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January 15, 2013

Connecting the Dots...

While the stories above can be seen as portals into sustainability progress on our campuses, the stories under the affordability & access and diversity & inclusion categories continue to read as outliers in on-the-ground sustainability efforts at our campuses. We are often unable to connect these social justice initiatives at our institutions with existing sustainability efforts, beyond reading about them in the Bulletin. We inherently know that the inclusion of justice is essential and we undoubtedly desire just, equitable, high performing, innovative, environmentally responsible and efficient institutions. Yet more than a decade into the field we are hard pressed to find an example of a campus sustainability plan that includes a commitment to ‘need-based’ education (though the institutions committed to this are growing in number) or conversely, a need-based tuition plan that calls for ‘sustainability.’

In reflecting on this point, I return to the work of Julian Agyeman who points out: “Research has shown that, globally, nations with a greater commitment to equity and a correspondingly more equitable society tend to also have a greater commitment to environmental quality.” What will it take for this to be said of our universities? What will it take for these stories to become portals into a comprehensive sustainability plan for our campuses?

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News of the Week

Education & Research

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing


Campus Operations











Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access


Coordination & Planning


Diversity & Inclusion






Public Engagement


New Resources




Jobs & Internships




Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights


News of the Week

Education & Research

Co-Curricular Education & Student Organizing

1. Northwestern U Helps Reduce Off-Campus Students Energy, Water Use

The Associated Student Government’s Sustainability Committee has created an initiative to provide free compact fluorescent light bulbs and water-efficient showerheads to all students living off campus. The committee currently has 700 light bulbs and 200 showerheads, and 300 students have signed up to receive the packages.

Campus Operations


2. U Connecticut's Laurel Hall Receives LEED Gold

The university’s social science and humanities classroom building features a green roof, energy-saving window glazing, low-flow valves and faucets, high-performance insulation, and use of rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo, recycled copper, and other sustainable materials.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Science Buildings (member resource)

3. Ball State U Dorm Renovation Achieves LEED Certification

Studebaker East residence hall features water bottle filling stations, locally sourced construction materials and revolving doors to curtail heat loss.
See also: AASHE Resource: Green Residence Halls (member resource)

4. U Washington Renovation Receives LEED Certification

The renovation of the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Culture Center has achieved LEED certification.

5. Niagara College Center Earns CarboNZero Status

The college’s Wine Visitor + Education Center has earned CarboNZero Certified status. This achievement means the carbon emissions resulting from the operations of the educational facility have been quantified, audited and offset. The carboNZero program was established in 2001 by Landcare Research New Zealand Limited, to provide robust tools for individuals, organizations and events to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or carbon footprint with the highest level of credibility and integrity.


6. Northern Arizona U Builds Bike-Powered Charging Station

After nearly a year of planning and construction, a group of students have unveiled a bicycle-powered charging station that will be used to charge small electronic devices and raise student awareness about their energy consumption. The university’s Green Fund provided $2,900 for building materials, and the Yellow Bike program donated the bike for the project.

7. Cedarville U Announces Solar Power Installation

The university has announced plans to construct a 2,154-kilowatt solar array. A new, underground utility corridor for the solar array will allow the zero emission solar source to feed electricity to the university's distribution system. The system will include monitoring and display features that support the university's curriculum.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations

8. Colorado State U to Install New Solar Array

The university has reached an agreement with Namaste Solar to install a solar array on campus. Electricity generated from the array will be sold to the City of Fort Collins as part of a new solar energy purchasing program.


9. Grand Valley State U Field Earns Sustainable Site Certification

The Student Recreation Fields has received certification by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a pilot program that is creating national guidelines for sustainable land design. The project was judged based on efforts in categories such as site selection, pre-design assessment and planning, water, soil and vegetation, material selection, human health and well-being, operations and maintenance, and monitoring and innovation.


10. Prairie State College Installs Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The college’s Sustainability Center has installed electric vehicle charging stations that will be available to the public free of charge.


11. Aquinas College Announces Zero Waste Goal

The Center for Sustainability and Students Striving for Sustainability have partnered to work toward campus-wide zero municipal solid waste by 2014. A Zero Waste Team has been created to assist in educational programs concerning the college’s waste streams. With collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, the college will incrementally reduce its waste by 25 percent each semester for the next two years, by expanding campus composting and recycling efforts.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Recycling and Waste Minimization Policies (member resource)

12. U Calgary Implements New Recycling Program

The university’s Students’ Union has introduced biodegradable cutlery and “compost educators” to the Student Center in an effort to reduce waste on campus. The compost educators program will place staff hired by the Students’ Union near garbage cans in the food court to demonstrate proper waste disposal.

13. Grand Valley State U Begins Yard Waste Composting

The university has begun separating its compostable waste to create windrows at the Sustainable Agriculture Project farm just outside Allendale campus and mulch for on-campus landscaping.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Composting Programs (member resource)

Planning, Administration & Engagement

Affordability & Access

14. Princeton U to Examine College Access for Lower-Income Students

A new university committee will examine strategies to help low-income students overcome barriers to college readiness and access. The Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on College Access will consider a range of factors, beyond just financial means, that may impede low-income students from pursuing an education at selective universities and colleges.

15. U Nebraska, Nebraska State Colleges Agree to Tuition Freeze

The University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State College systems have agreed to implement a two-year tuition freeze for students. As a result, Governor Dave Heineman will propose to the legislature that state funding for the University of Nebraska system increase from $498 million to $541 million and that the state appropriation for the Nebraska State College System increase from $45.5 million to $49.6 million.

16. Private College Presidents Urge a Commitment to Need-Based Aid

A group of private-college presidents have unveiled a pledge publicly opposing the rising use of merit-based financial aid and the decline in need-based aid at the Council of Independent Colleges’ annual Presidents Institute. The statement emerges amid concerns among some administrators that the increased competition among colleges for enrollment has led to more resources going into "merit based" aid for top students, many of whom don't require financial aid to afford college, and to a decline in "need-based" aid for promising lower-income students.

Coordination & Planning

17. Humboldt State U Introduces 2 Green Certification Programs

The Sustainability Office has launched the Green Room Certification and the Green Events Certification programs. In partnership with Residence Life, the Green Room Certification program awards a certificate to students who minimize their environmental impact through green living practices. The Green Event Certification program awards a certificate to campus groups and departments that implement zero waste measures at events.
See also: AASHE Resource: Campus Green Office Programs (member resource)

18. U Guelph Releases Sustainability Progress Report

The Sustainability Office has published a 2011-2012-progress report summarizing current sustainability initiatives on campus and gains made since the Presidential Task Force on Sustainability released its recommendations in 2010.

Diversity & Inclusion

19. Long Beach City College to Improve Graduation Rates for Latinos

The college, in partnership with Cal State Long Beach and the Long Beach Unified School, has launched a new program designed to improve success for Latinos in higher education. The Latino Student Success Institute will host nine learning sessions for community organizations that are interested in participating. Participants will receive a certificate in Latino cultural competency from the college's Center for Training and Professional Development.


20. Colorado State U Receives Grant to Help Low-Income Students

The university’s Academic Advancement Center has received a $377,282 grant to help students who are low-income, first-generation or disabled transition into academic life and succeed. The funding was one of 1,021 continuation awards given by the Department of Education to universities across the nation as part of a total $2.5 million commitment that supports 202,750 students overall.

21. Kennebec Valley CC Awarded Grant to Create Sustainable Ag Program

The college has received a $100,000 grant from Jane’s Trust to help launch a two-year sustainable agriculture degree program. The funding will be used to hire a farm manager and equipment. The program’s curriculum will include classes in soil, plant and animal science, crop production, integrated pest management, farm infrastructure and sustainable livestock management.

22. Columbia College Chicago Receives Grant to Expand Compost Program

The college has received a grant by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to implement a more comprehensive composting program across campus. This $5,000 grant will allow the college to reach more of the campus with the goal of diverting 13 tons of food scrap waste from landfills in 2012-2013, almost double the 2011-2012 academic year’s achievement of seven tons.


23. Middlebury College to Consider Fossil Fuel Divestment

The college has announced that it will initiate steps to address the feasibility of divesting its endowment from the fossil fuel industry. College President Ronald Liebowitz explained that the college would host a series of panels on divestment with representatives from the college’s endowment management firm, along with Scholar-in-Residence Bill McKibben, and veteran investors. President Liebowitz also disclosed the percentage of the institution’s $900 million endowment currently invested in fossil fuel companies: roughly 3.6 percent or $32 million.

Public Engagement

24. U Dayton Creates Exhibit to Teach Students About Water Resources

Developed by students in the university’s Rivers Institute, the RiverMobile is a traveling exhibit converted from a semi-trailer that highlights the history, benefits and preservation of the Great Miami River watershed. Its threefold mission is to develop pride for the region, provide knowledge about Dayton's river system and water resources, and foster personal responsibility for the protection of local water resources and the environment. The learning studio will travel throughout the region to guide groups of schoolchildren through five learning classrooms.

New Resources
25. Green Revolving Funds: A Guide to Implementation & Management

AASHE and the Sustainable Endowments Institute today released a joint publication that provides practical guidance for designing, implementing, and managing a green revolving fund (GRF) at a college, university, or other institution. The 27-page guide, supported by 14 organizations and 7 funders, also contains information on the Billion Dollar Green Challenge and related resources, and 10 steps to a successful GRF.

26. AASHE Blog: Ways to Integrate Sustainability into the Curriculum

This article, reposted with permission from the Residence Earth blog by Clara Changxin Fang, Sustainability and Campus Planning Manager at Towson University, presents 10 ways that sustainability can be integrated into the curriculum to help build ecological awareness for students, staff, and faculty.

27. DOE Launches Web Tool to Explore Pathways to Clean Energy Economy

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a new interactive online tool to help researchers, educators, and students explore future U.S. energy-use scenarios. The interactive Buildings, Industry, Transportation, and Electricity Scenarios (BITES) tool allows users to adjust inputs, such as electricity generation and transportation fuel use, to compare outcomes and impacts on carbon dioxide emissions and the U.S. energy mix.

28. Call for Case Studies on Greening Collegiate Athletics

AASHE is collaborating with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Green Sports Alliance to publish and promote case studies in greening campus sports. Please share your success stories and get recognized while helping other institutions learn from your efforts. Stories are being accepted through March 1, 2013.

29. National Collegiate Wind Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has issued a Request for Proposals to participate in the inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition. The competition is a forum for undergraduate college students of multiple disciplines to investigate innovative wind energy concepts; gain experience designing, building, and testing a wind turbine to perform according to a customized market data-derived business plan; and increase their knowledge of wind industry barriers.

Jobs & Internships
30. Assistant Director, Zero Waste, George Washington U

31. Assistant Professor, Sustainable Food Systems, Montana State U

32. Energy Management Specialist, Western Carolina U

33. Sustainability Education Specialist, Colorado State U Pueblo

34. Sustainability Fellow, Yale U

35. USGBC Webinar: What You Need to Know About LEED v4

Feb. 13, 2013; 2 p.m. Eastern; Online
Host: U.S. Green Building Council

Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums Highlights

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

36. Accreditation, Continuous Improvement & STARS

I am curious to know if anyone has had experience using STARS as an accreditation continuous improvement project. Most of our colleges and universities are regionally and nationally accredited by at least one accrediting agency. And most of those require continuous participation within the agency and its programs, including performing internal continuous improvement projects. I have heard of a few community colleges that have used STARS as one such project. However, I want to know beyond my network if there are others. I am considering proposing this as an option for our college. I want to have some other referenced experiences to share when I do propose it. Any of your guidance is most appreciated.

37. Baselining a Climate Action Plan for a Growing Campus

We are researching and working to write a climate action plan at Earlham College and are wondering how other colleges have worked to model future energy use when the campus is planning to expand significantly in the near future. Our college recently approved a Strategic Plan that calls for growing our student body from 1200 students to 1600-1800 students in the next five years. We are also in the middle of several building projects that will increase our square footage and energy use over the next few years. How exact have your estimates been for future energy use patterns? How did you derive those estimates? Do you have suggestions for modeling? Has the CA-CP Calculator served you well in this modeling process?

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