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Sustainable Development, Energy, and Environment

Sustainability gifts with next generations in mind

According to recent polling, 83 percent of American adults say protecting the world's ecosystems is important. Another poll shows a record-high 71 percent of American adults say they take the environment into consideration when making purchases. The David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future's (ACSF) vision statement mirrors that attitude: "To create a world in which people can meet their needs and pursue their dreams without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same."

The Atkinson Center is a promising place to invest philanthropically, says director Frank DiSalvo, based on its track record of research and innovations, the emergence of sustainability as a major point of interest, and the fact that the center is one of the largest and most active interdisciplinary programs at Cornell, bringing together chemists with engineers, city planners with nutritionists and biologists, and more. It is also the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in American academia (read more).

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Message from the Atkinson Center Director

At Cornell, sustainability is not just something we talk about, it is what we do. Today, we are actively addressing the serious challenges that face our world and threaten the ability of future generations to prosper. Among universities, Cornell has an extraordinary breadth and depth of talent to produce solutions and to prepare the next generation to make significant contributions.

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Our Vision and Plans

We are primed to make transformative contributions because we understand the urgency to advance a sustainable future. We are on our way to becoming a world leader in sustainability education, research, and practice. Leading up to 2015, we will:

  • Collaborate across colleges, schools, and units, drawing upon the university’s breadth and depth to uncover and explore solutions to more of the world’s fundamental issues
  • Address the energy and economic development needs of developing countries as well as our own
  • Generate solution-solving partnerships with other leading organizations, nationally and globally
  • Build an even more sustainable campuses, from water and energy conservation to LEED-certified building projects
  • Celebrate and safeguard the environment, advancing solutions that protect resources for future generations

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Our Strengths

Cornell’s faculty and students view the world’s major issues as their own personal challenges. Through academic and service programs, they drive change by developing new approaches and technologies. Their work improves the lives of people in New York and across the planet. From developing systems that support the growth of local food markets, to sustainable farming techniques that improve profits for poor farmers in Africa, our multifaceted approach enables the university to make a difference in the world, starting on the Ithaca campus:

  • An $80 million endowment from David ’60 and Pat Atkinson gives Cornell’s sustainability research programs and initiatives lasting support. The David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) advances multidisciplinary research and cultivates innovative collaborations within and beyond Cornell. ACSF’s permanent status gives confidence to potential external partners: our sustainability program is itself sustainable. There are 280 Atkinson Center research faculty fellows from 65 departments who are working to solve sustainability problems—and this number grows every year. These collaborative efforts create a cooperative faculty culture and graduate field system that support Cornell’s thought leaders. Many of the existing research teams found one another at an Atkinson Center Topical Lunch, a reoccurring event that brings together faculty from across departments, breaking down traditional academic silos and uniting people with shared concerns. Some of these teams go on to innovate new projects with real-world applications in sustainability research, such as local food transport chains, new renewable energies, and phage therapies in clinical trials in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Our Priority Areas

The university, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, and the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future seek to raise $40 million by 2015 for faculty renewal and recruitment, graduate fellowships, and current programs.

 

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Recent News

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Cornell faculty members July 29 to learn about solutions in the realm …
The Atkinson Center is a promising place to invest philanthropically, says DiSalvo, based on its track record of research …
Researchers will simulate the effects of potential climate change conditions under plastic on plants using small …
Cornell researchers received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study relationships between rice …
Thirty years ago, nuclear war seemed imminent and personal. When the atomic apocalypse film “The Day After” was shown on …
The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise has launched a green …
A handful of tree ring samples stored in an old cigar box have shed unexpected light on the ancient world, thanks to …
After screening the documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car," faculty members discussed the merits of the cars with the …
The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise has launched a green …
As the shale gas boom continues, the atmosphere receives more methane, adding to Earth’s greenhouse gas problem. A Cornell …
Artist Maya Lin discusses her installation, 'Empty Room,' part of the 'What is Missing?' memorial, currently on view at …
The Statler Hotel will receive the Good Earthkeeping Award from the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association.
A new study shows that the off season can produce a second harvest ongoing work will refine fertilization guidelines to …
The zone of overlap between two popular, closely related backyard birds is moving northward at a rate that matches warming …
With a new smartphone device, you can now take an accurate iPhone camera selfie that could save your life – it reads your …
Since March, the Statler Hotel has recycled 2,518 tiny bars of used soap through its partnership with Clean the World.
The new website, climatechange.cornell.edu, is a one-stop shop for everything climate change. It's searchable and includes …
Christine Shoemaker, the Joseph P. Ripley Professor of Engineering, has received the 2014 National Engineering Award from …
At a New York City symposium Nov. 15, the sustainable elements of the Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island were …
Because cows are often fed byproducts from human food and biofuel production processes that would be costly to dispose of …
ACSF Faculty Fellow Beth Ahner (BEE) studies how plants and algae adapt to trace metals in the environment, including how …
Drew Harvell (EEB), former ACSF associate director, is collaborating with a prominent coral reef scientist in Indonesia, …
A new Cornell study explains why aquarium catfish can change the structure and function of ecosystems when pet owners set …
Cornell scientists and alumni are part of a participatory plant breeding movement that seeks to produce organically gown …
For the first time, Cornell University ranked fifth among Sierra magazine’s Ten Coolest Schools in the country, earning …
Researchers and extension educators are working to help promote regional wild fish and game species to locavores as …
At least half of Canada’s 1.4 billion acre boreal forest, the largest remaining intact wilderness on earth, must be …
The regional Cornell University Partner in Sustainability Award was given this year to the Building Bridges Initiative.
New York Sea Grant expanded its Discover Clean and Safe Boating Campaign into New York City for the first time, July 20.
To obtain data about shifts in avian migratory patterns, birds are being fitted with sensor-filled backpacks. A Cornell …
Food for 9 Billion enjoyed its biggest week yet, with several news stories probing food-climate connections.
Four Cornell PhD students­ won competitive prizes in a recent nationwide IGERT poster and video competition.
Two Cornell student teams – a cookstove fuel/biochar group and the AguaClara water filtration project – won the U.S. …
Alumni affairs and development specialist Chris Miller will join the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future …
Three faculty members from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future briefed Congress and alumni in Washington, D.C., …
The new Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, under director Allison Morrill Chatrchyan, will help farmers …
ACSF Faculty Fellow David Erickson (MAE), working with Cornell graduate student Matthew Mancuso, has developed a new …
Gardeners love earthworms, but some researchers view them as invasive animals that may destroy whole forest ecosystems. …
NSF honors grad students for videos that clearly and concisely explain their work on metals and microbes.
Soil scientist Diana Wall recently won the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for her work on Antarctic nematodes.

Contacts

 

Communications

Administration

Lauren Chambliss
Director of Communications
David R. Atkinson Center for
a Sustainable Future

Cornell University
216 Rice Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
elc55@cornell.edu

607-255-7344

Frank DiSalvo
Director
David R. Atkinson Center for a
Sustainable Future

Cornell University
102 Baker Laboratory
Ithaca, NY 14853
fjd3@cornell.edu
607-255-7238