Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.66
Liaison Mark Lichtenstein
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sue Fassler
Sustainable Facilities Manager
Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:

ESF completed a Middle States Self Study in 2011. This report was almost entirely focused on sustainability (http://www.esf.edu/middlestates/documents/selfstudy.pdf). ESF's next comprehensive Middle States Self Study is due in Spring 2022. In the interim, ESF has submitted annual monitoring reports, which can be found here:

https://www.esf.edu/middlestates/progress.htm

The 2011 Report included the following:

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.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:

ESF completed a Middle States Self Study in 2011. This report was almost entirely focused on sustainability (http://www.esf.edu/middlestates/documents/selfstudy.pdf). ESF's next comprehensive Middle States Self Study is due in Spring 2022. In the interim, ESF has submitted annual monitoring reports, which can be found here:

https://www.esf.edu/middlestates/progress.htm

The 2011 Report included the following:

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.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

Materials management goals:

- Reduce the “waste” that the College sends to landfill and/or incineration by 90% (by weight) by 2025
- Achieve a diversion rate of 90% by 2025 (recycle and/or compost 90% of the items that we use on campus)

These goals are based upon a 2018/2019 baseline. “Waste” includes items that can not be reduced at the source, reused, recycled, or composted. The College places a heavy emphasis on source reduction and is in the process of systematically identifying single use, non-essential items on campus for removal or replacement. It is also working to identify opportunities to more effectively reuse or donate surplus equipment and furniture. At its heart, our Path to Zero Waste program seeks to recognize value in the materials that we bring to and use on campus and to spark members of the campus community to rethink what they truly need to live and enjoy their lives both on and off campus. In the last year, ESF has achieved a 34% reduction in the amount of waste it sends to landfill/incineration (by weight) and has increased its recycling rate by 46% (by weight).

The College also signed the Post Landfill Action Network's Break Free From Plastic Pledge in February 2020. The Pledge can be found here: https://www.postlandfill.org/bffp-pledge/

ESF will also be renewing its entire web presence in 2021. It is expected that the new site will be live in mid 2021. These explicit materials management goals will be prominently featured on the sustainability page. A screenshot of this page is attached at the end of this credit.

Energy goals:

- ESF has committed to reducing its Energy Use Intensity (EUI), or energy use per square foot of building space, 20% by 2025. This goal is based upon a 2011 baseline. As of November 2020, ESF has reduced its EUI by 11%. Furthermore, the College has reduced EUI 25% when compared to 2009. This is impressive, especially because the College has added 200,000 square feet of building space and increased enrollment since that time.
- ESF has set a goal of purchasing 100% of grid electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2021. ESF is on track to achieve that goal. The College has committed to purchasing 120% of our electricity from renewable sources, via the New York State Large Scale Renewable Energy (LSRE) project. The project will build new renewable energy generation in New York State and is expected to come online by 2023. Before then, the College will purchase all of its electricity from renewable sources. See Clean Energy Master Plan (CEMP) attached at the end of this credit.

Carbon goals:

- The College is committed to becoming carbon negative on an accelerated time frame.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:

ESF's Administration and Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity published a Living Document in December 2019. This document has undergone two rounds of revision.

It includes initiatives and goals in the following areas (not an exhaustive list):

- Zero-Tolerance Initiative
- Anti-bias Training and Professional Development
- Cultural Competence Course and Training Programs
- Title IX / Affirmative Action Coordinator Position
- Environmental Justice Initiative
- Increase Student Body Diversity
- Increase Employee Diversity
- Student Diversity Initiatives Director Position
- PRODiG
- Self-Assessment
- Elevated Police Presence
- Safety Escorts
- Employee/ Student Shuttle Service
- Inter-institution Communication

The full document can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MLiLZE1lpEu9M-blnV6lLRjDG6Lph-FlHbFG0AZuND4/edit#gid=749523503


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

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):
---

Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Major theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):
Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

From the ESF's Strategic Plan, as approved by the College Board of Trustees:

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:

In 2011, ESF framed its re-accreditation assessment around sustainability. The College proclaimed: “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
- 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 Yes
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord Yes
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 Yes
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:

Second Nature:

In 2007, former ESF President Neil Murphy made ESF a charter signatory of the American College and Universities President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), now Second Nature. This action committed ESF to becoming a carbon neutral campus by reducing emissions to the maximum extent possible and offsetting remaining emissions to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ESF is well on its way to achieving this goal, having reduced GHG emissions by 25% since 2007. The College’s new Clean Energy Master Plan (CEMP) and suite of associated projects are expected to decrease GHG emissions by another 15%. Upon Plan implementation, the College will have reduced its emissions by 40%, as compared to 2007 levels. Currently, ESF’s largest sources of GHG emissions are purchased steam, natural gas and electricity. The College is working to reduce these sources of emissions through a variety of clean energy projects.

ESF renewed its commitment with Second Nature by signing both the University Climate Commitment and University Commitment to Global Engagements.

America is Still In (We Are Still In):

This is a joint declaration of support for climate action, signed by more than 3,900 CEOs, mayors, governors, college presidents, and others. The organizations they represent comprise the largest and most diverse coalition of actors every established in pursuit of climate action in the United States.

REV Campus Challenge:

The REV (Reforming Energy Vision) Campus Challenge promotes clean energy efforts by recognizing and supporting colleges and universities in New York State that implement clean energy projects and principles on campus, in the classroom, and in surrounding communities. ESF is a member campus (Leader) and has committed to investing in clean energy projects across their campuses, embracing clean energy curricula and research & development, and aiming to engage further with their communities. ESF’s staff and faculty attend annual REV Campus Challenge workshops. In 2017, ESF received a grant through the REV Campus Challenge Technical Assistance Program to create its Clean Energy Master Plan, which will be uploaded to this website upon completion.

Others:

- American Zero Carbon Action Plan
- Bicycle Friendly University
- Choose Action Network
- Clinton Global Initiative Action Network, Post-Disaster Recovery
- New York Stands with Puerto Rico Initiative
- New York State Large Scare Renewable Energy Initiative
- Paris Climate Accords (supporting commitment)
- PLAN Break Free From Plastics Pledge
- Project Inclusion
- Strategic Energy Innovations, Climate Corps
- Tree Campus USA
- UNESCO Biosphere (Adirondacks)
- Well Being Economic Alliance (We-ALL)
- White House Climate Change Commitment
- Zero Waste International Alliance Zero Waste Hierarchy


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

ESF will be developing a Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) in 2021. Students in Environmental and Energy Auditing will be working with Sustainability Division staff to undertake a literature review and draft a framework and proposed initiatives for the SAP. This project kicks off March 16, 2021. Sustainability staff will then review and expand upon the recommended actions during the Summer of 2021 and bring the framework to the larger campus community for a series of open meetings during the Fall 2021 semester.

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.