Connecting the Dots...
Many of us have heard the Haida Indian saying, "We do not inherit this land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” The creative, dedicated and motivated students at our colleges and universities around the world have embraced these words and are often the driving force behind many campus sustainability efforts. Their interest, commitment and support have proven to lead to success in achieving many sustainability goals.
These global examples of student sustainability efforts demonstrate that they have embraced protecting and preserving the future while touching almost every component of our institutions in some way. The stories in this week’s column illustrate students supporting the three pillars of sustainability — economic, environmental and social — while addressing climate change through learning, empowerment, action, and connections.
Education & Research
Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing
Planning, Administration & Engagement
Affordability & Access
Assessments & Ratings
Jobs & Internships
|39.||Member Relations Coordinator, AASHE|
|40.||Director of Sustainability, SAIT Polytechnic|
|41.||Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, Roanoke College|
|42.||Assistant Professor, Sustainability Studies, Roosevelt U|
|43.||Assistant Professor, Environmental Biology, Springfield College|
|44.||Assistant Professor, Environmental Sociologist, Utah State U|
|45.||Sustainability Coordinator, U South Carolina |
|46.||Program Manager, Partnership for Sustainability, Drury U|
|47.||Campus Recycling Manager, Vanderbilt U|
|48.||Program Assistant, Office of Sustainability, U Albany|
|49.||Implementation Fellow, ACUPCC, Second Nature|
|50.||Recruitment Fellow, ACUPCC, Second Nature|
|51.||Sustainability Fellows, Green City Corps|
Education & Research
Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing
(U.S.): Students from an Introduction to Sustainability Studies class helped build the Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneur (SAGE) Initiative classroom garden. Participating students will use the garden to grow produce that will be sold to local food suppliers. The aim of the SAGE initiative is to encourage students to replicate the techniques learned in class to be implemented elsewhere.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus and Campus-Community Gardens (member resource)
(South Africa): The 49M Green Campus Movement has launched a “Youth & the Green Economy” series at the university. The online community will provide information on campus events and competitions, the appointment of campus ambassadors, entry for national awards, and social media initiatives.
(U.S.): About 100 alumni have signed the college’s Alumni Petition for Fossil Fuel Divestment. Started by the Swarthmore Mountain Justice student organization, the petition aims to demonstrate to the administration that a range of Swarthmore community members, not just students, support fossil fuel divestment.
(U.K.): Organized by the university’s Labor Society, students have launched a campaign demanding that all staff be paid the new living wage of £7.45. A Freedom of Information Act request has shown that hundreds of university employees earn wages below the current minimum wage.
(U.S.): Over 500 students, faculty, and staff have signed up to participate in a week long challenge to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Participants will take on new challenges throughout the week with the end goal of producing zero trash, using sustainable transportation, and minimizing energy and water consumption. The challenges are based on the ideas in the book ”No Impact Man.”
(U.S.): Students have organized a local chapter of Net Impact, a global nonprofit that supports a new generation of leaders intent on transforming the world. The chapter is currently working on several sustainability projects including a vermiculture project that will help improve the university's composting system.
(Israel): The university’s Green Roofs Ecology Research Center will focus on research and development of non-irrigated green roofs, improving biological diversity and generating new ecological and evolutionary theories. Recently dedicated following a gift from a British expert in the field, the center will allow for a thorough examination of flora survival and need for artificial irrigation on roofs in Mid-East climates.
(U.K.): The university’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at York and the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology have signed an agreement to establish a basic framework for conducting cooperative activities aimed at enhancing their respective scientific and technical knowledge. The partnership will also include the exchange of researchers and collaborations in green chemical technology.
(U.K.): An experimental power plant is to be built at the university as part of a cross-channel project to find sustainable sources of green energy. Students and staff will conduct research on the glycerol-fueled plant to find cost-effective and environmentally efficient ways of using glycerol. The project is backed by the European Development fund through a $5.3 million (USD) grant.
(U.S.): The university’s College of Dental Medicine is the first building to become LEED certified on campus. Sustainable features include a reflective green roof, low-flow plumbing, and the use of recycled construction materials.
(U.S.): The science facility was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. Sustainable features include fume hoods designed to reduce energy use by nearly 40 percent in laboratories, a glass curtainwall, and automated window shades and lighting controls.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Science Buildings (member resource)
(U.K.): The hotel was designed to achieve an ‘Excellent’ rating under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. It includes a green roof; photovoltaic panels; and energy-efficient lighting, heating, and ventilation systems. The university has also installed a hydrogen re-fueling facility and electric charging points alongside a new research facility.
(Australia): Nearing completion, the university’s new medical science building has achieved a 5-Star Green Star Education Design v1 rating by the Green Building Council of Australia. In addition to sustainable measures in the design of the structure, energy efficient lighting and an 80,000-litre water tank will take reliance off of traditional power and water needs.
(United Arab Emirates): Inspired by a visit to the university’s energy-efficient West Village community, a UAE housing developer has begun planning a sustainable city on the outskirts of Dubai. The city developers will collaborate with the University of California Board of Regents on applied research and training related to the sustainable communities.
(U.S.): Despite an increase in square footage, students, and staff; the university’s overall greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 12 percent since 2008. These findings were released in recognition of Campus Sustainability Day by the university’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Office.
(U.S.): Dining Services has installed eight eCubes as part of the college’s continuing efforts to increase its sustainable operations. The eCube fits over a cooler’s thermostat and mimics food temperature, increasing a cooler’s efficiency. The project is expected to produce a cost savings of approximately $3,000 per year
See also: AASHE Resource: Sustainable Dining Initiatives on Campus (member resource)
(India): The state government has created a solar purchase obligation that requires colleges to meet six percent of their power usage from solar energy. Vellore Institute of Technology will surpass this quota by using solar power for 30 percent of its energy needs. Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering will expand upon a pilot project to use solar energy for street lighting on campus.
(U.S.): The university’s trustees have approved plans to build a 20.5-acre solar farm that is expected to provide two percent of the campus’ electricity. Phoenix Solar Inc. will build and operate the solar installation for the first 10 years, and the university will buy the energy produced under a $15.5 million power-purchase agreement. Subsidies to cover additional energy costs over the next 10 years will in part be covered with proceeds from a student sustainability fee.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations
(U.S.): The Office of Sustainability has added two bicycle stations, with 10 new bikes donated by Bike and Roll. A do-it-yourself fix-it station has also been installed that provides access to tools needed for basic repairs and maintenance.
See also: AASHE Resource: Bicycle Sharing and Rental Programs (member resource)
(U.S.): The university’s solar-powered electric vehicle charging station can accommodate 10 vehicles and joins five other stations scattered across the university campus and medical center. The Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal station is a joint project of the university, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Electric Power Research Institute.
(U.S.): The college has installed a DC fast charger for electric vehicles on campus. The new charger utilizes direct current to provide an 80 percent charge in approximately 30 minutes. Four conventional chargers have also been installed at the college in recent months, and all five stations are available to the public for a fee.
(U.S.): In less than a year, the university’s composting operation has diverted 100 tons of food scraps away from landfills and incinerators. The compost has been used throughout the campus, including a university farm that supplies fresh produce to a campus cafeteria and restaurant.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Composting Programs (member resource)
Planning, Administration & Engagement
Affordability & Access
(Brazil): The Brazilian Supreme Court has passed an affirmative-action law that requires its public universities to reserve half of their admission spots for low-income students and compels its institutions to diversify according to the racial makeup within each region. Officials expect the number of black students to increase significantly.
(U.S.): The university has opened an on-campus food bank to provide easier access to meals for students in need. The pantry offers fresh, organic produce grown from the community garden on campus as well as nonperishable items. The university's Commuter Resource Center donated $1,000 to get the pantry off the ground.
Assessments & Ratings
(U.K.): Winners and commendations were bestowed across 13 categories at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges’ 2012 Green Gown Awards. Now in its eighth year, the awards program recognizes exceptional initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the U.K. to become more sustainable.
(U.S.): The university received a $20 million donation to support environmental study initiatives. The gift will endow three faculty chairs in the sciences, fund research grant proposals, and support the creation of an environment initiative program center.
(Barbados): The university and Sol, a Caribbean oil company, have signed a three-year agreement that will provide funding for engineering, social sciences and technology students. The partnership will focus on promoting renewable energy studies, funding biofuels research, and growing leadership in the region.
(India): The university has submitted a proposal to the University Grants Commission and the state government to receive funding to implement energy-saving measures on its 700-acre campus. The university has proposed to install solar panels to generate power and to perform an energy audit.
(U.S.): A joint program between the city and the university Office of Sustainability is seeking to turn vacant land into an opportunity that inspires innovative thinking. The Sustainable Land Lab is a public competition that will give teams the opportunity to demonstrate their ideas through tangible projects at the scale of a single vacant lot.
(U.S.): Several members of the Facilities Services’ grounds crew volunteered to turn a vacant city lot into a 1.7-acre farm. The farm will provide produce to restaurants and will feature an on-site farm stand, where community members can purchase cheap local produce year-round. The project is part of City Farm, a citywide farming and composting initiative.
(U.K.): The university has partnered with Woodland Trust to reforest a local area through two community tree plantings. The project is part of a nation-wide initiative to plant more trees.
(U.S.): The university has awarded nearly $3,000 to four teams as part of its Creating a Stronger Community Contest. In its second year, the contest is designed to generate excitement and action around community-building projects. First place was awarded to Growing Oshkosh, a new organization created by an alumna that aims to raise awareness and educate citizens about the numerous benefits of local food.
(Canada): The National Food Charter was launched to unite the Canadian student food movement and is intended to help students engage stakeholders in discussions, collective actions, and the development of strategies for food systems’ change. Meal Exchange will provide resources and support to students who take the charter to campus.
AASHE is currently seeking campus representatives who are sustainability directors, sustainability staff and faculty to join the AASHE Education and Professional Development Steering Committee. Committee members will provide guidance and feedback on the strategic and fiscal direction of AASHE education projects, initiatives and resources supporting the advancement of sustainability in higher education. To be considered, a completed application form must be submitted by Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
Through Dec. 21, 2012, AASHE is collecting information on paid sustainability positions in higher education for its popular, biennial report. Click on the link above to access the survey. Jobs at all levels are being surveyed - from program assistant to vice chancellor/VP for sustainability – and from any college or university in the U.S. and Canada. The survey and report are important vehicles for increasing understanding of the rapidly growing career field of sustainability professional in higher education, including both general sustainability staff and more focused positions such as recycling manager or curriculum development specialist. Results are frequently used by the media as well as by administrators, students, faculty, staff, and others interested in sustainability positions in higher education. AASHE requests your help in distributing this survey link to all who are eligible.
The 2013 Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference is accepting submissions for presentation and workshop proposals until Dec. 31, 2012. Slated for April 15-16, 2013 at the University of Maryland, the conference will look at defining, understanding and creating solutions to sustainability issues facing campuses. Proposals are welcome in the areas of: community connections, fostering behavior change, the campus as a learning laboratory, strategic implementation, the built environment, and innovation.
Second Nature has extended the nomination period for its 4th Annual Climate Leadership Awards to November 30. Nominations are invited from American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) signatory institutions to highlight the ways that senior leadership, academic and curricular initiatives, institutional efficiency and innovative financing are being used to adapt to a changing climate. Finalists will be featured in a public voting forum on PlanetForward.org during spring 2013, with award winners announced and recognized at the ACUPCC Presidential Summit.
(Canada): The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education invites proposals for presentations at its annual international conference, "Sustainability: Learning to Live, Learning for Life." Proposals will be accepted until Dec. 15, 2012. The annual conference on June 19-22, 2013 at Cape Breton University will provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on post-secondary teaching and learning.
Nov. 27, 2012; 2:00 p.m. Eastern; Online
Host: National Wildlife Foundation
Nov. 29, 2012; 2:00 pm Eastern;
Host: Second Nature
Feb. 11-13, 2013 ; Muncie, IN
April 4-5, 2013; Puducherry, India
May 13-15, 2013; Barcelona, Spain
Host: Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi)
June 18-20, 2013; Singapore
Host: National University of Singapore