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Fisher Honored as Environmental Innovator

November 14, 2019

St. John Fisher College was praised for leadership in environmental stewardship during the Seneca Park Zoo Society’s annual Environmental Innovation and Awards Symposium. Held on Wednesday, Oct. 30, the awards honored businesses, individuals, and organizations for promoting sustainability in the community.

Dr. Mike Boller, director of the Center for Sustainability, with Fisher students involved in sustainability programs.

Fisher, along with the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, received the Environmental Innovation Award in the civic/non-profit category. The Monroe County Department of Environmental Services, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Harley School, Greater Rochester Clean Cities, Genesee RiverWatch, Finger Lakes Museum and Aquarium, and Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center were all named finalists for the award.

The College was recognized for its efforts to weave sustainability into both its academic and operational practices. In the past two years, Fisher has launched a bachelor’s degree program in sustainability and created the Center for Sustainability, providing synergistic opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the community to engage in sustainable practices.

“We’re honored to be recognized for this award, especially when you consider all of the great work being done around the region,” said Dr. Mike Boller, associate professor of biology and director of the Center for Sustainability. “Our goal is to use the College as a living laboratory for how to learn, apply, and demonstrate solutions to environmental issues and grow a population of alumni that are engaged in the long-term sustainability of our society.”

The College’s academic program embraces an integrative approach to sustainability combining the natural and social sciences, humanities, and applied concepts in business and education. Traditional coursework, engagement with on-campus operations, and community partnerships give students valuable experience in the field.

At an institutional level, the Center for Sustainability provides administrative leadership and support in sustainability operations by developing sustainability goals that will guide the College toward lower environmental impact. In summer 2019, the Center, along with several campus partners, began developing an energy master plan through NYSERDA’s REV Campus Challenge. The Center also houses an EcoReps peer-education program that empowers student leaders to encourage the campus community to improve environmental outcomes, among other programs.