New Recycling Information

Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) has implemented new recycling regulations regarding plastics. Now all bottleneck bottles (like laundry detergent bottles, water bottles and milk jugs) and stack-able dairy containers. Click here for more information.

Lights Out on Saturday: Earth Hour Draws Attention to Energy Consumption and Its Effects on the Environment

Earth Hour graphicSyracuse University Sustainability Management is encouraging students, faculty, staff, and their friends and family to participate in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 30, at 8:30 p.m. Millions of people around the world will turn off their lights for one hour to show their steadfast commitment to protecting nature.

For that 60 minutes on Saturday night, consider turning off any unnecessary lights and joining three iconic symbols of Syracuse University—the Dome, Hendricks Chapel and the Hall of Languages—in going dark and showing support for the environment.

We live in an interconnected world. Every action we take impacts life around us, and increasingly those impacts are harmful. Our ever-growing demand for food, water, and energy is changing the climate faster than predicted—and it comes at a cost for wildlife, wild places and people everywhere.

By extinguishing lights during Earth Hour, individuals everywhere are helping amplify a crucial message that climate change affects every person and every habitat on Earth, and it is up to all of us to help tackle it.

Syracuse University Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has awarded a STARS Silver rating to Syracuse University in recognition of its sustainability achievements.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System(STARS) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. This is the University’s first time rating itself using AASHE STARS, an important benchmarking and analytic tool for the campus as it continues to institute more sustainability programs and infrastructure.

Then-Chancellor Nancy Cantor signed the Presidents Climate Commitment, now Second Nature, in 2007, pledging to further increase campus sustainability and carbon neutrally by 2040.

In 2005, the University started purchasing 20 percent renewable energy and has since increased the commitment to 35 percent, making Syracuse one of the top 25 schools in the country to purchase renewable energy according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The University has launched many programs since 2007, including:

  • writing the Climate Action Plan, which is designed to reduce our climate emissions;
  • Food Services going trayless in the dining centers;
  • Energy Systems & Sustainability Management and Auxiliary Services installing 240 solar thermal panels on the roofs of 20 buildings serving 160 three-bedroom South Campus apartments;
  • converting to energy-efficient light and heating systems across campus;
  • offering paperless payroll and paychecks;
  • the Student Association in collaboration with several administrative units launching the Cycle Share program;
  • the Campus as a Lab for Sustainability grant program funding 15 campus projects for faculty and students;
  • a student donating two Electric Charging Stations, which the University installed;
  • academic units creating sustainability minors and majors, including Energy and Its Impacts in the Maxwell School

“Since signing the President’s Climate Commitment in 2005, sustainability has played a vital role on campus,” states Pete Sala, vice president and chief facilities officer. “The silver rating awarded to Syracuse University is a great example of that. The University is committed to achieving all sustainability goals as outlined in the Climate Action Plan, including its commitment to climate neutrality by 2040. The completion of the AASHE STARS provides us with a benchmark toward achieving these goals.”

With more than 800 participants in 30 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: academics; engagement; operations; planning and administration; and innovation and leadership.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” says AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Syracuse University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, the program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York state, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, visit syracuse.edu.

About AASHE:

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit aashe.org.

2019 RecycleMania Collegiate Recycling Competition Runs Through March 30

Syracuse University is once again participating in RecycleMania, the eight-week national recycling and waste reduction competition in which colleges and universities across the United States and Canada are ranked each week based on their amount of collected recycling, food organics and trash. RecycleMania begins Sunday, Feb. 3.

In the spirit of the competition and to improve the University’s overall recycling efforts, Sustainability Management will be around campus in various locations to educate the campus community about what can and cannot be recycled. In addition to visibility in dining centers, Sustainability Management will be staffing information tables in Bird Library on Feb. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and in the Milton Atrium in the Life Sciences Complex on Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Syracuse University traditionally is among the top Atlantic Coast Conference institutions involved in RecycleMania. Only the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina out-performed Syracuse in total recycling efforts last year.

For the second year in a row, in 2018, Syracuse ranked first in New York state in RecycleMania’s Total Recycling category. The University recycled 905,314 pounds of material, securing its national ranking of 14th out of the competing 229 college and universities in the category. Total Recycling recognizes institutions with highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, and bottles and cans.

This year, Syracuse is competing in the Classic Tournament, which involves four main categories: the Stephan K Gaski Per Capita Classic, Diversion (formally Grand Champion), Total Recycling and Food Organics, all based on the weight of recyclables, trash and food organics. The University will submit actual weights, collected each week by Sustainability Management, to be ranked  against the other competing institutions. The competition runs through March 30, and the results will be announced on April 16.

The Stephan K Gaski Per Capita Classic measures the weight of recyclables divided by the campus population. Last year, with 23.521 pounds recycled per person, the University ranked 34th in the country and third in New York state.

Last year, the University placed third among participating New York state institutions and 43rd nationally in the Diversion category—which combines trash, recyclables and food organics to determine the college/university’s recycling rate as a percentage of overall waste—and improved its diversion rate from 47 percent in 2017 to 48 percent in 2018.

The University also competes in the Food Organics category, placing 73rd last year with 18.82 pounds of organics per capita sent to the Onondaga Country Resource Recovery Agency’s compost site.

The 2018 tournament featured a total of 300 participating college and universities from 46 states, the District of Columbia and Canada with a combined enrollment of 3.6 million students. Some 68.6 million pounds of recyclables and food organics were recorded.

Syracuse University complies with the Onondaga County Source Separation Law and has on-campus recycling bins for mandatory recyclables, such as paper, cardboard and cans/bottles. The University also recycles specialized items, including batteries, electronics, polystyrene cold shipping boxes, fluorescent light bulbs, scrap metal, compostable yard waste and construction debris. In addition, campus dining centers compost pre- and post-consumer scraps and donate leftover food to the SU/ESF Food Recovery Network, a student movement that uses donated leftovers to reduce food waste while feeding those in need.

For more information on campus sustainability and recycling efforts, visit the SU Sustainability website, follow @SustainableSU on Twitter and Instagram, and check out the Syracuse University Sustainability Facebook page.

To learn more about RecycleMania, visit recyclemania.org/.

Library Farm Part Time Position

Position: Part-time LibraryFarm Manager

The Northern Onondaga Public Library is looking for a part-time manager for our LibraryFarm project. The LibraryFarm at the Cicero Library is a nationally recognized program that is often referred to as a unique maker space, where the community learns and works together to explore organic growing and sustainable goals. Go to our website for more information on the LibraryFarm – www.nopl.org/services/spaces/library-farm

Schedule: The LibraryFarm Manager works an average of 15 hours per week, with a flexible schedule (may work more hours during the growing season) including some Saturdays and evenings.

Pay Rate: $15-$18 per hour depending on experience. Part-time staff members are eligible to join the New York State Retirement System, and receive some employee benefits (vacation and sick leave).

Experience & Qualifications:

  •  Associates or Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture, Horticulture and/or related field preferred, but not required.
  •  A minimum of 1-2 years’ experience working with community gardens, community engagement/outreach & knowledge of organic farming techniques and landscape maintenance preferred, but not required.
  •  Successful candidate will be a self-starter, high energy, and enjoy working outdoors and independently.
  •  Must enjoy working with a diverse group of people and have strong organizational skills.
  •  Good computer and writing skills are a plus.
  •  Vehicle & valid NYS Driver’s License is required to complete job duties.

Responsibilities include:

Outreach & Education

  •  Work with garden members to ensure that each plot is effectively utilized and maintained
  •  Communicate regularly with the garden members and Library Farm Steering Committee
  •  Outreach to various groups to encourage participation in the LibraryFarm
  •  Register garden members for their plots each year and conduct orientation meetings for new participants
  •  Organize and participate in work parties at least twice a year
  •  Coordinate mini cleanup days for garden members through the season
  •  Assist garden members throughout the season with gardening education and problem solving of all kinds
  •  Work with Cicero Library Manager in coordinating programming around the LibraryFarm

Site Work

  •  Lead the preparation of the LibraryFarm in the Spring; including coordination of deliveries, tilling and staking
  •  Perform regular garden maintenance functions and assist with organizational landscaping projects
  •  With direction from the Cicero Library Manager and NOPL Director, develop new garden sites


  •  Coordinate with Cicero Library Manager, LibraryFarm Steering Committee and others to prepare, improve and develop the LibraryFarm
  •  Recruit, organize, and supervise volunteers and interns to assist with projects on an on-going basis Administration
  •  Keep accurate records for all matters connected with the LibraryFarm
  •  Seek support and donations from businesses and acknowledge contributions when received

Send a letter of interest, resume and references by 4/15
to Jill Youngs, or mail to 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero NY 13039, attention Jill Youngs.

We Hope You Have A Sustainable Winter Break!

Sustainable Winter Break

As classes and finals winding down, please help the University reduce energy and be sustainable for winter break.

Please complete these small tasks before leaving campus:

  1. Turn off all office and personal equipment, such as, computers, monitors, printers, copiers, televisions, etc
    1. ACS recommends you shut down and restart your computers for critical updates and patches to occur and to add new versions of software. This should be a nightly or weekly occurrence.
    2. Unplug appliances in residence halls, kitchens and offices.
    3. Including, but not limited to, coffee makers, televisions, paper shredders, gaming systems, etc.
  2. Close and lock all windows, and if you have window shades consider closing them also.
  3. Turn off all your lights, where possible, including task lighting and decorative lighting.
  4. Please lower the thermostat to 60 degrees if applicable.
  5. If you have approval for a space heater, please make sure that is turned off before leaving for the break.
  6. Computer Labs: please make sure all computers are turned off.
  7. Conference Rooms with computers and televisions: please make sure all are turned off.

All of these efforts help save energy and contribute to SU’s Climate Action Plan, the institutional roadmap for becoming carbon neutrality.




Proposals Being Accepted for Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability Funding

The SU Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability (CALS) program is offering up to $75,000 for faculty or student projects that advance the University’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, directly or indirectly, or through raising awareness on campus about climate disruption and environmental sustainability.

Faculty and students from any discipline may apply. The next round of funding is available for projects undertaken between May 16, 2019, through June 30, 2020. Deadline for proposals is midnight on March 29, 2019. The Call for Proposals and application materials can be found at sustainability.syr.edu/cals/calsgrants/. Funds will become available May 15, 2019.

All proposals must clearly address how the project relates to climate disruption and must include outreach or educational activities that promote awareness of sustainability issues on the Syracuse University campus. Projects may include faculty or student research, applied research, campus infrastructure or landscape projects, outreach campaigns, service projects or course development.

The Syracuse University Climate Action Plan, released in 2009, is providing the competitive funding as part of the CALS program, overseen by a team of faculty and staff from across the University. The program merges academic scholarship with the University’s broad initiative to meet energy efficiency goals, while having SU faculty and students use the campus as a testbed for innovative ideas.

The last grant winners were announced in April 2018. Four projects were awarded funding:

  • Don Carr, professor of design in the School of Design, is overseeing the creation of the course Sustainability Design Elective—SU Tiny House (DES 400/600).
  • Jeongmin Ahn, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, is working to design a safer, more efficient, low-cost battery for electric vehicles.
  • Caitlin Eger, a graduate student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, is using emerging geophysical technologies and drones to map near-surface campus hydrology to determine locations on campus that would benefit from green stormwater infrastructure installations or retrofits.
  • Philip Arnold, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences, is developing a two-day workshop for faculty and advanced graduate students on the human and ecological history of Onondaga Lake, introducing indigenous ecological knowledge about sustainability and climate change for embedding the ideas into curriculum in a variety of disciplines.

EPA and College Consensus Rank Syracuse University 8th Among Top 25 Green Colleges in the United States

Top Green Colleges badgeCollege Consensus has ranked Syracuse University 8th in its listing of the Top 25 Best Green Colleges in the United States.

For the purpose of developing the Green Colleges list, College Consensus partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership to recognize higher education institutions that have committed to green energy.

College Consensus praised SU: “The university is regularly recognized as a leader in areas like law, business, and public policy, both in teaching and research, and all of those strengths contribute to Syracuse’s status as one of the best green colleges in the U.S. As one of the most eco-friendly colleges and one of the most sustainable campuses in America, Syracuse is a leader and a model.”

The University has gained recognition over the years as one of the biggest purchasers of green energy in New York state and the Northeast. Thirty-five percent of the energy used on campus is from renewable sources and in line with the University’s goal on campus to become climate neutral by 2040.

In addition, sustainability has been integrated into the curriculum, with offerings of majors and minors in areas like energy, food studies and environmental science.

Furthering research on campus, the Campus as a Lab for Sustainability (CALS) program offers $75,000 in funding for academic research, student projects and course development that can further engage the campus in addressing climate change and sustainable systems.

To learn more about sustainability on campus, visit sustainability.syr.edu.

Following is the full list of the 25 Best Green Colleges in the United States:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Northwestern University
  3. Georgetown University
  4. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  5. Carnegie Mellon University
  6. Ohio State University (main campus)
  7. American University
  8. Syracuse University
  9. University of Oklahoma-Norman
  10. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  11. University of Maryland-College Park
  12. George Washington University
  13. University of Missouri-Columbia
  14. Oklahoma State University (main campus)
  15. Western Washington University
  16. Ohio University (main campus)
  17. University of Vermont
  18. University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  19. Arizona State University-Tempe
  20. University of New Hampshire (main campus)
  21. Catholic University of America
  22. University at Buffalo
  23. Drexel University
  24. University of South Florida (main campus)
  25. Temple University