More than 140 people gathered early Sept. 24 to celebrate jobs that are never done.
That's how President David Skorton described the work of staff and collaborative teams on campus initiatives in safety, health, emergency preparedness, sustainability and environment risk management.
"There are few jobs more behind-the-scenes and thankless than the jobs we're celebrating here today," Skorton said, telling the group that he recognizes how difficult emergency planning can be. "No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios," he said, but added, "we depend on your work in emergency planning."
Skorton also hailed campus gains in sustainability. Cornell was working on sustainability before it became a fashionable catch-phrase, he said. He praised the growing collaborations between the academic and curricular sides of the university with the stewardship side, saying, "We are making progress, and in some areas setting a national pace and a national agenda."
Also congratulating the group were Stephen Golding, the Samuel W. Bodman Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration; Kyu Whang, vice president for facilities services; and Richard McDaniel, vice president for risk management and public safety.
Taking a historical perspective, Golding pointed out that after the controversy over Redbud Woods, Cornell "achieved a campuswide collaboration on sustainability" among students, faculty and administrators. He praised the foresightedness that led to Lake Source Cooling. He also hailed the leadership of McDaniel in overseeing a division reorganization that created the Division of Risk Management and Public Safety and the Office of Emergency Planning and Recovery.
Whang thanked the group for "significant accomplishments" in safety and sustainability. Sustainability is about the health and safety of the planet, he said; it's something we "can't afford not to do."
McDaniel said, "We are a healthier, safer and more environmentally friendly campus because of the work that's been done here."
Attending the celebration, held in G10 Biotech, were members of committees and teams that contributed to Cornell's pandemic preparation and response plan, the emergency mass notification system and the advancing sustainability action plan. Also there were members of the Cornell Emergency Management Committee, the Safety, Health and Environment Risk Management Board and the Executive Committee on Campus Health and Safety; and staff from Cornell Police, Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management and Public Safety, Environmental Compliance and Sustainability, CIT, University Communications, Research Administration and the Executive Vice President's office.