State Assembly Announces Funding for RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability

$2 million grant will assist in construction of state-of-the-art ‘green’ facility

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The New York State Assembly recently announced $2 million in new funding to support the planning and design of a new facility for Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, one of the first stand-alone centers dedicated to research and education in the field.

The grant will enable RIT to begin a key stage of development for the construction of a state-of-the-art “green” facility, a living laboratory that will not only house research facilities, offices and classrooms, but will also be a model demonstration of sustainable principles in all aspects of its design, operation and programming. The new facility will be also be the home of one of the world’s first Ph.D. programs in sustainability, and the first to focus on issues related to sustainable production.

“This important commitment of state funding will enable us to take the next critical step toward achieving the vision of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, not only for RIT but for the greater Rochester region,” says RIT President Bill Destler, “and it signals that this initiative is priority for our Assembly delegation. We are extremely grateful to the members of our Rochester area delegation, and to the leadership of the Assembly, for this additional investment in RIT and for their demonstration of confidence in this initiative.”

The funds for the project were included in the 2008-2009 New York State Budget, which was approved earlier this month. RIT hopes to begin construction on the first phase of the $50 million facility within the next 12-18 months, and the university is in the process of raising the total funding needed for construction costs.

“The Golisano Institute will play a leading role in the effort to develop a new model for tomorrow’s economy, one in which critical job creation, environmental conservation and prudent energy policies will be achieved not in opposition to one another but in tandem,” notes Assemblyman Joseph Morelle.

“This center will not only bring the world new research and development opportunities in sustainability, it will also create 140 jobs during the construction phase, and once completed has the potential of generating $650 million in economic development and thousands of permanent jobs.” adds Assemblymember Susan John.

“RIT, through the Golisano Institute, has deservedly earned a reputation as a world leader in sustainable development and production, and has helped the Rochester/Finger Lakes region stake our claim as a leader in the trend toward a green economy,” said Assemblyman David Koon. “It is through the kind of innovation and forward thinking the Institute has demonstrated that we will be able to again turn our region’s economy into a global force.”

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was formed in 2007 following a $10 million founding grant by Rochester area businessman B. Thomas Golisano. The institute focuses on research and education in sustainable production, environmental policy, sustainable business development and alternative energy and builds on over a decade of applied research conducted by RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies.

The institute’s doctoral program in sustainability recently completed internal reviews and hopes to begin admitting students this fall.

“I would like to thank the State Assembly for its commitment to our efforts to support a more sustainable planet,” adds Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. “The development of this facility is the next step towards RIT’s goal of providing cutting edge program’s that instill the core concepts of sustainability in our next generation of engineers, scientists, business leaders and policy makers.”