food toppings on pizza boxes largely exempt the material from being recycled, the university began a program to compost pizza boxes. The initiative was spearheaded by Residence Life.
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 Maryland Begins Emergency Meal Initiative
The university launched the Emergency Meal Fund following growing recognition of the variety of challenges faced by food-insecure students, such as physical health problems, lower self-esteem, anxiety and depression. A partnership between the Student Government Association and Dining Services, the program offers 10 meals in any of the university’s three dining halls to students in crisis.
East Carolina U Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Plan
The university's inaugural Sustainability Plan, covering 2019-2023, outlines goals in the areas of climate change mitigation, academics and research, campus grounds, and materials management. More than 60 faculty, staff, students and members of the community participated in developing the plan over the past year.
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.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Launches Green Office Program
The new Green Office SLEUTH (Student-Led Energy-Use Treasure Hunts) program is a joint project of the university's Sustainability Office and the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center. Selected students will work with campus offices to find ways to reduce energy use and adopt good recycling techniques. At the end of the program, students receive $500 and a certificate at the completion of the assignment.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Opens Free Store
The Cougar Cupboard is a new initiative that stocks food and important hygiene products free of charge for students. Patrons of the cupboard receive enough food for each family member residing in their household to eat for approximately three days.
Purdue U Studies Best Practices for E-Scooters on Campus
In the coming weeks, 40 scooters will be distributed across Purdue's campus to begin the initial four-week research project to study how e-scooters can best be incorporated into an urban environment. While the research results are intended to be used by civil engineering and city planners worldwide, Purdue will be using the information for future decisions about whether to allow scooters on campus and how they should be used.
U Manitoba Launches Single-Use Cup Reduction Campaign
Following a waste audit that resulted in a public disposable cup display to raise awareness for how many cups are used, the Office of Sustainability launched a Choose to Refuse Single-Use Cups campaign in an effort to reduce the nearly 1.2 million disposable coffee cups used in an academic year.
U Notre Dame to Close Coal Plant One Year Early
Last month, the senior director of Utilities and Maintenance said the campus power plant will cease burning coal sometime in 2019, one year ahead of the initially predicted deadline in 2020. This recent decision is a direct result of the Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, a multi-pronged plan for a more sustainable campus. The strategy, created by a standing committee of faculty, administrators, undergraduates, graduate students and campus staff, is organized into six areas of focus: energy and emissions; water; building and construction; waste; procurement, licensing and food sourcing; and education, research and community outreach.
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.
Real Food Challenge Initiates 'Uprooted & Rising' Campaign
The Real Food Challenge recently launched Uprooted and Rising, a movement that seeks to end higher education’s support for "Big Food" corporations and white supremacy in the food system and to direct the energy of students' towards food sovereignty. Uprooted & Rising aims to create a culture shift through public action, digital organizing and creative storytelling that uplifts and centers the ideas and experiences of those who have been marginalized in the food system.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Earns Bee Campus USA Certification
Making the world safer for pollinators through extensive habitat improvements, awareness efforts, and engagement strategies earned the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recognition as a certified Bee Campus USA. The Bee Campus USA program is designed to amass the strengths of educational campuses across the country for the benefit of native bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, beetles and flies that 90 percent of the world's wild plant species rely on for pollination.
McGill U Provides Staff With Resources to Incorporate Sustainability
The McGill Office of Sustainability has released two new resources that encourage staff to make sustainability a part of their everyday work life. One resource is for new employees while the other outlines many different ways to engage with sustainability practices, programs and initiatives on campus.
Anglia Ruskin U Pilots Behavior Change Program
(U.K.) Called ARUgreen, the new program uses gamification to encourage members to engage in a range of actions themed by key sustainability priorities: energy saving, sustainable travel, waste reduction, responsible purchasing, and health and well-being. Members are rewarded with points and compete with their colleagues to win monthly voucher prizes. The program will be piloted for six months and cover 700 employees initially of ARU’s total 18,000 employees.
U Texas Dallas Implements Post-Consumer Composting
Building on its pre-consumer food composting program, the university recently set up its dining hall so that students can scrape their plate, including napkins, into a collection bin. Aiding the reduction of food waste, the dining hall does not use trays, eliminated straws and foam cups, and works with a student chapter of Food Recovery Network to collect leftovers from campus dining locations for those struggling to avoid hunger.
Mississippi State U Opens Community Garden
A ribbon cutting ceremony took place in mid-October for the MSU Community Garden. The garden includes eight accessible planters and 19 large raised planters. The garden also features two autonomous farming robots, or “Farmbots,” operated by the Students for Sustainable Campus organization and two 2,000-gallon cisterns that hold rain water and condensation from a nearby air conditioning unit. Compost for use in the garden is collected from dining halls and Campus Landscape.
Marshall U Offers Bike Share Program
Called Rolling Thunder, a fleet of 30 new white bikes will allow Marshall students and staff to access bikes for free for the first two hours and $5-per-hour after the first two hours.
U Calgary Begins Sustainable Office Program
Intended for all students, faculty and staff who work in an office, the Sustainable Offices Program is a certification program offering tools and resources that help connect everyday decisions to the university's larger sustainability goals. The program launched with two badge areas: waste and meetings. Additional badges will be rolled out in 2019.
U New Mexico Begins Denim Recycling Partnership
The university’s Environment Coalition partnered with the Blue Jeans Go Green program to kick off a denim recycling effort to turn the collected material into insulation. Once the denim is processed, it is turned into a non-toxic denim insulation that gets donated to eligible grant programs or sent out to various Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
Southern Oregon U Signs Real Food Commitment
By signing up for the Real Food Challenge, the university agreed that at least 20 percent of its food budget by 2023 will be spent on “real food”. To get there, the university will establish a transparent reporting system and file an annual progress report to evaluate its food purchasing practices; create a food systems working group that will develop a “real food" policy and multi-year action plan; and increase awareness of ecologically sustainable, humane and socially equitable food systems.
San Francisco State U Receives $60K for Textile Waste Diversion
With a $60,000 grant from the San Francisco Department of the Environment, two faculty founded the Wear Movement, a project dedicated to extending the lifecycle of clothing. Students run a weekly pop-up event to collect and sell clean clothing that students, faculty and staff contribute.
Cornell U Unveils Sustainable Landscapes Trail
The trail includes 20 stops that have sustainability features, including bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, a climate change garden, stormwater control design, native plantings and pollinator habitat. Markers and an online walking map highlight how design, construction and the management of campus grounds can enhance and promote healthy landscape ecosystems.
U Waterloo Opens Vegan-Vegetarian Restaurant
The university's first restaurant dedicated to vegan and vegetarian cuisine, called FRSH, focuses all menu items on low-impact options such as salads, flatbreads and hot bowls. Though a couple dishes contain dairy, all menu items feature plant-based proteins. The change comes after students and employees expressed increasing interest in more vegan and vegetarian options on campus.
Delta College Receives Bee Campus USA Certification
Campus ground crews have been steadily increasing wildflower-planted areas and native plant habitat, as well as designating pollinator habitat, that have enable the college to obtain the Bee Campus USA certification. The college undertook seven steps including establishing a committee, developing a plan, sponsoring student service-learning projects and installing signage around campus.
Indiana U Boosts Wellness With 3-Week Challenge
The three-week challenge will start at the beginning of October and aims to encourage everyday physical activities that benefit human health and the environment. Free for all members of the IU community to participate, the challenge focuses on one form of sustainable physical activity per week.
Southern Oregon U to Install 392 KW of Photovoltaics
Three new photovoltaic arrays, amounting to a 57 percent increase in solar generating capacity for the school, will have a total capacity of 391.45 kilowatts. One array will be funded by the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University’s Green Fund, and the university will pay the fund back for the electricity generated by the system.
Six New York City Universities Work to Reduce Water Use
The New York City Water Challenge to Universities was recently announced by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. As part of the challenge, the participating universities will work to reduce their campus-wide average water consumption by 5 percent, which would be a savings of approximately 1.3 million gallons of water per month. The participating universities are Fordham University; Long Island University, Brooklyn campus; Pace University; St. John’s University; The New School; and Weill Cornell Medical.
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.
Hope College Student Center Earns LEED Gold
The new building features large, energy-efficient windows, shower facilities for cyclists, and an energy-efficient HVAC system. Twenty-one percent of the building’s content is recycled material and the college was able to divert 91 percent of construction waste from landfills. Connecting the building to its site, wood boards from an elm tree that was knocked down in a 2011 storm were used to panel the east wall of the building’s chapel.
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.
NUS Shares Results of Survey Regarding Students' Attitudes
The National Union of Students in the U.K. released new survey results revealing students' expectations for and experiences of teaching and learning for sustainable development. While this is the eighth year of the survey, it is the first year that the results include input from students outside of the U.K. The results say that 91 percent of students surveyed want their place of study to incorporate and promote sustainable development and 70 percent want sustainable development incorporated and promoted through all courses. Additionally, 61 percent said they would accept a lower salary than average to work in a company with a positive social and environmental record.
U Maryland Receives $3M NSF Grant to Launch Graduate Program
The $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to establish a new graduate training and research program, Global STEWARDS (STEM Training at the Nexus of Energy, Water Reuse and Food Systems). The program seeks to enable UMD to recruit and train more than 60 doctoral students in the life sciences, earth system sciences, engineering and computational sciences, natural resource management, and energy and environmental policy.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Launches Student-Written Environmental Publication
The first published issue of Q Magazine features articles from students enrolled in the undergraduate certificate in Environmental Writing, a joint venture of the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, the School for Earth, Society, and Environment, and the English department. Students enrolled in the capstone course learn about the latest scientific research on the environment and how to communicate that research effectively to the public.
U Strathclyde Begins Employee Well-Being & Sustainability Program
(U.K.) Following a successful five-month pilot period, the employee well-being and sustainability program will be offered to all employees in October 2018. Employees can earn points for tracking activity in areas such as fitness, commuting and waste. Employees who receive the most points are able to win individual voucher prizes, while teams with the most points can award a charity donation.
Washington Post Covers Rise of Campus Gardens
Citing a 2015 university food gardens study co-authored by a Southern Illinois University professor of geography and director of environmental studies, the article highlights a burgeoning trend over the past decade in which college students across the country volunteer their time to get back to the land or to forge a connection to the land for the first time.
Bucknell U Prepares 5-Acre Campus Garden
Preliminary construction and site preparation began this summer on a 5-acre campus garden that will provide a platform for academic collaborations, sustainable food production, student life and wellness, and community engagement.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Launches Green Laboratory Program
Launched in August 2018, the Certified Green Lab Program is for university labs that commit to sustainability through actions like reducing waste, conserving energy and abiding by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. The lab program is managed by the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.
George Washington U Expands Dining Representative Program
There are now six GW Dining representatives who tweet information about on-campus dining options for students with dietary restrictions. GW Dining debuted the dining representative program last September, using students with specific diets – Kosher, vegan and vegetarian, Halal and gluten-free – to advertise dining vendors and meal options for students.