Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.83
Liaison Mark Lichtenstein
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2023

STARS v2.2

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lexi Chipules
Campus Facilities Wellness Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

ESF has over 40 student clubs, many including aspects of sustainability. The clubs that primarily focused on College-wide sustainability include:

- Engineers Without Borders and Engineering for a Sustainable Society
EWB-USA/ESS is a non-profit organization that helps create a more stable and prosperous world. Its members work on designing projects and get the chance to travel and experience different cultures in Latin America.

- Green Campus Initiative (GCI)
- Implements and manages green and sustainable initiatives on campus
- Monitors and reduces waste of all campus operations and activities
- Practices what the College teaches and what is learned in classes
- Provides hands-on sustainability training and learning opportunities
- Fosters a culture of sustainability awareness and action in the campus and local community
- Manages Compost Cab (off campus compost for students)

- MOSA SustainabiTEAM
SustainabiliTEAM manages the MOSA Reusable Plate Program (RPP), the Centennial Hall Move Out Program, and the Fall Move In Giveaway. The club also conducts waste audits during each month of the academic year to determine how well campus is sorting trash, composting, and recycling. Past projects included standardizing the trash/recycling/compost bins on campus and getting reusable take-out containers in the Trailhead Cafe.

- Sustainable Energy Club
The purpose of the Sustainable Energy Club is to provide students with an extracurricular outlet to engage in sustainable energy activities outside of the classroom, promote the importance of sustainable energy on campus, and improve the relationship between students and faculty interested in sustainable energy.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The picturesque grounds at ESF's Lafayette Road Experiment Station (LRES), four miles south of the Syracuse campus, are home to research and demonstration plots by ESF's American Chestnut Research Project and the student garden work study program. Started by the Green Campus Initiative student club (GCI) and the Office of Sustainability in 2010, the garden is a welcoming and enjoyable place for students and all members of the ESF community.

Each year the garden provides work study job opportunities for four to six students. These students lead garden maintenance and upkeep. This includes all basic tasks such as planting, weeding, mowing, and general plant and space management. The garden is also frequented by volunteers, and guests from ESF's Center for Native Peoples and the Environment who grow traditional "three sisters" (corn, beans and squash) plantings at the garden each year and share seeds and the oral history of this native people's agricultural technique.

The garden is approximately 1/3rd of an acre in size and specializes in organic and sustainable approaches to food production. Tools, equipment and storage are provided, so students can just show up and garden! The garden is divided into three distinct sections: an annual vegetable garden, a small orchard of fruit trees and shrubs, and a perennial edible forest garden.


Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

A Green Revolving Fund was established in 2016 with the intent to use energy refunds, credits, and other similar sources of revenue to re-invest in "green" initiatives at the College. It was reinvigorated in 2023 with the intent to work with the Mighty Oaks Student Association and their student-led SustainabilaTeam as it relates to decisions about environmental investments at the College.


Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

Selected examples:

- Building Community into Environmental Education: How Localities Strengthen Connections Summit and Networking Event

The Student Environmental Education Coalition (SEEC) hosted a Summit and Networking Event on November 12 and 13, 2022. The theme of the Summit was: Building Community into Environmental Education: How localities strengthen connections. This event was held from 9:00 am - 7:30 pm Saturday and 9:00-12:30 on Sunday in ESF’s Gateway Center.

- Beyond Waste Student Summit

In January 2020, ESF hosted the Northeast Region's Beyond Waste Student Summit in conjunction with the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN). Student leaders planned this full-day summit with guidance from PLAN and ESF staff members. This summit drew students throughout the region and was a space for students to build organizing skills through role-playing building the future they want to live in.

Attendees had the opportunity to collaborate on simulated campaigns that ranged from building zero waste campus infrastructure to standing in solidarity with frontline communities. All solution-building addressed accessibility, equity, and systemic oppression.

- Women in Science Online Speakers Series: https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/7667387

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

1) Every year, students in the Department of Landscape Architecture host the annual Festival of Places in which the landscape architecture students who studied abroad for one semester build different cultural displays for a week and educate students on the culture, experiences, and landscaping (https://www.esf.edu/academics/undergraduate/landscape-architecture.php).

2) ESF hosts a week long celebration of Earth Day, called Earth Week. During this week, ESF hosts many events that include a theme of sustainability, a focus on culture, and performances from within the ESF community.


- Hosted during Earth Week with DESI (South Asian Cultural Club) (https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8049023)

Holi, also known as the “festival of colors,” is celebrated across India to welcome the coming of the spring season.

- Hosted during Earth Week Alpha Phi Alpha Earth Justice Panel (https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8045644)

- Hosted during Earth Week Indigenous Teachings for Kinship with the Natural World

3) Roots and Pursuits Club: Roots and Pursuits club is dedicated to connecting with nature through ancestral living skills and ancient pathways of awareness. We practice and teach skills such as fire by friction, braintanning animal hides, wild edible and medicinal plants, shelter, tracking, flintknapping, trapping, cooking, bowmaking, and much more!

4) ESF's Baobab Society Club

This group has three goals:

a) Promote a culturally conscious community,
b) Provide education and support for its members
c) Facilitate interaction with the greater Syracuse community

Past Baobab sponsored events include:

- Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)
- Insomniac Event: Miyazaki Madness
- Spirit & Essence Banquet
- Co-sponsorship with "Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign"
- Co-sponsorship with Pride Union's Totally Fabulous Drag Show
- Dwali: Hindu Festival of Lights
- Letter writing and printmaking with Amaranth Press: A First Gen Celebration

Recurring Events:
- Human Library
- Women's Empowerment Brunch
- Spirit and Essence Event
- BIPOC Alumni Networking
- Journaling for Emotional Wellness
- Cultural Colonialism in Food

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

- The Bob Marshall Club (BMC)

BMC is the outing club for ESF. It is a nonprofit student-run organization which takes students on hiking, snowshoeing and backpacking trips as well as participates in volunteer trail work. At workshops, gear maintenance and use, as well as outdoor ethics, trip planning activities, and many other topics are taught.

BMC prioritizes education and safety above all other ventures, and encourages members of all ability levels to participate. BMC seeks to have a passionate community where fun can be found around every turn. The trips are organized by the club officers, who act as friends but also as trip leaders. BMC excels at teaching the basics of backpacking while still maintaining a fun and wholesome experience. Trips are planned throughout New York State with a focus in the Adirondack Mountains.

BMC is named for Robert Marshall, who was one of the earliest Adirondack mountaineers, as well as a well-known alum of ESF. His legacy of wilderness preservation and advocacy lives on through the many lands and parks named in his honor, as well as through the active work of BMC.

BMC follows Leave No Trace principles, which include packing out trash.


Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

ESF requires all incoming first year students to read a text related to the environment including land, place, boundaries (physical and mental), community, and access. The required summer reading is used by the “Writing and the Environment” instructors (a first year student course) as well as across various electives. The themes of the yearly text are incorporated into lectures, discussions, and assignments.

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Many of ESF's student clubs organize workshops year-round on sustainable life skills, including the Green Campus Initiative, the Plant Propagation Club, Primitive Pursuits Club, and Cycling Connections.

- Roots and Pursuits Events- Sustainable Survival Skills
Bow Drill Workshop https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8290735
Sling Workshop https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8522030
Bow Making Workshop https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8055133
Flint Knapping Workshop https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8567816

- ESF Bass Team Learn to Fish Day https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8438857
Learn about how to cast, basic techniques and knots, how to read current, finesse fishing, and reading weather and seasonal changes to help you catch more fish

-SUSChemE Club
Pickling Workshop https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8619022
Butter Workshop https://esf.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8527389

ESF has one residence hall at its Syracuse Campus (Centennial Hall) that has achieved LEED Gold certification and includes an EcoReps program. More information about this program can be found in EN 1.

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

EcoReps: Each year, ESF hires 10 EcoReps to serve as peer to peer educators in Centennial Hall (dormitory on the Syracuse campus). EcoReps live and work in he residence hall and are charged with raising awareness of global and local sustainability issues and encouraging fellow students to adopt more environmentally responsible lifestyles. The EcoReps program is managed by a collaborative partnership between ESF’s Office of Sustainability and Centennial Hall staff members, and is funded by the Office of Sustainability. More information about this program can be found in EN-1.

Sustainability Engagement Assistants (SEA): Beginning during the Fall 2022 semester, the Office of Sustainability began hiring 4 SEAs. SEAs serve as student representatives for the Office of Sustainability across campus by engaging the campus community about sustainable practices and initiatives, organizing monthly and semester activities, and collaborating with student groups. More information about this program can be found in EN-1.

Sustainability Research Assistants: Each year, the Office of Sustainability hires 2-4 Sustainability Research Assistants. Research Assistants serve as key members of the Office of Sustainability team by focusing deeply on a target initiative or two that aligns with College sustainability priorities. They become a subject matter expert and assist Office staff in developing and refining new and/or improved campus facing sustainability programs. Research assistant aligns with key sustainability targets and goals, such as LEED, WELL, TRUE, AASHE STARS and the UN SDGs. In addition to their specifically assigned projects, research assistants may also participate in monthly waste audits and will provide post-audit data analysis and outreach (https://www.esf.edu/sustainability/people/).

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

ESF used to have separate Sustainability Pledges for current students and for alumni. In Fall 2022 the Office of Sustainability and Office of Communications and Marketing took a critical look at the different pledges and combined them into one pledge applicable to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability, ESF’s pledge focuses on sustainable actions with respect to energy, water, materials and zero waste, transportation, food, and wellness. By signing, ESF community members are committing to uphold the sustainable values learned at ESF during and after their time at the college.


A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.