Advisory Council

2017-18 Members and Terms

  • Dr. Ron Bishop, Lecturer, Chemistry, and Biochemistry, fall 2016 - spring 2019
  • Dr. Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, Secondary Education, fall 2016 - spring 2019
  • Mr. Mark English, Manager, IT Customer Support, fall 2015 - spring 2018
  • Ms. Michelle Hansen, Residence Life, fall 2016 - spring 2019
  • Dr. Ashley Kim, Assistant Professor, Human Ecology, fall 2015 - spring 2018
  • Dr. Tsitsi McPherson, Biology, fall 2016 - spring 2019
  • Ms. Kathy Meeker, Director, Grants Development Office, fall 2015 - spring 2018
  • Dr. Tyra Olstad, Assistant Professor, Geography, fall 2015 - spring 2018
  • Dr. Philip Sirianni, Assistant Professor, Economics, Finance and Accounting, fall 2015 - spring 2018
  • Ms. Diane Williams, Executive Director, Oneonta Auxiliary Services, fall 2014 - spring 2018
  • Jonelle Reyes, student, fall 2016 - spring 2018

Council's Charge

This group will oversee and advocate for the sustainability-related initiatives put forth in the college's strategic plan. More specifically, the group is charged with the following:

  • To advise and make recommendations to the president on issues and concerns having to do with sustainability in the curriculum, co-curricular activities, and other educational activities on this campus;
  • To advise and make recommendations to the president on issues and concerns having to do with improving sustainability in the operations, facilities, and grounds of this college;
  • To identify opportunities to increase collaboration with the local community, other local institutions, and other campuses in the SUNY system; and
  • To help communicate the goals and outcomes of sustainability initiatives to the campus and wider communities of this region.


  • The group shall consist of no less than 10 members and no more than 15. Faculty, staff, and students should all be well-represented in the group. To assure this, there should be at least three members from each of these constituencies. Alumni and retired faculty are also eligible for membership. The Associate Vice President for Facilities or designee is an ex officio permanent member.
  • Staff and faculty members of the group will be appointed for three-year terms by the college president; student members will be appointed for one-year terms.
  • By March 15 of each year, a call will be issued from the President’s Office asking for interested candidates.
  • The continuing Council members will then submit the list of all candidates and the Council’s recommendations to fill anticipated openings each year by April 15 to the president, who then makes final decisions. Renewed appointments are allowed.


At the last meeting of each academic year, a chair for the upcoming year will be elected. The chair's term is two years. The chair’s duties include:

  • Calling regular meetings
  • Being a liaison with the administration, College Senate, and external groups.
  • Planning activities and initiatives for the coming year
  • Setting annual goals for the Council
  • Giving regular reports to the rest of the Council of other meetings, communications, etc.

Meeting Minutes

Email Rachel Kornhauser, for previous year minutes.

Attendees: Philip Sirianni, Kathy Meeker, Tyra Olstad, Mark English, Ron Bishop, Michelle Hansen, Tsitsi McPherson, Thomas Rascona, Jonelle Reyes, Patrick Ryan, Rachel Kornhauser


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Attendees: Philip Sirianni, Kathy Meeker, Tyra Olstad, Mark English, Ron Bishop, Michelle Hansen, Tsitsi McPherson, Thomas Rascona, Jonelle Reyes, Patrick Ryan, Rachel Kornhauser


  • Essential Learning Outcomes- At last week’s College Senate meeting it was proposed that there be further discussion of proposed ESLO’s including sustainability. We discussed that it might be easier than some of the other proposed outcomes to evaluate sustainability-related outcomes because of the Envi Sustainability major, designated courses, and so on. We discussed that in order to be sure that all students are being exposed to sustainability throughout their time at SUNY Oneonta it might be worthwhile to be asked for the Office of Sustainability to be included in Freshman Orientation. We also wondered whether it might be worthwhile to expand the definition of sustainability to be included in the ESLO’s to be similar to the Millennium Sustainable Development Goals to include financial and social components beyond environmental. Dr. Klienewski thanked PACS for our memo recommending sustainability to be included as an ESLO and the memo was posted to public forum.
  • Meeting with Todd- Rachel and Philip met with Todd Foreman to discuss the ongoing support of PACS, and especially the endorsement of the Sustainability Master Plan (2016-2020). The Sustainability Master Plan will be put in it’s current draft on the Sustainability website ( with an all staff e-mail directing staff to the website to review the plan and provide comments before the end of the semester.
  • Sustainability Course Designations- 7 undergraduate and 1 graduate course was recommended for designations
  • Solar PV Project Constraints- Patrick Ryan, Energy Manager, updated the group on the why the proposed solar project was abandoned in previous years. Bullets from his presentation are below.
  • Red Closet Thrift Store- Everyone was updated on the Red Closet Thrift Store as a place for the campus community to donate and buy used items. All the money that is made through the store is put into a Sustainability Scholarship to be given to a student once a year involved in sustainability initiatives on campus. Last year the scholarship was for $1250. If you are interested in helping out by working at the shop during your lunch hour please reach out to Rachel ( or Laura Emmett (

Solar Project History and Constraints at SUNY Oneonta

  • We put solar PV projects up for bid three times, IRC roof and twice up west street.
  • I’m not sure why the IRC bid was thrown out, it was before my time. The first bid up West Street was thrown out for a problem with the bid documents. On the second try we received 4 bids for a 2.0MW array with a 25 year PPA. One of the bidders was not considered because they went bankrupt. The other three bids were evaluated and the decision was made that they were all too high to be viable.
  • The lowest starting rate for the three bids was $.08/kWh and the highest was $.11/kWh. The lowest rate at the end of the 25 year PPA was $.13/kWh and the highest was almost $.18/kWh. The low bidder did not include anything in the bid for grading the property.
  • The utility upgrade estimates ranged from $178,000 to $784,000. The college would be responsible for this.
  • Estimates of the electricity generated ranged from 3,270,000 to 3,600,000 kWh/year. This is 13-14% of our use.
  • The NYSERDA incentive dropped from $568,000, $405,540, $297,396 and $162,216 as your dropped from Block 3 to Block 6. We would have been in Block 3 or 4.
  • The installed cost estimates ranged from $4,400,000 to $6,100,000.
  • We would have been credited against our NYSEG electric bill $.0874/kWh to start. After that we had to estimate the pricing for NYSEG’s SC6 rate. For the last 10 years, NY’s residential electric rates have only risen a few %, and industrial rates have dropped almost 50%.
  • I provided an overview of the SUNY Energy Buying Group. Their forecast is for no major changes in oil or natural gas until the beginning of 2020.
  • Most electricity is generated by natural gas in NY. Therefore the price our electricity is directly tied to the price of natural gas. I presented the NYISO Real-Time Fuel Mix chart so the group could see the current generating mix in NY.

PACS Attendees: Ron Bishop, Tim Distler, George Hovis, Gina Keel, Ashley Kim, Tyra Olstad, Hannah Morgan, Thomas Rascona, Jonelle Reyes, Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs and Diane Williams 


  • Sustainability Course Designation: We received 10 sustainability course designations. 
  • Climate Change Certificate Program: The certificate kick-off meeting was scheduled on 3/3 at 9:00 am. The meeting was focused on the administrative aspect of the certificate program (e.g. number of credits).
  • New Position: Hannah took a new job and her last day at SUNY Oneonta is 3/20. They will be re-filling her position in the fall 2017. 
  • Green Dragon Week: The three keynote speakers include: Wenonah Hauter, Tuesday (4/18), 6:00 pm, Hunt Union Waterfront
  • Eban Goodstein, Wednesday (4/19), 12:00 pm, Hunt Union Butternut Valley Room
  • Lou Allstadt, Thursday (4/20), 4:30 pm, Hunt Union Red Dragon Theater
  • Sustainable Susquehanna Faculty Development Workshop: Kjersti offered to coordinate the administrative aspects of the workshop. 

Attendees: Ron Bishop, Tim Distler, Mark English, Michelle Hansen, Ashley Kim, Provost Mackin, Tsitsi McPherson, Jim Mills, Hannah Morgan, Thomas Rascona, Jonelle Reyes, Philip Sirianni and Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs

Group Updates

  • Tsitsi – The pilot Ecological Footprint Calculator Survey is available. She will send the survey link to PACS for a pilot run.
  • Ron – He is working with a toxicologist in southern Pennsylvania to study the symptoms of humans in relation to hydro-fracking (e.g. nosebleeds)
  • Kjersti – She is now the Director of the Faculty Center on campus.
  • Jim – The Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability is hosting another sustainability-themed mural competition for the hallway. All students are welcome to submit designs.
  • Hannah Sustainability Course Designation – Advertised on 2/13 and due 2/24.
  • Solar Grant – We may be applying for a demonstration solar project grant through EBSCO.
  • Recycling Training – We are coordinating a recycling training at Laurens Central School on 3/2.

Provost Mackin

  • Climate Change Letter & Washington DC Visit - The meetings went well and he received a lot of support from the aids to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand on the topic of climate change. 
  • Climate Change Certificate Program – The College has created a committee to develop a certificate program on climate change. How would we promote non-interested students to pursue the certificate program?
  • Climate Change Education & General Public – We need to educate our elected officials to make educational choices to support climate change mitigation and research projects. Also, we may want to coordinate a climate change literacy seminar for community organizations (Otsego Chamber of Commerce, Elks Club, etc.).

Institutional Learning Outcomes & Sustainability

  • This may be the most effective way to integrate sustainability across the curriculum, so non-science majors are introduced to climate change and sustainability concepts.

Attendees: Ron Bishop, Tim Distler, Michelle Hansen, George Hovis, Gina Keel, Tsitsi McPherson, Kathy Meeker, Hannah Morgan, Tyra Olstad, Thomas Rascona, Jonelle Reyes, Philip Sirianni and Diane Williams.

Group Updates

Tim – He submitted a StAR grant to develop a student Incubator Innovation Center on campus. Gina recommended talking to Josh Nollenberg specific to the “maker space” and Physics Club. Gina – She attended a policy summit in DC and was introduced to the “lighthouse prime” initiative, which provides “training and support for neighbors interested in sustaining good communications and resilient communities in times of trouble." We should start working with the region to create a resiliency plan.

  • Philip – He is working with a student to research the feasibility of installing a micro-hydro system on campus.
  • Kathy – The Student Research & Creative Activity Day is scheduled for April 12, 2017. PACS will review the submissions to identify “sustainability” research projects.
  • Tsitsi – She is finalizing the questions for the Ecological Footprint Calculator Survey and will send the survey to PACS for a pilot run.
  • Hannah Compost Facility Award: The City of Oneonta was awarded $420,000 to develop a large-scale compost facility.
  • NSSE Sustainability Questions: Ernesto is including the sustainability questions in the NSSE survey, which will be released on 2/14. The survey ends on 6/1, so we should receive the results of the survey by the end of the summer.
  • StAR Grants Submitted Zero Waste Education Program and Student Leadership
  • Sustainable Susquehanna Faculty Development Workshop
  • REV Grant: We are applying for two REV grants to develop an Energy Road Map and to install BTU meters on campus. 
  • LED Outdoor Project: The campus has allocated $130,000 to retrofit all outdoor lighting to LED fixtures. This will be a two-year project.
  • GIGP & NYPA OMAP Grants: The GIGP project will be constructed in May 2017. The NYPA OMAP retro-commissioning project will start this spring. 
  • Golding Hall Bioswale: Multiple individuals are interested in the space to grow hops and paw-paw trees.
  • EPA Environmental Champion Award: We nominated OAS and the Facilities Department for this award to highlight their water conservation efforts on campus.
  • Provost Climate Letter: The Provost created a letter in support of climate change research and had his colleagues across the SUNY system sign the letter. This letter was submitted to Representative John Faso and aids to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand.
  • Tree Campus USA Recognition: SUNY Oneonta earned Tree Campus USA recognition. Tree Campus USA is a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
  • Wenonah Hauter Keynote Presentation: She is the keynote presenter at Green Dragon Week (4/18, 6:00 pm, Hunt Union Waterfront).
  • Conversation with President Kleniewski: She is excited about the Sustainability Course Designation Program. She would like us to develop a formal (or informal) sustainability certificate program.

Sustainability Programs Overview – Spring 2017

  • RecycleMania - February
  • Do it in the Dark - March
  • Earth Week - April
  • Move Out Donation Program - May

PACS Semester Overview

  • Sustainability Course Designation Program – Advertise Monday (2/13)
  • Sustainable Susquehanna Faculty Development Workshop
  • Sustainability Master Plan (Prioritize Projects)