Sustainability Competition

Vice Chancellor Student Affairs/Sustainable CUNY

Student Sustainability Competition

Interim Vice Chancellor Christopher Rosa and University Director of Sustainability Tria Case announce the commencement of the 2016-17 CUNY Student Sustainability Competition.

The mission of this competition is to encourage individuals and teams of students to advance the sustainability work of the City University of New York, in partnership with faculty mentors. We seek applicants from any academic disciplines, with skills or interests in Geographic Information Systems; Communications; Public Relations, Marketing; Community Organizing or related subject areas, to propose enhancements to CUNY’s efforts to make both NY and CUNY more sustainable. The competition is open to students pursuing Associate, Bachelor, and Master’s degrees.

We are accepting one page proposals through February 15, 2017

Multiple proposals are permitted

Selected proposals will receive support during the Spring 2017 semester, while the idea is “incubated” and an implementation plan is developed. 

Based on demonstrable progress and potential for success, two projects will be deployed in Fall 2017, with ongoing active support from Student Affairs and Sustainable CUNY.  Faculty mentors are to be selected by students (or vice versa) and both will be supported during the project’s incubation as well as during the deployment period.  The proposals and projects should enhance CUNY’s sustainability efforts in one of the focus areas listed below.

Following preliminary submission and selection, six students or student teams will be supported with $2,500 each during the Spring 2017 semester, to build out their project idea during this incubation phase.  The stipend will be distributed when the projects are submitted with faculty mentor approval.

Six faculty members who help the student or team of students with their project during the incubation phase will be supported with $1,000 in reimbursable research funding, to be used at their discretion.

At the end of the Spring 2017 semester, the expanded project proposals will be evaluated, and two students or student teams, along with their faculty mentors, will be awarded with project development and implementation support to be used during Fall 2017.  Students will receive up to $5,000 (for an individual or to be shared by a team).  Faculty mentors will receive an additional $1000 in reimbursable research funds for their use.   Awardees will have up to one year to substantially complete their projects, and distribution will occur following faculty recognition of completion.

This year’s competition is dedicated to the late Staci Hope Cohen, Energy Manager and Chair of the Queens College Campus Sustainability Council.  Staci used her strength and focus to work with students, faculty and staff in helping make Queens College a model institution for many sustainability and energy conservation related projects.

Like Staci, we welcome all suggestions and encourage innovative thinking.

2016-2017 CUNY Sustainability Focus Areas


Geographic Information Systems
:  Advance the use of GIS technologies to develop visualizations to be displayed on the NY Solar Map to expand its usefulness; or, use GIS to support sustainability practices and or model energy use reductions, at one or across all CUNY colleges.


Communications and Social Media
:  Explore development of multimedia campaign structures using social media and other mass communication tools to expand renewable energy in NY; or, develop means and methods to expand sustainability related community engagement projects across NY, or within CUNY


Waste and Recycling:
Explore opportunities to impact both organic waste (food) and other recyclables on campus (batteries, electronics, paper etc.)

Download the Sustainability Competition Application <pdf>

Download Memo and Instructions <pdf>