Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.05
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 5, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sarah Carson
Director, Campus Sustainability Office
FS - Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Number of students enrolled for credit (headcount):

Total number of students enrolled for credit that are served (i.e. directly targeted) by a student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting to the extent feasible):

Percentage of students served by a peer-to-peer educator program:

Name of the student educators program:
ALS 2000: Leadership for Sustainability course

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:

Cornell's original "EcoRep" educators program offers 3 academic credits for students to lead peer-to-peer education initiatives on campus. This course, ALS 2000: Leadership for Sustainability, trains students to develop and implement outreach and behavior change interventions focused on reducing energy in residential communities and lab buildings on campus. The course is co-taught by instructors from the Campus Sustainability Office, the Cornell Team and Leadership Center, and the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions.

"The course develops leadership, project management, research, and behavior change skills needed to become effective leaders for sustainability and climate change solutions on campus and beyond. Students will acquire knowledge about the effects of energy use on climate change, and analyze which sustainable actions have the greatest impact on reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Students will learn to design, coordinate, and implement behavior change programs focused on reducing building energy use on campus in collaboration with campus partners. Students will develop their leadership, teamwork, and conflict management skills, and participate in active self-reflection to improve their understanding for how best to influence, motivate, and collaborate with people to improve sustainable outcomes for our world."

A brief description of how the student educators are selected:

The ALS 2000 course is open to new and returning students. The course is available during the course registration process and listed in the Courses of Study guide. The course is advertised during orientation, and via events and emails during the fall semester.

A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:

The course meets on Tuesdays from 1:25-4:10pm, and divides the content of the course between leadership development (including self-assessments and self-reflection), and sustainability and energy conservation content. The course uses the Community-Based Social Marketing research framework to design, implement, and evaluate projects in residential communities and/or lab buildings -- in partnership with residential and facilities staff within project buildings.

A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination):

The Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) funds Cornell Outdoor Education's involvement in the class, which includes the administration of several leadership assessments for each student like the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode assessment (~$4000/semester). The CSO also provides each project team with a budget of ~$100 ($1000 total) to purchase materials for their project (e.g. stickers, printing posters, surge protectors, drying racks).

The course is administered through Blackboard/Canvas, and receives course support from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Residential Sustainability Leaders (RSLs)

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (2nd program):

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

Residential Sustainability Leaders (RSLs) launched in Fall 2019. This volunteer program (modeled after EcoRep programs) serves as a core peer-to-peer education network focused on sustainability at Cornell. RSLs form an action-oriented, problem-solving group who work to identify sustainability-related issues in residential facilities and across campus (e.g. cold water laundry initiatives). RSLs work closely with the Campus Sustainability Office, Residential Life, and West Campus House System to implement solutions to pressing sustainability problems in residential communities on campus (e.g. plug load management). Open to students at every level. Serves all students, including on-campus and off-campus students. https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/programs-guides/student-resources/peer-peer-education

RSLs lead educational and engagement initiatives focused on individual and collective action, as well as institutional and structural changes. RSLs joined the Campus Sustainability Office in welcoming new students to the university during Opening Weekend, promoting sustainability-related Orientation activities, and teaching students how to navigate waste sorting on campus. RSLs promoted and actively participated in our Sustainability Scavenger Hunt, a friendly competition aimed to increase the number of sustainable actions people take in their everyday lives (where they live and learn on campus). RSLs partnered with North Campus Faculty Programs to develop a "Food and Film" Sustainability Film Series, which involved 3 Faculty-in-Residence faculty members hosting films over dinner and facilitating conversations afterward. RSLs worked to lead Earth Day programming (e.g. Earth Day EcoChallenge participation, invasive species removal at the Lab of Ornithology), and worked on developing a Green Room Certification to roll out for all students. RSLs participated in campus tabling events during the year, like the "Sustainability Holiday Pop-Up Market." RSLs also managed Terracycle buckets within their assigned residential communities, so students had access to additional recycling options.

A brief description of how the student educators are selected (2nd program):

Students apply to become RSLs over the summer by completing an application form online: https://experience.cornell.edu/opportunities/residential-sustainability-leaders-rsls. Students are notified of their acceptance by mid-July, and are expected to confirm participation with one week. Students are asked to arrive on campus 2.5 days before Orientation to participate in a pre-Orientation training retreat.

Students are selected based on completed applications, related experience, and overall interest and enthusiasm. We accepted 45 students to start, and invited an additional 20 to join the program once classes started, based on interest. An effort is made to recruit at least one student per residential community. Students in graduate housing and off-campus living are also encouraged to apply, and lead initiatives in their area or are assigned to lead initiatives in specific on-campus residential communities.

A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):

The program kicks off as a 2.5 day pre-Orientation program with teambuilding, presentations, meals, planning, etc. Faculty and staff present on current climate change science, sustainability initiatives at Cornell, Community-Based Social Marketing, Quadruple Bottom Line Decision-Making, and lead solutions-oriented brainstorming sessions with the RSLs. RSLs participate in identity development and justice-related conversations. RSLs meet weekly on Tuesdays from 5:00-6:00pm.

A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):

The RSL Advising Team consists of 3 Residence Hall Directors (RHDs), 2 undergraduate advisors, and 1 Sustainability Engagement Manager.

RSL initiatives and trainings are funded by the Campus Sustainability Office, Office of Housing & Residential Life, and West Campus House System.

Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
Dilmun Hill Student Farm

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (3rd program):

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (3rd program):

Dilmun Hill is a student run farm that seeks to foster community and empower students through active engagement in ecological agriculture. Dilmun Hill is open to anyone and is a place for experiential learning, group collaboration, research, and outreach.

Throughout the year, Dilmun Hill hosts work parties, inviting volunteers to join learn about sustainable agriculture practices. Dilmun Hill student leaders provide produce to the Cornell Farmers' Market and Anabel's Grocery on campus. Dilmun Hill offers summer and fall CSA programs, and collaborate with various organizations on campus, such as MacDaniels Nut Grove (MNG). The student managers and steering committee members collaborate with the Organic Coordinator and Faculty Advisors to provide leadership in farm operations.

The student-operated organic farm offers tours, outreach events (including yoga sessions on the farm), tables at university events, and offers classes for the Cornell community. Dilmun Hill runs an on-campus farm stand and offers produce shares to students.


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (3rd program):

Dilmun Hill's Outreach and Education team includes volunteers, managers, and student researchers who are trained to teach and engage with the Cornell and local community. The students are selected, trained, and supervised by professional staff.

Student farm managers are selected to serve in paid positions under the supervision of a professor and can register for an agricultural practicum course as Teaching Assistants.

A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (3rd program):

A professional organic coordinator is employed by the farm, and the advisory board creates policy, provides continuity, and trains students on operations. Students learn through experience, and spend 2-4 hours per week working in the fields and alongside peers.

A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or faculty/staff coordination) (3rd program):

Numerous faculty and staff support the Dilmun Hill student team, farm operations, and make use of the farm for instruction and research. The farm is housed under the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, and a new donation enabled the rebuild of the barn.

A brief description of all other student peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of students served and how student educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:

Anabel's Grocery is "for students, by students." The initiative couples educational outreach & programming opportunities (e.g. speakers on food insecurity, composting practices), alongside running a grocery store providing fresh produce at reduced rates. The grocery store itself is an active learning experience (e.g. food waste, recipes, etc). Anabel's peer-to-peer initiatives are open and accessible to all 23,600+ students on campus. Students can join the Anabel's Grocery leadership team by enrolling in the course AEM 3385. Students in the class receive credit to work in the store as well as train and manage committees that prioritize engagement with the rest of campus. One committee is Public Relations and Outreach, which manages the website, a blog, a recipe database, newsletters that discuss events in the store and recipes, and social media accounts. The Anabel's team hosts community dinners, educational panels, cooking classes, and more, available to all of campus.

Anabel's team leaders receive ample training on-site, and train a team of volunteers to conduct outreach and help run the store. Anabel's provides nutritious, affordable food for all Cornell students through a student-run grocery store on campus and offers educational programs that create a fun, inclusive, empowering community around quality food, food choices, wellness, and positive social change. Anabel's Grocery was created and designed by students with the support of Cornell staff and faculty, and has been operational for over 2 years. Anabel's is supported by the Center for Transformative Action and the academic course that supports development through research.

EcoRep Orientation Leaders
EcoRep Orientation Leaders spearhead the effort to educate all incoming first-year students and transfer students (~4000 students) about composting and recycling during New Student Orientation. These volunteers monitor composting and recycling stations at events and educate their peers about recycling and composting at each site. EcoRep Orientation Leaders are a subset of Orientation Leaders (OLs) recruited by the office of New Student Programs to assist with Opening Day and Orientation. Thus, they were recruited through the Orientation Leader application form; all interested volunteers were selected. EcoRep Orientation Leaders participate in a one-hour training, provided by the Campus Sustainability Office, preparing them to facilitate proper waste sorting at orientation events. The training occurs at the end of the broader Orientation Leader training. The EcoRep Orientation Leader program is organized by the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) in partnership with New Student Programs (NSP). Development and delivery of training are provided by the CSO; logistics for training and recruitment are supported by NSP; EcoRep OL supplies are purchased by the CSO (e.g. blue tape, waste signage, gloves, t-shirts, paper bags for compost, compost liners); and the event coordination, scheduling, and on-site communication with EcoRep OLs is managed by the CSO (including a paid intern).

Total number of hours student educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually (all programs):

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.