CUNY is exercising leadership in addressing climate change by reducing energy use and GHG emissions at its senior and community college campuses under the Sustainable CUNY program. Beginning in 2007, Sustainable CUNY utilized a change management approach to incorporate sustainability into the fabric of the University by engaging every College, forming campus sustainability councils, and providing guidance as each of CUNY’s campuses developed individualized comprehensive Campus Sustainability Plans.
Campus Sustainability Plans were designed around seven key pillars to develop strategies and actionable steps to help the college campuses become more sustainable: Energy, Water, Transportation, Procurement, Recycling, Sustainable Education and Outreach, and Sustainable Nutrition. The Campus Sustainability Plans additionally serve as climate ‘action’ plans as they identified over 800 actions, with projects completed or well under way. By implementing these actions, CUNY aims to become more energy efficient, reduce energy usage, institutionalize energy awareness that addresses the behavioral changes of students and faculty, and subsequently reduce GHG emissions that can improve our environment. Further, when CUNY’s 13 Senior colleges were given control of their energy budgets in July of 2012, the plans helped serve as a blueprint for Sustainable CUNY Conserves.
Sustainable CUNY Conserves is a University wide effort to reduce energy consumption across CUNY’s 29 million square feet in over 300 buildings, spend less money on utilities, and use the savings to support other campus initiatives. Sustainable CUNY Conserves provides a platform for sharing best practices, training, data and analytics, IT support, and a one million dollar Sustainable Investment Fund (SIF) in addition to providing assistance on implementing the Campus Sustainability Plan actions. This program has been given further impetus by the Governor's Executive Order 88, NYBuild Smart, which mandates CUNY to achieve a 22% reduction in energy use by 2020.
CUNY carries out its responsibilities to its students and the broader citizenry of NYC by using lessons learned through the study of sustainability to improve their lives and promote economic development opportunities for the future. With these measures CUNY will champion the changes our community and our society require for a viable and sustainable future.
Allan Dobrin, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, CUNY
Ron Spalter, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, CUNY
Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability
Sustainable CUNY Conserves Team