Internal Carbon Accounting at a Small Liberal Arts College

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As colleges and universities pursue greenhouse gas reductions, it has become clear that some approach is necessary for putting a price on carbon emissions and communicating that cost to energy users on campus. A carbon charge or carbon tax is one approach to establishing a price signal to which the community could respond in making energy use decisions. This approach has been widely used in the context of corporate and state governance. We investigated the theoretical factors that should influence implementation of a carbon charge at a small liberal arts college and discussed the multiple approaches to collecting and distributing funds. Questions of data collection and accounting remain but we conclude that setting an institutional price on carbon supports the call for increased action on climate change and utilizes the position of privilege colleges have to inspire positive social change on their campus and communities.


Scitable, created by Nature Publishing Group, brings together a library of scientific overviews with a worldwide community of scientists, researchers, teachers, and students.

Although the focus is on life sciences, the site has Spotlights on Alternative Energy, Solar Energy, and GMOs, as well as a blog called Eyes on Environment, and a Topic Room dedicated to Scientific Communication.

The site is geared toward advanced high school and undergraduate students.



Illinois Reduces Food Waste With Homemade Tomato Sauce

Read the full story from ISEE.

The perfect tomato is one of the joys of summer. It’s perfectly round, with smooth bright red skin, and inside it is juicy and full of robust flavor. The Student Sustainable Farm at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grows hundreds of these beauties every season.

But the farm also grows thousands more tomatoes that — while still delicious — have imperfections like bug bites, uneven color, odd shape, or scarring. What is the fate of these “ugly” tomatoes? As of summer 2015, they’re being turned into Illinois “house-made” tomato sauce.

A partnership between the farm, the Department of Crop Science, the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition’s Pilot Plant, Dining Services, and the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) is making sure that every tomato grown on campus lives up to its potential as the signature taste of summer.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunity at University of Michigan

The Dow Postdoctoral Sustainability Fellows Program is administered by the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute to support full-time postdoctoral scholars committed to finding interdisciplinary, actionable, and meaningful sustainability solutions. These fellowships support a new generation of sustainability scholars who understand the necessity of collaborating across disciplines and sectors to address complex sustainability challenges. Fellowships are funded through a mix of support from the Dow program and U-M units. The program seeks candidates working on sustainability issues at the interface of the social sciences/humanities and natural/physical/engineering sciences. Fellows receive an annual stipend of at least $52,000, U-M medical and dental benefits, and access to up to $2,000/year for research and related travel.
Additional program information, including the Request for Proposals and a link to the application can be found here:
Applicants must complete an “Intent to Apply” by November 2nd, and submit their application fully by November 16, 2015. Fellowships will began in September 2016.
Questions about the program and/or application should be submitted to

Students study compost as alternate fertilizer for campus recreation fields

Read the full story from North Carolina State University.

A grassroots composting effort from NC State students and staff is strengthening literal grass roots on the university’s recreation fields at Centennial Campus.

In fall 2014, University Recreation and Grounds Management partnered to study the viability of using compost instead of traditional fertilizer to maintain the health of grass on the university’s recreation fields. With the help of students Morgan Malone and Lindsay Edwards, two recreational fields on Centennial Campus were included in a study that compared the soil health of a field receiving compost versus a field receiving traditional fertilizer.

After students conducted initial soil and compaction tests, the field receiving the compost was aerated and topdressed with a quarter inch of compost, which was blended into the turf with a drag mat. The students later conducted follow up testing to monitor turf and soil health over time.

Upcoming green chemistry webinars focus on higher ed curriculum

The Green Chemistry Education Webinar Series highlights relevant topics for chemistry educators and students to incorporate green chemistry into their courses, labs and programs. The webinars are open to the community and are recorded and posted for access following the live webinar.

Selected Green Chemistry Metrics for Educators
Dr. Andy Dicks
, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
September 30, 2015 1:00pm – 2:00pm CDT
Register Now! 

Abstract: This webinar will begin with a discussion of several mass metrics of importance to green chemistry educators and their students (atom economy, reaction mass efficiency, E factor and process mass intensity (PMI)). Links will be made to the industrial significance of these metrics (especially PMI), and examples of how they are taught in undergraduate laboratory and lecture environments will be given. Lastly, other relevant green metrics related to solvent and reagent usage will be outlined, along with a related classroom activity.

Using Green Chemistry Principles As a Framework to Incorporate Research into the Organic Laboratory Curriculum
Dr. Rich Gurney
, Associate Professor, Simmons College
October 20, 2015 2:00pm – 3:00pm EDT
Register Now! 

Abstract: Despite the accepted pedagogical value of integrating research into the laboratory curriculum, this approach has not been widely adopted. The activation barrier to this change is high, especially in organic chemistry, where a large number of students are required to take this course, special glassware or setups may be needed, and dangerous chemicals and safety are of special concern. At Simmons College, the organic laboratory curriculum has been revamped by incorporating current faculty research since 2006. The general framework and methods for converting from traditional expository laboratories to research-integrated laboratories by incorporating green chemistry principles in the greening of synthetic reactions will be discussed. Examples of the successful incorporation of three entirely different faculty research projects will be discussed.  Research results and assessment of student learning and attitudes will be reported.

Webinar recording available: Safer Products for Facilities in Your Community

The recording of the September 9 webinar: Safer Products for Facilities in Your Community is now available for viewing on

Learn about unsafe product chemicals, the Safer Choice program, and how to choose safer products for yourself and your community.