Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.05
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 5, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Sarah Zemanick
Director, Campus Sustainability Office
FS - Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Golden Gorge Awards

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

With hundreds of students leading sustainable change at Cornell University each year, the Campus Sustainability Office partnered with Cornell’s Environmental Collaborative (ECO, the umbrella organization for student sustainability organizations) to launch the “Golden Gorge Awards,” an annual recognition ceremony to recognize student sustainability leadership and achievements on campus. After spring semester classes finish, students are invited to a brunch celebration featuring a plant-based sustainably catered meal, congratulatory remarks from admired faculty and senior staff, speeches from graduating seniors nominated by attendees, and annual awards. Award categories include, but are not limited to, “Rookie of the Year,” “Member of the Year,” “Event of the Year,” “Initiative of the Year,” “Ripple Effect Award,” “JUST Award” (Justice, Unity, and Sustainability Triumphs), “*Lifetime Achievement Award” (given to a student who has made a substantial impact on the Cornell community during their tenure as a student), “Organization of the Year,” and “Biggest Fail” (“recognizing a student, student org, event, or initiative that heroically failed in pursuit of something awesome. The award celebrates an epic failure, knowing that it is better to attempt something astonishing and fail, than to hold back”). All attendees receive a gift chosen to support a sustainable lifestyle (e.g. reusable straws, utensil sets, collapsible containers) and all graduating seniors (~30 each year) receive honor cords to wear during commencement to symbolize their sustainability work on campus and their lifelong commitment to sustainability.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Engagement
Wellbeing & Work

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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