e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Points of Pride

When you hire an ESF student, chances are you’re getting a great deal more than what you see on their resume. At ESF we are committed to developing a workforce that is technically and academically prepared. We strive to help students develop the personal, leadership and citizenship skills necessary to excel.

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Why Should You Hire ESF Students/Graduates?

Skills and Competencies of ESF Students/Graduates

When you hire an ESF student, chances are you’re getting a great deal more than what you see on their resume.  At SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry we are committed to developing a workforce that is not only technically and academically prepared, but we also strive to help students develop the personal, leadership and citizenship skills necessary to excel.

Through the many co-curricular opportunities available, our students learn to communicate effectively, work in teams, manage multiple and competing priorities, appreciate difference, and attend to details while keeping the big picture in mind.

Opportunities for our students include:

Leadership Training

ESF student leaders take part in many different forms of leadership training.  These include stand-alone workshops, conferences, and weekend-long retreats.

Student Activities and Organizations

Most simply put, we learn best by doing.  Student organizations at ESF do much more than provide a social outlet for our students.  These professional, recreational, service and social affiliations can help to facilitate a well-rounded education. By design, membership in these groups or involvement in student activities allows students to gain skills in personal leadership and collaboration.  With over 35 organizations on campus, our students have the opportunity to develop and hone a variety of skills that will make them effective and efficient employees:

Financial and Budget Planning
Event Planning and Execution
Presentation and Promotion of Ideas and Events
Mentoring and Role Modeling
Negotiating and Managing Change
Time and Priority Management
Interacting With Various Constituents

Community Service

At ESF, we believe that a major component of strong education is good citizenship and giving back to the community.  Nearly 75% of our students contribute service to the local community; over 50,000 hours this academic year alone.  And, while the contribution itself is impressive, students are also learning a great deal and fine-tuning their skills:

Needs Identification
Collaborating with Others
Relationship Development
Skills Application in Various Environments
“Big Picture” Understanding of One’s Actions
Personal Satisfaction

ESF Facts and Stats

Over the past 100+ 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.

Enrollment: 1650 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. An 84-bed addition to Centennial Hall was completed and occupied in August 2014. The renovation of the Masten House facility in Newcomb was completed and became available for conferences and educational programs during summer 2015. Construction of the new student researcher building at Thousand Islands Biological Station (TIBS) was completed and occupied during summer 2015 research season. In addition, donor-funded enhancements at Adirondack Interpretive Center were completed including the installation of a new educational display depicting the social and ecological history of the Adirondacks in the Northern Forest Room and the renovation of a free-standing classroom facility.

SUNY-ESF today offers 24 undergraduate and 30 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, Alpha Xi Sigma (Honor Society), ESF F.O.R.C.E.S., LAND/Scape Club, Habitat for Humanity, Engineers Without Borders, Music Society, writing for the Knothole and a student can even start their own club! There are also leadership retreat events, coffee house nights, movie nights, guest lecturers, dances, cultural and performing arts events, skiing nights, hiking, and more!

College Rankings

ESF has earned a total of 30 award-level rankings from College Factual, an online college guidance service.

U.S. News (2015)

  • 30th of the Top 50 Public National Universities
  • 76th in the category of “Best National University”
  • 45th in the category of “Great Schools, Great Prices”
  • 25th among National Universities whose students graduate with the least amount of student loan debt

ESF is the only SUNY campus earning a spot on both the Top 30 Public Universities list and the "Great Schools, Great Prices" list, and is the top-ranked SUNY campus among all National Universities.

The Princeton Review (2016/2015)

  • ESF is one of the nation's best colleges for students seeking a superb education with great career preparation at an affordable price, according to The Princeton Review’s "Colleges That Pay You Back: 2016 Edition."
  • ESF is also ranked #33 on the Princeton Review’s list of "Top 50 Green Colleges”

Forbes (2014)

  • Forbes has published a new set of college rankings on its Forbes.com website, placing ESF at number 20 in its listing of "Best Value Colleges 2014."
  • ESF also ranked among the top 250 colleges in the nation in Forbes overall college rankings, which included both public and private institutions.
  • Forbes.com has also ranked SUNY-ESF at #3 on its 2010 (most recent) list of the 20 best colleges for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

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.”

Majors and Programs of Study

View detailed information about ESF majors and programs of study:

“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

What else is ESF Doing?

  • $20M SUNY Grant Funds ESF Research Center at Onondaga Lake - N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Syracuse in September 2014 to announce that ESF and several partners had received $20 million through the New York SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program to develop a science education and research center at Onondaga Lake. In partnership with the Great Lakes Research Consortium, research funding will flow to the areas of robotic water-quality monitoring, lake restoration and water-quality sensor design. The project will feature a 34,000-square-foot building on the shore of Onondaga Lake at the heart of the Syracuse Inner Harbor revitalization initiative.
  • ESF Nurtures Blight-Resistant American Chestnut Trees - ESF scientists are growing the first American chestnut trees that can withstand the blight that virtually eliminated the once-dominant tree from the eastern United States. Members of the ESF research team have published three peer-reviewed papers that, along with continuing research, support their conviction that their biotechnology work with a gene originating in wheat makes the American chestnut tree at least as blight resistant as the Chinese chestnut tree that can co-exist with blight with minimal ill effects.
  • ESF Researchers Monitor and Model New York Moose Populations - ESF researchers are taking a close look at the health of the state’s moose population. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) partnered with ESF’s Roosevelt Wild Life Station to determine the current status and future potential for moose in the Adirondacks. Moose were fitted with GPS collars and aerial population surveys were completed. In collaboration with project ESF researchers are working with the DEC to determine if the moose population is growing, stable or in decline.
  • Giant Galapagos Tortoise Population Increasing - A population of endangered giant tortoises, which once dwindled to just over a dozen, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española. Some 40 years after the first captive-bred tortoises were reintroduced to the island by the Galapagos National Park Service, the endemic Española giant tortoises are reproducing and restoring some of the ecological damage caused by feral goats that were brought to the island in the late 19th century. The global population was down to just 15 tortoises by the 1960s. There are now some 1,000 tortoises breeding on their own. The population is secure. It’s a rare example of how biologists and managers can collaborate to recover a species from the brink of extinction.
  • Willow Research Yields Promising Results - The use of shrub willow as a source of renewable energy is beginning to yield promising results. ESF researchers have spent almost 30 years in research and development on shrub willow as a source of biomass for renewable energy as well as its alternative applications. Increasing yields is important to improve the economics and the environmental benefits of the willow system. Research is showing that new cultivars of willow developed at ESF can improve yields by 15-20 percent without increasing inputs to grow the crop. With these higher yields, willow has a slightly negative greenhouse gas balance. This means that wood produced from the system can be used to generate renewable energy with no net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.
  • Study Maps Development One County at a Time - ESF researchers have developed a county-by-county map of the United States’ “lower 48” that tells a story of land cover and development across the nation and could provide a framework for planners and policy makers as they consider future development. The hope is that the study will serve as the starting point for a national conversation about urban development and land cover. Combining socio-economic variables with land-cover information allowed the team to unveil interesting hidden patterns and links among them.
  • TRINITY Institute Promotes Sustainable Energy and Water Systems - ESF’s TRINITY Institute for Sustainable Energy and Water Systems continues its work to develop, implement and promote sustainable energy, water and wastewater treatment technologies and processes for municipalities and a variety of businesses. All sustainable energy and water system research, development and demonstration activities are carried out at ESF and the Cleanwater Educational Research Facility (CERF) in Minoa, New York. Work conducted at TRINITY helped establish a future Zero Waste operation at CERF.