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.
U Wisconsin-Platteville Receives $270K for Sustainable Ag Research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded $270,000 to the university to continue collaboratively exploring best practices for sustainable agriculture. Plots of land at a local enterprise will be used to evaluate alternative cropping practices and their effect on improved production and sustainability before potentially upscaling the methods. The project intends to take a comprehensive approach to integrating the research with education and outreach components, which will help ensure its value to the local farming community.
U Texas Dallas Begins Post-Consumer Composting
In addition to pre-consumer food waste from meal preparation, now students in one dining hall will be able to scrape everything from their plates, including food waste and napkins, into composting bins before placing their plates, cups and utensils in the dish return area. The university will use an outside contractor for composting. The transition was aided by prior changes including eliminating trays, straws and plastic foam cups.
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.
UCLA Wins National Athletic Sustainability Award
The University of California, Los Angeles was the winner of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USG Corporation Sustainability Award for its work on the Wasserman Football Center. The award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions across all divisions, honoring athletics directors and their universities for incorporating sustainable practices and materials into their athletics facilities. Bentley University and Georgia State University were finalists, receiving $10,000 each in USG product while UCLA received $40,000 in USG product.
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.
U Rochester, RIT & Suffolk County CC to Receive $1M Each for Clean Energy Projects
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that New York State will award nearly $1 million each to the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Suffolk County Community College as part of the Energy to Lead Competition. The competition challenges New York colleges and universities across the state to develop plans for local clean energy projects on campus and in their communities.
Maharishi U Management Receives $200K Grant to Conduct Solar Array Comparisons
In addition to providing a third of the electricity on campus, the university’s new 1.1 megawatt solar array will be compared to another solar array in Iowa. Funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the $200,000 grant will enable evaluation of return on investment, operation and maintenance issues, battery performance, and effectiveness of solar tracking. A state-level committee will evaluate the findings of this research project and consider how to widely apply the lessons learned.
San Francisco State U Receives Funding to Offer Bike-Share Memberships for Free
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority board approved a $56,000 grant to provide free bike share memberships for university students for two years. Lyft will contribute funding to continue the program beyond the two-year pilot phase. Each year, the grant will provide free bike sharing to 400 Pell Grant-eligible students, and for 150 non-Pell Grant-eligible students. About 300 single month passes will also be provided to other students.
U Virginia Launches Food Justice Initiative
Named after the former Virginia first lady, the First Lady’s Food Lab is a meeting space and kitchen in a former barn that will support food justice initiatives at the university and in the Charlottesville area. The Charlottesville City Council recently voted to support the initiative with $65,000.
U Virginia Connects 17 MW Solar Facility
The 17 megawatt UVA Hollyfield Solar facility was connected last month. The university and Darden School of Business are purchasing the entire output of electricity produced at the 160-acre solar facility for the next 25 years from Dominion Energy. The project is expected to produce 12 percent of the university’s electric demand. The Darden School is assuming responsibility for about 25 percent of the electricity production, which enables the school to achieve its long-term zero-carbon goal.
Stony Brook U Professor Earns Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award
Alex Orlov, Ph.D., associate professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a faculty member of the Consortium for Inter-Disciplinary Environmental Research and the Advanced Energy Center at Stony Brook University, will receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineering’s Sustainable Engineering Forum Education Award for "outstanding contributions to sustainability education". He is being recognized for new approaches to teaching sustainability practices to undergraduate and graduate engineering students. The annual award comes with a $1,000 cash prize.
U Arizona Receives Over $1M for Graduate Program Pipeline for Minority Students
A $1.075 million grant from the National Science Foundation allows the the university to continue helping underrepresented students through the Bridge to the Doctorate Program. The program combines financial assistance with opportunities for professional development, such as coaching on scientific writing and assistance with applications for federal fellowships.
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.
U Colorado Boulder Helps B Lab Map Its Work to the SDGs
The new partnership between university's Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility and B Lab will map the 1,000 indicators of the B Impact Assessment to the targets underlying the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the more than 1,500 indicators featured in the SDG Compass.
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.
Tufts U to Offer Master’s Degree in Sustainability
Tufts has announced a new graduate program offered by the department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning that will begin in fall 2019. Students can pursue a sustainability solutions approach or a natural systems emphasis, or craft a program that includes elements of both. The thirty-six-credit program is designed for full-time completion in twelve months, although students may also pursue the program part-time.
U Nebraska Enters 5-Year Partnership to Save Energy
Recommended by a university-wide committee and approved by the Board of Regents in June, a new five-year partnership with an energy-efficiency company aims to find energy savings across the university's campuses through technology- and behavior-based strategies. Each month during the partnership, the university will pay the company 50 percent of total energy savings realized during that month that resulted from the firm’s recommendations.
Stanford U Launches Sustainable Finance Research Program
The university’s Precourt Institute for Energy is launching a new research program, supported by Bank of America, that will fund research to develop finance and policy tools for financing sustainable infrastructure. The program, called the Sustainable Finance Initiative, seeks to accomplish this by engaging public and private financial institutions, companies and governments with Stanford researchers in economics, law, business and computer science to create solutions that support the transition to a climate-resilient global economy.
U New Hampshire Opens Aquaponic Greenhouse Facility
Under construction for two years, the new aquaponics research facility at the university's Kingman Research Farm will allow scientists to evaluate hydroponic plants grown in a recirculating aquaculture system with nutrients from the food fed to fish. Using three identical greenhouses, researchers aim to develop an economically sustainable aquaculture production system design.
Princeton Review Releases Guide to 399 Green Colleges
The Princeton Review's 2018 Guide to 399 Green Colleges is a free guide that profiles universities and colleges with commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives and activities. The edition includes a Top 50 Green Colleges list. In related news, STARS ratings have now been added to campus profiles on Princeton Review website. The rating is displayed in the Sustainability section of the Campus Life tab.
Monash U to Deploy Microgrid With Storage
(Australia) Building upon the university’s $135 million commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030, the university is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to build a microgrid that will control a minimum of 1 megawatts of solar panels, 20 buildings, electric vehicle charging stations and 1 megawatt-hour of energy storage. The goal is to demonstrate how a 100 percent renewable electricity system can operate reliably and the value it can provide to consumers and the broader energy network.
Chartwells Higher Education Announces Its Commitment to Sourcing Fair Trade Products
Chartwells Higher Education, in conjunction with Fair Trade Campaigns, recently announced its commitment to sourcing Fair Trade products at all 280 Chartwells locations across the U.S. As part of this commitment, Chartwells Higher Education began offering Fair Trade Certified food and beverage items such as coffee and tea, chocolate, energy bars, sugar and bananas in each of its dining operations this fall.
Trinity College Formalizes Composting Program
Expanding the former, student-led program, the college will begin working with an outside contractor in November to collect food scraps eight times per month. Implementation of this expanded program puts the college's dining hall closer toward its goal of getting Green Restaurant certified.
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.
Ball State U Faculty Receives 2018 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award
Eva Zygmunt is the Helen Gant Elmore Distinguished Professor of Elementary Education and co-director of the Alliance for Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation at Ball State University. Zygmunt was selected for her work in training future teachers in thoughtfully engaging communities to work toward social justice and educational equity in the classroom. This Campus Compact award is bestowed annually to recognize one faculty member and up to four finalists for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal partnerships, building institutional commitments to engagement, and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. Four finalists were also acknowledged for their achievements.
Michigan State U & U California Win 2018 Green Power Leadership Award
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bestowed its Green Power Leadership Award to the two universities for their efforts in advancing the voluntary green power market. MSU hosts the largest solar photovoltaic carport system in the U.S. through a long-term power purchase agreement and operates an anaerobic digestion system that turns dairy farm and dining hall food waste into renewable energy. UC increased its voluntary green power use by 40 percent system-wide, completed 12 new on-site solar projects, and hosts more than 40 megawatts of on-site solar capacity with photovoltaic systems at every campus.
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.
Cornell U Launches Environment & Sustainability Sciences Major
A new interdisciplinary program for environmental and sustainability sciences launched with the support of Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences this fall. The major also includes a brand-new concentration in humanities, opening opportunities for students to explore how art, literature, music and communication influence how humans perceive and respond to environmental issues.
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.
U College Cork Opens Plastic-Free Cafe
(Ireland) The university's Bio Green Cafe was renovated in August 2018 and reopened as a plastic-free cafe after having implementing a number of strategies to totally eliminate all single-use plastic. Measures include replacing plastic drink bottles with glass and cans, removing disposable cutlery and plastic sauce packets, using ceramic mugs for hot beverages, and eliminating plastic-wrapped snacks.
U Exeter Launches Center for Circular Economy
(U.K.) The new center, hosted by the university's business school, aims to support the circular economy research agenda through new educational programs including MOOCs, executive and leadership programs, undergraduate courses and doctoral training. The current research focus is on farming and food, building and construction, waste, and regional approaches to circular economic regeneration.
Pennsylvania State U Announces 2 MW Solar Project
The two-megawatt utility-scale photovoltaic project will provide one percent of University Park's campus electric needs. Included in the project will be an educational kiosk supporting academic instruction and research, sharing real-time performance data of the array.
U Virginia Convenes 'Universities Studying Slavery' Consortium
Bringing together over 40 colleges and universities from across the country, the consortium seeks to allow institutions to work together as they examine the role of slavery and racism in their histories and its impacts today. The consortium hosts semi-annual meetings to share strategies, research, and knowledge. The fall 2018 meeting will be held at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
U Southern California Releases Public Universities Equity Scorecard
The University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center's new report, "Black Students at Public Colleges and Universities: A 50-state report card", is a publication that grades the nation's public, four-year universities using federal data from all 50 states and provides an equity index score. The four equity indicators are representation equity, gender equity, completion equity, and black student-to-black faculty ratio.
12-Institution Consortium Receives $4.9M for Open Textbook Pilot Program
The Education Department recently announced that a consortium of 12 universities, led by the University of California Davis, will receive $4.9 million to expand a STEM-focused open textbook repository called LibreTexts by adding publications on STEM, career and technical topics. The other schools are American River College, Contra Costa College, Cosumnes River College, Diablo Valley College, Folsom Lake College, Hope College, Los Medanos College, Prince George's Community College, Sacramento City College, Saint Mary's College, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Columbia U Postdoc Students Vote to Unionize
The National Labor Relations Board announced recently that postdoctoral workers and associate research scientists voted 729-339 in favor of joining the Columbia Postdoctoral Workers-United Auto Workers Union. This is the first certified postdoctoral union at a private university.
U Minnesota Twin Cities Installing Solar at 9 Campus Sites
The nine sites span the East Bank, West Bank and St. Paul campuses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Equivalency Calculator, the electricity generated from the nine locations will produce enough energy annually to power 224 homes. In addition to the new on-site solar panels, the university also purchased more than 20 megawatts of community solar power from outside sources.
Duke U No Longer Requires Job Applicants to Disclose Criminal History
Effective Nov. 1, 2018, the university and its healthcare system will no longer ask individuals whether they have ever been convicted of a crime as part of the process of applying for employment. Duke will continue to conduct background checks on criminal history, government sanctions and driving records when relevant at the offer stage for finalists of staff and faculty positions who have been recommended for hire, although a criminal record does not necessarily preclude someone from being hired.