Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

This sample of news on sustainability and higher education includes a university grading students on their energy use; a president announcing that “sustainability defines” her institution; a glimpse at the millions of dollars colleges are devoting to sustainability efforts; and NAS president Peter Wood’s argument that the campus sustainability movement maligns progress, opposes free inquiry, and poses as a religion.

To read NAS’s official position on the sustainability movement, see “Fixing Sustainability and Sustaining Liberal Education.”

Color Confusion

  1. Red and Blue Make Green, University of Dayton
    Students at the University of Dayton can now get an F just for leaving the heat at home. The university has started grading students living in campus-owned houses on their energy use. 


  1. Sustainability Committee Sets Goals for a Greener University, LSU Reveille
    LSU’s sustainability officer believes that “every department on campus can work sustainability into their theme.” 

Prodding Students

  1. Communicating Sustainability: The Power of Well-Constructed Messages for Change, Getting to Greenr
    A Virginia Tech professor believes we should look beyond scientific “neutrality and objectivity” to communicate the importance of sustainability. He encourages colleges to train students to use new media to be sustainability “explainers.” 
  1. Create the Green Economy You Want BEFORE You Graduate! AASHE
    “Your institution, and higher education in general, is in a perfect position to be an early adopter that catalyzes sustainable products and services,” writes an AASHE staffer. “Sustainable purchasing was a very effective and meaningful part of my activism as an undergraduate. That work led me into a green career. I hope it can do the same for you.” 

Follow the Money

  1. University of Mich. Going Green – Environmentally, Chicago Tribune
    As the University of Michigan devotes $100 million to campus sustainability, UM president Mary Sue Coleman announces, “I want the message to be clear: Sustainability defines the University of Michigan. Combine maize and blue, and you get green.”
  2. Greener Pockets for Unity College’s Green Campus, Second Nature
    Unity College has received an anonymous $10 million gift to support education for sustainability. “This generous gift will not only enhance Unity College’s ability to educate its students to emerge as aware and responsible stewards of the planet, but also strengthen its role as a leader in the sustainability movement to transform higher education to create a sustainable, just and healthy future for all!” 


  1. Tyranny or Theft? Chronicle of Higher Education
    Part 1 
    Part 2 
    Part 3
    Peter Wood argues that the campus sustainability movement is fueled by cultural discontents.
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