Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.35
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 3, 2022

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
EN-2: Student Orientation

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

Are the following students provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability?:
Yes or No
First-year students Yes
Transfer students Yes
Entering graduate students Yes

Percentage of all entering students that are provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability:

A brief description of how sustainability is included prominently in new student orientation :

Beginning in Fall 2020, all incoming undergraduate students (first-year and transfer students) complete a sustainability module entitled "Mission Sustainability" as part of their new student "To-Do List." This course includes four parts: a climate & sustainability literacy survey, a 13-minute video about sustainability at Cornell, an exploration of sustainability-related campus resources, a 'test your knowledge' quiz, and three short reflection essays.

Graduate students are welcome to complete the 'open' version of this course, but it is not included as part of their "To-Do List." Graduate students are invited to and participate in the Orientation programming outlined below.

Orientation programs were modified for August/September 2020 due to the pandemic. The following events were hosted for all incoming students, including undergrad and graduate students.
- Sustainability Goosechase: The "Sustainability Goosechase" is a virtual scavenger hunt to help you learn more about your campus by completing small challenges. Compete against your friends and residential community members. Start the challenge anytime between August 26th and September 30th.

- Sustainable Cornell: An inside look into campus operations - Join this session for a behind-the-scenes look at how sustainability is built into day-to-day campus operations like dining, transportation, waste management, building energy, and more.

- Cornell is Gorges: Finding a sense of place on campus - Are you looking for a better sense of what Cornell and Ithaca are really like? Whether you are here on campus or studying remotely, we encourage you to join this session to get a better sense of what your new community has to offer.

- ECO Fest: Getting involved in sustainability clubs
ECO Fest is an introduction to student-driven, sustainability organizations at Cornell. This year’s virtual event features 30+ sustainability clubs. Chat with upperlevel students, and learn how to make a meaningful impact on issues like climate change and environmental justice, on campus and beyond.

- Sustainability and Justice for All: Collective action through intersectional environmentalism - Learn about intersectional environmentalism with our guest speaker, Leah Thomas, founder of Intersectional Environmentalist. At this event, students will hear different perspectives on intersectional approaches to climate change, and generate constructive conversations on the future of sustainability and climate justice work at Cornell. Featuring Leah Thomas, founder of Intersectional Environmentalist


During a typical year, the Campus Sustainability Office leads several sustainability events as part of New Student Orientation at Cornell. Examples of orientation events include: ECO Fest (sustainability student org fair, representing graduate and undergraduate student orgs), a Sustainability Dinner co-hosted by Cornell Dining and the CSO in one of our all-you-care-to-eat dining halls, and hiking tours with Nature Rx.

The EcoRep Orientation Leaders also manage waste sorting and education at large-scale Orientation events offering food, and "Cornell's Guide to Living Sustainably" is featured on the New Student Programs Orientation website.

RAs discuss key sustainability information during first community meetings, and staff from the Campus Sustainability Office were featured at Graduate Student Orientation events (resource fair and international students orientation). The Sustainability Engagement Manager also trains the PREPARE Orientation Staff on sustainability topics, in order to prep them to cover these topics with new international students on campus.

A sample of additional 2019 & 2020 sustainability-focused orientation events include:
(1) Dump & Run Sale -- This annual sale is a green way to stock up on items for your new room. Consider shopping here first and see what you can reuse to reduce harm to the environment. All proceeds go to charity.

(2) Camp Out for the Environment Meet and Greet Campfire -- The Ecology House invites new and returning students to join us in the backyard for the annual welcome back campfire and s’mores. Around the campfire, current Ecology House members will share stories and talk about ways you can get involved in the many projects and leadership opportunities offered in the Ecology House and on campus through environmental-themed student organizations.

(3) Big Red Leads Green -- Lecture during orientation featuring multiple faculty, advertised to new students, open to the entire Cornell community. Did you know that Cornell is the most sustainable Ivy League university? Our multidisciplinary approach makes us a global leader in climate change and sustainability solutions. We are changing the world. Join us as Cornell faculty share cutting-edge research and innovative solutions, and learn how to take action here on campus with our sustainability student organization expo. "I truly believe that Cornell - and really it's just all of the very smart people here - are going to save the world." - Bill Nye '77

(4) ECO Fest -- Did you know that Cornell has 40+ sustainability student organizations? Cornell students are empowered to drive just and sustainable change through innovation, collaboration, and engagement. Come explore Cornell's annual sustainability club fair, and connect with upperlevel students to learn how to make an impact on campus and beyond. Hosted by Cornell's Environmental Collaborative (ECO), Cornell Dining, and the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO). Giveaways and prizes!

(5) Sustainability Dinner -- Join your fellow Cornellians for the most Sustainable Dinner of the year. Learn about the Residential Compost Program, Cornell Dining Sustainability initiatives, meet with a Cornell Dining Nutritionist, and more!

(6) "The Truth Has Changed" play -- performed by Josh Fox, focused on fracking and methane impacts, open to the public, over 1000 attendees (Fall 2018)

Website URL where information about sustainability in student orientation is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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