During the 2021-22 academic year, the Office of Campus Sustainability is supporting three student teams led by student Sustainability Ambassadors: the Beyond Plastics Team, the Sustainable & Inclusive Food Team, and the Carbon Neutrality Team. These student teams will lead campus-wide educational and engagement efforts around these themes as well as partner with employees to transform campus operations.
Click here to apply to join one of the 2021-22 teams. Applications are accepted through Sunday, October 17. Click here to learn more details about being a Sustainability Ambassador.
The Beyond Plastics Team
Entering its third year, the Beyond Plastics Team has had many successes at SUNY New Paltz including:
- Educating and engaging the campus on moving beyond plastics including hosting Judith Enck of Beyond Plastics as a guest speaker in the spring of 2020
- Switching from mostly plastic bottles to mostly aluminum cans in the beverage/vending contract (also check out this full case study)
- Adopting 100% reusables at Peregrine Dining Hall during COVID-19 during the 2020-21 academic year
- Developing Beyond Plastics-related and other sustainability and social/economic justice recommendations for apparel and textile procurement and other products at the campus Bookstore. During 2020-21, sustainable transformations at the Bookstore included carrying the fair-trade Alta Gracia clothing brand and three new clothing products featuring recycled content and increasing metal (not plastic) water bottle options.
Key past partners have included Campus Auxiliary Services, Sodexo, and the Bookstore.
The 2021-22 Beyond Plastics team will continue to partner across campus to transition the campus beyond plastics. Possible focus areas for 2021-22 may include:
- Continuing sustainability innovations within the Bookstore, especially with a focus on apparel and textiles
- Engaging campus departments who purchase "swag" and making recommendations for sustainable, plastic-free give-a-ways and non-polyester t-shirts, including sourcing from women-owned and minority-owned business enterprises
- Microplastics removal in laundry systems in residence halls
- Offering feedback on the current status of past Beyond Plastics initiatives to Campus Auxiliary Services, Sodexo, and the Bookstore
- Engaging with fellow students in person on plastics issues
- Other priorities that emerge from YOU!
Student Team Leader for Beyond Plastics
The Beyond Plastics team will be led by returning Sustainability Ambassador Katie Gudzik (Theater Arts ~ Performance ’23), who participated on this team throughout the academic year 2020-21 as a team member.
If you are passionate about moving the campus beyond plastics, apply to join this team!
The Sustainable & Inclusive Food Team
This is a new team! The 2021-22 goals of the Sustainable & Inclusive Food Team include:
- Learning about Sodexo’s existing “plant-forward” and ethnically diverse offerings
- Inventorying the food-related greenhouse gas emissions, with a possible focus on foods with the highest emissions such as dairy and beef. For a case study on this approach, check out this webinar featuring students from Smith College
- Researching and recommending strategies to lower food emissions and offer appealing low-carbon, plant-forward, ethnically diverse offerings within dining services
- Exploring and recommending inclusive food offerings that appeal to the college’s ethnically diverse student body
- Engaging fellow students in-person on low-carbon, inclusive diets
- Other food-related priorities that emerge from YOU!
Since the Sustainable & Inclusive Food Team will focus on making recommendations to Sodexo regarding on campus food being served, students participating on this team must either live on campus and participate in the campus meal plan OR live off campus and regularly eat meals on campus (ie. multiple times per week). Please do not apply to this team if you do not eat regularly on campus. Students who appreciate plant-rich, low-carbon diets are encouraged to join.
Student Team Leader for Sustainable & Inclusive Food
The team leader position remains to be filled.
The Carbon Neutrality Team
Now entering its third year, the Carbon Neutrality Team has had many successes at SUNY New Paltz including:
- Updating the campus greenhouse gas emissions inventory through 2020
- Researching best practices and pathways to Carbon Neutrality, including offsets
- Proposing to the SUNY New Paltz President and campus executive leadership through a formal presentation in early winter of 2020 that the campus become Carbon Neutral by 2030, which led to this Earth Day 2021 announcement
The 2021-22 Carbon Neutrality Team will continue to partner across campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) move towards carbon neutrality. Possible focus areas include:
- Focusing on inventorying historical (pre-COVID and current) “Scope 3” greenhouse gas emissions including but not limited to:
- Student and employee commuting
- Study abroad travel
- College travel
- Identifying strategies to eliminate, reduce or offset emissions including but not limited to:
- Improving emissions-free transportation options and public transportation (ie. the New Paltz Loop Bus)
- Offsetting study abroad travel, when study abroad resumes
- Researching GHG emissions offset strategies and identify a strategy and philosophy to offset hard-to-eliminate emissions
- Investigating Internal carbon pricing strategies and life cycle costing
- Engaging the campus community on carbon neutrality goals and pathways
- Finalizing the 2021 GHG emissions inventory in the spring of 2022
- Other carbon neutrality priorities that emerge from YOU!
Student Co-Team Leaders
The Carbon Neutrality Team will be co-led by returning Sustainability Ambassador Team Leader Phoebe Heretz (Physics & Astronomy) who led this team in the spring of 2021 and returning Sustainability Ambassador Jenna Corti (Mechanical Engineering), who participated on this team during the spring of 2021.