|Submission Date||March 5, 2021|
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy
|2.00 / 2.00||
Sustainable Facilities Manager
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:
ESF has had a long-standing engagement in public policy advocacy at the municipal/local level on the issues related to environmental justice, environmental impact, and many other sustainability-related issues.
Recently, ESF officials publicly endorsed the "community grid solution" as a sustainable alternative to redeveloping an elevated interstate highway in close proximity to the college's main campus and Syracuse's urban core. ESF advocated for the grid option citing numerous sustainability benefits such as being more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and addressing social justice issues of previously bisected historically significant minority neighborhoods.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:
ESF's government and external relations activities link the College with the community, elected officials, and agencies to communicate about sustainability and environmental challenges and opportunities. The College continually works to develop relationships with those who have an opportunity to affect the College's future and fulfill ESF's vision of “a better world through environmental discovery.” The focus is on efforts to develop relationships with state, regional, and local governments in order to secure support for institutional initiatives and individual research projects consistent with the mission of the college and priorities, and advocate for public policies that align with principles of sustainable development and responsible stewardship of natural resources. For example, ESF has directly engaged with New York State regarding definition and implementation of the 2019 Green New Deal for NYS.
In February 2019, ESF hosted a Senate Hearing with New York State Senator Rachel May, cosponsor of the State's Climate and Community Protection Act, a bill that requires the State to shift to 100 percent renewable power by 2050 and promote job opportunities within the renewable energy sector. The hearing gave stakeholders from Central New York including top ESF officials an opportunity to weigh in on the legislation.
Also in February 2019, a faculty member from the College's Sustainable Resources Management department provided testimony to a New York State Senate Standing Committee regarding the Climate and Community Protection Act.
In November 2019, the College's Interim President and Chief Sustainability Officer provided testimony before the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Higher Education and Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation regarding the environmental footprint of Colleges and Universities in New York and what SUNY campuses in particular could do to help lead the State in achieving its very aspirational sustainability goals.
ESF was also awarded a 5-year $5.75 million grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in mid-2020. The Center, the first of its kind in the United States, will be devoted to practices in waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting. The Center will focus on six specific areas: community engagement, outreach, policy development, public education, research and technical assistance with the intention of:
- Promoting waste prevention and reduction-particularly packaging reduction and product stewardship
- Encouraging closed-loop, responsible purchasing
- Developing economic markets for recyclables, fostering entrepreneurship and helping convert manufacturing to use recycling feedstock
- Launching a comprehensive community outreach and public education campaign, and facilitating additional stakeholder engagement
- Identifying new methods to manage non-recyclable fibrous materials through the development of composting options
- Identifying new methods to manage non-recyclable fibrous materials through the development of unique conversion options
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:
ESF's Chief Sustainability Officer served as the primary author of the "Accelerating Sustainable Materials Management in the U.S." chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network's America's Zero Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP). The College's Sustainable Facilities Manager also served as a contributor.
The Chief Sustainability Officer also provided testimony in November 2017 to the US House of Representatives, Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Environment regarding the federal government's response and recovery to environmental concerns in Puerto Rico from the 2017 hurricane season.
We Are Still In (America Is All In):
ESF is a signatory of the We Are Still (America Is All In) pledge (https://www.wearestillin.com/organization/suny-college-environmental-science-and-forestry) and ESF's President Joanie Mahoney was interviewed by Syracuse's local NPR station (WAER) in January of 2021 to discuss the US's re-entry into the Paris Climate Accord.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:
ESF has been designated by the SUNY Chancellor as the only SUNY institution (of 64 campuses statewide) to represent SUNY with Observer Status at COP 26 in November 2021.
International Union for Conservation of Nature:
Dr. Jerrold Belant, Camp Fire Conservation Fund professor and director of ESF's recently formed Global Wildlife Conservation Center (GWCC), was named a voting member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). ESF Administration (President and Chief of Staff / Chief Sustainability Officer) supported securing IUCN membership for the campus, and is working directly with Dr. Belant to create avenues for advocacy from the College through Dr. Belant to IUCN as it relates to a host of IUCN-specific issues, but also leveraging their role with the IPCC.
The IUCN is the most influential international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy and education.
A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
- Public statement after the US Capitol events of January 6, 2021 condemning the attacks of that day (2021).
- Publicly applauded the US Supreme Court decisions to protect LGBTA workers from discrimination (2020).
- Publicly supported SUNY's efforts to oppose Federal Executive Order 13950 baring certain topics from diversity and inclusion training (2020).
- Actively supported SUNY's plan to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to combat racial inequality and division (2020).
- Public statement in solidarity with, and support of the international community in light of the guidance issued by the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program indicating that many international students would not be eligible to maintain their student status (2020).
- Public statement opposing the federal governments activities around DACA (2020).
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts 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.