'c3' consortium proposed by cuny and the new school selected as a finalist in high-stakes competition to create a center for climate solutions on governors island

Seeks to Merge Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation with Environmental Justice, and Develop Pathways to a More Sustainable Future

Project Would Unite Academic, Research and More than 40 CBOs to Advance a Wide Range of Educational Needs

Governors Island as it exists today

New York, December 22, 2021 - The Trust for Governors Island today announced that the consortium led by The City University of New York and The New School are one of four finalists in the competition to create a center for climate solutions on Governors Island.

CUNY and The New School have proposed the Climate Center Consortium (C3), a visionary new group of institutions that seek to merge the work of climate change adaptation and mitigation with environmental justice in order to develop solutions that will lead to a more sustainable future.

C3 draws together academic, research and community organizations to advance a range of educational needs, including K-16 learning opportunities, degree-granting courses, career and workforce development, as well as continuing education credentials for educators and practitioners. In order to develop transformative climate solutions, C3 will facilitate collaboration across disciplines, sectors, community members, environmental justice organizations, and stakeholder groups on Governors Island, around New York City, and across the globe.

If awarded, C3 plans to utilize Governors Island as a living laboratory for just climate solutions through transdisciplinary research, prototyping, and commercialization, focused on building design, technology, and nature-based solutions. Centered on the adaptive reuse of many of the Island’s historic buildings, the consortium will create classrooms, research space, and dormitories. C3 will also add new spaces including areas for conferences and gatherings, field and forest research, and public participatory demonstration sites.

C3 partners include Barnard College, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Columbia University, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York University, Northeastern University, University at Albany (SUNY), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and over 40 community-based, education and environmental organizations. SCAPE, FXCollaborative, Henning Larsen, and Ramboll collaborated with C3 to develop a design approach that resets New Yorkers' relationship to land, water, buildings, and each other.

Comments from CUNY and New School Leadership:

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said: "The City University of New York is excited to help lead the C3 consortium of universities and research institutions, in partnership with The New School, to pursue transformative environmental justice solutions to the existential threat of climate change and its life-altering implications for our planet. As the nation’s largest public urban university and unparalleled engine of social mobility, CUNY is positioned to consider the impacts of climate change that will be disproportionately felt by the New York City communities that have been the most traditionally underserved. We are eager to fuse the expertise of the renowned institutions that comprise this inclusive collaboration, and to integrate, channel and scale our collective efforts as we pursue environmental solutions that will have a profound local and global impact. We are thrilled to have been named a finalist by The Trust for Governors Island, and motivated by the vital urgency of the work at hand."

Dr. Dwight A. McBride, President of The New School said: "Climate change is among the most urgent problems of our time. Solutions will require not only science, but design and social science to inform how we lead substantive transformation in attitudes about climate change in our society, our culture, our education, and our behaviors in order to effect lasting change. As a university that is home to one of the leading design schools in the world, strong social science scholarship, and applied solutions-based scholarship around sustainable futures in urban contexts, The New School is proud to collaborate with our C3 partners on this innovative project that will inspire bold change grounded in principles of social and environmental justice. As a community leader in New York City civic and cultural life, The New School regularly engages in partnerships aimed at designing and implementing solutions to some of our city's most pressing problems, and we are excited to be a finalist for this important reimagining of Governors Island."

Daniel E. Lemons, Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost, said: "CUNY’s 25 campuses surrounding Governors Island are deeply embedded in their respective communities — through the students they educate and the institutions and businesses with which they work. Many of those communities are the most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, and climate justice requires that they have a commensurate role in shaping the responses to them. C3 is designed to ensure that they have that role, with Governors Island as the focal point — a living laboratory for students, researchers and community members."

Dr. Renée T. White, Provost of The New School added: "Climate change is an issue that impacts every facet of our lives, which is why we are so thrilled to be collaborating with our C3 partners on this opportunity to reinvigorate Governors Island as a research and educational center dedicated to combating the environmental crisis. Sustainability education is woven throughout our curriculum here at The New School, and we are committed to harnessing the power of our collective knowledge to shape a fairer, healthier, and safer future."

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 260,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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Media Contacts:

Amy Malsin
The New School

Joseph Tirella

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