Members of the SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College campus communities used Cortaca Jug, the 52-year legendary football competition between the two colleges, to compare the environmental impact of both campuses in a contest called the Cortaca Climate Challenge.
By the time the Red Dragons and the Bombers had finished their game on Nov. 13 at Cortland’s Stadium Complex, 333 SUNY Cortland students, faculty, staff and community members who were recruited since the start of the semester had participated in the educational exercise of measuring their overconsumption of the earths resources.
The Ithaca College community encountered difficulty with its web signup process and graciously conceded the victory to Cortland on game day. Yet participants from both campuses gained a lesson from the friendly, online competition involving individual pledges to reduce one's carbon footprint.
“These outstanding results demonstrate our campus community’s commitment to sustainability,” said Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman, a Student Disability Services staff member.
The SUNY Cortland community agreed to reduce its carbon footprint by a collective 1.2 percent or more, saving 244,415 pounds of CO2, he said.
“Not only was this enough to win the Challenge, but it would have placed SUNY Cortland in the top 10 of last year's America’s Greenest Campus Contest,” Zhe-Heimerman stated.
In honor of SUNY Cortland’s victory, a native hardwood tree is being donated to the campus by RPM Ecosystems of Dryden, N.Y.
Shea and Higgins ranked as top residence halls. The Environmental Science Club was named the top Student Government Association (SGA) club. The Residence Life and Housing Office was awarded coffee and donuts as the top college office. Nina Tice, a sophomore majoring in psychology, was selected at random among all participants to win an iPod Touch.
At SUNY Cortland, the Student Affairs Sustainability Committee presented the contest. Students serving as campus Green Reps organized the greatest number of students to join the challenge. Other major contributors included the Student Affairs Sustainability Committee, Physical Plant, SGA, Environmental Science Club, Residence Life and Housing Office and New York Public Interest Research Group.