Colby College Eliminates Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, Declaring Itself Climate Neutral

Screen shot 2013-04-04 at 2.01.37 PMColby College has achieved what only a handful of other higher-education institutions have done so far: The college has met its goal in the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and declared itself climate neutral. That means—essentially, with some caveats—that the college has zero greenhouse-gas emissions.

After signing the climate commitment, Colby set a goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2015—a date far sooner than most other institutions that had signed. Only thr…


Verse by Verse, Bucknell U. Maps a Poetry Path Through Town

Lewisburg, Pa. — Plenty of people—and you may well be one of them—skip right over every poem in The New Yorker and could not be dragged by a team of Budweiser Clydesdales to any event that had “poetry” in its name. So even though Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry regularly fills a former chapel for poetry readings and draws overflow crowds to a campus nightclub for poetry slams, it’s also laid a whole series of poetic ambushes around town, hoping to trap the unsuspecting as they wa…


Unity College Will Focus Curriculum on Climate Change

Unity College announced on Tuesday that it would make climate change and countering climate change the central focus of its curriculum.

“Unity College’s focus is timely given the priority that President Barack Obama placed on the mitigation of global climate change during his second inaugural address,” the Maine college said in a news release. “Severe weather events from the devastating flooding in New York to record high temperatures across the globe have spiked public interest in the subject.”…


What’s the Payoff for the ‘Country Club’ College?

The College of New Rochelle, which opened a $28-million wellness center (above) in 2008, could be one example of what researchers describe as institutions caught up in an amenities arms race. Credit: ikon.5 architects

For the past 15 years or so, colleges have experienced a tremendous building boom, and the most publicized aspects of the boom have been the amenities: the climbing walls, the swank student unions, and the luxury dorms.

Even in the midst of a national financial crisis, the building…


$5.5-Million Payment Will End N.Y. Investigation of Student-Housing Foundation

The former president of a foundation that provides housing for New York City college students will pay $4.5-million to settle accusations that he and his wife improperly collected millions of dollars from the foundation through a shell company that handled phone, Internet, and cable-television service in the foundation’s facilities. An investigation by the state attorney general’s office discovered that George Scott, who was president of Educational Housing Services Inc., until last month, had b…


Judge Rules in Favor of Johns Hopkins in Dispute Over Farmland’s Use

(Updated on 10/29/2012 to note the family’s intent to appeal.)

A state judge in Montgomery County, Md., has ruled against a family who sued the Johns Hopkins University, seeking to block it from developing land that the family had sold to Hopkins in an effort to preserve it from rampant development.

Elizabeth Banks sold her Belward Farm to Johns Hopkins in 1988 at a tenth of the land’s value, with the understanding that the land would be used to build a campus. But the family of Ms. Banks, who d…


Shop Talk: Machado and Silvetti Museum Opens at Hamilton U.


Builder Will Sell Appalachian State U. Solar House in Kit Form

Appalachian State U. solar house interior

The Appalachian State U. entry in the 2011 Solar Decathlon is now available commercially. (Photos by Jim Tetro, U.S. Department of Energy)

In what is almost certainly a first, the modular sustainable house that Appalachian State University students designed and entered in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon is now being marketed nationwide. The house, which won the People’s Choice award at the Appalachian State U. solar house bathroomdecathlon, is available from Deltec Homes either in kit form or, for customers in wes…


Shop Talk: Beloit Eyes Retired Power Plant for Recreation Center


A Decision to Slaughter Oxen at a College Farm Angers Animal-Rights Activists

Students guide the oxen Bill and Lou, pulling a mower in healthier days (Green Mountain College image).

A couple of years ago, I visited Green Mountain College and toured the Vermont college’s post-petroleum farm, which instructs students in ways to conduct agriculture without fossil-fuel inputs. That means that animals do a lot of work on the farm, and the most essential of those animals were a pair of oxen, Lou and Bill. They were magnificent creatures—an embodiment of power, with long horns…