Sustainability Research Facility at Cornell

Favorite Part: Seeing the project team’s technology in action, seeing our mini-prototypes take shape, and figuring out how to share that excitement with the entire Cornell community.

Hardest Part: Getting a 108 student-strong organization to project a consistent brand message to all stakeholders. Everyone excels at speaking about the details, but the bigger picture is trickier to articulate.

Cornell University Sustainable Design: Sustainable Research Facility is a student run organization that is designing and building a “Living Laboratory” on Cornell University’s Ithaca, New York campus. The aim of this project is to build a permanent landmark structure with a 6000 ft2 footprint over 2-3 floors, singularly poised to further the field of Computational Sustainability in regard to the built environment. As business team lead, I oversaw all corporate communications, kickstarted a lifetime cost model for the building, and organized cross-campus promotion efforts.

What it Means to Me

Working on the SRF was an eye-opening experience in working on cross-functional teams. The massive 108 student workforce drew from every college at Cornell and strived to utilize each student’s unique strengths. As a result, I led a business team made up of business, hotel administration, and architecture students each week, relay scheduling updates and deliverables to the geothermal team made up of diverse engineering students, and send off team updates to the communications team, made up of art, design, and communications students. I learned a great deal from this cooperation; for example, the engineering approach to project management, the equal importance of graphic and verbal branding consistency, and how to build a mutually-beneficial partnership with a peer organization.

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