North Carolina State U to Host Inaugural ACC Sustainability Conference

The very first ACC Sports Sustainability Conference, being held in summer 2019 at N.C. State University, aims to create infrastructure for promoting sustainability in athletics across the conference schools.

U Colorado Boulder Athletics Signs Sports Climate Action Framework

The university's new commitment to the U.N. Sports for Climate Action Framework aims to reduce emissions in sports operations and tap the popularity and passion of sport to engage of fans in the effort. The U.N. Sports for Climate Action Framework has two overarching objectives: to achieve a clear trajectory for the global sports community to combat climate change and to leverage sports as a unifying tool to drive climate awareness and action among global citizens. Signatories of the framework commit to five core principles–undertaking systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility, reducing overall climate impact, educating for climate action, promoting sustainable and responsible consumption, and advocating for climate action through communication.

U East London Students Tackle Plastic Waste on Beaches

(U.K.) The charity GreenSeas Trust approached the university's product design academics to ask if students would be interested in creating an impactful design for a bin that would inspire more people on beaches to dispose of plastic waste in bins. Two third-year students designed and created a bin in the shape of a life ring that will be rolled out on June 5, World Environment Day.

U California Concludes 2019 Cool Campus Challenge

The University of California system recently completed its month-long competition, Cool Campus Challenge, in which campuses compete to reduce their carbon footprint. UC Berkeley had the highest total points; UC Merced has the greatest percent participation; and UC San Francisco was the health location with highest points. A surge on the final day of competition helped push the total participants to over 22,000 students, staff and faculty from across all 10 University of California campus locations and the University of California Office of the President.

U Vermont Student Team Wins Social Investing Competition

Five students from UVM’s Sustainable Innovation MBA program won the inaugural Total Impact Portfolio Challenge, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Social Impact Initiative, Good Capital Project and Bank of America. Fordham University Gabelli School of Business clinched runner up. The competition is designed to challenge future wealth managers, portfolio managers and investment advisors to build financial portfolios that not only make their clients a profit but make the world a better place.

U California, San Francisco Receives $30M to Study Homelessness

Made possible by a $30 million gift, UC San Francisco recently announced the launch of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, a new center that will research root causes of homelessness and identify evidence-based solutions to prevent and end homelessness.

EAUC Launches Climate Emergency Advocacy Campaign

(U.K.) The EAUC recently called for all higher education institutions and support bodies in the U.K. and Ireland to declare a Climate Emergency and to commit to the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to adopt as a minimum a 2050 net-zero emissions target. The EAUC plans to collect the education sectors responses and lobby the U.K. and Ireland governments to act. Thus far, the University of Bristol was the first to declare a Climate Emergency followed by Newcastle University.

U Rhode Island Joins Offshore Wind Partnership

The university will soon lead an offshore wind program, bolstered by a $3 million investment by Ørsted and Eversource, the team behind the Revolution Wind project, which is an effort to support offshore wind education and development. The university will partner with other institutions in the state to support workforce development needs, develop educational curricula, and provide a depth of academic and research expertise.

Scholars Form Sport & Climate Change Research Collaborative

On Earth Day 2019, eight sport scholars formed the Sport Ecology Group, a collective of researchers who work at the intersection of sport and the natural environment. The Sport Ecology Group website features a database of published research on sport and the environment, including work on zero-waste campaigns, facility sustainability, college athletics sustainability, fan engagement and climate risk management.

Georgia Tech Receives $40K Grant for Sustainability Network

The Turner Foundation recently awarded the Georgia Tech Foundation a $40,000 grant to support two projects of the region’s new sustainability network, the Regional Center for Excellence (RCE) Greater Atlanta. The projects include a training program on the U.N. SDGs to be led by the RCE Greater Atlanta Youth Network and the fourth iteration of the Environmental Justice Academy leadership development program. RCE Greater Atlanta brings together 10 universities and colleges with nonprofit, community, government, and business partners to offer broad-based, multi-stakeholder educational and training programs that support key regional sustainable development efforts. It focuses especially on equity and justice issues inherent in sustainable development.

Eight Presidents Commit to Island Sustainability

At the Presidential Summit on Island Sustainability, the presidents of eight island colleges and universities committed to seek indigenous/island solutions to island problems, connect heads of research and workforce development with one another, create an inventory or website of best practices and solutions, and foster exchange visits of faculty, staff and students. The leaders present for the summit were from the University of Guam, Guam Community College, Northern Marianas College, the College of the Marshall Islands, the University of Hawaii, Western Philippines University in Palawan, Jeju National University in South Korea, and the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

Georgetown U Students Endorse Slavery Reconciliation Fund

Students recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum to establish a semesterly fee of $27.20 that would go toward a fund to benefit descendants of the GU272, the 272 enslaved people sold by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1838 to financially sustain the university. If approved by the university, the referendum would create a reconciliation fund, which would be presided over by a board of trustees including five students and five descendants.

American College Greece Holds Inaugural Climate Change Symposium

(Greece) The inaugural event focused on the economic consequences of climate change impacts and related risk estimates, the national plan for energy and climate, forecasting of extreme weather phenomena resulting in catastrophic flooding and fire incidences in the country, and the development of climate change adaptation plans.

Five Universities Partner to Address Food, Health, Climate Change Challenges

A new partnership involving North Carolina State University, Makerere University, Gulu University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda, and Mount Kenya University in Kenya seeks to engage students at the institutions to find solutions to persistent global challenges such as food shortages, health challenges and the effects of climate change. The partnership is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with initial support of $14 million.

Arizona State U Initiates Well-Being Research Center

In partnership with and funded by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), the Global KAITEKI Center will focus on research aimed at realizing the concept of KAITEKI, that is, the sustainable well-being of people, society and planet Earth. It is an original concept of the MCHC that proposes a way forward in the sustainable development of society and the planet, and serves as a guide for solving environmental and social issues. The first four research projects, announced in early April, will be: Visualizing and Quantifying the Social Value of Future Business; Developing a Shared Roadmap for the Circular Economy in the Chemical Industry; Design, Development and Testing of Innovative Materials for Urban Cooling; and Food Waste Reduction and Well-Being for a Sustainable Future.

Pennsylvania State U Sustainability Institute Introduces Affiliate Program

Open to Penn State community members from all colleges and at all 24 campuses, the Affiliate Program is a new initiative for faculty, staff and students interested in becoming affiliates of the institute in order to build stakeholder communities with common interests in issues of sustainability in researching, teaching and engagement.

Chalmers U Tech Professor Contributes to New Environmental Cost ISO Standard

(Sweden) Over the past three years, Bengt Steen, professor emeritus at Chalmers, has led the development of a new ISO standard that will help companies evaluate and manage the impact of their environmental damage, by providing a clear figure for the cost of their goods and services to the environment. The ISO standard contains a guide for how monetary valuation should be made, defines terms and sets requirements for documentation.

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.

U Texas Arlington Creates UN Regional Center of Expertise

In an effort to unify sustainability efforts across North Texas, the university was recently approved to establish a U.N. Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. Called the North Texas RCE, the center aims to address how to advance sustainability in the face of a booming population.

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 Maryland Professor Reports to Congress on Carbon Emissions

Speaking before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Nathan Hultman, director of the university's Center for Global Sustainability in the School of Public Policy, outlined findings about how universities, businesses, states and cities are making important contributions to cutting carbon emissions in the U.S., even without the federal government’s support of the Paris Agreement’s goals on climate change. The findings Hultman reported on were from the most recent America's Pledge Initiative report, an assessment of how leaders are driving the U.S. toward a low-carbon future.

Binghamton U to Establish Institute for Social Justice for Women & Girls

A large donation from Ellyn Uram Kaschak '65 will be used to fund an institute focused on equality for women and girls. The institute will support faculty affiliates, practitioners-in-residence and student fellows at the graduate and undergraduate levels, all while fostering public engagement and outreach.

Mercer U Students Grow Food for Local Food Bank

Two third-year students at the university's School of Medicine are growing fresh produce for a local food bank to combat a lack of access to fresh, local food. They also create and donate health resource pamphlets with the food they donate.

U Maryland Unveils 'Do Good Accelerator' Program

The Do Good Accelerator program supports student teams by providing space and assistance to develop ventures and projects aimed both at tackling societal problems and building successful companies and nonprofits.

Ohio State U Introduces Eco-Friendly Search Engine

A group of Ohio State graduate students and their faculty adviser were awarded $40,000 in funding to install Ecosia as the default search engine onto 30,000 campus computers. Ecosia is a search engine where 80 percent of ad revenue generated by internet searches is used to fund organizations that plant trees around the world. The team plans to spend the $40,000 on different marketing initiatives, including widespread advertisement campaigns on campus and through social media channels, and hiring support staff to manage programming and development, track usage, and handle public relations and social media.

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.

U Virginia Collaborates With City & County to Reduce Emissions

The city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the university will soon embark on a collaborative community outreach effort as each entity begins to update their greenhouse gas reduction targets and develop climate action plans. To enable broad community engagement and participation in informing these commitments, the three organizations are coordinating their outreach efforts across their sustainability offices and encouraging residents, businesses and area stakeholders to get involved.

21 New York Universities Form RE Purchasing Coalition

Called New York Campuses’ Aggregate Renewable Energy Solutions (NYCARES), the newly formed consortium is comprised of 21 private and public higher education institutions and is working towards a goal of purchasing or producing electricity from 100 percent zero-net-carbon sources.

Environment America Launches 100% Renewable Energy Campaign

Environment America, along with students across the country, will launch 50 campaigns in 15 states this year, imploring colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The nationwide initiative will include educational forums, petition drives and direct engagement with administration officials to press for 100 percent renewable energy. In support of these efforts, more than 950 faculty and campus leaders have signed a statement calling for higher education administrators to make a clear commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy for all operations.

UK Government Allocates $22M for Nitrogen Pollution Research

The U.K. government recently announced a $22 million (17.1 million British pounds) commitment for an international research program to tackle the challenge that nitrogen pollution poses for the environment, food security, human health and the economy in South Asia. The South Asian Nitrogen Hub will study the impacts of the different forms of pollution to form a coherent picture of the nitrogen cycle. Comprising around 50 organizations from across the U.K. and South Asia, partners include the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Bristol, plus research institutes and universities in South Asia.

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.

U North Carolina Pembroke Receives $100K for Water Runoff Research

A $100,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will allow the Lumber River Conservancy and its partners in the UNC Pembroke biology department to study the effects of agricultural runoff, drought and recent hurricanes on the river’s overall health. The results will help the Lumber River Conservancy, regulatory agencies and members of the community make decisions to protect the river and improve its water quality.

Higher Education Cluster Addresses Agenda 2030

The Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development was initiated by the International Association of Universities to advocate for the key role that higher education institutions play in achieving Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Consisting of 16 lead universities, the cluster has two main objectives: to serve as a resource and networking hub for universities around the world, and to be a global voice for higher education in sustainable development, informing international organizations and national governments about the role of universities in achieving the SDGs.

Clemson U Engineering Students Partner on Sustainable Vehicle

Clemson University students are partnering with ExxonMobil to develop an ultra-efficient, lightweight, highly durable sustainable concept vehicle. The project emphasizes the integration of sustainability in the entire product lifecycle – from manufacture and operation with circular economy considerations.

Western Washington U Receives $18K Grant for Local Education Program

The Russell Family Foundation awarded $2.3 million in grants in the Pacific Northwest region for programs that focus on outdoor environment and community empowerment. Of that amount, $18,000 went to Western Washington's SEA Discovery Center to engage youth in hands-on marine education about the local environment. The grant will expand its curriculum for middle school students specifically.

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.

Emory U Receives $650K to Advance Climate Project

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $650,000 grant to Emory University to advance the Georgia Climate Project. This foundational grant will support efforts to build a network of experts who can improve understanding of climate impacts and solutions and better position Georgia to respond to a changing climate. The Georgia Climate Project is a state-wide consortium co-founded by Emory, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and joined by Agnes Scott College, Georgia Southern University, Spelman College, and the University of North Georgia.

UCLA Partners to Fund Water & Energy Research

Through a new partnership, UCLA and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will identify research that would move the city to greater use of recycled water, increase water and energy conservation and efficiency as well as electrification of the transportation network. The partnership also seeks to use and produce local water and strengthen climate adaptation planning.

Penn State U CSO Becomes Club of Rome Inductee

Paul Shrivastava, Penn State's chief sustainability officer, director of the Sustainability Institute, and professor of management in the Smeal College of Business, was inducted last month as one of the 100 members of the Club of Rome, which seeks solutions to pressing global problems and is well known for its first report, "The Limits of Growth," published in 1972.

U Maryland Pilot Project Cleans Water & Produces Energy

Helping to keep pollution out of the Port of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay while providing a pollution-free source of renewable energy, a university research pilot project harvests algae that is used to filter pollution from water and turns it into biogas, which is used to power flood lights at the algae digester site.

Second Nature Receives $90K From Ray C. Anderson Fdn

The NextGen Committee of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $90,000 grant to Second Nature, which will be used to provide resources for colleges and universities that have signed Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments and are ready to move from the initial administrative commitment stage to measurable climate action within the next calendar year. Second Nature aims to enable multiple universities to complete a large-scale, aggregated procurement of clean energy in 2019 through a power purchase agreement.

U New Hampshire Receives $1.4M for Aquaculture Training & Research

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that the New Hampshire Sea Grant will receive $1.4 million to expand aquaculture research in New Hampshire. The funding will support two projects. The first one is an offshore aquaculture system that will serve as a training platform to recruit fishermen and farmers to participate in workshops and daily operations of farming steelhead trout and blue mussels. The second is a research project that seeks to assess and mitigate microbial safety issues associated with shellfish aquaculture.

U Maryland Research Technology Helps Clean Up Surface Water

Technology developed at the university's School of Engineering will be used in a new stormwater basin that will capture nutrient pollution in an effort to protect aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay. Before reaching the bay, stormwater will be captured in an artificial pond lined with a bed of stones and a 12-inch layer of an aluminum-based material known for its ability to bind with and trap phosphorus.

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.

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.

Virginia Commonwealth U Plants Trees in Local Community for Carbon Offset Credits

A project to plant dozens of trees this month in Richmond's Carver area will make the neighborhood a greener and more walkable community, while offsetting the carbon footprint of the university as the trees grow. The Carver Tree Project has brought together resources from VCU, nonprofits and state agencies to plant and maintain 75 trees in the neighborhood. VCU will claim carbon offset credits for the new trees under a peer-reviewed program developed at Duke University.

U Queensland Diverts Cardboard From Landfill By Reusing for Horse Bedding

(Australia) Used cardboard boxes are now turned into bedding material for horses and foals at the university's VETS Equine Specialist Hospital. Using cardboard allows the university to save approximately $80,000 (100,000 Australian dollars) annually in bedding costs. The initiative was originally developed by the 2017 cohort of Agribusiness students as part of an integrated learning project to make the university’s Gatton campus more sustainable. The project is now sourcing additional cardboard waste from local supermarkets.

Pennsylvania State U Gets Nearly $4M Grant for Community Wellness Program

Penn State College of Medicine has received a nearly $4 million grant to promote healthy lifestyles and improve nutrition for Hispanic people living in nearby Berks and Lebanon counties. Awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s REACH project, the grant will help establish healthy nutrition standards, provide healthier food access at community venues and increase electronic benefit transfer acceptance. It will also help create a bilingual hospital-based breastfeeding program.