Canadian Students Launch New Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign
On March 27, students from across the country participated in Fossil Fools Day, the first national day of action for the Fossil Free Canada campaign, an initiative led by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. More than a dozen campuses held marches and rallies in an effort to urge their university administrators to divest their endowments from fossil fuel and pipeline companies.
McGill U Reviews Petition to Stop Investments Linked to Oilsands
Divest McGill, a group of students and alumni, have presented the university’s board of governors with a petition of more than 700 signatures asking the governing body to remove companies that develop, transport, refine or sell oil from Canada’s oilsands from the university’s financial holdings.
College of the Atlantic to Divest all Fossil Fuel Investments
The college’s Board of Trustees has voted to divest from all fossil fuel-related investments, going into effect immediately. The move follows a student push to sell investments in companies whose businesses are believed to be harmful to the environment.
Yakima Valley CC Receives $600,000 in Grants for Energy Projects
The college has been awarded $503,000 from the state Department of Commerce’s Energy Efficiency Grants program to install new lighting and heating and air-conditioning systems at six buildings on campus. The college also received $97,476 from the Pacific Power Blue Sky renewable energy program to install a 30-kilowatt solar array and monitoring system.
Humboldt State U Receives $1.75M for Clean Energy Project
The university’s Schatz Energy Research Center in partnership with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority has received a $1.75 million grant from the California Energy Commission for a community-scale renewable energy implementation project. The clean energy initiative will include a biomass power system, community-wide energy upgrades and electric vehicle infrastructure.
Massachusetts CLA Student Government Passes Divestment Resolution
The Student Government Association has approved a resolution urging the President, Board of Trustees, and Foundation Board to divest from publicly traded fossil fuel companies. The divestment plan calls for the college to cease any new investments in fossil fuel companies and to end all holdings by February 2016.
Barnard College Senior Gift to Fund Sustainability on Campus
The college’s Senior Fund committee has announced that the 2013 senior gift will fund sustainability initiatives on campus. The committee asked students and groups last semester to submit proposals for how to use the fund, and members of the senior class voted online in favor of the sustainability initiative.
Longwood U Receives Grant to Study Biomass Fuel Processing
The university has received a $50,000 Dominion renewable energy grant to commission a pre-planning study for a biomass fuel processing center. The focus of the study is to find efficient ways to dry sawdust used to fuel the biomass boilers using alternative energy sources. The university has been using biomass to heat the campus for 30 years, and currently uses almost 26,000 tons of sawdust from local logging and sawmills annually.
Princeton U Students Participate in Investment Dialogue
In response to increased interest on campus in issues of socially responsible investing, the Resources Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community will host a March 7 talk on ethical investment models for the 21st century. Following the talk, students chosen through an application process will have the opportunity to respond with their own thoughts on University investments. The event is open to the public.
Associated Students of U Cal Calls for Fossil Fuel Divestment
(U.S.): The Associated Students of the University California (ASUC) Senate has approved a bill ordering the divestment of its funds from fossil fuel companies while encouraging other institutions of higher education to follow suit. The bill binds the ASUC to complete the withdrawal of any of its $3 million in total investments from fossil fuel companies.
Students Hold National Conference on Fossil Fuel Divestment
(U.S.): Nearly 200 student organizers from across the country have gathered at Swarthmore College for a conference to unify the fossil-fuel divestment movement. In addition to building bonds among student campaigns, conference organizers connected students with other environmental activists who represent communities already being affected by fossil-fuel extraction.
Harvard U Creates New Position for Sustainable Investing
Harvard Management Company has created a new position devoted to researching and understanding sustainability issues related to the university’s $30.7 billion endowment. The new Vice President of Sustainable Investing will also serve as HMC’s primary liaison to other University offices on environmental, social, and governance investment issues.
New York U Receives $40M for Urban City Development Institute
The university has started a new institute dedicated to urban city development and sustainability upon receiving a $40 million private donation. The Marron Institute will focus on policies and initiatives aimed at creating more livable cities for their residents.
Sterling College Divests from Fossil Fuel Companies
The college has announced that it will soon divest its endowment from the two hundred fossil fuel companies identified by 350.org in its effort to move higher education toward fossil free investment. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to instruct the investment team to take this action and to move swiftly to divest.
U District of Columbia Receives Grant to Create 4 Gardens
The university has received a $25,000 Verizon Foundation sustainability grant to create four “Gardens of the Senses” on campus. The gardens will serve as an educational tool on environmental literacy. There will be a garden of colors and sights; one of smells and scents; another of touch; and an additional garden dedicated to plant research.
Edmonds CC Receives Grant for Sustainable Agriculture Education
The college has been awarded a $900,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for the Sustainable Agriculture Education Collaborative (SAgE). In partnership with Skagit Valley College, Seattle Central Community College, and Washington State University, the college will lead the SAgE Collaborative in preparing students for emerging green careers in sustainable agriculture and related environmental fields.
York U Launches Initiative to Provide Higher Ed to Refugees
The university has received more than $4.5 million from the Canadian International Development Agency to lead the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project in Dadaab, Kenya. The initiative aims to provide higher education to primary and secondary school teachers in six refugee camps on the Kenya-Somalia border.
Davidson College Receives Grant for Sub-Metering Project
The college has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund to install water and electricity sub-meters in the campus’s main twelve residence halls. The grant allows the college to engage students in reducing their energy and water consumption and will provide baseline energy data for future energy efficiency projects.
East Tennessee State U Sustainability Fee Funds New Projects
Nine projects have been approved to receive $150,000 in funding from the Campus Sustainability Fee. Project winners include self-powered treadmills and photovoltaic panels for the Center for Physical Activity, a bike repair station, hydration station, and a sustainable bus shelter.
U Arkansas Little Rock Funds Garden Irrigation, Concrete Projects
The Sustainability Committee has awarded micro-grants for two university projects that incorporate sustainability into academics: A rooftop rainwater catchment and irrigation system would provide water and onsite storage for the campus garden. Research for the creation of smog-eating concrete involves the use of nano-particles that enable concrete to absorb and break down smog and air pollutants.
Nottingham Trent U Future Factory Program Receives Funding
(U.K.): The university’s Future Factory program, which helps small businesses to improve their green credentials, has been awarded an extra £2.2 million in funding to continue until June 2015. The sustainable design project was launched in 2009 to help businesses find creative solutions to enable them to adopt new products, services and business practices that ‘design out’ unnecessary or unsustainable materials and processing, and ‘design in’ features such as environmentally neutral technologies and materials, recyclability and sensitive disposal.
Syracuse U Faculty Group to Support Fossil Fuel Divestment
(U.S.): In a letter in the university’s Daily Orange, Associate Professor of Political Science Sarah Pralle details why she is leading a faculty group in support of student organizing that is pushing the university to divest its endowments from fossil fuel companies. The letter encourages faculty to support the SU Fossil Fuel
U Chicago Campus Dialogue Fund Receives Funding
(U.S.): The Campus Dialogue Fund has been allocated $15,000 annually to bring speaks on social justice issues to campus. The fund was created by students to help raise awareness of issues of race, power, gender and privilege.
Oakland U Receives Grant for Organic Urban Farm
The university’s Student Organic Farming Program has received a $20,400 grant from the Americana Foundation. The funding will be matched by the university and will be used to support the hiring of a farm manager to oversee farm production, coordinate student volunteers and assist with community outreach programs designed to improve access to fresh, local produce.
U California San Diego Awarded $1.9 M for Microgrid Projects
The California Energy Commission has approved a $1.6 million award to increase its previously awarded funding of $1.3 million for the university's electric microgrid. The Commission also approved funding of $220,554 to expand the campus' charging network for plug-in electric vehicles, through the Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
U Georgia Awards Sustainability Grants to Student Projects
The Campus Sustainability Grants Program has awarded $26,000 to seven student projects, including a composting program, a project to reduce stormwater runoff, an automated system for bike sharing, and an after-school gardening and nutrition education program.
Utah State U Awards Sustainability Grants for Student Projects
The Sustainability Office has awarded $20,946 in Blue Goes Green Student Grant funds for student projects. Project winners include an organic farm program, a master plan for recreation and open space, a new bicycle rack, and a Greek organization recycling program.
Colorado State U Receives Grant to Help Low-Income Students
The university’s Academic Advancement Center has received a $377,282 grant to help students who are low-income, first-generation or disabled transition into academic life and succeed. The funding was one of 1,021 continuation awards given by the Department of Education to universities across the nation as part of a total $2.5 million commitment that supports 202,750 students overall.
Columbia College Chicago Receives Grant to Expand Compost Program
The college has received a grant by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to implement a more comprehensive composting program across campus. This $5,000 grant will allow the college to reach more of the campus with the goal of diverting 13 tons of food scrap waste from landfills in 2012-2013, almost double the 2011-2012 academic year’s achievement of seven tons.
Kennebec Valley CC Awarded Grant to Create Sustainable Ag Program
The college has received a $100,000 grant from Jane’s Trust to help launch a two-year sustainable agriculture degree program. The funding will be used to hire a farm manager and equipment. The program’s curriculum will include classes in soil, plant and animal science, crop production, integrated pest management, farm infrastructure and sustainable livestock management.
Middlebury College to Consider Fossil Fuel Divestment
The college has announced that it will initiate steps to address the feasibility of divesting its endowment from the fossil fuel industry. College President Ronald Liebowitz explained that the college would host a series of panels on divestment with representatives from the college’s endowment management firm, along with Scholar-in-Residence Bill McKibben, and veteran investors. President Liebowitz also disclosed the percentage of the institution’s $900 million endowment currently invested in fossil fuel companies: roughly 3.6 percent or $32 million.
Appalachian State U Students to Fund Renewable Energy Research
The student-run Renewable Energy Initiative has partnered with the University Research Council to support faculty research. Each entity will provide $5,000 per semester for faculty awards. The initiative launches this spring with four faculty awards: two at $5,000 and four at $2,500. The faculty recipients must pursue research that is related to renewable energy and is applicable to the Appalachian campus or its carbon footprint.
Olivet Nazarene U Sustainable Building Earns Incentives
The university’s new Student Life and Recreation Center has received $276,476 in financial incentives through Commonwealth Edison Company’s “Smart Ideas for Your Business” New Construction Service. The facility features a high performance building design and green features including an advanced geothermal system for efficient heating and cooling.
TIME Spotlights Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement
A recent TIME article profiles the rise of divestment campaigns as the next frontier for climate activism. In response to the lack of support from university and college administrators, the article reports ". . .for many college students today, there’s no cause greater than fighting climate change. University presidents who don’t fall in line should get used to hearing protests outside their offices. Just like their forerunners in the apartheid battles of the 1980s, these climate activists won’t stop until they win.”
U Wisconsin Receives Gift for Sustainable Technology Program
The university and Viessmann Group have announced a major gift to fund an endowment propelling the university’s new Sustainable Technology program. The “Viessmann Endowed Chair in Sustainable Technology” will allow the university to play an international academic leadership role in renewable energy technologies. The endowment will also fund exchanges for faculty, staff and students, including internships in Germany.
Vassar College Holds Idea Fair for Green Revolving Fund
The College Committee on Sustainability has hosted an Idea Expo that featured project nominations for the Resource Conservation Fund, a green revolving fund. The expo was created to serve as a better tool for community engagement, education and publicity. The 15 applications received represented the largest number in the fund’s three-year history.
Cornell U Receives DOE Grant for Biofuels Research
(U.S.): A research team has received a $910,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to create biofuels produced from algae. The team will design and build a new type of bioreactor that efficiently delivers light and collects fuel produced by algae inside the reactors. The reactor is also expected to use minimal water.
Emory U Awards Funding to Sustainability Projects
(U.S.): The Office of Sustainability Initiatives has funded 16 proposals submitted by students, faculty and staff that will support the university’s sustainability initiative. The funding ranges from $40 to $3,000, covers a wide range of expenses, and is made possible through the Sustainability Incentives Fund.
Kenyon College Launches Sustainability Action Program Grants
(U.S.): Intended to cultivate a culture of sustainability, the college established the Sustainability Action Program and awarded inaugural grants this fall for two student-directed projects. The first grant will fund the construction of a new hoop house on campus. The second grant was awarded to promote the use of eco-friendly cups among students.
New School Urges Disclosure of Political Spending by Corporations
The New School’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR) has submitted a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) calling for disclosure of political spending by public corporations. The ACIR’s letter to the SEC is the first from a university body in support of Petition 4-637, which urges the SEC to use its rule-making authority to mandate disclosure of corporate campaign financing.
NY Times Covers Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns
“In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks,” reports a recent New York Times article. The article profiles divestment campaigns at Swarthmore College and Unity College.
U Missouri Creates Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship
Honoring the service of a professor emeritus, a $1,000 scholarship in the name of Fred and Donna Martz has been created to encourage students to study sustainable agriculture. The scholarship is on track to be awarded this summer to one recipient studying animal science, agronomy or soil science. Students must be enrolled in or set up to take a sustainable agriculture course to be eligible for the award.
Universities to Share $130M in Department of Energy Grants
The U.S. Energy Department has announced a new round of grants, totaling $130-million, for research into breakthrough energy technologies. Two dozen universities will receive funding for energy initiatives through the Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
City U New York to Launch Social Justice Social Media Project
The university’s Graduate Center has received a $550,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to expand the social-media reach of academics working on social-justice issues. The project, called JustPublics@365, will train professors and graduate students to use social media to make social-justice research more visible to a wider audience and to measure its impact. A number of events, including conferences, will be held to connect researchers, social-justice activists, and journalists.
Connecticut College Receives Grant for Conservation Efforts
The college was awarded a $40,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation to establish a student-led energy conservation and engagement program. The ‘Reduce Your Use’ program will monitor five buildings on campus and limit their energy consumption. A program coordinator will use a variety of community-based social marketing techniques to support adoption of more sustainable, low-energy behaviors.
Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns on the Rise
Fossil fuel divestment campaigns are active at about 50 U.S. campuses , and many more are expected to launch in coming weeks. Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees at Unity College voted to divest their endowment from fossil fuel industries. . (And last year Hampshire College (MA) passed a sustainable investment policy that effectively divested endowment funds from fossil fuels.) More recently, the Harvard College Undergraduate Council announced 72 percent of voting students want Harvard University to divest its $30.7 billion endowment from fossil fuels. The divestment movement has increasingly received national exposure due in part to Bill McKibben’s 21-city Do the Math tour. A recent Boston Globe op-ed by McKibben and Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, calls on colleges to make no new investments in fossil fuels, “wind down” current investments in five years, and invest in increasing their own energy efficiency for a greater return.
St. Clair County CC Receives Greenforce Mini Grant
The college has used a $3,000 Greenforce Initiative Innovation Mini Grant to help produce three videos showcasing how it uses green technology to educate students. The videos include how students study bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, solar hot water, heat and electrical systems, wind turbine technology, and a geothermal heating and cooling system.