College Sustainability Initiative Recognized

College Sustainability Initiative Recognized


One of SUNY Cortland’s many sustainability efforts was recently honored by a regional organization that recognizes forward-thinking, environmentally friendly developments in the Cortland-Ithaca area.

Sustainable Tompkins named SUNY Cortland’s creation of a new energy manager position as one of its 2011 “Signs of Sustainability.” The non-profit organization, which has produced an annual listing of positive initiatives since 2004, praised SUNY Cortland’s efforts in the category of “energy efficiency.”

“Environmental and economic sustainability are among the top priorities of this College,” SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum said. “We are honored by this recognition and proud to play a role in the transformation of our region into a shining example of how progressive environmental practices can help create a solid economic foundation for the future.”

Earlier this year, SUNY Cortland created and filled a position dedicated to monitoring and lowering energy use on campus and to exploring creative ways to reduce carbon emissions and cut energy costs.

It hired Douglas Roll, a former biology teacher and engineer with experience operating power plants, to help the College meet its sustainability goals. Roll also will play a role in educating students, faculty and staff about sustainable energy practices, supporting the culture of sustainability that has taken root among faculty, staff and students.

A charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the College recently developed the Cortland Climate Action Plan, which sets goals for energy conservation, recycling and other sustainable practices. The College has established a variety of successful sustainability initiatives, ranging from its community bike program to the creation of “green” representatives in all residence halls.

Sustainable Tompkins, an Ithaca-based nonprofit organization, was created to promote the long-term well-being of communities in and around Tompkins County and the region by integrating social equity, economic vitality, ecological stewardship, and personal and civic responsibility. Its projects and programs have focused on energy efficiency, climate protection, green purchasing, sustainable community development, green-collar jobs, sustainable enterprise, greening heath care, and economic and ecological justice. 

Every year, the group issues a growing list of “Signs of Sustainability” that members feel show a shift in the region toward a more sustainable lifestyle. A total of 300 new signs were identified in 2011, and officially were recognized during a reception in downtown Ithaca on Dec. 11.

The complete list may be viewed at Sustainable Tompkins’ website: