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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Students carrying pots in a greenhouse at Cornell, wearing masks during COVID19

 Cornell University celebrates all things sustainability during the entire month of April.  This year, join a new Green Room Certification pilot, become a Residential Composter, attend a virtual student sustainability leadership conference, and more.

2021 Golden Gorge Awards

Join us for the fourth annual Golden Gorge Awards celebrating the achievements of Cornell University's student sustainability organizations! RSVP TODAY!  Deadline to RSVP is extended to Tuesday, May 4th at 5:00pm EST.

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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.

a woman hiking in the gorges

Carolyn Finney, author of “Black Faces White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors,” and scholar-in-residence at the Franklin Environmental Center at Middlebury College, will give a lecture about her nationally recognized work to increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to inform and determine policy and action on environmental issues. It is offered in partnership with Ithaca Children’s Garden, The Learning Farm, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and takes place virtually on Thursday, February 25, 2021, at 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public on Zoom; pre-registration required.

a student wearing a mask while on her computer

A live virtual event focused on preventing future pandemics, recognizing that human health is inextricably linked to the health of wildlife, livestock and the environment, will be moderated by New York Times journalist Thomas L. Friedman with a keynote address from noted naturalist Jane Goodall. The webinar, titled “Emerging Disease, Wildlife Trade and Consumption, and the Need for Robust Global Governance: Exploring Ways to Prevent Pandemics,” will take place Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon and is co-hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine, the World Wildlife Fund and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

a view of Beebe Lake on a sunny day

The 2021 Climate Change Series provides a range of perspectives on the science of climate change and its implications for agriculture, ecosystems, and food systems and offers significant economic, ethical, and policy insights. “This seminar series brings in the brightest minds from across the world in different disciplines to understand the difficulty and complexity of climate change and the innovations already in progress to solve this problem," says Professor Peter Hess, who leads the seminars.

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. 

Flowchart depicting the research field of multi-sector dynamics.

A Cornell engineer is advancing the field of ‘multi-sector dynamics’ with a new $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that will focus on techniques for better projecting the outcomes of human interactions with the natural world. As scientists and policy makers increasingly turn toward mathematical modeling to help inform their decision making, the project aims to better predict how human systems – such as the economy, urbanization, technology, and agriculture – co-evolve with Earth systems, such as climate, natural resources and wildlife.

Students hanging out

The Campus Sustainability Office is hiring a graduate or highly qualified undergraduate student to become our AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) Student Coordinator.  Paid position can be completed remotely during COVID19 conditions and begins late Spring '21 or Summer '21, with the possibility to extend through the following school year.  Cornell is the only Ivy to earn a  STARS Platinum rating for our campus' sustainability performance. Help us maintain it.

Dr. Ayana Johnson on a zoom lecture

The conference featured three days of problem-solving workshops, such as finding ways to engage students with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.