Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.33
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 1, 2024

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 40+ 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:

A full list of sustainability-focused student clubs is available via Campus Groups:

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/

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 25,000+ 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.

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:
Cornell University students are strong advocates for sustainability on campus, in the community, and globally. The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise advises works closely with the following two graduate and undergraduate student organizations that approach sustainability through the lens of private enterprise:

- The Sustainable Global Enterprise Club empowers future leaders to integrate social and environmental sustainability into business and advances the professional development of students interested in sustainability-related careers by providing Johnson and the larger Cornell community with forums for networking and education. This is Cornell’s chapter of Net Impact for graduate students.

- The Cornell Energy Club is a professional graduate student organization focused on all facets of the energy industry from traditional energy to renewable energy and energy efficiency. The club’s goal is to educate the student body and our club members about industry trends and events, build relationships with companies and governmental agencies, and ultimately place our members in leadership positions at top-tier energy related firms and organizations.

- Cornell Sustainability Consultants is an undergraduate student organization that envisions a society characterized by strong circular economies and resilient communities committed to continued innovation and environmental stewardship. Each semester student teams work with organizations on Cornell’s campus and beyond, such as local organizations, small companies, and industry experts on real-world projects that meaningfully address modern environmental and social challenges.

- Impact Investing at Cornell provides undergraduate students with opportunities to learn and implement financial tools and market research to address some of the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues through training and hands-on experience working with organizations whose missions involve the generation of positive social and environmental impact.

- Global Network is an undergraduate community passionate about engaging with global issues and perspectives through tangible projects, collaborative events, networking opportunities, and personal and professional development activities.

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:
The Campus Sustainability Office, Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Cornell Botanic Gardens, Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Global Development, and many other department & centers host 400+ sustainability events on campus each year, including lectures, seminars, conferences, festivals, markets, and workshops.


- Sustainability Mix & Mingle - Fall and Spring networking events with students, faculty, staff, clubs & teams working to create a more just, sustainable, carbon-neutral campus.

- Cornell State of Sustainability Address - Each year, the Sustainable Cornell Council provides a virtual update on the progress, priorities, and projects advancing carbon neutrality and sustainability efforts on the Cornell Ithaca campus. The address includes leadership remarks on key milestones and achievements in campus sustainability and climate leadership. https://events.cornell.edu/event/sustainable_cornell_council_state_of_cornell_sustainability_address_473

- 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

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

- 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:
Cornell University departments host arts events, installations, and performances throughout the year that are directed towards students and also open to the public. For instance, the Cornell Biennial (highlighted below) hosted two exhibitions featuring seven international and U.S.-based artists as part of the Mellon Public Curatorial Expression program, dedicated to assisting graduate students in pursuing curatorial work. Additionally, the Biennial featured a fabric panel installation on the Arts Quad, which is traveled primarily by students.

Cornell Biennial "Futurities, Uncertain": Sponsored by the Cornell Council for the Arts and curated by Timothy Murray, the 2022 Cornell Biennial "Futurities, Uncertain" features exhibitions, installations, and performances by 23 international and 17 Cornell-based artists. Free and open-to-the-public events will rotate on the Cornell Ithaca campus and the Cornell Tech campus in New York City from July through December 2022. https://cca.cornell.edu/biennial/
- Film screening of "The Mermaids, or Aiden in Wonderland" at the Cornell Cinema promoted to students: https://events.cornell.edu/event/karrabing-film-collective-2022-cornell-biennial
- How might art activate empowering futurities under the troubling weight of climate change, global pandemic, racial trauma, political insecurity, social injustice, challenged women’s and sexual rights, effaced indigenous histories?

Cornell Botanic Gardens Art installations are open to students and the public year-round: https://cornellbotanicgardens.org/explore/experiences/art-at-cornell-botanic-gardens/

Cornell CHE's Annual Upcycling Exhibit is open for students to contribute works of art, and the exhibit is hosted in the Human Ecology Building (or virtually) where students are encouraged to walk through between classes: https://www.human.cornell.edu/spotlights/mend-and-make-do-together

Cornell AAP's "Earth: Projections 50 Years after Earth Art" celebrated the work of land artists through an installation in Milstein Hall (Department of Architecture), and also include a speaker series directed towards students:

And many others listed throughout the year on Cornell's Events calendar: https://events.cornell.edu/

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:
- 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

- 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's Campus Sustainability Office manages outreach campaigns throughout the year.

During the Fall semester, Cornell runs Climate Action Week, which focuses on climate change and energy issues. During the Spring semester, Cornell hosts the "Beyond Waste" campaign focused on waste reduction and diversion (in tandem with Campus Race to Zero Waste). We work to incorporate social justice concepts into our events and presentations throughout the year.

April is "Sustainability Month" at Cornell. During the month, student organizations and department across campus collectively host 80+ events for the local and Cornell community.

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 the 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. The community allows out-of-house memberships, so all Cornell students can get involved in a sustainability-forward 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.


Many student organizations host sustainable life skills sessions, like Sustainable Laundry skills, cooking with food scraps, mending clothes, reducing home energy use, using reusables, and more.

The Residential Sustainability Leaders also created a Green Room Certification where students learn ways to live more sustainably in residence halls.


As part of our incoming educational module for new students, Cornell includes a Top 10 Ways to Live More Sustainably at Cornell list. This list covers sustainability ideas and habits Cornell students are encouraged to consider, ranging from what to pack for move-in to campus water, food, waste, transportation, and more.

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, Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise (SGE), Cornell Botanic Gardens, Dilmun Hill, and Cornell Dining (and more) offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities.

In a typical year, the Campus Sustainability Office provides 5-10 specialized sustainability internship positions, working on initiatives focused on engagement, marketing, communications, website development, STARS data, campus operations, 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. https://www.johnson.cornell.edu/center-for-sustainable-global-enterprise/students/efii-fellows-program/

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.