The CUNY Sustainability Task Force

CUNY Sustainability Task Force
"Our success in achieving our targets by 2017 is critical to the quality of life in an increasingly populated New York City..."
-Chancellor Matthew Goldstein


The CUNY Sustainability Project was given institutional clarity and impetus through the acceptance by Chancellor Goldstein of Mayor Bloomberg’s '30 in10' Challenge. This challenge will motivate New York City’s public and private universities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2017.

CUNY is committed to investing the resources necessary to construct, retrofit and maintain more sustainable and green facilities. To assure a more sustainable CUNY and a sustainable New York and in order to meet these challenges Executive Vice Chancellor and COO Allan Dobrin has created the CUNY Task Force on Sustainability.


All 23 CUNY Institutions and their leaders are now developing individual and measurable ten year sustainability plans on their campuses in order to reach CUNY's target in 2017. At a kick off on October 24, 2007 the Task Force presented each campus a unique and proprietary guide to creating a Sustainable Campus Plan.

More broadly, 21 committees have been created to support this momentous effort and to incorporate sustainability into the fabric of the University by integrating sustainability into the curriculum, supporting research and partnering with civic and business leaders to achieve a more Sustainable CUNY, Sustainable New York. Each committee has a CUNY leader and has also been provided with a guidance document.

In order to support CUNY colleges in achieving their sustainability benchmarks and integrate sustainability into their buildings and on their campuses, the Task Force has established a CUNY Green Campus Loan Fund, with an initial commitment of 1 million dollars. This revolving fund will provide eligible CUNY applicants with capital funds for projects that can measurably reduce CUNY's carbon footprint or energy usage and meet fund payback parameters.

To further assist the campuses as they develop and implement their plans, the Task Force will convene a Sustainability Summit in the fall that will bring together 'green vendors', workshops and speakers.


The immediate focus of QCC's Sustainability efforts should be on conservation, preventative maintenance, awareness and data gathering.

One of the most daunting elements of developing the College's Sustainability effort is determining size/scope, and measurable outcomes/assessments, for each of the 7 Activity Groups:

  1. Energy Efficiency and Operations
  2. Curriculum
  3. Students
  4. Procurement
  5. CUNY Fleet / Transportation
  6. Waste and Recycling
  7. Professional Development and Training

The following link provides a sample guide for the successful development and implementation of a sustainable and environmental action plan:

Creating a Sustainable Campus Plan

The most important aspect of the guide is its inclusion of a methodology to continuously measure and compare performance and achievement against previously established baselines and timetables.   

The document includes guidance steps for creating baseline measurements on an Excel chart, as well as recommendation lists that can be used as a reference as you create your own target goals for each Activity Group.  

The document is not meant to be a "reporting template"; it is only meant as a helpful guideline as we begin to carve the shape of each of our initiatives.  Give it a look, and take from it what is applicable!