Advisory Council

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.

2018-19 Members and Terms

  • Ron Bishop, Chemistry and Biochemistry, fall 2016 - spring 2019, co-chair 2018-2020
  • Kathy Meeker,  Grants Development Office, fall 2015 - spring 2018, co-chair 2018-2020
  • Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, Faculty Center, fall 2016 - spring 2019
  • Michelle Hansen, Alumni Engagement, fall 2016 - spring 2019
  • Tsitsi McPherson, Biology, fall 2016 - spring 2019
  • Bharath Ramkumar, Human Ecology, fall 2018 - spring 2021
  • Kathryn Finin, English, fall 2018 - spring 2021
  • Annabel Kellam, Biology, fall 2018 - spring 2021
  • William Walker, Cooperstown Graduate Program, fall 2018 - spring 2021
  • Darrin Lyons, Oneonta Auxiliary Services, fall 2018 - spring 2021
  • Audrey Porsche, College Advancement, fall 2018 - spring 2021
  • Alexa Tumbarello, MS Lake Management student, fall 2018 - spring 2019
  • Madison Young, Environmental Sustainability student, fall 2018 - spring 2019 
  • Rachel Kornhauser, Sustainability Coordinator, ex-officio
  • Patrick Ryan, Energy manager, ex-officio


  • 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, Tyra Olstad, Mark English, Ron Bishop, Thomas Rascona, Jonelle Reyes, Rachel Kornhauser


Office of Sustainability-

STARS through AASHE will be submitted by March 2 so we can be considered for Princeton’s Guide to Green Colleges. Last report was submitted in 2015 and we received a Bronze for version 2.0, we are hoping this year’s 2.1 version will be a silver.

Green Schools List. RecycleMania events have begun and 25 students came to a Zero Waste Party and Documentary screening. 

Hulbert and Morris Hall are collecting post-consumer food waste to be processed in one week trial of compost pickup before rollout to other dining halls.  More updates to come after this week’s County Compost Facility meeting.

Ron Bishop-

Has not been able to identify a time for his course to go the recycling facility for field trip.

Last day to submit SURC applications is today!

Thomas Rascona- Composting next to Wilsbach is up and running again with food collected from Wilsbach, and possibility of compost “starter” donation from Mohican Farms.


 Sustainability Master Plan- 

Philip, Patrick and Rachel went to Senate Steering Committee to share the Sustainability Master Plan (SMP). SMP has been passed, as expected to the Curriculum Committee to review the curriculum section of the plan. Next Wednesday, Feb 28, Philip and Rachel will attend the Curriculum Committee meeting to answer questions when they review.  Expected next steps: in order for the SMP to be included in the next round of strategic planning we will need assessment tool include the source of funding for each activity, it’s status, and it’s outcome. We will discuss this moving forward.

Ron will attend President’s Executive Council with Rachel to present the SMP on March 13 (Philip is unable to attend).

Sustainability Course Designation-

Call for course designations for fall 2019 should go out soon. How faculty submit a course to be designated will be new because of the recent switch to Curriculog. Instead of faculty sending a copy of syllabus and completed designation form to Sustainability Coordinator it will need to be uploaded and submitted through Curriculog. Rachel will draft an email to solicit applications for designation to be reviewed. Rachel will also draft e-mail to send to Dean’s to share the opportunity and request their encouragement of faculty to apply.

Sustainable Susquehanna-

Should be advertised soon for faculty to apply. Rachel and Greg Fulkerson will be co-facilitating the workshop this year and are applying to attend the Sustainability Across the Curriculum Leadership Workshop as training for future Sustainable Susquehanna workshops. Different ways of advertising to interested faculty was discussed and inquiry into whether workshop should be advertised to faculty from other colleges.

Next meeting scheduled for Monday, March 12 at 10 am to make up for meeting over Spring Break.

Attendees: Philip Sirianni, Kathy Meeker, Tyra Olstad, Mark English, Ron Bishop, Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, Michelle Hansen, Diane Williams, Thomas Rascona, Jonelle Reyes, Patrick Ryan, Rachel Kornhauser


Group Updates:

  • Sustainability Office:
    • Sandra Steingraber will be coming to speak during Green Dragon Week, April 18. Co-sponsored with Red Dragon Reader Series
    • County Composting Facility is moving forward. Post-consumer food waste will begin to be collected in dish rooms of Hulbert and Morris and rolled out to all dining halls by end of semester. Exact dates forthcoming
    • Benefit breakfast for Laura Emmett, Administrative Assistant to Todd Foreman on Friday, 7-10 am at Morris Hall
  • Patrick Ryan- Oneonta is in talks to have a dorm retrofitted to have net-zero emissions based off of Energiesprong model
  • Ron Bishop- Planning to bring Polymers class to recycling center as class trip. Once he has his plans he will reach out to open it up to more students/staff.
  • Dee Williams- Sodexo is moving to have all compostable materials in dining halls. Single serve crackers will be eliminated and plastic straws will be replaced by compostable straws.
  • Kathy Meeker- Dr. Philip Siriani to present first Faculty Convivium, "THE EFFECT OF SUSTAINABILITY COMMITMENTS ON COLLEGE ADMISSIONS," on February 7. RSVP x 2517.
  • Reviewing meeting with Dr. K and the Sustainability Master Plan (SMP)

Sustainability Master Plan Review:

  • Plans for Philip and Rachel to bring SMP to March 12 Cabinet Meeting and to Senate before then. There will be a new presiding officer of the Senate who should review ASAP since it could take several months to be commented on.
  • Philip suggested we consider with strategic plan type table to lay out goals, progress, assessment, etc. 
    • Some assessment can be based on STARS report as much of our SMP relates to tracking in STARS
  • Rachel has updated current version with progress so we can show: new initiatives, completed, in progress initiatives
  • Ron suggested after SMP is brought to cabinet and senate it is brought to campus senators to bring to SUNY central
  • In Dr. K’s meeting she suggested we reconsider signing on to Second Nature’s President’s Climate Commitment and advertising free bus transportation with OPT
    • It was suggested Sustainability and Maintenance and Operations meet to discuss feasibility. Climate Commitment has been made much more flexible and attainable and might be worthwhile. There was discussion if we should ask Dr. K. to sign before she leaves or if we would ask new President. It was recommended we ask the new President
    •  Dee pointed out that SA has a contract with OPT and pays per rider. Rachel will explore before any more action is taken to advertise how faculty/staff can use OPT.
    • Was suggested we try (again) a sustainable commute to campus day once a semester
  • Suggested student research project- history of sustainability on campus

Moving Forward:

  • Suggested to set up working groups to create strategic plan

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)


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