The City College of New York

The City College of New York
Campus Category: 
Four year and graduate institutions over 15,000 student FTE

Contact Information

Deputy to the President / Chief of Staff
Education and Research:

The City College of New York actively promotes teaching of sustainability not only in traditional departments, such as Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) and Biology, but across schools and departments. The Grove School of Engineering, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, and the Division of Science jointly offer a new Master's Degree in Sustainability in the Urban Environment, the first such degree program offered in the U.S. beginning in Spring 2010. The curriculum is designed to educate the current, emerging and next generation of interdisciplinary leaders needed to solve pressing local, regional and global problems stemming from the interaction of humans and the environment. The objectives of the program are to train students to work in teams to design and implement strategies for sustainable development of water, land, air, food, energy, waste, construction and transportation. It will prepare them to work in diverse professional settings involving collaboration, interaction and communication with teams of scientists, engineers, architects and others. A new Master in Information Science program offered in the Computer Science Department beginning this fall includes hands-on GIS applications related to environmental research. An interdisciplinary Masters degree in Environmental Engineering is in development.

For undergraduates, there is a joint program that provides a systems-based approach to environmental sciences (between the Division of Science (EAS) and the Grove School of Engineering) in Earth Systems Science and Environmental Engineering leading respectively to the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering degrees. A new interdisciplinary Bachelors of Arts program in Economics and Environmental Studies is in development. In addition, a new course on global climate change as a component of the general education core program for all non-science majors (about 65% of entering freshman in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) will be offered this fall and there are courses in the Economics Department on Environmental Entrepreneurship.

Other sustainability-related programs include the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service, which offers a concentration in Environmental Policy, and the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies, which helps students obtain practical experience in areas such as environmental policy through its service learning component.

Through CUNY-designated Institutes and Research Centers and their own laboratories, CCNY Faculty members conduct research on a wide range of issues related to sustainability, environmental conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, climate change including global warming and more. These include the Center for Water Resources and Environmental Research, CUNY Institute for Urban Systems, Institute for Municipal Waste Research, NOAA Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center, and Greenproofing: Practical Training in Environmental Entrepreneurship. All of these programs are designed to involve undergraduates, particularly those from historically under-represented populations, in research to encourage them to pursue advanced study.

Campus Operations:

Operations: According to our GHG inventory, we have reduced our GHG emissions by approximately 32% (29% per FTE, 36% per 1,000sf) since the 1993 base year. Given that are a commuter campus with about 95% of our students, faculty and staff taking public transportation, most of our further reductions will be in Scope 1 (76% of our source emissions). We upgraded HVAC systems, installing newer more efficient equipment (boilers, air filters, water treatment, chillers, control sensors, and pumps). Lighting fixtures throughout the campus use regular or compact fluorescent bulbs and are wired to occupancy sensors. New carpets are made from recycled content and are recyclable. The campus has an active recycling program in cooperation with the NYC Sanitation Department and continues to expand and promote the program. New plantings, including more native species, are appearing all over campus, including formerly paved areas and we are actively exploring green roofs. Grass clippings on lawns are mulched. Custodial services uses green cleaning products. Finally, an energy audit is underway that will lead to a list of projects, including alternative sources of power, improved HVAC controls and other ways to substantially reduce our energy usage.

Food Services: Whenever possible the vendor purchases local produce. Kitchen paper, plastic, glass and metal waste is recycled, and waste cooking oil is converted to bio-diesel. As an alternative to bottled water, a filtered drinking water system was installed and reusable containers are sold at cost. Cleaning products certified by the Green Restaurant Association. All Styrofoam was eliminated from the cafeteria and replaced with paper cups and plates, and aluminum containers. Unbleached napkins are dispensed plastic clamshells are being replaced with cellophane for Grab-n-Go items. The vendor also contributes to A new eating venue, opening in the student center this fall, is planned to feature fair trade, organic, locally grown, or otherwise wholesome and nutritious food items.

Purchasing: Working with Staples, our primary state vendor for office supplies, we monitor and quantify our product purchases of recycled and other green products, and we look for opportunities to replace non-sustainable items with green items. We have already saved 62 trees, 23,000 gallons of water and 44 million BTUs of energy. We no longer order from paper catalogs—going electronic not only saves trees, it eliminates a ton of paper from the waste stream. All tax-levy paper (copy and custodial) orders are for 100% post-consumer recycled content paper, mostly process chlorine free.

We recently purchased 3 hybrid vehicles for public safety’s fleet—they get twice the miles-per-gallon as the cars they replace—the first CUNY campus to do this. We also purchased electric vans and carts for campus maintenance use and natural gas vehicles for shuttle buses to mass transit. Our three new trash compactors not only help us quantify our waste stream, they use environmentally friendly hydraulic fluid which are aromatic-free, inherently biodegradable, non-toxic to aquatic life and recyclable.

Administration and Finance:

CCNY leads the City University system in taking steps throughout its administration to become a green campus. We understand that being green goes beyond campus operations to how we interact with the local and national community.

We are the first campus in the City University of New York system to join AASHE and the only one, so far, to sign the ACUPCC, both prior to the launch of the CUNY-wide sustainability initiative. We piloted the GHG Inventory Project and the Energy Audit/Climate Action Plan drafting project for all CUNY campuses.

Located in the heart of Harlem in New York City, we are well situated to be a leader in urban sustainability. CCNY Green has reached out to local elected officials and community-based organizations in order to participate in local events promoting sustainable living and building green. A green roof program for the Harlem community is based at CCNY, as is a program that provides architecture and urban planning services to local civic groups and governments. Our Adult and Continuing Education department offers courses in Energy Auditing for Small Residential Properties, Building Analyst Training, and Building Envelope Professional Training. Online Continuing Ed courses include green design and construction and LEED training.

City College has been cited by U.S. News and World Report as one of the most diverse institutions in the United States, with over 85% of our students self-identifying as members of ethnic minorities and over 23% reporting that they were born in one of 153 countries outside the United States. Access to excellence remains the vision of City College over 160 years after it was founded, with a full-time undergraduate tuition of $2,300 per semester for New York residents, City College remains one of the most affordable institutions in the country (tuition for out-of-state residents is very low as well, at $415 per credit). For those who applied for financial aid, 98% received aid that met, on average, 80% of their needs. Our diversity also extends to the faculty and staff, and the many programs that create unique opportunities for all students, especially those from under-represented groups, to fully participate in research, scholarship and community engagement.