Rhode Island College Graduates to Sport Recycled Plastic Gowns

Each cap and gown will keep 23 used plastic bottles from winding up in landfills. Students will also have an opportunity to donate their gowns to be recycled into carpets.

U North Carolina Partners to Keep Mattresses from Landfill

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte's new mattress provider for on-campus housing uses a recycling and re-manufacturing process that includes the on-site removal and collection of old mattresses. The company deconstructs the mattresses and reuses or recycles all components. The university is saving 30 percent per mattress with the new contract, and expects to replace 800 mattresses annually; a savings of $20,000 per year.

Washington U St. Louis Adopts 'Blue' Cleaning Practices

Washington University in St. Louis (MO) is profiled in a recent College Planning & Management article for its pilot "blue cleaning" program. Coined by ARAMARK, the phrase refers to the elimination of chemical cleaners in favor of electrically activated water. After a successful year, the college is in the midst of a comprehensive training program to aid its transition entirely away from chemical cleaners.

Purdue U Students Push Bookstore to Sell 'Green' Essay Books

Purdue University’s (IN) student government, with support from the provost's office, is encouraging the campus bookstore to sell environmentally friendly essay books instead of the standard blue books. The "green" books are made with a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled materials and cost a penny more. While some classes administer quizzes online, the university doesn't have the technology yet to administer tests online that include essay questions.

Oklahoma State U to Purchase Wind Power

Oklahoma State University has reached a 20-year agreement with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to buy wind energy to power its campus. The agreement is part of an overarching sustainability initiative aimed at saving money, reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency. The utility company will partner with NextEra Energy to build a new 60-megawatt wind farm to support the university project.

Central Michigan U Earns National Green Cleaning Recognition

Central Michigan University has received the "Grand Award" in the higher education category of the 2011 Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities, sponsored by American School & University magazine, the Green Cleaning Network and Healthy Schools Campaign. The award recognizes educational institutions that have exemplary green cleaning programs and practices among custodial staff. Over a five-year period, the university has reduced its chemical inventories throughout campus buildings by more than half.

U System of Maryland to Purchase Wind Farm Share

The University System of Maryland has announced plans to purchase 20 percent of a wind farm that will result in about 100,000 megawatt hours of energy per year. Through a partnership with the Maryland Energy Administration and other state agencies, universities across Maryland are working to become carbon neutral by 2050, a goal they set as signatories to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Florida A&M U Debuts Socially Responsible Apparel

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s bookstore has introduced a new socially responsible clothing line by School House. The company’s founder started the company as a student while studying ethical manufacturing in Sri Lanka. School House’s founding mission is to pay workers a fair living wage. All of the company’s production takes place in the U.S.

U Kentucky Partners with Socially Responsible Apparel Company

The University of Kentucky has announced that its bookstore will sell a brand of clothing that has committed to higher standards of social responsibility. Alta Gracia manufactures collegiate apparel in overseas factories committed to providing all employees with benefits and a living wage sufficient to cover monthly costs for a family of four.

Naropa U Named as EPA Green Power Partner

Naropa University (CO) has announced its recognition as a Green Power Partner by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One of 20 colleges and universities nationwide officially recognized for offsetting 100 percent of their emissions using green power and renewable energy, the university is purchasing more than 1 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually.

Park U Initiates Campus Green Cleaning Program

Park University (MO) has partnered with Aramark to implement an environmentally friendly "Blue Cleaning" program. The university will use electrically activated water in place of general purpose cleaning chemicals. The program includes extensive staff training and an education and engagement component.

U Notre Dame Switches to 100% Recycled Stationery

Starting this November, letterhead, envelopes and business cards at the University of Notre Dame (IN) will be printed on 100 percent recycled content paper. The conversion is expected to save 29,000 pounds of wood and 43,000 gallons of water, as well as avoid 8,900 pounds of carbon emissions annually.

USA Today Highlights Student Push for 'Real Food'

Students at 216 campuses in 46 states and five countries are asking their campuses for healthier and sustainable foods, reports a recent USA Today article. The student groups are a part of the national The Real Food Challenge movement, which calls for institutions to serve more organic, locally grown foods that don't come from industrial farms. The challenge recently launched the Real Food Campus Commitment, a pledge for institutions to spend 20 percent of their food purchasing budget on "real foods."

U Montana Partners with Socially Responsible Apparel Supplier

The University of Montana has announced that its bookstore will sell a brand of clothing that has committed to higher standards of social responsibility. Knights Apparel, which created the Alta Gracia brand, manufactures collegiate apparel in overseas factories committed to providing all employees with benefits and a living wage sufficient to cover the monthly costs for a family of four. The new partnership is a result of years of campus demonstrations led by members of Students for Economic and Social Justice.

Elon U Graduates to Sport Recycled Plastic Gowns

Commencement apparel for Elon University (NC) graduates this month will be made of recycled plastic bottles. Each cap and gown, spun from molten plastic pellets, will keep 23 used plastic bottles from winding up in landfills. Using recycled plastic instead of virgin polyester cuts carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 55 percent.

Oregon State U Offsets Nearly 100% of Energy Use

Oregon State University has purchased $430,000 in renewable energy certificates for a total offset of nearly 100 percent of its campus energy use. The certificates were initially purchased from student green fees but the students wanted to redirect the money to fund local energy projects. The university administration agreed to continue to purchase renewable energy off-site. The certificates were purchased from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, which reinvests profits from the sale of carbon offsets into watershed restoration and renewable energy programs.

New San Diego State U Bookstore Promotes 'Sweat-Free' Products

The new San Diego State University (CA) bookstore will sell clothes made by Alta Gracia, a company that guarantees its clothes are not made in sweatshop conditions. The university student movement, “Bring ‘Sweat-Free’ Clothes to SDSU Bookstore,” encouraged the bookstore to offer sweatshop-free products. Alta Gracia pays its workers in the Dominican Republic more than three times the nation's minimum wage.

Emory U Works to Consolidate Office Supply Orders

In an effort to shrink the campus carbon footprint generated by vendors who make deliveries by truck to campus, Emory University's (GA) Office of Sustainability, in collaboration with its procurement office, is working to consolidate office orders to a minimum of $50 per order. The university found in a 2010 analysis that it placed nearly 5,000 orders under $50. Had all orders under $50 been eliminated, the reduction could have saved about 15 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Delta College Printing Certified by Forest Stewardship Council

After conducting an internal assessment to determine how they could make their operations more sustainable including detailing processes related to purchasing, Delta College's (MI) Printing Services Department has received a Chain-of-Custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council. This certification ensures that the paper used for printing is guaranteed to have been harvested, manufactured and distributed only by organizations that also have Chain-of Custody certification.

Duke U Graduation Gowns to be Made of Recycled Plastic Bottles

Commencement apparel for Duke University (NC) graduates this May will be made of material produced from recycled plastic bottles. Made of fabric spun from molten plastic pellets, each cap and gown will keep 23 used plastic bottles from winding up in landfills. The caps and gowns from Salem, Va.-based Oak Hall Cap & Gown Company will be shipped in boxes made of recycled cardboard and in storage bags made from recycled plastic.

Loyola U Offers Sweatshop Free Apparel

Loyola University (MD) has partnered with Alta Gracia Apparel to offer sweatshop free apparel in the college bookstore. The clothing manufacturing company implements responsible labor practices and pays its workers, who are free to unionize, a living wage. Alta Gracia's wages were standardized by the Workers Right Consortium, a labor rights watchdog organization that includes the involvement of more than 180 collegiate apparel factories. The university's Center for Community Service and Justice has been involved with several initiatives on campus to support unionized factories and tries to spark interest in the fair trade initiative among students, groups and offices on campus.

Louisiana State U Partners with Alta Gracia Apparel

Louisiana State University has partnered with Alta Gracia Apparel to offer sweatshop free apparel in the college bookstore. The clothing manufacturing company implements responsible labor practices and pays its workers a living wage. The employees are part of a union. Despite paying higher wages and providing better working conditions, Alta Gracia apparel prices are comparable to premium brands.

Temple U Bookstore Offers Union Made Clothes

Temple University’s (PA) Barnes and Noble College Bookseller has begun selling university apparel made by labor unions. The clothing is made from Alta Gracia Apparel, a company who implements responsible labor practices. The employees are part of a union and are paid three times the minimum wage. The bookstore refuses to do business that is not a part of the Fair Labor Association and mandates companies to sign a code of conduct to prove they do not support sweatshops.

Antioch U New England Adopts Responsible Purchasing Policy

With an emphasis on social justice criteria relative to accessibility, inclusion, ethical production and local purchasing, Antioch University New England (NH) has adopted a responsible purchasing policy. The policy sets standards that aim to reduce campus waste and greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen the local economy by buying regional products and services. The university’s Sustainability and Social Justice Committee will continually revisit the policy for updates based on in-house research and outreach.

Victoria U Considering Fair Trade Proposal

Victoria University's (New Zealand) vice chancellor is considering a proposal to become the country's first fair trade campus. The university's students voted in favor of the Victoria International Development Society's proposal, voting for fair trade advocacy at a recent student representative council.

Duke U Announces Green Computer Purchasing Program

Duke University (NC) has unveiled a Computer Purchasing Program to take advantage of volume purchasing to negotiate better pricing and extended warranties through preferred vendors. The University, in partnership with its vendors, worked to reconfigure some of the standards to include products with a higher level of energy efficiency that will save Duke money in the long run, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption over the life of the computer.

Washington U in St. Louis Serves Ethical Tomatoes

Washington University, St. Louis (MO) Dining Services’ provider, Bon Appétit, has decided to only serve Fair Trade tomatoes in campus dining halls. In the winter, the tomatoes at the University will come from farms in Florida that have signed an agreement, established by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, to fairly pay and ethically treat their workers. Currently only one farm will be providing the University with tomatoes.

Harvard U to Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates

Harvard University (MA) has announced plans to purchase renewable energy credits to supply more than 10 percent of the electricity consumed on its Cambridge and Allston campuses. Harvard will purchase half of the power generated by the planned Stetson Wind II facility near Danforth, Maine, as well as the associated renewable energy certificates. Electricity from Stetson Wind II will be generated by 17 1.5 MW turbines.

Saint Peter’s College Buys 100% Renewable Energy

St. Peter’s College (NJ) has committed to purchasing 100 percent of its energy from green sources for at least one year beginning January 1, 2010. The initiative will prevent an estimated 3,065 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The energy will be generated by wind turbines and is being acquired through Green-e Certified Energy.

U Alaska Dining Provides Students with Fresh Produce

A greenhouse located on the University of Alaska campus that previously was used for growing cut flowers and houseplants has been converted into a garden for the campus’ dining services. The structure now grows salad greens, tomatoes, peppers, and other produce that is served in campus dining halls. Currently, the produce makes up a small portion of the total food served, and UA hopes to expand it in the future.

Arizona State U Football Goes Green

Arizona State University has announced plans to partner with Arizona Public Services Company to make the rest of its football season green. ASU will purchase enough renewable energy to power the rest of the season’s games and will also work with APS to promote sustainability at its home games by showing the fans the importance of sustainability and sharing tips to go green.

Stanford U Hospital Offers Local, Organic Food to Patients

The Stanford University (CA) Hospital is now bringing in local produce through its new Farm Fresh project. The program offers organic and locally grown food to patients. Doctors believe the initiative will also help with nutrition education, which is a focus of every meal served at the Hospital. Some doctors believe the program could even help speed up patient recovery.

U Missouri Brings Local Food to Students

The University of Missouri has begun purchasing produce from farmers in a 100 mile radius of campus. The University is buying from 12 farmers, including one beef farmer that sells Dining Services 400 to 500 pounds of beef per week.

Sodexo Commits to Sustainable Seafood

Sodexo, a major food and facilities services management company that serves several college campuses, has committed to sourcing 100 percent of its contracted wild-caught seafood purchases in North America from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fisheries by 2015. Sodexo says this decision is a result of consumers desire to eat healthy and sustainably.

Santa Clara U Doubles Renewable Energy Purchases

Santa Clara University (CA) has committed to doubling its annual use of renewable energy to 22,512 MW. Seventy-five percent of the University’s electricity is now purchased through renewable energy certificates which guarantee clean energy is being used.

Georgian Court U Offsets 100% of its Energy w/ RECs

Georgian Court University (NJ) has purchased more than 5.6 kWh of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). The purchase, which offsets 100 percent of the University's energy usage, includes 5 million kWh of biomass energy and 665,280 kWh of wind energy from national wind farms.

Gonzaga U Campus Kitchen Begins Gleaning/Serving Local Foods

Gonzaga University (WA) has begun a project that involves gleaning local fruits and vegetables and serving them in campus dining facilities. The University has partnered with local farmers who are unable to eat or sell all of the fruits and vegetables they grow. The farmers donate or sell the produce at a reduced price.

U Wisconsin Madison Serves Produce from Campus Garden

The University of Wisconsin, Madison's Dining and Culinary Services has begun sourcing a portion of its produce from a garden on campus. The campus eateries that serve the hyper-local food have posted signs to inform their customers about the initiative.

Green Purchasing Survey Reveals Growing Role of Sustainability Programs

The National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP) and SciQuest, a procurement automation company, have announced the findings of "The Current State of Green Procurement Trends within Higher Education" survey. The survey, which garnered responses from procurement professionals at more than 100 colleges and universities in the U.S., found that: nearly half of respondents plan to institute a green purchasing policy in the next year; more than 62 percent of colleges and universities have a sustainability plan in place, but only 24 percent have green procurement policies in place to support them; more than 85 percent of respondents believe the call to "do the right thing" is the most important reason for implementing sustainability initiatives; only 30 percent of respondents have the ability to promote green certified suppliers; and more than 60 percent have no way to determine how much is spent on environmentally friendly products. The survey is intended to provide a benchmark from which the profession can gauge the growing role of procurement within sustainability efforts.

WA State Mandates State Colleges to Purchase 100% Recycled Paper

The State of Washington has approved the Paper Recycling and Conservation Act, which requires all state agencies and state colleges to purchase paper containing 100 percent post-consumer recycled content by the end of the year. In addition, the law requires all state buildings with 25 or more employees to reduce their printing and copying use by 30 percent by July 2010 and to recycle 100 percent of the copy and printing paper used in the office.

Luther College Increases Local Food Purchases

Luther College (IA) has increased the amount of local food purchases from 2 to 10 percent from the 2007-2008 to the 2008-2009 academic year. Luther uses locally grown ingredients in the salad bar items, main entrees, and desserts. The College defines local foods as items begin produced within a 100-mile radius of the College.

Anaheim U Announces Plans to Go Paperless

Anaheim University (CA) has committed to being paperless by 2010. As part of its goal, the University has begun asking publishers to produce e-books, has switched to e-catalogs, and has begun converting all administrative procedures into digital format. Students have been submitting assignments electronically and have had access to online library resources since 1998.

EPA Recognizes Colleges in Green Power Challenge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the winners of its College and University Green Power Challenge, which ranks collegiate athletic conferences by the total amount of green power bought by their member schools. To be eligible, each conference has to collectively purchase at least 10 million kWh of green power. The Ivy League won the top prize for the third year in a row, lead by the University of Pennsylvania. The Ivy League's cumulative annual purchase totaled more than 225 million kWh. This year’s challenge included 44 competing institutions representing 22 different conferences nationwide. The challenge’s cumulative annual purchase totaled more than 1 billion kWh of green power. One winning school was announced from each conference.

College of William & Mary Switches to Recycled Paper

The College of William and Mary (VA) has switched to 75 percent recycled content paper. The new paper is also acid free and has 35 percent post-consumer content.

Washington U St. Louis Switches to Fair Trade Bananas

Washington University in St. Louis (MO) has switched to fair trade certified bananas on campus. The University serves approximately 400 pounds of bananas each day.

U Minnesota Opens Green Cafe

The University of Minnesota has opened the CityKid Java Café. The Café serves fair trade coffee, and all profits from the Café fund athletic programming and learning labs for at-risk youth and their families.

U Kansas Purchases Wind to Power Library

A University of Kansas student organization has purchased enough wind power credits to power the campus' library for one year. The Student Environmental Advisory Board chose the library because of its central campus location and its familiarity to the university community. The purchase was funded by a mandatory $1.25 per semester student fee that was approved in 2007.

City College of New York Begins Sustainable Food Program

The City College of New York's dining services provider, Metropolitan Food Services Inc. has initiated a sustainable food program on campus. Metropolitan plans to purchase organic food from local farmers in Long Island and New Jersey whenever possible. In addition, the company has installed a purified drinking water filtration system in order to reduce the amount of bottled water purchased on campus. Customers can fill their own beverage travel cups or purchase reusable travel mugs from the cafeteria that can be filled with hot or cold beverages. In December, Metropolitan piloted a Corporate Social Responsibility program by teaming up with an environmental non-profit organization. It also contributes financially to Carbonfund.org; which uses the money to support carbon-reducing projects such as: renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements and reforestation.

Bethel College Opens Fair-Trade Coffee Shop

Bethel College (KS) has opened a coffee shop in the lounge of one of its residence halls. The shop features fair trade coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. The shop was initiated and is run by two Bethel students in an effort to increase a sense of student community within the building.

Connecticut College Offsets 100% of Energy Usage with Wind

Connecticut College has purchased wind renewable energy certificates to compensate for 100 percent of the College ´s annual electricity consumption. This marks the third year the College has offset energy consumption by nearly 100 percent.