College’s Commitment to Sustainability Sparks Opening of Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability

New Center will promote urban sustainability and environmental justice within academic community.

Since Mayor Bloomberg first introduced PlaNYC in 2007 to create a greener, greater New York City, Manhattan College has remained committed to making the campus more sustainable and decreasing the College’s carbon footprint. As a way to further promote the importance of urban sustainability and environmental justice within the academic community and beyond, the College will open a new Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES) this fall.

Combining an already substantial amount of faculty expertise on a variety of topics related to sustainability, CURES plans to become a resource for faculty to advance and disseminate their research. The diverse research covers a broad range of topics including watershed management, green building design, alternative energy, urban planning, environmental politics, sustainable business practices and environmental ethics.

The Center will support outreach to private and nonprofit organizations, while fostering the further integration of environmental education into Manhattan’s undergraduate program. Along with the College’s undergraduate minors in environmental studies and environmental engineering, and Master’s of Environmental Engineering and Master’s of Science in Environmental Engineering degrees, CURES will encourage the launch of additional majors and minors pertaining to sustainability education.

“The goal of CURES is to help faculty that already have great strengths in sustainability research to collaborate in ways that will help find solutions to the environmental challenges of cities and their surrounding areas,” said Jeffrey Myers, Ph.D., director of CURES and associate professor of English. “Thus with the new Center, they will have the ability to share their knowledge with students, academic peers and with the greater community at large.”

The launch of the Center marks the College’s first official CURES event on Feb. 5, 2013, at 7 p.m. in Smith Auditorium with a lecture by David Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, where he planned the effort to design the first significantly green building on a U.S. college campus. Orr is currently executive director of the Oberlin Project, a joint partnership between Oberlin College and the town to create a thriving, sustainable and environmentally friendly community.

In conjunction with CURES, Manhattan College’s campus-wide Sustainability Committee (made up of faculty, students and administrators) is also dedicated to linking the greening of campus with classroom learning and civic engagement, and plans to partner on future initiatives with CURES. In fact, earlier this summer, the Green Club student organization created a rooftop garden, located above the College’s parking garage, to contribute additional vegetables to campus cafeterias. The original design for the rooftop garden is a result of research conducted by senior chemical engineering students and James Patrick Abulencia, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering.

“The launch of CURES will create new opportunities for faculty and students to teach and learn about sustainability, strengthening the College’s ability to collaborate with the city in building a greener New York,” said Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., president of Manhattan College.