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

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Robert Bland
Sr. Director
Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

The Sustainable Cornell Council (SCC) is Cornell University’s sustainability governance committee for the Ithaca campus. The Council is responsible for directing and coordinating Cornell’s role as an international leader in addressing climate change and sustainability, advancing meaningful progress in our operations, and advancing active engagement from the campus community. The Council oversees implementation of the Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan, integration of climate and sustainability as part of university priorities, and reporting on progress towards our goals. Key strategies for achieving these goals include harnessing academic excellence, creating a campus living laboratory for discovery and demonstration of solutions, and championing partnerships which advance our knowledge and impact locally and globally.

The new SCC structure capitalizes on broad expertise and interest from the Cornell community in advancing established goals, and strategically focuses University resources for targeted implementation on the highest institutional priorities with the greatest impact.

The Council has bi-directional reporting. The Council reports to the Provost and is also responsible for providing annual updates to the Cornell community based on progress updates from the Steering Committees, AASHE STARS, Carbon Commitment progress reports and greenhouse gas inventory updates.
The Council comprises a Leadership Team and three Steering Committees with specific areas of work.

Charge: Direct the University’s role as a leader in addressing climate change and sustainability by overseeing the creation and implementation of the campus sustainability plan, coordinating priorities across the three steering committees, mobilize institutional resources when necessary, and ensure progress towards goals.
1. Develop a campus sustainability plan for approval by the Provost aligned with Cornell’s institutional priorities, land grant and academic mission, capital plan and performance, and commitment to operational excellence
2. Mobilize institutional support and identify appropriate resource strategies for the prioritized recommendations of the Steering Committees to advance the sustainability plan
3. Ensure transparency in reporting our progress and achievements by providing annual reports to the Provost and regular updates to the campus community
4. Curate a powerful living laboratory framework for sustainable solutions, harnessing people, partnerships, and campus systems for research, innovation, learning, and demonstration
5. Organize Cornell’s role in convening partnerships with external stakeholders, including government, private industry, and foundations, to collaborate on high-priority initiatives
6. Identify opportunities to inform policy makers, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations through the dissemination of leading sustainability and climate science examples of success

Shared Charge & Responsibilities: Oversee planning, execution, and progress reporting on campus sustainability plan and Climate Action Plan goals, as well as maintaining regular updates to these plans. Committees may charge working groups with specific projects or initiatives. Additional specific responsibilities are outlined below.
1. Identify, prioritize, and implement projects within their topic area to advance goals, and report annually on progress
2. Facilitate sharing of knowledge and solutions with other Cornell campuses and the public
3. Ensure campus aspirations and goals are consistent with leading scientific knowledge

CHARGE: Advance campus carbon neutrality through implementation of the Climate Action Plan
1. Advance the Climate Action Plan
2. Track progress towards neutrality & interim targets via the greenhouse gas inventory

CHARGE: Advance initiatives for a model sustainable campus that support climate resilience and human and planetary health
1. Advance campus sustainability plan goals in the areas of buildings & energy, food, land & water, materials management, human wellbeing, and transportation
2. Integrate sustainability and resiliency as guiding principles in the stewardship of campus facilities and resources

CHARGE: Cultivate literacy and a culture of sustainability responsibility that catalyzes participation across the campus community.
1. Advance campus sustainability plan goals to integrate sustainability and climate change awareness and behaviors into the campus culture
2. Assist on-campus initiatives (e.g. Engaged Cornell, Atkinson Center) with the promotion and placement of students into prioritized co-curricular and extra-curricular living lab opportunities.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

The SCC is accountable to the Provost. The Leadership Team is co-chaired by Lance Collins - Dean of the College of Engineering, and Rick Burgess - Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services. Additional members include the co-chairs of each of three SCC Steering Committees (listed below) as well as David Lodge - Director Cornell Atkinson Center, Joel Malina - VP University Relations, Paul Streeter - VP Budget & Planning, and Jared Pittman - Associate University Counsel.

The three SCC Steering Committees are:
Carbon Neutral Campus: co-chaired by Lance Collins - College of Engineering Dean, and Bert Bland - Associate Vice President, Energy & Sustainability

Campus Operations: co-chaired by Rick Burgess - VP Facilities and Campus Services, and Pat Wynn - Assistant VP, Student and Campus Life

Education & Engagement: co-chaired by Lisa Nischii - Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Katherine McComas - Vice Provost for Engagement and Land Grant Affairs

More information and additional members online at https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/our-leadership/governance/sustainable-cornell-council

Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

The Campus Sustainability Office works with students, staff, faculty and community members to catalyze Cornell's transformation into a sustainable campus, including its energy infrastructure. The Campus Sustainability Office is a section within the Energy & Sustainability Department.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Bert Bland, Associate Vice President for Energy & Sustainability; Sarah Zemanick Director of Campus Sustainability

Does the institution have a mechanism for broad sustainability coordination for the entire institution (e.g. a campus-wide committee or an officer/office responsible for the entire campus)?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the institution-wide coordinating body or officer during the previous three years:

Sustainability Snapshot: https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/about/reports-awards-facts/sustainability-fast-facts

- Created a Behavior Change Working Group
- Added carbon emissions and energy impact to formal Project Approval Request form and process
- Created online campus sustainability map https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/programs-guides/sustainability-map
- Published updated campus Guide to Living Sustainable https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/programs-guides/student-resources/student-green-guide
- Hosted the Annual Campus Sustainability Summit
- Carbon Neutral Campus Energy Alternatives Report
- Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035 Report
- 18 megawatt community solar farm under construction
- Expanded Green Office and Green lab certification program to include 47 offices and 12 labs
- Climate literacy survey and sustainability orientation instituted for incoming students
- Compost monitors program to enable composting in all residential spaces

Job title of the sustainability officer position:
Associate Vice President for Energy & Sustainability

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

The Associate Vice President will lead, promote, and direct a comprehensive, customer-sensitive unit for one of Cornell University’s core functional Facilities areas: Energy & Sustainability. The Associate Vice President of Energy & Sustainability will direct, lead, promote, and support a comprehensive program for the utility and energy management operations of Cornell University. As a key steward of the University’s energy infrastructure and sustainability, the Associate Vice President is responsible for every aspect of the management of all associated utilities infrastructure and operations, energy procurement, infrastructure capital planning, energy management, and sustainability. In sustainability, the Associate Vice President is not only directly responsible for advancing sustainable energy, but is also responsible for managing the overall sustainable campus initiative. The Associate Vice President is responsible for providing professional leadership and administrative direction to a staff of approximately 50 employees.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (2nd position):
Director of Campus Sustainability

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Provide vision, organizational strategy, and leadership for the University to advance operational and programmatic sustainability efforts across campus operations. Create a “living laboratory” to engage students and faculty.

* President’s Sustainable Campus Committee Management: Provide leadership and subject matter expertise to promote sustainability to campus senior staff, faculty, staff, and students including the President's Sustainable Campus Committee (PSCC) and the PSCC Focus Teams.

* Engagement, Education and Outreach: Develop educational and campus engagement programs to foster a campus culture of sustainability.

* Media and Communications: Coordinate strategic communication and outreach efforts to advance broad internal and external understanding of Cornell sustainability efforts and engage various stakeholders and the public in these efforts.

* Climate Action Plan & Renewable Energy Projects: Lead Cornell in the transformation to a climate neutral campus.

* Lead the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) and serve on the management team of the Energy & Sustainability Department: Administer the personnel and budgets of the CSO, and help direct the E&S Department.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

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.