All posts by Scott Carlson


U. of Oregon Courts Hard-Hitting Tactics in Persuading Students to Raise Fees for a Renovation

Lately, the University of Oregon has had a little trouble getting students to go along with its plan to renovate Erb Memorial Union, the university’s dilapidated student-union building. The sticky part of that plan: getting students to vote to raise their fees to help pay for the $135-million renovation. In two referenda in the past year, students voted down the university’s plans, which would have raised fees by $100 per term.

That has led the university administration to some desperate measure…


Hope College Buys a Stadium From Its City

Here is yet another example of a college’s collaborating with local officials in a way that may save both sides some money: Hope College is purchasing a football stadium from the City of Holland, Mich., for nearly $1-million.

The stadium has been used by Holland High School since the late 1970s, according to local news reports, and the college has already put down $1.1-million to replace the turf at the stadium.

“City officials began discussing the stadium’s future with Hope and school leaders…


A Smaller List of ‘Cool Schools’ Leaves Out Some of the Greenest

Sierra magazine has once again released its list of “Cool Schools”—colleges that, by Sierra’s measure, are the greenest of the green. To which we say, “Meh.”

Since Sierra has had problems with collecting information and presenting a sensible methodology in the past, the magazine now relies on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System, a collection of sustainability data supported by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

This year, the top fiv…


Anthony Cortese Leaves Post at Prominent Sustainability Group He Founded

Anthony D. Cortese, who has been higher education’s leading sustainability advocate as founder and president of the advocacy group Second Nature, stepped down from that position on Tuesday. David F. Hales, a former president of the College of the Atlantic, will become the new president of Second Nature, which has been the driving group behind the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. In an e-mail message, Richard Cook, the chairman of the Second Nature’s Board of Director…


Facilities Managers Discuss Major Challenge: an Aging Work Force

Denver — To be sure, there was plenty of gray hair in a Sheraton Hotel ballroom here on Tuesday, where college facilities managers gathered to talk about the most pressing issues during APPA 2012, the annual conference for the college-facilities organization. But when Ted Weidner took the stage, he offered some hard numbers that illustrated the crisis college-facilities organizations face with their aging employees.

Mr. Weidner, assistant vice chancellor for facilities at the University of Nebra…


In Satire, Cooper Union Leases Its Starchitecture to Cover Its Deficit

You’ve got to hand it to those Cooper Union students. They’re great designers — and mischievous. Amid a debate on campus over what to do about the institution’s financial crisis — and whether to start charging tuition at Cooper for the first time in some 110 years — a student has put up his own protest, in a way that only a clever designer could.

A letter from Jamshed Bharucha, Cooper’s president, circulated with a stunning announcement: Cooper would lease its academic building at 41 Cooper Squa…


Sustainable Endowments Institute Suspends Green Report Card

The Sustainable Endowments Institute has announced that it is suspending its production of the College Sustainability Report Card. The report card was one of the first and most controversial of several sustainability-ratings systems that have popped up in recent years. It was followed by a slew of other ratings and rankings that attempted to grade colleges on their green efforts.

In a letter to colleges, Mark Orlowski, the founder and executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, w…


Colleges Pledge to Make Washington the Nation’s Greenest College Town

On Wednesday, the presidents of nine Washington, D.C., institutions signed a pledge to support a plan to make Washington the most sustainable city in the nation. The pledge’s backers say they seek to declare D.C. the nation’s “greenest college town”—an audacious claim, given the competition from places like Boulder, Colo.; Burlington, Vt.; and Portland, Ore.

The pledge grew out of a plan to improve the city’s climate action plan, introduced early last year under Mayor Vincent Gray. “While the cl…


U. of Vermont Will Stop Bottled-Water Sales

The University of Vermont will stop sales of bottled water on campus within a year, adding to a small but growing number of institutions that have done so. Vermont administrators said the drive to stop bottled-water sales was led by students. The university has set up bottle-filling stations (pictured at the left) around campus to prepare for the contract’s end.

An announcement about the move noted that the university would not renew its contract with Coca-Cola, which had exclusive “pouring righ…


Colleges Are Part of a $4-Billion Energy-Efficiency Program

The White House has announced that some college and university buildings will be part of a $4-billion program to improve energy efficiency over the next two years. The program—which is part of the Better Buildings Initiative, an effort to improve building efficiency by 20 percent—will get $2-billion from government agencies through a  presidential memorandum, and colleges and universities, cities, private companies, and other entities will collectively contribute the other $2-billion.

Allegheny …