Student Initiative Results in Green Revolving Fund Launch at Johnson
Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise moves forward with new experiential program emphasizing technology and investment to combat climate change
The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University announced the launch of a green revolving fund (GRF) to enhance energy conservation efforts in campus buildings. The GRF becomes part of a program that will help students gain experience leveraging technology and investment to combat climate change.
The launch of GRF stems from work by Energy Corps, a campus-wide student organization established in 2012 that has been dedicated to improving energy efficiency at Cornell. The fund will provide low interest loans to colleges and departments across campus for investments in energy efficiency technology upgrades that yield significant financial returns.
“Energy Corps has done an amazing job catalyzing support for a GRF here at Cornell,” said Mark Milstein, director of the center. “By launching this program, we have the opportunity to provide students a unique educational opportunity that will have tremendous impact on campus and around the world.”
To date, Energy Corps efforts completed numerous projects across campus with estimated savings of more than $200,000 over the next 7 years.
“Without the encouragement and support of a university dedicated to student learning and environmental sustainability, the GRF would simply not be happening,” said Jacob Reisch (‘15), Founder of Energy Corps. “We are excited to help launch a fund that offers educational and leadership opportunities to students, saves the university hundreds of thousands of dollars, and helps the university achieve its 2050 carbon neutrality goal.”
John Alexander (’74, ’76) provided the first gift of $100,000 to enable the establishment of the GRF. “I love that this is valuable to students and the university,” said Alexander. “It exemplifies an approach to an important business opportunity that is sustainable - it won’t run out of money by its very design as a revolving fund.”
Milstein and Kyu Whang, vice president of facilities agreed that establishing the GRF and embedding it into academic programs at the university would have the potential for the biggest impact across campus, not only for energy conservation and financial savings, but also from an educational perspective.
A pilot course launched this spring will be expanded in the fall. The course not only allows students to manage the GRF, including the identification, evaluation, and execution of specific energy efficiency projects across campus, but also provides students the opportunity to develop key management, leadership, and critical thinking skills that will be valuable throughout their lives.