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

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
EN-7: Employee Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.83 / 3.00 Sarah Carson(Zemanick)
Director, Campus Sustainability Office
FS - Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of employees:
12,384

Total number of employees served by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program:
12,384

Percentage of employees served by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program:
100

Name of the employee educators program (1st program):
Green Teams & Staff Sustainability Leaders

A brief description of the employee educators program (1st program):

Sustainability Leaders (aka Green Ambassadors) serve on established Green Teams in the College of Engineering, College of Human Ecology, Facilities and Campus Services, Human Resources, the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell Tech, Johnson Museum of Art, Judicial Administrator, Big Red Barn, Alumni Affairs and Development, and Weill Cornell Medicine. Sustainability Leaders are faculty, staff, and students interested in sustainability, community well-being, and are responsible for 1) fostering peer-to-peer education, 2) creating unit-specific sustainability initiatives, and 3) promoting university-wide campaign programs within their units. Sustainability Leaders are volunteers within their units that help educate and engage their peers around various activities such as Green Office and Green Lab certifications, Energy Smackdown, and RecycleMania.

The Green Office and Green Lab certification is available university wide and we have many green offices and labs across the university participating in the program.

Additional units host sustainability presentations and workshops, sustainability-focused "neighborhood meetings," etc. Departments are changing how they work to reduce energy and waste.

Employees throughout the campus are initiating Green Teams that promote new practices, reduce waste, and lower energy use. Several departments share their experiences as they change the way we do business. Some of the activities include reducing paper usage, enhancing recycling, and having monthly meetings to continue to make changes in office operations.


A brief description of the employee educators program’s target audience (1st program):

Sustainability Leaders serve to educate all faculty and staff at Cornell. The teams create focused learning and engagement opportunities for their units/colleges/departments; however, the teams also partner together on broad campus initiatives including the annual "Green Team Summit" and the "Sustainability at Home Series."

This program was largely 'on pause' in 2020 (during late spring/summer/early fall) due to the pandemic. Virtual meetings resumed in late fall, and the focus temporarily shifted towards 'sustainability at home' since a high proportion of Cornell's workforce was working remotely. Since Cornell hosted the 2020 State of NY Sustainability Conference, topics/training that would have normally been covered during the "Green Team Summit" were included in the conference.

The Green Teams resumed in late 2020/early 2021, and are now fully functional again. They have resumed meetings, events, and outreach - and have begun assisting with our Sustainability Champions recognition program.


Number of trained employee educators (1st program):
140

Number of weeks the employee educators program is active annually (1st program):
51

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained employee educator (1st program):
1

Total number of hours worked annually by trained employee educators (1st program):
7,140

Website URL where information about the employee educators program is available (1st program) :
Name of the employee educators program (2nd program):
Sustainable Cornell Council

A brief description of the employee educators program (2nd program):

The Sustainable Cornell Council (SCC, formed in 2019) is an interdisciplinary, cross-campus team responsible for directing, coordinating, and communicating Cornell’s role in addressing climate change and sustainability, advancing meaningful progress in our operations, and advancing active engagement from the campus community. The Council includes a leadership team, three steering committees, and numerous working groups. Steering Committees identify working priorities and lead short-term groups each year with broad membership from the campus to advance sustainability projects, initiatives, and campus research.

Members of the SCC are trained and expected to facilitate two-way conversations between their teams and the Sustainable Cornell Council. Conversations within units focus on how to enact our Climate Action Plan, advance deep sustainable change in their units, and more. The SCC members are expected to bring ideas from their units back to the SCC for consideration, and if actionable, lead working groups to advance initiatives. The SCC engages in assembly meetings as part of its outreach activities.
The SCC provides outreach and engagement opportunities to the entire campus community, including annual Sustainability Leadership Summits, university-wide educational outreach and communications, and opportunities for the campus community to propose and collaborate on initiatives.

Members of the SCC are appointed from many parts of our campus, including the university assemblies, the communications team, ECO (Cornell Environmental Collaborative, the student sustainability umbrella org), the Cornell Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the Campus Sustainability Office, and senior leaders. The Campus Sustainability Office helps coordinate the SCC, and hosts several Orientations/Trainings/Workshops/Summits for new and returning members.

One specific example of SCC work includes the SCC Education & Engagement team's "Behavior Change Working Group" that is tasked with developing and implementing peer-to-peer education initiatives for the university, including culture surveys, choice architecture initiatives, and behaviors related to fume hood management, commuting and business travel, food waste, and more.


A brief description of the employee educators program’s target audience (2nd program):

The entire Cornell community: faculty, staff, students, alums, retirees, and more


Number of trained employee educators (2nd program):
80

Number of weeks the employee educators program is active annually (2nd program):
51

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained employee educator (2nd program):
0.75

Total number of hours worked annually by trained employee educators (2nd program):
3,060

Website URL where information about the employee educators program is available (2nd program):
A brief description of all other employee peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs:

Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability's Faculty Fellows (notably the Topical Lunches initiative): The Cornell Atkinson Center engages 610 Faculty Fellows from across Cornell in a variety of ways, including supporting them in advisory roles for peers and encouraging frequent collaboration. The Topical Lunches initiative is one example of Cornell Atkinson Center's successful peer-to-peer sustainability outreach programs. This popular program brings together faculty and researchers from across campus in an informal setting to introduce new faculty to the sustainability community, explore emerging concepts with diverse faculty audiences, test the waters for future collaborations, and discuss coordinating major grants. Faculty and staff engage in unconstrained dialogue leading to engaging discussions. Cornell Atkinson Faculty Fellows are encouraged to organize lunches for their peers, and are provided administrative support, financial support, and a brief training on how to run the topical lunches to engage peers. In a typical academic year, 15-20 lunches are hosted with an average attendance of 20-40 people. A list of Topical Lunches along with their faculty fellow hosts are listed here:
https://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/events/lunch.php

Green Office and Green Lab programs also serve the entire campus community. Faculty and staff, in particular, are asked to utilize these tools to lead peer-to-peer education and action in their offices & departments. These certifications are promoted and assisted by the Sustainability Leaders within each area, so hours for this program are included within the Sustainability Leaders count above. For additional information:
https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/programs-guides/green-office-lab-program/green-lab-program
https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/programs-guides/green-office-lab-program/green-office

The Sustainability Champions
This recognition program enables all employees, at any level, to recognize each other as champions for creating a more sustainable campus and culture with actions big and small. Employees send messages of appreciation to each other through Cornell's appreciation portal. Those messages are captured as 'nominations' and are reviewed monthly. Each month, one employee is selected to receive 50 points in celebration of their sustainability contributions on campus, and their recognizer also receives 15 points for highlighting their colleague’s actions. (Recognition portal points = cash) This program is supported by trained members of Cornell's Green Teams and the Sustainable Cornell Council.
https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/take-action/recognition-programs/sustainability-champions


Number of trained employee educators (all other programs):
20

Number of weeks, on average, the employee educators programs are active annually (all other programs):
40

Average or expected number of hours worked weekly per trained employee educator (all other programs):
1

Total number of hours worked annually by trained employee educators (all other programs):
800

Grand total number of hours worked annually by trained employee educators (all programs):
11,000

Hours worked annually by trained employee sustainability educators per employee served by a peer-to-peer program:
0.89

Website URL where information about the employee sustainability educators programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Sustainability Life Recipes: Sustainability living tips utilized as peer-to-peer outreach tools. These recipes may be crafted by the CSO, Green Teams, students, or any sustainability leader on campus -- and Green Teams are encouraged to share recipes within their colleges and units (in addition to the broad-scale distribution sent through central listservs). 12,384 employees served (staff and faculty). Participation beyond the CSO varies based upon interest of peer educators.

Additionally, the Cornell Cooperative Extension runs peer-to-peer sustainability educator programs across NY State, including Master Gardeners, Master Composters, and Energy Navigators - in which Cornell staff, faculty, students, and retirees participate. As volunteers, Cornell employees in these sustainability-related programs educate their fellow Cornellians as well as members of the local community.

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.