September 25, 2019

SUNY Empire State College Confronts Climate Change with Sustainability Programs, Green Facilities

New Advanced Graduate Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development Builds on Forward-Looking Initiatives

Reducing Campus Carbon Footprint with EV Charging Stations on Campus, New Facilities Constructed to LEED Silver Standards

Image of a destroyed home on the ocean.

(NEW YORK CITY – Sept. 25, 2019) In celebration of Climate Change Week, SUNY Empire State College is actively addressing the threat of climate change with a new Advanced Graduate Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development, which builds on existing efforts to lead and educate for a cleaner, greener future.

The new graduate certificate and SUNY Empire’s Undergraduate Business and Environmental Sustainability Certificate are both fully applicable to a bachelor’s and master’s degree, helping to build environmental expertise into any degree program. SUNY Empire is also a member of the joint SUNY and University of the West Indies Symposium on Global Partnerships for Climate Action.

In addition to academic programs, SUNY Empire’s two new campuses, Finger Lakes and Long Island, were constructed to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards.

Electronic vehicle charging stations are available at several locations in Saratoga Springs, including 113 West Ave., a LEED Silver-certified building, with more stations to be added to additional locations in the future.

Finally, SUNY Empire’s new student center at 111 West Ave., and nearby 113 West Ave., in Saratoga Springs, use state-of-the art geothermal renewable heating and cooling systems.

“We must work together to take action to combat climate change and SUNY Empire State College is doing its part,” said Jim Malatras, president of SUNY Empire. “Not only are we offering innovative new courses on building a sustainable future, we’re walking the walk by reducing our carbon footprint.”

 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Despite repeated denials by the federal government, science continues to prove that climate change is a very real problem that has a direct impact on our air, water, and lands. New York State remains committed to building resilient communities in the face of this ‘new normal’ and DEC is thrilled that SUNY Empire State College is joining the fight to address this critical issue.”

“SUNY Empire’s sustainability certificate programs provide the foundation students need to address the many challenges caused by climate change,” said Meg Benke, SUNY Empire’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Certificates also provide stackable credential pathways for students to complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees, which will enable them to advance their career in a rapidly growing field. I am proud and grateful to our faculty for developing academic pathways that meet these individual and societal needs.”

About the Undergraduate Business and Environmental Sustainability Certificate

The Business and Environmental Sustainability Certificate courses are fully applicable to an undergraduate degree program developed in the Business, Management, and Economics area of study.

The undergraduate certificate in business and environmental sustainability is designed to provide historical, economical, legal, and ethical knowledge needed to make sound, forward-thinking, and environmentally conscious business decisions.

About the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development

Launched in 2019, the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development goes beyond the traditional ways of measuring growth and looks to improving well-being and quality of life for all.

The 15-credit advanced graduate certificate is offered jointly with the University of West Indies Open Campus and is fully applicable to the college’s School for Graduate Studies’ Master of Arts in Community and Economic Development.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College educates more than 17,000 students in person, online, and through a blend of both, at more than 30 locations in New York and at eight international sites worldwide. Together with one of SUNY Empire’s more than 1,300 faculty mentors, each student designs their own individualized pathway to a college degree that accommodates their schedule and awards credit for prior college-level learning. SUNY Empire awards more than 3,000 degrees annually and 94 percent of graduates stay in New York state. Today, more than 87,000 SUNY Empire alumni are entrepreneurs, veterans, and active members of the military, professional athletes, teachers, medical professionals, and leaders in their field, as well as in their communities. To learn more, visit and follow the college on social media @SUNYEmpire.