Long Island Green Homes
Since 2015, this granted project administered by the Sustainability Institute advances Molloy's core values of promoting transformative education in the broader Long Island community by empowering individuals to take action to make their homes and lifestyles more sustainable; and providing positive solutions. This project can have a direct, positive impact on all three dimensions of sustainability - environmental, economic and social equity - on Long Island. The environmental benefits of reducing energy use are apparent. There is also an economic boost to the Island that will result not only from job creation as a result of the increased work in home energy retrofits, but also due to the savings realized from lower energy bills making more money available in the local economy. The social equity component results from the job creation aspects of the project, but also because the financing eligibility formulas will help fill a gap between populations eligible for subsidized weatherization assistance, and those that are either flush with funds or access to more traditional sources of credit. This will help to maintain housing affordability on Long Island for working and middle-income families.
The Sustainability Institute's leadership in the initiative has resulted in development of an ongoing, working relationship with municipal officials and staff. It has also provided an introduction and greater access to NYSERDA and PSEG-Long Island staff that are implementing this project State-wide.
Clean Energy Communities (CEC)
A project that advances state-local partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save taxpayer dollars and promotes community goals for health and safety, economic vitality, energy independence and quality of life. As the Long Island coordinators, the Sustainability Institute and Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP have been assisting municipalities with their efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions by adopting policies and completing projects that have been identified as "High Impact Actions" by NYSERDA. This is another grant-funded project of the Sustainability Institute.
Long Island Clean Energy Leadership Task Force
This project is a well-established brand identified with the College. The Sustainability Institute distinguishes the College as the leader in fighting climate change and promoting economic transformations, and with both County Executives and the CEO of the major utilities, among others, the Task Force is established a respected forum advance respectful debate and discussion and positive policy proposals. Since 2004, the mission of the Long Island Clean Energy Leadership Task Force is to create meaningful relationships by engaging thought leaders in the region, convene and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, and foster collaborations to identify regional leadership that advances plans, policies, and programs to mitigate climate change, reduce our carbon footprint, cut local air pollution, create green jobs, and build a clean energy sector on Long Island. Much of the staff time spent on the LICELTF is reimbursable under the CEC grant as outreach for that program and education of municipalities on the high impact clean energy actions that they can take to qualify for CEC status.
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)
The Sustainability Institute has been working with both the Nassau and Suffolk County legislatures to adopt Commercial PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing. This policy, which provides up to 100% financing for clean energy projects in commercial or non-profit buildings, has been a priority of the Sustainability Institute's Long Island Clean Energy Leadership Task Force. Every vote on C-PACE in both Nassau and Suffolk has been bi-partisan and unanimous. Now that the measure has been adopted in both counties, the Sustainability Institute will begin a campaign of promoting the program to developers and owners of commercial and other non-residential properties. Adoption of C-PACE is a specific high impact action under the CEC program, so staff time on this effort is also reimbursable under the CEC grant.
Energy Codes (NYStretch Energy Code, and commercial solar PV requirement)
The Sustainability Institute has been working to educate local municipalities about the NYStretch Energy Code. This more stringent energy conservation construction code that was developed by NYSERDA, and municipal governments can adopt it to help their communities meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, while making buildings more efficient and saving building and home-owners money in utility bills. Sustainability Institute staff also has been introducing local municipal officials to the concept of a code requirement for solar PV to be installed on new commercial buildings. This is a recommendation of the Cleaner Greener Long Island Sustainability Plan, and its legal and economic feasibility was discussed in a white paper authored by Sustainability Institute staff.
White papers published by the Sustainability Institute advance the core values of fostering informed, respectful dialogue and debate on issues; and not just criticizing problems but advancing positive solutions. The white papers were able to identify common ground on policies where making energy codes more stringent and requiring standards and certification for home energy audits could be adopted without opposition. The exercise of circulating white papers to a White Paper Working Group of industry, utility, and environmental organization representatives for review and input not only helps to improve the factual content and hone the arguments put forth in the papers, it also provides a forum for discussion of the issue from varying viewpoints. Working with the White Paper Working Group also provides the Sustainability Institute staff with visibility among and relationships with leaders in various fields throughout Long Island.
At the December 2018 meeting of the Long Island Clean Energy Leadership Task Force, the Sustainability Institute released its most recent policy analysis white paper calling for a bold, new policy mandating solar on new buildings. The paper was the product of collaboration amongst Task Force participants, and authored by Sustainability Institute executive director, Neal Lewis, and research director, Andrew Manitt. The paper is titled, Should Renewable Energy Systems Be Mandated in Local Building Codes for New Commercial Building Construction?
Classroom Guest Lectures / Molloy Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL)
Sustainability Institute staff are regularly invited to make presentations to Molloy University classes, the Molloy Institute for Lifelong Learning, and other university and college classes as guest lecturers, focusing on infusing issues of sustainability and environmental protection into the subject matter of each class. These presentations are also made available to high school classes, civic associations, scout troops, and other off-campus groups. Institute staff have experience in offering presentations on a range of environmental issues including:
Careers in Sustainability, Veganism and the Environment, Global Warming and its Local Solutions, Sustainability as A Solution to Global Warming, How to Have a Toxic-Free Organic Lawn, Clean Energy Solutions on Long Island.
LIRACHE Sustainability Task Force
The Director of the Sustainability Institute represents Molloy on the Sustainability Task Force of the Long Island Regional Advisory Council for Higher Education (LIRACHE). He takes a leading role in the Task Force often setting the agenda and finding speakers for the annual Task Force luncheon, which Molloy has hosted more than any other college or university in the region. Sustainability Institute staff were also significantly involved in the drafting of the LIRACHE Sustainability Compact which was signed onto by 20 participating colleges and universities in the region, in 2012.
Sustainable Living Film Series
The Sustainable Film Series is a free documentary series presented by the Sustainability Institute that screens films with a focus on environmental protection, animal and environmental ethics, and sustainability and typically features a different nonprofit organizational partner for each presentation. The series attracts between 100-200 attendees at each screening and is organized to create a fun and inviting opportunity to network with Long Island's social change organizations; to foster unity between the social change community and the Long Island public at large; and to broaden the college's circle of friends. Target audiences for this project include teachers; faculty and students of Molloy University, not-for-profit organizations, and unaffiliated members of the Long Island community, but all are welcome to attend. Since the series kick-off, twenty-five films have been screened, and this series has been broadly enhancing the brand of the college since 2010.
Sustainability Week at Molloy University
The Sustainability Institute was an institutional sponsor and key planning committee member of Molloy's first-ever Sustainability Week. Spearheaded by Molloy Student Government, Sustainability Institute staff provided organizational support, planning, funding, and were presenters for three featured lectures during the week of March 1-6, 2020.
Long Island Vegan Living Program
The Sustainability Institute is a lead organizer of Long Island Vegan Living Program (LI-VLP), a free community-building vegan education and mentorship program that extends Molloy's educational mission beyond the campus and distinguishes the College as a leader in ethical education and discussion. It features a month of in-person educational events that cover the hows and whys of vegan living, including the ethical and environmental impact of veganism, nutrition, cooking, meal planning, and being vegan in a not-yet-vegan world. Whatever the motivation to live vegan, the Vegan Living Program is designed to provide support, and to build a community of like-minded individuals. Participants pledge to live vegan for the duration of the program, with the help of volunteer Vegan Coaches and the educational program.
The Sustainability Institute has been a consistent and regular placement opportunity for Molloy University students seeking internships in the environmental field. In addition, the Institute's various connections to the non-profit, community service, and environmental organizations in the greater Long Island community, allows for the ability to assist Molloy students to be placed in internship opportunities within these organizations as well. Placement with or by the Institute fosters ongoing and mutually beneficial relationships between Molloy students, faculty and community partners, and solidifies Molloy's reputation as an institution with excellent academic opportunities. Going beyond the traditional internship model, the opportunity combines academic learning with meaningful and relevant work with local public service agencies. In this way, maximizing students' abilities to integrate research, theory and practice, while preparing them for active civic participation and real-world careers.
Resident Assistant Programming
Molloy University's Resident Assistants (RAs) are responsible enhancing the quality of life in the residence halls, including fostering community, providing academic support, and ensuring a safe and secure environment for residents. RAs are also for required to develop four programs per semester for residents based on the four aspects of the Molloy Mission (Community, Study, Service and Spirituality). The Sustainability Institute is available to act as a resource for Resident Assistants from each of Molloy's three residence halls seeking to fulfill those programming responsibilities. By working with RAs to help students develop intellectual curiosity, critical thinking skills, the ability to gain knowledge from various sources, and generating the opportunity for students to volunteer their time to make the world a better place, Molloy continues to position itself in the regional discussion about stewardship and community service.
Long Island Interfaith Environment Network
The LI Interfaith Environment Network promotes environmental stewardship as a religious and ethical value to places of worship on Long Island and helps them identify means of mitigating their environmental impact while saving money. The policies in place at local utilities help to promote clean energy retrofits and solar projects at the facilities of places of worship which can then become models for the congregations to follow in their own homes. The Sustainability Institute released the LI Interfaith Environment Network "Greening Your Place of Worship- How to Tips on Getting Started" booklet: Greening the Faith. Coordination of this project has since been passed to other hands.
Molloy University is an institution with excellent academic programs that is actively leading the discussion about regional stewardship. The establishment of a minor concentration in Sustainability is just one such example. Understanding the principles of sustainability will be essential for developing solutions to many of the most critical issues facing the world in the coming decades. Problems like global warming, energy shortages, the availability and quality of fresh water and the need for jobs that can lift large parts of the world out of poverty without depleting vital natural resources are just a few of the complex, interrelated challenges we face in the 21st century. The Sustainability Institute team has long sought creation of a Sustainability major or a closer coordination of classes with an existing major, which would provide students with the background necessary to understand and tackle these challenges. Additionally, students of all majors can enhance their career prospects by learning more about these critical issues. A full Sustainability Major at Molloy would also serve to highlight Molloy's leadership on cutting edge issues as an important part of the Molloy brand.