Campus Sustainability News

News on campus sustainability initiatives, emerging programs, rankings, awards, student initiatives, green teams, and more from across the Cornell University campus.

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The solar arrays on Ganędagǫ: Hall and Toni Morrison Hall

Students living in the newly opened residence buildings – Toni Morrison Hall and Ganędagǫ: Hall – know of the buildings’ rooftop solar panels. But if the windows and walls could talk, they would be fluent in the language of sustainability.

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Cornell is joining with the City of Ithaca and the Town of Ithaca to form a campus-regional partnership committed to promoting efficient, innovative and accessible energy, and reach carbon neutrality, community-wide, by the early 2030s.

Bar graph from 2008 to 2020 showing annual greenhousegas emissions for Cornell.  The 2020 inventory shows a 50% reduction in overall emissions, but notes that some reduction is likely due to COVID operations disruption.

The FY2020 greenhouse gas inventory shows a significant reduction in campus emissions, but some changes can be attributed to disrupted operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sustainability ranking seals from 2021

Cornell soared to the top of national and international ratings and rankings assessing our campus sustainability efforts in 2021.  Let's see how we stand up to the competition (and where there is still work to do).

People surrounding text "we resist, we build, we rise"

Matéa LeBeau is a junior in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, contemplates the necessary role of visual and expressive artists in creating understanding and solutions to the climate challenge.

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A one-year program open to accelerate career and executive-leadership advancement in sustainability-related fields.  

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What was the impact on campus energy use from reduced on-campus student presence and workforce, and changed operations, during the 2020 COVID pandemic?  Diving into data from the campus energy dashboard, a decline in energy consumption was offset by increased air handled and ventilation in campus buildings. 

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The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has released its 2020 Sustainable Campus Index.  See how Cornell compares as one of the top-ranked institutions in the nation for comprehensive sustainability efforts.

Bill Nye ’77 (left) and marine biologist and conservation expert Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (right) discussed climate solutions at the December New York Sustainability Conference.

Cornell is teaming up with climate justice leaders to build sustainability efforts across the University community, reviving its commitment to the environment in light of the pandemic and worldwide movements for racial and social equality. In collaboration with the New York Coalition for Sustainability in Higher Education and Ithaca College, Cornell hosted the 2020 State of New York Sustainability Conference in December, featuring well-known figures in the science community, including Bill Nye ’77, Sen. Rachel May (D-N.Y.) and marine biologist and conservation expert Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. 

Dimension Energy demonstrates their reactor where carbon dioxide meets sunlight to create environmentally friendly fuel.

Dimensional Energy – a Cornell McGovern Center startup company that can capture industrial carbon dioxide and then convert it by way of sunshine into an environmentally friendly products like aviation fuel – has emerged as one of two finalists in the $20 million Carbon X Prize competition.