ESF Facts and Stats

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Over the past 90+ years, ESF’s success has been notable. Our students have been able to thrive within our setting, continue their success on their own and leave impressive legacies behind. Here is a list of some of the accomplishments of ESF and our students:

  • Jim Morressey, a 1959 alum was the first American to climb the east face of Mt. Everest
  • ESF was the first College to offer an undergraduate program in polymer chemistry
  • ESF had the first program in paper science and engineering
  • ESF has the oldest forest technology program in the U.S.
  • ESF offered the first college course in urban wildlife in the U.S.
  • The first undergraduate program in bioprocess engineering in New York State was at ESF
  • ESF Professor George Albrecht was the first licensed landscape architect in New York State
  • ESF is the only College in the U.S. whose programs are focused on natural resource management and the environment.

College Rankings:

  • US News and World Report
    • 37th of the Top 50 Public National Universities
    • 83rd in the category of “Best National University”
    • 15th in the category of “Great Schools, Great Prices”
  • Most importantly is the write-up reflecting our students’ input:

“The ingredients for success say students are a heart devoted to environmental issues, a head committed to studying difficult science-based courses, and hands and feet willing to do the work.”

“Where in the World is ESF?”
We have a research or educational opportunity on every continent on the Globe!

  • 80% of our students have a research experience at ESF and almost 20% have an international experience
  • 57 international research projects:
  • Reforestation of Afghanistan
  • Biomass/bioenergy project in Ghana
  • Generation of dimethylsulfide from algae in the Ross Sea in Antarctica
  • Studying virus composition of ice cores in Greenland
  • Exchange program with students from Moscow State University at the White Sea Experimental Station
  • Analyzing the aquatic geochemistry of lakes in Mongolia
  • Study of termite mound chimneys in South Africa

Important Philosophies of Education at ESF

  • Service-Learning and Community Service
    • 67,248 total hours of services provided to the local community in 2008-2009
      • Community service hours = 13,479
      • Service-learning hours = 53,766
      • 26 service-learning courses in 2008-2009
    • We believe in bringing real life problems into the classroom and taking the classroom to real life situations.  Learning by experience—not within the confines of a textbook or classroom.
  • Experiential Learning: We believe that a student studying biology needs to spend time immersed in the ecosystem that they are studying. This philosophy is applied in all of our curricula!
  • Learning at a Research University brings Learning and Scholarship to Life: 80% of our students have a research opportunity.

Enrollment: 1200 full time undergraduate students, approximately 600 graduate students

Location: The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry is located in the "University Hill" section of Syracuse, a mid-sized cosmopolitan area with cultural and civic opportunities. The "Places Rated Almanac" ranks Syracuse among the top 10 percent of “Best Places to Live”. People from all over the world who settled in the area have enriched its diverse history. The diversity of ESF fits in well.

Regional Profile: Syracuse is located in Onondaga County in the geographic center of New York State, on the eastern edge of the Finger Lakes. It is within a five-hour drive of New York City, Toronto, and the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Mountains. Click here for more information on Syracuse and its Environs.

The campus continues to grow and change. Jahn Laboratory opened in 1997 and Baker Laboratory underwent a major rehabilitation which was completed in 2007. SUNY-ESF today offers 22 undergraduate and 28 graduate degree programs, including 8 doctoral (Ph.D.) programs, and is ranked among the nation's finest universities. Our students take an active role in campus life through student government, clubs and honor societies. And of course, our students take special pride in taking one week to celebrate the campus's favorite holiday — Earth Day.

Activities: The campus sponsors more than 35 student clubs and organizations including: Undergraduate Student Association, Forestry Club, Bioethics Society, Alpha Phi Omega, Soccer Club, Motivating People for Peace, LAND/Scape Club, Habitat for Humanity, writing for the Knothole and a student can even start their own club! There are also coffee house nights, game show nights, movie nights, guest lecturers, dances, cultural and performing arts events, bowling nights, hiking, and more!

What else is ESF Doing?

  • Onondaga Lake – ESF is using native plantings to restore the salt marshes along the shoreline to keep contaminated water from reaching the lake; using shrub willow to keep contaminants in the Solvay Settling Basins from getting into the streams that flow into the lake; and tracking the growth of fishery as the lake gets cleaner and cleaner.
  • Biomass - ESF has been developing short-rotation woody crops in New York State for more than 20 years that can be used for bioenergy and biofuels production, living snow fences and remediation of brownfield sites. Commercial biomass energy crops, like shrub willow, put marginal farmland back into production, create an alternative source of income for landowners, protect the environment and enhance wildlife habitat.
  • Wood to Ethanol - ESF is working with Catalyst Renewables Corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the engineering firm of O’Brien and Gere based in Syracuse, and New Energy Capital, to develop and construct a pilot commercial cellulosic ethanol facility in Lyonsdale, N.Y.
  • Fuel Cell - ESF has the first high-temperature carbonate fuel cell to be installed at a New York college. The 250-kilowatt generator produces electricity through a chemical process. The fuel cell gives off virtually no emissions in meeting about 17 percent of the campus’s electricity requirements.
  • Green Roof - A green, or vegetated roof, was installed on Walters Hall. The roof, which consists of thin layers of living plants installed on top of the conventional roof, helps with storm-water management, serves as insulation, reduces noise levels inside the building and protects the roofing material.
  • Photovoltaics - Plans are underway to install a 15-kilowatt photovoltaic system in Walters Hall. The photovoltaic system includes an education and training partnership with the Syracuse City School District and Onondaga Community College.
  • Baker Laboratory – Using the Baker Lab renovation and rehabilitation project as an opportunity to turn it into a “green building” certified under the national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by following the standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council.


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State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
1 Forestry Drive | Syracuse, NY 13210 | 315-470-6500
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