Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.35
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 3, 2022

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
EN-3: Student Life

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

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:
Cornell students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional students) from across all colleges are actively involved in over 30+ sustainability-focused student organizations. ECO (the Cornell Environmental Collaborative) serves as the umbrella organization, and coordinates projects, resources, funding, and advocacy among the various organizations.

Short list of student clubs, along with descriptions:

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:
Dilmun Hill Farm is a student-run farm that has been practicing sustainable agriculture on Cornell University's campus for more than a decade. Their mission is to provide students, faculty, staff and community with opportunities for experiential learning, group collaboration and research. Throughout the year they host work parties where volunteers work in the fields and experience the latest in sustainable agricultural practices. The student managers and steering committee members collaborate with the Organic Coordinator and Faculty Advisors to provide leadership in farm operations and disseminate information through education and outreach. They also collaborate with various organizations on campus, such as McDaniels Nut Grove. Their popular campus farm stand offers Dilmun Hill produce for sale from June through October and they supply local produce to Cornell's Manndible Cafe in season. https://cuaes.cals.cornell.edu/farms/dilmun-hill/

Cornell hosts many on-campus drop-off sites for CSAs, including in office buildings and academic buildings. Cornell hosts a weekly Farmers Market on the Agriculture Quad, where students have access to local goods and have the opportunity to work behind-the-scenes. https://cufarmersmarket.mystrikingly.com/

Cornell Dining works with Red's Best Fish to serve sustainably caught fish in dining halls on campus, and students are exposed to educational information.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
Anabel's Grocery is "for students, by students," and its grocery store and programming opportunities 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. Anabel's team leaders receive ample training on-site. 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.

GreenClub -- a subscription service to reduce your carbon footprint. $10/month - 95% to offset CO2 emissions via reforestation, 5% to operate GreenClub.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
The Center for Global Sustainable Enterprise provides academic and professional leadership in the area of SRI and Sustainable Enterprise.

A program of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise (Center), BR MicroEnterprise, NBA 5090, spurs microenterprise development by assisting self-employed individuals reach their business goals. Launched in January of 2009, BRM seeks to meet a critical need by working with promising, but underserved entrepreneurs in the local community. Under the guidance of the Center, BRM supports low-income entrepreneurs in Tompkins County. The goal of BRM is to provide students an experiential learning opportunity that contributes to the local community, supporting inclusive wealth creation and economic development.

In addition, Cornell's Green Revolving Fund (GRF) provides small-scale financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects that generate cost savings for the University. The idea is that the operational savings will be tracked and used to replenish the fund for the next round of investments. NBA 6790, the academic component of the Fund, is offered by the Johnson School to Cornell students to manage the Fund and engage in GRF-related activities under faculty guidance each fall and spring term. The class is the vehicle by which students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience identifying, developing, proposing, evaluating, implementing, and managing energy efficiency investment projects around campus using a corpus of dedicated funds available for those investments. Working in coordination with the University's Finance, Investment, and Facilities & Campus Services offices, students conduct their work in various teams to address a range of operational elements related to the fund, including project identification, proposal evaluation, marketing, financial management, and fundraising.

Environmental Finance and Impact Investing (EFII) Fellows Program: This program aims to train students for emerging opportunities at the intersection of sustainability and finance, including project finance that addresses climate change, ecosystem services, and poverty alleviation. Through a series of courses, coupled with applied projects, EFII Fellows are trained to invest in, manage, or regulate businesses or projects seeking financial, environmental, and/or social goals. Fellows gain experience in a range of topics, including finance and analytics, markets and regulation, science and technology, and sustainability. In addition, they are required to engage in professional learning opportunities that include internships and hands-on, applied projects with investors, industry, government, and the NGO community. EFII Fellows candidates are competitively selected from our full-time and accelerated residential MBA programs via an application process during their first semester at Johnson. Selection is based on academic performance, as well as career interest.

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:
In December 2020, Cornell University hosted NYCSHE's annual "State of NY Sustainability Conference," virtually. This 3-day conference featured many keynote speakers targeted at both students and sustainability professionals, including Dr. Ayana Johnson, Bill Nye, and Raven the Science Maven. In addition, the third day of the conference was specifically geared toward student interests, and during the afternoon, we had over 20 student presenters host virtual tours, mini-presentations (2-min), and short presentations (20-min).


(1) Annual Cornell Sustainability Leadership Summit -- The Sustainability Leadership Summit is an annual event which brings together campus community for networking and learning opportunities. All Cornell community members are welcome to participate. This year's theme, Connecting for Impact, invites the campus community to find new avenues for collaboration and shared passion to accelerate campus sustainability and culture change. How can we work together and find new synergies between our topics, projects, and ideas to advance sustainability in campus operations, teaching & research in our living laboratory, and in our community-engaged service and research? https://events.cornell.edu/event/2019_cornell_sustainability_leadership_summit

(2) Cornell Environmental Collaborative (ECO)'s hosts its Student Leadership Summit for students, staff, and faculty each spring - open to the entire campus community. Additionally, ECO partners with the Campus Sustainability Office to host an annual "Student Sustainability Leadership Retreat" to gather student organization leaders to network, attend skill/knowledge-building conference sessions, and plan for the academic year. https://cornelleco.org/conference2019

(3) Green Team Summit Cornell’s Green Team Summit provides an opportunity for Cornellians to learn and share strategies for building an engaged culture of sustainability on campus. The summit will host a series of speakers and interactive workshops that will help you advance sustainability within your work, department, unit, and the larger Cornell community in the following ways:Building sustainability and climate change literacy, Implementing business-level decision making, Fostering behavioral and structural change, Maximizing campus resources

(4) The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the Campus Sustainability Office, and many other centers cosponsored or promoted over 400 sustainability events on campus each year including lectures, seminars, conferences, festivals, markets, and workshops.

(5) NBA 6190 – Leaders in Sustainable Global Enterprise: speakers from the private, public and non-profit sectors discussing their organization’s approach to addressing sustainability concerns

(6) NBA 6380 – Finance & Sustainability Colloquium: speakers from the private, public and non-profit sectors discussing their work at the nexus of finance and sustainability

(7) Cornell Climate Change Seminar: This university-wide seminar provides important views on the critical issue of climate change, drawing from many perspectives and disciplines. Experts from both Cornell University and other universities will present an overview of the science of climate change and climate change models, the implications for agriculture, ecosystems, and food systems, and provide important economic, ethical, and policy insights on the issue. The seminar is being organized and sponsored by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.The seminar is free and open to the Cornell and Ithaca Community at large.

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:
The Next Storm: A community-based play by Civic Ensemble, Cornell University Department of Performing and Media Arts, and playwright Thomas Dunn, Directed by Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Produced by Sara Warner. It is the year 2030 and parts of Ithaca are under water. The future is at stake as the ravages of climate change erode this community’s way of life, leaving a city asking the questions: Who survives? Who decides?

Cornell AAP's "Earth: Projections 50 Years after Earth Art" celebrated the work of land artists

Artist Hans Baumann and Karen Pinkus, professor of Romance studies and comparative literature, collaborated on “Crystalline Basement,” an Engineering Quad land-art installation on deep heat geothermal energy, co-commissioned by the Atkinson Center.

Cornell Botanic Gardens Art installations: https://cornellbotanicgardens.org/explore/experiences/art-at-cornell-botanic-gardens/

(1) Annual Upcycling Exhibit: An exhibit showcasing the power of upcycling in fashion and art (every spring during RecycleMania), run by the College of Human Ecology. http://events.cornell.edu/event/full_circle_back_to_our_roots and http://blogs.cornell.edu/cheupdate/2019/04/08/regeneration-exhibit/

(2) Annual ECOuture event: ECOuture is an annual fashion held by Cornell Environmental Collaborative (ECO) to promote sustainable fashion and design, complete with catering, influential speakers, live performances and more. Cornellians from various studies come together to design dresses to highlight waste in the industry for the fashion show. (Last hosted 2018)

And many others listed throughout the year on Cornell's Events calendar.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:
(1) Cornell Outdoor Education (COE) is the largest and most comprehensive collegiate outdoor education program in the country. Established in 1972, COE uses challenge, adventure, and outdoor experiences, with reflection and analysis, to help individuals and teams learn and grow. While COE serves a variety of populations, its central mission is to serve Cornell students. COE classes and programs, by complementing academic and classroom offerings, provide students with real world leadership and team opportunities. Classes include day hiking, backpacking in the Finger Lakes, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, tree climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, and sea kayaking. All courses emphasize the importance of the natural environment and Leave No Trace principles. COE also oversees the Outdoor Odyssey program (https://scl.cornell.edu/coe/odyssey), which enables new students to participate in outdoor pre-orientation trips (e.g. hiking, backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing). https://scl.cornell.edu/coe/about/mission

(2) Nature Rx @Cornell: Nature Rx @Cornell is a dynamic and growing movement, represented by numerous individuals and units at the university, who have come together with a shared passion for the ways in which the natural beauty of our campus can positively impact our students' well-being. https://naturerx.cornell.edu/#/index

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
Cornell focuses on energy conservation and energy efficiency in the fall semester, with our cornerstone campaigns: Energy Smackdown and Winter Setback. Cornell focuses on waste management in the spring semester, with our cornerstone campaign: Beyond Waste (formerly RecycleMania). We strive to incorporate social justice concepts into all of our events and presentations. We host sustainability month every April, during which the university collectively hosts around 80+ events.

Our Sustainability Leadership Programs (for students and employees) uses semester themes and college specific data to educate the Cornell community on sustainable actions.

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
The nearly 100 residents of Ecology House have a variety of majors and backgrounds, but all share an interest in preserving and protecting our natural environment. Residents are dedicated to sustainable practices like recycling, composting, organic gardening, and energy conservation, and organize environmental-education outreach programs for the campus community.

Ecology House offers a wide range of activities and experiences for students, including regular hiking and camping trips, mending workshops, energy conservation campaigns, cooking community dinners, offering a "fully stacked" waste sorting station (with terracycle, plastic film recycling, battery recycling, compost, and more), managing backyard compost and an on-site greenhouse (which they designed and constructed), and weekly social events (e.g. ice cream and movie nights). Major house events include a weekend retreat in the Adirondacks each fall, with zip-lining, hiking, and canoeing, plus house leadership retreats. Another unique perk at Eco House: residents may keep certain types of small pets (in cages or aquariums) if registered and approved by the house's Residence Hall Director.

Additionally, many of our Student Educator programs (e.g. Anabel's Grocery, Residential Sustainability Leaders) prominently feature sustainable life skills in their outreach and engagement efforts.

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
The Campus Sustainability Office (CSO), Office of Energy Management, the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise (SGE), and Cornell Dining offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities.

In a typical year, the Campus Sustainability Office may provide around 5-10 specialized sustainability internship positions, working on initiatives focused on engagement, marketing, communications, website development, STARS data, energy dashboard management, Greek Life, and buildings & utilities. During the pandemic, we have retained three student positions focused on STARS, communications, and buildings/utilities.

Cornell Dining usually hires 3-5 Student Sustainability Coordinators who act as sustainability consultants to the dining staff and purchasing department, and who educate students about local foods and waste management.

Eco House hires a Program Assistant focused on implementing sustainability initiatives within the community, and other residential communities are offering "sustainability liaison" roles to their Resident Advisors. Also, the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise typically employs 1-2 student interns per semester.

Job openings are advertised on the Opportunities Marketplace (experience.cornell.edu) and via many of Cornell's listservs.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:
Cornell offers a wide variety of co-curricular programs and initiatives that engage with the campus, local, national, and international community on sustainability issues.

-- Sustainability Leadership Program -- Our new Sustainability Leadership Program helps Cornell Atkinson and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) postdocs develop into leaders who prioritize listening, responsiveness, respect, and equality in their research and collaborations with government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private-sector organizations, and communities. Designed in partnership with EDF, the program helps sustainability scholars develop essential skills in interdisciplinary, cross-sector, and community collaboration as well as science communication, policy development, career design, and leadership.

-- Our university-wide seminar, "Cornell University Climate Change Seminar," provides important views on the critical issue of climate change by engaging experts from both Cornell University and other universities.

-- Environmental Finance and Impact Investment (EFII) Fellows Program: Cornell University's Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs (CIPA) launched parallel EFII Programs in the spring of 2011 which were designed to prepare students for careers related to finance and sustainability, including environmental finance or impact investment in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Through a series of courses, coupled with applied capstone projects, students are trained to invest in, manage, and regulate businesses or projects seeking financial, environmental and/or social goals. The EFII curriculum provides rigorous training in each of the following four subject areas: Economic and Political Analysis, Finance and Analytics, Science and Technology, and Markets and Regulation. http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Center-for-Sustainable-Global-Enterprise/Students/EFII-Fellows-Program and https://www.human.cornell.edu/cipa/academics/certificate/efii

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.