SUNY New Paltz Opens Sustainability Office

Apr 29, 2013

Credit Intel Free Press, flickr

One of the State University of New York campuses has a new Office of Campus Sustainability. Already, the college is one of eight SUNY campuses listed in the Princeton Review’s 2013 Guide to Green Colleges.

The State University of New York at New Paltz has hired a full-time sustainability coordinator, who begins May 1, and a part-time energy coordinator. The new office and its hires come in support of the SUNY New Paltz president’s recent submission of the Campus Sustainability Plan to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

The office will spearhead sustainability efforts on campus under the supervision of the assistant vice president for facilities management. Lisa Mitten has been hired as the New Paltz Campus Sustainability Coordinator. She most recently served with Project Management Services in Virginia, where she led many sustainability initiatives and projects. In addition, Brian Pine will return to the New Paltz staff as a part-time Campus Energy Coordinator in the new office. Pine was the Director of Facilities Operations & Maintenance on campus until his retirement a few months ago. In this new position, his work will include initiating energy grants, working with campus constituencies to lower energy usage on campus and implementing strategies to lower the campus’s carbon footprint.

The University at Albany has a similar office of environmental sustainability, which has been open since January 2008. Dr. Mary Ellen Mallia is the office’s director. She oversees the university’s environmental initiatives and policies.

She says the office targets several areas, though the focus can change from time to time depending upon such factors as research and funding.

In addition to alternative transportation and food and dining, she says other areas of focus include green building projects, community outreach, natural resource protection, water conservation, green purchasing, and recycling and waste.

UAlbany and New Paltz are two SUNY campuses listed in the Princeton Review’s 2013 Guide to Green Colleges. The other six are SUNY Oneonta, Potsdam, Binghamton University, Geneseo, Stony Brook, and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, or ESF. The Syracuse-based ESF college has an Office of Energy and Sustainability, focused on carbon neutrality, renewable energy, green building and sustainable practices. In fact, all of ESFs educational and research programs are oriented toward natural resources.

Meanwhile, the SUNY New Paltz Campus Sustainability Plan uses 2010 as a baseline year for most measures and is designed to achieve full sustainability in 50 years. Based on current projections, the college expects that by 2030 emissions directly related to campus operations could be reduced by as much as 80 percent from 2008 levels.