Policies & Plans

Policies & Plans 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Background / Institutional Commitment

Organizational Infrastructure

President's Advisory Council on Sustainability (PACS) Sustainability Definition

PACS Mission Statement

Sustainability Master Plan Outline

  1. Curriculum
  2. Planning and Administration
  3. Operations
  4. Co-Curricular and Engagement

Introduction:

Sustainability is a fundamental value of SUNY Oneonta, as designated in the College’s first Strategic Plan (Mission, Vision, & Strategic Plan 2010). The College integrates sustainability throughout its operations, curriculum, administrative units, and engagement opportunities on campus. This plan will be used to strategically and purposefully direct the projects of the Office of Sustainability in order to move SUNY Oneonta to the forefront of sustainability. It models the framework of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) assessment tool.

Our ultimate goal is to develop a generation of environmental stewards and leaders who understand how their decisions impact society, business, and the environment. The College is responsible for educating all students on the importance of reducing their ecological footprint. Every student who graduates from SUNY Oneonta should have a strong understanding of sustainability and the environmental complexities facing the current and future generations. If this is accomplished, SUNY Oneonta graduates will become part of the solution in achieving a sustainable future.

Background / Institutional Commitment:

For close to half a century, SUNY Oneonta has been committed to sustainability and environmental protection. In the 1970s, the campus hosted a major symposium that attracted national speakers to converse on environmental issues. Since 2000, the College has hosted the annual endowed Comell-Gladstone-Hanlon-Kauffman Lecture on Environmental Education and Communication. In the mid-1990s, the College instituted a new interdepartmental major in environmental sciences. The College also has approximately 3,000 acres of land for outdoor educational and environmental research use.

Recently, the College has made a great deal of progress in sustainability specific to academics, operations, administration, and engagement. A full time Sustainability Coordinator was hired in 2012 to staff the new Office of Sustainability, and in 2015 an Energy Manager was hired to assist with utility management. Since 2013, the College has offered the Sustainable Susquehanna Faculty Development Workshop, designed to facilitate integration of sustainability across the curriculum through course revision or new course development. Faculty members who participate in this annual workshop receive an honorarium upon completion of a new or revised syllabus, with the intent to teach the course within one year after participating in the workshop.

In addition, the College has a sustainability course designation program, as well as a new environmental sustainability major (replacing the environmental sciences major). In fall 2017, the College established a Sustainability Living and Learning Community, which integrates sustainability coursework and experiential learning into a freshman residential community. SUNY Oneonta has also exceled in integrating sustainability into its operations through the installation of LED lighting fixtures and an electric vehicle charging station, among other initiatives. Further, the College has prioritized stormwater reduction and water conservation projects. SUNY Oneonta will continue to prioritize sustainability and adhere to the SUNY Chancellor’s newly announced goals of:

  • Sourcing 100% of its electricity from zero-carbon sources
  • Installing renewable and clean on-site generation at each of the 64 campuses by 2020
  • Designing all new buildings to be designed to achieve zero-net carbon emissions

Organizational Infrastructure:

Sustainability efforts at SUNY Oneonta are supported at every level of the College and are driven by its students, faculty and staff, and the President’s Office.

Organizational Infrastructure:  Top Blue: President's Advisory Council on Sustainability (PACS) | Middle Aqua: Office of Sustainability | Bottom: Environmental Clubs

 

President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability (PACS) Sustainability Definition:

Meeting the economic, environmental, and social needs of the present and future generations.

PACS Mission Statement:

We believe that the foundation of sustainability is the protection of the life-sustaining natural environment upon which all living things depend for survival. We advocate a decision-making framework that promotes such protection as well as its relationship to fundamental human justice and equity. Environmental and financial stewardship should meet the needs of current and future generations. Further, we understand that the environment is inextricably interconnected with social and economic practices, and that these should exist in harmony with the natural environment, enhancing rather than depleting the productive capacity of the Earth. We are dedicated to preserving and living within the limits of both natural resources and sink capacities, as well as giving preference to low-impact renewable resources wherever possible.

Sustainability Master Plan Outline

1. Curriculum

  • Goal    1 : Increase faculty sustainability awareness, literacy, and dialogue.
  • Goal    2: Increase student sustainability awareness, literacy, dialogue, and engagement.
  • Goal 3 : Enhance and integrate sustainability curriculum, where applicable.

2. Planning and Administration

  • Goal 1 : Establish and maintain effective sustainability leadership specific to policies and procedures.
  • Goal    2: Broaden access, communication, and visibility of sustainability initiatives.
  • Goal    3: Strengthen the integration of sustainability within all campus functions.

3. Operations

  • Goal 1 : Plan, design, operate, and maintain the campus in a way that reduces the consumption of natural resources.
  • Goal    2: Use the campus facilities and operations as a “Living Laboratory,” highlighting successful integration of sustainability initiatives for educational purposes.
  • Goal 3 : Identify and enhance efficiencies in campus operations to support economic sustainability.

4. Co-Curricular and Engagement

  • Goal    1 : Strengthen the awareness of sustainability initiatives across campus.
  • Goal    2: Increase the recognition of student sustainability leaders on campus.
  • Goal 3 : Create and enhance regional partnerships to support community service and service learning opportunities in sustainability.

 

1. Curriculum

The following goals, objectives, and actions support a culture of sustainability awareness and commitment at SUNY Oneonta. We envision sustainability curriculum in the broadest terms, inclusive of programs, courses, and units within courses devoted to sustainability, as well as faculty and student learning communities, lecture series, workshops, research activities, field trips, and study abroad study away opportunities. The plan is outline within three overarching goals related to increasing sustainability awareness and literacy among faculty and students, and enhancing and integrating sustainability curriculum across all departmental, program, and disciplinary lines.

Goal 1: Increase faculty sustainability awareness, literacy, and dialogue.

  • Objective 1: Develop faculty awareness about the value of sustainability at SUNY Oneonta and in higher education
    • Action 1: Periodically coordinate a faculty town hall and/or faculty learning community to explore sustainability curriculum and pedagogy literatures within and across disciplines.
    • Action 2: Encourage inclusion of sustainability topics and experiences in campus scholarly events, such as the Life of the Mind, Student Research & Creativity Day, and Faculty Convivium (as well as others that may be developed in the future).
    • Action 3: Identify and enhance existing practices on campus that may promote sustainability awareness and education, such as (but not limited to) the Red Dragon Reading Series, John Burroughs Environmental Literature Conference, and Cornell-Gladstone-Hanlon-Kaufmann Lecture.
    • Action 4: Actively consider new internal and external opportunities devoted to sustainability awareness on campus and in the community.
    • Action 5: Prepare annual reports on findings to be included in the STARS reporting process within the AASHE, and the Annual Report and Assessment Plan prepared by the Office of Sustainability Coordinator.
  • Objective 2: Support and increase the number of faculty with training and expertise in sustainability teaching and scholarship.
    • Action 1: Offer and seek internal and external funding for professional development opportunities, such as the Sustainable Susquehanna Faculty Development Workshop, to increase expertise of existing faculty.
    • Action 2: Promote curriculum development for sustainability courses within and across disciplinary boundaries. This may include, for example, co-teaching courses from different perspectives, or exploring new forms of experiential learning opportunities. 
    • Action 3: Inform new faculty of available sustainability-related professional development opportunities: these may be included in orientation activities. 
    • Action 4: Consistent with Objective 1, report annually on initiatives undertaken to train new and existing faculty in sustainability.
  • Objective 3: Encourage and support research and creative activity that incorporate sustainability.
    • Action 1: Inform faculty of opportunities for sustainability funding from internal and external sources
    • Action 2: Consistent with Action 1, acquire and maintain research and creative activity materials and tools.
    • Action 3: Consistent with Objectives 1 and 2, report annually on initiatives undertaken to support research and creative activity that incorporate sustainability.

Goal 2: Increase student sustainability awareness, literacy, dialogue, and engagement.

  • Objective 1: Develop methods to measure student sustainability literacy.
    • Action 1: Examine existing methods (e.g., survey instruments) that are already in use.
    • Action 2: Adopt and/or create PACS-recommended method of methods.
    • Action 3: Test the adopted method of measurement on a small sample of students.
    • Action 4: Develop a plan to administer the method of measurement.
    • Action 5: Prepare a report of the results of implementation.
    • Action 6: Continue measuring sustainability literacy on an ongoing annual basis. Prepare annual reports on findings that will be included in the STARS reporting process within the AASHE.
  • Objective 2: Promote sustainability-focused internships, field experiences, and work-related opportunities.
    • Action 1: Utilize the campus as a "Living Laboratory" by making facilities data publicly available and involving students, faculty, and staff in facilities projects (e.g., new building design, food waste monitoring, renewable energy installations). 
    • Action 2: Encourage and help to coordinate, when practical, field trips that highlight regional sustainability efforts (e.g., wind farms, Eco-Village, hydroponics farms). 
    • Action 3: Establish new, and utilize and support currently, regional sustainability partnerships to connect students with sustainability internships.
    • Action 4: Advise and mentor students to pursue applied sustainability experiences.
    • Action 5: Include a list of opportunities and funding sources for applied experiences on the Office of Sustainability webpage.
  • Objective 3: Promote sustainability study abroad and study away opportunities.
    • Action 1; Explore the potential for existing opportunities to gain the sustainability designation.
    • Action 2: Consult with International Education and other sources (such as COIL) to explore and develop sustainability-related opportunities.
  • Objective 4: Promote student research and creativity activity that includes sustainability components.
    • Action 1: Provide opportunities that showcase and recognize scholarly activities in sustainability.
    • Action 2: Create a sustainability conference opportunity on campus.
    • Action 3: Encourage students to attend and present at sustainability-related conferences and meetings.

Goal 3: Enhance and integrate sustainability into the curriculum, where applicable.

  • Objective 1: Establish campus-wide sustainability learning outcomes.
    • Action 1: Explore existing models for learning outcomes from other schools, the AASHE website, and other sources.
    • Action 2: Develop learning outcomes through shared governance.
    • Action 3: Provide opportunities for faculty to incorporate the sustainability learning outcomes into their courses.
  • Objective 2: Identify and designate courses that integrate sustainability topics with any degree of emphasis/depth.
    • Action 1: Expand the College's sustainability designation program for both focused and related courses to include credit and non-credit bearing courses offered through the Office of Continuing Education (see Objective 3 below).
    • Action 2:Promote the designation program through various means, such as informational meetings, department meetings, and the Council of Chairs.
    • Action 3: Initiate development of a Sustainability Certificate, structured around sustainability learning outcomes and sustainability-designated courses. 
    • Action 4: Report all existing courses that are designated either focused or related, and include them in the STARS reporting to the AASHE. 
  • Objective 3: Integrate sustainability into courses offered by the Office of Continuing Education.
    • Action 1: Review the range of courses being offered by the Office of Continuing Education.
    • Action 2: Solicit applications for the sustainability designation from the Office of Continuing Education.

2. Planning and Administration

The following goals, objectives, and actions support a sustainable College administration that prioritizes and institutionalizes sustainable leadership and strives to bring sustainability to the forefront in all practices and procedures across campus. This plan is outlined within three overarching goals related to the communication and implementation of sustainability policies and procedures at SUNY Oneonta. 

Goal 1: Establish and maintain effective sustainability leadership specific to policies and procedures.

  • Objective 1: Support existing and new sustainability initiatives in procurement and operations that enhance awareness of the impact of our everyday actions on the environment and provide sustainable alternative solutions.
    • Action 1: Coordinate opportunities for staff to initiate sustainability practices recognized by the College into their offices.
    • Action 2: Communicate campus-wide sustainability standards and initiatives to faculty and staff, including regular updates to the Office of Sustainability webpage.
    • Action 3: periodically update building managers on relevant sustainability initiatives.

Goal 2: Broaden access, communication, and visibility of sustainability initiatives. 

  • Objective 1: Promote and support sustainability initiatives and their effectiveness and impact.
    • Action 1: Communicate and broadcast sustainability initiatives through, for example, the Office of Sustainability webpage and in collaboration with other campus offices.
    • Action 2: Include sustainability data on the Office of Sustainability webpage (e.g., energy use, water use, recycling tonnage, etc.).
    • Action 3: Continue to maintain the Green Revolving Fund (e.g., reinvest energy rebates into energy efficient projects and tack savings).
  • Objective 2: Promote sustainability initiatives to prospective students and their families.
    • Action 1: Highlight sustainability initiatives during campus tours.
    • Action 2: Highlight sustainability initiatives on the Office of Admissions webpage.
    • Action 3: Incorporate messages of sustainability during admissions session with parents and students.

Goal 3: Strengthen the integration of sustainability within all campus functions.

  • Objective 1: Enhance adherence to sustainability policies.
    • Action 1: Identify a set of sustainability "best practices" and enforce current sustainability policies (e.g., No Idling Phases I, Temperature Set Point, Green Procurement-EO 4).
    • Action 2: Coordinate and enhance sustainability efforts with respect to equipment use (e.g., printing, energy management, etc.).
    • Action 3: Facilitate collaboration between support offices on sustainability initiatives.
    • Action 4: Strive to exceed state sustainability mandates.

3. Operations

The following goals, objectives, and actions support an innovative, interdisciplinary, systematic, educational, and mindful solution towards addressing facilities projects on campus. We envision operating the campus in a way that consents natural resources while reducing the long-term costs for the College. The plan is outlined within three overarching goals related to integrating sustainability in the design, maintenance, and operations of the campus environment.

Goal 1: Plan, design, operate, and maintain the campus in a way that reduces the consumption of natural resources. 

  • Objective 1: Strategically establish and plan sustainability initiatives in long-term facilities projects.
    • Action 1: Update the 2013 Greenhouse Gas Inventory and incorporate into a revises Climate Action Plan.
    • Action 2: Develop and Energy Roadmap to comply with SUNY and/or state recommendations.
    • Action 3: Continue and expand initiatives specific to water conservation, water reuse, and stormwater runoff.
    • Action 4: Continue and expand initiatives specific to sustainable landscape managements (e.g., support biodiversity, minimize use of toxic chemicals, promote soil stewardship, etc.).
    • Action 5: Complete the campus GIS infrastructure mapping project. 
  • Objective 2: Integrate sustainable design practices into building design.
    • Action 1: Build to the silver standard in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), per SUNY requirements, and support the application process for all new buildings.
    • Action 2: Advocate for the use of sustainable systems into new construction (e.g., green roofs, grey water systems, chilled beams, etc.).
  • Objective 3: Continue and expand sustainability initiatives within the transportation sector.
    • Action 1: Promote the use of the electric vehicle charging station.
    • Action 2: Consider ways to promote the use of energy efficient vehicles, carpooling, public transit, and biking or walking on and to campus.
    • Action 3: Work with the Student Association to expand their Bike Share program.
  • Objective 4: Reduce the amount of waste produced on campus.
    • Action 1: Decrease the amount of pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste entering the waste stream.
      • Continue the Wilsbach Hall compost program and expand related educational opportunities
      • Ensure that all pre- and post-consumer food waste from dining halls is directed to the regional composting facility.
      • Continue the pre-consumer Food Waste to Pig Farm Initiative.
    • Action 2: Encourage the use of reusable containers (versus disposable material). 
      • Support the availability and use of water filling stations, reusable water bottles and coffee mugs, reusable shopping bags and bags made of recycled materials.
      • Promote the use of compostable or reusable plates, cups, and utensils at College functions.
    • Objective 5: Increase the amount of recyclables collected on campus.
      • Action 1: Inform the campus community about, and encourage the correct use us. the single stream recycling program.
        • Disperse uniform containers and signage across campus.
        • Increase opportunities to recycle.
        • Integrate recycling education at events and dining facilities.
      • Action 2: Increase single stream recycling rate from 20% (current rate) to 35% by 2022.
      • Action 3: Track, measure, and increase the rate of recycling from other waste streams on campus (e.g., state owned electronic waste, tires, construction debris, etc.).
      • Action 4: Make recyclable data available to the campus community.
    • Objective 6: Increase the amount of material reused on campus.
      • Action 1: Centralize, expand, and co-coordinate the Surplus and Exchange Program.
      • Action 2: Promote and support the Red Dragon Thrift Shop
      • Action 3: Coordinate and expand the campus Move Out Donation and Reuse Program
    • Objective 7: Reduce the amount of toxic materials used and/or released on campus.
      • Action 1: Continue and expand the student and staff electronic waste recycling program.
      • Action 2: Promote the sustainable reuse of electronics.
        • Considering creating opportunities for campus members to make use of unwanted electronics.
      • Action 3: Continue and expand the use of non-toxic supplies (e.g., paint, cleaning supplies, ink, etc.).
    • Objective 8: Support and expand sustainability initiatives in dining services.
      • Action 1: Track local food purchases and create a local food procurement baseline.
      • Action 2: Increase local food purchases by 20% by 2020 (baseline year: FY 2014-2015).
      • Action 3: Support the Farm to SUNY Initiative.
      • Action 4: Educate students to reduce their post-consumer food waste.
      • Action 5: Broadcasting dining services sustainability initiatives.
    • Objective 9: Establish sustainable practices in the Grounds Department within the Office of Facilities, Safety, and Physical Plant.
      • Action 1: Coordinate pesticide-free areas.
      • Action 2: Facilitate sustainable landscaping initiatives (e.g., utilization of native plant species).
      • Action 3: Continue and expand the No Mow Zone initiative where appropriate.
      • Action 4: Reduce use of winter salt and expand heated sidewalk initiative
        • Stay on the forefront of emerging ice melt technology.
      • Action 5: Maintain and increase biodiversity on campus.
        • Continue applying for Tree Campus USA designation.
      • Action 6: Limit soil erosion and increase soil organic matter quality on campus.
        • Explore opportunities to increase leaf litter organic matter on grounds.
        • Explore reducing the need for synthetic fertilizer by increasing the use of compost or mulch.

Goal 2: Use the campus facilities and operations as a "Living Laboratory," highlighting successful integration of sustainability initiatives for educational purposes.

  • Objective 1: Make facilities information publicly available.
    • Action 1: Engage the campus community in green infrastructure practices such as the Storm water Interception Project.
      • Install interpretive signage.
    • Action 2: Display water and energy data meters in buildings.
    • Action 3: Publish utility and waste metrics data on the Office of Sustainability webpage.
    • Action 4: Encourage students to identify strategies to conserve natural resources using facilities data.
  • Objective 2: Share, inform, and promote sustainable operations within the campus and community.
    • Action 1: Develop and implement an outreach and communication strategy.

Goal 3: Identify and enhance efficiencies in campus operations to support economic sustainability.

  • Objective 1: Reduce the energy use index for the campus.
    • Action 1: Promote strict energy management and conservation (e.g., building scheduling).
    • Action 2: Track and promote energy efficient upgrades.
    • Action 3: Facilitate the installation of renewable energy systems on campus (e.g.,kW scale and MW scale).
  • Objective 2: Identify and leverage sustainability grant or funding opportunities
    • Action 1: Pursue the NYSERDA New Construction Existing Facilities incentive programs.
    • Action 2: Coordinate energy rebates through NYSEG.
    • Action 3: Research and apply for sustainability-related grants through campus, state, Federal, and private entities.

4. Co-Curricular and Engagement

The following goals, objectives, and actions support a campus community that has a strong commitment towards the environment and sustainability. Faculty, staff, and students will be environmental leaders and will take actions that show their investment in the College's sustainability goals and initiatives. We envision that the number of campus participants involved with sustainability efforts will increase and that the sustainability culture will strengthen. The plan is outlined within three overarching goals related to environmental awareness, engagement, leadership, and community service. 

Goal 1: Strengthen the awareness of sustainability initiatives across campus.

  • Objective 1: Integrate sustainability into the Residential Life experience
    • Action 1: Coordinate with New student Services and Residence Life to provide sustainability education during the First Six Weeks program.
    • Action 2: Continue and expand peer-to-peer sustainability outreach programs (e.g., staff tasks, Resident Student Officer positions).
    • Action 3: Provide resources to Residence Hall Directors to integrate sustainability into residence hall programming.
    • Action 4: Increase engagement and involvement in sustainability campaigns and residence hall competitions (e.g., RecycleMania and Do It in the Dark).
    • Action 5: Communicate consumption patterns through the energy and water dashboards to each residence hall.
  • Objective 2: Encourage a wide audience to participate in sustainability initiatives both on and off campus.
    • Action 1: Assess the current communication strategy and update to engage a larger and more diverse audience.
    • Action 2: Provide a wide range of sustainability-related opportunities and increase engagement with flexible opportunities for student interaction.
    • Action 3: Integrate sustainability into Greek Life, the Student Associate, student clubs, athletics, and other activities.
    • Action 4: When feasible, collect and report data on participation in sustainability initiatives both on and off campus.

Goal 2: Increase the recognition of and opportunities for student sustainability leaders on campus.

  • Objective 1: Create new leadership opportunities on campus to highlight sustainability achievements.
    • Action 1: Work with LEAD program to promote sustainability in the Social Responsibility LEAD credit component.

Goal 3: Create and enhance regional partnerships to support community service and service learning opportunities in sustainability.

  • Objective 1: Integrate sustainability into the Center for Social Responsibility and Community.
    • Action 1: Foster a stronger relationship between the Center for Social Responsibility and Community and the Office of Sustainability by highlighting available, and identifying additional, sustainability-focused community engagement opportunities (e.g., park clean up).

 

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