UAlbany Students, Faculty and Staff Earn Accolades for Sustainability

New School of Business Building Receives LEED Gold Certification

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 16, 2015) -- Whether it's researching the relationship between campus culture and green initiatives, or advancing active transportation, UAlbany students, faculty and staff are dedicated to improving sustainability both at the University and within the community.

UAlbany new school of business
UAlbany's new School of Business Building has been awarded LEED gold certification. (Photo Gary Gold)

Among the most recent accolades, UAlbany's School of Business Building has received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” and is a designation awarded by the USGBC as a verification of green buildings that incorporate environmental, social and economic benefits throughout the building’s entire life cycle.

The complex, which opened in the fall of 2013, houses 24 cutting-edge classrooms and two executive-style planning spaces, as well as Bloomberg terminals. It was designed to support the School’s innovative research and collaborative programming with business leaders from every industry, including the new undergraduate program in digital forensics -- the first of its kind in New York and only the third such program in the nation. The building was recently ranked as the "fourth most beautiful business school in the world," according to an online survey from TopManagementDegrees.com.

Also, UAlbany doctoral student Taya Owens was recently presented with the Student Research on Campus Sustainability Award, by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Her nomination was the result of her efforts to examine how colleges incorporate sustainable agendas on campuses and the role university culture plays in implementation. Owens is completing her dissertation in the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies at UAlbany's School of Education.

AASHE is the preeminent national professional organization for sustainability, of which UAlbany is a member institution.

Among the UAlbany faculty, Jeff Olson, a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Planning, was recently selected for a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP). Olson, who has taught in the Department since the 1990s, worked with a group of students to originate "the Purple Path" concept at UAlbany. He recently published a book, The Third Mode: Towards a Green Society, and he served as a consultant on bicycle planning to many major cities around the world.

UAlbany's Purple Path, which opened in 2007, is a multi-use pathway located alongside the perimeter road of the Uptown Campus with specialized surfaces for walking, running, and biking. When fully completed, the path will provide a continuous paved and lighted recreational and transportation amenity, correcting deficiencies in existing conditions, for the safe enjoyment of the campus and surrounding communities. The long-term plan is to finish the cinder running path (where space allows), improve pedestrian scale lighting, add benches and upgraded landscape, and post wayfinding markers. The University recently finished the section by SEFCU Arena, providing a continuous paved surface around the entire campus.

The Office of Environmental Sustainability has also received a grant through NYSAR3 to establish an office composting pilot project, allowing faculty and staff on the uptown campus to voluntarily take part in composting food waste at work. The project provides 50 small bins available for staff and faculty to have in their offices or office kitchens for composting -- a natural and inexpensive way to decrease the amount of waste UAlbany sends to the landfill. Although food scraps will break down in an airtight landfill, the anaerobic process creates a methane byproduct, a potent greenhouse gas. By composting food scraps, UAlbany can serve as a model for students and fellow staff members to promote environmentally responsible practices.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.