Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.02
Liaison Beth Klein
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

State University of New York at Cortland
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Matt Brubaker
Energy Manager
Facilites Operation adn Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

SUNY Cortland has long been an advocate for sustainability in our local municipality and county governance, particularly in the areas of renewable energy, clean water, and equitable education.

As a New York State Reforming the Energy Vision Campus Challenge Leader, SUNY Cortland promotes fair and equitable clean energy and renewable energy policy at the local, state and national levels. SUNY Cortland’s Energy Manager participates in a municipal solar advisory committee that has advocated for bringing municipal solar to our 5-county region of Central New York and assisted in the evaluation criteria for possible sites. In this role, the Energy Manager has also assisted in the development and refinement of local municipal solar ordinances and zoning regulations. In addition to these local actions, SUNY Cortland continues to advocate at the state level (see separate section for state level advocacy and policy efforts).

SUNY Cortland sits over the regional aquifer and has property directly adjacent to the City of Cortland municipal waterworks. Because of our proximity to these vital resources, SUNY Cortland has taken great care to promote clean water and low impact development. Our academic programs have used the opportunity to assist in and learn from aquifer, and storm-water quality site evaluations, providing pre-development and post-development support. While not specifically addressing specific regulations or direct advocacy, it does demonstrate strong partnership and community based engagement efforts to encourage sustainable development in sensitive sites and storm-water conditions.

Because we adhere to State Storm-Water Pollution Prevention Plans requirements, SUNY Development Guidelines, and because we are in a hydrologically sensitive area, we go above and beyond what is necessary. Executive Orders in place as well as the SUNY Development Guidelines incorporate USGBC LEED Rating System as a means to address storm-water mitigation strategies in our locally sensitive site. The LEED Sustainable Site development criteria offers a framework to assess proposed projects on campus property.

In addition to SUNY Cortland’s local work on renewable energy and clean water, we have a strong record of advocating at every level of government for equity in education for students at every level of schooling. Our Field Experience and School Partnerships Office is committed to supporting the hundreds of schools that partner with our programs become better prepared to serve all students. Our teacher education faculty are deeply involved in supporting local districts and communities to develop policies and programs that increase inclusion and equity, particularly related to inclusion of students with disabilities and equity for students of low socioeconomic status.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

SUNY Cortland has actively engaged the New York State Public Service Commission, State Legislature, and NYSERDA in the recognition of Renewable Energy Certificates generated from on-site, behind-the-meter, large-scale solar development projects. This work has resulted in advocacy at multiple venues, both offer education and outreach for other universities considering on-site large-scale renewable energy developments and fighting regulations that prevent host sites from claiming the environmental attributes of behind-the-meter renewable energy projects thereby discrediting the local and social benefits generated. SUNY Cortland is also a steering committee member of a 26-member consortium looking to develop large scale renewable energy projects across the state. This effort includes outreach to both local and state-wide policy makers to advocate for improved electrical integration (process and approval for renewable energy projects when compared to fossil fuel projects), more equitable fees associated with project permitting, and land use education for large scale renewable projects.

A key element of our sustainability work is equity. In addition to the widespread local work of our teacher education programs, each year students, staff, and faculty travel to Albany to advocate for funding that increases access to education through programs such as The Migrant Education Tutorial and Support Services Program, which advocates on behalf of more than 450 migrant children; the Educational Opportunity Program, which promotes access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students; and Cortland Urban Recruitment of Educators, which aims to engage students of color in PK-12 Education.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Similar to our State Advocacy efforts related to renewable energy and the value of distributed energy resources, SUNY Cortland has presented and shared our advocacy work at various conferences and in nationally published higher education industry publications (NACUBO). Both AASHE and Second Nature have been supportive in spreading the efforts in New York State. SUNY Cortland is a pledging member of the “We Are Still In” campaign which advocates for the principles of the Paris Climate Commitment and lobbies nationally and internationally for broad action on carbon mitigation strategies. New York State is a founding member of the United States Climate Alliance, a national coalition of states that are committed to taking action on Climate and Carbon Mitigation strategies. This effort specifically sights the failure of the US Executive Branch to act responsibly and remain in the COP 21 Paris Climate Commitment.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

SUNY Cortland is a pledging member of the “We Are Still In” campaign which advocates for the principles of the Paris Climate Commitment, and lobbies internationally for broad action on carbon mitigation strategies (see National Advocacy above for additional details).

A group of SUNY Cortland Alumni advocate for clean water in under-developed countries through a non-profit agency known as Water for Life. This Water for Life campaign on SUNY Cortland Campus has increased awareness in the campus community of international water scarcity and water quality issues beyond the local level.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
---

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
---

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.