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June 12, 2012

Connecting the Dots...

A recent blog by a student at the University of Arkansas criticized RecycleMania for promoting competition, arguing that only collaboration and cooperation will achieve sustainability. A healthy discussion about the role of competition in advancing campus sustainability efforts ensued in the comments section on the UA website and on the Green School listserve.

I was reminded of this debate when I saw the item in this week’s Bulletin about Harvard’s latest LEED for Commercial Interiors certification. Harvard’s green building resource, which makes publicly available the LEED scorecards, official certification review documents, and succinct case studies for most or all of Harvard’s 75 LEED-certified projects, embodies the unique spirit of open collaboration that characterizes the sustainability in higher education community.

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News of the Week

Education & Research



Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing




Campus Operations















Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access


Coordination & Planning




Jobs & Internships




News of the Week

Education & Research


1. Ohio State U Offers New Sustainability Major

The recently launched environment, economy, development and sustainability major is a multidisciplinary degree program that focuses on the human dimensions of sustainability. Coursework includes environmental economics, business management, environmental sociology, community and international development, ecological engineering and environmental sciences. Students will have the opportunity to specialize in one of four areas including sustainability and business, environmental economics and policy analysis, community development and international development.
See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainability-Focused Baccalaureate Degree Programs

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing

2. Chatham U Graduate Student Initiates Community Seed Bank

A food studies graduate student has partnered with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to provide a public, regionally adapted seed bank, gardening and seed-saving classes, and a place to hear and share some of the local gardening history. The public can "borrow" or "check out" seeds, with the hope that they will grow the crops past harvesting stage, letting them go to seed. The public is then encouraged to return these seeds to the Pittsburgh Seed and Story Library.

3. U Chicago Students Create Green Event Certification Program

Students have partnered with the university’s Office of Sustainability, Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities staff to launch a Green Event Certification program. The aim of the program is to encourage student organizations to reduce the environmental impacts of on-campus events.

4. Western Michigan U Student Spearheads Recycling Expansion

As part of a graduate student's thesis, new recycling bins with improved signage have replaced trash cans on campus. The results from the pilot waste project will be used in the development of a campus-wide waste reduction master plan.


5. U Saskatchewan Receives $4.4 M to Explore Sustainability Issues

Two university researchers have been awarded more than $4.4 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for two sustainability-related research projects. The first project explores the transition from traditional to industrial farming over the past two centuries and what lessons it might hold for present food producers. The Sustainability and Education Policy Network, the second initiative, will delve into new models that improve how environmental sustainability is taught and practiced. AASHE is among the many nonprofit and higher education partners in this grant. Graduate students will work with AASHE to examine STARS data to look at the relationship between sustainability policy and practice.

Campus Operations


6. U Colorado Boulder Sports Facility Earns LEED Platinum

The 44,000-square-foot volleyball and basketball practice facility includes rooftop solar panels that are capable of providing 10 to 12 percent of the building’s electricity. The structure is cooled with an evaporative system and is outfitted with low-flow plumbing fixtures, efficient lighting and high-performance insulation and windows.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Athletic Buildings

7. U Iowa Renovation Earns LEED Gold

The first LEED renovation on campus, clinical psychology hub Stuit Hall incorporates daylighting, a rain garden to capture stormwater, occupancy sensors, low-VOC and formaldehyde-free products, energy-efficient mechanicals, and recycling storage and collection centers on every floor.

8. College of the Holy Cross Residence Hall Earns LEED Gold

Sustainable features of the $19.2 million dorm include a secure interior bike storage room, low-flow fixtures, occupancy sensors and regionally sourced and recycled materials. This is the second LEED Gold-certified project on campus.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Residence Halls (AASHE Member Resource)

9. Harvard U Receives 8th Biolab LEED Certification

The Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Mango Lab is the eighth space within the university’s Biological Laboratories Building to receive LEED certification. Sustainable features of the LEED Silver-certified space include efforts to divert waste from landfills, locally sourced materials and occupancy sensors.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Science Buildings (AASHE Member Resource)

10. U Louisville Installs First Green Roof

The new Sky Garden is expected to trim 25 percent from heating and cooling costs in the two-story building it covers. Draining to a rain garden below to help prevent campus flooding, the roof sits atop a new business school addition.


11. U Chicago Climate Scientists Release Climate Change Music Video

"You might not see it in person, but climate's changing just the same," sings University of Chicago geophysical sciences assistant professor Dorian Abbot in a new music video that is a ZZ Top-influenced Chicago rendition of last year's "I'm a Climate Scientist." Abbot collaborated with two other climate scientists at the university to capture the importance of the issue with humor. "We are so concerned about issues on global climate change that we are willing to make absolute fools of ourselves," said professor David Archer, who also appears in the video.

12. U Oregon Produces Campus Energy Conservation Outreach Video

The university Office of Sustainability has produced a three-minute animated video that summarizes recent efforts to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The video is part of an outreach campaign that will ask faculty, staff and students for suggestions regarding improvements to the university's Climate Action Plan.


13. Massachusetts Institutions Partner to Advance Sustainability

Clark University, College of the Holy Cross and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have partnered with National Grid and GreenerU to establish "SynergE Worcester,” an initiative that will facilitate energy efficiency and other sustainability advances within the regional higher education community. The program will target energy efficiency installations that reduce fuel and utility costs for the schools; engage students, faculty and staff in energy and sustainability initiatives; and use innovative financing to bring about reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

14. Students Gear Up for EcoCar2 Competition

Fifteen teams of undergraduates recently gathered in Los Angeles for the first-year assessment of the U.S. Department of Energy's three-year world-wide competition to design environmentally friendly cars, known as EcoCar. All teams proposed some type of plug-in hybrid arrangement using rechargeable batteries, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. While about 75 percent of EcoCar alums have ended up with jobs in the automotive industry, the article looks at ways that the competition series could do more to advance new energy technologies in the marketplace.

15. New Installation at Harvard U Brings Solar Capacity to 1 MW

The university has installed its largest solar project to date, an array of 2,275 solar photovoltaic panels on 1.5 acres of roof space. The project will deliver energy directly to the university’s electrical grid and is expected to provide 591.5 kilowatts of electricity to homes, buildings and lighting for the university’s athletic fields. Together with the 500-kilowatt Arsenal Mall solar project installed in 2009, the university now has more than 1 megawatt of installed solar photovoltaic capacity on campus.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

16. Florida A&M U Plans Energy Efficiency Campus Makeover

The university has partnered with Siemens to implement a $12.2 million performance contract that will generate about $1.2 million in annual energy savings. The 18-month project will include the decentralization of the university’s central steam plant heating system, a solar thermal heating system for the swimming pool, and building automation improvements.
See also: AASHE Resource: Energy Conservation & Efficiency Guide

17. Baylor U Installs 200 kW Solar Array as Teaching Tool

In addition to providing power for a portion of core campus buildings, the 858-module array will also be used as a tool for students to learn about sustainable energy. The panels are expected to pay for themselves within 10 years through energy cost savings.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

18. Oregon Institute of Technology Installs Solar Array

The recent installation is expected to save the institute $3.3 million in energy costs over the next 25 years. With a large portion of its energy already supplied by an on-site geothermal plant, the addition of solar panels will set the institute up to receive the majority of its power from an alternative energy source.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations


19. Black Hills State U Creates Garden for Dining Services

A group of student, staff and community volunteers have created a campus garden to provide fresh produce to dining services. The organic produce includes tomatoes, squash, peas, carrots, cucumbers and onions. A South Dakota State University Extension Grant funds the program.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus and Campus-Community Gardens (AASHE Member Resource)

20. U Albany Pilots Campus Community Garden

The university has created an on-campus community garden to provide students the opportunity to grow their own food. If successful, the 20-square-foot plot will expand in the fall.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus and Campus-Community Gardens (AASHE Member Resource)

21. U Tennessee Chattanooga Named Tree Campus USA

The Arbor Day Foundation has designated the university as a Tree Campus USA. The designation was the result of a student-led effort by the university chapter of Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society.


22. U Arizona Launches Social Network for Ridesharing

The Zimride platform uses Facebook integration for the campus community to share commutes or one-time rides. The university aims to reduce campus traffic and parking difficulties, and provide a cost-saving transportation alternative.
See also: AASHE Resource: Car Sharing on Campus (AASHE Member Resource)


23. Concord U Launches Recycling Program

The university has partnered with the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority to create a recycling program. A recycling bin has been placed in the campus education center and the university is working on a recycling education program to raise awareness among the campus community.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Recycling and Waste Minimization Policies (AASHE Member Resource)


24. U Texas Austin Debuts Water-Efficient Irrigation System

To address costly issues of water conservation, as well as breaks and inadequacies in the prior watering system, the university has completed a central irrigation system. The system has the ability to track gallon usage, detect breaks, keep track of rainfall and track water evaporation as it happens. It can be operated and monitored from a single computer, a smartphone or a remote control. Since its completion in April, the university has saved 3.8 million gallons of water.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Water Conservation Efforts (AASHE Member Resource)

25. William Peace U Launches Rainwater Harvesting Project

The university's Rainwater Harvesting System Clean Water Management Trust Fund Grant Project, a $710,000 campus-wide water conservation program, includes a cistern that will supply 90 percent of the irrigation water needed for on-campus use. The university will also install new showerheads and sink aerators.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Water Conservation Efforts (AASHE Member Resource)

Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access

26. Student Loan Debt Rises 8% as Tuitions Climb

Americans owed $904 billion in student loans at the end of March, nearly 8 percent more than a year ago, according to a quarterly report on consumer credit by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A recent Wall Street Journal article says that this number is quickly rising because of higher tuitions and because alternative ways of paying for college—such as home-equity loans—have dried up. College enrollment has also surged in a weak job market.

Coordination & Planning

27. MIT Pilots Earth Day Challenge Focused on Individual Action

Nearly 100 students and staff performed 151 individual green actions for points and prizes as part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's inaugural Earth Day Challenge. Sponsored by student organizations, departments, community groups and businesses, action projects ranged from taking public transportation, to joining a local clean-up, to performing an energy upgrade of a local community building. The grand prize winner earned $500 and the six highest point-earners received green-themed prizes provided by local businesses and organizations.

28. Ohio State U Hires Energy, Environment, Sustainability Director

The university's Office of Energy and Environment has hired Paul Laurent as its director of student services and programs, a new position created to enhance connections between university sustainability efforts and students. Laurent, who previously developed and managed renewable energy and energy efficiency programs at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, will coordinate student groups interested in energy, environment and sustainability; develop student research and project initiatives; and connect students and industry.

29. Community Colleges: Free USGBC Membership

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is offering free membership for one year to community colleges that get involved with Community Green. With support, resources and tools from the USGBC's Center for Green Schools, Community Green colleges work to integrate green building concepts into curricular and co-curricular opportunities, including credentialing and networking.

30. Higher Education Sustainability Initiative for Rio+20

Leaders of the international academic community are invited to sign this United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development declaration, which asks the community to commit to the development of sustainable practices. Signatories of the declaration, including AASHE, agree to support actions including teaching sustainable development concepts, encouraging research on sustainable development issues, greening campuses, supporting sustainability efforts in surrounding communities, and engaging with and sharing results through international frameworks. The conference will take place in Brazil from June 20-22, 2012.

31. Call for Papers: Business and Entrepreneurial Studies Summit

Focusing on social responsibility, professional ethics and management, the 2nd Annual Summit on Business and Entrepreneurial Studies will take place in October 2012 in Malaysia. The aim of the conference is to present and discuss research that contributes to the sharing of new theoretical, methodological and empirical knowledge, and a better understanding of business and entrepreneurship practices with an emphasis on the field of social responsibility and ethics. Papers related to issues of business in multicultural societies are also welcome. The deadline to submit an abstract is August 17.

32. Ithaca College Online Sustainability Leadership Certificate

Ithaca College (New York) offers the chance to credential sustainability work through single seminars or a six-seminar sustainability leadership certificate. All work is completed online. Participants will learn to assess their organization's green policies and practice, communicate sustainability initiatives and evaluate best practices. New online seminars begin 11 times each year. Next two session start dates: July 19 and September 20. Discounts are available to AASHE members. Upcoming seminars include "A Systems Approach to Sustainability," "Establishing Sustainability as an Organizational Purpose" and "How Green is Your Organization: Sustainable Policy and Practice." Most Ithaca sustainability seminars are now GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute) approved.

Jobs & Internships
33. Assistant Director, Sustainability, Pomona College

This position will provide leadership to the college's sustainability programs and will develop, implement and assess efforts for the integration of sustainability throughout campus operations and programs, specifically: energy and resource conservation and efficiency, building performance and retro-commissioning, cost forecasting, community engagement and outreach, and strategic planning for sustainability. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and five years of experience.

34. Manager, Sustainability Center, Virginia Tech

This position will support the Catawba Sustainability Center through program and funding development, coordination of faculty and student projects, and by providing assistance to land based businesses. The manager will serve as an ambassador of the center and work in collaboration with the director of the Roanoke Center, the county administrator and other county staff members, college faculty and members of the advisory and strategic planning committees. Successful candidates will have a master’s degree with professional experience in agroforestry, natural resources or a related field. The review of applications will begin June 18.

35. Sustainability Coordinator, Dining Services, Virginia Tech

The coordinator will research ways to reduce the environmental impact of current practices and lead the implementation of more sustainable programs and practices. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in a related field. The review of applications will begin immediately.

36. Outreach Coordinator, Environmental Studies, Wofford College

This position is associated with the college's Goodall Center for Environmental Studies' Thinking Like a River Initiative, which will bring members of the campus community together with citizens to comprehend, celebrate and create an enduring culture of sustainability centered on rivers. Duties will include developing curricular experiences for adults and K-16 students and engaging students in activities at the center. Successful applicants will have a bachelor's or master's degree in environmental studies or a related field and a demonstrated passion for rivers.

37. Programs Assistant, Environmental Center, Fort Lewis College

This nine-month position will support student staff and coordinate operations for the college's Environmental Center, a student organization that initiates campus programs that highlight environmental and social justice issues. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree and experience with project management, event planning, gardening/agricultural production and/or compost systems.

38. Registration Open for AASHE 2012

Oct. 14-17, 2012; Los Angeles, CA
Registration is now open for AASHE 2012: Investing in the Future. The conference will feature campus tours, a Student Summit with keynote speaker Billy Parish, and workshops including "Campus Recycling & Zero Waste" and "Communicating Sustainability to Create Change." New this year, the conference will feature advanced sessions and an advanced track. The early bird registration rate is available through June 30.

39. Save the Date: Campus Sustainability Day

Oct. 24, 2012; Nationwide
Organized by the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC), Campus Sustainability Day is a day of focus - on what has been accomplished and what is needed to maintain momentum. This year's theme, "Higher Education: Moving Sustainability Forward," emphasizes connecting new groups on campus, highlighting student stories and integrating related planning efforts. Institutions are encouraged to plan an event or commit to a shared challenge. Send planned celebrations to Judy Walton at for inclusion on the Campus Sustainability Day website.

40. CURC Webinar: Recycling Contracts, Financing & Budgeting

July 12, 2012; 1:00 p.m. Eastern; Online
Supported by AASHE, the latest webinar in the College & University Recycling Coalition's (CURC) 2012 webinar series will look at the business aspects of recycling. Participants will learn about different types of contracts, elements that define a good contract, incentive items, and revenue share. Also covered will be tips for creating and maintaining an effective budget, where to make cuts when needed, and creative ideas for financing projects and programs.

41. Registration Open for USGBC Greenbuild 2012

Nov. 14-16, 2012; San Francisco, CA
Registration is now open for the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Greenbuild 2012 International Conference and Expo. AASHE is a sector partner for this year's event, which will feature LEED workshops, green building tours, concurrent educational sessions and sector-specific summits including Affordable Housing. The early bird registration deadline is September 10.

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