RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability Will Share Education Models Globally
Clinton Global Initiative announces commitment to assist five developing countries
Sept. 22, 2011
by Bob Finnerty
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The Earth’s population is projected to reach 7 billion later this year and could exceed 10 billion by 2050. How will the world handle this population growth and rising consumption worldwide?
Rochester Institute of Technology and B. Thomas Golisano, RIT trustee and the founder and chairman of Paychex Inc., would like to assist in solving this complex global challenge. Golisano and RIT President Bill Destler announced they will commit to sharing the model of sustainability education developed at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability with five partner universities in developing countries around the world. The announcement was made today at the closing session of the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City.
“Sustainability education requires significant knowledge and resources beyond the reach of many institutions in developing countries,” says Destler. “Through this commitment, universities around the world will have new or improved sustainability curricula, a higher degree of subject matter expertise among faculty and graduate students and an enhanced body of sustainability research.”
“The Golisano Institute for Sustainability is producing the first generation of professionals with the vision and know-how to deliver on the promise of sustainability” adds Golisano. “It is imperative that we take a global approach and accelerate strategies to promote a sustainable society.”
The RIT education model will be used to assist the following developing countries: Dominican Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Peru. RIT will develop close working relationships with partner universities over a five-year period. RIT will create educational materials and guidebooks, curriculum advisory groups, faculty exchange programs, graduate student participation and a mentorship program. The commitment is valued at $2.3 million.
“The ultimate goal of this commitment is to greatly expand the capacity of universities to develop professionals with the expertise necessary to address local and regional short- and long-term economic, environmental and industrial sustainability needs,” says Nabil Nasr, RIT assistant provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability.
The Golisano Institute was formed in 2007 thanks to a $10 million gift from Golisano. It currently houses one of the world’s first Ph.D. programs with a focus on sustainable production as well as master’s degrees in sustainable systems and sustainable architecture. The institute conducts cutting-edge research in nanotechnology, alternative energy development and validation, sustainable design, sustainable mobility and pollution prevention.
RIT broke ground on a state-of-the-art “green” facility for the Golisano Institute in April. The building will serve as a center for sustainability research, technology transfer, education and outreach and will provide a showcase for green construction and design. RIT was awarded a $13.1 million grant through the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Construction Grant Program to build the facility and $10 million in funding from the state of New York to assist with construction. Construction is expected to be finished in fall 2012.
During the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, held Sept. 20–22, there were panel discussions with world leaders about sustainable consumption and ensuring long-term prosperity across the globe.
About the Clinton Global Initiative: Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state; 18 Nobel Prize laureates; and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations and prominent members of the media. These members have made more than 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion.
This year, Clinton Global Initiative also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, go to www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.
About RIT: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, sustainability, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. RIT enrolls more than 17,500 full- and part-time students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.
For two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2012 edition of The Best 376 Colleges as well as its Guide to 311 Green Colleges. The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2012 names RIT as a “Best Buy,” and The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT among the “Great Colleges to Work for 2011.”