Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 20, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Editorial: Green is good

United States Green Building Council certification does not represent the college’s potential for sustainability

Ithaca College’s Athletics and Events Center was awarded a Gold designation in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in January. The new designation makes the A&E Center the third campus building with a Gold or higher ranking from the United States Green Building Council. Despite the improvement, the college is still not living up to its eco-friendly potential.

The A&E Center, the Peggy Ryan Williams Center and the The Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise are the only certified buildings on campus, and yet they are centerpieces of the college’s sustainability marketing. Meanwhile, the college ranks 69th on a Sierra Club list of 164 eco-friendly schools. The college’s website also boasts its listing on the Princeton Review’s 322 “green colleges.” At the same time, neighboring Cornell University joins 22 of those colleges on the review’s “Green Honor Roll.”

The college should use Cornell as an example. Cornell has been praised for offering free bus passes to freshmen, incentives for carpooling and investing in energy conservation initiatives. Such programs, as well as working toward future divestment from fossil fuels, will move the college closer to the sustainability it markets so much.