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Cornell University front pageCornell News Service
Sept. 12, 2005
Dean Koyanagi '90 is appointed Cornell's first sustainability coordinator
By Susan S. Lang

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Dean Koyanagi, HumEc '90, has been appointed Cornell University's first sustainability coordinator, effective Sept. 5.


The hiring of a full-time, professional level sustainability coordinator, who reports directly to Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Steve Golding, fulfills and exceeds the agreement Cornell President Hunter R. Rawlings signed with the students who opposed the University Avenue replacement parking lot. Koyanagi will build on the efforts of Garrett Meigs '04, who served as a part-time intern this past year, said Golding.

"It is my hope that Dean will craft an agenda for promoting a culture of environmental sustainability at Cornell with the help of an administrative steering committee that we will be appointing," said Golding.

Koyanagi is charged with sponsoring two environmental sustainability summits at Cornell this year, one each semester. He also will continue to catalog and publicize the many ongoing and new sustainability initiatives on campus and coordinate across various administrative units to ensure that Cornell is leveraging its existing resources in this area, Golding added.

"In Dean we have found someone who has a demonstrated interest in environmental sustainability, has already worked with Cornell groups on this initiative and we believe can help us to better define our sustainability efforts in the future," said Golding.

Koyanagi will serve as a liaison with faculty, student and community groups regarding activities related to environmental sustainability that were incorporated into the settlement agreement with Rawlings and will determine how Cornell should go forward in promoting environmental sustainability and determining the resources necessary to support such an initiative. In other words, Golding said, Koyanagi will be responsible for developing and leading a coherent, campuswide sustainability program by coordinating with academic, research, operations and student sustainability activities and assessing their cost effectiveness, technical feasibility and means of achieving acceptance.

"My hope is to see that we incorporate sustainability topics into many different parts of education," said Koyanagi. "We also need efforts to have more visibility so students and others on campus can see how all these efforts are interconnected."

From working with the chefs in Cornell Dining to reduce waste by putting scales by garbage bins so students can determine exactly how much waste they generate to making research on solid biofuels in agriculture more visible to students, Koyanagi is determined that people on campus become much more aware of sustainability issues.

As part of his master's work, which he received in environmental education with the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University in 2005, Koyanagi co-authored a report on the sustainability efforts at Lesley, which has since become the university's master plan for sustainability initiatives. This past semester, he worked as a teaching assistant for the course Ecological Literacy and Design and served as an adviser and consultant to several grass-roots sustainability efforts, including the student group Sustainable Enterprise Association (SEA); Ithaca Green Building Alliance; and the Tompkins Renewable Energy Education Alliance.

In addition, he assisted the former campus sustainability intern and authored "State of Sustainability at Cornell," an overview of the current progress of campus sustainability efforts at Cornell. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a consultant and project manager for Graphic Systems Inc. in Washington, D.C. In 2000 he co-founded Outdoor Computing Network, a nonprofit corporation focused on alternative education methods to deal with digital divide issues in rural communities, while working as a researcher for Cornell's Human-Computer Interaction Group. Koyanagi received his B.S. degree in facilities planning and management at Cornell and has held various positions, including facilities management consultant, consultant and trainer for computerized facilities management systems, and technology manager.

"Dean is truly a 'bioneer' -- he immerses all aspects of his life into making a positive difference in the living world through changing practices in the built environment," said Jack Elliott, associate professor of design and environmental analysis, for whom Koyanagi was a teaching assistant.

"Dean is well-informed, enthusiastic and devoted to Cornell," said Randall Allen '05, a research associate at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and a founding member of SEA. "He's catalyzing movements toward sustainability all over Cornell's campus and in the regional area. Through Dean's work with various grass-roots efforts, one can see his ability to synthesize common interests and eliminate perceived barriers to collaboration that are essential for sustainability-related fields."