Cortland among Sierra Club’s top “Cool Schools”

Cortland among Sierra Club’s top “Cool Schools”

09/29/2020 

SUNY Cortland’s commitment to sustainability is evident across campus.

Whether the university is using 100% renewable energy for the its electricity needs, residence halls built to the highest green standards or the Green Rep program, which uses student educators to spread environmentally friendly messages, SUNY Cortland cares deeply about what it can do for the planet.

Those efforts have been recognized by The Sierra Club, one of the largest organizations in the nation fighting to protect natural resources.

Cortland was listed at No. 76, the highest-ranked SUNY comprehensive college, on Sierra magazine’s annual “Cool Schools” list.

Sustainability takes many forms at SUNY Cortland.

Academically, the university offers majors in conservation biology and outdoor recreation, as well as a minor in environmental and outdoor education, which prepare students for careers in environmental fields.

Many buildings on campus have been upgraded to use more energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems. Major construction projects are designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Recent examples include residence halls Glass Tower Hall and Dragon Hall as well as the Student Life Center. Dragon Hall’s platinum LEED rating made it the first such building in the SUNY system when it opened in 2014.

This summer, the university completed the installation of four electric vehicle charging stations on campus to further promote sustainable transportation for members of the university community.

For more information on SUNY Cortland’s efforts to make campus green, visit the sustainability webpage.

Participation in the “Cool Schools” ranking is open to all four-year, degree-granting undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, along with two-year community colleges.

To be eligible, colleges and universities must have at least a bronze rating through the Sustainability, Tracking and Assessment Rating System (STARS). SUNY Cortland earned an elite gold designation from STARS in 2019, placing it among the top 3% of all higher education institutions in the nation.

Sierra uses STARS data but weighs colleges and universities on four criteria it feels are most important to environmental protection: academics, engagement, operations and planning and administration.

SUNY Cortland first made the “Cool Schools” list in 2016 and has been ranked in the top 100 every year since.


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