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Articles: Facilities

Since 2007, U.S. institutions of higher education have primarily reduced carbon emissions by increasing the use of natural gas. (Click graphic to enlarge)

Despite higher ed’s progress in reducing energy use and making facilities more sustainable, it turns out that the biggest factor in the drop has been due to a change from coal and oil to natural gas, a cleaner-burning fuel.

Between 2007 and 2014, emissions per square foot have declined 13 percent, found a recent study of energy use and carbon emissions data at 343 U.S. colleges and universities from Sightlines, a university facilities cost-analysis provider, and the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute.

C. Kevin Synott is a professor in the Department of Business Administration at Eastern Connecticut State University.

How many alcoholic drinks do you think the typical female or male college student consumes each week? Clarifying misperceptions may result in fewer alcohol-related problems on our campuses.

A risk of fire may be less dangerous than the chemicals used to prevent it, and Harvard is adapting accordingly.

The Healthy Green Campus project—an initiative to improve student health through sustainable practices—grew out of a collaboration between Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers from the university’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, and the Silent Spring Institute.

Spectrum perspective: The New Brunswick campus of Rutgers will soon have two new buildings, one for the day program and another to provide housing for its participants.

A groundbreaking facility in development at Rutgers University will provide adults with autism opportunities to work on campus and live in apartments alongside clinical staff and graduate students.

Yale will analyze the cost of carbon at its Peabody Museum of Natural History and 19 other campus buildings to help guide other institutions. (Photo: Patrick Lynch/Yale)

Energy conservation at Yale now goes beyond lower utility bills. The institution broke new ground in higher ed recently with a pilot program to calculate the wider cost of carbon use at 20 of its New Haven, Connecticut, buildings, including the well-known Peabody Museum and the president’s office.

The point of pollution is just one cost, says Ryan Laemel, Yale’s project coordinator. “We pay downstream in the form of added healthcare costs and rising food prices due to declining agricultural productivity, for example.”

Located in downtown Leesburg, Florida, Beacon College—the nation’s first accredited four-year-degree-granting institution for students with learning disabilities—has brought a century-old train station back to life as a student center. Students can socialize or workout in the 3,400-square-foot space.

CHALLENGE

Beacon College’s enrollment grew from 185 students in 2013 to more than 220 last year to 285 this year. The institution anticipates a total of 500 students in the next few years.

Carine Feyten, the chancellor and president of Texas Woman's University, says security will become a recruitment issue for students and their families.

Carine Feyten

Chancellor and president, Texas Woman's University

Topic: Safety and security

Brent Betit helped found Landmark College, the world's first college for students with learning disabilities.

The spaces we create for people with learning disabilities can support success or guarantee failure.

Three decades ago, I led a team in designing an entire college campus specifically for students with learning disabilities.

Nearly two-thirds of higher ed readers surveyed expected a major renovation project to be launched or completed in 2016.

Picture it: Faculty no longer get their own offices and libraries have vanished. Dorm rooms come standard with private bathrooms and maid service, and terrazzo tile has replaced carpeting as the new standard flooring across college campuses. Sound ludicrous? Maybe not.

Like many of my peers in higher education IT, we at Barry University support an open, collaborative learning environment. And that means embracing campuswide mobility and a bring-your-own-device policy. To minimize the risks associated with mobility and BYOD, we now use an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) defense. It’s a vital and necessary precautionary measure to protect the university’s network from mobile devices that we neither own nor manage.

Former university president Richard A. Skinner is a senior consultant with Harris Search Associates.

Much of what we read today about higher education tends to dwell on constraints and reductions, but at least one sector of academe is actually growing.

New medical schools are in various states of planning, development and accreditation, while existing schools are expanding class sizes, portending perhaps the greatest increase in this sector since World War II.

Behind the scenes at the University of Vermont, chefs work with dining  program administrators to deliver student-requested items in a cost-effective manner. This can involve partnering with local food providers.

Colleges and universities that provide fresh, high-quality food do more than please students—offering good food is also good business. Here are several ways dining program leaders can increase satisfaction and meal plan participation while keeping operating costs stable.

Nearly a decade in the making, the new science building at Clayton State University in Georgia adds a much-needed 58,610 square feet of learning facilities to campus.

The building nearly triples the school’s lab space, creating more efficient facilities to accommodate increasing enrollment.

CHALLENGE:

Clayton State’s enrollment has grown to more than 7,200 students from 4,675 in 2001. There are more student science majors, and every student is required to take laboratory classes.

While renovating the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, workers found a “chemical hearth” hidden behind the walls.

It turned out to have been part of an early science classroom commissioned by university founder Thomas Jefferson. The room, likely sealed in the mid-1800s, survived a fire in 1895 that destroyed much of the building’s interior.

North Carolina State University's solar tree gives students another option to recharge.

North Carolina State University has installed near its library a 16-foot-tall solar tree where students and others can charge laptops, phones and tablets.

Comprising a 1,500-watt solar array atop a recycled steel base, the tree is designed to withstand 140 mph winds and is the first of three planned for this area of campus.

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