U Connecticut and Yale U Win $54M in Resilience Competition
The National Disaster Resilience Competition, held by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, awarded the two universities and several partners $54.3 million to build on a project that began after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. A coalition of regulators, municipalities and university researchers designed a demonstration project in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that works with the ecology and shoreline geography to protect critical energy infrastructure and residents in one of the state’s poorest, most vulnerable neighborhoods. Most of the federal money will go toward elevating a street that runs through the University of Bridgeport and constructing a greenway earthen berm to protect the community against storm surges.
Higher Education Institutions Under Pressure to Disclose Investments
The Associated Press reports that Congress and campus activists have stepped up pressure on colleges and universities to reveal financial investments made through their endowments. While lawmakers are questioning whether to tax colleges on investment portfolios, activists, including alumni and students, are demanding to know if investments are held in certain industries. An inquiry by The Associated Press to 50 public and private universities asking them to disclose their investments revealed "most schools issue annual reports with broad information and few details about specific investments".
Universities Help Launch 'Intentional Endowments Network'
Nearly 20 universities recently announced the formal launch of the Intentional Endowments Network. To support the development of intentionally designed endowments, the network facilitates peer-to-peer connection and learning, thought leadership and collaborative action. This peer-learning network engages senior decision-makers and key stakeholders in dialogue around the full range of options related to sustainable investing.
Cornell U Constructs Two Photovoltaic Arrays
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Cornell University, along with Distributed Sun and Building Energy, announced that new rooftop solar arrays have been installed atop two university buildings to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a clean energy future. The university received support for these solar projects under New York Governor Cuomo's $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, administered by NYSERDA, which is designed to advance the scale-up of solar and move New York State closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry.
Stanford U Gets $400M Pledge from Nike Chairman
Philip Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike Inc., said recently that he had pledged to give Stanford University $400 million to recruit graduate students around the globe to address society’s most intractable problems, including poverty and climate change. Starting in 2018, the program will annually offer full tuition and board to 100 students, a third of them from the U.S. and two-thirds from abroad, who will gain admittance to one of Stanford’s seven graduate schools and commit to working on important issues in small, multidisciplinary teams.
Bowdoin College Receives $10M Gift for Study of Environment
Bowdoin College announces a new center for the study of the environment, funded with a $10 million gift from David and Barbara Roux of Virginia. The center aims to encourage collaboration and creativity in the teaching and scholarship of the environment. The new building to house the center is being designed to achieve USGBC LEED Platinum designation and is expected to open in the mid-to-late fall of 2018.
National Union of Students Calls for Large Investment in Renewable Energy
(U.K.): The National Union of Students (NUS), a U.K.-based membership organization, recently called for a divest-invest campaign that calls for universities and colleges to transfer 100 million pounds ($142.6 million) out of fossil fuels into renewable energy. This campaign launched after a freedom of information request revealed 180 million pounds is invested in fossil fuels. The NUS also conducted a survey that concluded both students and staff strongly support divestment. The NUS plans to support students' unions as they push their institutions to divest.
U California Divests from Private Prisons Amid Pressure
After pressure from the Afrikan Black Coalition, the university sold approximately $25 million worth of indirect investments in private prison corporations after the black student union revealed in November that the university held shares in private prisons. University shares in the private prisons, which were part of a portfolio, were sold on Dec. 1, 2015.
U Massachusetts Amherst to Divest from Coal Companies
The UMass Foundation recently announced that it will divest from direct investments in coal companies. The foundation also said that it will continue to evaluate ways to manage the endowment in a manner that promotes both environmental sustainability and socially responsible investing. The foundation oversees $770 million in endowment assets for the UMass System.
SUNY ESF to Divest from Indirect Fossil Fuel Investments
The ESF College Foundation along with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and the board of trustees has committed to divest from indirect investments in the 200 companies identified by Carbon Underground as the top fossil fuel companies, based on potential climate impact. The university currently has no direct holdings and will not have any in the future.
London School Economics Pledges Fossil Fuel Investment Reduction
The school recently pledged to continue to ensure that no direct investments are made in fossil fuels and that it will seek to reduce investment placed indirectly through investment funds in companies whose business is significantly focused on thermal coal or tar sands. It will also avoid investment in companies engaged in tobacco manufacture and indiscriminate armaments.
William & Mary Announces $68K from Green Funds for Projects
The university's Committee on Sustainability released $68,333 toward campus sustainability projects including rain barrel installations and on-campus water quality control initiatives, water-bottle filling stations and recycling bins, and implementation of paper-saving equipment.
U Sheffield Announces New Endowment Investment Policy
(U.K.): The university's new endowment investment policy includes several socially responsible aspects, including a commitment to eliminate exposure to investments linked to explicit environmental damage. Given the overwhelming evidence of the impact of fossil fuels on climate change, this commitment will lead the university to disinvest within the next academic year.
Northwestern U to Adopt UN Principles for Responsible Investing
Northwestern University will join Harvard University and the University of California Berkeley by adopting the U.N.-supported Principles of Responsible Investing, which address the importance of environmental, social and corporate governance issues to consider when making investment choices.
U Dayton Conference Focuses on Fossil Fuel Divestment
Videos from the university's conference on the how-to of divestment-investment are now online. The university brought together more than 100 investment experts, religious leaders, students and activists to share their institutions' experiences in divestment and investment in renewable energy.
U Maryland Students Send Strong Statement on Fossil Fuel Investments
On Nov. 4, the Student Government Association passed a bill urging the university system chancellor to freeze expansion of all investments in fossil fuel companies, form a task force to assess methods of fossil fuel divestment, sell off those investments within five years, and reinvest in clean renewable energy companies.
Armstrong State U Receives $100K for Soilless Farming Research
The Foram Group Charitable Foundation recently presented a $100,000 check to fund the creation of Armstrong State University’s Aquaponics Research Center, whose mission is to conduct cutting-edge research and to develop technologies and best practices that improve the sustainability and profitability of soilless farming techniques.
Inside Higher Ed: 'Does Divestment Cost?'
The recent article from Inside Higher Ed offers two opposing analyses of divestment from fossil fuels. The article goes on to discuss different strategies and reasons that some universities and colleges have for divestment and investment.
U Maryland Sustainability Fund Reaches $1M Milestone
This semester marks a significant milestone for the university's Sustainability Fund. Since 2011, more than $1 million has been granted to 72 projects that promote environmental sustainability and positively impact the student experience.
Williams College to Invest $50M in Carbon Reduction Activities
In response to a petition from alumni, faculty, staff and students calling for endowment divestment from fossil fuels, the college's board of trustees recently announced a $50 million investment effort to address climate change through a comprehensive set of initiatives targeted at reducing carbon emissions, obtaining carbon neutrality by 2020, and educational efforts related to climate change.
Georgia Tech Receives $30M Grant for Education & Research Building
With $30 million from The Kendeda Fund, the university plans to construct a zero net energy and water consumption, education and research facility that will integrate into the university's Eco-Commons, a series of spaces designed to conserve natural resources and provide educational and recreational amenities. The project is slated to become a Living Building Challenge 3.0-certified facility.
U California System Sells $200M in Coal & Oil Sands Holdings
The university system has sold off its endowment and pension fund holdings in coal and oil sands companies, a $200-million move that officials recently announced was in response to both environmental concerns and rising financial risk in those industries. The university has no plans to sell off holdings in oil and natural gas.
Millersville U Acquires $1M Gift for Net Zero Building
County natives Samuel and Dena Lombardo donated the $1 million toward the net zero welcome center building, expected to use solar panels, water conservation and renewable building materials and host more than 10,000 visitors annually.
Adelphi U Partners on Energy Efficiency Implementation
Using a cash-flow neutral strategy that aligns the cost of payments to annual energy savings, the university will implement a new co-generation central heating plant that is projected to carry a $1.6 million per year avoidance in energy expenditures. The university's financing partner is First American Education Finance.
U Dayton to Hold Conference on Fossil Fuel Divestment
The conference will engage Pope Francis’ call to action by convening representatives from Catholic institutions to discuss theological and ethical underpinnings of divest and invest initiatives, financial mechanics of fossil fuel divestment and opportunities for renewable energy investment, lesson learned from the divestment movement, and ecumenical coalitions for responses to climate change.
Alfred U Receives $2.8M Grant for Renewable Energy Research Center
The $2.8 million grant for the center's construction is part of economic development funding for 19 projects across New York by Empire State Development. The new center will allow the university to conduct specialized research and testing on renewable energy systems and high-temperature battery applications.
U Warwick Divests from Fossil Fuels
(U.K.): The university commits to moving all oil, coal and gas investments out of its 14 million pounds ($21.9 million) endowment, following a two-year student-led campaign.
Cornell U Grants $1.2M to Sustainable Ideas
The university's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future has given $1.2 million to 11 new projects that include water cleanup, home retrofits, solar power's impact on pollinating bees, oyster revival, research on ground-source heating and cooling, and wind energy. The grants will enable teams to obtain initial data or proof of principle to find external collaborators.
Eastern Washington U Divests from Fossil Fuels
In June 2015, The university's board of trustees unanimously supported a motion to divest its endowed funds from fossil fuel investments and further directed the university to pursue socially responsible investment strategies. The university in the process of developing a comprehensive sustainability master plan to align with its strategic plan.
Columbia U Divests from Private Prison Companies
Following a student activist campaign, the university's trustees decided to divest its endowment from two private companies that run prisons, detention centers, and militarized borders, and will refrain from investing in such companies again.
Cambridge U Investigates Endowment Fund
(U.K.) The University Council has voted to support a wide-ranging investigation of the university’s 2.2 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) endowments fund. Aiming to make investment more environmentally and socially responsible, the review plans to last a year and involve collaboration from students, academics and staff.
Oxford U Seeks to Maintain No Direct Holdings in Coal & Tar Sands
(U.K.): The Oxford University Endowment Management, OUem, a university subsidiary established to manage the funds, does not have direct holdings in coal and oil sands companies and has been asked by the university's executive governing body to maintain this position.
U Hawai'i Board of Regents Votes to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The decision to divest the university's $66 million endowment from fossil fuels came after a task group comprised of university regents, students, faculty and staff investigated divestiture. The group worked closely with the board's investment firm to evaluate options and impacts, and affirmed to take action in investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and changing behaviors.
U Edinburgh Signals Intent to Divest from Fossil Fuels
(U.K.): After a recent meeting of the university's Investment Committee, it decided to write to three of the world’s biggest fossil fuel producers to inform them that it intends to fully divest from their activities within the next six months. As part of its promised engagement process prior to divestment, the university will give the companies the opportunity to respond in the next four weeks.
NACUBO: "Pay it Onward"
In this recent article from the National Association of College and University Business Officers, University of La Verne, Western Michigan University, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Denison University, University of Vermont, and AASHE associate member, Efficiency Vermont, are highlighted for revolving loan funds that cycle savings from energy efficiency improvements into new projects.
U Maryland Awarded $750,000 Energy Grant
The two grants from Maryland Energy Administration are aimed at reducing energy costs at the College Park campus. The grants will be administered by the university’s Department of Engineering & Energy for an energy management project and a parking lot photovoltaic array with electric vehicle chargers.
U Washington Divests from Coal Companies
The university's Board of Regents recently voted to prohibit direct investment of endowment funds in publicly traded companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation.
NY Recycling Association Announces College Grant Recipients
Three New York colleges will be receiving grants to fund innovative environmental projects as part of the recently completed spring round of the College Council Grant Program conducted by the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3). The schools receiving grants are the University at Albany, Sullivan Community College, and Stony Brook University.
Syracuse U Prohibits Direct Fossil Fuel Investment
Syracuse University recently announced that it is formalizing its commitment to prohibit direct investment of endowment funds in coal mining and other fossil fuel companies. The university will also continue to seek additional investments through its endowment in companies that are developing new technology related to solar energy, biofuels and advanced recycling.
Southern Oregon U Receives Seed Gift
The university's Center for Sustainability recently received the gift of seeds from Territorial Seed Company that will allow the university to grow fruits and vegetables to be distributed at a weekly low-cost farm stand to students, distributed to Dining facilities, and sold to faculty and staff through a community-supported agriculture program.
U Nebraska-Lincoln Students Vote in Favor of Green Fee
A recent survey showed nearly 4 out of 5 voting students said they were interested in paying $2 to a green fund that would be available for student-led sustainability projects. As a result, the Environmental Sustainability Committee is exploring two options for implementing the fee.