Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.67
Liaison Mark Lichtenstein
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.75 / 4.00 Mark Lichtenstein
Executive Director of Sustainability
Energy and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

In 2016 ESF, completed an update to the College's existing Vision 2020 strategic plan to create a bridging document to advance ESF over the next five years, including a reaffirmation commitment to sustainability in teaching, research and practice.

The current plan includes the following statement:

Sustainability is central to ESF’s mission. This, as well as an evolving understanding of its many dimensions, causes the College to continuously undertake a full-scale evaluation of its sustainability commitment. In 2011, ESF framed its re-accreditation assessment around sustainability. The College proclaimed that:

Sustainability begins with an obligation to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs through:

• the understanding of basic functions of natural and social systems;
• acknowledging and quantifying the limitations of nature’s capacity; and
• developing solutions through the integration of social, economic, technological, and environmental
systems.

This refers to the long-term viability of a system with regard to economic, social and environmental goals and constraints. One of ESF’s important efforts remains quantifying its commitments and actions over time, and benchmarking against other colleges and universities to stay informed and to lead with best practices. ESF commits to an annual cycle of assessment, planning, and implementation, guided by the industry standard for measuring campus sustainability: STARS—Sustainability Tracking and Rating System. By 2020, ESF will move from its present Gold STARS rating to Platinum status – the highest level – and, as a component of this, achieve carbon neutrality. ESF also recognizes that sustainability uniquely involves linking academic and physical operations of the institution for the purpose of mutually beneficial interactions. The campus as a “living laboratory” is an example of this; as such, the College will improve teaching and research by opening up operations and processes. Ultimately, this will result in the intellectual might of the College community continuously improving the physical and social operations of the College, including reducing costs.

Sustainability is also a core overriding theme in the College's annual priorities work planning effort.


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):

Early in the last century, the College began to assemble a system of properties that would broadly represent New York’s rich ecological diversity for scientific study and instruction. Today, approximately 25,000 acres of regional campus lands and facilities offer unparalleled learning and research opportunities. Students participate in hands-on field and lab activities in locations where state-of-the-art technology is as much at home as it is on the main campus.

The Natural Resources Management Plan for the largest of the these properties, the Huntington Wildlife Forest, is available at:
http://www.esf.edu/aec/documents/HWF-NaturalResourcesPlan.pdf

This document articulates the goals and objectives for management of natural resources on the Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF). These goals and objectives are intended to provide direction to the manipulation of all natural resources, including timber, wildlife, water and space. The overarching intent is to ensure the sustainability of ongoing research and future research opportunities. Further, the plan will sustain education and outreach to the greatest extent possible through their integration with research programs.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The following is located at http://www.esf.edu/middlestates/documents/selfstudy.pdf

1. Develop courses and curricula that focus on sustainability.
a. Incorporate sustainability concepts in existing courses and programs where appropriate.
b. Incorporate campus sustainability goals and initiatives into first year student orientation and courses (132 seminars).
c. Create ways to effectively communicate which courses include sustainability components (sustainability-focused or related, as per AASHE).
2. Engage student groups in activities that promote sustainability in students’ lives on campus and in the community.
a. Incorporate sustainability in the new Residence Hall experience.
b. Promote outreach to the community through service learning and student organization activities.
3. Develop additional cost-effective study abroad opportunities and help students to prepare experiences related to sustainability.
a. Develop international experiences integrated into appropriate curricula.
b. Develop international experiences that apply broadly to ESF students as well as students outside of ESF.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The following is located at http://www.esf.edu/middlestates/documents/selfstudy.pdf

1. Develop courses and curricula that focus on sustainability (as a research-focused institution, the courses and curricula have a strong focus on research, both at the graduate and undergraduate levels)
a. Incorporate sustainability concepts in existing courses and programs where appropriate (including research).
b. Create ways to effectively communicate which courses include sustainability components (sustainability-focused or related, as per AASHE).

3. Develop additional cost-effective study abroad opportunities and help students to prepare experiences (and research) related to sustainability.
a. Develop international experiences integrated into appropriate curricula.
b. Develop international experiences that apply broadly to ESF students as well as students outside of ESF.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The following is located at http://www.esf.edu/middlestates/documents/selfstudy.pdf

1. Develop courses and curricula that focus on sustainability (as noted above for research, the courses, curricula, and student experience have a strong focus on engagement)
a. Incorporate sustainability concepts in existing ... programs where appropriate.
b. Incorporate campus sustainability goals and initiatives into first year student orientation ...
c. Create ways to effectively communicate which courses include sustainability components (sustainability-focused or related, as per AASHE).

2. Engage student groups in activities that promote sustainability in students’ lives on campus and in the community.
a. Incorporate sustainability in the new Residence Hall experience.
b. Promote outreach to the community through service learning and student organization activities.

3. Develop additional cost-effective study abroad opportunities and help students to prepare experiences related to sustainability.
a. Develop international experiences integrated into appropriate curricula.
b. Develop international experiences that apply broadly to ESF students as well as students outside of ESF.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Yes, climate action plan includes reducing institutional GHG emissions by 50% and offsetting remaining emission for carbon neutrality.

www.esf.edu/sustainability/documents/SAVE/ESF-Climate-Action-Plan.pdf


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The plan is to achieve LEED certification for all new buildings. This is included in the College 2017-2020 Priorities Document dated March 2017.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Reduce purchased electricity by 70% and reduce purchased fossil fuels by 65%.

www.esf.edu/sustainability/documents/SAVE/ESF-Climate-Action-Plan.pdf


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From New York State's Executive Order # 4 (EO4): "State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program":

- All copy paper, janitorial paper and other paper supplies purchased by each State agency or authority shall be composed of 100% post-consumer recycled content to the maximum extent practicable, and all copy and janitorial paper shall be process chlorine-free to the extent practicable, unless such products do not meet required form, function or utility, or the cost of the product is not competitive.
- Work to achieve a 10 percent reduction in annual paper use as measured against the base year.

From ESF's Sustainable Materials and Supplies Purchasing Policy:

http://www.esf.edu/au/documents/SustMatsSuppls.pdf

- All purchased office paper, office equipment, furniture, furnishings, and building materials shall meet one of the following:
- Contain at least 70% salvaged material from off-site
- Contain at least 70% salvaged material from on-site (based on estimated market value).
- Contain at least 10% post-consumer or 20% post-industrial material.
- Contain at least 50% rapidly renewable materials.
- Constructed of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood for LEED certified facilities.
- Constructed of FSC or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or American Tree Farm System (ATFS) certified wood for non LEED certified facilities.
- Contain at least 50% materials which are harvested and processed or extracted and processed within 500 miles of the building for which the materials are purchased.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

http://www.esf.edu/middlestates/documents/selfstudy.pdf

"A mandate by the State of New York to purchase energy efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles per Executive
Order No. 142, enacted on November 21, 2005, directed state agencies and authorities to diversify transportation, fuel...The College currently has several alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids) and...the parking policy....gives preferential parking for carpooling and low-emission vehicles..."


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

From New York State's Executive Order # 4 (EO4): "State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program":

- Work to achieve at least a 10 percent reduction in waste generated per year
- Strive for becoming a Zero Waste institution (ESF has made this commitment)


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

- New York State Executive Order #18: eliminate the purchase of bottled water
- Decrease use of potable water


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

In 2016, the College created a diversity committee, and has produced a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan that includes numerous related sustainability objectives.

https://www.esf.edu/ide/documents/IDE-Strategic-Plan.pdf

Plan includes 7 Goals and Strategies to Guide College-Wide Change and numerous strategies for achieving each goal...

Goal 1: Create a shared understanding of inclusion, diversity and equity and develop a welcoming
college climate and continuously work toward improvement where issues can be openly and
comfortably discussed among students/faculty/staff/administration

Goal 2: Ensure that the college commitment to diversity and inclusion is apparent and embedded at all
levels of the institution

Goal 3: All members of the community will engage in curricular, co-curricular and research activities to
improve inclusion, equity and cultural competency within the college and in our local, national, and
global partnerships.

Goal 4: Improve recruitment and retention of student, faculty, staff and administrative ranks to be
more reflective of NY State Census.

Goal 5: Ensure understanding by the College community of policies and promoting access to the campus
and to services for all community members.

Goal 6: Increase alumni engagement to improve inclusion, equity and cultural competency within the
College community.

Goal 7: Ensure the success of international students from Admission through graduation with
appropriate resources to support their academic goals and extracurricular goals and to enrich the overall
cultural competence of the college as a whole


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

From the ESF's Strategic Plan:

ESF Vision:

A better world through environmental discovery. Our vision is a world filled with natural and designed environments that are diverse, resilient and responsive in the challenging context of environmental change. ESF will create new opportunities for sustaining both human prosperity and the enduring integrity of the natural world as we work to achieve this vision.

ESF Mission:

To advance knowledge and skills and to promote the leadership necessary for the stewardship of both the natural and designed environments ESF’s mission includes outstanding teaching, research, scholarship and outreach programs focused on building sustainable communities and environments. ESF develops creative and effective solutions to environmental challenges and natural resource utilization through discovery, design, management, practice and the integration of social, economic, technological and environmental systems. We educate and inspire environmental leaders and provide a model for a new environmentalism that is science based, values informed and inclusive.


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

In 2011, ESF framed its re-accreditation assessment around sustainability. The College proclaimed that “Sustainability begins with an obligation to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs through:

• the understanding of basic functions of natural and social systems;
• acknowledging and quantifying the limitations of nature’s capacity; and
• developing solutions through the integration of social, economic, technological, and environmental
systems.”

This refers to the long-term viability of a system with regard to economic, social and environmental goals and constraints.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter Yes
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) Yes
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter ---
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) Yes
UN Global Compact ---
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

- White House Climate Change Commitment
- We Are Still In Commitment
- We-ALL (circular economy) Commitment


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.