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July 24, 2012

Connecting the Dots...

In order to address the rapidly converging sustainability crises of our time, proponents of sustainability in higher education must negotiate some hotly contested ground, both within our institutions and within broader society, as Pamela Chasek notes in her article “Beyond Rio+20: What It Means for Global Higher Education.”

At this moment, perhaps nowhere is the ground more treacherous in political and economic terms than in the realm of the energy system. Scott Carlson’s article, “Public Colleges Feel the Heat From Gas Boom” (referenced as “Institutions Weigh Natural Gas Options in Face of Rising Tuitions” in this week’s Bulletin), highlights the complex economic and political context within which today’s higher education institutions find themselves with regard to the energy system and the big players of the energy industry.

His article is well worth the read as the challenges of promoting or opposing natural gas extraction enterprises on university campuses and in local communities are likely to call into question institutional governance, educational purposes, academic freedom, research integrity, and more.

Read more

News of the Week

Education & Research



Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing




Campus Operations









Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access


Coordination & Planning


Diversity & Inclusion


Policy & Legislation


New Resources




Jobs & Internships


Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights


News of the Week

Education & Research


1. India, U.S. Partnerships Zero in on Climate Change, Food Security

(U.S. and India): During a recent U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue, Indian and American higher education leaders vowed to focus on educational partnerships that furthered priority areas including workforce training, using technology to make educational opportunities available to greater numbers of people, and undertaking joint research in priority fields like food security and climate change. The talks are the latest in a nearly three-year-old effort by the administrations of President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to increase cooperation in higher education between the two countries, a $10 million joint commitment to further academic collaboration and exchange, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.
See also: 8 New India, U.S. Educational Partnerships

2. Masdar Institute of Technology Offers Solar Energy Training

(United Arab Emirates): The institute recently held a course on solar energy technology for members of its Young Future Energy Leaders program. Students had the opportunity to learn about solar cell technology and the fabrication processes for various types of modules. They also participated in a hands-on lab session with the institute’s 10-megawatt photovoltaic power plant.

3. Walters State CC to Offer Clean Energy Technology Degree

(U.S.): Beginning this fall, the college will offer an associate of applied science degree in clean energy technology. Four core focus programs will be offered including electricity, sustainable agriculture, transportation and building technology.
See also: AASHE Resource: Associate Degree Programs in Sustainability

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing

4. Bogor Agricultural U Students Create Sustainability Awareness

(Indonesia): Working toward Indonesia's commitment to reduce its carbon emission by 26 percent by 2020, a group of Bogor Agricultural University students are encouraging more sustainable actions among higher education communities by routinely picking up plastic bags and litter on campus, and distributing free reusable cloth bags.

5. Maastricht U Student Green Office Wins Int'l Sustainability Award

(Netherlands): The International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) and oikos International have recognized the achievements of the university’s student-led Green Office with a Student Leadership Award that represents sustainability student activism. Students have already successfully implemented several sustainability projects through the Green Office including the first sustainability baseline analysis of the university; business cases for a more energy-efficient computer infrastructure and light system; and several conferences and networking events.

6. Taibah U Students Build Biological Incubator

(Saudi Arabia): Students of the renewable energy and biotechnology unit have created a model of a biological incubator to produce antibiotics from bacteria using solar energy. The group is currently working on various applications that make use of solar energy and research on manufacturing solar cells locally.


7. U California Davis Awarded $2.7 M for Alternative Fuel Research

(U.S.): The California Energy Commission has approved a two-year, $2.77 million grant to the university's Institute of Transportation Studies to research the value, benefits and drawbacks of all types of alternative transportation fuels and fuel uses in the state. The grant will support teams of research leaders and graduate students in the institute’s NextSTEPS consortium as they complete research tasks.

Campus Operations


8. Guelmim Technology School Features Vernacular Architecture

(Morocco): The new campus building stays true to the localized needs and traditions of Morocco, featuring louvers and slats in the massing that permit natural light to enter the building and walkways without excessive solar gain, and allow for natural ventilation that keeps the campus cool on hot summer days. Locally-adapted plant species are also featured in shaded landscaping areas.

9. Cuyahoga CC Technology Building Awarded LEED Gold

(U.S.): The college's Health Careers and Technology building uses 34 percent less energy than a conventional building. A 28,000-gallon cistern captures stormwater run-off from the roof and from clean condensation from the building’s air handling units to water the landscaping, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in potable water used for landscape watering. High-efficiency plumbing fixtures inside the building also reduce domestic water needs by 44 percent.

10. George Washington U Renovation Certified LEED Gold

(U.S.): Sustainable features of Ames Hall, the university’s fifth campus building to receive LEED Gold certification, include a green roof, water bottle filling stations, bicycle racks and four fuel-efficient vehicle preferred parking spaces. The renovation of the academic building also demonstrates a 39 percent decrease in potable water usage and 28 percent increase in energy performance.

11. Rice U Physics Hall Receives LEED Gold

(U.S.): Home to dozens of experimental, theoretical and applied physicists, this 110,000-square-foot facility features an energy-recovery system that saves as much as 30 percent of the energy needed to cool the building in the summer. The building also has a dehumidification system, which captures humidity and returns it as pure, clean water to the university's Central Plant.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Science Buildings (AASHE Member Resource)

12. U Puget Sound Health Sciences Building Earns LEED Gold

(U.S.): The university's Weyerhaeuser Hall features 40 geothermal wells; 10–20 percent recycled content in a quarter of the building's materials; paints, coatings, carpets, wood and agrifiber that emit low levels of air pollutants; and predominant daylighting. More than 97 percent of all construction waste was diverted from the landfill.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Science Buildings (AASHE Member Resource)

13. U Buffalo Residence Hall Earns LEED Certification

(U.S.): The university's William R. Greiner Residence Hall features low-flow faucets and floor tiling made from recycled soda bottles. The university is also recycling thousands of brick pavers from a campus sidewalk for use in a new dining hall and is working to repurpose soiled old lounge chairs for continued use on campus.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Residence Halls (AASHE Member Resource)


14. Cebu Technological U to Establish Renewable Energy Center

(Philippines): The university has received a grant to establish an Affiliated Renewable Energy Center to pursue a national program for the development of indigenous energy resources. As part of an agreement with the Department of Energy, a solar waste pumping station project will also be implemented.

15. U Lisbon Wins Nationwide Green Campus Challenge

(Portugal): The University of Lisbon has been named the winner of Portugal's Green Campus Challenge: Energy Efficiency in Higher Education. After an energy analysis of one of their buildings, during which they created an energy profile that distinguished the thermal and electrical energy sectors, the Faculty of Science team presented a set of technical and behavioral changes to reduce energy consumption that included energy, economic and environmental savings.

16. Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management Goes Solar

(India): A 50-kilowatt solar power plant was installed aimed at providing clean energy to the institute. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who also advocated rainwater harvesting to conserve ground water, inaugurated the plant.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

17. Auburn U Uses Solar Power to Charge Electric Vehicles

(U.S.): Facilities Management, in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, has funded a pilot project for the installation of 24 solar panels atop the stadium parking deck. The solar system is designed to offset the energy used for 10 electric charging stations that have been installed on the lower level of the parking deck. The system is also expected to offset the energy to power lighting when the charging stations are not in use.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

18. U Tennessee Knoxville Installs Solar Secure Structure

(U.S.): The university has installed a new solar powered wireless structure that provides self-sufficient power and a communications source for Emergency Assistance Stations, video surveillance, LED lighting and wireless Internet. The SunStation also features a power outlet, allowing students the convenience to stay connected by using their laptops, cell phones and other technology outdoors.

19. U Mass Medical Installs LED Light Fixtures

(U.S.): A wing of recently renovated offices for research staff features the first installation of an integrated LED system for offices on campus. In combination with new lighting controls, the LED fixtures are expected to be 30 to 50 percent more energy efficient, and last up to seven years longer than the fluorescent lamps used elsewhere on campus.


20. SUNY ESF Establishes 'No-Mow' Zones

(U.S.): The university is converting areas of turfgrass into meadows, kicking off a new "no-mow" initiative on its main campus. By focusing on plants and plantings rather than turfgrass and trees, the university aims to save energy, emissions, maintenance staff demands, and money spent on fuel, oil and machinery.
See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainable Landscaping Initiatives on Campus

21. Kerala U Plants Trees to Celebrate Birthday

(India): In celebration of its 75th birthday, the university has launched "Oorma maram," a green initiative to plant 75 trees at each of its 75 campuses. The variety of saplings includes fruit and herb trees.


22. Indian Institute of Science Bangalore Considers Motor Vehicle Ban

(India): In preparation for a possible ban of motorized vehicles on campus, the institute is introducing a new bike sharing program and electric vehicles to campus.
See also: AASHE Resource: Bicycle Sharing & Rental Programs (AASHE Member Resource)
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Electric Vehicles (AASHE Member Resource)

Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access

23. U Oxford Receives £75 M Donation to Support Low-Income Students

(U.K.): Targeting students from ­families earning under £16,000 ($25,000) a year, the Moritz-Heyman Scholarships will ­provide financial support of £11,000 ($17,000) a year per recipient. Half will be awarded as a scholarship, with the remainder used as a fee waiver on Oxford’s £9,000 tuition charge ($14,000). About 100 students will receive the scholarship in 2012-2013, but the university hopes to extend the plan to all students from the lowest-income bracket.

24. UniversityNow Acquires Patten U to Offer Affordable Tuition

(U.S.): Higher education accessibility company UniversityNow, Inc. has acquired Patten University (California) to enable the university to continue to serve students at a low cost. The university will introduce an affordable, flat rate tuition model including the option to earn a bachelor’s degree at a total cost of less than $10,600.

Coordination & Planning

25. 8 Institutions Pilot UN Global Compact Reporting Process

(Worldwide): In addition to signing the Rio + 20 sustainability declaration, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo is one of eight universities from seven countries piloting the use of the Practical Guide to the United Nations Global Compact for Higher Education Institutions. The Global Compact is a call for institutions and corporations to voluntarily align their operations and strategies with 10 universally- accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Also using the guide and recommended reporting process are Bentley University (Massachusetts), Educatis University (Switzerland), Euromed Management (France), Istanbul Bilgi University (Turkey), La Trobe University (Australia), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) and Université Laval (Canada).

Diversity & Inclusion

26. New Yale U Green Vehicles Offer Easier Access for Disabled

(U.S.): The university has debuted two new special services vans designed for community members with physical disabilities to get around campus more easily. One of the vehicles runs on domestically-processed compressed natural gas, designed to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Policy & Legislation

27. Institutions Weigh Natural Gas Options in Face of Rising Tuitions

(U.S.): A solution to rising tuition prices is one reason that colleges and universities in the shale-gas zone, which extends from New York to Ohio and West Virginia, are considering the option of opening campus land to natural gas drilling, reports a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article. Pros include the money, research opportunities and new gas industry programs that "fracking" (a controversial extraction method for natural gas) would bring. Also tempting is a proposed bill that would allow Pennsylvania's public colleges to keep the money that comes from drilling for gas on their land and use it for energy-efficiency projects or a backlog of deferred maintenance, which stands at $2 billion systemwide. Cons include the environmental, socioeconomic, and public-image implications of pursuing fracking on university land in the face of local community opposition and institutionalized sustainability commitments. A new state law that directs Ohio's state institutions to inventory their parcels and determine whether gas companies can drill on them also has Ohio institutions worried that they will be forced into gas leases.

New Resources
28. Beyond Rio+20: What It Means for Global Higher Education

Originally found on the Chronicle of Higher Education's WorldWise blog, this guest post by Pamela Chasek, professor of political science and director of the International Studies Program at Manhattan College in New York, argues that higher education plays a key role in building more sustainable societies and creating new paradigms. In addition to educating and training future decision makers, "we need to be more involved at the local, national and global levels," says Chasek.

29. New Issue of Int'l Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

Educating engineers for sustainability is the main focus of Emerald Group Publishing's latest issue of the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Content includes "How to Educate Engineers For/In Sustainable Development: Ten years of discussion, remaining challenges," "Teaching Engineering Ethics with Sustainability as Context" and "Embedding of ESD in Engineering Education: Experiences from Chalmers University of Technology."

30. New APPA Energy and Sustainability Assessment Tool

Debuting this fall, the new tool is part of APPA’s Facilities Performance Indicators (FPI), which assesses and benchmarks areas related to the construction, operation and maintenance of institutional facilities. The new features will expand the annual FPI report with a "solutions snapshot" aimed at helping building owners know where they stand in terms of achieving their sustainability goals including strengths and areas for improvement. The Energy and Sustainability Assessment Tool will also provide a portfolio report that shows campus-wide performance as well as performance of individual buildings.

31. New Paper: Sustainability Challenge for U.K. Universities

"Looking through the 'Greenwashing Glass Cage' of the Green League Table towards the Sustainability Challenge for UK Universities," a new paper in Emerald Group Publishing's Journal of Organizational Change Management, aims to critically focus on the UK's People & Planet's "green league table" in order to explore to what extent such league tables contribute to the transitional and transdisciplinary challenge of ecological sustainability for universities.

32. Call for Nominations: AASHE Board of Directors

AASHE invites any AASHE member to nominate candidates to fill several slots including student representation on its Board of Directors, which oversees policy, provides leadership and promotes AASHE in support of the organization’s mission and needs. The full board holds multi-day, in-person meetings at least once a year and holds bimonthly phone meetings. Overall, board members should expect to contribute an average of 5 to 10 hours per month to AASHE. The closing date for nominations is Aug. 15, 2012.

33. Call for Papers: Int'l Conference on Sustainability

The higher education community is invited to submit papers for the Ninth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, to be held January 23-25, 2013 at the International Conference Center Hiroshima in Japan. This interdisciplinary conference is for scholars, teachers, and practitioners from any professional discipline who share an interest in sustainability where environmental, cultural, economic and social concerns intersect. The deadline to submit is Aug. 8, 2012.

34. Call for Applications: USGBC Innovation in Green Building Award

Presented by the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools in partnership with AASHE, the Innovation in Green Building Award recognizes a leading college or university that is transforming the built environment and creating living laboratories for sustainability. This year's award will be presented at Greenbuild 2012 with a special emphasis on innovative projects that promote institutional change. The awardee in this category will receive free registration at both AASHE 2012 and Greenbuild 2012. The deadline to apply is July 27.

Jobs & Internships
35. Associate Director, Student Diversity, Champlain College

This position will have primary responsibility for designing and implementing campus activities focused on multicultural programs for students. The associate director will also train and supervise staff and student leaders to plan and implement campus-wide programming. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and at least two years of experience.

36. Program Coord., Living Laboratory for Sustainability, U Cambridge

Based in the university's Environmental Office and in collaboration with teams already working on carbon reduction, the coordinator will help shape new projects using the University Estate as a "living laboratory," working to engage students, academics and building administrators to help the university to meet its carbon reduction aims. The position will also organize an annual interdisciplinary conference to present students' and researchers' work to the university and other interested parties. The deadline to apply is July 27.

37. Sustainability Coordinator, U Wisconsin-Platteville

This position will direct and coordinate the university’s sustainability programming and reporting initiatives, and will serve as a resource to academic areas regarding sustainability. The coordinator work collaboratively with faculty, staff and students to encourage and promote sustainable practices on campus. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and the ability to efficiently collect, organize and report data. The review of applications will begin on August 1.

38. 2 Sustainability Fellows, Skidmore College

The Office of Sustainable Skidmore seeks two full-time sustainability fellows. Each position is a two-year appointment. The communications and outreach fellow will assist in managing communication internally and externally for the Sustainable Skidmore office. The projects fellow will assist in recruiting and managing student staff in the North Woods Stewards Program, the Skidmore Student Conservation Corps, composting and additional areas. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree, strong written and verbal skills, a creative approach to problem solving, and be comfortable working with students, faculty and staff.

Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights

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

39. Help with Compost Contamination

We recently started collecting compostable materials in our dining hall, residence halls and employee break areas. However, we're not a zero waste campus and are experiencing major contamination in our compost...How have you reduced contamination and/or informed users how to sort better?

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