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SUNY ESF Focuses on Building Health for Student and Employee Well-Being

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), one of the nation's premier colleges focused exclusively on the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable future, is proud to announce its involvement in the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) membership program. ESF is one of the first higher education institutions to join like-minded companies from across the globe committed to enhancing buildings and communities to help people thrive.

"At ESF, we're committed to building a better world, and that includes ensuring that our physical spaces on campus are designed to help promote and improve the health and well-being of our people," said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. "Becoming an IWBI member is our pledge to creating sustainable, healthy spaces for our students and employees."

The WELL Building Standard™ is a vehicle for buildings and organizations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being. Like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the most widely used green building rating system, the WELL Building Standard provides organizations with a roadmap to create healthier work environments.

WELL Building uses inspired design decisions that keep people connected and support the mental and physical health of the people who inhabit the buildings. It also examines the College's policies on accessibility, mental health and wellness, and resources that affect the entire ESF community.

The College is creating a building portfolio that includes all the buildings across every ESF property. Over five years, ESF will certify each building to optimize the WELL Building standard. The multi-year commitment ensures all buildings are meeting standards in areas including air quality, light measurement, acoustics, and occupant experience. These areas and others contribute to an overall healthy workplace for students and employees.

Included in the building standard is the equity rating which provides strategies on how workplaces are designed, operated, and managed to create environments where everyone can thrive.

The Gateway Center, a LEED-certified Platinum Building, and Marshall Hall will be the first two buildings targeted for certification within the portfolio. Marshall Hall is in the midst of a full-building renovation with a LEED-certified Gold target.

"It's more than looking at the impact of one building," said Lexi Chipules, staff assistant and program facilitator. "It's also looking at how we are as an organization – how are the health and wellness of students, staff, and faculty being impacted."

By joining the IWBI program, ESF can tap into IWBI's expansive resources and knowledge. WELL includes a set of research-backed strategies that aim to advance human health through design interventions and operational protocols and policies, and foster a culture of health and well-being.


The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world. The College offers academic programs ranging from the associate of applied science to the Doctor of Philosophy. ESF students live, study and do research on the main campus in Syracuse, N.Y., and on 25,000 acres of field stations in a variety of ecosystems across the state.

About IWBI

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a public benefit corporation and the world's leading organization focused on deploying people-first places to advance a global culture of health. IWBI mobilizes its community through the administration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL) and the WELL Health-Safety Rating, management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources, and advocacy for policies that promote health and well-being for everyone, everywhere. More information on WELL can be found here.