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

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sarah Carson
Director, Campus Sustainability Office
FS - Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
Sustainability Engagement Campaign

A brief description of the campaign:
Cornell's university-wide sustainability engagement campaign encourages students, faculty and staff to engage in sustainable behavior change and reduce Cornell’s environmental footprint and build healthier communities. Each component of the campaigns is designed to motivate individuals and teams to take key sustainable actions to help achieve Cornell’s carbon neutrality goals and support diverse, inclusive environments. College and Unit Engagement Program •Semester themes highlight sustainability initiatives to undertake as a unit (e.g. energy conservation and materials management) •Sustainability Leaders (aka Green Ambassadors) o College/unit students, faculty, and staff interested in community well-being and sustainability who are responsible for: o Fostering peer-to-peer education. o Reinforcing sustainable behavior throughout their working groups that are publicized by the campaign. o Giving advice and promote campaign programs and initiatives within their units • Energy and waste themes are designed to support the goals of the Sustainable Cornell Council, Cornell’s Climate Action Plan, and motivate students, faculty and staff to integrate sustainability into their individual actions and operations. • Each theme has a set of actions, programs, initiatives, and/or games associated with them to increase community engagement and increase the likelihood that people will adopt the targeted behaviors. Green Labs and Offices Certification Programs Programs designed to promote sustainable practices in lab and office spaces. Each action under the Green Labs and Offices Certification programs will have points associated with them. Each lab or office participating in the program can commit to actions that are feasible for their workplace and earn points towards a certification renewable every 2 years. Cornell Building Energy Dashboard (EMCS portal) • Internet-based display tool that tracks building energy performance through real-time metering. • Serves as an engagement tool for end users to learn about energy saving behaviors specific to their community. • Resource to host energy conservation competitions between buildings, colleges and/or units. Residential Compost Managers (CMs): • CMs are student educators committed to creating a culture of sustainability at Cornell University. Students from diverse majors and backgrounds encourage sustainable behaviors within their residential communities through outreach, role modeling, and weekly maintenance of compost buckets. Freezer Challenge https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/take-action/sustainability-events/freezer-challenge These campaigns rotate depending on other campus priorities and externalities.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:
Over 2500 staff and faculty are impacted by the College and Unit Engagement Program, which is growing every year: College of Engineering, College of Human Ecology, Facilities and Campus Services, Human Resources, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell Tech, Alumni Affairs and Development, Big Red Barn, Weill Cornell Medicine. Green Office Certifications: 60+ offices Green Lab Certifications: 18+ labs All major buildings (150+) and renewable sites are posted on Cornell's Building Dashboard (EMCS portal) Over 300 Compost Managers have participated in the compost program, collecting over 25,000 lbs of compost since 2018 Freezer Challenge: 3 labs have participated

Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Climate Action Week + Energy Smackdown (Fall) / Beyond Waste (Spring)

A brief description of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Climate Action Week / Energy Smackdown Cornell hosted its first Climate Action Week during Fall 2022. The campaign was a call to action on climate change, featuring conversations, actions, tours, and community-building. The campaign was inspired by Cornell University's Climate Action Plan, the overarching plan for achieving carbon neutrality for campus operations by 2035. Energy Smackdown - Cornell spearheads the Energy Smackdown competition each fall to encourage students, staff, and faculty to reduce their energy consumption, both on and off campus. This campaign includes opportunities for employees and students to engage in energy reducing behaviors. In Fall 2021, the campaign included offering mini Energy Reduction Grants ($500-1000) to encourage creative thinking about ways to reduce energy in on-campus buildings. Beyond Waste (formerly RecycleMania) Beyond Waste is a 2-month institutional waste reduction campaign that empowers every member of the Cornell campus community to rethink our relationship to products we use everyday. Beyond Waste invites us to move beyond recycling and waste management into a creative life-cycle approach to how we purchase, use, reuse, and dispose of goods and materials across campus systems. The campaign is part of the national Recyclemania (Campus Race to Zero Waste) competition and includes events, waste-reduction activities for individuals & teams, and institutional waste tracking for the national competition. https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/take-action/sustainability-events/climate-action-week

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):
ENERGY SMACKDOWN Over 260,000 kWh of electricity was saved during the 2018 Energy Smackdown competition. We also recorded similar electricity savings during the 2019 competition. The competition ran in Fall 2020, but was significantly impacted by reduced occupancies in our residential and academic buildings. We achieved measurable reductions again in Fall 2021, approximately $160,000 (2,133,333 kWh); however our data was impacted by students leaving campus during finals week and our campus shifting to covid alert level red. https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/take-action/sustainability-events/climate-action-week BEYOND WASTE Cornell received accolades from the national Campus Race to Zero Waste organization in Spring 2022. Cornell rose in the national rankings in 2022, jumping to first in the nation for electronics recycling, first in New York State for overall waste diversion, third in the nation for the diversion of organic food waste, and twenty-fifth in the nation for landfill diversion (e.g. total food and recycling diversion). During the competition, over 80% of food waste on campus was diverted from the landfill for use by Farm Services to make compost for agricultural and landscaping needs. Recycling during the competition hovered at 45%, which is relatively high for a campus the size of the Cornell Ithaca campus, but could be improved by additional actions taken by individuals and departments to reduce landfill waste. https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/news/cornell-takes-1st-and-3rd-waste-reduction-beyond-waste-campaign

A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns:
The Winter Setback and Spring Setback program encourages all Cornellians to unplug electronics and setback temperatures before leaving campus for winter and spring breaks. Annually, the winter setback program results in over 1 million kWh avoided during the break. https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/take-action/sustainability-events/shutdown-breaks

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.