How Does Ithaca College Define Sustainability?
Ithaca College views sustainability as a holistic system, inclusive of human and ecological health, as well as long-term financial security. We strive to integrate sustainability into our vision of becoming the standard of excellence for student-centered comprehensive colleges, fostering intellect, creativity, and character. We ask members of our campus community to be mindful of the decisions they make and to take into consideration the financial, social, and environmental impacts of their choices.
IC Earns Gold STARS
Ithaca College has received a Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) through its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS), a self-reporting benchmarking tool used by nearly 1,000 colleges in the U.S. and Canada. IC's Gold rating is due, in large part, to the significant effort in Academic and Engagement, two areas where IC scored very well. Leadership and collaboration from IC faculty and staff ensured every incoming first-year student was exposed to sustainability and that 88% of all academic departments offered a sustainability-inclusive course, in addition to the countless extracurricular opportunities for students. The initiative to transition to 100% renewable electricity, led by President Collado, in 2018 also played a prominent role in securing the Gold rating. The Office of Energy Management & Sustainability is grateful to our various on- and off-campus partners and looks forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. Please click here to view the full report.
2019 Energy Roadmap
In 2019, the Climate Action Plan Reassessment Team completed and submitted the new Energy Roadmap to the Senior Administration Team. Along with the Roadmap, the Reassessment Team recommended an accelerated carbon neutrality date of 2030. To support the expedited date, the Team proposed a number of coordinated efforts that could support reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030:
- The development of a “green fund” that offers mini-grants for student projects, proposals, and research relating to sustainability.
- Complete divestment from the fossil fuel industry. Divested funds have potential to be reinvested in the green fund, could provide faculty stipends for sustainability curriculum development, or could drive an independent study for students enrolled in the School of Business Investment Track.
- An internal carbon tax, earnings of which could provide revenue for the green fund or otherwise support capital projects.
- Enhanced sub-metering systems to aid in the development of department-managed utility budgets, with savings reinvested back into the department.
- Reevaluation of the College’s parking structure, with opportunity to support alternative or campus-wide transportation.
- President Collado’s written support of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal.
Chestnut Living Lab
Thanks to a generous President's Seed Grant, four students will begin the fall semester with a unique research project that utilizes technology to decrease carbon emissions. During the summer of 2019, the Facilities team renovated a Garden Apartment to include new, ecologically-conscious flooring, furniture made from recycled metals and milk crates, low-flow water fixtures, and LED lighting. The apartment, in addition to a control apartment without renovations, has also been equipped with apartment-level energy and water submeters that allow occupants to track their individual electricity and water use. Through an independent study, the team of students will work together to test how behavior and infrastructure changes impact natural resource use on campus. At the end of the project, the students will be able to extrapolate the data collected to represent potential financial and natural resource savings should the changes be implemented at a larger scale on campus.
Princeton Review Recognizes IC
The Princeton Review has recognized IC for the College's commitment to sustainability in its annual "Guide to 399 Green Colleges". The Guide, which scores colleges and universities based on a "green rating", awarded IC with 89 of a possible 99 points, commending the College's commitment to integrating sustainability into the curriculum, decision-making process, and campus operations. Other items of note include the College's three LEED-accredited buildings and the recent switch to all-renewable electricity. Read the full story from the IC Current here.
IC Electricity is 100% Renewable
In January 2018, the Climate Action Plan Reassessment Team, organized by the Office of Energy Management & Sustainability, recommended that Ithaca College purchase exclusively 100% renewable wind energy from our current electricity supplier. President Collado excitedly supported this recommendation and, in February 2018, the College began using wind energy for all of its electricity needs. This important step has eliminated the College's Scope 2 emissions and has enabled us to get 35% closer to complete carbon neutrality. The College intends to use the RECs (renewable energy certificates) associated with the 2016 installation of the solar farm to offset its Scope 3 emissions. Additional details can be found here.