Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.38
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
EN-9: Staff Professional Development

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Sarah Carson
Director, Campus Sustainability Office
FS - Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution make available professional development and training opportunities in sustainability to all staff at least once per year?:

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (the rate of employee participation in sustainability professional development and training)?:

Estimated percentage of regular staff (full-time and part-time) that participates annually in sustainability professional development and training that is either provided or supported by the institution (0, 1-24%, 25-49%, 50-74%, 75% or more):

A brief description of any internal sustainability professional development and training opportunities that the institution makes available to staff:

Cornell recently incorporated Sustainability into every staff member's job description in two ways:
(1) Cornell's Skills for Success (within every job description):
Sustainability Principle: Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
(2) Stewardship Skills: Considers environmental, economic, compliance and social impacts in decision-making. Encourages others to adopt a culture of sustainability and efficiency

The Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) offers a 3-hour Management Academy course on Sustainability every semester and covers the importance of sustainability and climate change at Cornell and personal and professional decision making skills, including our Quadruple Bottom Line (Sustainability Framework for Decision Making). We ask supervisors who are enrolled in the course to take what they have learned back to their units and institute sustainable practices and quadruple bottom line thinking. http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/blogs/news/posts/cornell-supports-your-professional-development-through-sustainability

CSO offers an abbreviated 1.5 hour Sustainability Management Academy course that may be catered to specific units and departments. Our office also hosts training sessions on Community-Based Social Marketing, Sustainability initiatives at Cornell, "Green Your Office in Under an Hour," and Quadruple Bottom Line Decision Making.

The Campus Sustainability Office partnered with Get Your Green Back Tompkins (GYGB is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension) to support their Energy Advising training efforts with front-line Dining and Building Care staff. The goal is to support all interested Dining and Building Care workers in making their homes more energy efficient, and reducing their heating bills and carbon footprints, by connecting them to information and local contractors and vendors. GYGB aimed to work with 400 households, helping 100 get an audit and/or site visit/quote, and 50 take a step by getting the work done or renewable heating system installed. The approach was to use “Clock” organization for Building Care workers and to present during an annual training session for all dining workers (1000 people). GYGB offers presentations to segments of workers on benefits of energy efficiency & pellet heat, and share information on relevant incentives available. Follow up with those interested to help them navigate various programs. Each Clock has 15-20 people, so will need to serve 20-25 “Clocks” to reach 400 people. Allowing for two months between application and audit, another 6-8 weeks till getting report, and another two months before getting work done, will need about six months from presentation till work--and this represents a fast pace. For those with the WAP program, one year will probably be more realistic. Pellet heat should be shorter. Present up to three times a week to Clocks; 15-20 minute presentation; Elicit information from those who are interested--contact info, Tier income level, and particular interest. Follow up on different possibilities: Schedule subsequent Clock meetings, Visit Clock offices and check in in person, Paper checklist check in sent to Clock offices, Phone follow up. A combination of these, depending on personal interest and availability. Navigation: Depending on income levels and interests, guide people down several possible paths:
Energy efficiency and/or Pellet Heat (and/or solar, etc)
For Energy efficiency, direct to:
WAP/EmPower (via WAP agency in each county)
AHP via local contractors
HP via local contractors
For pellet heat,
RHNY approved vendors for income qualified
CCE for those in TC
Entire list vendors for those not income qualified


Sustainability has become increasingly important to Cornell. Starting in 2001, when Cornell needed to look for a new venue to host five of its multiple-day leadership development programs for senior leaders and managers and for front-line staff, the RFP Organizational Development for Faculty & Staff (ODFS) sent to various vendors included that sustainability be a requirement. One vendor responded and has partnered with ODFS since that time to offer programs in a space that practices sustainability. On average, for a 5-day program with about 27 attendees per program, because we use washable dishes and compost or recycle the vast majority of food and materials, there is only about one small grocery bag full of garbage and that usually contains about three non-compostable coffee cups participants bring with them on Day 1 of the program. At the start of every multi-day program the owner of the facility we use introduces that for the week we will be sustainable. He asks the group to guess how much garbage they think the group will produce in one week. The group typically guesses 5-6 large garbage bags. We then talk about the importance of sustainability in our homes, at work, and in life in general from electricity to waste and what we can do to make a difference. Also, throughout the programs we talk about personal and human sustainability. At the end of the week the owner of the facility helps us end the program by showing the group the small bag of garbage, again, mostly their coffee cups from Day 1. We share that if all of us make a concerted effort to be sustainable and to practice sustainability in our homes and lives, we will have an impact. We also encourage vendors on campus who host one-day events to offer sustainable products. While it took some convincing in some instances, most vendors now offer sustainability options.

A brief description of any external professional development and training opportunities in sustainability that are supported by the institution(e.g. through payment, reimbursement, or subsidy):

Many faculty and staff members attend a variety of professional conferences, workshops, webinars etc. paid for or reimbursed by the university (e.g. AASHE, ISCN, SSC, etc.)

Estimated percentage of regular staff (full-time and part-time) for which sustainability is included in performance reviews (0, 1-24%, 25-49%, 50-74%, 75% or more) :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.