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May 8, 2012

Connecting the Dots...

As we compile AASHE Bulletin each week, I am reminded of environmentalist and author Paul Hawken’s take on the worldwide movement for social and environmental change in his book “Blessed Unrest.”

Though the origins and purposes of the various groups comprising the movement are diverse, he writes, “If you survey their principles, mission statements or values, you find they do not conflict.”

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News of the Week

Education & Research



Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing




Campus Sustainability in the Media


Campus Operations











Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access


Coordination & Planning




Public Engagement


New Resources




Jobs & Internships




Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights


News of the Week

Education & Research


1. Portland CC Develops Hybrid and Electric Car Curriculum

The college’s hybrid and electric car battery research will be developed into a curriculum to share with students, local technicians, fellow community colleges and businesses. The program, which is developing a 30-credit hybrid-training certificate, has partnered with two local repair shops to look at how they can provide better and more affordable repair work for hybrid and electric cars.

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing

2. Cornell U Students Create Low-Cost Light for Developing Countries

An idea that uses soda bottles to provide light to people in developing countries without electricity has won the $3,000 first-place prize at the university's Big Idea competition, open to all undergraduates. CapLight, created by Chris Dobyns '13 and Folajimi Fowose '13, replaces the cap of a standard soda bottle with an LED light assembly designed to provide low-cost, energy-efficient lighting. The prize money will be used to build more prototypes, which the students plan to distribute this summer.

3. U Calif Riverside Students Win Int'l Enviro Design Competition

A team of students from the university’s Bourns College of Engineering recently won the 2012 Intel Environmental Innovation Award for their reusable storm drain oil filter design. Constructed out of 100 percent recycled materials, "Sustain-a-Drain" is placed into storm drains to filter the oil carried in stormwater run-off. The students plan to patent their design and permanently install filters on campus.

4. U Michigan Students Establish Campus Farm Pilot

Four School of Natural Resources and Environment graduate students have established a 250-square-foot pilot farm for testing crops that will then be donated. Future plans include a larger farm and a centralized sustainable food program at the university. The students are currently seeking additional funding to hire a farm manager.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Supported Agriculture and Farms (AASHE Member Resource)


5. U Kansas, Utah Research Reveals that Nature Boosts Creativity

New research conducted by faculty from the University of Kansas and the University of Utah concludes that people from all walks of life show "startling" cognitive improvement — for instance, a 50 percent boost in creativity — after living for a few days steeped in nature. Without distractions of 21st century life including social media, electronics and cell phones, people have resources left over to be creative, imaginative and to problem solve.

Campus Sustainability in the Media

6. New York Times Profiles Rise of 'Food Studies' Curriculum

Encompassing agriculture, business, health, economy, environment and international relations, the new academic field of food studies is "taking shape in an expanding number of colleges and universities," reports a recent New York Times article. Tailoring programs to their geographic areas and demographics, institutions are preparing students for new careers in food safety reform; local-food businesses and anti-obesity; equity and climate efforts; and broader contexts of traditional disciplines like culinary arts and farming.

Campus Operations


7. Ohio State U Dining Commons Achieves LEED Silver

The university's Kennedy Commons features the original exterior from 1955, an effort to preserve the historic exterior of the building and minimize construction debris. Additional sustainable features include low VOC building materials and the reuse of existing furniture. Seventy-five percent of the construction waste was recycled.


8. Second Nature Chooses 10 Climate Leaders

Second Nature and the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) have announced the 10 winners of the Third Annual Climate Leadership Awards, presented to ACUPCC signatory schools that demonstrate "unparalleled campus innovation and climate leadership that helps transition society to a clean, just and sustainable future." The winning academic institutions include Arizona State University, University of South Florida, Allegheny College (Pennsylvania), Luther College, (Iowa), Austin Community College District (Texas), Haywood Community College (North Carolina), Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Central Missouri, Pratt Institute and PALS (New York), and the University of California System.


9. Oberlin College Announces Plans for New 2.3 MW Solar Array

Construction of a 2.27-megawatt solar array consisting of 7,722 polycrystalline photovoltaic panels will begin soon and start producing energy in September. The array will also provide research opportunities for students and faculty in multiple disciplines. The college has entered into an agreement with Spear Point Energy to purchase the electricity that is produced.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

10. U Chicago Works to 'Green' Campus Fitness Center

In addition to user-powered fitness bikes and reuse/swap/donation options for its older fitness machines and athletic uniforms, the university's Ratner Athletics Center is working with Facilities Services to implement energy conservation lighting and recalibrate and balance its ventilation system.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Athletic Buildings (AASHE Member Resource)

11. Santa Clara U Athletics Center Introduces User-Powered Treadmills

The university has added two new treadmills that are "powered by sweat" for a total of 33 fitness machines that are self-generating and require no electricity. In total, the university reports that the 33 machines save enough electricity to power a personal computer for 10 years.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Athletic Buildings (AASHE Member Resource)


12. U South Florida Named Tree Campus USA

The Arbor Day Foundation has designated the university as a National Tree Campus USA. Over 1,000 trees donated by a local tree nursery and by the foundation were planted around campus in honor of its designation and Earth Day.

13. Virginia Commonwealth U Debuts 2 Campus Gardens

A new vegetated rooftop garden serves as a living classroom to educate the campus community about the stormwater reduction capacity of roofs, as well as the cooling effects for mitigating urban heat islands. A new community garden on campus includes plots owned by students, faculty, staff and community members, an open teaching area, and two plots run and managed by volunteers who will donate the harvest to local food banks.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus and Campus-Community Gardens (AASHE Member Resource)


14. Campus Conservation Nationals 2012 Announces Top Savers

Nearly a quarter-million students at 100 colleges and universities across the U.S. collectively saved 1,739,046 kilowatt-hours of energy and 1,554,814 gallons of water during this year's three-week competition. The top five schools with the greatest average percent reduction in electricity (ranging from 16 to 36 percent across all participating buildings) are Southern Connecticut State University, University of Kentucky, Western Technical College (Wisconsin), Hofstra University (New York) and Bowling Green State University (Ohio). The nationwide electricity and water reduction competition is organized by the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Center for Green Schools, Lucid Design Group, Alliance to Save Energy and the National Wildlife Federation.

15. RecycleMania Tournament Reveals 2012 Winners

American University (D.C.) earned the title of Grand Champion in the 12th Annual RecycleMania Tournament, which diverted a total of 92 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials from the landfill and prevented the release of nearly 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The university earned the title with an overall waste recycling percentage of 85 percent. With nearly 62 pounds of recyclables collected per person, Union College (New York) won the Per Capita Classic award and Valencia College (Florida) was recognized for Waste Minimization with the lowest overall amount of recyclables and trash per person (2.8 pounds). Florida State University students won the tournament's second annual video contest with the most "likes" on You Tube.

16. Rutgers U Launches 'Project Move Out' to Reduce Waste

Launching this month, Project Move Out will provide free pick-up of items like furniture, electronics and appliances as students leave campus for the summer. An effort to reduce landfill waste, the items will be taken to the appropriate recycling facility by university personnel.
See also: AASHE Resource: E-Waste Programs, Policies and Events (AASHE Member Resource)

17. Jamestown College Implements Campus-wide Recycling Program

After a successful pilot program, the college is taking its recycling program campus-wide with $3,000 worth of additional recycling bins for residence halls. Long term, the college aims to have small receptacles in each dorm room as well as larger receptacles in every building on campus.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Recycling and Waste Minimization Policies (AASHE Member Resource)

Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access

18. California State U Students Announce Hunger Strike

Thirteen students at six campuses in the California State University system have vowed to fast until university leaders agree to a five-year tuition freeze, administrative pay cuts and more free speech rights on campus. The system has lost nearly $1 billion in state funding since 2008, reports the Los Angeles Times article, and tuition has increased six years in a row, including a 9 percent hike this fall.

Coordination & Planning

19. Chatham U Hosts Teaching Art Exhibit on Local Ecological Disaster

Celebrating the diversity of life in freshwater streams while raising questions about how water and resources are currently managed, “Reflections: Homage to Dunkard Creek” is a collaborative installation art project created by 90 regional artists. The project commemorates the lives of the many species that died in a local creek in September 2009 from a fatal combination of mine wastes and low water, exacerbated by industry water withdrawals, which introduced an alien toxic algae.

20. U Colorado Boulder Names 2012 Campus Sustainability Award Winners

The university has announced the campus individuals and departments that are being recognized this year for their commitment to reducing the burden that the university places on the environment. In addition to several individuals, awardees include Boulder Food Rescue, Fair Food Task Force, National Snow and Ice Data Center and Program for Writing and Rhetoric.


21. Slippery Rock U Announces Latest Round of Green Grant Funds

Four new Green Fund grants totaling $39,590 will go toward the purchase of energy monitors for residence halls; the installation of an electric meter to measure the effectiveness of energy initiatives in campus buildings; and fund two projects titled “Harnessing Human Energy” and "2012 Campus Conversation on Climate Change and Regional Policy: An Exercise in Deliberative Democracy."
See also: AASHE Resource: Student Fees for Sustainability

22. U Pennsylvania Announces Green Fund Award Recipients

Ranging from a comprehensive recycling center within the School of Engineering and Applied Science to a behavior change project focusing on water conservation, the university's Green Campus Partnership has named five sustainability projects that will receive spring funding.
See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainable Investment and Financing

Public Engagement

23. 28 College Leaders Commit 5% of Earnings to Fight Global Poverty

Twenty-eight current and former college leaders have publicly come forward as charter members of the Presidents' Pledge Against Global Poverty. Reports a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, they are donating 5 percent of their total compensation this year to charities that fight global poverty. The pledge is designed to help reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which include halving the number of people in the world who live in extreme poverty by 2015.

24. Cornell U Partners to Create Solutions for Global Concerns

Cornell University and the global humanitarian organization CARE have launched CARE-Cornell, a partnership that will merge the university’s research with CARE's experience fighting poverty to create solutions for global concerns including world hunger and climate change. CARE-Cornell will provide financial support for international projects through the Impact through Innovation Fund, supplemented by competitive external grants. Five projects are currently under way in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Vietnam, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

New Resources
25. AASHE '2011 Higher Education Sustainability Review'

AASHE's latest review quantifies successes in the higher education sustainability movement while looking at the challenges ahead. Through the lens of AASHE Bulletin stories in 2011, this review reveals an increased focus on higher education access, affordability and success; more green building efforts than ever; and growing campus community engagement with food security initiatives, among many other achievements. Contributors include Lumina Foundation's James Applegate, Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) Center's Todd Cohen, Ball State University Council on the Environment's Robert J. Koester, and the University of Vermont's Mieko A. Ozeki. The review also takes a look at "what's next," profiling four innovative campus-community partnerships toward resilient, secure, sustainable communities to keep an eye on in the coming years. Stay tuned for an e-book version that will be able available to both members and non-members soon.

26. SEI Investment Primer on Green Revolving Funds

As part of its Billion Dollar Green Challenge initiative, the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) has released an Investment Primer on green revolving funds. The free resource is designed for senior financial officers, boards of trustees’ investment committees, and key decision makers who wish to know more about developing a green revolving fund that matches their institution’s resources, goals and programs. The primer answers the most-asked financial questions that come up when considering the development of a green revolving fund.

27. Call for Papers: ACTS Campus Sustainability Conference

Themed "Mobilise and Motivate: Building momentum for a holistic sustainability approach," the September 2012 International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference invites abstracts from the sustainability community on some of the key sustainability challenges facing professionals, managers, facilities, academics and researchers. Potential topics include the role of higher education in the sustainability debate; how institutions can prepare for changing economic systems, changing student demographics and emerging potential risks associated with climate change; and how to create the appropriate sense of urgency to gain executive buy‐in and commitment. The call for papers will remain open through June 1.

28. Obama Administration Youth Sustainability Video Challenge

Leading up to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, the Obama Administration invites video submissions from America's youth that share what they are doing to foster sustainable communities. Submissions are encouraged in the areas of economy, education, energy and environment, health, and science and technology. Winning videos will be chosen by a panel of Administration officials and featured at the U.S. Center in Rio during the conference. Winners also will be invited to the White House for a special event on sustainability leadership. Submissions are due by June 1.

29. 2012 Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES) Course

Activating Talent in Sustainability (ACTIS), in collaboration with the Alliance for Global Sustainability and the Donella Meadows Institute, invites applications for the first YES course in the U.S. With a focus on sustainable food production and consumption, this course aims to sensitize participants to the complex issues of sustainable development in a global context through course work, field trips, workshops, group work and discussions. The course will be held Aug. 15-Sept. 1, 2012 at Sterling College (Vermont). The deadline to apply is May 14.

Jobs & Internships
30. Associate Provost, Diversity, Bucknell U

This position will help build an environment in which diversity and inclusion are fully integrated into the university’s missions of teaching, scholarship and community engagement. The associate provost will develop a strategic vision, an operational plan, and policies to promote and drive a campus culture that values inclusion. Successful candidates will possess a Ph.D. or master’s degree, as well as experience in developing, implementing and evaluating diversity programs.

31. Director, Energy and Sustainability, U California Merced

This position will manage the planning and daily implementation of campus-wide energy efficiency programs, as well as initiatives to achieve campus goals for zero net energy. The director will also manage renovation and repair projects, prepare energy and financial analyses, and oversee campus policy related to recycling. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

32. Associate Director, Energy Conservation, U Iowa

This position will provide leadership and strategic direction in pursuit of ambitious energy reduction goals. The associate director will bridge existing and emerging energy management programs with an outreach program aimed at achieving awareness, campus involvement and results. Successful candidates will have a master’s degree in engineering or the equivalent combination of a related degree and experience.

33. Professor, Sustainable Horticulture, Vermont Technical College

This position will teach a variety of courses within the Landscape Design and Sustainable Horticulture program; advise students in this major; and participate in the department’s curriculum/program development and college-wide committees. Successful candidates will have a master’s degree in a related field.

34. Instructor, Sustainable Design, Hartnell CC

This faculty position will act as program manager for sustainable design for the 2012-2013 academic year and teach courses in the program. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and two years of relevant experience.

35. Sustainability Outreach Coordinator, Johns Hopkins U

This position will serve as the primary lead on communications and outreach efforts to students, faculty and staff, and will serve as an adviser to campus student projects. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and at least one year of experience in a similar capacity.

36. AASHE Campus Sustainability Professionals Retreat

June 24-26, 2012; Nebraska City, NE
This workshop will offer professional development and support for staff managing institutional transformation for sustainability in higher education. Attendees will build relationships, develop leadership and change management skills, and generate ideas to contribute to the development of the field. The event will provide space for learning tangible skills, sharing best practices and learning from each other and from those with more experience. The deadline to register is June 4.

37. AASHE Workshop for Integrating Sustainability in Education

June 4-6, 2012; San Diego, CA
This three-day workshop will allow academic faculty to explore how they can meaningfully integrate sustainability into their classrooms. The workshop will include faculty (participant) discussion groups, resource experts, case studies, examples of best practice, and a particular focus on the importance of student learning for sustainability. The registration deadline is May 15.

38. 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.

39. Health-Wellness Sustainability Nexus Webinar

May 16, 2012; 1:00 p.m. Eastern; Online
Featuring Cynthia Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability at the University of Illinois at Chicago, this Spheres of Influence webinar will explore the interface between health, wellness and sustainability, using the University of Illinois at Chicago as a case study.

40. Portland CC Summer Sustainability Institute

July 9 - July 13 & August 24, 2012; Portland, OR
High school, community college and university instructors in fields related to green building are invited to attend this week-long professional development opportunity at no cost. Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program, this institute offers training to help instructors revise their curriculum to integrate current sustainability concepts, theories, practices and policies to help prepare students for careers in green building design, construction and maintenance. Experts will share new advances in green building and lead activities on a variety of sustainability issues including integrated design planning, residential green building and remodeling, energy and water efficiency, affordability, and changing industry standards. For best consideration, apply by June 8.

Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights

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

41. Greening 'Eternal Flame' Statues

Does anyone have experience with or thoughts on retrofitting their campus' "eternal flame" statue with green technology to reduce energy consumption and lower carbon emissions? Here at UT, we have a high-profile statue with a torch that is powered 24-7 using natural gas. A student has proposed using a solar panel and storage battery to power the torch, which would light up using LED lamps.

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