U North Texas Taps Green Fund for RECs & Renewable Energy Education Campaign
A class submitted a request to the university's We Mean Green Fund that resulted in funding to purchase 107-megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) and for an educational campaign focused on increasing renewable energy use that includes an educational website and classrooms and student organizations visits.
Ball State U Class Installs Photovoltaic System
In fall 2017, a $2,000 grant allowed an immersive learning class to install a solar panel system that powers a display case where students can charge their phones and learn more about solar energy via a television screen.
Harvard U and U Pennsylvania Students Stage Divestment Protests
Student protesters at both universities recently held sit-ins asking administrators to divest from fossil fuels. Harvard students are demanding that school officials divest its endowment from the coal industry, while Penn students are seeking immediate divestment from coal and tar sands, and full divestment from fossil fuel corporations within six months. In previous responses to student divestment advocates, officials at both schools have indicated that while they share the students’ concerns about climate change, they disagree on the strategy and will not be divesting money from the fossil industry.
U Wyoming Launches Waste Reduction Initiative Aimed at Athletic Events
The Conservation Cowboys, an initiative that aims to reduce waste and resource use at athletics facilities and events, was recently piloted at an athletic event that resulted in the diversion of 266 pounds of the total 659 pounds of waste materials. A total of 35 volunteers from eight student organizations and four operational and academic units volunteered in the event.
Northwestern U Alumnus Donates $3M to Support Social Justice Reporting
Northwestern University alumnus David F. Freedman ’81 has made a $3 million commitment to further the study of reporting on social justice issues. Freedman’s gift will establish the David F. Freedman Fund for Social Justice Reporting Initiatives to support research, students, curricula, conferences and other activities at the intersection of journalism and social justice.
U Arizona Publishes Online Campus Sustainability Map
More than 600 projects, programs and features are presented on the university's new web-based map. Launched to illustrate campus-wide sustainability efforts in an accessible and centralized way, the map visualizes efforts meant to reduce energy and water consumption, and aid in waste diversion and recycling.
U Maryland Student Launches Ride-Sharing App
A sophomore accounting major launched CarPo on March 1 after almost a year and a half of planning and developing the app. Through the app, students looking for rides to and from their hometowns and colleges are able to see registered students with cars who are already driving to the same place.
U Maryland Farm Registers 30K Pounds of Food in Three Years
Located about 15 miles from the university, the campus farm concluded its three-year pilot program in late 2016 registering more than 29,000 pounds of vegetables, the majority of which went directly to campus dining halls. Six thousand pounds of produce were donated to hunger relief organizations, including the Campus Pantry, a program that provides emergency food to university students, faculty and staff.
Smith College Releases New Climate Action Plan
Smith College's Study Group on Climate Change presented the results of their yearlong study to the college's board of trustees recently, which recommended the college take a comprehensive approach to climate action in five areas: academic, campus programming, campus operations, investments and institutional change. The report also supports specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and a focus on climate justice, including a yearlong initiative on women and climate change.
Utah State U Initiates Recycling Education Week
In an effort to reduce contamination and increase waste diversion rates, the university will have volunteers available to instruct students about recycling correctly during a week-long recycling awareness event. New recycling bins will also be installed that have sensors thanking people who recycle.
U Wisconsin Stout Approves Solar Installation
A proposal to install 36 solar panels was recently approved by the Stout Student Association, the university’s student government council. Since receiving state approval, wheels are in motion for the university’s first solar panel investments using $66,280 of student Green Fee funds. All students pay the annual fee for campus sustainability-related projects.
Manhattan College Students Open Fair Trade Store
Business school students created a business and marketing plan for a student-run store focusing on selling fair trade products. As of February 2017, the store has operated as a pop-up store for Christmas and Valentine's Day. The group is planning another pop-up sale before Mother’s Day, coinciding with the end of the semester in May. The group’s long-term goals include having the store open full-time during longer periods during the academic year.
U British Columbia & U Washington Receive $1M for New Public Research Partnership
Thanks to a $1 million gift from Microsoft, the new partnership will establish the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative, helping the Cascadia region address social challenges. The partnership will revolve around four main programs: a social good summer program for students, a social good symposium, research partnerships and development of new software, systems and services to facilitate data management and analysis.
Stanford U Creates Awards Program for Sustainability Champions
The Sustainable Stanford Awards program, rolled out in 2017, formally acknowledges and rewards campus champions for their dedication and support as they work to enable progress, spearhead change and implement programs that directly influence the the university’s environmental performance.
U California Berkeley Begins Recycling 3-D Printer Waste
With over 100 3-D printers on campus, a new recycling initiative by students is intended to tackle 3-D printer waste by grinding then melting the waste plastic, before reshaping it into a new spool that can be used for new projects.
U Illinois Chicago Upgrades Energy Dashboard
The newly improved dashboard allows campus users immediate access to real-time energy displays. Upgrades include a new analytics platform, improved navigation and added campus-wide data streams. Users can see the energy use for 13 campus buildings.
Suffolk County CC Earns Tree Campus USA Recognition
The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Suffolk County Community Colleges Eastern Campus as a Tree Campus USA, a national program that honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. The community college achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
Texas A&M U Begins Labeling Compostable Material
After discovering that some to-go containers were compostable but looked like non-compostable ones, a bill was passed by the Student Government Association to include labels on compostable packaging to better inform students of a whether a container is compostable or landfill.
Auburn U Introduces Aquaponics-Grown Food
The aquaponics project, a collaborative effort among a local fishery and two university units, gives students a hands-on educational experience while providing Campus Dining with locally grown food. A 1,600-acre, local fishery is used to raise tilapia, and the discharge water is used to used to supply nutrients to plants like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes as part of the project.
North Carolina State U Students Test Paper Towel Composting Solution
A team of psychology students researched, designed and tested a system to compost an estimated 34,000 pounds of annual paper towel waste from the university’s student union building. The team’s challenge was to create a simple system that captured users’ attention in order to eliminate contamination and maximize landfill diversion.
U Alberta Creates Multi-Faith Space
The new Multi-Faith Prayer and Meditation Space offers spiritual peace and quiet for students of various faiths, offering more opportunity to rest, recharge and get to know people of other religions.
U Louisville Taps Campus Maple Trees for Syrup
A biology class successfully tapped campus maple trees to offer a workshop to the campus and surrounding community about how to make syrup from urban maple trees. The initiative attempts to teach students that they don't have to be science majors to do science.
Pierce College Opens Food Pantry for Students in Need
The new pantry contains free, non-perishable food items. With student government acting as steward of this new program, the pantry serves a need for students who are dealing with food scarcity, students who have forgotten money on a particular day or for students who find themselves on campus after the cafeteria has closed.
Students Nationwide March for Fossil Fuel Divestment
Hundreds of students across the country staged a walk-out in an effort to show that President Donald J. Trump's climate denial does not have their consent. The demonstration was a call to academic administrators to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy.
Three Georgia Universities Address State Water Crisis
Open to students at Emory, University of Georgia and Georgia State University, the recently concluded Sustainability Case Competition asked participants to create a five-year plan to mitigate Georgia's water crisis, taking water conservation, distribution, resilience and impact on community stakeholders into account. The winning team has chance to work with the Department of Watershed Management on implementing their five-year plan, and all participants have the opportunity to intern.
U Kentucky Allocates $200K Toward Six Sustainability Projects
As part of the Sustainability Challenge Grant Program, six projects that further campus sustainability are sustainability education in the first year experience, introduction of an interdisciplinary research program for undergraduate students, development of a sustainable, community food system that includes training students how to cook, and creating a tree ambassador program that raises awareness for the benefits of urban trees.
Kansas U Students Build Certified Green Home
Students from the university's Studio 804, a graduate level architecture studio, recently completed a solar-powered home that achieved both LEED Platinum and Passive House certification. The 1,941-square-foot house contains three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths within an airtight and highly insulated envelope, wrapped in low-maintenance siding salvaged from dismantled railroad bridge trestles. Interior recycled materials include countertops made from reclaimed marble slabs sourced from a demolished office building.
U Iowa Students Create Platform for Public Engagement
A group of students created 30,000 Hands, a website capable of linking the more than 30,000 university students with local service opportunities, as an outcome to a class project that challenged the students make a difference in the community. The website attempts to respond to the needs of Iowa City’s nonprofit, charity and social-good organizations while providing real-life learning opportunities for students.
Cornell U Creates Animated Sustainability Video
Highlighting the university's living laboratory model, the new video animation features the university's ground source heating and cooling system, and draws connections between campus projects and classroom engagement.
Harvard U Achieves GHG Reduction Milestone Set in 2008
In a recently released report, the university details the path it took to achieving its goal, which it set in 2008, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016 from a 2006 baseline, inclusive of campus growth. The steps included energy audits and energy efficiency measures across most of the 25 million square feet of campus, installing renewable energy technology, and fuel-switching and other improvements to campus utilities that lowered carbon pollution. Changes to energy supply and demand resulted in a 24 percent absolute reduction in emissions while purchased electricity from local renewable energy sources fulfilled the remaining six percent reduction.
Vanderbilt U Student Prompts Solar Electric Project
A former student member of the university's tennis program proposed a photovoltaic project for the tennis center that, now installed, cut natural gas consumption at the center by 40 percent. Funding was approximately $80,000 and came from the Green Fund Working Group. The project was completed fall 2016 and is comprised of 67 solar panels.
Hope College Dining Services Provider Awards Certification
The college's dining services provider, Creative Dining Services, awarded the college a Gold certification as part of the providers Sustainability and Ecological Engagement and Development program, which awards points in the categories of non-food waste, food waste, energy and water, and sourcing. Initiatives pursued at the college include trayless dining, which reduces food waste, water use, detergents and energy for cleaning, using food waste for compost and procuring local food.
Furman U Sustainability Center Receives $500K for Fellowships
Former Furman University President David E. Shi and his wife, Angela Halfacre Shi, have made a $500,000 gift to the university that will provide additional financial support for students who are actively involved in the work of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. The gift will create an endowed fund to support undergraduate students in sustainability research, service, and internships focused on campus and community-based projects.
Simon Fraser U Commits to Decrease Footprint of Investment Portfolio
In late November, the university's board of governors committed to decrease the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by at least 30 percent by 2030. This target is in line with Canada’s climate commitment, and enables the university to actively encourage companies to pursue lower carbon solutions, while also reducing its investment risk.
League of American Bicyclists Announces 2016 Campus Designations
Bicycle Friendly University award designations grew this year with 37 campuses obtaining a designation for the first time. Eleven campuses moved up from one designation to another, with a total of 51 campuses now having the Bicycle Friendly Designation, a program of The League of American Bicyclists.
Syracuse U Starts Sustainability Scholarship Grant Program
A new university grant program that combines scholarship with campus sustainability is offering up to $50,000 in funding for projects that promote reductions in greenhouse emissions and increase awareness about sustainability. The grants are part of the Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability program, overseen by a team of faculty from 11 schools and colleges. The project merges academic scholarship with the university’s broad initiatives to meet energy efficiency goals, while having the campus become a testbed for innovative ideas.
U Maryland Students Say 'No' to New Parking Lot
Students struck down a resolution supporting the construction of a 1,000 space, permeable-pavement parking lot on what is currently a wooded area on campus. Members of the student Residence Hall Association expressed concerns that the new lot would jeopardize the environment and weren't in line with the university's sustainability goals. One student was quoted as saying, "Green spaces are increasingly rare and increasingly more beneficial to mental health."
Brandeis U Commences New Carpool Program
Commute Green, the university's new carpool service, enables community members to share rides, find ways to campus via multiple routes like biking, walking and busing, and see on an interactive map the locations of bike racks, bike pumps and bike repair stations.
North Carolina State U Students & Faculty Petition for Renewable Energy by 2030
Students gathered just before the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday to ask Chancellor Randy Woodson to commit to making the university 100 percent reliant on renewable energy sources by 2030. Students working with the Climate Reality Project, Environment America and the Student Public Interest Research Groups gathered 4,200 signatures from students and faculty on a petition, as part of a national movement called “100% Committed, 100% Renewable. The Week of Action for Renewable Energy.”
California State U, Northridge Breaks Ground on Sustainability Center
Construction began in September on a new Associated Students Sustainability Center, a multi-functional space serving as an expanded collections station for campus recyclables, the administrative hub of the Associated Students' sustainability programs and services and the administrative offices of the Institute for Sustainability. The building will include photovoltaic and solar hot water panels, a gray-water collection system and composting toilets.
Campbell U Joins Campus Kitchens Project
The university is the 56th school to join the Campus Kitchens Project’s national network of kitchens that reclaims unused food from local campus vendors and transforms it into a healthy meal for those experiencing food insecurity.
Dickinson College Installs Beehives
Roughly ten thousand bees were recently brought to campus by way of the campus' beekeeping cooperative, The Hive. The two beehives, which are behind a fence to prevent passers-by from walking too closely, will remain dormant through winter and come alive in the spring after the queen lays an estimated 50,000 eggs.
North Carolina State U Student Creates Campus Pollinator Garden
Thanks to a partnership between a graduate student and the university’s Grounds Management department, a large pollinator-friendly garden is both managing stormwater and providing habitat on campus. The project was funded through the NC State Sustainability Fund, a student sustainability fee of $1.50 per semester.
Pennsylvania State U Brandywine Opens Food Pantry Service
After a student-initiated investigation revealed that peers needed food assistance, the CUB-Board was born, providing food and necessities such as soap, detergent and paper towels for students in need. Students can claim up to seven bags of groceries per month or, if they have a one-time need for lunch or a snack, they can come to the CUB-Board without a full application.
National Union of Students Receives UNESCO Prize
(U.K.) Chosen by an international jury from a total of 120 nominations, the National Union of Students U.K. from the United Kingdom will receive $50,000 from the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development, funded by the Government of Japan. The National Union of Students U.K. won for its Green Impact initiative, a 10-year-old effort that helps students’ unions improve their sustainability practices.
Smith College Signs 'Real Food Challenge'
The college signed onto the Real Food Challenge in October 2016, pledging 20 percent of the food provided on campus will meet sustainability and fairness standards set by the Real Food Challenge organization by 2020. Students, whom the college's president credits for leading the effort to get Smith to join the Real Food Challenge, have been working for three years to research food practices and raise awareness of sustainable food issues on campus.
Northwestern U Students Form New Social Justice Group
Student Action NU, a new undergraduate-led organization, is meant to serve as a space for students who want to organize around social justice issues with an intersectional perspective, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and climate injustice issues.
U California Develops Climate Change Curriculum for Non-Science Majors
Through a series of curriculum workshops held across the university system, over 200 professors in fields ranging from music to Swahili have developed new materials for existing courses that incorporate climate change and sustainability into their subject areas. The new program is part of the university’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative.