University at Albany

Our History

The Task Force on Environmental Sustainability laid the initial groundwork for the Office of Environmental Sustainability. In February 2006, President Kermit Hall created the Task Force, outlining its broad goal:

"As a public higher education institution, the University at Albany has both an obligation and an opportunity to be a leader in environmental sustainability. Our institution can and should serve as a model for other colleges and universities as well as for our own students and the community around us."

The Task Force, made up of representatives from of various departments and disciplines, was charged with promoting sustainability with the following goals:to calculate what it takes to run our 20,000 plus member UAlbany community including a full accounting of the waste we generate; to find ways to lower consumption, protect environmental resources, and reduce waste; to document the benefits that accrue to our health and financial well-being; and to study our impact on the world and take responsibility for the consequences of our actions.

To further in this mission, the Office of Environmental Sustainability was created in January 2008, and the Office of Energy Management was established in July of the same year.

Timeline of Environmental Sustainability Efforts at UAlbany

2006 University signs the Talloires Declaration
2007 Launched campus-wide behavioral change initiatives including the Energy Campaign and RecycleMania
2008 President signed ACUPCC; Establishment of Office of Environmental Sustainability and Office of Energy Management; Development of Energy Action Plan
2009 Sustainability-themed housing opened; G3 program; Student Sustainability Council and Sustainability Coordinators groups created
2010 “The Power of SUNY” was unveiled; University Hall certified as carbon neutral; Awarded the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental excellence Award
2011 Installation of 49.2kW Photovoltaic system on roof of Social Science building; Rain Garden built at Alumni House;
2012 UAlbany bus fleet added 5 hybrid buses; Liberty Terrace opened (LEED Gold); UAlbany listed as one of Princeton Review’s Green Schools; UAlbany received STARS silver rating; UAlbany was listed as a Green College by the Princeton Review; UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative
2013 Sustainability minor approved; Compost program at Indian Quad Dining Hall piloted; Inaugural Earth Day Food and Art Festival held at Liberty Terrace; UAlbany was listed as a Green College by the Princeton Review
2014 Installation of EV charging stations; Opening of new Business Building (LEED Gold); Heritage Garden built; Opening of Data Center (LEED Gold); University at Albany participated in the first annual New York Campus Crunch
2015 Compost program expanded to all five dining halls and the campus center kitchens; 1st planting and harvest of the Heritage Garden; University at Albany named in the top 40 for organic waste recycling colleges and universities during the RecycleMania Competition; Signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge; Hosted an EPA/White House webinar event in the fall
2016 Carbon Commitment; Resiliency Commitment; Participation in the Day of Climate Action; Opening of the Mohawk Tower living area (LEED Gold)
2017 We are still in pledge; EO 166; to continue our commitment to remain in the Paris Agreement