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March 27, 2012

Connecting the Dots...

Sometimes when I think about how much we need to do to create sustainable society, I am overwhelmed. However, when I read the stories in the AASHE Bulletin I shift my thoughts from “so much to do” to “so many people doing it.”

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News of the Week

Education & Research



Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing




Campus Operations















Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access


Coordination & Planning


Diversity & Inclusion




Public Engagement


New Resources




Jobs & Internships




Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights


News of the Week

Education & Research


1. U.S., Brazil Partner for Sustainability Workforce Development

(U.S. and Brazil): Houston Community College (Texas), Jackson Community College (Michigan) and Red Rocks Community College (Colorado) have partnered with Brazilian organizations for science and math workforce development. U.S. students are headed to Salvador, Brazil in June to help improve the English skills of 200 Brazilian technical high school students while participating in an intensive program focused on Brazil’s sustainability technology and innovation.

2. CCs Instrumental to Increasing U.S. Energy Efficiency, Says Obama

(U.S.): ​The green energy training opportunities at community colleges are an integral part of increasing energy efficiency and decreasing the country’s dependence on foreign oil, President Barack Obama said during a recent visit to Prince George's Community College (Maryland). Reported by the American Association of Community Colleges' (AACC) Community College Times, the president said that community colleges are "the surest path to success in this economy."

3. U Pennsylvania Sustainability Curriculum Earns Int'l Recognition

(U.S.): The academic component of the University of Pennsylvania's Climate Action Plan was recognized in the International Sustainable Campus Network's inaugural Global University Leaders Forum Charter report. The university, which became a charter member of the forum in 2010, offers more than 160 sustainability-related courses as part of its goal of making climate change and sustainability part of an educational experience available to all students and the campus community at large.
See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainability Curriculum

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing

4. Georgetown U Students Work to Institutionalize Sustainability

(U.S.): In an effort to effectively collaborate with administrators, Georgetown University’s (D.C.) student-led Visions for a Sustainable Georgetown Initiative has completed a campus-wide study to help advance sustainability initiatives. Core suggestions include the development a Climate Action Plan and creation of an official Office of Sustainability.
See also: AASHE Resource: Surveys of Sustainability Awareness, Attitudes and Values

5. Michigan State U Students Lead Energy-Efficient Building Design

(U.S.): A group of Michigan State University students have received a $43,626 grant from the Office of Campus Sustainability to design a template to be used to transition all campus buildings to 100 percent renewable energy. Working with the university's "Design of Alternative Energy Systems" class and a local green economy leadership training organization, the students aim to take three buildings off of the main current power source.

6. U Wyoming Students Aid Efficient Lighting Retrofit

(U.S.): As part of a "Campus Sustainability" class learning project, a pair of University of Wyoming students are conducting a detailed inventory of campus building lights to help the university receive rebates for converting to more efficient lighting.
See also: AASHE Resource: Courses on Campus Sustainability


7. Shanghai Jiao Tong U Launches Sustainable Urban Planning Center

(Singapore and China): The National Research Foundation has approved a proposal for Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) to set up an urban planning research center for megacities in Singapore. Collaborating with the National University of Singapore, the center will work to improve energy recovery from waste and develop system modeling and data management tools to track and mitigate emerging environmental contaminants using test beds in Shanghai and Singapore.
See also: AASHE Resource: Academic Centers on Sustainability and Urban Studies (AASHE Member Resource)

8. National Central U Debuts Renewable Energy Research Center

(China): The Advanced Laboratory of Accommodation and Research for Organic Photovoltaic will focus on the research and development of sustainable and renewable energy in Taiwan. The center received a $4.74 million grant from the National Science Council to help launch the research and development of dye-sensitized solar cells.
See also: AASHE Resource: Renewable Energy Research Centers (AASHE Member Resource)

9. Leeds Metropolitan U Launches Sustainability Research Institute

(U.K.): The Leeds Sustainability Institute will tackle the challenges of creating more sustainable places, communities and economies to help enable society and its infrastructure to become sustainable.
See also: AASHE Resource: Academic Centers on Sustainability

Campus Operations


10. Indiana U Unveils Net-Zero Office of Sustainability Headquarters

(U.S.): E-House features a 4-kilowatt photovoltaic system, geothermal heating and cooling system, LED Lamps and efficient storm windows. Excess generated electricity will be sold back to the grid in a net metering agreement with Duke Energy.

11. Vanderbilt U Library Renovation Earns LEED Gold

(U.S.): Sustainable features of the Central Library renovation include low-flow plumbing and an enhanced use of natural lighting. Seventy-five percent of demolition waste was recycled.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Libraries on Campus (AASHE Member Resource)

12. Finger Lakes CC Opens Green Student Center

(U.S.): The 78,000-square-foot building features stone quarried in the state, sustainably harvested wood products, 192 solar panels, low-maintenance landscaping, and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Student Centers (AASHE Member Resource)


13. NASA Awards $137 M to Institutions to Study Climate Change

(U.S.): The Bay Area Environmental Research Institute of Sonoma will collaborate with California State University, Monterey Bay; the University of California, Davis; and the University of North Dakota to study changes in ecosystems, climate and biodiversity over a 10-year period. The findings will help develop products to aid land managers, agricultural producers and water managers throughout the U.S.


14. SmartPower Names 'America's Next Eco-Star'

(U.S.): Recent Middlebury College (Vermont) graduate Katelyn Romanov has won the title of "America’s Next Eco-Star." She was selected by more than 10,000 voters and a panel of experts during the SmartPower and U.S. Department of Energy nationwide competition. Romanov was recognized for her clean energy and environmental activism as a founding member of student group Sprout (dedicated to promoting environmental education in local schools) and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Middlebury student chapter.

15. Columbia U Receives $1 M for 'Green' Power Plant

(U.S.): The new plant, funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will combine natural gas boilers, "greener" refrigeration machines, variable-speed motors and a cutting-edge industrial grade control system to reduce overall plant energy costs and energy consumption.

16. U Vermont Launches Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study

(U.S.): Initiated by the university's Clean Energy Fund, the study will reveal which locations on campus can improve their energy technologies with a focus on the possibility of campus-based renewable energy and its role in achieving carbon neutrality. The project is expected to be completed by September.

17. Washington U St. Louis to Expand Green Labs Program

(U.S.): The university's Office of Sustainability and Sustainability Action Team at the School of Medicine are working to expand the pilot Danforth Campus Green Labs Initiative after seeing significant savings in carbon emissions and money since its September 2011 launch. Based on initial results, the initiative is projected to save 80,000 pounds of carbon emissions and $2,000 in energy bills per year.

18. U South Pacific Unveils Solar Energy System

(Fiji Islands): The 45-kilowatt grid connected system is expected to provide approximately 10 percent of energy needs for the campus. Funding for the system was part of a contribution by the Korean government’s East Asia Climate Partnership initiative.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

19. U North Carolina Ashville Debuts Solar Hot Water Installation

(U.S.): The university expects to reduce hot water costs by 29 percent with the new 64-panel solar energy system that will heat a campus dorm's water supply.

20. Western Carolina U, Appalachian State U 'Battle' to Save Energy

(U.S.): The North Carolina-based universities saved a total of more than 44,000 kilowatt-hours and $3,255 in energy costs during the recent "Battle of the Plugs" campus energy competition.


21. San Francisco State U Students Construct Bioswales

(U.S.): Eighteen students recently helped replace a conventional campus lawn area with bioswales, a landscaped depression that slows the flow of water, allowing it to seep naturally into the ground instead of being diverted into a storm drain. The bioswale is funded in part by a $23,000 grant from the Community Challenge Grant Program, a partnership between the San Francisco Public Utility Commission and the City of San Francisco.
See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainable Landscaping on Campus


22. U Queensland Sees 70% Increase in Bike, Pedestrian Commuters

(Australia): A recent report has revealed a significant rise in bus, bike and pedestrian commuters to the University of Queensland's St Lucia campus. Bus commuters have doubled since the last survey in 2002 and the number of people traveling by bike or foot increased 70 percent. The university has worked to improve its green transportation infrastructure by capping campus car parking spots and working with the Brisbane City Council to develop direct access via public transportation to campus.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Commuter Surveys (AASHE Member Resource)

23. Staffordshire U Adopts Car Share Program

(U.K.): A partnership with Hertz On Demand now offers students and faculty a free membership that allows them to reserve a vehicle via phone or on the website. The pay-as-you-go system provides members 24-hour access to vehicles located on campus.
See also: AASHE Resource: Car Sharing on Campus (AASHE Member Resource)


24. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay Plant Produces Biodiesel

(India): The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay’s biosynth, a plant created by students, has produced its first batch of biodiesel made from waste edible oil. The fuel will be used in fumigation exercises on campus. Students and faculty are currently in the process of tweaking the plant and hope to expand production to provide biodiesel fuel for transportation facilities.
See also: AASHE Resource: Biodiesel in Campus Fleets (AASHE Member Resource)

25. U North Alabama Receives Grant to Improve Recycling Efforts

(U.S.): The University of North Alabama and City of Florence Recycling Center have received a grant from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to improve and increase recycling initiatives on the university campus. The funds will be used to purchase recycling containers for placement across campus. The university will also use part of the grant to implement more advertisements and promotions of the campus-recycling program.

26. Green Mountain College Goes 'Zero-Sort'

(U.S.): Adopting the Casella Waste Systems' "Power of Three" closed loop recycling system, all of the college’s paper, plastic, glass and metal will now be combined together in one single container, sorted at Casella's processing facility, and returned to campus as 100 percent recycled paper content products.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Recycling and Waste Minimization Policies


27. Victoria U Pilots Program to Convert Waste Heat for Distillation

(Australia): Results from the Institute for Sustainability and Innovation's three-month trial operation demonstrate the potential for a membrane distillation process using waste heat from heavy industry to desalinate saline effluent. The system produced high-quality water without an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access

28. Report Reveals 2.58% Rise in Higher Ed Tuition Worldwide

(Worldwide): Higher education tuition fees increased 2.58 percent in 40 developed countries in 2011, reports a recent Inside Higher Ed article. According to a study published by Higher Education Strategy Associates, tuition rose significantly in the U.S. and South Africa and fell by more than 5 percent in Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Russia and Turkey. The report also reveals that while student aid declined in the U.S. due to cutbacks in Pell Grants, it increased worldwide overall with significant expansion in Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Singapore and South Africa.

29. Korean Universities Cut Tuition Rates

(South Korea): About one-third of South Korean universities have announced lowered tuition fees for the 2012 academic year. Urged by the government, a total of 109 universities lowered fees by an average of 4.8 percent from 2011 to help make higher education more affordable for Korean families.

30. England Students Organize Protest Against Higher Ed Costs

(U.K.): The National Union of Students recently organized a national day of action in England to protest against higher tuition fees, "hidden" costs and a lack of scholarships. Students at King's College cited "hidden" course costs (like an extra £1,000 in equipment, books and travel) as a major concern and argued that fee waivers do not provide any long-term aid to students.

Coordination & Planning

31. La Trobe U Appoints Ed for Sustainable Development Fellow

(Australia): La Trobe University has appointed Jeremy Baskin as its education for sustainable development principal research fellow. Baskin, who brings a range of experience in sustainability related teaching and research to the position, will working to implement new cross-department postgraduate degrees and undergraduate majors and minors in social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Diversity & Inclusion

32. Cal State U Los Angeles President Honored for Diversity Efforts

(U.S.): California State University, Los Angeles President James M. Rosser recently received the 2012 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education. Throughout his 33-year career as president, Rosser has championed for access to quality higher education among underserved communities and advanced programs that increase diversity.

33. Council of Graduate Schools Focusing on Minority Graduation Rates

(U.S.): As the U.S. is faced with an aging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty and nonacademic workforce and a demographic that is rapidly changing toward a nonwhite majority, reports a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, the Council of Graduate Schools has announced grants of $30,000 to 21 institutions to study what helps minority Ph.D. STEM students succeed. Backed by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the qualitative investigation is designed to fill in key gaps in understanding about the factors that influence whether minority students complete their degrees.


34. U Michigan Receives $10 M for New Sustainability Fellowship

(U.S.): The university plans to host 300 sustainability scholars over the next six years to study sustainability as it relates to energy, climate change, water, food, housing, transportation and health. The Dow Chemical Company gift will help launch one- and two-year fellowships for master's, doctoral and postdoctoral students, and support a lecture series focused on sharing sustainability research and best practices.

Public Engagement

35. Students Worldwide Collaborate to Improve Lives of Rural Poor

(Ghana): University students from Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ghana and the U.S. convened in Ghana to showcase designs aimed at improving the lives of the rural poor as part of the International Development Design Summit, reported the Chronicle of Higher Education last fall. For the past five years, the summit has brought together students, lecturers, engineers, farmers, mechanics and other practitioners from around the world to collaborate on developing products, services and business models to serve the rural poor.

36. Maharishi U Mgmt Students Raise $ for Caribbean Sustainable Farm

(U.S. and Caribbean Islands): The recent fundraiser will help send three Maharishi University of Management (Iowa) students to the Caribbean island of Dominica in May, where they will spend three months establishing a small-scale vetiver-grass nursery. They hope to make cuttings of this grass available to farmers when they return for another season the following year.

37. Institutions Earn Presidential Recognition for Community Service

(U.S.): Five colleges and universities received Presidential Awards in the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, announced this month. Carson-Newman College (Tennessee), Miami University (Ohio), North Carolina State University, Seattle University (Washington) and the University of Pennsylvania earned the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community service. A total of 642 schools were recognized this year for their impact on issues including literacy, neighborhood revitalization and supporting at-risk youth.

New Resources
38. AASHE Expands Member Resources with Int’l Partners

With the goal of fostering a global dialogue around higher education sustainability, AASHE has partnered with Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) and the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) to share member resources. Members from each organization will now have access to all resources including publications, e-newsletters and networks, as well as sharing good practice from around the globe on issues such as resource efficiency, education, waste minimization and sustainability reporting.

39. GUNi Report: 'Higher Education's Commitment to Sustainability'

The Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi) has released the fourth report in its Higher Education in the World series: "Higher Education's Commitment to Sustainability: from Understanding to Action." Analyzing the link between sustainability and higher education, the publication includes trending topics, good practices and a map of how regions around the world are advancing sustainability. The publication also explores the main barriers that prevent the transformation of higher education institutions towards contributing to the sustainability paradigm, and highlights possible solutions.

40. USGBC White Paper: Impact of School Bldgs on Student Health

Higher education faculty, graduate and doctoral students who wish to pursue study in the area of school buildings and childhood health may be interested in this recently released white paper, "The Impact of School Buildings on Childhood Health and Learning: A Call for Research." The paper, released by the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools in partnership with the McGraw Hill Foundation, is designed to be an accessible account of current research in this field, an assessment of research needed, and a summary of how individual groups can support the effort to draw connections between where students learn and their health and learning outcomes.

41. Call For Abstracts & Reviewers: AASHE 2012 Conference

(Worldwide): AASHE invites the higher education sustainability community to submit abstracts for its AASHE 2012 Conference and Student Summit, slated for October 14-17 in Los Angeles. AASHE is looking for innovations, activities, frameworks, learning outcomes or leadership initiatives that will help change the face of sustainability on campuses. AASHE is also looking for more than 250 volunteer abstract reviewers to help determine the highest quality programming for the conference. The deadline to submit an abstract and/or apply to be an abstract reviewer is April 23.

42. Vote for Your Favorite Higher Education Climate Leader

(U.S.): Second Nature has selected the finalists for its 3rd Annual Climate Leadership Awards. The public is invited to determine the most innovative climate leader by voting for their favorite video submission now through April 14. Campuses with the top votes will be featured at Planet Forward's national Moving the Planet Forward conference.

43. Win a 'Date with History'

(Worldwide): Climate Nexus and the Natural Resources Defense Council have launched a “Win a Date with History” contest as part of the Rio+20 Earth Summit at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Youth between the ages of 13 to 30 from around the world are invited to submit a short video speech expressing their ideas for how to stimulate decisive action on sustainability. The winner will deliver their speech at the summit. Submissions are due May 6 and online voting continues through May 15.

44. Call for Papers: Sustainability Accounting, Mgmt & Policy Journal

(Worldwide): Emerald Group Publishing Limited invites papers that address higher education's role in addressing key challenges of social, economic and environmental sustainability for a special issue of its Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. Professors and administrators from institutions including Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany), University of Graz (Austria), University of Western Sydney (Australia) and Albukhary International University (Malaysia) will guest edit the "Effective change management, governance and policy for sustainability in higher education" issue. The submission deadline is December 1, 2012.

45. U.S. Dept of Energy Solar Power Research Funding

(U.S.): Higher education institutions are invited to apply for a U.S. Department of Energy funding opportunity to develop innovative heat transfer fluids for use in concentrating solar power (CSP) energy systems. The funding is part of the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative-a program designed to advance research, accelerate technology transfer into the marketplace and educate scientists and engineers in interdisciplinary areas. Applications are due by April 19.

46. USGBC Green Classroom Certificate Program

(U.S.): The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has launched a green classroom professional certificate program for School of Education students and others who are interested in turning the classroom into a healthier, more environmentally responsible place to work and teach. Participants will gain the knowledge and skills to recognize, adopt and implement practices that promote health among students and school occupants.

47. Transformative Education for Sustainable Innovation Program

(U.S.): Foresight Design Initiative, a Chicago nonprofit dedicated to urban transformation, is recruiting for its Foresight Immersion summer program that trains emerging/transitioning professionals to be sustainability change agents. College graduates looking to gain experience to professionals accelerating their career development are invited to apply. Applications will be accepted through April 2.

Jobs & Internships
48. Energy Manager, Harvard U

The energy manager will work to reduce campus energy consumption, promote energy efficiency and sustainability practices, and increase the visibility of energy initiatives while assuring accountability and commitment from core parts of the organization. Successful candidates will have a degree in mechanical engineering and a minimum of five years of facilities management experience.

49. Visiting Professor, Environment and Humanities, Princeton U

Princeton University (New Jersey) seeks one or more distinguished humanists whose work is related to the environment to serve as a visiting professor in the environment and humanities. Successful candidates should be accomplished scholars with expertise including conservation, biodiversity, global change, energy, sustainable development, global health and environmental justice.

50. Sustainability Coordinator, Knox College

This newly created position will provide broad institutional leadership and support for the college's efforts to create a culture of sustainability on campus. Successful candidates will have a master's degree or a bachelor's degree with at least two years of relevant experience and energy and enthusiasm for improving sustainability on campus through innovation and creative practices. The review of applications will begin April 4.

51. Sustainability Training Development Graduate Intern, GreenerU

GreenerU seeks a graduate student or recent graduate to develop sustainability trainings for employees of higher education institutions. Ideal candidates will be studying or have experience with education for sustainability, employee engagement, training and/or program design. This is a paid full-time position for 10-12 weeks over the summer.

52. Program Development Intern, GreenerU

GreenerU seeks an upper-level undergraduate student or recent graduate to assist in multiple campus sustainability projects potentially spanning solid waste, green building, environmental education, energy behaviors and more. This is a paid full-time position for 10-12 weeks over the summer.

53. 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

June 4-6, 2012; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is the third in a series of sustainable development meetings, summits and negotiations organized by the United Nations and its member countries over the last 20 years. The first negotiation, also called the Earth Summit and held in Rio de Janeiro, spawned several international environmental agreements like the climate change, biodiversity and desertification conventions. Rio+20 is a Worldwatch Institute project designed to leverage the 2012 conference to advance the prospects for clear commitments to sustainable economies on the part of governments, businesses and civil society organizations worldwide. The conference will focus on the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and institutional framework for sustainable development.

54. Fairly Educated Conference

July 27-29, 2012; Melbourne, Australia
Fairly Educated, a global movement to make universities fair trade, is hosting its second Fairly Educated Conference. Hosted by the Melbourne universities consortium, the event will bring together students from Australia and New Zealand who are interested in the university fair trade movement with the aim of increasing their knowledge of fair trade and equipping them with leadership and campaign skills.

55. Open SEED Forum: Civic Engagement and Policy for Green Jobs

March 29, 2012; 1:00 p.m. Eastern; Online
Open to all faculty and staff on campuses, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)'s Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Center has started a Community of Action about policy to grow green jobs. The call will begin with key updates, resources and strategies from policy experts, and will then open up for discussion about examples and specific possibilities for local mobilization.

56. STARS Webinar: Finalizing a STARS Report in Record Time

March 27, 2012; 2:00 p.m. Eastern; Online
This webinar will highlight institutions that have completed their STARS report in minimal time with maximum benefits. Participants will learn strategies to reduce the amount of time and dollars spent completing a STARS report, while engaging the community and furthering sustainability on their campuses.

57. Green Laboratory Building Systems Workshop

May 15-18, 2012; Madison WI
Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Engineering Professional Development, this workshop will provide the latest information on selection, operation and maintenance for laboratory building MEP (mechanical/HVAC, electrical and plumbing) systems and controls.

58. Webinar: Leadership for Sustainability in Higher Education

April 11, 2012; 1:00 p.m. Eastern; Online
This free Spheres of Influence virtual roundtable discussion, "A Sea Change III: Leadership for Sustainability in Higher Education: University of Michigan Case Study," will feature Don Scavia, special counsel to the University of Michigan president. The conversation will include how leaders can authorize students, staff and faculty to act as change agents. Note: this webinar has been rescheduled from March 21 to April 11 with updated content.

Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights

Click on the titles below to view the full discussion thread.

59. Renewable Energy Gyms

I'm working on a project that is hoping to have ReRev equipment (or something similar) installed on bikes/ellipticals in our gym at Colgate University. Any information from anyone who has helped implement this at their school or who knows about the machinery/costs would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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