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November 13, 2012

Connecting the Dots...

Like so many of you, I spent several intense days at AASHE’s annual conference in Los Angeles last month. And as usual, I went away sobered by the great challenges ahead of us and inspired by this incredible international kinship we belong to. Reading this week's AASHE Bulletin in the midst of the uncertainty we face reinforces my hope that higher education is our greatest hope to shepherd a new national spirit of sustainability and social justice.

There is one article this week that particularly caught my attention. It is about Unity College’s Board of Trustees voting to divest from fossil fuels. President Stephen Mulkey announced, “The Trustees have looked at the college’s finances in the context of our ethical obligation to our students, and they have chosen to make a stand. I can think of no stronger statement about the mission of Unity College.” I was so intrigued I went online to find out who these radical extremist Trustees were. What I uncovered were attorneys, bank vice presidents, entrepreneurs, a wife of an Air Force officer, educators, people in non-profits, political consultants—in other words, pretty normal people.

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News of the Week

Education & Research



Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing


Campus Operations



Dining Services










Planning, Administration & Engagement

Coordination & Planning




Health & Wellness




Public Engagement


New Resources




Jobs & Internships




Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights


News of the Week

Education & Research


1. Hagerstown CC Collaboration to Support Alternative Energy Program

The college has partnered with First Solar, Inc. to provide students and faculty educational opportunities that include internships, site visits to a 20-megawatt Maryland Solar facility, and access to an energy dashboard. Maryland Solar will also provide the college with solar panels, enabling the college to install and maintain a ground-mounted solar power plant as well as a roof-mounted photovoltaic system.

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing

2. OneEnergy Renewables Announces 2013 Energy Scholars Class

OneEnergy Renewables, a developer of large-scale clean energy projects, has announced its 2013 OneEnergy Scholars class. The award recipients include six graduate students that demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision in the field of renewable energy from Cornell University, George Washington University, MIT, the University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, and Yale University.

Campus Operations


3. Concordia U Buildings Earn LEED Certification

The PERFORM Center and the John Molson School of Business building were awarded LEED Gold and Silver status, respectively. The center features low energy consumption, water use reduction and the use of local materials. The Molson building features a solar wall that generates energy that is consumed in the building.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Green Buildings

4. Clarkson U Student Center Receives LEED Silver

Sustainable features include water efficient landscaping, low-flow plumbing fixtures, bicycle storage and changing facilities, and preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles. Invented by a university professor, a new type of concrete masonry unit that contains 20 percent recycled industrial glass was also incorporated into the building.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Student Centers (member resource)

5. Kalamazoo Valley CC Building Achieves LEED Silver

The Student Services facility features a green roof to minimize stormwater runoff and sun screening to help control solar heat gain.

6. Western Technical College to Create Urban Agriculture Center

The college has partnered with the Hillview Urban Agriculture Center and Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare to create the Urban Landscape and Agriculture Center. The proposed $1.6 million greenhouse will promote community awareness through seminars, courses, and certificates related to various aspects in sustainability.

7. U Maryland Housekeeping Achieves Green Seal Certification

The Housekeeping Services Unit of the university’s Facilities Management organization has achieved Green Seal certification. Among the measures that were implemented were the replacement of floor burnishers that did not meet emissions and noise limits, the replacement of disposable materials with reusable alternatives, and the installation of additional matting at building entrances to keep dirt outside.

Dining Services

8. North Carolina State U Launches Sustainable Dining Program

The recently launched program, “My Roots are at NC State,” connects dining services with North Carolina growers, manufacturers, processors and producers to increase the purchase of local food products. The program also highlights alumni efforts to provide the best food possible for students, faculty, and staff.
See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainable Dining Initiatives on Campus (member resource)

9. U Central Florida Partners with Aramark to Divert Food Waste

The Student Government Association has begun working with Aramark to decrease the university’s carbon footprint and give back to the community by donating leftover food from on-campus eateries. The program is modeled after a national Aramark project, which promotes the donation of food to Second Harvest Food Bank.

10. Franklin Pierce U Wins Localvore Cooking Challenge

The university’s dining services team won a competition in which higher education institutions competed to create the best entrée out of locally produced ingredients. Twelve other New England colleges and universities participated in the competition, including Keene State College, Southern New Hampshire University, Plymouth State University, Colby-Sawyer College, and Rivier University.


11. Indiana U Pennsylvania Debuts Campus Energy Channel

The university has begun broadcasting a channel in the lobbies of residential buildings that displays energy use on campus. The goal of the project is to increase students’ awareness of their energy impact, while reducing energy consumption in the residence halls and promoting a lasting awareness among students of energy conservation and sustainability.

12. Reed College Signs Energy Efficiency Contract

The college has signed a $5.4 million energy savings performance contract with Ameresco Quantum Inc. The company will provide efficiency upgrades to eight buildings and will lead campus-wide energy efficiency lighting and water conservations efforts. The improvements are expected to save the college more than $2.7 million in energy costs over 10 years and reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2.65 million pounds.

13. U Toledo Debuts Friday Night Lights Program

Two student organizations, Engineers Without Borders and the Society for Environmental Education, have teamed up to create the Friday Night Lights Program. In an effort to reduce energy consumption, student participants will turn off lights in campus buildings that would otherwise be left on over the weekend. Energy savings will be monitored and recorded at the end of the semester.


14. Florida State U Students to Create Campus Garden

The Tallahassee Sustainability Group has received approval from the student senate to build and maintain an on-campus garden. The garden will utilize the most efficient permaculture techniques possible to grow a variety of crops including satsuma trees and seasonal foods like tomatoes.


15. U Michigan Installs Bike Pump and Service Stations

In celebration of bike week, the university has installed two bicycle tire pumps and a repair stand on campus. Officials and student bike ambassadors explained how to use the repair and pump stations during Bike Fest, the university’s first bicycle resource fair.


16. College of Charleston Hosts Recycling Competition

The college increased recycling and reduced trash dumped in the landfill by 13 percent during a three-week competition that ran from late September to mid-October. The campus-wide “RecycleMania” was hosted and organized by the Office of Sustainability and was modeled after the national RecycleMania competition.

17. Shippensburg U Introduces Single Stream Recycling

The university has launched a single-stream system in an effort to increase recycling rates and reduce collection costs.

Planning, Administration & Engagement

Coordination & Planning

18. George Washington U Unveils Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy

The university has released its Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy, which describes how it will enhance the ecosystems on its campus, in the region, and around the globe. Some of the strategy’s areas of focus include: strengthening habitats, promoting healthy air and climate, fostering clean and abundant fresh water, and supporting sustainable food production systems. The Office of Sustainability is forming working groups to develop action plans to meet these goals.

19. Western Washington U Embraces Office Energy Reduction Program

The Western Sustainability Office Certification, a program that recognizes campus offices' environmentally friendly choices, was made available to all administration offices on campus. Five administration offices participated in the pilot program over the summer and seven more are currently participating in the certification process.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Green Office Programs (member resource)

20. U North Carolina Releases Strategic Energy and Water Plan

The university has released its 2012 Strategic Energy and Water Plan. Highlights in the report include the decline of energy consumption by 31 percent since 2003, and the decline of potable water consumption per square foot by 43 percent. Upgrades to central energy and lighting infrastructure and retro-commissioning efforts account for much of the energy savings, while an integrated non-potable water system helped reduce water consumption.


21. Connecticut Colleges to Share Energy Efficiency Loan

Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority has announced that it is lending $1 million for “Campus Efficiency Now”, a new program aimed at advancing energy efficiency and promoting cleaner energy for the state's independent colleges. The Campus Efficiency Now pilot program will enable the participating colleges to move forward with energy saving measures with no upfront funding by the college.

Health & Wellness

22. Spelman College Eliminates Athletics to Focus on Campus Wellness

In an effort to create a community of women who are concerned about health and wellness, the historically black liberal arts college has announced plans to eliminate intercollegiate athletics to dedicate its resources to a campus-wide fitness and wellness initiative. The college will redesign its curriculum to focus more on fitness and activities career women are likely to continue with as adults.


23. Unity College Board of Trustees Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels

The Board of Trustees has voted to divest the college endowment from fossil fuels. President Mulkey said in a statement, “the Trustees have looked at the college’s finances in the context of our ethical obligation to our students, and they have chosen to make a stand.”

Public Engagement

24. UC Berkeley Partners with Community to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals

University researchers have teamed up with a local organization to plant thousands of ferns in an effort to extricate toxic chemicals from city lots. The project, spearheaded by the campus department of environmental science and Berkeley Partners for Parks, will experiment with a specialized fern known to extract arsenic from soil. If successful, the city will transform the area into a greenway lined with bicycle paths and trees. The project is funded by a $40,000 campus grant, though further fundraising is still necessary.

New Resources
25. AASHE Blog: A New Era for Green Procurement

“Sustainable procurement work has never been more exciting. New data, science and processes are coming together with years of on-the-ground experience to create a new paradigm,” writes AASHE’s Sam Hummel. In this article, Hummel discusses a new higher education pilot project that is laying the groundwork for a sustainable procurement leadership recognition program, modeled on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.

26. Environmental Leadership Program 2013 Fellowship

The Environmental Leadership Program is accepting applications for its 2013 Fellowship Program. The program brings together environmental and social change leaders from academia, business, government and the non-profit sector. It offers intensive leadership training and regional networking opportunities. The application deadline is Feb. 1, 2013.

27. Ithaca College Online Sustainability Leadership Certificate

The program 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 the sustainability of their organization's policies and practices, communicate sustainability initiatives and evaluate best practices. New online seminars begin 11 times each year, and the next two session start dates are on November 29 and January 24. Discounts are available to AASHE members. Upcoming seminars include "Tools and Techniques for Planning and Managing Sustainability Projects" and "A Systems Approach to Sustainability." Most Ithaca sustainability seminars are now GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute) approved.

Jobs & Internships
28. Executive Director for Sustainability, George Washington U

29. Program Coord, Sustainability Office, North Carolina State U

30. Sustainability Specialist, Yale U

31. C2C Fellows: Northeast Workshop

Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2012; Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Host: Bard College

Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights

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

32. Paper Guidelines

Appalachian State University is creating paper guidelines for print jobs that happen outside of the university, e.g., Admissions incoming freshman books. I am looking for information about paper in order to inform our guidelines. What kind of paper should we be suggesting to folks to spec on their print jobs - FSC, PCW content, etc? Also wondering about certs and/or guidelines on inks.

33. Surplus Furniture: What Do You Do With Yours?

We are exploring different options for surplus furniture. We have a surplus management system, but sometimes it is a very slow way to move furniture out of our system. We see very good products, potentially going to landfill, because we have no room to store it for a period long enough for it to be redeployed. We are seeking innovative ideas for moving surplus furniture quickly. What do you do with your surplus furniture?

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