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July 31, 2012

Connecting the Dots...

The Bulletin is designed to help us share and celebrate success, and I think it should continue that role. At the same time, we also need to MEASURE success AND shortcomings. Every day I become more pessimistic about the future of our planet, given our current trajectory...

Recently, I opened a fortune cookie that said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” How true, today and any day. So, let’s stand for measuring and evaluating. I’d love to see us take those success stories of the past and see how they measure up today.

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News of the Week

Education & Research

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing




Campus Operations







Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access






Public Engagement


New Resources




Jobs & Internships




Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights


News of the Week

Education & Research

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing

1. Portland State U Students Build Prison Garden with Inmates

Students at the university recently worked side-by-side with the inmate gardeners to expand and plant a garden at Oregon’s only women’s prison. The project was part of a "Women’s Prison Gardens" capstone course, which focuses primarily on social justice, corrections and the impact of incarceration on families and communities.

2. Oregon IT Students to Install Solar Systems in Tanzanian Villages

Ten students will travel to Tanzania to install solar energy systems for schools and hospitals as part of the Oregon Institute of Technology’s renewable energy engineering degree program. The project was launched in 2010 to provide energy to power lights that allow students to study after dark and medical professionals to perform surgery with adequate illumination.

3. U Kentucky Students Help Produce Biodiesel in Cameroon

Seven chemical and mechanical engineering students recently participated in a project to develop low-cost, environmentally friendly technologies to produce biodiesel for rural villagers in Cameroon, Africa. The students worked with the African Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology to design a process using resources and materials readily available in the area. A 10-day trip to work with the local villagers in implementing and refining the design was the culmination of the year-long project.


4. Portland State U Unveils Public Research Garden

The university's new Shattuck Hall Ecological Learning Plaza, formerly an old metal security shed, will be used as a testing ground for designing and researching sustainable building materials and methods. The space will transform with each research project. Currently, the plaza features an experimental sloped green roof system and green walls equipped with solar-powered tools to monitor their potential for stormwater mitigation.

5. U Penn Faculty Receive Alternative Energy Research Grants

Five alternative energy research projects have received a total of $500,000 from the Energy Commercialization Institute. Projects include exploring thin-film ferroelectric semiconductors as a way to make solar cells more efficient, as well as easier and cheaper to produce; new ways to keep solar panels clean; and a prototype for energy storage technology.

Campus Operations


6. Western Carolina U Meets State Energy Reduction Goal

Working from a 2002-03 baseline, the university has reduced its energy consumption by 30 percent. The university credits its success to student involvement and energy-saving measures including taking older buildings offline and ensuring new construction employs high building standards and energy efficiency. These conservation efforts have resulted in $13.8 million in energy savings since 2002-03. As mandated by the state, all universities in the University of North Carolina system are required to meet this goal by 2015.

7. Central Connecticut State U Installs 1.4 MW Fuel Cell Power Plant

The university's new power plant is expected to reduce energy costs by $100,000 per year. The $9 million project was funded in part by $3.4 million provided by the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority. Greenwood Energy developed and financed the project, and will own the plant and sell power and steam to the university as part of a long-term energy purchase agreement.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Installations of Stationary Fuel Cells (AASHE Member Resource)

8. Southern Polytechnic State U Installs Solar Panels, Greenhouse

Two sets of solar panels have been installed to provide power to a new greenhouse that is expected to be complete by August. The project will provide the Alternative Energy Center and students with opportunities to collaborate. The solar panels were funded by a grant from the 2009 American Recovery and Investment Act on behalf of Marietta Power and Water, the local municipal utility.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

9. Harford CC Approves Power Purchase Agreement

The college has entered into a power purchase agreement with Tecta Solar that is expected to save the college more than $1 million in energy costs over 20 years. The company will install a solar energy system on campus and sell the panels to a third party, which would then sell the energy generated from the panels back to the college at a discounted rate. The project will provide a website that will allow faculty and students to monitor the energy generated.

10. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Installs Solar Array

The college, in partnership with New Richmond Utilities and WPPI Energy, has installed a 4-kilowatt photovoltaic solar system. The project is expected to save approximately $650 annually and will provide educational opportunities for students in the Industrial Automation and Controls Networking program.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations


11. Duke U Partners with ClimeCo to Offset Carbon Footprint

The university has purchased carbon credits from ClimeCo America Corporation. The credits are part of a fertilizer manufacturing nitrous oxide abatement project. This is the first purchase of offsets from a third party developer for the university. ClimeCo plans to invest proceeds from the university’s participation to fund its long-term goal of developing carbon-offset opportunities within the agricultural sector.


12. U Louisville Launches Earn-A-Bike Program

Students, faculty and staff who agree to forfeit a parking pass as part of the university's new Earn-A-Bike program will receive a $400 voucher toward a new bike, helmet, U-lock or other bike-related products and services.

13. Southwestern Illinois College Starts Green Transportation Program

In partnership with St. Clair County Transit District, the college will work to better incorporate the College MetroLink Station into the campus and surrounding community for improved alternative transportation options. A MetroBikeLink, a trail adjacent to the light rail tracks, will also be expanded and include a pedestrian bridge. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2013.

14. McMaster U Wins Clean Air Commute

The university avoided the emission of 6.89 tons of pollutants during the week-long Clean Air Commute, taking the top spot for its size category among 180 workplaces in the challenge. Taking place across Ontario, the challenge encouraged the use of sustainable modes of transportation to work or school.

15. Florida Gulf Coast U Brings Car Sharing Program to Campus

The university has partnered with WeCar by Enterprise to offer an on-campus car sharing program for faculty, staff and students. The initiative will kick off with two vehicles and, if successful, the university plans to add additional cars to the program.
See also: AASHE Resource: Car Sharing on Campus (AASHE Member Resource)

Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access

16. New Aspen Institute Data Addresses Low-Income Student Success

The Aspen Institute has published a data set tracking the performance of 120 community colleges it picked as finalists for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. These finalists demonstrate strong performance and improvement in first-year retention rates; three-year graduation and transfer rates; and credentials awarded per 100 "full-time equivalent" students including underrepresented minority and low income students. The institute hopes the data can be used to learn what works best toward minority and low-income student success.


17. U Texas El Paso to Develop Green Energy Manufacturing Courses

A $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant will fund a five-year collaboration between the university's Department of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering and Drexel University that will integrate green energy manufacturing courses into the curriculum at both universities. The courses will incorporate technology-based and real-world problem solving.


18. Higher Ed Endowments Lagging in Sustainable Investments

Once a leader in adopting environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in their investments, higher education endowments in the U.S. are now lagging behind mainstream institutional investors, reports a recent article. Informed by a new, joint report from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and Tellus Institute, the article says one indicator of the failure of college and university endowments to keep up is the absence of these institutions as signatories to key institutional networks like the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment and the Council of Institutional Investors. U.S. college and university endowments control more than $400 billion in combined assets.
See also: Environmental Leader Coverage

Public Engagement

19. U Buffalo Conducts Renewable Energy Education Outreach

Children in the university’s Child Care Center recently learned about renewable energy, art and sustainability with the campus' 3,200-panel photovoltaic solar array. The children participated in several activities including baking cookies in a solar oven. The university plans to hold more classes in the future.

New Resources
20. AASHE Guest Blog: 9 Rules for a Successful Green Revolving Fund

This new blog from Joe Indvik, a consultant for ICF International's Climate Change and Sustainability Division, presents nine rules for students to live by when designing and pitching a green revolving fund (GRF) on campus. In addition to his work for ICF International, Indvik's rules are informed by his experience co-leading a student team that successfully established a $1 million GRF at Dartmouth College.

21. AASHE Interview Series: Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive

AASHE recently spoke with Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFed) co-directors Yoni Landau and Danny Spitzberg about the organization's initiatives, challenges, and where they see the future of student organizing for sustainable food.

22. The Sustainable University: Goals, Challenges for HE Leaders

Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, this book includes 19 chapters authored by leading higher education sustainability experts. The book identifies four challenges to establishing sustainable policies and programs facing higher education chief executive officers and leadership teams. Editors/authors James Martin and James E. Samels also look at solutions to the challenges including: effectively institutionalizing sustainability thinking; developing an efficient, flexible system of sustainability benchmarks; implementing an accountable university budget model; and engaging boards of trustees in the campus sustainability agenda.
See also: Chronicle of Higher Education Commentary: How College Leaders Can Bring Sustainability to Campuses

23. Religion, Science, Sustainability iTunes U Series

Harvard Divinity School has posted a new iTunes U series with videos and audio from lectures and events exploring the intersection of religion, science and sustainability.

24. Feedback for United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Youth

The United Nations is seeking input from youth and youth-led organizations for the development of a System-Wide Action Plan on Youth. This action plan will affect the way the whole UN system will work with and for youth in the coming years, focusing on five priority areas: employment, entrepreneurship, education (including education on sexual and reproductive health), citizenship and protection of rights, and political inclusion.

25. Ithaca College Online Sustainability Leadership Certificate

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: September 20 and October 11. Discounts are available to AASHE members. Upcoming seminars include "How Green is Your Organization: Sustainable Policy and Practice" and "How Green is Your Organization: Sustainable Infrastructure." Most Ithaca sustainability seminars are now GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute) approved.

Jobs & Internships
26. Department Head, Golisano Institute for Sustainability, RIT

This position will lead faculty in the institute's sustainability Ph.D. and sustainable systems M.S.; grow the program’s research portfolio; hire and mentor faculty and staff; and support graduate students. Successful candidates will have a Ph.D. with expertise in an area related to sustainable production systems, sustainable mobility, alternative energy or eco-IT.

27. Director, Campus Energy and Sustainability, Illinois IT

This position will lead the development and management of campus-wide energy and conservation initiatives including new power infrastructure for all campuses. Working with Facility Management and faculty, the director will also develop annual sustainability planning priorities for the university. Successful candidates will have a degree in a related field and at least 10 years of experience working within higher education.

28. Sustainability Projects Coordinator , MIT

This position will assist with the development and implementation of community engagement, communication and educational outreach programs to support the university's campus sustainability goals and objectives. Successful candidates will have a bachelor's degree in a related field and at least four years of professional experience in areas including sustainability project management, community engagement and behavior change.

29. Assistant Professor, Politics and the Environment, New York U

Successful candidates for this joint, full-time, tenure-track position in the Wilf Family Department of Politics and the Environmental Studies Program will demonstrate a rigorous theoretical and empirical approach to the study of politics and the environment, either domestic or international. The position is slated to begin Sept. 1, 2013.

30. Business Research Internship, CoFed

The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFed) is seeking applicants for an internship that will help research and develop a guidebook for business model planning around sustainable, cooperative food business. This resource will include three template business models including financial projections and instructions to help students use the materials. This position is unpaid with possible stipend support.

31. EnergySMART 2012 Conference

Oct. 1-3, 2012; Boston, MA
Facility managers are among the higher education sustainability professionals who may benefit from this conference, which features sessions and keynotes focused on identifying new opportunities for energy savings.

32. Sustainability Knowledge and Skills Statements Webinar

Aug. 16, 2012; 3 p.m. Eastern; Online
Co-sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability (DANS), the Sustainability Education and Economic Development Center of the American Association of Community Colleges (SEED Center) and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), this webinar will present an overview of the process and resources associated with the development of Green and Sustainability Knowledge and Skills statements in six Career Clusters™ that are now available for use by states and local schools districts. These Knowledge and Skills statements are also useful to higher education and are applicable to all academic areas.

33. Arboriculture Short Course on Managing Campus Landscapes

Sept. 11, 2012; Corvallis, OR
Hosted by Oregon State University in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, this one-day conference will explore topics related to the strategic care and management of trees on college campuses in the Pacific Northwest. Outdoor sessions will include tours and hands-on opportunities for learning how to best manage campus trees.

Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights

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

34. Compostable Toilets for Community Gardens (STARS)

We have just established a student-organized Sustainability Community Garden on campus. We would like the garden to be completely self-sufficient. It will be powered by solar pv and wind with a solar water pump for irrigation. We will also be holding classes and seminars at the garden. We are looking into installing a compostable, ADA-compliant toilet. Does anyone have experience with outdoor compostable toilets?

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