Sept. 4, 2007

DiSalvo to serve as interim head of new Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future

Issues of sustainability facing the world as well as the university are the drivers behind the new Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, still in early stages but quickly gaining momentum.

Leading the effort, which will bring together experts in education and research from across campus to work toward common sustainability goals, will be interim director Frank DiSalvo, the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science, Cornell Provost Biddy Martin recently announced.

The Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future has emerged from several committee reports, including from former Cornell President Jeffrey Lehman's "Call to Engagement" and the provost's Task Force on Sustainability in the Age of Development. Since then, several other groups submitted reports on different aspects of sustainability needs; the most recent one is Cornell's first campuswide Green Report, available at

With faculty members developing overlapping interests in addressing energy, environment, global warming and poverty, Martin formed a steering committee to propose a concrete plan to build a cohesive, universitywide plan to address these issues.

DiSalvo chaired the steering committee, which began meeting in March. It recently recommended creating a new center to bring together the entire Cornell community to tackle sustainability problems together.

"Many of the efforts so far have been individual ones, or not yet connected as well as they could be," DiSalvo said. "We will see new activities with the new center, but we will also encourage existing ones to form synergistic alliances."

The committee envisioned a center that also included partnerships with other universities, industry, government, non-government agencies, foundations and citizen groups.