Cornell's leadership in sustainability efforts and the importance of federal funding to help students offset tuition costs were among the issues raised during a visit to campus by U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-22nd District), March 21.
Before touring Cornell's newest facilities and meeting with campus and community leaders, Hinchey opened his visit with a press conference focusing on proposed cuts to federal Pell Grants -- a move he opposes.
He expressed support for the 2,200 low-income Cornell students who currently benefit from Pell Grants, which are federal tuition aid grants of up to $5,500 per student per year. A Republican-sponsored bill would reduce the maximum Pell award by $845, among other reductions.
"Education is the best investment we can make as a society, and I'm going to fight against these cuts," Hinchey said.
Hinchey also praised Cornell's "insightful, effective" use of the nearly $114.62 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds the Ithaca campus has received so far, and the nearly 160 full-time jobs created as a result.
Afterward, Hinchey toured the Combined Heat and Power Plant and met with Bert Bland, senior director of energy and sustainability, and Lanny Joyce, director of energy management, among others, to discuss local sustainability issues. These included town-gown relations, economic development, energy conservation, green jobs, locally grown food at Cornell Dining and solar thermal systems on campus.
The visit concluded with a meeting at the new Physical Sciences Building with leaders of the Energy Materials Center and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future to discuss energy materials research and collaborations at Cornell.